Chapter 2

Chapter 2


Fort Masina, 5th of Barra


“They are speaking some strange tongue, Intercessor, and talking about some weird plane where magic didn’t work, but they do magic anyway. And I have to know if they are possessed of demons.”

Roberto wasn’t in a very good mood. He was quite busy ministering to a well-muscled orc girl and Tomas’ pounding on his door was very much coitus interruptus.

Still, an intercessor of Noron had duties and spotting things like possessions were definitely among them. So he let himself be dragged along by this heathen islander before he was able to properly adjust his chainmail cassock.

They reached the part of the compound where the two knights had their hut, and when they went in, found Don Francisco and the half-orc Vectoria chatting away. Their chat was in a tongue that Roberto had never heard, but it had a cadence and a style a little like that of the Kingdom Isles’ tongue.

“Is that some weird dialect of your language, Don Tomas?” Roberto asked.

Don Tomas stopped and listened. “No, it’s nonsense syllables as far as I can tell.”

“It’s English,” said Francisco, and neither Intercessor Roberto nor Tomas recognised the name of the strange tongue.

“What’s English?” Intercessor Roberto asked.

“It’s a language spoken in the world where Vicky Hill and Frank Johnson lived,” Vectoria said. “And I guess still live, if they are real and not some spell cast upon us.”

Intercessor Roberto decided there was no reason to wait. He cast see faith and something strange happened. Normally when see faith was cast, the caster would see colored symbols above the head or in front of the person he looked at. The largest for the god that the person was most dedicated to, and others for the pantheon of gods respected by that person. For instance, Noron’s symbol was two crossed swords in red. And, having cast it on both Vectoria and Sir Eduardo Cardona, her mentor in the faith and previous owner, he knew that Twir’s symbol was a green quill and scroll. So he would expect to see the symbols for Twir, Noron, Cashi, Prima, Barra and some others appearing around Vectoria with Twir’s symbol most prominent and Noron next. Francisco normally showed Noron as the most prominent by far, and Twir just smaller and dimmer than the major gods of the human pantheon.

Now the spell was showing him that, but it was showing him more. Along with the crossed swords, Francisco had another symbol almost as large, one that Roberto had never seen. It was a wooden cross, longer in length than width. He didn’t know what it meant, but the presence of the crossed swords in company with it meant it was at least acceptable to Noron. Also, around both Francisco and Vectoria, a golden nimbus showed. There was another spell that Intercessor Roberto knew of, though it was one he had never received. It was to designate a chosen of the gods. When it was cast, the chosen was bathed in a golden glow.

Roberto drank too much and had a real liking for girls. He was here in this place because his ministrations to young women of good family back in Nasine was not appreciated by their families. But he believed in honor and courage. He loved Noron and respected the good gods, even minor deities like Twir. And as he saw that golden nimbus, he knew that something special was happening. That these two were chosen of their gods. In Vectoria’s case, he could see Twir’s point. She had the makings of a great fighter and a major intercessor in combination. Roberto half expected her to end up a Champion of Twir at some point.

But Francisco? Until now, Francisco was the next best thing to a wastrel. A useless fop, in love with his ancestry and convinced that the drop or two of royal blood within his veins meant that he should be placed at the head table as a matter of course. He was sent out here by his family to keep him from insulting more powerful families with less lineage.

Roberto found himself smiling. “Why do you think that your gods have singled you out, my friends?”

“Singled them out?” Tomas asked.

“Yes,” Roberto told him. “They are still of the same faiths, though I will want to speak to Francisco about the wooden cross I saw sometime soon. But they are also chosen of their gods, for some purpose not yet revealed.”

“So they aren’t possessed?”

“No. Or if they are, it’s a possession that the gods approve.”

For the next few hours, Roberto, Tomas, Francisco and Vectoria talked about what happened.


InterludeCelestial Plane


“I have no good link into the new world,” Noron complained.

“Well, I can’t tap Frank Johnson on the shoulder and have him pray to you,” Twir said. “Even if I could, that would be far above the favor I agreed to.”

“Nor does Frank have the mental toughness to withstand contact with a god,” Noron agreed. “But I wish for a solid contact in the world of Frank and Vicky.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“When Vicky Hill next prays, have her set about finding a cleric for me.”

“But there are many aspects of Noron on Vicky Hill’s world.”

“And I am not one of them,” Noron pointed out.

The gods of the many worlds are not exactly individuals. They maintain characteristics of individuality, and at the same time characteristics of a group mind. If Noron were to have a link into the merged world, he would, to some degree, be one with all the other versions of Noron that are prayed to by all the other merged characters on the Merge world. But to have that union, he needed to have a link into that world, an intercessor who worshiped him as the Noron from Francisco’s world.

“I can do that, I guess, but I will want help with Vectoria. I’m not entirely sure what I will want to do with her, but I don’t want her a slave. Vicky wouldn’t do well as a slave. And from her memories, I don’t think Frank Johnson would do well as a slave owner.”

Noron looked over Frank Johnson’s memories again. “They have a very different culture,” he told Twir, not altogether pleased with what he saw.

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