It’s been a while my readers but I have started to work on the novel version of Ignis Fatuus: Somnium. As usual, I would like comments and suggestions.
No resident was allowed outdoors past eventide on Saturn’s day in the sacred city of Corazoras. Within its walls, it was folly to even question the Sanctorum on this tenet. The masses learned not of their religion’s past, not even whom they truly worship. While an oppressed people, it was through the ill-placed faith that their suffering that would lead them to salvation or they would be struck down by the knights within the Order should they defy the Novus Lux, the true might operating behind the Sanctorum. No common man or woman was even allowed to exit the city.
Renier knew the truth. He feared neither the Sanctorum nor the Novus Lux. Instead, he believed that one day he would rise against them through any means necessary. The Novus Lux is mine, he would tell himself every night before his rest. He only knows these truths as he too was once a knight of the Order. It was not by choice that he fought for his enemies in the past but because he was a living weapon-a Magus gifted, or in his words, cursed with the power over fire. Now he was a pariah marked for death by the Order. Because he forfeited his initial training, he only knew to destroy with his powers. Such power would come handy against his foes, but the Flame-bearer had to conceal his magicks if he did not want spotted by the Order. Of course, one had to fight back even without their talents and Renier was a sell-sword that took jobs which the Sanctorum’s knights would not handle. Their neglect of the common people only led to Renier’s repulsion of those whom he thought were supposed to be champions for virtue instead of enforcers of an ill power. The Flame-bearer would have to be mindful of his identity because of his status as a wanted criminal by the Sanctorum. Other times, he would take on a job but get betrayed by his employers. There was no doubt that Renier had to be weary of others as a menace to the Novus Lux and by extension, the entire world.
Nightfall came again and Renier cloaked himself, making sure that his hood did not interfere with his eyesight or could easily get caught in something. The only light was that of the guardsmen’s torches. While they were not true knights of the Order, the city guards were still under the authority of the higher ranks within the Novus Lux and thus they too had to hunt down the Flame-bearer. Renier would have been a higher rank than them had he not turn against the Novus Lux controlled Sanctorum. They’d be serving me against those cur, he thought to himself within the city’s dark alleys. Renier was always in want of the city’s shadows as if he was a common rogue but he believed his intentions were noble unlike a common criminal. He hated the life of a street urchin, but such would be the beginning of his conquest. The Flame-bearer observed the guards, mindful not to alert them and cautious as to not move a muscle. When he saw that his path was clear, Renier ran towards the inn across from him.
He opened the door and saw that it was nearly empty. Not even a wary traveller stopped a drink and the only man within its doors was the innkeeper himself. For such a lax day, Renier was repulsed by the smell more than he would be at any other tavern. Even the inn itself was dimly lit as if one was not supposed to be there but the innkeeper was still someone the Flame-bearer needed to approach with caution. Renier, still wearing his cloak with its hood up, stepped towards the innkeeper who appeared to be counting his coins of Aurum. This large man was a jovial man for his age but he also appeared to be troubled by something judging by the way the Flame-bearer observed him counting the round coins.
Why is this man working on a Saturn-day? Renier had to wonder. He would work on this day just to disobey the Sanctorum’s tenets but he knew that if he asked the man, he would be identified as what he called the Novus Lux’s favourite miscreant.
The innkeeper suddenly spoke up and looked into Renier’s eyes. “Welcome! You ought to remove your cloak ‘least you catch a cold. Shall I prepare you a warm meal to help you warm up?”
“No. I must hurry.” Renier broke his silence. “Please give me directions to Navarre.”
The innkeeper laughed and placed his hand on the Flame-bearer’s shoulder which startled him. “Surely you must be tired by now. I insist that you stay for the night! You know times are rough. Navarre plans to invade our lands. It’s surely a death sentence for us!” He explained. Renier stared the middle-aged man down, baffled by his attitude. He looked behind the desk and saw that in the cupboard, one of the bottles of ale appeared to be arranged in a way as if it was intended to somebody. Since there did not seem to be a guest, the Flame-bearer had a clue as to what it was meant to be.
“I grow weary of your babble. How do I get to Navarre?” Renier said without heeding what was obviously a trap. He could not look at the innkeeper with a straight face as he realised how pathetic the potential attempt on his life was.
”Are you a fool? You should really remove your cloak.”
Renier loosened his hood so that it covered more of his face. “You need not see my face.”
“If you are a sell-sword, you won’t intimidate me! I was once a soldier too!” The innkeeper’s jolly expression became tense and Renier could clearly see that the man was sweating. The Flame-bearer could only sigh as he knew that the innkeeper had ulterior motives. To him, they were very obvious. Renier looked over by the stairs leading to the second floor and saw a familiar sight-a bounty depicting his face albeit drawn crudely. He scratched his chin’s scruff and pulled on the fuzz above his lip since he was well aware that the innkeeper already knew who he was.
He barely resembles me. Do they really think of me as some common thug? The Flame-bearer thought to himself. Setting his eyes upon his would-be assailant, he insulted the innkeeper with a cold smirk on his face. “Bullshit. We do the things nobody else would dare accomplish. Because you have a clue as to who I am, I refuse to serve as a pawn to those in power. Since you refuse to give me advice since you intend to poison me, I’ll have to go. I can handle myself. Next time you want to poison somebody, do a better job at it.” He walked away knowing that another attempt on his life has been averted. He approached the bulletin board and removed his crudely drawn countenance from it. Renier then crumbled it into a small ball as he ascended the stairs and incinerated his bounty with his fire magicks.
“You need to pay for a room!” the innkeeper’s voice cracked from below. Renier looked down at him and shrugged in shame. The Flame-bearer’s victory was short-lived as he heard the familiar footsteps of the Order’s paladins from outside. He hurried and climbed unto the rafters in the hopes that no one would notice him.
The doors opened and the Flame-bearer heard that walk from before. He saw his elder brother’s messy blond hair and militaristic figure clad in the Paladins’ ebon armour enter the inn.
The innkeeper hastily bent his knee for the holy knight who greeted him with one of his twin swords. “Where is the Flame-bearer?” the Paladin demanded. The terrified man’s face reddened in fear and he pointed up the stairs. Renier’s brother looked up and then back into the scared man’s eye before thrusting his sword into his chest. “You let a Magus escape?”
The innkeeper’s voice became raspy as he tried to explain to the ebony knight, “Sir Iairus, he was too fast…”
Iairus stabbed the poor man with his sword used his lightning magicks to electrify the cowardly proprietor. “Take action and not folly in words. Be more zealous in your faith,” he said as he withdrew his sword from the corpse.
Renier overlooked his brother’s act and felt guilty for leading the innkeeper to his death. Fuck you, Iairus. He thought about his brother as he escaped the inn through a window but he could not look back. He had to hurry.