Chapter Twenty Three

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After the pain of the kick subsided that morning, I crawled out of bed and threw on my boots. I darted out into the hallway only to realize that I had no idea where the boneyard was located, or what it was for that matter. I began walking aimlessly when I ran into a small boy that could have been no more than ten. He had red hair and a narrow, pointy nose. His eyes were beads that were slightly too close together and he seemed curious as to why I had bumped into him.

"My apologies," was all I had to offer the young boy.

He eyed me for a flash before finally smiling. "You are the one everyone is talking about, right?" He did not wait for me to answer. "Gods be good, I never thought I would be standing face to face with real life royalty!"

I almost frowned at his puerile nature. "I am not royalty. What I am is late."

His eyebrows cocked slightly as he thought about my words. "You are new... so, the boneyard!" His eyes lit up and he started moving down the hall. "Follow me, prince, follow me."

Reluctantly, I followed the red boy through passages I did not know yet; until the hall finally opened into the large chamber that Exim had treated me so well in earlier. The ceiling was so high that I was not even sure that there was one. The floor was soft, padded, and as I entered the room I crouched down and felt it with my hands.

"It is not grass, though it resembles it." The boy said matter-of-factly. "It is a strange moss, or so they say. It grows only here, in the crypts. They say the bones turn to dust, and the dust turns to moss. We never truly die. Even our bodies continue to live... one way or another."

I was surprised by the astute nature of the boy. "Who are you?"

"I am Terse Pyre, but everyone calls me Red."

"Pyre, as in the son of Lord Racyn Pyre?"

The boy looked around warily. "Aye, my father."

"Why are you here then, son of Pyre?"

He scratched his nose. It was clear that he disliked talking about his past. "I would rather not speak of it, if it pleases you, my lord."

"I am no lord, nor am I a prince for that matter." I did not want to push the matter any farther, despite the oddity that was a northern boy of noble birth being an acolyte of the Sieltacor. Though, from what I had learned of Lord Racyn-the Sea Serpent-the Guardian of Marwyn was anything but orthodox. "What am I to do here?" I motioned to the large moss covered room.

The boy only smiled. "Survive," was all he said before he disappeared from in front of me, leaving me alone in the gray, unlit room.

I decided that I should find the reason for my being summoned into the strange room, so I stepped in and tried to push away all of my doubts. It was even bigger than I first thought. The cool moss squished under my toes, and I wondered how much purchase one could gain on such tender footing.

It was then that I heard voices.

They were quiet, muffled, as if I was hearing them through a wall. In the bleak gray in front of me it was hard to make out anything, but what emerged in front of me seemed like a mountain until I finally realized that it was simply a large bush. As I glanced around, I noticed that there were many like it.

The voices emanated from the other side of the large bush in front of me, so I pushed through a small opening and stepped out into a clearing that seemed to be lost in the middle of the foliage.

At least twenty sets of eyes greeted me. A man in the notorious black threadbare cloak of a Master turned to me. His eyes betrayed no emotions, but I could sense that he was perturbed at my tardiness. "How kind of you to join us, Kareth." He turned back to what I could only assume was the class I was meant to be in. "I am sure you all know who Kareth was. I want you all to remember that your past lives are lost once you enter the Sieltacor." He pointed at me. "Forget what you have heard. Acolytes serve one purpose, and one purpose only."

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