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Old 11-22-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Illinois
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I'm unpleasant.

I smile less, my brow is firmly set...I can't remember the last time I looked someone in the eye when I wasn't searching for a tainted heart. When I took these vows, I promised myself they wouldn't change me, that I'd ever be the man I'd been, that I wouldn't be as the other grim-faced paladins that had seen too much to yet bear the countenance of hope.

They bow their heads in reverence, in appreciation of deeds, of battles fought and won, fought and lost. There was a time when I'd have blushed at the notion, would have lifted their chins for them that they might look me in the eye. Now, I nod even as I look past them.

I look past them, torch-lit, stone corridors falling away to crypts and fields full of evil and blackness. Even as I move among my brothers and sisters in faith, I see tomorrow's next struggle, forget yesterday's victory. Melchior seeks me often, to discuss this path. He would guide me as the Broken shepherds the Maimed. I've seldom the time.

I am to choose, the Harbinger has decided. My successor, who will sacrifice as I did, picked by my hand, and so the guilt is entirely mine. Strange that a decision I made for myself so easily comes so slowly when I choose for another. Part of me thinks it strange that I should dread this task; is it not the mark of truest character for one to give so nobly of oneself? I should rejoice at the opportunity to find one of such value, and yet I fear for them...as much as a man impervious to fear can, anyway.

Most of those in this Order were trained for their tasks from their childhoods; they never knew the temptations, the fear that tormented my youth. I'm not so sure that I miss those impulses, but...there's a certain temperance to be had in all of it, and I think we come to lack it. It's easy to forget that not all are capable of walking the path I walk. Ours is a narrow road - narrower yet for the duty I hold - a narrow road that could never hope to hold us all.

I come to the door that will usher me out to the city, and from there, the countryside, where I will yet hunt again. I pause and tug my gauntlets free from my belt. Black and gold, as the rest of this armor. It's suffocating; I feel as though I escape when the wind kisses my bare skin, my truer essence allowed to bare itself.

My truer essence? I wonder which is. I did not come to this by accident; I chose duty for myself, and I've given myself over to it, as I must. It has cost dearly. It has severed friendships, other things more dear. I am reminded each day that not all can walk this path...and it's just as well.

I am not here to make paladins of men.

I am here to make a world that does not need paladins.
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