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By Marlene Simonette
(Based on the song “Truth Unravels” by Two Steps From Hell)
He wasn’t a god.
It pained him to realize it. He had ruled the world with his balance and crown, and ruled it well. At least, so he had thought.
It wasn’t until his Lord and Master arrived that he realized the truth. But, he had always been a stubborn one. So he denied his infidelity.
His denial—which had turned into a battle—cost him his office, its Tokens, and nearly his life. He was beaten, broken to the point of no return. Yet he returned. Breath surged into him.
His chest burned, his head felt as if it had been pounded with a mountain.
“Who are you? Why do you trespass?”
He lifted his head. Before him stood a man.
They’d always seemed so feeble and weak, when he’d thought he was a god. Now, lying on his back—naked, he realized—with a club held above his head, they seemed strong.
The man’s bearded face hardened in a scowl. “Who are you, drunkard? This temple is not for your sort.”
“Who am I?” He wondered that himself. His previous name had held meaning. A meaning he didn’t want to be associated with. At length, he said, “Peregrine.” It came out slurred; his mouth was dry, and his mouth didn’t seem to work correctly.
“On your feet.” The man prodded with his spear.
Peregrine stood, slowly so he didn’t accidentally fall into the spear point. Though he had long had a body, it hadn’t been as uncooperative as the one he had now. The legs quavered, the arms hung limp, and the neck didn’t know that it was supposed to be a firm perch for his head.
He made it only a few feet before he crumpled to the ground. Unable to do anything else, he stared at the man. Peregrine wondered if it was possible for him to die.
The man cocked his head, as if hearing something. He sighed, and slid his club into a strap at his side. “I suppose I could show mercy. You aren’t the first man to fall prey to an orgy.”
Peregrine grimaced. If the man was inclined to mercy on a false belief, so be it. It would spare him more pain.
“You will sup at my table,” the man continued. “Perhaps you will repent, and aid me in my struggles.”
Nothing further was said. The man hefted him up, supporting one side.
Peregrine concentrated on the effort of walking without crushing the man. His own bulk was larger than he had first supposed. He was five heads taller than the man.
They moved through several rooms. All cold, stone, and dark. Peregrine saw alcoves and vague shadows that he took to be idols. People were fond of making images of most anything and worshiping them.
“Just a little further,” the man gasped. A door swung open.
Peregrine managed to lift his head. The new room was small and lit only by two torches. A pallet rested in one corner, a chest in the other. The man deposited Peregrine on the pallet and moved to the chest.
After being dressed in a thick robe akin to the one the man wore, Peregrine managed to ask, “Who are you?”
“Only after I haul you across the temple do you sober?” The man chuckled. “You are like my sons. And I am Alastar.”
Peregrine blinked. For the first time, he knew tiredness. His thoughts ran apart. He ran with them, thinking neither one thing or another.
“I shall see you when you wake, wanderer.”
Copyright 2016 by Marlene Simonette