Morning came with a soft knock on the door to Clara's plain little room. He opened his eyes and was surprised morning came without a single dream. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, feeling refreshed from sleep for the first time since the raid. He stood and walked over and unbarred it, opening it to reveal Freeblade and two priests he had never before met. One was garbed in robes of white with red gilt, while the other wore deep blue robes with white trim. Both had their faces covered with masks representing their respective gods. "Morning your graces, please come in" he said, bowing and motioning toward the room. "Be glad to," replied Freeblade and he led the two priests in.
Clara shut the door and walked over to a small pile of laundry and grabbed a tunic and put it on. All eyes were on him. Freeblade walked over to Clara and tossed his arm around the young man's shoulders. "Knight Clara," he said, "may I present to you the esteemed High Priestess Yvonne of Bisha," he motioned to the white robed priest, "and High Priest Ramous of Tammuz," he said motioning toward the blue robed priest.
"Knight, we are here to inform you of certain…anomalies that have occurred since you have made your way back to us," said Yvonne, her voice airy and mellifluous. "We have felt as though a blanket has been wrapped around you, not allowing us to judge your faith." Clara almost balked as the last accusatory note rose through the room. She removed her mask and looked at him hard. Her face was that of a sculpture, alabaster and without flaw, and her icy eyes bore into him. Ramous removed his mask, and his face was dark and etched with lines of thought, though now they seemed to contemplate other things.
"Freeblade here tells us of your undying loyalty, and the circumstances of that loyalty as well. We have nothing but faith that you hold true to your vows, but we must be sure." She looked at him hard and then nodded at Ramous. The man walked over and said in a surprisingly deep voice, "I am going to test you, as we do all those of our orders, our love for the Just Father demands no less."
"What will you do?"
"I will test you by using the gifts our heavenly mother allows."
Clara looked at Freeblade and said, "why must I be tested, was not my loyalty tested enough in combat with the vampyre? Was not my honor tested when I allowed my men to retreat while I faced certain death? Why insult me so?" He looked at the priests, hoping that his fear of being tested did not show. Freeblade looked taken aback that one of his knights would speak that way to any priests. As he opened his mouth to put Clara in his place Yvonne raised her hand, stopping him.
"Knight, you are under oath! How dare you attempt to question those who are above your comprehension? Do you not understand that your oaths are of the utmost importance, and that a hero, yes a hero, of your caliber survives and recovers as quickly as you did that questions would be raised? Child of Bisha fear not. We expect only to find what all here know, that you are a beloved of our patron god's, and we are made better just by knowing you." Then she flashed a disarming smile and immediately Clara felt better. She then looked at Ramous and said, "Proceed."
As the priest prepared himself a tickle in the back of Clara's mind formed. It seemed to warm his body and relax it, and a sense of warning entered his mind. He watched as the priest said his prayers and approached. Ramous extended his hands out in front and placed them on Clara's head. At that same moment Clara felt fingers rifling through his thoughts, and an urge to cast all his secrets forward to be observed, and against his better instinct he allowed himself to retreat farther back, taking the secrets of his new allegiance with him.
There in the back of his mind he waited as the intruding fingers prodded farther and farther. Clara pressed the thoughts as far back as they would go, and used all his will to keep them from rising. The fingers kept coming, digging through memories and thoughts as if they were nothing. Clara felt them touch his consciousness, and then suddenly he was back in the room, and Ramous was lowering his hands, eyes still closed. He then opened his eyes and looked at Yvonne.
"It will take a few days young knight, and we will reserve judgment until then."
They both rose and readied themselves to leave, and Yvonne turned and said to Freeblade, "he is to be released with no restrictions until you receive word from the Temple Council. May His Grace Bless You." And with that they both left the room.
The two knights looked at each other for a moment.
"What the bloody hell was that all about," blurted Clara.
"If have no clue" replied Freeblade. Then both knights started laughing. "You heard them, lets go out and reintroduce you into the world David! I hear the Leaky Riverbed has a new serving girl, eh?"
"Does it now?"
"So I hear," Hammond replied with a wink, "though I wouldn’t know myself." Then, with the laughter of young boys, the two men left the healer's halls for the merchant quarter.