Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Summary: Ri'za-in makes his way to Nragser.
Notes: Lightning - Because it's always raining in my world.
Lightning flickered through the sky again as the man passed through the high iron gates that marked the beginning of the passage to Nragser.
He looked up, wondering if it was an omen. Still, as long as he clung to his resolve, he would keep walking. Even if no one but himself knew it, he had an appointment with Dayn.
No one spoke of the ritual that needed to be performed in order to be blessed with immortality, yet somehow word of it still managed to sneak around. It was the sort of thing that was snickered about in the barns and bars of Agassia, the sort of thing mocked as an adolescent and joked about years later.
The thing was, no one knew if it was true or not. No one would ever verify it, especially not an immortal. Any time one was asked, they either claimed to not remember the proceedings or that it was a sacred ritual and could not be spoken of. And since all of them said it with a completely straight face, most doubted the rumours were true.
The man kept walking, hoping he would reach the city before any rain fell.
There was no one along the path through the canyon. His only company were the high jagged cliffs that kept anything or anyone unwanted from entering the sacred city. A dark bird circled overhead twice but then flew off, uninterested in the man.
He didn't think until later that no normal bird would be out flying over barren land with the thread of rain hanging heavy in the air.
The passage to the city was not especially long, and the man felt confident just that he'd made it as far as he had. The city had powerful magic barriers around it and just by walking effortlessly through them was an accomplishment. He was barely a mage. Despite a decade of training, he had mastered little and while he understood the basics, he found himself unable to get the results he desired.
His wish for immortality was both selfish and selfless at the same time. He wished to be able to live forever so he could both hone his own skills and then teach others in the same prediciment. He, himself, had already been through a half-dozen teachers, each one growing frustrated with his aptitude for magic somehow not producing more than parlor tricks. They were all used to young priest or priestess types who were set in their paths and could harness their strengths almost by instinct.
Lightning again lit up the sky as the man walked out of the canyon and into the city.
The man paused, looking at the town before him. He wasn't sure quite what he'd expected, whether it was floating houses or streets lined with priestesses. However Nragser looked like any other city at first. There were stone buildings, shops, houses, restaurants lined up as neat city blocks. Blooming trees spotted the scene, and a few people stood around talking. No one even turned to look at the man as he walked through the heart of the city on his way to the far end, where a castle stood against the mountainside.
Dayn, the man knew, was the god of immortality, the god of life. He was no deviant. He was pure, and surely the ceremony would be beautiful and full of meaning.
Lost in his thoughts, the man almost crashed into a pair of women exiting a shop. He nearly dropped his bag as he stammered out an apology. About the time he'd finished, he realized what the women were.
Yet again, neither paid him any heed as they continued on.
After regaining his composure, the man remembered that Nragser was the only place those who reaped the souls of the dead could appear and be seen outside of Daria's temple in the Northland. He knew they were simply priestesses too, and had to occasionally purchase material goods. Yet seeing them during the day dressed fully in their ritual costumes, it was almost overwhelming.
Sometimes he forgot that there was so much he didn't yet know. Every day on the trip to Nragser, his eyes had been opened just a little bit further and his horizons had been expanded. He wanted to learn all he could and teach others like him. He wanted to be worldy instead of naive. It wasn't so much to ask. But he knew he couldn't do what he wanted during the lifetime of a normal human.
A woman in a long black dress greeted the man as he started up the short road to Dayn's palace. Though he hadn't realized it at first, the palace was set apart from the town ever so slightly.
She had long, medium brown hair and was wearing a long black dress with a shimmering black cloak concealing much of her.
"Ri'za-in," the woman said, greeting him with his formal name as she held out her hand. "Come with me. Dayn is already expecting you. Your request will be heard immediately."
The man stepped back, a little unsure all of a sudden.
"How do you know me?" the man asked, wondering exactly who and what the woman was. Surely one of Dayn's daughters wouldn't be greeting people on the street.
"I saw you coming through the canyon," the woman explained, "so I asked Sister Star for your name."
"Then you are..."
"Mere," the woman said, smiling. "Now you must come, as Dayn is not one who likes to wait."
The man just nodded as the woman turned and gestured for him to follow her into the palace.
Lightning flickered through the sky again, yet no one in Nragser even noticed.
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