February 1st - Prison in Oritolon
A third night lay upon the baleful pit of Oritolon, and the prisoners stirred uneasily in their sleep. Many had heard strange rumours of a holy man, a paladin of the true faith, who gave alms to those who would oppress him, and spoke words of peace and love to that bloody-handed monarch who toyed with the sad remnants of their liberty. They dreamed strange dreams and where despair had ruled that pitiful place, hope once more grew anew.
And in his cell Cathal lay in a deep slumber. He was becalmed in nothingness: neither darkness nor light; neither life nor unlife. He stood in the void and in all directions there was nothing. His mind raced to find a point of reference.
"Cathal," a voice called to him, deep as the deepest oceans yet light as the cool night sky. He looked about him for some trace of the speaker, but there was none. The void continued undiminished for all eternity.
"Who are you? Where am I?" his mind raced, trying to make sense of the emptiness.
"Cathal Dubhaine. AWAKE!" he was flying across the vast expanse of ocean and before him the rim of the world burned bright with the approaching dawn. Above the stars followed their appointed courses, each in harmony with her fellows. All save for the moon's bright disc which wandered erratically, a light in the receding darkness.
"This is the world I have given all mankind, that they might live in the glory of my creation and give freely one unto the other the blessings of peace and love and prosperity," the air seemed to quiver with joy. "But mankind has turned from My wisdom and cast darkness and sorrow across her gentle face."
Cathal was now sweeping lower, down across the Colonies, rushing from the north towards long-enslaved Perdan and the gates of Lukon. A blackness clung to the hills and valleys, it's dark tendrils holding the righteous in torment, and the smoke from its armouries polluted the night.
"Even amongst equals there must always be those who seek to burn the brightest, just as the moon vainly outshines her sisters. But night must always give way to day, for thus have I appointed it," and the false dawn erupted in the splendour of the rising sun, laying bare the pits and stratagems of The Enemy, the whole pride enslaving all who stood before it.
"You are the light that must burn eternal else all shall know the torment of undeath never-ending. The Lie of Lukon shall be no more."
"But I am but one man. What can I do?"
"Use this gift wisely."
And when Cathal awoke he was once more in his cell, his gaoler kneeling by his side, "I heard you calling out in your sleep My Lord and came immediately."
"Be at peace Galro, for the time has almost come for my release. The blessings of The Trinity be upon you," and as the young noble uttered these words the man's lesions and corruption were cured.
"My Lord! What is this miracle?"
"You are a sign to your people Galro, now spread the news to all who will listen that He who created all has not forsaken His dominion. The lies of the King and his masters in Lukon are as nothing against the will of the Almighty for the time approaches when His justice shall set all to rights."
And the gaoler fled that place, abandoning his life of sin.
February 2nd - Prison in Oritolon
The night brings many fleeting dreams, and each one speaks with wisdom unknown. Most such dreams are swiftly forgotten, the fancies of the surface mind, but sometimes a dream will burn with such clarity that even in the full wakefulness of day it is clear as events unfolding before the senses. What then of the dreams which steal upon you in the waking light, so vivid that all else is lost in their intensity? For such is the vision which comes upon you unbidden...
A shining figure stood on the parapet of Oritolon's highest tower, dressed in a yellow gown streaked with tears of blooded, her arms outstretched in friendship, her voice alive with hope and courage, and none who saw her knew how she came to that high place. A crowd gathering in the streets below squinted to make out her face, shifting strangely against the noonday sun, but their eyes betrayed them.
"People of Oritolon. Forsake your wicked ways and embrace your brethren. Your hearts have been filled with bitterness by one who loves you not, and he would cast you into the eternal damnation of the grave that his power be unquenched."
"Thrice now have I sent my messenger before the apostate who styles himself Sir Spearhead Reapers, and thrice have I offered him the love and protection of His Creator. Each time he has sat in stony silence, his eyes clouded with the darkness that rots his wicked heart, nursing the hate which fills his vile belly."
"Who is this mote of dust that he dares raise arms against all creation? That he dares drive women and children from their homes? That he despoils the bounty which Khagistar in his infinite mercy has showered upon both righteous and sinner without let or reserve?"
"Thrice has he spurned the call, and thrice shall he be spurned ere his stinking corruption be laid in eternal torment. The choicest morsel shall become ash at his touch; the sweetest wine become vitriol; the freshest breeze will burn with brimstone. He shall be named Reapers the Thrice Cursed, Reapers of the Hollow Heart, Reapers the Unhallowed and all who follow him shall be as nothing before the judgement of Alluran."
"All men shall turn their face at his passing and the gallows tree shall deny him passage, for he shall be accounted amongst the unliving and all which comes from Khagistar shall yet be denied him!"
"Thus is the judgement of Alluran and the writ of his ban shall be eternal!"
The figure made as if to step from the tower, and each below expected that she should fall to her death, yet where but moments before had stood a woman now there swung a scale of spectral aspect and in the balance the arms of Oritolon lay heavy on the boom.
"REPENT!" boomed a voice from on high, and the towers of the city shuddered, her courtyards groaned, her massive harbour foamed and all who heard that voice quaked in fear.
And by some trick of perspective the throne of Oritolon was bared to you, and upon it sat a stinking corpse, corrupt and bloated in his vanity, bedecked as an Emperor in murine rags and grinning at his blasphemy. Too far lost in dreams of power to hear the doom pronounced upon him.
With a start you come to your senses, and the day is bright as it has never been before. What strange madness was this?
February 29th - Alowca
Cathal stood on the steps of the Temple, his clothes still ragged and bloody from the fields of Iglavik, but despite his youth and his ragged appearance the people of the city stood rapt as he addressed them for the light of the Trinity burned in his eyes and the doom foretold in his dreams echoed in his voice.
"Oh sweet Brothers and Sisters! My Companions in the faith!! Had you seen the corpse-fields of Abaka, women and children crushed under the iron-shod hoof of He that lives in infamy, oh how you would have shed your precious tears. Reapers the thrice accursed he has been named for War and Pestilence and Famine are the barbs of his triple-forked tongue. Reapers the unliving, for his heart is made of stone. The Spearhead, for his aim is deadly and he slakes his thirst with blood!"
"Oh Blessed Ones! The time to sit at peace in our homesteads has passed! We must gather arms and march forth in faith, that evil not consume this entire land, belching forth its corruption where today there is virtue. Ours must be the true crusade, that of selfless righteousness, and we must sacrifice all that future generations may yet live in the freedom of truth!"
"Twice now have I lain in the pits of Oritolon, imprisoned alongside the saints of the faith. It was there that The Trinity called me to their service, and I was born anew. For where Denariel treads there can be no fear; where Alluran judges there can be no injustice; where Khagistar rules there can be only love."
"And I have seen the doom lain upon Oritolon and her master Lukon. They shall be utterly consumed by a maelstrom of their own creation and all the free peoples will rise up against them. Khagistar the Mighty, ruler of all things has willed it so. Alluran the Fair has set the ban. Denariel the fearless will lead The Way."
"Come, join with me and raise arms together that we might bring light to the darkness and free our brothers and sisters in the west from the lies which damn their to eternal undeath! March with me in faith!"
And many that day were called to the service of The Trinity.