Coming to terms
Half an hour passed and they saw nothing more of the two knights, for they had taken their conversation out of the keep. Finally, Aurei headed back over to the Muddy Boot to make preparations for the dinner crowd, leaving orders that she could be found over there if the two wished to see her. Krys accompanied her and both women visited the bathhouse to freshen up before going to work in the Inn.
Aurei’s throat stayed sore even after Sir Alvis’ healing and she could not stop thinking about the fury in Sir Eleazar’s red eyes as he choked her. His eyes so closely resembled her own. Midway through the dinner rush, Sir Alvis, accompanied by two other knights -one a handsome half-elf— came up to her. None of the three were smiling.
"Duchess Bugley," Sir Alvis bowed respectfully, "I’m afraid we were unable to convince Sir Eleazar to put away his hatred and listen to reason. He stubbornly refused to submit to humility, but we were able to get him to agree to take a week’s time to reflect on his actions and if at the end of that time he does not agree to our discipline, then he will be tried before our order and will most likely lose his status as a Paladin."
"And he will probably blame me for it." Aurei sighed, "Can I speak to him; maybe work out our differences?"
"I’m not sure that would be a good idea as his rage is still hot."
"Maybe I can cool it off. Where is he?"
"Outside by the hitching post. But I don’t think he’ll listen."
"I want to at least say I tried." With a swallow of her sore throat she arose and boldly marched out front.
He seemed to be expecting her, for he leaned against the post, arms folded across his chest, staring without emotion at her approach.
"Duchess." he acknowledged her approach flatly.
"Sir Eleazar, I am told that the Underdark is full of evil."
"Indeed. Evil, however, lurks everywhere."
"And takes surprising forms. Until recently, evil seemed to have forgotten about the Duchy of Westmark. But apparently the Necromancer’s Guild decided to remedy that. That is why we asked for help from the Blood Knights… to fight this budding evil."
Eleazar sighed, "Duchess, I know why the Order wishes to have a presence here. I realize that your duchy is in peril and I do not deny your sincerity of concern. My problem lies with YOU."
"But why? Surely you have heard about me by now? I was not born in the Underdark, I was raised by the Bugleys."
"Who you are, I do not doubt, Duchess Bugley. It is obvious to those who have lived in the Hell of the underworld that you are not of that realm. It is not your character that affects me, it is your form."
"How can that be my fault?"
"It is not your fault, Duchess, you have not wronged me, and my actions from earlier today were wrong. But I have very strong feelings of rage when I see you; for looking at you, I see the forms of those that tortured and slowly killed my mother while I was forced to watch. I am sorry for my assault on you, but it seems that I have no control over the wrath I have not completely dealt with. I cannot commit to a charge of the Order that I hold in greatest respect if I am tempted to lash out every time I see the ruler of the Duchy. Put quite frankly, Duchess Bugley, I fear that you will not be safe if I remain here. I have to find Yesh’s healing for this terrible darkness that threatens to consume me."
"I appreciate your honesty, Sir Eleazar. But how will your Order respond to your decision?"
"It is neither yours nor their concern, I have to find wholeness and only then can I atone for my sin."
"Well, you must do what you must, but I want you to know that I forgive you. I cannot imagine what you are going through or what you have left behind, but I have experienced some trouble form time to time due to my race, so I believe in finding inner peace and peace with Yesh. I will tell you this before I leave you to your penance – having spoken to you, I feel that you are no danger to me and please know that you will be welcome here if you choose to return. May Yesh guide your heart."
Eleazar nodded and Aurei gave him a gentle smile then turned and walked back into the Inn.