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Official website of Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Carol Hightshoe

Order in Chaos


Brular Eglis sighed as he entered the courtyard of the temple. It had been a long ride from the temple in Irrmar and he only hoped his weariness would not cause him to stumble as he dismounted. Despite the years, over twenty of them, he had spent traveling Shokar as a judge and priest of Hellavar; he still did not take to the saddle very well.

He saw the looks on a few of the faces of the initiates and Kindling who had been assembled to greet him and knew he did not fit the images they had been given of him. His armor was loose after his recent illness and the dust of a long road covered him. Still, he was here at the direction of the Speaker of the Flames and Hellavar to assume leadership of this remote temple. Long had Mount Veri been without a Keeper; but despite that, the Order was strong here as the clerics, monks and paladins, who served here, were faithful to the Order that was Hellavar.

“We honor your arrival, old flame. The initiates, the Kindling of the Summer Flame are preparing for the rites of entrance,” one of the waiting priests said.

Brular nodded to him and the tall woman next to him wearing the robes of the Master of the Flames. She was a few years younger than he, with steel gray eyes and silver-blonde hair. The steel of her eyes was also reflected in the quiet strength of her stance as she stood before him.

The woman bowed her head. “Welcome to Mount Veri Keeper Eglis, I am Rynalia the Mistress of the Flames.” She turned to the three others standing behind her. “The Seniors of the temple,” she said. “Tyleria of the Purifying Flame, Susaval of the Brotherhood and Rogierin of the Priesthood.”

The paladin, monk and cleric each bowed as they were introduced.

Brular returned the bows with a nod. “May the Sacred Flame warm and strengthen you,” he said.

“And you Keeper,” Rogierin said.

Rynalia gestured to the entrance to the temple. “May I escort you to a place where you can rest and refresh yourself before the feast this evening?”

Brular nodded then looked out over those assembled to greet him. Standing in the group of Kindling pledged to the Brotherhood was a tall elven woman with eyes that rivaled the darkest night and hair that was even darker. She returned his gaze and he found himself staring at her.

“An elf who wishes to be a Flame Dancer,” the priest whispered. “Let us hope she can find the order within herself, despite her heritage.”

Brular nodded again as he finally looked away from the elf. “Yes, let us give her hope.”

~ * ~

It had been four years since his arrival at Mount Veri and it had been today that had finally given the Keeper his deepest disappointment. Only a few hours ago, Torliana, a Kindling of the Brotherhood of the Flame had attempted to pass the test that would mark her as a Flame Dancer. Mistress Rynalia had been certain the elf would be one of the youngest to ever succeed in finding the spark of Order that resides in all things, even those that appear as chaotic as dancing flames. For a brief moment, it seemed Torliana had succeeded in her task. She moved as one with the flames. Then, just as quickly, she stumbled and fell into the fires.

Brular extinguished the dancing flames with a wave of his hand before turning and leaving the testing chamber. Torliana had found him later as he was bidding goodnight to the setting sun. She came seeking wisdom from him, but had become angry and defensive as they spoke.

“Perhaps you didn’t notice, but I did manage to control the flames for a moment,” she said.

Brular turned to look at her. “And that is my point. You sought to impose your own control; your own idea of order on the Sacred Flame instead of finding and following the pattern that was already there. We do not establish the pattern; we only accept and let it control us. Some call it the rule of law. You must walk that path if you wish to remain here, Torliana. I do not see you progressing any further along this path, but you are still a Child of the Flame and will always remain so. Good night to you. May the Sacred Flame warm and strengthen you.” He turned and walked back into the temple.

“And you,” he heard her say behind him.

There was something else troubling this particular Kindling; however, it was obviously something she was unwilling to speak of and he did not feel it appropriate to push at this time. Perhaps he should call her aside in the morning and see if she was willing to discuss what had happened and whatever else was bothering her at that time.

The sun vanished from the sky, leaving only the last rays of twilight to still challenge the night. Brular bowed his head once again to the horizon then returned to his offices. He had another duty to see to this evening before he could seek his rest.

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