The Mural on the Wall
The Last Moments of Avowed Brother Callidis
Adorned Brother Callidis Beurn shielded his eyes against the bright winter sun with the flat of his hand as he dried the parlor with a grey towel. He found it amusingly strange that the commoners entering the Church would immediately remove scarves and head gear yet forget to wipe their feet. On snowy days such as this, a greater part of his duties would entail nothing more than mopping up melted snow. A simple cantrip or enchantment would keep the marble tiles safe and set him free to attend to the masses of poor who sought shelter at this time of year; yet, Illmatari Heulay considered menial work necessary to developing ‘enduring character.’ Baeurn wasn’t one to argue with a superior, but he had envisioned a far more proactive approach to easing to the suffering of the Baldur’s Gate when shrouded six years ago. Disease, poverty, covens of Loviatar, yet every winter to the date, he was found here on his hands and knees cleaning after absentminded parishioners.
Callidis pushed the towel away and rose up on his knees, offering his back relief. Such minor aches were thought by some to expand the depths of compassion and suffering, and in doing so, to bring one closer to Ilmater. No doubt, Heulay concurred. A man well into his eighties, the old Painbearer was cut from a different cloth then the newer clerics and priests that frequented the temple. A single tattooed teardrop adorned Heulay’s left eye in the old style and beneath his grey robs hung a shirt of ancient hair. Some quietly whispered that Huelay’s attention to archaic practices and his experiments aimed at expanding compassion bordered on masochism. Regardless, Callidis felt only respect for the desiccated priest and the countless lives he helped rid of unnecessary suffering. He only wished someday the church would find such use for him.
A loud, haunting knock echoing throughout the front rooms of the Church of the Golden Cup awoke Callidis from his reverie. The cast-iron choker, a relic from years past when the doors were shut during wartimes, hadn’t been used in an official capacity for many moons, and only then during planned visits by touring nobles. Even in winter, the Golden Cup’s doors were kept ajar, welcoming the cold and hungry to partake of the inviting warmth. Clearly, the slim, athletic figure who stood waiting and silhouetted in the far doorway wished to not only announce his presence but to be attended.
Curious, Callidis stood and watched as the heavy ringing summoned Avowed Brother Moroc. Callidis’ eyesight adjusted as the two figures exchanged words, allowing him to discern the stranger as a bizarrely clad elf with a bright green tattoo on the right side of his face. Callidis looked on, noticing Moroc shake his head in confusion before being violently shoved by the feral-looking elf. Callidis gasped in alarm, but Moroc waved his hand, downplaying the interaction. “I’m sorry if there’s been a misunderstanding,” Callidis heard his brother say, “But I….”
Callidis’ blood chilled a second before the back of Moroc’s tunic exploded in a flash of crimson. With incredible speed, the elf had unfurled a collapsible spear hidden beneath a cloak to skewer the middle-aged priest in a single motion. Shocked, Callidis had neither the time to scream or protect himself as the elf closed the distance in three exaggerated strides. Slowly and methodically, the elf rested the deadly weapon on his forearm and pushed its point inches from Callidis’ eyes.
“I’m not fond of repeating myself, so I’ll ask but once. Where is the Reliquary of St. Eulus?”
Callidis swallowed hard and shook his head. He didn’t know, and if he did, he wished he would have the courage to answer the same. Despite the obvious peril, Callidis couldn’t help but stare at the strange markings marring the elf’s otherwise beautiful face. Serpents binding a faceless human; the mark of yaun-ti slavers.
“Like your master,” the elf began, having followed the path of the young priest’s eyes, “I too know much of shackles. I prayed to him,” the elf soothingly cooed, “But it was someone else who answered.”
As the spear darted forward, Callidis was surprised to feel absolutely no fear. There simply wasn’t time. As the point pierced his skull, Avowed Brother Callidis, after six years of service, went to meet his god.