TKoT Vol. 3: Chains of the Heart

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4: Lincoln

Lincoln G’nisleh walked the garden of the old church. This out of the way outpost of Bhuul let the true believers worship in the piece, as their ways were not all that was tolerated in the city of Cormanworth. The temple was old to start with and had been repurposed by Bhuul himself centuries ago. It once was a place of vile evil dedicated to one of the fallen Demon Lords of old. The square single-story building has a strong foundation made of stone with a brown tiled clay roof. Most of the important rooms were buried underground. The temple had a large fenced holy border, an area of sanctified holy ground around the temple that held a cemetery and mausoleum for the faithful.

Lincoln wore his late-night work robes, just his orange robes with a brown hood. His holy symbol that of an iron circled ax hung loosely from his neck. He had a few gardening tools as well. Lincoln enjoyed these nightly walks, the light from his lantern illuminating the darkness around him. The sound of the animals at night brought him peace, and he was usually alone.

He moved out to the garden, where the dark blue midnight roses are blooming. These unique flowers held a bit of magic themselves; the roses only bloom in the darkness of night. He inspected other small plants, weeded out the ones that he found undesirable. Cull the unwanted and useless this was also part of the church’s creed as well.

Lincoln would walk the perimeter of the protective fence. The stone wall doubled as a weapon as is. The wall had cold iron tipped spikes protruding out of the top. Some of these could be easily pulled out and used as a weapon if need be. Part of his nightly duties is to inspect the protective wards that prevented both demons and undead from entering the sacred place. The wards and sigils are inscribed into two stone tombstones, each within five feet of each other, facing opposite directions. If one were to break or be broken from range, the other would still be in place.

He would look over the small spiked stone wall and see the glowing red eyes of small demons that the night brought to the wilderness of Cormanworth. Most of these demons were small imps or another minor form of demonic creature. Lincoln knew that his place was watched from a distance; darkness always was repulsed by the light. Bhuul brought light to the darkness; his ways are pure and devoid of sin.

These nights recently had been different; he felt a great weight on his heart. The news from West Bale, the main temple of Bhuul on the Earth Sphere of Zeran, was destroyed by the resurrection of a Demon Lord of Ka’Azalin. The reports had been filtering in, that this darkness had moved to Floaston and settled into the great labyrinth. This weighed on his heart, for such evil to be rereleased on this already broken world.

Demons roamed in such high numbers in the Low Realms, and even a fair number of the soul-crushing servants of evil had a nearly unbreakable stronghold right in the center of Mount Zeran in a city called Negroth. Many campaigns had been waged from the south slopes of the mighty mountain. All have failed; the demons and undead controlling the area work with the humans that inhabit the region. These misguided souls would rather be free to damn themselves for all eternity than embrace Bhuul’s somber purity.

His inspection was complete; he displayed his satisfaction with a wipe on his brow. He watched a set of ember glowing eyes make their way to him. His lantern slowly lit the sublimed form of the demoness as she worked her way closer. He knew this demon; she was an adversary of his, one he had been hunting for years. She has been able to keep one step ahead of his Purifiers each time they found her lair abandoned and moved. Her spies told her when he was out and about at night. Her blue horns, black feathery wings, told him the mockery of an angel was Heather, the Night Queen.

He smiled; he knew he was not going to capture her tonight. “Come to have your sins finally purged? Step into the circle of purification, and I will be happy to save what's left of that charred ember you call a soul.” He set the lantern down, grabbed his holy symbol, and readied himself for combat.

Heather stopped short of the wards; she knew better than to enter the trap that was his temple. “Not tonight, but I have something that might interest you.” She placed her hands on her savory hips and folded her wings behind her back. Her tail twitched side to side.

“You only come here when you want me to kill a demon for you. One, you think you can not punish yourself.” He smiled; it’s not the first time she had been here. One day, he would capture her in his devil trap and let Bhuuls purify fire burn her remaining soul to embers before sending it back to hell.

Heather fanged smile, “You know me all too well, my old friend.”

“No righteous man can a demons friend. You bring nothing but suffering to the living, torment to the damnd. You are a whore that desires the flesh of man.” He was one of the Bhuul’s faithful; his resolve was pure. He enjoyed these little moments where he got to lecture a demon. “Submit to Bhuuls purification, and your sins can be forgiven; you will have the chance to start anew.”

“No, being reduced to ash by holy fire is not purification. Oh, but let me tell you about this new demon. She is corrupting those around her, and she is not hiding. She is an ample target for your cursed Purifiers. Oh, and even better yet, she works with Oliver Martin as one of his Dark Arts Division members.”

Lincoln did not like Master Martin’s team; they did their purges without purifying the soul first before banishing the wretched soul back to the hell realm it spawned from. Lincoln had to admit Master Martin’s team did get results. His sins did catch up with him when he fell prey to Heather, he apparently gained his freedom, and the Priests of Toluene purified Oliver from Heather’s taint.

“She goes by the name Andrea Wellington; also, this might interest you. She says her demon name is The Demon Sorcerer Ka’Azalin.”

Lincoln paused; he knew that name. That is the name of the Demon Lord, who was resurrected. The Church of Bhuul had been circulating information about the demon.

Heather continued twisting her words, “This demon is a succubus, and there is a high chance that she is just lying about who she really is, but if she is Ka’Azalin. You would have so much to gain. She is not all that strong but gaining strength daily. You have a window of opportunity.”

She took a few steps back; her body burst into a red flame and disappeared, leaving only the smell of brimstone and sulfur. She teleported away to somewhere.

This time, he felt that he would keep an eye on this newcomer; sometimes, letting evil consume its own tail is also in Bhuul’s teaching. Also, vetting anything the she-devil had to tell him was important; never take a succubus at her word. If Master Martin were still endangering this community's lives by continuing to deal with demons, he would have to be dealt with.

Lincoln continued to walk around the ground of the temple, once again checking the protective headstone wards. Satisfied that the Night Queen was not here trying to do something else. He headed back into the church,

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