You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: The Scarred Priest  (Read 5920 times)

Audric Lacroix

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The Scarred Priest
« on: February 05, 2017, 08:50:44 AM »


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Audric sat in peaceful silence in his quarters within the Palace of the Grand Master- the primary fortress of the Knights of Rhodes.  A peaceful night was rare, and a warm night was nearly unheard of.  He calmly stoked the fire and leaned back into his elegant chair, pressing a hand to his chin as he surveyed his surroundings.  He did not particularly enjoy the fact that everything surrounding him was so very lavish- it felt wrong.  Why did he relax in luxury and wealth, while so many did not?  Audric tried to rationalize it, attributing to his status as a priest and a fledgling tactician respected by the higher ranking Knights, but it never truly sat well with him. 

    With the fire poker in hand, he gently prodded the fireplace again, smiling wryly as the other elegant chair that had just recently suffered an 'accident-' broken into a few manageable pieces,  burned beautifully and provided a comfortable amount of heat.  He wanted what was necessary- nothing more.  Audric was a Knight, and a Man of God. 

    A soft sigh triggered the faintest brush of his hand against the well-treated scar across his face, drowning in the soothing noise of the crackling flame, and he found himself dreaming once more of last weeks events. 

------------------

"Father Glenn- do you see that- just there? " 
One of the younger Knight Hospitaler spoke, from within the regiment on one of their rare excursions outside the Citadel.  It was more of an explorative venture than a militaristic one, familiarizing the newer Knights with the landscape that surrounded them.  Audric had volunteered to accompany the unit keep the Holy Spirit with them- he was often fond of praying over hidden gems of nature. It earned him the name Glenn. 

This venture was unusual further, for they departed at night. The prevailing and motivating thought behind the decision was that they must be able to navigate the surrounding land in poor weather, or light conditions. 

Encountering a small armed band was definitely not on the agenda, Audric mused to himself. They left in armor, and had brought rudimentary weapons, but he himself was not a primary combatant and nor were the fledgling knights with him.

"I see them, Jacques. Go-  Take Francis and return to the Citadel. Inform the Grand Master, a Barbary sloop has made it through near the Kalithea Bay. " Audric replied, calmly, peering through the visor of his helmet at the small ship that had run aground.  An informative, peaceful venture had taken a turn for the worst.

They could hide, or they could track them.  He chose to take himself and the eight remaining Knights, and keep track of the ten or so men that had departed the grounded vessel. Audric's reigning philosophy was that all evil required to flourish was for the good and just to do nothing, and he refused to tolerate such a notion.

The fledgling Knights of Rhodes moved in a determined manner to follow them for several hours, empowered by Audrics constant reminder of the Lord God and his Son Jesus Christ, and the hope of pending reinforcement from Knights with experience in combat.  Hope was rewarded- as hoofbeats thundered in the distance.  Jacques and Francis had returned on horseback, and had not yet spotted them.  Another of the freshly minted Knights waved his hands and yelled out to them, though his enthusiastic cheer was met with a quick demise.   

An arrow point exploded through the center of his forehead, shot true from a distance not far.  The Ottoman scouts evidently knew well enough that they were being pursued, and decided they could overpower the ill equipped Knights in short order.

---------------------

The clash lasted only minutes, but for each of the young men, those minutes seemed to be an eternity.  The Archer had managed to fell Francis, before he could approach with his steed, and the others clashed in melee combat.   The Knights prevailed, perhaps by sheer luck, but after the Archer had been eliminated by a well aimed shot by Audric, it was truly Jacques who turned the tide of battle with his hand-axe and black mare.

Audric cautiously observed his surroundings, his aura plagued by guilt.  He escorted these young men to their deaths.   Six of the ten he brought out were dead- each of them ejected from the mortal coil long before their time.  They had fought valiantly, though, and had given no quarter. 

So far as he could tell, only one man remained alive from the opposition. A young man, no older than his own knights, quivering in the cold and muck as the other three surviving Hospitalers surrounded him.  They did not understand his speech, nor did he understand theirs, but the intent of the three young Knights was clear. Doom.   

Jacques dismounted his mare and gripped his axe tightly, marching over to the wounded Ottoman, and resolutely raised it over his head. "For my brother, and for my friends. You cr- "  Mid sentence, and mid swing, Audric bellowed loud enough to suprise him.   "No!  That is not who we are!"   Jacques turned in disbeleif, glaring at Audric " You would spare him?  After this- after we bathe in the blood of our brothers? "

"You would kill a man who cannot fight you?  " Audric removed his helmet, to fully convey his disdain with a grimace.

"Yes," Replied Jacques tersely, turning from the Chaplain and raising the axe to terminate his foe once more. 

Audric moved, faster than he ever had before, and the blood stained steel sword was raised above his head as he slid upon his knee's to land himself between Jacques and the terrified Ottoman.  He had been fast enough, and his sword had blocked the haft of the axe, but at great price.  The glistening blade was buried, at an angle, a half inch into his face.   

Blood glistened down the steel, but Audric did not flinch or yell.  He spoke, calm and cool, murmuring only... " That is not who we are. That is not who you are.  Do not forget yourself.  "   ...before he fell to the side, sword, axe, and body clattering noisily into the dirt.

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2017, 08:14:24 PM »
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The crackling of the flames finally released him from his dreaming, in time for him to be roused by a loud knock upon his chamber door.  A drowsy, subdued greeting from Audric,   " Yes?  Please, come in.  "

A small statured figure, clad in the typical red and white of the Knights, emerged from the slowly opening door. It was none other than Jacques, the man who marred him.  Subconsciously Audric raised his hand and brushed at the healing scar across his face, allowing himself his typical kind smile, despite the searing pain.  The poor lad before him looked contrite and remorseful, bowing his head in absolute shame. 

"Father Glenn..  I..  ah..   I am sorry, again.  The Grand Master requests your presence, on the terrace.  He is walking the wall, and wishes.. to hear your report directly.  "

Audric mused, quietly, stoking the broken pieces of the chair in the campfire once more.  Jacques looked on with a quiet bit of surprise, stuttering and letting the words fall haphazardly from his mouth. .  "Is that your other chair?  Wh- why?   " 

A calm, cool response... " Yes, it is.  I did not need three.  I need warmth over pointless luxury.  "   

The other Knight shook his head faintly, and stammered again, pointing to the door.  " .. Grand Master..  uh..   wall, yeah.  Hm.  "   He rubbed his head and headed back out the door.   Audric allowed himself the time to laugh, and gather his helmet, sword and shield. 


-------------

 "Grand Master?"  Audric murmured, as he ascended the final set of stairs to meet with the esteemed man.  The great Knight turned to observe him, as he took his final approach, the pair bowing in unison to one another. 

"Father Lacroix. How good to see you.  .   I wanted to speak with you about the skirmish you engaged in, the prior week.  An incredible feat, a blessing of the Lord, that any of you survived.  "  The grizzled old man ran a hand through his hair, shaking his head.  " It still yet pains me that our brothers did not return, and that you were so greviously wounded. An Ottoman must have gotten very close.   You have a skilled defense if I remember correctly. " The Grand Master eyed him skeptically. . .

. . . And Audric did not budge.  A single nod, " Yes, Grand Master. It was a lucky strike, one that I will not allow to happen again. "   The first, and only lie the Knight ever told.

"He caught you with your helmet off, did he? "

" .. A chance encounter. "  He nods, again.

The old Grand Master knew better and responded with a faint chuckle.  " The Lord willed it to be so, and who are we to question God?  " 

Audric was just about to speak, until he heard something in the far off distance- and he was not the only one.  Many of the Sentries and watchmen glanced out to the water, and one of them bellowed his last breath, a warning cut short.

"CANNON FI-- "   A spray of blood, and rock, was all that remained of the Knight of Rhodes.  Bells rang across the Citadel, and men moved quickly into action.  A sea of red and white responding to the late night attack.   

The Grand Master, perhaps the strongest willed and boldest of them, did not budge.  Cannon balls impacted the walls at a great frequency, as more and more ships emerged from the distance.  The old man dragged out an old spyglass, and peered across the water.   It clattered roughly to the ground, and he raised his sword.  "  RETURN FIRE!  ALL CANNONS, FIVE UP-  " 

A hurried chattering, and the men scrambled- loading the cannons with an urgent efficiency.   The retorts were deafening, sending metal towards their foes.   Many missed, but just as many found their mark with little to no avail.    As they fired, more and more ships emerged, as only a few remained broadside to engage the citadel.   An entire Armada had emerged by then, a hundred ships and a hundred more, in the dead of night, laying siege upon the fabled fortress. 

The chaos was unmeasured, and Audric stood by the Grand Master, paralyzed with fear.   Fog, an unnatural fog, clouded the battlement that obscured their view from the enemy, and seemed to cling to Father Glenn.   It, in turn, provided him magic that was otherwise beyond him.  A swiftly murmured prayer, and the entropic shield enveloped him as he stood between the Grand Master and the cannonball that sought to kill them both.

Metal found its mark true, seemingly hitting Audric directly, but the magic the mist bought combined with the sheer will of the Priest, the cannonball struck what should have been, and veered to the side, off of his shield and into stone far into the distance.

The fog cleared, in that instant, and Audric was gone. . .yet the Grand Master remained.

The Citadel fell, as was predetermined by the insurmountable enemy, and history continued on as usual, just without the young Father Glenn. . . 

The Siege of Rhodes continued on, and Audric was forgotten amongst the whispers of time as the mist left, carrying him in tow. 

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 09:53:29 PM »
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3/14/772
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[This page appears to have been removed.]
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:29:05 PM by Audric Lacroix »

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 01:03:02 PM »
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Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 09:39:36 PM »
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Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 05:48:37 PM »

------
10/12/772
------

I had a theological conversation with the rather passionate Herald of ours, Iridni.  I used to question her stability, seeing her as irrational and unreasonably angry at things we cannot change, but I have noticed that she has changed tremendously.   No doubt the strain of the world can have a significant effect on the spirit- but she seems to have no outward diminishment of her hope or passion. 

The Kinship is blessed to have her. 

She did, however, say one thing that concerned me- something I have brooded over for sometime.  Months now. 


'I like this side of you, Audric.  You should show it more.' 

That would be nice- a place and a position where I could be nothing but genuine and feeling.  That is not what God has provided for me, or the place he has created for me here.  I carry upon my shoulders the weight of not just one world, but two or three.  If I were to be so unfiltered and free, unrestrained- I would be unable to accept the things I can now, to observe things impartially and with-hold action.     I would right every wrong, oppose every injustice, and the fragile peace and order we have obtained would come crashing down.

My hands must remain tied...   

-----
A bible verse is carefully scribed in an elegant cursive
Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
-----


For if the bonds that held fell to the wayside, I would raise this sword, this mighty Durandal and act as Michael- to bring unbridled might and divine fury to exert the wrath of God over those who have sinned.   For now, I wait, and I pray, and opt for peace... 





This does not make me callous, or heartless.  I love each and every one of you.   
-Father Audric Lacroix, Chaplain of the Lord God and the Holy Trinity, Trustee of the Wayfarer Kinship



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A large, cursive style V is written on the bottom page.
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V
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:52:17 PM by Audric Lacroix »

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 07:10:42 PM »
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Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2017, 09:05:41 PM »
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Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 08:34:57 AM »
How things have changed.... I have since been demoted as Trustee,  following my failed gambit to lure and trap the Vicomte de Roquefort.

I was contacted by those known to be my enemy, and agreed to listen in the hopes it would bring about some good.

I was wrong. They mistook diplomacy for weakness, and weakness they found,  only not in I.

Lexington. How quickly and efficiently they broke him,  and in truth,  I pity him. Even as he betrays,  ambushes, and conspires to slay, I yet pity him.  May God have mercy on his soul,  if it is right for him to do so. 

It is because of you,  that I am stronger than I ever knew.  You should have believed in me,  instead of a lying, whimpering dog who was readied for the gallows.

You did this to yourself.



Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 08:17:22 PM »
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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2018, 09:39:25 PM »
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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2018, 08:47:59 PM »


I cannot begin to describe the feelings that consume me, these days. My heart is plagued with frustrations with friends and allies, burdened by the resurgence of enemies thought vanquished, and made a fool of by a cheap sham.  I, briefly, held some modicum of control over this chaotic spiral.  The pieces were mine to move on the lanceboard- and now the board itself has fractured into an infinite smattering of smaller, identical boards. Not enough hands- not enough peices.

There is a reawakening of another feeling I thought was lost to me.  Fear. 

Not fear of my enemies. I will meet each, and every one of them on the field of battle and I will either be victorious- or they will no longer be my problem.

Fear of the future.  Fear of not being in control.  Fear of being alone.

Where are you, Anya?

I must not lose control. 

God help me, if it is right for him to do so.



Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 08:52:46 PM »
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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2018, 02:55:50 PM »
Quote
August 30 733, 1523 AD

Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

The natural progression has begun, now that I have moved the Knight forward on the lance-board. The forces of the wicked have seen and begun to organize their armies, and I can only pray that the shield of the LORD combined with I, his conduit, can survive the assault.  I have many to thank, and much to be thankful for, because my advantage is minimal at best.

There is blood in the water. . . . . . and the sharks are coming.

But in the name of the LORD I shall. . .
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil


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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2018, 08:10:23 PM »

Quote
September 13th, 1523 AD.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour

I can see the pawns moving. The tales spun to me are long and complicated, but as the devil has his army, I have with me the LORD. 

Hail to the King, to the Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, for only the righteous can withstand the coming storm.


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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2018, 12:03:17 AM »
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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2018, 07:21:45 PM »
The Crusader leaned back in the large chair of the Lodge, watching the fireplace roar and flicker with lapping heat and life. A calm, serene smile crept over his face, and he enjoyed a large swig of an exquisite whiskey.  It was reminiscence, or some equivilant, as his surroundings vanished and were replaced by his old room in the Citadel of Rhodes- complete with the Grand Master behind him with his typical ominous expression, flanked by several Knights. 

The whiskey washed down and warmed him with the beautiful dance of fire, and he spoke aloud to no one in particular.

Quote
" And so the trumpets were heard, the beacons were lit, and the soldiers of the Lord All Mighty roared and responded to the call. In a time of impending darkness, the Lord summoned his Archangels, and they feared not conflict. They were born and bred for war, and now is no different.  Michael, with purity of heart and strength of steel raised his blade and the angels flew forth, for while they still drew breath, there would be no eclipse."

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2018, 07:18:07 PM »
Quote
That was probably one of my most terrifying moments in the land here. I could probably have taken him in direct combat, but I came under the premise of peace.  I will have to recompose myself and find my mettle again, after that. 

-A.L

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2018, 08:53:32 PM »

Quote
What is one to do when a monster asks for help? Met in day, without words exchanged, it would have met steel merciless and true. I am, however often the distinction is made in my name, not a Paladin.  I am a Crusader, true, sworn to protect innocent life and protect the weak-  but it was living flesh and blood, and it asked for my aid.  . not for it's sake, and I am sure it sought to utilize me as a weapon against it's foe- but both its demeanor and information were fruitful.  People that would otherwise be in good standing have been exposed as fradulent and a threat greater than the one that approached me had been revealed. 

To perplex me further, I entertained the creature and under the guise of peace I followed.  It cleared it's kind from the path, and left a legitimate void for us to traverse- and when ambushed by, what I can only presume to be one of their leaders, the one who asked me along spoke to my benefit. 

My Code and my Morality are in conflict.  Perhaps I should have driven my sword through it, and carried on smartly, but then I would know a tenth of what I do now- and this larger threat could have emerged to greater loss of life.

I could not, however, act ruthlessly and simply slay a living being asking for my aid, when it presented an issue that would cause legitimate peril if uninvestigated.

Am I a poor Knight, or a poor Crusader? 

I feel this was a path split in two, and a foot was placed on each one.

My decision troubles me- but a good nights rest, some prayer, and I will ride again to engage the Army of the Night.

-Sir Audric Lacroix. 

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2018, 06:48:22 PM »
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« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 02:17:35 PM by Audric Lacroix »

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2018, 07:08:25 PM »
A shame you are an outlander

Does truly a thing matter?  My country, my world of origin- does it define who I am? 

Should it? 

No.

I had the most... enlightening, beautiful conversation with Private Reznik the other day, and I beleive he has begun to understand the struggle of the outlanders- the cultists- those of us that seem to him- and to the natives- to be larger than life.

I command, only with the strength of the Lord God, a supreme martial prowess and neigh legendary marksmanship.  This has not improved my life, nor made things easier- it was only a distinct method of escalation.  The beasts I come across in Old Night, or in the various countries I find myself residing in, that much stronger.  The threat grows with the might of the fighter.

My awful truth was passed down to him-  Yes, to him I may appear to be a God in human flesh, bringing utter devestation to things that would torment he and his-  but I am not left unopposed.

God Bless Thee, Mitrea and Reznik- for though our twisted world spins still and conjures wicked threats of monumental porportions- I still remember the days, vividly, where the first neuri or strigoi I saw left me cowering in the corners of my Inn room shaking like a beaten pup. Where, perhaps, I stand different-   I have not forgotten where I started, nor would I e'er forsake those that may ne'er claw their way upward.

No one was there to protect me, save for the Trinity- but rest assured- I will be there to protect you.


« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 08:34:45 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2018, 09:18:54 PM »

I need you to stop looking, Audric.

Never before have I felt my heart flutter with a distinct mixture of hope, and dread.  I have been brought into the fold by one who represents the most forgotten, the most elusive agents of this great war of light against dark- yet it appears that they themselves, the side I am PLEDGED too, the side I am INDUCTED into, by one of their OWN, knows nothing of me.

They fear me.

Because I know.

Heavenly Father, stand with me. Send your angels, and enshroud me in their wings. Protect me from the coming storm because I no longer believe that I can do so alone.

The closest I have felt to acceptance- to being a child- even among my own faith, has been from a faith not my own. I am devout, I am unwavering in my faith, unwavering in my ethics and I will rise to meet every challenge and every false representative of my faith.

 I admit respect for Loredana. I have watched her grow from shy child, to a presence that commanded secrecy, honesty, loyalty and trust that makes my own influence seem borderline irelevant.

I consider her a guide, and a friend of the utmost.

 I do not beleive this to be blasphemy. Different people, different rules, but I shall not forsake the LORD. .  no matter how I admire her strength-  for it is like women, like the grand Mothers before her, that will guide the Soldiers and the Knights to true salvation.

Stay strong, for we shall ride against Evil, and see it defeated.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 03:29:39 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2018, 11:34:33 AM »


Audric had, after many months of neglect, reclaimed his favorite desk in the lower study of the Kinship Lodge. The absence of Anya had left a significant void, and caused him to ignore the seat that granted him breif repreive and solace. Here now, he found himself anew. Dusted and polished, the simple desk truly was a beautiful process of woodwork and the perfect place to retreat. A tactician could ask for nothing more than ample knowledge, and a suitable place to plan and think. This day, however, was unlike the dull dragging on of prior days. His friends, and his closest allies had each restored slivers and fragments of something to him: Humanity. The autonomous contraption of sword and shield loved, again, to do more than fight.

Quote
'This does not equate to a lack of interest.' Heavens, you've gotten bold Audric, or stupid. Shock and awe, in all things. Direct, decisive, and without regret. All are things I might have said so many months ago, according to Borval. Endearing old bastard. Even still, he might have been right if any of this had been a plan- a ploy- or some romantic scheme. I was not thinking, not of perception nor possible reception. I just...spoke the truth as I saw it, even if it had not quite registered. Part of me pines for Anya yet, but it has, at this moment been years. She went wandering in the mists quite willingly, and I doubt there will be a repeat experience. .She is gone, and I had deemed my heart and attentions very much closed off. Even still, I never considered that I would have been so shocked or  interested before, for a variety of reasons, but something grabbed my attention when I heard that voice over the strings of the guitar, and I haven't been able to think of much else. What have you done now, Father Glenn?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 12:28:45 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2018, 12:00:28 PM »

The crusader returned to the desk the very next day, settling into the comfort of his personal retreat, and adorning the flat surface with a glass of fine Brandy, his trademark pipe, and an old violin case. By the grace of ingenuity, and resourcefulness, his vast arrangement of equipment helped him obtain neigh any goal- and this day his needs extended beyond the edge of Excalibur, the adamantine blade.

Quote
"It is a tragedy, because in many ways, you are a fine man."

The words rung in my ears like a reqiuem. Beautiful music that yet signifies the death of a dream. Forgive me Lord, for my moment of weakness. I am but a prisoner of fate, given a second chance to change the world, by your grace alone.I am what the people need me to be: The torch that will stay lit when they find themselves in their darkest hour. I am the shield that will stand between them and harm- the sword that might buy them the moments they need to reach safety. .but Lord,forgive me, for I am human still.

For the first time in what must be years, I started to dream of home. Did the grace of the Lord- the surge of divinity I felt- protect the Grand Master? Did Rhodes fall? The priests and nuns that raised me from child to Knight- did they return to you, Heavenly Father? Will I return to you?

I seem indominable, I project invincibility so that the others can find bravery within, and learn to conquer fear. . but there is more to my chest than armor. Damn this fragile heart . . .

He drew the old, dusty violin from it's case and set it upon his shoulder, and the silence of the lower half of the Lodge was enveloped in an adequately played, haunting melody.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 12:36:59 PM by Audric Lacroix »

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2018, 12:35:45 PM »
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« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 02:18:39 PM by Audric Lacroix »