The Last Lantern
Chapter 15 - Meeting A God
@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009
"So," he said, putting his feet up against the fire.
They'd retreated to the 'best' room in the inn. It had a nice fireplace, two
feather beds, and a seating area.
The fellow, man, er, god, groaned as he sank back into the best chair in the
room. Vaal was feeding the fire for them and Phillip was charged with
spicing the hot wine. Phillip, however, was so profoundly shocked he wasn't
certain he could manage the wine his hand was shaking so much.
"Here, let me," the Heretic said, taking the implements from Phillip. "Don't
look so terrified, son. I won't poison you."
"He's never seen a living god, Bastard. Don't tease him too badly," Vaal
commented looking around to judge just what sort of state young Phillip was
Phillip, if anything, was beyond speech at that point. The Bastard laughed
out loud. "Now you've truly shocked him, Vaal. You called me a Bastard to my
"You are a Bastard, sending us out in this filthy weather," Vaal retorted.
"Think of it as a test of faith," the Heretic suggested.
What he'd seen in the public area, the Blessings, had been shocking enough
for Phillip, but this... a god sitting, warming his feet on the fender and
handing him a mug of hot spiced wine...as if he were merely a man.
"Didn't you tell the boy anything?" the Heretic asked Vaal. "What do I pay
you for? Aren't you supposed to be spreading my word, or something?"
"Oh, you do that quite well all by yourself. Tell us where Molly is and
whether or not she's all right," Vaal suggested, sinking down into a chair
and putting his own feet up on the fender next to his god's.
The god's face went blank for a moment and his eyes focused somewhere very
much else. After perhaps 30 seconds he replied. "She's tucked up quite
snugly. She's not happy, true. And she thinks she's in danger, although
I've told her several times she's quite safe."
"You talked to her?" Phillip asked, his mouth, perhaps not surprisingly,
"Yes. She seems to think she's imagining my voice in her head. It's really
quite annoying to be ignored."
Vaal burst out laughing.
The god frowned at him. "You're setting a bad example for the boy. He
thinks you should treat me with due dignity. Not laugh at me." The god
looked over at Phillip. "You see what I have to put up with? The bloody
Black Brothers are ungovernable, I swear. I should fire them all. This is
what comes of familiarity. None of the Father's or the Mother's Priests
treat them the way the brothers treat me."
"You'd hate it if we did. How many times have you whined about the clergy.
Its formality and false piety, its self-delusion, its ignorance of the world
"True, damn you, Vaal," the god conceded, sipping thoughtfully on his wine.
The fire crackled the only noise in the companionable silence.
"So, if you know she's safe," Phillip finally ventured, wondering if he
would be turned into kindling, "Molly, I mean, why are we following her?"
"Oh, it isn't that we're worried about Donal and Emily or their crew hurting
her. It's.. Well, everyone expected Vaal here to escort her out of King's
Cross. This way anyone who might have been planning an ambush was thwarted."
The god looked over at his priest. "They've taken shelter at a cabin - the
family is sympathetic to the cause. Have you heard anyone remarking on
Donal's party or Molly since you arrived??
"No, which is somewhat reassuring. If pursuers are here already, they're
keeping a low profile too," Vaal replied.
"And they'll follow us, thinking we might know where they're taking Molly?"
"It's possible," Vaal admitted. "I warned you this would be dangerous. They
may well assume the Bastard here let me know where she is. As, of course, he
has. Therefore they may attack us on the road to try to get that information
Phillip nodded, staring down at his wine. "I've never really... I mean, I've
never had to use my sword beyond ..."
"With lucky you won't have to use it now. Of course, I could leave you
here," Vaal suggested. "You could travel back with the next Courier to come
Phillip looked up. "Please don't send me back." He wasn't sure if he should
be pleading with the god or with the man.
Vaal and the Heretic exchanged a look. Phillip felt his hopes go south to
"Your father and Lord Rosslyn won't thank me if I bring your body back to
them to bury," Vaal replied.
"But at least I'll have helped to keep Molly safe," Phillip replied
"All right then. So be it," Vaal conceded. The god raised an eyebrow. "Be
careful, young Phillip. You might find yourself wearing the Black some day."
Phillip as he settled into his bed later once the god was gone, thought, as
he began to fall asleep, that wearing the Black might not be all that bad a
Home | Next Chapter