The Path Ahead

Rain fell in steady, rhythmic drops that plopped flat and heavy on the muddy road.  Janne did her best to sidestep the gaping holes in the path left behind by Valgard’s horse.  She wondered for a moment if the rain was simply reflecting the Archbishop’s mood; he hadn’t spoken two words since their encounter with Rorik.

She couldn’t blame him for that, she realized.  What had happened there?  Had the Archbishop really tried to strike down his own son?  And if all of that had happened, why didn’t the sword harm Rorik?  None of it made any sense.

“Milady?”  Asgeir’s voice dragged Janne out of her thoughts.  She looked over to the page, wiping drenched scarlet hair out of her eyes.  “Do you know where we’re heading?”

Janne’s brow furrowed.  “Of course.  We’re going back home.”

“It’s not so simple as that, milady.”  Asgeir shuffled the pack on his shoulders, clearly uncomfortable.  “We’re going to see her.”

Janne thought a moment, then nodded.  “Rorik mentioned someone, but I didn’t know who he was talking about.”

“There is someone who stays at the Cathedral of the First Oath.  She has not left in years, and she is not spoken of to those outside the church.”  Asgeir looked down the road for a long moment, heaving a heavy sigh.  “She sees.  God has sworn an oath with her, and he shows her what will come to pass.”

“What?”  Janne stumbled over her own feet.  “Like the prophets?”

Asgeir nodded.  “All she says is true.  It has destroyed her to share this, but she acts as God commands.  It is her that the Archbishop is going to see.”

“That’s amazing,” Janne breathed.  “Why haven’t the people been told about her?”

“The Church fears a riot if she were to speak freely.  Can you imagine if she foretold some plague or disaster?”  Asgeir shook his head.  “It is for the Church to control such things, not the people.  That is not important now, however.”

Janne frowned.  “What do you mean?”

Asgeir sighed.  “Milady, I told you that she is not spoken of to those outside the church.  You did not know of her.”

“I…”  Janne faltered, pausing in her steps.

“Don’t bother running.  I’m sure His Grace already knows; I’d imagine that if you were a man, he’d simply have passed judgment back at the Reach.”

She nodded numbly, her gaze dropping to the road in front of her.  “Rorik said he knew.  That was what he meant.”

They continued to walk on in silence for a few moments, rain splashing around them.  Finally, Janne spoke quietly.

“He’s going to kill me.”

“I felt you deserved to know, milady.  No one should face judgment blindly.”

“Thank you, Asgeir.”

Asgeir nodded quietly.  Ahead of them, Valgard stoically rode on.

3 thoughts on “The Path Ahead

  1. She’s… outside the church? I assume that doesn’t mean she’s a layperson, but a faker? A hypocrite, of at least this church? Hm. Is this a new development as you write serially, or is this something that had been planned for a while?

  2. …Somehow I don’t think this plotline (Janne’s) is done.
    I sense another twist coming when we meet this prophetess.

    Looking forward to it 🙂

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