Surly Bonds


This too shall pass.

Orthael came back slowly, as if he had been diving in a lake and sought the surface from deep below, and found himself gripping Judgement in his right hand. This did not surprise him: he had always assumed implicit, even in the warm domestic comfort of his vicarage, that he would die holding a weapon. No, he was surprised to find a pastoral pendant in his left.

It was a simple thing, a neat twist of leather ribbon forming the symbol of the Surled Flame. His old ring was held crosswise below the centre by a cleverly-hidden loop. It was full of elegant beauty and delicate sentiment. A gift from the widow his sergeant had left behind, before she had left them to be with her husband.

It had not the gilt flash and gloried splendour of some, nor the scripture-bound complexity of others, but he had never wanted another. His was the weight of sacrifice and failure, and he breathed in and out now.

"Yes, swordmaiden. We had best let the Flame look at that wound, though."

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