A Story By Octavia

(I wanted to try a different writing style for fun)

I watched the countryside moving by, fixated on the beauty of it, my breath fogging the glass slightly until I heard Caspain clear his throat. I returned to staring at the book, squinting slightly at the page. Feeling my eyebrows furrow as I tried to focus. The text rocked on the paged like a pendulum, dancing little circles on the page, breaking into a faint double vision as it swam more and more, coming to triple vision then quadruple vision, and on and on until it was nothing but a swaying black and grey smudge, roiling like storm clouds on the page. I felt the nails of my left hand slowly touch my temple as the cold fingertips touched the skin under my hair. My lips twisting and working. I wanted to speak, but even the act of moving my lips in frustration was enough to lance pain behind my eyes. The focus against the pain was broken when I heard a sound break the silence of the carriage's interior. A small squeaky sound sort of like a rat, or maybe a rabbit. I hadn’t realised it was me until Caspian spoke.

His cold voice came with an edge of concern but only he knew how genuine it was, I could never tell, it always felt more like I am a tool and he only cared it I was a pristine functional tool, broken tool that could be fixed, or something to be replaced.

“Sister Octavia, you do not look well.” Caspain said.

“I will be alright.” I responded.

Without missing a beat and zero hesitation he asked another question. “Then have you found anything we can use to prevent action should we remove the knight from play?”

“No Brother Caspian.” I responded, and he only grunted in response.

“Well get to it.” he said coldly.

“Yes Brother Caspian.” Was all I could reply, before pretending to read again. It was futile to actually try, the book, my hands and the world around me was a series of abstracted blobs of muted colour.

Perhaps Brother Caspian had it correct, this land was evil. In the time I’ve been here I have been getting progressively worse headaches.

“Please stop the carriage.” I pleaded, the moment it came to a stop I nearly hurt myself trying to get through the door. I ran to the edge of the road about to double over, when I felt my hair pulled back and away as I bent over. It was always so creepy the way Brother Caspian seemed to float, and move with the speed which it did. It was not superhuman or magical; he just seemed to glide with speed and grace. I felt what little I had eaten today evacuated my body as the world rocked around me, the solid ground felt like trying to stand up on a rowboat. Once I had finished, I barely had my head back up before hearing the squeak of Caspian climbing back into the carriage. “Come now.” he said, “We have a schedule to keep.

I wiped the tears from my eyes, then my mouth before walking back to the cart. “Rinse your mouth," Caspian instructed, handing me the water bottle before allowing me back in the carriage. Once I was back in the cart, I went back to work researching when he closed the book. “We do not have time to stop again. Finish the work later.”
The time passed and it was dark by the time we arrived at the inn. Brother Caspian was out of the carriage almost before it had stopped and was receiving a key before I was through the door. “Be here two hours after sunrise.” Caspian said, ascending the stairs and retiring to a room at the end of the hall. I was given a key when I approached the barman, my room was nearly as far from him as I could be given.

The room was small, and warm but had a lingering smell of a prior dampness to the wood. A far cry from the stone walls of the church. Away from the moment of the carriage my headache had already begun to subside but airing on the side of caution I removed my medication from my bag, taking the small round ball on the fingertips of my thumb and pointer finger. I swallowed the pill then proceeded to set out my things for prayer and my nightclothes.

I knew I shouldn’t, and I couldn’t even allow a single thought of it to slip from my lips or too prominently across my mind when near Brother Caspian, but I had begun to wonder…are we truely correct, was this man they called ‘Sunder’ really a threat? Did he need to die? What about ‘The Mother’ was she actually evil? I hadn’t sensed any evil from her when we had met prior to the summit, and it was very hard to hide it. If anything I only felt her goodness.

I tried to shake the heretical thoughts away. No good would come of questioning the High Church, especially in matters of other gods and goddesses. I knew very little about The Fair Lady. Few outside their church did, and fewer still were allowed to study it in The High Church. And that man, ‘Sunder’ didn’t he lay down his life to protect those who couldn’t fight for themselves. Even behind the church’s walls I’d heard stories of the man who could not be broken. Unlike the knights of the High Church he wasn’t chosen by the god of his faith he made the god choose him, or so they say. I couldn’t imagine someone evil risking life and limb for people he didn’t even know against such odds. Things were starting to make less and less sense.

Again I tried in a desperate attempt to shake off the questions against my own teachings. I would have to come up with something to tell Brother Caspian in the morning and I couldn’t lie. If he thought I was even remotely incorrect he’d send word to the church archivist and have them find the answer. This was without a doubt a test of my conviction and belief in our purpose. But did I even want to pass? “Yes…” I replied, startled by my own voice. I had to find the answer, and leave those thoughts in this room when I left in the morning.

I awoke several times during the night from fitful dreams of questions I could never speak aloud. “Could The High Church be wrong?” “If I ran from here or asked the man Sunder for help would The Church of the Fair Lady welcome me or would they think I was a spy?” “If I left the church would I lose my gift?” “Was it really a gift at all?” It was all things I had to put out of my mind, if Caspian even had an inclination that I was having doubts what would he do? The High Church didn’t take kindly to heretics.

I awoke to Caspian loudly knocking on my door, “We only have so much sunlight and with you getting sick even less so. We need to get on the road.” he said coldly.

I quickly dressed and brushed my hair the best I could in a rush. Grabbing my things I met Caspian at the carriage. “You look a mess. Get in before someone sees you.”

I felt his words like a cold knife, it was his fault I wasn’t ready. He forced me to gather my things without forewarning, he’d not even let me get breakfast and he had eaten. Was he testing me, could he sense my doubt. No that’s not possible, I was just overthinking it.

It’d probably be too much to ask for a sign. But I think that would be too much to ask. But it was worth a try, I closed my eyes and whispered a small prayer. And when I opened my eyes I could swear I saw a knight just as the carriage pulled out of view of the town.

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