appy 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. Sorry this is posted a little later than usual. There were internet connectivity issues here at the Dog house.
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
Dark Soul – Chapter Eleven
Dark Soul – Chapter Twelve
This serialization is only available here at Docudharma!
By the time they reached the school, the sun was behind the walls of the valley, casting the City into a bright twilight. The sky above was full of light, but the houses and streets were deep in shadow. It gave the city, to Tyrone’s mind, a feeling of being in the world but not of it. He could understand why the Celesti did not feel much of a need to know what the world outside the valley was like. It was a feeling that while the day may end, the night was long in coming, though of course, he would not have said it that way.
The school they arrived at was divided into three large rooms. The first room, Heltiase explained, was for the youngest of the children. The youngest children here had barley been weaned from their mothers breasts, while the oldest children were no more than five years old. It was a noisy place with filled with toys and large, soft pillows. Here the children learned to play and cooperate with each other under the guidance of their teachers.
Heltiase could not have been a stranger to this school. The moment that his tall bald figure was seen by the little ones he was surrounded by five or six of them insisting on telling him of their day, asking to be picked up, or demanding that he come see something. Bowing to the inevitable, he suggested that Tyrone and the Shadow look around for themselves.
While Tyrone always got along with children well, he was more interested in what the older ones were learning. He went down the hallway to and looked into the first room on his right. Inside were fifteen or twenty older children sitting in two broad concentric half-circles. In the center of the room sat an old man. He was telling some kind of story to the children, but noticed Tyrone at once. Without breaking the rhythm of his recital, he motioned Tyrone in and indicated that he should sit or stand out of the doorway and in one of the corners.
Tyrone smiled and nodded his acceptance. From what he could hear the story was nearly at an end.
“… When Espleth looked around him, he found that the troops of the enemy were all dead. Once again the god’s power had granted victory to the Celesti. But while his troop’s hearts were filled with joy at the victory, Espleth’s was filled only with ashes.
On the ground near his feet, was the broken and dead body of Salvarti, his childhood friend. And so the dire prophesy was fulfilled, in protecting his lands and family, Espleth had killed his foster brother.
Bitter tears slid down the great warriors face. He dropped his spear, shield, and left the field of battle, never to fight again. “said the old man. ” I think that is all for today. I want each of you to think on what caused Espleth to come to this pass and what you would do differently. We will talk about this tomorrow. You may go.”
The children, who to this point had been listening most quietly, burst in to a cheer and immediately rose and left the classroom. The old man waited, watching Tyrone, until they were all gone. Tyrone waited patiently, for the old man to speak. Just at the point that he decided that the old man did not want to talk to him the fellow rose and crossed the room with a pronounced limp.
Standing before Tyrone, he scanned him up and down, then said, “You are a little too old for this class, I think”
“It is true that I am older than the average student, but I do not know any of the things you teach here,” said Tyrone, falling into the teasing tone with ease.
“Then you are too young! This is an advanced class for those that are ready to choose a clan to be noy in,”
“But I am already noy to the Garshon,”
“Ah, see, as I said, too old for this class. And too young for it too, hmm, perhaps you know everything and have no need of my feeble stories?”
“My friends would tell you that I think that I know everything, but they are mistaken ”
“So you are wise man, to know what he does not know?”
Tyrone could not hang on any further in this silliness and burst into loud laughter at the thought of anyone calling him wise. “You win, sir. I should have known better than to match wits with a teacher of the Celesta,” he said, ending with a low bow.
“I accept you defeat in the sprit that it was offered,” said the old man with a wry grin, “But tell me, just who are you?” The look on Tyrone’s face was enough to worry the old man. “Have I insulted you in some way, Garshon noy?”
“Hardly, sir. It is just you are the first person that I have met in days that did not know all about me. I am called Sly Tongue and I am noy of the Garshon clan. I have come from beyond the mountain pass to the City of Rushing Water. By the decree of the Council and the order of the Questoria, I and my companions are to live as Celesti for a full turn of seasons.”
“That must be what Shalieena was going on about. You came to the City, what, three days ago?”
“Aye, today would be the third day, though it truly feels much longer. I am not sure what I expected to find here, but the City of Rushing Water was not on that list.”
“I assume by your tone that you like what you have found?”
“Very much. But truth to be told, I have not seen it all. I am a warrior by trade and distrust marvels. They have a way of being built on strange and horrible foundations,”
“My friend, you do have the beginnings of wisdom. But where are my manners? I am Trelievence, Methodenon of the Bethainal sept, Garshon clan and I welcome you to our City and our clan. I think that perhaps you will need my teaching, all joking aside. But as a grown man, it would be better if we traded knowledge. Are you allowed to share the knowledge of your clan from beyond the mountains?” he asked with a look that showed both his desire for this knowledge and the fact that he would have to respect the dictates of Tyrone’s clan.
“I would be happy to share the knowledge of my clan with you. I am under no restraint, and in any case the lands of my people are far from the pass that leads here; you would have to cross a fair body of water to get there. But I have to warn you, I might pester you to death with questions. I am quite sure that Heltiase has nearly had his fill of me, and I have only been with him for half a day,”
“So, it was Heltiase that brought you here, that would be just like him,”
“Oh, I don’t think that he planned it. I asked after the schools and he mentioned that there was one close by.”
“The first lesson I will teach you is this; do not underestimate the deepness of Heltiase’s forethought. He could have been Questoria, if he had wanted. He had a plan in bringing you here, make no mistake about that.” At that moment a loud shout was heard through the school.
“SLY TONGUE! Show yourself noy!”
The old man nodded and started to push Tyrone toward the door. “It seems that our friend is looking for you. Come lets find him.” The two men left the room to see what had befallen the Shadow and Heltiase.
Brother Carlinus’s day was rather different from that to the Shadow and Tyrone’s. After the unpleasantness in the pottery workshop, Getovan lead Brother Carlinus away at a brisk clip. The little priest was hard pressed to keep up, and was soon running out of breath. Since Getovan showed not sign of stopping, Brother Carlinus took matters in to his own hands.
“Saltori Getovan, I am sorry about my young traveling companion. He is willful and often shows a carelessness that those who fight for a living develop. But, he is a good follower of Christ, and has been invaluable in helping to get me here to do God’s work.” His statement had managed to sooth all of the Saltori’s sore points and the man came to a rather abrupt stop in the middle of the street.
“I suppose that you are right, Brother Carlinus. And truly, if you are willing to forgive his indiscretions, then how can I do less? Still, I would be grateful if you would tell young Sly Tongue that if there is ever a repeat of this kind of offence I will have him before the Council and no one, not even the busy body Heltiase, will be able to spare him the consequences of his disrespect.”
“Give the matter no more thought. I will be sure to council him on this at his next confession. I am, after all, the only priest here. I will make sure that he repents before the Lord for his arrogance. The Lord will forgive him, and that should be an end to it.” Brother Carlinus was felt slightly disturbed, as he realized that Tyrone had not sought absolution from his sins in the whole time that they had traveled together. He would have to ask Tyrone if he was ready soon. It would not do for him to fail in his duties to his existing flock, while he tried to build another.
“Confession? What do you mean, has Sly Tongue committed some crime in your lands?”
“Oh, no! You see, the Lord God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, will forgive the sins of men. But they must seek this absolution through the priests of the Holy Church. We are the ones that measure the sins and assign the appropriate penance.”
“So he has made an offence against the god?”
“In a way. But you must understand that all men sin; you, me, all men and women in the world sin. It comes to us from the first man and woman. They were cast out of the Garden for tasting the Forbidden Fruit. It made them know right from wrong. Jesus died to wash away our sins, but we must ask for forgiveness, and do penance.” Getovan shook his head, not really understanding, but willing to take Brother Carlinus’s word for now.
“If you say so, Brother Carlinus. So what would you like to see, since it just the two of us? ”
“Oh, well, it does not matter what we see in the City. I am really more interested in how you came to be apart form God. We can see the buildings of your city anytime.”
“I am totally at your disposal, Brother Carlinus, “said Getovan with a slight bow. Such was the arrogance of each man that both of them believed this obvious lie completely. “Let us go to my home and I will tell you the tale of the fall of a mighty people and why our leaders convinced us to leave our special place in the heart of the god.”
“I can think of nothing I would like better. And, perhaps I can tell you of the story of Jesus, the Son of God, and how your people could return to bosom of Gods love,”
The two men walked away, each thinking that he had the other right where he wanted him.