”Only Agni shall remember your name. From now on everything you are, belongs to them. ” – The High Priest, about the members of the White Cloaks.
The songs always said the world started with Dragonfire; it was only suitable that the world would be ended by the same method.
Death by Dragonfire is supposed to be painless, the flames are so potent that you
e ashes before you can even feel fear. It was not. Hunter would know, having been burned alive along with many of his brothers and sisters in the futile defense of the Castle.
Agni blessed as Hunter was, his body and gear were resistant to fire.
This resulted in being the worst possible outcome when faced with a Dragon. Every piece of cloth he was wearing erupted in flames, the metal *melted* against his skin as his blood boiled and cooked his insides.
Hunter had died screaming.
Thus, being able to open his eyes was a surprise. An unwelcomed surprise. The echoes of pain run down his spine, his chest feels like its gonna explode, and his throat closes as if full of smoke.
For a painfully long moment there Hunter can breathe.
Then, the pain fades. His lungs are able to get some air and Hunter wheezes, his head feels way too light for it to be healthy and some strength slowly returns to his limbs the longer he inhales and exhales.
Hes in his room. His old room, one he hadn seen in almost ten years, the one located in the barricades instead on the palaces eastern wing. Hunter had not seen this room since before the death of King Alfor.
Its not possible for many reasons. Yet, here he is.
Alive. Uninjured. Out of harms way.
Agni, all his limbs are still attached to his body! That most than anything convinces him that he has truly traveled back in time; hope blossoms across his ribs like yellow flowers and Hunter hates himself a little for it. But he can help it.
It feels like a gift; a Gift from a Spirit.
Could it be a final blessing from Agni? A way to save the Empire from its tragic and slow decay into the bizarre existence it had ended as? Or perhaps it was Gift from Tui and La who couldn possibly have stood by the suffering of all those innocents? Or perhaps the Wan Shi, enraged by the destruction the Dragon caused?
Its not like it matters, though.
Whoever had granted him this, Hunter is going to kneel in the temple, offer his thanks, and take the opportunity with both hands.
Hunters head snaps to the door.
Anxiety burns inside his stomach, hot and bitter, as he takes a deep breath and prepares himself to see a face he had long put to rest. The first among a long list of mistakes: His squire, Arnold Becket.
Hunters voice doesn shake nor break, ”Enter. ”
Arnold is young, barely fifteen. Hes all big doe-like eyes, freckled cheeks, and too long limbs for his frame. Hes still growing. In one life, he never did. But in this, Hunter will ensure he does.
”Captain, are you feeling alright? ” He hesitates at the threshold, ”You didn join the rest of the Knights during this mornings training. Shall I call for a priest? ”
Hunter grimaces as his inner clock points out its far past dawn, and yes, he failed to attend to his duties to his squad of White Cloaks. His first instinct is to curse, but then Hunter is forced to admit that if he wants to change things, staying as a simple knight is not going to cut it.
Meaning hes going to miss many more morning training in the future and he better get used to the idea.
”Thats not necessary, Arnold. ” Hunter smiles and it feels weird, hes almost forgotten how to do it. ”Ill be visiting the temple today. Help me with my armor, Ill be leaving as soon as possible. ”
Arnolds eyebrows arched high in his forehead, ”Captain?! ”
”Im not sick,
” Hunter rolls his eyes, he appreciates the concern but its very unnecessary. Hes not injured anymore, the Spirits took care of that.
”Now, stop gaping like a fool. You
e the squire of a Knight, act like it. ”
”Y-Yes, sir! ”
Wearing full armor for the temple was outrageous. Holding a weapon on Holy Ground was an insult to the Spirits and the Faith, something no sane man would dare to try for the repercussions to their family name and status in society.
This made the Temples a sanctuary for any and all individuals running awa
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