The church was dark and he felt her take his hand, leading him up the center aisle.
"Uh, Duchess, I can see in here as well as you can."
She turned and her red glowing eyes met his red glowing orbs.
"Oh yeah!" she said happily, "I forgot!"
She didn’t let go of his hand, however and hurried to the front of the church, where a pair of kneeling benches lined the front of the congregational section. She quickly knelt, pulling him down to join her and with yet another sigh he knelt beside her.
"Okay" she said in a soft tone, "You are kneeling in Yesh's church, with the image of Yesh crucified upon the black wood cross of the Necromancers in front of you, complete with the runes of death carved in it in red. I’m sure it's not as impressive as the Icons and images in the Great Church in Aeropolis or the chapels in your Order’s Keeps, but it sure does inspire me to pray when I need it. So here is what I want you to do – I want you to pray to Yesh and ask forgiveness for your sins and especially your doubts of your standing with him. Pray to be shown what is right and while you are at it, pray for Westmark and its people. Meanwhile, I’m going to pray for those things too, especially that Yesh will shake some sense into you and see that you are here by his will in order to help us. Now get to praying!"
Without another word the girl bowed down until her forehead touched the kneeling bench and with her eyes tightly closed, began communing with her God. Eleazar looked up at the carved image of Yesh in his agony on the dreaded cross of bane – the enchanted black cross of torture and death that Soric Potollis had ordered the Necromancer’s Guild of Fedoloth to craft and then enchant to use to put Yesh to death. He had died on that evil black cross with the arcane runes of death glowing red on them, and Soric bragged that he would reanimate Yesh’s corpse after he had watched it decay for a week. For three days the corpse of Yesh had been carted around the city of Fedoloth to mock his claims of divinity until, at dawn of the first day of the fertility festival of Hov-Slollez. The first ray of dawn’s light struck his body like lightning and his corpse suddenly erupted in brilliant white light and with a loud clap of thunder that destroyed the keep of the King and killed the minions of Potollis, but restoring Yesh to life again.
Glancing around the church in the dim evening light, he could see stained glass pictures displaying the various scenes of Yesh’s passion. His story was all about renewal and rebirth. Eleazar wondered if he could be renewed. With a deep breath and a swallow he bowed his head, closed his eyes and began to pray, Duchess Aurei’s warm hand still clasp tightly in his. A comforting warmth began to fill him as he spoke silently to the God he served.
Without a sound he found himself weeping, and he frantically tried to stop, ashamed that the Drow girl would see such a display, but he couldn’t contain the tears. Yet he had nothing to fear, for Aurei kept her eyes tightly shut and was herself deep in prayer, not about to disturb his fellowship with Yesh.
While the two young Elves were praying, on top of the Ducal Keep’s ramparts, a group of guards were squinting in the rapidly dwindling twilight at a distant reddish-orange light that appeared many miles away, only visible due to the darkening of the sky bringing out the faint glow.
"What is it?" Lute the Half-Ogre asked as he hurried over to join them. Pectros had summoned him to the tower to see the display for some reason.
"Lute, I know it’s a long way off, but can you make out anything in the dark – your eyes see better in dark than ours do." Pectros asked, and Lute squinted as he tried to focus on the faint glow.
"It looks like it is above the ground a bit… hovering. A ball… no, more of a ring…I think. I can hardly tell. It’s too far off."
"Is it moving toward us?" asked one of the guards.
"It doesn’t seem to be – if anything, it might be drifting away from us."
Some footsteps behind them made them turn to find Sir Alvis and Sir Aeric also joining them.
Aeric held his hand over his brow and took a long look with his half-Elven eyes.
"It's far off… hard to make out… but it looks like a red ring surrounding something. In the air, I think."
"Airship!" Sir Alvis said to the men standing nearby, "It’s the glow from a fire elemental being used as propulsion. They imprison it in a ring that surrounds the ship."
"Are you sure?" Lute asked the Knight, very alarmed at what he was hearing.
"I’d say that was what it is." Sir Aeric answered for his commander, "I’ve seen several of them and that would make sense to me as well. I’d guess that it’s probably seven miles away from us, maybe more. Hovering over the ground probably about the same height that we are from the ground now."
"What do you think they are doing?" Pectros asked, though he was pretty sure he knew the answer he’d receive.
"I’d guess they were dropping off something or picking something up. They usually don’t use these types of ships for moving large things. Those types are either attack vessels or command craft used by their captains." Sir Alvis squinted as he looked into the distance but he could just barely even see the glow and certainly not well enough to make out anything from it.
"Should we raise an alarm?" Another guard asked both Pectros and Sir Alvis. Alvis shrugged, "I don’t think they’d come straight upon us – they should know of this tower as well as our Order’s new tower, so they would expect we’d have men watching. I’m guessing they want to avoid us, but may be giving us a distant view to make us afraid."
"Let’s not get everyone nervous." Pectros finally said, "We have double guards due to the ghouls that were prowling around outside the wall last night. Tell all the men to keep extremely alert and to immediately report any lights moving toward us as soon as they see them. Let’s not worry Aurei yet, she deserves a rest, we’ll tell her in the morning if there are no further developments. I will let the dwarves at the workshop know so they’ll be ready to assist. I’ll send a couple of men out to the outermost farms and let them know though so they’ll be ready if something does happen."
"I’ll go." Sir Aeric volunteered, "I’ll take a few of my students with me –a good night exercise for them."
"Thank you Sir Aeric.", Pectros said, and then to the others, "Keep alert, I’ll come back and keep watch as soon as I pass word to the dwarves. I fear this may become a nightly occurrence."
"I just hope they haven’t released any more beasts." Lute commented and his fear was shared by all those assembled. A long tense watch would certainly follow.
Eleazar was pleased that Aurei still was praying when he had finished his own prayer so that he had time to regain his composure before she saw him. He knelt there quietly, the twilight now completely gone and leaving only the faintest light from a partial moon to light the sanctuary, but to his Drow eyes it seemed well lit. He glanced around the church, feeling a satisfying sense of peace about him and more-over, no animosity toward the Drow girl kneeling beside him and still clutching his hand. Finally he felt her move and he looked down to see her red eyes looking at him hopefully. He smiled and nodded once, really hoping he wouldn’t have to give an account of his restoration to her. Thankfully she didn’t ask and only squeezed his hand with a smile and then stood up, her knees popping from the extended time spent kneeling. He stood as well and she was looking up at the icon of Yesh on the cross, "Thank you." she said aloud and turned to reverently leave the sanctuary, Eleazar following with equal reverence.