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June 2nd, 2013 (05:35 AM).
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Joseph "Honest" Sherman - Palaven
Throughout their journey, Honest found himself mostly ignored by the mercenaries he was accompanying. He found this quite welcome; he was used to being met with avoidance and distrust. The apathy he sensed from most of the others was more than he usually hoped for when finding himself a part of a larger team. Truthfully, he had also taken to avoiding contact with the dwarf wherever possible, still finding himself discomfited in the presence of the other newcomer.
The whole trip was uneventful, although he'd greeted the prospect of travelling by ship like an old friend. Nobody who'd been in the army for any length of time could hope to avoid sea voyages--or, not where he came from (wherever that may have been). Sometimes he would feel himself slowly being driven to insanity due to the fact that he had no tasks to do while on the vessel. (Uselessness was intolerable.) Most of the time, he found himself perfectly satisfied to be sitting alone and staring at a wall for hours on end. (He had always been well trai-- ...behaved. Well behaved.) By the time they had alighted from the ship and were ushered straight into a waiting carriage, Honest was unequivocally sick of all the confinement.
Or, he thought he might be. Should be? He wasn't sure, but there was some kind of irritable undercurrent running through his skin, although that was probably his imagination as well. He dismissed this train of thought easily. It wasn't of all that much concern to him either way.
The windows of the carriage were covered, which was quite disappointing. He'd heard stories of Palaven from his mother since he was a child--about their sparkling city and their spiritual devotion, surrounded by black corruption. It was a shame he couldn't see it for himself. He would have loved to describe the land to her when he arrived home. Alas, all he could do now was wait.
When he was finally able to step down from the carriage and take in the wondrous sight of the city, Honest's jaw dropped. This was so far removed from his life as a fisherman's son that he found himself floundering a little in his own inadequacy. Everything in sight was so bright and clean and overwhelmingly majestic. He was so starstruck that he didn't notice the way the local citizens were eyeing them as though they were rabid dogs. (Much.)
One of the guards gestured for them to follow him. “Welcome to the City of God. Follow our path, infidels, as we tread the path of the One. Refrain from conversation with those in the path of the One, if you will. They are not used to seeing infidels among the streets of God.”
Honest's brow furrowed in confusion. What were infidels? He had never heard of the term before, although he understood that it was a word that referred to their group. Perhaps it was what they called mercenaries here in Palaven? One thing was for sure, though. The stories certainly had not exaggerated the piousness of the people of Palaven. Far from relaxing, however, Honest began to feel wary. His grip on his glaive tightened almost imperceptibly when a man appeared to summon the courage to approach the group and greet them politely.
The man spoke with a smile. "I am interested, sir, as we all are, what you are doing with these infidels. Are you perhaps proceeding to make an example of their sacrilegious ways and burning them at the stake?"
Honest blinked, wondering whether his mind was playing tricks on him. That probably wasn't the case, though, considering he couldn't even fathom what the word sacri-what-was-it even meant. Unfortunately, this meant that apparently they were in a place where it wasn't inconceivable that they would be burned at the stake. (Burning flesh; he didn't understand how anyone could even stand the
"Nay, citizen. These infidels are to be brought before his Holiness himself. The Voice has use for them."
Honest did not feel any less wary, even after hearing the joyous news that they weren't to be executed for whatever reason. Not when they were now only alive as far as their apparent usefulness extended (and wasn't that a familiar situation). He slipped into his smile nevertheless, making sure he looked quite agreeable to whatever would happen next.
After all, he had never seen so many soldiers in one city. It was probably a bad idea for them to antagonise them in any way.
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