Autumn's Homecoming - Prt 03

In truth, I have never really been able to grasp how the High Church of Sarnia came into its power nor how Ultimately it was able to hold on to it for so long. What I do understand however is that corruption exists within the church at every level. From the lowly alter boy to the High Priest of the temple all crave power and all seek influence over others through whatever means are available to them.

Ursa Blacksong - 24nd of Winter YSTR 107

The priest of the temple had chosen to make his appearance at the household in the early part of the afternoon the next day arriving in the company of two armed men-at-arms that Sarah identified oof hand as members of the town watch.

A pair of Ill humored men who were no doubt in the employment of the priest to act as protection against more earthly threats it seemed given that the High Church of Sarnia was not all that popular in the Lands of Taras.

If she had needed to describe the man with a single word it would have been ‘unremarkable’ not a skinny ill-fed thing nor grossly overweight but still there was something about the look of the man.Still, he was younger than one would expect for a man holding the office of High Priest of the temple and yet there was an underhanded cunning to the man.

The priest had arrived in time to join them for the afternoon meal and having taken a seat at the table had spent a majority of the meal talking with the Widow Sarah at length about one subject of gossip or another. Sarah for her part seemed to enjoy the exchange thus Ursa elected to hold her tongue and acted the part of your innocent and unassuming maiden smiling politely and nodding her head when an item of conversation called for her to do so. Still, the meal provided her time enough to assess the Priest and gauge the threat he posed.

It was clear to her at once that this priest was not a member of the White Order or at least had not been originally. His appearance was ill-kept at best with traces of dust here and there and faded ink stains on his hands that were common enough amongst the bookish members of that former order.

Her attention next turned to the silver holy symbol worn around his neck. An official symbol of the High Church is often provided to the head priests of a given temple. These are often enough are blessed with powerful protection magics.

The priest was also a trio of rings two of these worn on his left hand and the other on his right. These were known to her as well the first being the official signet ring of the church used for official correspondence often enough blessed with the ability to detect when someone was lying.
The plain silver band beside it was a common ring of protection that while powerful was not a threat to her. The gold band on the opposing hand however was unknown to her though clearly magical in nature leaving Ursa to wonder at its purpose.

The meal having concluded the priest turned his attentions to Ursa asking an odd assortment of questions as he examined her hands. “ Do you remember how you came to be at the gates of this Township girl?”

Ursa simply shook her head. “ I know not how my Lord, I know only that I was in another place and then I was here.”

The priest nodded his understanding. “ And what can you remember about this other place?”

“It was a horrid place, My Lord.” Ursa described with no need to exaggerate.” Alike to some nightmare with seemingly endless corridors and passages where it was always cold and dark where voices whispered such things as to drive one to madness.”

The Priest frowned his annoyance no doubt thinking her quite mad given the description she gave. Turning is attention to Sarah as he spoke.“I was told by several witnesses that there were strange markings on her hands.” He commented as he took Ursa’s hands in his own to examine them closely.

Sarah nodded. “They were a sight, my Lord, the poor child's hands were nearly black bitten by the frost and there was no small number of cuts and scratches besides but those were tended and have healed.”

Ursa for her part couldn’t help but offer a smirk having suspected that such questions would be asked and having cast a subtle glamour on her hands just before the Priest had arrived to hide the arcane text and symbols that covered a fair portion of her body. Not a powerful spell by any stretch but strong enough to allow those markings to fade and go undetected for an hour or two.

The Priest's expression suggested disappointment as he released his hold on her hands.” And among her belongings, was there nothing that seemed odd or perhaps out of place?“

Sarah frowned. “ Well odd enough perhaps, the clothes she had on were in the worst condition and not anything I would have approved for a young lady to wear but that said there was nothing that was any more suspicious than anything else I would say, my lord.”

The Priest offered a passing glance. “Show me.”

Sarah motioned to the hope chest at the foot of the bed. “ I placed those things worth keeping in there my lord and burned the rest I'm afraid. No good would come from keeping them.”

The priest nodded as his attentions turned at once to the large chest that sat at the end of the bed. The man opened the large chest and sorted through the items that were held within but after several moments of searching the look of disappointment returned.

“ Are you sure this is everything Widow Owens? “ He asked as he set aside her lute and her worn pack and turned his gaze to examine Ursa's copy of the Book of Psalms briefly.

Sarah nodded for her part. “ The cloths on her back and the a change or two in the pack as well as a worn bug-infested bedroll and blanket. All burned I'm afraid. Were you hoping to find something, my lord?”


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