Brian S. Pratt

Warrior priest of Dmon-Li

Chapter One

James walks down one of the many hallways in the Ferdillon Estate which lies in the great trading city of Corillian. Situated at the southern end of the island of Torence, Corillian boasts one of the largest shipping ports in these waters. The trading houses here ship goods to all the known kingdoms, many having offices in every major city and capitol.

He pauses in front of a door he’s entered many times over the past seven days, ever since they were brought here by Nate’s cousin after they’d fled the destruction of the mines.

Knocking, he waits until he hears a ‘come in’ from the other side before opening the door. Inside, he finds Miko sitting in a chair next to Nate who’s lying in bed, recovering from the effects of the poison he consumed when Black Tooth had tried to extract his revenge upon Miko. Miko had been poisoned as well, but hadn’t consumed as much of it as had Nate.

When they’d arrived at the docks of Corillian, the captain immediately took him to the nearest temple where he’d arranged for a priest to purge the poison from his system. Once the poison had been purged, the priest had told them the damage to his insides was far reaching and that it would take a long time, if ever, for him to fully recover from the effects.

“Feeling better today?” he asks Nate as he comes over and sits upon the edge of the bed.

“Some,” he replies with a raspy voice. Still wracked by pain, he at least is able to hold down solids and can move around on his own for a short time.

James turns to Miko, “Jiron and I are ready to leave soon for Cardri.”

A pained look comes over Miko as he asks, “What about me?”

James glances toward Nate before replying, “Nate’s family has offered to let you stay here with them for as long as you desire.”

“That’s right, Miko,” Nate adds. “We’d be more than happy to have you remain here with us.”

“But…” he says as he looks to Nate, pausing momentarily. Then he continues, “As much as I appreciate the offer to stay here with you and your family, I wish to return to Cardri with James.” He looks to James for his response.

James glances again to Nate and says, “I thought we should at least give him the choice.”

Nate nods in reply.

Turning to Miko, James says, “Then we’ll be leaving in the morning. There’s a trader with whom Nate’s father has arranged to carry us with them as they make their way to Cardri. They have several stops before they get there, but said they should be docking at the capitol within a couple weeks.”

“Tomorrow?” he asks, sad to be leaving his friend so soon. He turns to Nate and says, “I’m sorry to have to leave you.”

Nate lifts his hand and pats Miko on the knee, “It’s okay, Miko. I understand. Remember, you always have a friend in me and if you’re ever in the area, I expect you to stop by for a visit.”

Giving him a sad smile, Miko replies, “I will.” He turns to James, “I’d like to stay here with Nate until we leave in the morning.”

“Sure thing,” James assures him. “Now, I need to go arrange a few things with Jiron before we go.” Getting up from the bed, he goes over to the door. Looking back at Nate, he says, “You get better now.”

Nate smiles at him and replies, “I will.”

Opening the door, he leaves the room and then closes it behind him. He proceeds down the hallway toward the room that he’s been sharing with Jiron.

On the way, he sees Essin coming toward him and he’s wearing the livery of House Ferdillon. As they approach each other, he says, “So you’ve taken service with them then?”

Smiling broadly, Essin replies, “Yes James, both Eril and I have.” Eril was the other slave that had jumped aboard at the last minute when they fled the volcanic eruption which had consumed the slave mines. “Nate put in a good word with his father on our behalf and they’ve made us part of their servant staff. Not a glamorous position to be sure, but better than what we had a few weeks ago.”

Laughing, James nods his head in agreement, “You got that right. I wish nothing but the best for both of you.”

“Thank you,” he replies.

“I don’t know if I ever expressed my thanks for the fair treatment you gave Miko when he was part of your team in the mines,” he says.

“Well, I’ve always believed that if you treat someone with respect and fairly, they’ll work harder for you,” he explains.

“I’ve found that to be true, too,” he tells him.

“I must be off,” Essin says to him. “Can’t afford to make a bad impression with the master of the house.”

“Good luck, Essin” James says as he begins to walk away.

“You too, James,” Essin replies.

Leaving Essin behind, he proceeds down the hallway and admires the hanging tapestries on the way to the stairs leading down to where his room is located. Down the stairs, he turns to the right and comes to his room which is the third doorway from the stairs. He finds that Jiron has already left, probably to find another serving girl to spend time with. Leaving the room, he continues down the hallway past his room in search of him. Jiron often takes the serving girls to the inner atrium at the end of the hallway, where he says the plants growing there helps to ‘get them in the mood’.

The atrium is roughly forty feet by sixty feet with an open ceiling that allows the sun, and at times the rain, to fall upon the many plants growing there. Three benches are placed along the cobblestone walkways that meander their way amongst the plants. It’s on one of those benches that he finds Jiron sitting and talking with Nate’s sister, Miriam.

“…that’s when we took off and left the soldiers far behind,” he says to her.

James can see her sitting there in rapt attention as he relates another tale of their exploits. He’s been wooing several of the serving girls as well as Miriam, much to the chagrin of Nate’s mother. That’s partially the reason why they’ve agreed to expedite their return to Cardri.

“Ahem,” James says, clearing his throat to announce his presence.

Turning to look over his shoulder, Jiron sees him standing there at the entrance to the atrium and gives him a big smile as he says, “Hi James.”

James nods his head to him and then says to her, “Good day Miriam.”

She nods her head in reply and gives him a shy smile as she says, “Jiron was just telling me about your escape from Al-Kur. It’s amazing you both got out of there alive!”

“Yeah, it was,” he says to her. “Luck was definitely on our side that day.” Turning to Jiron he says, “I told Miko we’re leaving and he’s decided to come with us.”

“Thought he might,” he says. “Though if it wasn’t for Tersa needing me there, I’d never leave.” He flashes Miriam a smile and she gives one to him in return.

“I must go,” Miriam says abruptly as she gets up from the bench and rushes past James as she hurries from the atrium.

“Wonder what made her…” he begins to say when he sees Miriam’s mother entering the atrium from the other direction.

As she approaches them, Jiron comes to his feet and gives her a slight bow, “Greetings lady.”

“Flirting with my daughter again, have you?” she says to him with a not too happy look on her face.

“Just whiling away the time before we leave in the morning,” he assures her.

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