Keevis Antrilleuom stepped into the driving rain of the courtyard and faced the sky. Drenched with sweat, driven from his bed by visions he could only understand in their most basic sense, his fevered eyes searched the storm for the face of his God. He was met only by sheets of rain the likes of which he could not easily remember, the scenes in his mind becoming less vivid but no less real, no less urgent. He could still see them as if written in fire before him.
"Brother! Come inside! You'll catch your death!"
Something basic in his mind allowed him a smile. He had not been ill in his adult memory, sustained he was sure by his faith, and some would say by his substantial wine cellar. "Of course, Simon." As he turned back toward the Defenders' entrance, the acolyte ran to him with a cloak to ward the storm. "I'll be all right."
He was all right. Even in his confusion there was clarity. He had been called. Something, or someone, perhaps even the God he had served so long, had reached out from the darkness to him. What he had seen in that void had filled him with a fire from long ago. He was more all right, more himself, than he had been for years. There was battle in that darkness, warfare he had not seen since the early years of the terrible conflict that had nearly engulfed his fair Albion. But the fight was not here. Albion had been at peace, many years now. Even rumors of war had been unheard of.
There was little time. "I'm going, Simon. Please inform the church elders for me, I must leave immediately."
"Has something happened sir? Where may I tell them you've gone?"
As his wits had returned he had already packed his saddlebags for a light journey and cinched them tight about his spotted mare. "Home, Simon. I'm going home." He tossed one leg across the saddle and mounted easily, the rising fire bringing his body quickly back to life from its years of slumber.
Nudging his mount slightly, he sped away through the unremitting rain, moving quickly through the open gates of Camelot for the last time. As he cleared the grounds he turned East, hugging the riverbank. His need for haste was unbearable, but he had something to do first. He entered the guild villages, maintained in Albion's need by the great war guilds of a past era. As he neared the house of his own Reveille, he slowed, old memories fighting with the blazing new visions for attention in his mind.
As time had passed, and peace had overtaken the land, so many of the old heroes, his friends, had vanished. Some he knew had moved on to other lands, others fallen to misfortune or age, all so dearly missed. And with each empty roll, another piece of Albion's glory gone forever, but in memory undimmed. But he had seen them again. Like afterimages in a flash of power, in the battles that raged within the void, not quite as he had known them, but their spirits unmistakable, they had been there. He had not been called alone. Those who lived, would meet him there, on a battlefield so desperately in need of such warriors.
He passed silently on, and came suddenly, almost without volition to a small cottage hidden away in woods trying to reclaim their old land. The home itself still stood strong, fashioned by the hands of a woodworker of some of the finest skill in the land. He thought of the many who had simply moved on, and then of those who could not be saved. Keevis sat his horse and gazed long at the silent house, abandoned before the final peace had been won. He dismounted and unwrapped the exquisite staff that had carried him through countless battles. Wreathed with holy fire it had meted out pain to his foes and healing light to his companions. It seemed cold now, as dead as the hands that had carved it with such skill so long ago. He gently, reverently, laid it across the top stair of the entryway, and backed away slowly. "Thank you my friend."
Mounting, he spurred his horse northward, once again consumed with his urgent summons. The details became plain, what he had to do. His childhood home was ahead, the small shrine his parents had built in the field behind the house would be what he needed. The rain had not diminished, usually firm paths were seas of mud and debris as Traveller picked his way toward home. Arriving in what had become a gale, the weatherbeaten man in the road worn leather robe went straight to the small pile of stones that had been a poor family's gateway to salvation. It would become his entryway as well. He removed a heavy ornate inkwell and brush from his pack. Clearing a space on the stone, he dabbed the brush to ink and marked the first rune upon it.
The gale became a hurricane as the stone lit from below, striking the friar with sheets of force with each successive symbol. With each rune he could see more clearly the visions of war that had pulled him inexorably to this moment. As he began the final letter the storm screamed about him in one unbreaking torment, stripping skin from flesh, flesh from bone, bone from soul, until one final deafening crack was heard throughout the countryside. The brush fell quietly to the dry grass, and the sun shone down through a cloudless sky.
Stunned neighbors crept cautiously from their homes to where they had seen the rainsoaked and hooded figure writhing over the modest shrine, and the village scholar was called to make sense of the runes drawn upon it. He could see only one word, in an ancient, nearly unknown script, but even he did not know what the word meant, or its significance to the events the people had seen. He could tell them only what the word was:
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