Curse the Darkness
After the service was over, Orthael sat next to the swordmaiden on the grass and looked out into an overcast morn. He waited a while in silence, but in the end he broke it with a sigh.
"Varenniel's Candle should be lit, swordmaiden, but it sputtered when I called on the Flame. To light it anew every sunrise is the duty of the Archbishop of Varenne, and the duty of every other servant of the All-Consumer in his absence."
The candles were, in fact, a ceremonial remembrance of a far darker usage. In the last war against the dead, each bannerman had borne a candle blessed that way. They were to hold it proudly as a bearer of the light, to their dying breath. So that the commanders of the battle would know who still lived and who was gone.
"That the Candle is extinguished tells me that no-one is left alive to light it, and your hurt and sorrow tells me that you bore witness to that horror."
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Malika did not bow her head. So far as she was concerned, faith had failed her. Her eyes had been …A Flame Snuffed Out
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