Happy Saturday and welcome to the Dog’s serialization of his novel Dark Soul. This is a work in progress, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, don’t be shy about offering them up.
If you have just started reading this, you can find the previous chapters at the following links:
Dark Soul – Chapter One
Dark Soul – Chapter Two
Dark Soul – Chapter Three
Dark Soul – Chapter Four
Dark Soul – Chapter Five
Dark Soul – Chapter Six
Dark Soul Chapter Seven
Dark Soul Chapter Eight
Dark Soul Chapter Nine
Dark Soul Chapter Ten
This serialization is only available here at Docudharma!
Getovan strode up the cobbled street, walking with angry strides, and apologizing to Brother Carlinus. “You must forgive Zelibothir, Brother. She is young and finds comfort only in the things that have been the same for her whole life. She does not have the level of respect that she should for those that hold the knowledge of the god. She did not mean to offend you,”
“I think that you stretch the truth with that, my friend. The young woman meant to offend, most surly she did. But don’t trouble yourself about it, I have traveled with a servant of the Enemy, and a man whose faith has not been tutored sufficiently. I do not take these jabs seriously. In time all will see the truth of the Lord, and come to the light,”
Tyrone and the Shadow caught up to the two men at that point. Getovan took a deep breath and collected himself. After taking a deep breathe and let it out in a great sigh. His composure regained he turned back to the travelers. “I think that next we should see the some of the sept’s workshops. If you are willing to walk a bit we can see the Pathri make their pottery.” The men all nodded and Getovan turned left and set off down one of the side streets.
The lane they followed slopped down and they soon found themselves in on the first level of the city, in the half-circle nearest to the soaring cliff face that formed the absolute limit of the City of Rushing Waters. Here along what might have been the original river bed, there where four large clay pits, three of which were in active use.
The Celesti working within the pits used long flat bladed implements to slice slabs of thick blue clay away from the walls. These slabs were about three feet on a side, and six or eight inches thick. They where stacked onto a wooden platform, and a team of three heavily muscled men used a strange pulley arrangement to hoist it to the surface, there to be loaded on to a waiting cart.
The pulley used the same principals as the ones that Tyrone had used his whole life, but where the pulleys at home where enclosed, this one had an open framework. The rope sat in a groove that wrapped around the turning shaft three times before coming out to be pulled or lowered. Looking at the weight that the three men smoothly and easily pulled up, it looked as though it might be a more efficient method.
Getovan explained that these where not the Pathri. The men and women working the pits where members of the same clan, but instead were Brachare that choose to specialize in the clay mining. Others of that sept specialized in mining copper, lead, and nickel.
The party followed a fully loaded clay cart, drawn by a pair of burly goats, deeper into the work areas of the Pathri. They came to a large building and went through the door. Inside they found a single open room, with stone pillars holding the roof over head.
The pillars were all covered with ceramic tiles in a hundred different styles, and thousands of different colors. The room was ten yards wide and twenty yards in length. The pillars formed small squares of space eight feet on a side. Within each of these areas worked a group of Pathri.
Without being told Tyrone could see that each of these areas had it’s master craftsman, his journeymen, apprentices and some of the very youngest must be the children of the master or the journeymen. One of the masters noticed Tyrone looking at him and motioned him over.
In this work area the Pathri where making small shallow bowls. The master stood by while a young woman instructed a boy in the proper smoothing and rounding required. As Tyrone came up the master said, “Hail! I am Chretterus, ne’ Pathri and you must be one of the outlanders that the council has welcomed.”
“Hail, Chretterus, I am called Sly Tongue, here in the City. I am noy to the Garshon.”
“Sly Tongue, eh? The Questoria has a wicked sense of humor, and no one will challenge that for a lie, “said Chretterus.
“Humor? I don’t understand,”
“Ah, that is right you would not know our stories. Sly Tongue is a rouge hero in our past. He did great deeds, and was peerless in battle, but he was flawed. He could not be serious even when accused of cowardice. At his trial it is said that he so charmed the judges that they could not find him guilty, though it was clear that he had left the field of battle without permission. They could not let him go free, so they made him take a noy name, Sly Tongue. He took the name gladly, and swore that there would come a day that all the Celesti would hope to be given that name, in honor of him.
He become a lover of battle and looked for ways to stay in the field, against whatever foe was near. His reputation grew and the troops all hopped to serve with him. One day there came a battle, and Sly Tongue could see that it would go badly for the Celesti, even with the god’s help.
So, Sly Tongue placed himself in the front of the line, and there threw down his shield, and bearing two swords, proclaimed that he would not let the enemy past. All day the battle raged, and wherever the line was weak, there was Sly Tongue, in the thick, holding the line. At last the enemy was defeated, but at a high cost, for Sly Tongue was cut to the ground, and lay dying.
His troops gathered around with tears on their faces, weeping at the loss of their general. This enraged Sly Tongue, and he berated them for it. ‘Have I been so poor a leader that you would send me on with tears of joy?’ he asked them. They denied that they were happy to be rid of him, and he told them that if they loved him, they should send him on with laughter. He told one of his favorite funny stories, then another man told one, and another and another. Soon the camp was filled with sound of laughter and joy. No one knows when, but sometime in the round of story telling, Sly Tongue slipped from this world, never to joke with the living Celesti again.
So, you can see that the Questoria both chides and challenges you with her naming. She is a good judge of character; it is likely that she sees something in you.”
“Ach, well, if she sees anything it is news to me. I am just a warrior, with a glib tongue, and not enough sense to not use it all the time,” said Tyrone with a slight blush.
“I would guess that the first Sly Tongue might have said something very similar,” said Chretterus with a grin. He looked up and to the end of the hall; there he saw the Shadow, Brother Carlinus, and Getovan, who was showing inpatients on his thin craggy face. “I think you had better catch up with your friends, lad, the Saltori seems to be a little put out with your stopping to chat with a lowly crafter.”
“Thank you for telling me that story, Chretterus, now I will know why people smirk when I tell them my name.”
“Ah, well, perhaps I talk too much. But you be sure to come and repay me with a story from the land you were raised in,”
“You can count on it,” said Tyrone with a grin to match the other man’s.
A bellow cut through the sounds of work, “Sly Tongue! We are waiting on you!” came Getovan’s voice.
“Ah, in trouble again,” said Tyrone, as he turned and jogged over to the back entrance of the work hall.
“Sorry, I was being told about my name sake. I did not want to be rude and wonder off in the middle of a story,” Tyrone said as he came up to the group. He gave his best charming smile, but it gained no ground with Getovan.
“It would be best if you waited for your clan to instruct you on these things. Old Chretterus is known for talking when it is perhaps best for him to be silent.”
“Well, Tyrone, it seems that it did not take you long to find your match,” said Brother Carlinus, snidely.
“I am called Sly Tongue, and I would ask you to use that name Brother Carlinus,” said Tyrone icily.
“Noy! You will keep a respectful tone with Brother Carlinus, or it will go the worse for you!” said Getovan heatedly.
Tyrone slowly turned and drew himself up to his full height. He bowed his head as he had seen the other Saltori do with each other. He figured that it was an insult to presume equality with Getovan, but the man had gotten right up his nose, and he meant to insult him, “Saltori, are you of my clan? Or my sept?”
“I am not, as you know, I am the Saltori of the Sczench, though.”
“Then I will ask that you not command me. I am Garshon, and will require the respect that you would give to any Garshon,”
“Why, you upstart! You do not yet understand, but you are to take the commands of any that hold a higher rank than you, which includes me.”
“Forgive me, Saltori, but I will require that my own Saltori tell me this. If you are to be placed in charge of me, and be able to shout at and berate me, then I need to hear it form Hadronat, or if he is not available, then from the Questoria herself. I am sure that she will be able to tell me if I am to take abusive language from those not of my clan, be they Saltori or not,” said Tyrone in an even tone that could only come from a person that was rigidly controlling his emotions. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall, in a stance that said that he would not move from this spot until this matter was resolved.
Tyrone could see the Shadow standing behind the other two men, with a big grin splitting his face. Shaking his head the barest bit, Tyrone signaled to the Shadow to stay out of this fight, even though the Shadow liked nothing better than to jump into the middle of any ruckus.
“Sly Tongue, you are very close to dishonoring your clan. I will require only that you apologize to Brother Carlinus, if you do that I will let your disrespect to me pass, as a youthful indiscretion,” said Getovan in the tone of voice that people use with the slow witted or very young children.
“Well, I can thank you for your offer to let me fix a situation that you created, and the only price is my pride. What a deal that is! No, I will not apologize to Brother Carlinus, nor to you.” At this point Tyrone raised his voice so that all in the work hall could hear, “A child of the Garshon is in trouble here! Is there none of my clan that will help me? Garshon! To me, your clan mate needs you! To me, all Garshon, to me!” he shouted. All heads turned, to see what the commotion was about.
Tyrone turned to one of the young men working at a potter’s wheel a few feet away. “Fellow noy, I need your help. Run, find a Garshon Telethan, and bring them quick, the honor of my clan is beset, and I have no sept yet to help me. I beg you, do not let them cause my clan shame!” The boy looked nervously to the master potter that he worked for, not sure what to do. The steel haired woman who was his master, nodded and the boy ran out of the work hall as if the fires of hell chased him. Tyrone leaned back again, this time with a tight smile on his face.
The master potter put down the storage vessel she had been inspecting and came up to the group. “Saltori Getovan, just what is going on here?” she asked sharply.
“Nothing that need concern you, Shaldori. This noy was rude to his elders and I am correcting him. He has compounded his error by disputing my right to discipline him. You may go back to your work.”
“Well, thank you for allowing me to do my work in my own work hall, Getovan” Shaldori said sarcastically, “But you are quite wrong if you think that this interruption is none of my concern. I have a hall full of workers that are now staring at a Saltori that allowed a noy to get the best of him. Even if I throw you out now, as is my right, I would be many sun heights getting everyone back to their work. So you will understand that I will now make this my concern.” As Tyrone heard these words, he let his tight lipped smile broaden. It was a mistake. Shaldori saw him and turned the force of her anger on him as well.
“You! You are one of the outlanders that the Council welcomed? You are to be brought within the clans? Then you must show more respect, it is not for you to disrupt other septs work, no matter the cause. If you are to live here, you will do well to remember that.”
“I am truly sorry for disrupting your work,” Tyrone said with a deep bow, “But I am not clear on the rules of our city. I have seen that we value honor, of our clan, and sept and self, highly, and so when I came to a place were that honor was being challenged, I could not stay quite,” Shaldori opened her mouth to reply, but Tyrone never heard what she intended to say, as the boy that had been sent returned with a very tall and thin man in tow.
He was the tallest Celesta that any of them had seen, with a great bald dome of a head topping his spare frame. There was a thick fringe of curly hair making a horse shoe around the base of his skull, as though he had grown through his hair and out the other side.
His body was narrow in all directions, thin legs leading up to a narrow waist. His rounded chest would have been called barrel on a bigger man. For him the best that could be said was tankard. Only his hands were large, but while they had long palms and fingers, they were thin and delicate like the rest of him.
His face was clean shaven, and showed a similar pattern to his body. It was long and narrow, ending in a pointed chin. His eyes were hazel and showed a kindness that immediately made you want to trust him. Right then they scanned the room with a worried light.
“Where is the Garshon noy in desperate need of his clans help?” he asked in a dry bass voice.
Tyrone raised his hand and waved. “Here, clan mate”
“You are noy of the Garshon?” he asked
“As of this morning, sir. I am called Sly Tongue, and I am glad that you are here. I need your sage advice.”
“I am afraid that you have been brought running for no good reason, Heltiase,” said Getovan as he stepped in between the tall man and Tyrone.
“Saltori, can you tell me what in the name of Altesal is going on here?” asked Heltiase.
“It is a tale as easy to tell as it is short. This noy, Sly Tongue has been inexcusably rude to Brother Carlinus. He spoke without the respect that we demand of all noy. When I corrected him, he refused to accept my authority to do so. When I explained that I did indeed have authority, he raised a fuss and disrupted the entire work hall. As you can see Telethan Shaldori is here with us, due to the fuss.
It is sad that your clan chose this wild one as a noy, and I ask that you discipline him now, in front of all here, as a lesson that the other noy present will learn, as well as Sly Tongue.”
Heltiase nodded his head several times during this highly selective account of the events of the past few minutes. He waited patiently until the Saltori was finished then turned to Tyrone. “These are fairly serious claims the Saltori makes. What have you to say, Sly Tongue?”
Tyrone took a moment to try to figure out what kind of man Heltiase was. He knew he was at a turning point in his time with the Celesta, what he said in the next moment might determine his long term fate within the City.
Heltiase did not give him any clues as to the direction he should take. He merely stood there, looking directly at him with calm brown-green eyes, no approval or disapproval to be had there. As he looked at the tall man, suddenly he was struck by an overwhelming feeling that Fergus was standing before him, waiting for an explanation.
The two men had exactly nothing in common, Fergus having been built just like Tyrone, but with the blue eyes that half of the county had. Still, there was something in the way that this man stood and waited that told Tyrone that the only path out of this was to tell the truth and let the dice fall as they may.
Drawing himself up to his full height, he bowed deeply from the waist, and then said, “Sir, I do not wish to dispute the Saltori of the Sczench, but I see events differently. I did indeed speak shortly to Brother Carlinus, but it was do to the fact that he did not use my noy name. I was given to believe that it was a matter of clan honor that I re-earn the name I was give by my birth family, and it should not be used until then. He called me by that other name and I told him that I should be addressed in the proper manner.
When the Saltori demanded that I apologize, he did not speak with respect, but rather treated me as a child. I do understand that I am a noy in the Garshon, but I am also a man and have been treated with the respect due one my age by all other members of the Celesti. I have noticed the willingness of all Celesti to protect the honor of their clan and sept. To me Saltori Getovan was not honoring my clan, and I could not let that stand unchallenged.
I did ask him to provide a senior Garshon to tell me what was correct. As I only know the Andon and the Questoria, I asked that they be brought. This was, perhaps, arrogant of me. When the Saltori would not, I did indeed disrupt the work hall, as a last resort.
I have apologized to the master Shaldori for the disruption, and will now humbly beg the pardon of all the masters, ranks of the Pathri, and the associated noy here for the disturbance. I wanted only to be sure that the honor of my new clan was not soiled.” He followed this with a deep bow to the room in general.
Heltiase again waited patiently to for a moment and then turned to Getovan, “It seems that we have a difference of propriety, Saltori. You, while within your rights to expect respect from any noy in the city, seem to have forgotten that this is a fully grown man, raised to different rules. While Sly Tongue having watched the way we live with each other as full clan members saw that the honor of his clan might be endangered, and being new to our ways and away from all of his clam mates called out for assistance. This disturbed the work hall and all of these fine Pathri. But it was clear that he was in genuine distress, as the Telethan Shaldori did dispatch a noy to find a Garshon that could advise him. Would you agree that this is a fair interpretation of the facts?”
The look on Getovan’s face showed that he was not particularly happy with the way that Heltiase had assembled the facts of the last half hour, but it was such a fair blending of the two sides of the tale that he could not object without seeming unreasonable. He curtly nodded his head.
Heltiase turned back to Tyrone, and asked, “Do you understand now that the Saltori, any Saltori may reprove you for your actions?”
“I do, Telethan,” said Tyrone quietly
“Good, then I can assure the Saltori that there will be no repeat of this?”
“I will not question the authority of the Saltori’s or any other higher rank to correct my behavior, in the future,”
“Excellent. Saltori, I need assurances from you that you will not assume that these new noy are children, but rather men from a far place, and have faced challenges and trials to come to our city, and as such deserve a higher level of difference than is usual for noy. Can I have such an assurance?”
“It is not your place to demand such from a Saltori,” said Getovan coldly.
“True, but I am the highest ranking Garshon here, and while we can take this to the council, it is my intention to settle this misunderstanding here. What say you Saltori?”
“I am willing, if noy apologizes, to me and Brother Carlinus for his rudeness,”
Heltiase glanced over at Brother Carlinus, and then back at Getovan, “No, we will have to take it to the Council in that case. Brother Carlinus here knew as well as Sly Tongue that calling him by his foreign name was at the least a taint on Sly Tongue’s honor, even if he did not perceive the broader slight to the Garshon. Sly Tongue was correct in demanding that he be addressed by his noy name. He will not apologize for doing the right thing.”
Getovan reddened at this implication that his insistence on Tyrone apologizing was in some way incorrect. “So you will let a noy speak back to a Saltori with no consequence? I had thought better of you, Heltiase.”
“Sly Tongue,” said Heltiase without looking away from Getovan, “Apologize for the tone that you took with the Saltori, do it now,”
The tone brooked no argument, so Tyrone bowed from the waist and said, “Getovan, Saltori of the Sczench, I apologize for the tone that I spoke to you in. It was improper of me to speak to you in such a way.”
“Are we done here, Saltori, or should I send a runner to gather the Council?” asked Heltiase, in his mild voice.
“I am sure that we will have other opportunities to have this Sly Tongue before the Council, so yes, this matter is closed.”
“Perhaps, it would be best if I take charge of Sly Tongue, now?” asked Heltiase
“That might be for the best. I was taking all three of them for a tour of the city, I am sure that you can show him everything that he needs,”
“I would go with them,” said the Shadow, “that way you and Brother Carlinus could discuss the god together in private,”
“Yes, yes, by all means, if you would like to stay with your fellow noy, who am I to say no?” replied Getovan through clenched teeth.
“We will then take our leave of you Saltori, Brother Carlinus,” said Heltiase gathering up the two other men with his eyes. The three walked out of the Pathri work hall quietly.