May 15, 2009 by
Once we had secured the ground floor of the temple and secured our prisoner, we stopped for a moment. My hat of disguise had fallen off in battle. I swept it off the floor and put it on. “OK,” I growled in my half-orc voice, “What’s next? Where do we put the aluminum?”
Acgar raised her hands. “You don’t know if there are other people in here. You’re just going to blow this place up without checking for innocent lives?! Who are you? I really wonder,” she turned to the others, “I really wonder sometimes if this is really Indira.” No one spoke.
Sadi shrugged. “We could look around, I guess.” I nodded. “That’s fine with me. We might find evidence or treasure. It’s only, what? Ten o’clock. We can take a few minutes.” Various clapped her hands and took off through the big double doors. Sadi, Ian and Brus followed slowly.
Acgar stood looking at me. “Take off that hat! I hate not seeing your face.” I removed the hat and became Indira again. “I just don’t understand you! We’re the good guys. We don’t break the law. We don’t kill innocent people.”
I held up a finger. “These are not innocent people. They hired assassins to kill us. They killed the Pelorian clerics. This temple will somehow hurt Cauldron. Whatever their ‘dedication ceremony’ is for the morning, it’s not good for Cauldron.”
“And how do you know there’s a ceremony in the morning?”
I smirked. “Hello! It was in the paper!”
She smiled. “Oh, yeah. If I was an evil overlord bent on destruction, I’d make sure to tell a reporter from the Cauldron Herald!”
“That’s how sure they are of success. No one questions them. Their power in this city is complete. Most of the citizen are blind.” I looked around. “Look at the guard! I bet he has no concept of the evil he is helping to fester. None of them understand what I understand. If this temple is still standing in the morning, a lot of people, innocent people, are going to die.”
“You don’t know that! You need proof. Tell me one thing you know for certain. One thing!”
“OK, OK. Yeah, Ike Iverson, the head cleric here” I jabbed my fingers downward. “He hired those assassins.” Acgar threw her hands into the air. “You. Don’t. Know. That! You think that. You believe that, but you don’t know it for truth.” I turned away, struggling for words. I walked over to stare at the skulls in the walls.
I heard Myntilly say, “The assassins did say the man who hired them was wearing a Jasidian symbol. And their meeting place was here. That’s pretty damning.”
“Circumstantial evidence, at best.” Acgar dismissed the words.
I stared at the tied up guard. He was still unconscious. I resisted the urge to kick him. He was one of the three (or was it four?) who ganged up on me during the battle. It was… ungenerous of me to want to kick him. He was now helpless before me and in battle, he’d been simply doing his job.
I walked back to my friends. “God has laid this on my heart. I know it’s the right thing to do. The evil in Cauldron starts here. It grows here. It must be destroyed.” Acgar grabbed my shoulders and stared deeply into my eyes. Finally she spoke: “You can’t prove it. My friend, you have no proof. I can’t let you imperil your soul this way.” Her hands tightened and I felt fear. What spells could she cast on me? Hold Person? Could she cast hold person?
I broke free of her grip. “Proof? I have proof! I have proooooooof!” My screams echoed in the large chamber. I caught my breath. “I have proof. In the morning. In the morning this monstrous temple is going to block the morning sun from reaching the Pelorian temple.” I let my voice go to a whisper. “What more proof do you need?”
“A blocked shaft of sunlight? Is that an offense punishable by death? Is that your right to be judge, jury and executioner? Is it?”
I stretched out my arms and entwined my fingers. “Acgar, my friend. One day you will know that I am right. And on that day,” I smiled, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to refrain from saying ‘I told you so.'”
Acgar stared at me. “That is the most undiplomatic thing I have ever heard you say. And now, I really am frightened. I can’t stop you. And I can’t stop you from corrupting our friends, but I will arrest you afterwards.” I nodded. “I know that. And I will go along quietly. Once the temple is destroyed, I will gladly go with you. Now, if you are not here to help, then go away.” I waved my hands at her face.
Myntilly started to speak when we heard the others came back. “We got some pretty sweet evidence.” Sadi held out her hands to show us sheafs of paper.
Myntilly took the top inch of paper and hungrily scanned the writing.
“Who’s that?” asked Acgar, pointing to the body strapped to Brus’ back. Sadi laughed. “Would you believe Todd Vanderboren?”
Acgar started to walk over to the body when Myntilly handed her a letter. “You’ll want to read this.” Acgar scanned the letter. And then she read it slowly. And then she held out her hand and Myntilly put another sheet in her hand. And another. After a few minutes Acgar looked up at me. “It’s all true. Look at this.”
I shook my head. “I don’t need to see it. I told you it was true.” She grabbed the back of my neck and bent my head towards the paper. “You read it and then, we have a temple to blow up.”