Ana couldn’t tell how long she had been in this room for, but it felt like years had passed since the sun had warmed her skin. Whilst she was used to being alone for long periods of time her imagination was starting to run thin; nothing to look at, nothing to play with, just a bed and a wooden desk. Naturally when her food had come she had moved the desk and used the knife to carve pictures into the back of the oak furniture, drawing was a skill she had been blessed with in the long, dull, lonely days but the clerics had taken the cutlery with the plate after a time leaving her carving of a dragon unfinished.
Ana had been told about magic, a couple of her previous wardens had even shown her some and now she was imagining how much easier her life would be if she could just turn invisible and run away from everyone, live her own life instead of theirs. As she was imagining blowing the door open with a fireball spell it opened to reveal the cleric that had captured her and Kayla.
As she started to wonder if Kayla was as bored as she was as the cleric motioned her to follow him, “Follow me child.”
Doing what she had been asked if only to get away from the retched room she followed the cleric along various corridors and passageways obediently, but also trying to memorize the various routes encase she needed to escape.
“I don’t suppose you know how much trouble you’ve got me into?” the cleric asked. Shaking her head in response the cleric sighed before continuing to talk to her in a deep but soft voice. “And I bet you’re wondering what you’re even doing here? I remember that feeling, many years ago. I was about your age the first time they brought me here.”
“What had you done wrong?” Ana quizzed the cleric.
“Wrong?” he joked “I had done nothing wrong except have no parents, once I was old enough they brought me here from the orphanage as most of my brothers and sisters here were.”
“Are you going to make me into a cleric too?”
“Would you like us to?” Pausing to think about the question the cleric continued, “No one here was forced or make to, but how could you refuse the thought of a proper family after years of being on your own? And being able to use magic isn’t the worst thing,” he finished with a smile on his face.
“My name is Ana,” she finally said.
Stopped in his tracks by the comment, the cleric turned to look at Ana, “Nice to meet you Ana, I’m Salvo.” Sharing a moment in quiet Salvo smiled before turning to the large, oak double doors they had arrived at and opened them to reveal a great hall.
Filled with dozens of clerics in various attires the hall had them seated to the left and right of the hall leaving two empty chairs in the middle of the room and three posh looking clerics at the far end. Guiding Ana through the silent hall to one of the empty chairs, the pair of them sat down in front of the important looking clerics and surrounded by the stares of the others. Feeling comforted by Salvo in the eerie room she noticed the Father Lorenzo in the centre of the trio at the head of the room as he stood up.
As he started speaking Ana found that trying to concentrate on what he was saying was difficult enough with his use of long words complicated words like her tutors used to use without his soft tones and slow speech. It wasn’t long before she felt like she was going to fall asleep then and there.
Trying her hardest to pay attention to what he was saying she found herself daydreaming and looking at the other clerics at the sides of the room. Boys and girls, young and old, the collection of clerics that had come were of all different kinds of races humans, half elves, elves and dwarves were gathered around the room; all of them with the symbol of Marqué on their chests.
As she started to take in the details of the hammer Salvo had lay down on one side of his chair he stood up and started to address the room. “My brothers and sisters, this girl that you see before you is innocent and no crimes have been committed on her part. Yes others have committed crimes for her, maybe in her name but maybe in someone else’s? A rash decision surely can’t be made? I know that our lives are spend judging others and doing the work of Marqué but at the end of the day we must be just and true to the vows that we made. I have spent the better part of my life taking lives from people who don’t deserve to spread their evil unto others and I know of the satisfaction that I am filled with knowing that people can live better lives because of the work we do and right now I am a continent away from those feelings.”
“And if this child were a middle aged man,” the old cleric interrupted, “would you still feel the same protective instinct that you do right now?”
Taken aback by his question Ana could see the uncertainty in his face.
“Salvo my child, your emotions are getting in the way of your judgment and as a cleric of The Watch you are not fit to do the work of Marqué.”
“No?” Salvo managed to mutter.
“This is not the first time emotions have crept into a clerics heart and nor will it be the last,” Father Lorenzo continued, “but you have served well for many years and you deserve some rest.”
“You can’t–“ Salvo tried to interrupt.
“When you have recovered then we shall she what the future holds for you.”
Looking up at Salvo’s distraught figure, Ana felt a hand on her arm as she was pulled out of the chair by another cleric and lead out of the room. “Salvo!” she found herself crying out as the only friend she had ever made was hidden from view by the large oak doors as they closed behind her.