It should have never come to this. We only learn of our mistakes and mistakes of ones before us when it’s too late.
Mistress Alyss was anxious. She had this ominous premonition that something bad will happen to Eric of the Cross. Her relationship with the knight wasn’t as before the affair with count Vilmos, but she cared for him deeply anyway. We couldn’t find him in the monastery, so we went to Vienna. He was nowhere to be seen.
Driven by my Master sister’s feeling of incoming disaster, we went back to the monastery only to see it burning. Yes, stone building was set aflame. We rushed to the courtyard. Luckily monks have already left their cells and gathered outside. Their struggle to put down the fire was pointless, as it was caused by magic. Among the monks we’ve noticed Marylyn. She was at her limits, healing wounded ones and organising help. She and brother Otto, who appeared out of nowhere, explained everything to us.
When Eric came back from the Holy Land, he brought a gift. A book, taken from the Assamites. Now they came back for their belongings and for justice. Marius couldn’t accept it, he couldn’t forfeit life of his friend and student. He took his sword and stormed our, saying he will end it for good or bad.
Mistress Alyss was terrified. We decided to find him and prevent it… but it turned out there are three paths from here into the woods, to which my Master has supposedly went. So we split. Mistress Alyss followed one way, I picked another, accompanied by Riina and Marcus.
It was a mistake. We were led astray by someone who turned out to be an apprentice of the Assamite assasin, sent to recover the book. We have lost hours on tracking him. He was blatantly honest with his intentions. He wanted to stall and possibly kill us.
It was a difficult meeting. He was a fanatic, his was driven by faith, but his mind was poisoned. He couldn’t ssee beyond lessons told by his Master. He couldn’t grow or make positive impact unless the cage in which he locked his thoughts was broken. I managed to lay a foundation for it…. but it will take ages. In a way I proved him that us, westeners, aren’t exactly as he thought we were.
I offered him a game of chess. I put our lifes on the scale and he put location of his Master. I should have never risked lifes of my companions. The pressure of that decison was too much for me to bear… and I lost. In that instant the Assamite dissapeared. I prepared myself for his strike. His dagger pierced my throat but my body was already that of a dead. I felt nothing, no pain, no grief, no fear. Riina wanted to fight with him fair and square, until death. Her joyful approach to killing always upset me, but I had more pressing matters right now. There were lifes on the line and I couldn’t let the apprentice to delay me further. I left her to fight him and went back to the monastery.
Our search has proven to be ineffective and so did Mistress Alyss’. Our effort was futile. All we could do was to rebuild the library and help monks.
Next evening we have found Eric of the Cross. He was caught, restrained and left for dawn to find him. Marius did not return. He has fallen in a duel with Assamite. That way Caspar has lost his brother, I lost my mentor and Alyss lost both her brother and her lover.
Only when it’s too late we learn of our mistakes and the truth about the ones we hold dear. Abbot Marius, my Clan elder, teacher and protector, was a warrior who bowed before the cross and left his sword behind. He turned into a teacher, master of Road of Heaven and as such, became famous once again. Instead of protecting people from harm, he started to teach them how not to harm themselves.
But that was too much for me. I couldn’t stay in Vienna. I was shocked by a difference between Marius and the Apprentice. One who was master of the Road, the other misguided fanatic. When I saw what faith can do to a man without strong conscience, I understood there is a lot for me to learn. I left the Road of Heaven. I looked for something more universal, yet I didn’t forsake my God. I’ve also dedicated myself to the work of Marius and of Eric. I wanted to be a teacher and a knight. I left the benedictine order and sworn an oath of knight hospitalier.
Alyss heart got poisoned by grief. She lost everyone she cared for. I followed her, but I didn’t seek revenge, as she did. I wanted understanding and forgiveness. We travelled Europe far and wide, looking for traces and pieces of information. It took us years to find the killer of Marius and Eric… and it turned out it’s someone too powerful for us. Alyss couldn’t stand it. She has welcomed the sun. I lost yet another teacher.
It should have never come to this.
Brother Joachim of VIenna, now Sir Joachim of Altheim