Deacon Maxwell’s office is located just adjacent to the library, where three other deacons besides himself handle demon subjugation requests under supervision of Priest Jonas. After bidding Trisha farewell, I made my way down the hallway and waited in the antechamber of the briefing room used by the four deacons. I appear to be the first one here, so I take my time to read a few lines of scripture from a copy of their holy book sitting on the end table. Most of it is drivel about being good to the church, or how Morris will heal all with appropriate donations, but a passage I came across interests me.
“From the lifeblood of the great titan, Chaos, sprung forth the god of health from the open and warm heart. From the stomach of the great titan, Chaos, sprung forth the god of war from the pit of acid and tribulation. From the grey matter of the brain of the great titan, Chaos, sprung forth the god of magic from the seat of knowledge. The essence of this titan burn in unison, and forever more should be separated from each other thanks to our great lords whom have brought prosperity, peace, and life unto our world.”
I set down the book and think to myself a bit about what it means by “should”. And who is Chaos? My mind begins to wander back to my game, but as it turns out, this entire church is a deviation from what I had originally programmed. The churches were just supposed to be churches, though with offerings of specific items and money, you would be granted with perks and items in return. Finding them in this world to be as influential and powerful as a nation of their own was never my intention. Before I could ask or answer any of my own questions, a muscle-bound man wearing leather armor with short, navy blue hair enters the room.
“Hello, are you waiting to see the good deacon as well?” his voice is eloquent and friendly, greatly different from what I had originally thought it would be. He seems like the kind of fellow that would go easy on people that are mugging him.
“A-ah, yes. I was summoned here after my magic studies. This is the first time I have been called by anyone for anything other than study.”
“And you’re being summoned by Maxwell and not by one of the others? You must have some real talent if Maxwell is calling you for a job!” He smiles widely at me and puts his open palm out to me. “My name Is Jonathan, pleased to meet you!”
“Jonathan, huh? My name is Red. The pleasure is all mine.” The moment I grab his hand, a tingling sensation is felt creeping up my hand and arm. It’s not painful in any way, but the sensation causes me to pull my hand back in surprise.
“W-what was that?”
Jonathan smiles, and then scratches his head. “Oh, sorry about that, that’s the enchantment I had tattooed onto my arms using [Circlecraft], the effect is of [Sunlight’s Sword] of our church.” He unbuttons the cuffs of his arms to reveal two complex magic circles tattooed onto each arm. The glyphs surrounding each circle faintly glow with mana in different colors, while the middle of each circle glows in a dim yellow. [Sunlight’s Sword] is an enchantment that channels mana into [Health Magic] and infuses it into weapons. The effect can heal your allies or damage your opponents, so it’s a widely used enchantment for soldiers of the church, but to think this guy had it tattooed onto himself to give him the constant effect… what talent!
“Amazing…” I say aloud to myself, accidentally.
Jonathan smiles at me again. “Thank you, but for your first job to come from Maxwell, you must be even more of an amazing person!” He sits down and I follow suit, and we begin to talk for a brief time about who we are and our backgrounds. It turns out that he knew of James and Lyn through his father, a retired paladin and nobleman, and from rumors around the church. Jonathan, himself, is a bastard and joined the church at a very early age to gain reputation for his father to finally acknowledge him. He managed to become a paladin’s apprentice at the age of thirteen, and finally a full-fledged paladin at twenty-two, making him the record-holder for the youngest person to ever become one. He didn’t know much about James and Lyn, though, only though stories of how the two weren’t very sneaky with their love for each other. I didn’t catch onto whether or not they had a thing for each other, but maybe it was a circumstance of ‘time and place’. Oh well.
Shortly after telling him about my story, he had a somber look on his face and shook his head.
“How horrifying.” After he said that, like on cue, an older man with fading brown hair wearing a white robe with black lines streaking downwards opened the door.
“Welcome, both of you. We have much to discuss.” What Trisha said was true… Deacon Maxwell is looking rather haggard. Maxwell steps aside for Jonathan and me to move past him, when suddenly my eyes fall on someone whom I haven’t seen for nearly two weeks.
“Marion!” I nearly yell while calling for her as she bolt up from the chair, rushing to hug me. With a running start, she jumps into me and knocks the hat off my head.
Marion looks up from my stomach with watery eyes and a smile. “It’s been a while, huh? Who would have thought your first job would be with me?”
I pat her head and smile back to her. “I thought you were going through therapy still?”
Maxwell clears his throat and begins talking. “Ah, actually, we decided that it would be best to let her go back out with someone she knows. Some people develop a strange illness of the mind when exposed to a stressful situation then step away from it for a while, making them fear anything relating to it. We find it best to ease them back into what’s normal, and since you seem to be a comfort for her, we decided to pair you up on your first mission.”
Huh, it sounds an awful lot like PTSD… I had read a lot about it online when someone was arguing with me about how soldiers coming back to their home were faking it. He was being an asshole about the entire situation until I had pulled up several articles about it, then he said he was pretending to be an asshole, saying how much he ‘trolled’ me. God-damned newfa- forget it... All that matters about that is Marion’s recovery.
I wrap my arms around Marion, giving her a big hug. “I’m glad to see you’re doing better.”
“Yeah, Deacon Maxwell and Deacon Diego both said that it would be good for me, I’m just glad you’re gonna be part of my recovery. I missed you a bunch!”
After Marion and I separate and grabbing my fallen hat, we sit down with a smiling Jonathan staring at both of us. Maxwell stands at the end of the table, opposite Marion, Jonathan, and I, and pulls out a small book from his chest pocket.
“I have called you all here today to perform a task for the church of the [Health God]. This will be your first mission as a group, and it will be Red’s very first mission for the church… But because of each of your aptitude, I am assigning you a rank C+ request.” Maxwell closes the book in his hand after he finishes reading to himself. “You will be crossing the [Gerar Plains] to the west to clear an abandoned fortress of petty demons. There have been reports and sightings of a lesser demon in the area. This may be the alpha of the bunch, so be weary.”
“What rank is a greater demon?” Sometimes my curiosity gets the better of myself, a bit too late to think about as I blurted that question out, I suppose.
Maxwell scratches his goatee and sighs. “If you’re wondering why you aren’t getting to fight something like what James and Lyn fought, it’s because you guys, frankly, aren’t ready for it. James was Paladin under the [Order of the Blue Cross], and Lyn was the ex- leader of the town of bandits ,[Purplestone] , before her and her town were attacked by a black dragon. Give it a few years, Red.” Maxwell cleared his throat and sighed again. “Anyways, head to the armory to collect rations, equipment, and your itinerary for the quest. Make sure to say farewell to anyone you might want to and pack any personal belongings of interest beforehand, as you will be heading out first thing in the morning. The trip, from what I am told, will last about a month.” After he says this, Maxwell coughs and looks at each one of us. “Any questions?”
The three of us look at each other after Maxwell asks us, and shake our heads.
Maxwell walks to the door, opening it and stepping aside. “Good luck then. You’re dismissed.”
- Northern California
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Not much to say... born and raised in California. Age 28. I'm a fan of painting, sculpting, drawing, and writing. My favorite food is udon or pizza. I like cats and dwarf hamsters, but dogs are cool too. Bugs freak me out. I have a son of 5 years old. I havent played any video games recently, but I'm a fan of Minecraft, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2.