Chapter 118: Followers of the Old Gods

 

After dealing with the arrival of Kaelmathis, the elf that is going to teach Azami how to craft item from mythril, the local Faron priest arrived at the house in quite a state. After finally managing to calm him down, I learn that a group of beastkin matching the description of the ones that follow the old gods have arrived just outside of town.

Faron Priest: “You don’t think they have come for our church, do you?”

“I think if they came for anything, it is me.  Since I spoke with them, they haven’t burned down any more churches, so it should be ok.”

Faron Priest: “You are the Archjusticar now. You can’t simply deal with matters like this by yourself.”

“This was the reason I was made the Archjusticar, and you have known me for a while, so you should know I won’t stand for someone threatening Tobes.”

Faron Priest: “I understand, but please be careful.”

After finding out just where the group is supposed to be I call Belinda, Roxy, and Zoey. Azami has just started on her lesson for crafting mythril, and these groups have never tried to attack before, so the others are just a precaution anyway, so I leave Azami to her lesson.

Besides, I did what the old god or old gods asked. I am actually more worried about the beastkin. They always kill themselves after we speak, but the look on the face of that woman we tried to save last time, was horrible.

Belinda: “I don’t like this… Coming to our town?”

“They said everything else they did was to ensure I became the Archjusticar, and to get my attention, so it would only make sense now that they have, they would just cut to the chase.”

Roxy: “What are we going to do if they want you to perform another task for them?”

“It depends on the task.”

They didn’t seem to care about entering another dungeon before, as they have been on the ground floors of several dungeons already, but for some reason they have chosen to remain just outside of my secondary dungeon outside of town.

When we arrive one of the beastkin greets us. “Archjusticar, I see you got our message.”

“Indeed, but to have to meet way out here, you make me think you are up to something.”

Beastkin: “We felt that entering your dungeon area could be seen as a hostile action, so we decided it was in our best interest to meet out here.”

“I see.”

Beastkin: “First of all the gods would like to thank you for your assistance with the matter with dungeon core #1. It seems you completed what was asked in a timely manner, even against the suggestions of the dungeon core Elders.”

“They did suggest I shouldn’t complete it, but ultimately left the decision up to me, so I just weighted the risk vs the reward. That is the only reason I agreed to do as your master asked.”

Beastkin: “Regardless, the old gods were quite pleased, and think you will be quite a valuable asset in the future.”

“Before you say anything else, we did the task your master asked of us, and I will not take any more threats. If your master wants me to do anything else for him, he can either make it worth our time, or find someone else.”

Beastkin: “What a coincidence, this time we are here to give you a reward for following instructions. Although it is curious that you speak of those we serve as a he.”

“That is another thing, if your master wishes for me to have any more dealings with him, I would be far more receptive if I got the truth, and will refuse to meet a single group of his followers from here on out, if he is just going to have you kill yourself after speaking with me.”

The beastkin looks at me with a concerned expression then turns to speak with one of the others in whispers. Before they finish speaking amongst themselves, the entire group is huddled together whispering to one another.

The beastkin that was talking to us returns and says. “It seems we have not been your only visitors. The ones in which we serve are curious to know, just who it is you have been speaking with?”

“I know just as much of her master as I do of yours, but she issued no threats, or commands, so I am more trusting of her master then of yours.”

Beastkin: “If another is involved already, this changes things quite a bit. Your reward will have to wait, while a plan of action is established. Destruction of these vessels is no longer in the best interest of those in which we serve, so they are yours to do with as you see fit.”

The blank faces of the beastkin then soften and they quickly begin to look around and start to panic. The one that was speaking with us looks at me with a terrified look.

Beastkin: “Who are you, and where am I…?”

The other beastkin begin asking similar questions.

“I think the big question is who are you?”

Beastkin: “I asked you first!”

“I am called Two-Twelve, and you are just outside the town of Tobes.”

Beastkin: “Tobes… Where the hell is Tobes?”

“It’s in the Gowen Kingdom.”

The beastkin and the others begin to grow even more nervous.

Beastkin: “But how did I get here?”

“I don’t really know. Are you saying you don’t remember coming here?”

Beastkin: “Of course not! I was planting seed in the field, and next thing I know I am standing here in these rags! I don’t owe any debts, so you can’t do this to me!”

“Calm down, we will figure this out. What about the rest of you?”

They all seem to have similar stories, each just minding their own business and then suddenly they were here. All of them that is but one, he seems to remain rather tight lipped about the situation.

Beastkin: “How did we get here…?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know, but the best I can guess is some kind of mind control magic or something similar.”

Beastkin: “Wait… How long have I been gone then?

Another beastkin then begins to panic again. “You’re right! It’s much too hot for this time of year even for being in Gowen!”

A third then speaks up. “But it’s always hot in the summer.”

Beastkin: “What do you mean summer?! It is spring.”

Beastkin 2: “That’s impossible, the last thing I remember it was winter!”

“Everyone calm down… We will try to get this figured out, and then get you home.”

Beastkin: “How can you tell us to calm down?! If it is summer then what about my family? If the crops weren’t planted, and I disappeared, what happened to them?”

“I don’t know, but if you can calm down enough to tell us where you are from, we can at least see about maybe getting you home to find out.”

Beastkin: “It will take months for me to get home from Gowen!”

“I have a means to teleport, and I should be able to get you at least in a relatively close distance to your home.”

Beastkin: “Adra! My farm is just a few days south from Toran, the capital of Adra.”

“Alright, we will see about getting you home. What about the rest of you?”

There is the one from Adra, one from Merretta, one from Sarnova, and even one from Dalian, but still the one squirrel beastkin remains rather silent, so I decide to ask him directly. “What about you? Where are you from?”

The beastkin grows nervous and doesn’t say anything else.

“It’s alright, I can’t get you home if you don’t say where you are from, but I understand if you don’t trust me.”

Silent Beastkin: “I’m sorry, I just have never heard of Tobes, or the Gowen kingdom before… I know of a Duke Gowen, but not a Gowen kingdom.”

“Well where is this Duke Gowen from?”

Silent Beastkin: “He is one of the dukes of Leona of course.”

Belinda: “You don’t mean Duke Logan Gowen… Do you…?”

Silent Beastkin: “That’s right! So you can get me back to my master?”

“Wait, what do you mean Duke Logan?”

Belinda quickly grabs me and whispers. “That was the first king of Gowen, my great-great-grandfather. Logan was named after him.”

“That makes him over 150 years old, are you saying he hasn’t aged or anything the entire time he has been serving the old gods?”

Belinda: “I don’t know, but if he is that old, then maybe the others have been missing far longer than they thought as well…”

We were trying to keep it quiet, but one of the other beastkin speaks up. “Wait a minute, I might not know much about the Gowen kingdom, but Leona was the name of the kingdom before it was Gowen wasn’t it? That was over 100 years ago.”

Beastkin: “That is impossible, he would be dead if he was that old! There is no way he is over 100 years old!”

The beastkin begin to panic again.

Silent Beastkin: “What do you mean 100 years ago… Where is my master?!”

“Everyone just calm down until we figure this out! I guess we don’t need to only ask where you are all from, but apparently when as well.”

Beastkin: “I don’t know what you are trying to pull, it is impossible to be that old, and everyone knows it’s the year 1420.”

Beastkin 2: “Last thing I remember was the winter of 1439…”

Panic ensues again as they begin to argue the year, so I try to calm them down again. It seems the silent beastkin has returned to silence however.

“I’m sorry everyone, but it is indeed the 7th month of year 1440…”

Beastkin: “I don’t look any different, how can 20 years have passed, and I not aged a single day? I got it! This has to be some kind of a joke. My brother-in-law put you up to all this didn’t he? Knocking me out and changing my clothes is going too far for a joke, but I won’t say another word about it if you tell the truth now.”

Belinda: “I’m sorry to say, but this isn’t a joke…”

The beastkin man collapses to the ground. “But it has to be…”

The other beastkin don’t seem to be fairing much better themselves.

“I know it isn’t much of a consolation but if there is anywhere you want to go, I will still try to get you there.”

Silent Beastkin: “If what you said was really true, I may have been missing for over 100 years, but you said the Gowen family has become the rulers of the kingdom? If my master’s family is still around I should return to them.”

Belinda: “You served the Gowen family?”

Silent Beastkin: “Indeed, we may be servants, but the Duke treated my family better than the king even treated most of the citizens.”

Belinda: “Wait, you aren’t a Torres are you?”

Silent Beastkin: “How could you possibly know that? If what you are saying is true, how could a simple servant’s name be known all these years later?”

Belinda: “You really are a Torres? Then your daughter was the one…”

Silent Beastkin: “My wife was pregnant with our first child. Are you saying it was a girl? You said she was the one, the one what? Please tell me what you know about my daughter?” –He says with tears in his eyes.-

“I’m not sure how you would feel about it, but your descendants still serve the Gowen family to this day.”

Beastkin: “Good, he has descendants. My wife and son might still be at home taking care of the farm! What about the rest of us?”

“I told you we will do what we can… We can take you as far as the capital of Adra, but it has been 20 years, are you sure you are up for it.”

Beastkin: “I have to know.”

“Ok… Roxy, can you take him to Toran, and make sure he has enough gold to get by for a little bit.”

Roxy: “I’ll take care of it. Come I will take you to Toran.” –She says to the man, and then casts [Gate]

The [Gate] spell surprises several of the beastkin, but Roxy finally talks the beastkin into following her, and the beastkin, Roxy, and Zoey disappear into the portal before it disappears again.

Beastkin 2: “I have only been gone a few months, but I have no real reason to return. I always wanted out of that town, so maybe I should just start out fresh.”

Belinda: “There are always new jobs opening in Tobes, I could probably help you find one if you want, or if you want to head to New Leona, the town that is quickly growing there consists of mostly beastkin, if that makes you more comfortable.”

Ancient Torres: “There are actual beastkin towns?”

Belinda: “We have come a long way in the last 100 or so years, Gowen even has several beastkin on the council.”

Ancient Torres: “That is amazing.”

Belinda: “We can tell you all about it, but let’s see to it we get the others taken care of first, alright.”

Ancient Torres: “I understand.”

Beastkin 2: “Well I don’t really have any gold, so I guess I should get a job here at least until I can decide what I want to do.”

Belinda hands the beastkin man a few gold coins. “This should be enough to get you a decent pair of clothes and after you can head to city hall, and I will make sure someone will help you get situated.”

Beastkin 2: “Thank you…”

There is a female beastkin that has been missing for 7 years, but she doesn’t seem eager to return to where she is from either, but she said she was the one from Dalian, so it is easily understandable why a beastkin wouldn’t want to return there.

Another female beastkin has been missing for 2 years and she has me return her to the capital of Merretta, I give her a few coins after we arrive there, and she goes about her way. I hope she manages alright…

When I return Amy and Kline’s ancestor is bowing to Belinda while she quickly says. “It’s ok really. Your descendants are practically family. I can introduce you to them if you like.”

Ancient Torres: “I wouldn’t want to impose on the princess.”

“Belinda, can I talk to you for a minute?”

Belinda: “Of course… Excuse me.” –She then moves closer and I then speak to her quietly.-

“I’m not sure we should be all too trusting in him just yet.”

Belinda: “But he is Amy and Kline’s ancestor.”

“So he says, but what are the odds of something like that happening? If it was intentional, then it leaves a whole bunch more questions like as to why?”

Belinda: “Then you don’t want me to introduce him to Kline?”

“No, I think introducing him to Kline would be a way for us to keep an eye on him, but I think we should tell Kline to be careful, and keep an eye on him ourselves as well.”

Belinda: “I guess you are right, I got a little caught up in it, I guess.”

“I am not saying he is up to something, but we don’t know how they came to be under the old gods control or anything else. If he was put under the old gods control once, we have to assume it could happen again as well.”

Belinda: “I understand.” –She then goes back to the beastkin.- “Well we can’t have you meeting your descendant dressed like that. Why don’t I take you to get some clothes, and Two-Twelve can let them know we are coming, because I am sure it will be quite a shock.”

Ancient Torres: “But Princess, I couldn’t.”

Belinda: “If you are loyal to my family, you shouldn’t argue with the princess, am I right?”

Ancient Torres: “I am sorry princess, it is as you say…”

Belinda: “Good, now let’s go.”

Belinda then takes the beastkin into town, while I go to let Scylla and Kline know what’s going on. I also asked one of the bunnies to keep an eye on Belinda to make sure she stays safe, as she leads the beastkin around town. Scylla and Kline stare at me in quiet disbelief as I tell them what happened.

Kline: “So you think this really could be one of my ancestors from way back?”

“I don’t know, he seemed genuine about it, but there is no way to be certain. I would just be cautious for a while till we are able to figure out just what is going on.”

Kline: “Why don’t you take baby Listel home for today Scylla, and I will meet with him first. If he really is one of my ancestors he will understand I can’t just trust him right from the get go, especially with such a story.”

Scylla picks up the baby and gives Kline a kiss. “Be careful ok?”

Kline: “And miss coming home to the two most beautiful women in the world, I don’t think so.”

Scylla smiles as he ears turn a bit pink and she kisses Kline again before excusing herself.

“What do you say we go wait for them at the adventurer’s guild, I am sure you could use a drink after hearing you are about to meet your great-great-great-great-grandpa.”

Kline: “I don’t see why not.”

We then head downstairs, and although I do get a drink Kline doesn’t. Regardless of what I said he seems rather nervous.

“Are you sure you are alright meeting with him?”

Kline: “I was still quite young when my father died in the service of the Gowen military, and my mother didn’t live much longer than that. I was never lacking due to serving the young master, but I don’t know, how should I react?”

“Well I don’t exactly have parents, much less ancestors, so I am the last one you should be asking, for that kind of advice.”

When Belinda and Kline’s ancestor enters the adventurer’s guild Kline quickly stands, then sits back down, and as they are walking up to the table he stands quickly again.

Kline: “I’m Kline Torres, but I guess the princess told you that. I’m sorry, I’m Kline…”

Ancient Torres: “My god boy, you are a spitting image of my father. I’m sorry, my manners. I’m Samuel.”

Kline: “My grand-father’s name was Samuel, but I guess that means he was named after you.”

Samuel: “The shock of hearing I was gone for so long has far from worn off, but I also started to wonder what my family must have thought of me for just disappearing like I did…”

Kline: “I’m sorry, I never heard how grand-father got his name, or of you, but I am sure if they named my grand-father after you there couldn’t of been any hard feelings.”

Samuel: “It’s alright, I am just glad my family name is still around after all these years.”

Kline: “Yes, we have kept the Torres name through the generations due to the servant’s pact, which I guess it was your daughter, took with the king of Gowen.”

Samuel: “I am glad my family is still serving the Gowen family, but a servant pact…? I should have been there…”

Kline: “The Gowen family treats us very well, in truth, the pact was formed to ensure that remained the case, because from my understanding times were quite different for beastkin in your day.”

Samuel: “I cared for Duke Logan very much and would have died for him, but I was a free man, that wasn’t something a lot of beastkin could say. I don’t understand how my poor child thought it would have been necessary to enter such a pact.”

“For love.”

Samuel: “Love?”

“Your daughter fell in love with who I assume was Duke Logan’s son, and of course the kingdom was young and relations between humans and beastkin were as you say. It was the only way their children could remain part of the family with how things were at the time.”

Kline: “That’s the short of it.”

Samuel: “My daughter was not only in love with Duke Logan’s son, but the king at the time as well?”

Kline: “Of course the times required him to take a human wife as well, and that is where the nobility of Gowen come from, but from my understanding it was just because it was required. Your daughter and Belinda’s great-grandfather cared for each other very much.”

Belinda: “Relations between beastkin and humans have improved quite a lot, but it is still in such a way I had to hear all this from my husband, instead of Logan or my father himself…”

Kline: “Don’t be too hard on them. They also did it for Amy and my sake as well. What do you think your sisters would have done if they knew that a beastkin could hold a legitimate stake at the throne?”

Belinda: “I guess, but they could have still told me…”

Samuel: “It seems no matter the times, a princess is still a princess…”

Belinda: “I’m sorry, I just a little bitter about it still. I was raised with Amy being treated as my attendant all my life, and to find out we are related I missed out in so much with her.”

“Well attendant or not, the way you treated her was your own choice.”

Belinda: “Alright! I was wrong! Ok?!”

Kline: “Don’t worry, Amy has no hard feelings about it. She knows her place, and I think she is quite happy with the way things have turned out.”

Belinda: “I still can’t help to feel that I am at least part of the reason she rather be in the capital then here.”

Kline: “I am sure her reasons have nothing to do with you. She has always been quite fond of the going-ons of the capital.”

Samuel: “Will I be able to meet Amy as well?”

Kline: “No offense, but everything about this is quite strange, so I would like to get to know you a bit more before I have you meet my sister.”

Samuel: “I understand, but what am I to do now?”

Kline: “I am sure we can find something for you to do here in town. I am sure there is going to be a lot to get used to.”

Samuel: “But how will I get to know you?”

Kline: “If there is one thing that hasn’t changed, if you wish to eat, you have to work. After you are done, I am at the city hall on most days, so we can speak after our work is complete.”

Samuel: “You sound like my father as well…”

“Kline’s wife is the mayor of Tobes, so I am sure he can find you a decent place to work, and Belinda and I live here in Tobes as well, so if you need anything we may be able to help. We will try to make this transition as easy as possible, but you have to understand the situation is quite strange indeed.”

Samuel: “How do you think I feel? As far as I remember, my wife was pregnant, and everything was going great, and now you are saying my wife, even my child, and grand children have died already. My life had been completely upended and you want me to just move on!”

“I’m sorry… I really am, but I can’t undo what has happened to you, so we are just doing the best we can. Belinda and I need to discuss what happened in which resulted in bringing you here, so Kline will take care of the rest.”

Kline: “As you wish.”

After making sure the others that are staying in Tobes for now have been taken care of as well, Belinda and I then make sure Kline is going to be ok, and then we head back to the house.

“I didn’t realize his followers were under mind control, and he released them this time instead of killing them off, like we asked, but I am not sure if it was any less cruel. I am just wondering now what exactly is this old god planning now. When the beastkin were still under his control they seemed rather worried about another of the old gods poking their nose into it.”

Belinda: “And if Samuel really is Kline and Amy’s ancestor, then how is it none of them aged, and why is it always beastkin?”

“Maybe beastkin are more susceptible to his methods, or maybe even the gods are limited in what they can do. All I know is even though the threat from him seems to be placed elsewhere. I don’t feel any more comfortable about the situation however.”

Belinda: “There are three of these beastkin in town now as well, should we keep an eye on all of them just in case?”

“I think that would be for the best.“

Belinda: “What do you think the old god is going to want from us now that he knows about the other one watching?”

“I am not sure, the beastkin huddled and talked together while under the old gods control like they were discussing matters, but I am not sure how any of that works. They did seem rather agitated that the other old gods have gotten involved as well. I just hope it was a good idea letting them know about it.”

Belinda: “It seemed to help the decision of letting go the ones he held captive, so I can’t think it was a bad thing. I am sure they are happy to be free from the control of the old gods, but so much can change in a few years, but over 100 years. You might have been right about death being easier for some of them.”

“They are alive, that is the important part, if they want to stay that way at least it is their choice. I am still worried though that this god is using the beastkin in this manner though I said if he stopped them from killing themselves it would be alright, but now I am not sure that is enough.”

Belinda: “We still don’t even know who or which one of the old gods is causing this, so there is no way we can stop him. I don’t know anything of the old gods, do you know which one this might be?”

Belinda: “No, I mean like you said these gods were all supposed to be the gods of humans, so to do something like this seems strange. That may be the reason he uses only beastkin if he deems them less then human, but even still that doesn’t help to determine which he is supposed to be.”

“Just how many old gods can there be?”

Belinda: “Who know how many of them are real, but back in the time of the old gods there were gods for everything. That is why it is so hard to determine which is which. Even between kingdoms the names of gods that seemed to be the exact same god could be different or worshiped a different way.”

“So there is no way to know which the other one is either then?”

Belinda: “Not really. There is a good reason that people all came to worship Faron, because he was the same everywhere, and it made it easy for his religion to spread.”

“I guess we need to start reading up more of the old gods, maybe if we can at least determine which god is which it might give us some insight on just what it is they want.”

Belinda: “That’s the disadvantage of everything in Tobes being brand new, there is no history. Maybe we should pay a visit to the library in the capital and try to see if we can find anything out.”

“Well we can do that tomorrow. For now I’ll probably see how Azami is doing, and make sure she hasn’t killed Kaelmathis yet.”

I then head to the living room to check on them. On the small table in front of them there are quite a few small objects that look no more than small stones, except they are made from metal.

“How are things going?”

Kaelmathis: “Azami truly is quite gifted when it comes to crafting she was able to make all of these without even rest.”

Azami: “My magical supply allows me to craft all day without rest. Crafting objects I already know is as simple as focusing my magic into it.”

Kaelmathis: “The amount of time you can put into it is much higher, but the speed in which your object takes shape doesn’t seem to be out of the norm. We might be able to speed up your lessons a bit, but it may still take a few months before you are capable of working with mythril.”

“Well you are free to use the living room as you wish, but things might get busy here pretty soon, so we might need Azami’s help again.”

Kaelmathis: “I understand.”

They go back to work, and I leave them to it.

 

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