“Why are you taking us here, again?” Gilbred asked, he had made it clear he was thoroughly displeased with where his life was heading.
“Acting ignorant doesn’t suite you Gilbred,” he had already asked that question, but was unhappy with his answer.
“And what is your name anyways?” Gilbred asked, trying at every turn find some ought against him.
“Greggor, the Watcher.”
Zoar walked next to Gilbred, and behind Greggor who lead the way. They had left the inn they were staying at under Greggor’s council. He was made aware, by whatever connections he had, that the city was harboring spies that had just arrived behind the two of them. A Clelite and a Piramin. They asked around about any recent visitors with their description, thankfully those they asked were in league with Greggor and lead them off the trail.
Passing through the hewn stone buildings the changes came quickly; beggars and the afflicted seemed to populate the streets, most of which acknowledging Greggor’s presence.
“Why do you associate with such a lot?” Gilbred grunted under his breath.
“You tell me, is there no room in your father’s house for these?” Gilbred looked like a bull flaring its nostrils.
He must not be used to being scrutinized, least of all by an equal.
They hurried through the maze of sweating buildings and grimy cobble streets. They approached what appeared to be a dead end alley, two sunken men squatting near the end of the debris. A twinkle lit their eyes when they saw Greggor round the corner and in the time it took to reach them, they had scooted and wheeled the towering debris in such a way that a door was visible behind all of it.
Zoar couldn’t help holding her spear close, but Gilrbed’s knuckles were white as bone wrapped around the handle of his sword in its hilt. Between frustration, nerves and something that must be personal conviction perspiration was trailing down his dark brow and the short brown hair around his face was dampened. The bristles on his face seemed to stand on end, he brushed them and scratched them; uncomfortable by the sensation of not having a clean shaven face.
They let the three of them pass and murmured a greeting to Greggor.
“Grace be with you brothers,” Greggor greeted enthusiastically as they entered the dimly lit stairway.
Zoar snapped around as she heard the clatter of the door being sealed up by the two men. The cramped staircase opened to a small upper room that appeared to not have any other entrances. It was packed with a variety of people. All classes and tribes sat together, some in more vibrant generous clothes, others who clung to their faded and worn clothing. They all suffered from the small space and heat they were generating, sweat dripping from everyone there.
Greggor gave another warm greeting, “Grace be with you brothers and sisters!”
They returned in kind, tired faces yet they carried something else inside, was it love or light or something altogether? Zoar and Gilbred stood at the top of the stairs, as there were no there places to stand other than the center of the room where Greggor stood.
“Do you recall the visions our lord gave myself? It brings me great joy to share with you in this, after weeks of waiting at the tavern they have arrived!” The crowd struggled to stifle its excitement, after an immediate outburst shushing spread throughout.
“What are your names?” One cried out.
“And your tribes?” Another let loose.
They were both taken aback, unsure of these people and the unexpected events. A mild insecurity manifested, Zoar hadn’t been able to bath since before the Reckoning was complete, and they had both been traveling without proper supplies.
Gilbred answered, “I am Gilbred once a Judge of the Remnant, and she is Zoar next in line as High Priestess of the Rajini.”
A hush came over the room, then an outburst greater than the first. It was startling, clapping and rejoicing overcame them. Greggor too was clapping with glistening eyes; then hushed the room again.
“And who are you?” a rush of boldness filled Zoar.
This time the group waited for Greggor to answer.
He turned around to introduce the group, “We are the humble Renders, those who’s hearts were pierced by the Risen King.”
“Who is the Risen King?” just as she finished the question Gilbred turned and strode down the stairs.
The room was quiet, “Where are you going?” she asked.
No answer or hesitation came, so she followed behind him trying to stop him. The door was unblocked and he stepped through just ahead of her.
“Wait,” she hissed, stopping him just outside of arms reach. “What are you doing?”
“Leaving, you should to… rather, do what you want it makes no difference to me.”
“Why? What happened all of the sudden for you to bolt?”
Gilbred wheeled around on her, “You do not know anything, those in there are are heretics, in league with the Creature!” he pointed forcefully behind her towards the upper room.
“In what way?” doubt pervaded her confidence, who to trust?
“The Risen King! He was a false prophet who reigned during the Common era. He was believed to be Sendiil Himself living along side us as a man! Heresy! But,” he sneered, “Sendiil is infinite, He cannot die, and the Risen King is yet to rise. So where is their evidence? there is none!”
“But what about the man of light? The one who told me to free you before I fled?” desperation was starting to trickle in, there was no denying a connection had formed between the two despite its volatility.
“I don’t know! I can’t explain it… I don’t know what to tell you.”
“Where would you go? What would you do if you just left?” Zoar asked.
The truth was, neither had any other ideas. The plan had been to simply move forward thus far. Gilbred had no home, and neither did Zoar. Orphans.