Two years had passed since Timothy Durston graduated as an official Cleric of the Realm. And while most would argue two years working the field was hardly enough experience, family connections and politics saw to his steadfast career advancement. Even if the promotion was premature, true talent and ability left their mark on the young man, so it was with great excitement Durston made his way to the Cleric’s Temple.
In all the realm there was no more fantastically found place as the temple. Along with structures carved with the creamiest marble, empowered by the strongest seals, decorated with the detail of true artistry, and surrounded by spectacular gardens; the Cleric’s Temple collected and housed all of the realm’s magic within its walls. It was here their great nation marked as its center, and in all aspects it truly was; geographically, spiritually, financially, governing, magically, and militarily.
The grounds themselves occupied a hill, lifted above the main city overlooking The Capital. Intricate pathways, mazes, and gardens filled the spaces in-between six buildings circling the central Tower of the Clerics. At its focal point the tower was capable of harnessing the abundant energy within the realm’s borders in extreme emergencies, or draining rituals. Purposely formed as a fair size summoning circle, the Cleric’s Temple set the example of the meticulous layout of every major city within the Circles of the Realm.
Durston kept his eyes leveled as he made his way among the flowerbeds, doing his best not to look the part of an impressed sightseer. Even though he knew his final destination would be connected with the institutional part of the temple, Durston was still forced to inform his superiors of his arrival at one of the sub-buildings that dealt with assignments and housing. There of course was also the Alchemist Lab, Healer’s Ward, Caster’s Keep, Fighter’s Barracks, Tamer’s Kennels and Tower of Clerics; all of which made up the temple.
A smile found its way on the young man’s face, eliciting an aura of charm, as the thrill of finally being back in this domain of comfort settled into reality. Reaching his destination, Durston let himself into the small two-story enclosure. Before him sat a mature woman behind a heavily oiled desk.
“Oh, if it isn’t the notorious Lord Durston’s youngest son. I heard you were making an early return to the Capital.” Standing upon his entrance, the woman bowed in respect.
Giving a light chuckle, Timothy changed his smile to a full face grin. “Aunt Priya, it is good to see you. And how dare you bow as if welcoming a stranger.”
“Yes, well, my nephew may as well be a stranger. Imagine, failing to informing the family of his most recent promotion. Do you realize we had to find out from the temple, and only because they were asking if you were going to stay in the dorms or with the Lord. Honestly, it made planning a party a bit rushed.”
A slow feeling of unease made its way to the creases of Durston’s eyes. “What did my father say about the housing arrangements?”
“Your father was a youth once you know. He instructed the temple that as an independent adult you were in need of privacy as befitting your station.” She placed a motherly hand on his arm. “Your father isn’t a tyrant Timothy.”
True to his aunt’s words and his father’s decision not to further interfere, at least on this matter, Timothy Durston was given a small but single residential room. The Cleric’s themselves didn’t monitor the running of the dorms in which they used to house those stationed within the Capital, instead choosing to contract a third party in the city. By only placing high ranking officials within the temple’s walls, the grounds were kept from the cluttering of additional architecture. Further separation from home and work also added to a more respected and professional atmosphere in the day-to-day running.
A week’s time passed since Durston’s arrival to the Capital, his dorm life shared with the residents of 28 other Clerics. Though being assigned to the temple, Durston was still considered green with a low rank position, hence over an hour of his day was spent traveling between the two. Ambitious faces hidden behind smiles greeted him regularly, consequences of a powerful and respected father. These social ambushes were something Timothy grew up with and trained to tolerate.
Today was no different from the day prior as Durston made his way through the throng of people going about their tasks; his newly appointed mauve vestment giving no standing of awe amongst the locals desensitized to the common occurrence of Clerics amidst them. But once he passed the temple’s gates, leaving the hustle behind, Durston noticed a different and tense atmosphere.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Timothy asked a passing acquaintance.
The man stopped, a bit dazed from Durston suddenly blocking his way. “Not sure myself. It started just after twilight. The High Council is calling an emergency meeting.”
“The High Council? It’s that serious then. Any idea what it could be about. Have we been attacked?”
“From the gossip I hear, we may have been. All Clerics in attendance within the Capital are being summoned. I suggest we head to the tower now.”
The two began making their way towards the gathering crowd, speculating what the cause could be. “I heard Lord Raneer arrived sometime during the night and that he called the meeting. You haven’t heard anything from you father?”
Timothy Durston gave his companion a quick look before facing away. “I’m not staying with my family but in the dorms down in Conyer’s Court.”
Giving a small word of surprise, silence enveloped the pair as they reached their destination. The Tower of Clerics was ardently designed to command admiration from those lucky enough to lay eyes upon it. However, today no one stopped to show their respect or regard for the history and mastery, but instead anxiously made their way inside to the auditorium.
A silent hush fell over the room as a middle-age woman with golden-tresses cascading down her back made way to the center of the group. Pausing long enough for the weight of her gaze to make its way around the room, she addressed her audience.
“Under normal circumstances and formality the majority of you wouldn’t have the honor of being here, or within my presence. But recent events have made us forgo the usual procedures and call upon you today. For those unaware, I am Lady Au’Lira, a Grand Wyvern and currently in charge of this situation.”
Noisy whispers filled the room, friends and comrades turning to one another in excitement and worry. “It has come to our attention from Lord Raneer, an unsanctioned party has risen in the shadows of an outer city, Cyphorica. The patterns of history are not new to me, and so typically this group would go unmentioned to many of you, being dispatched quickly and soon forgotten.
“However, the limited intelligence that has been obtained shows us this beast has teeth, a wide stretch and already trained users in the art of magic.” Gasps rendered Au’Lira momentarily quiet. “Yes. That fear unites us all here now. Further details and announcements will be made through section leaders, but for now I asked you all to attend because I must request your assistance.”
Durston produced an audible gulp as those wyvern eyes landed on him.