Book 3, Chapter 25

Dedication(3)

The Direwolf Duke was badly injured in the war against the Whiterock Dukedom. It would be near impossible for him to obtain even one more draconic skeleton, forget three.

Given Richard’s current rate of progress and some luck, he would become a duke within a decade. That would naturally give him the wherewithal to obtain enough offerings. However, he was impatient.

Flowsand sighed slightly, two scenes playing out before her eyes. Legendary mage Sharon, floating about in an endless void. Barbarian girl Mountainsea, charging towards an entire army with gusto. Richard had originally seen these visions during their last sacrificial ceremony through the power of time. When he agreed to tell her, he didn’t have to speak a word himself; she had been able to witness them herself through a resonance of the power of time.

Flowsand was unusually bitter about the images that had unveiled themselves. She’d originally thought of moving on after a single look, but she had seen more than she wanted to.

The broken visions in his head were far clearer to her. There was a third vision, one of a raging war set against a beautiful, starry sky. Enemies of various shapes and sizes were flowing out of the void, and despite Richard’s best attempts to resist with his army, there were just too many. His men fell one after the other, leaving him alone. He met his own ultimate end, ganged up on by a dozen enemies who were stronger than him. His eyes were filled with regret and wrath.

If only… If only he had more power; the situation could be avoided completely.

Flowsand had also seen a vision of herself. Miles and miles away, she was in the midst of a grand coronation. A simple crown was rested on her forehead, giving her the power of a pope. She would soon have the authority to order the Church into secular wars. However, the war that had started from the revelation of a truename had already come to an end.

‘If I become stronger… Will I be able to change the future?’ she asked herself.

A young girl sighed lightly, wiping all images from her mind and walking back to her room. She had already expected this outcome, but she had refused to be convinced just yet.

Their gruelling experiences on this unknown plane would end the moment they returned to Norland. Richard was the most promising youth in the Archeron Family, destined to foray into countless planes. She would remain one of the best priestesses of the Eternal Dragon. Their paths were destined to diverge.

Flowsand returned to her room, closing the door carefully and setting up a divine barrier that could also block auras. If Richard came looking, he would know that she was doing something important and thus wait for her to finish before he returned.

There would be no problems if someone witnessed her upcoming ritual. However, she did not want Richard to look on; if he got to know, it would most certainly be interrupted.

She placed the Book of Time on a modest altar, opening it to a specific page and starting a chant. The book oozed a divine lustre the next moment, mysterious runes surfacing on the blank pages. A simple, desolate platform of light was built in the air, allowing one to place offerings down.

Flowsand hesitated for a moment, but she eventually stretched her hand and rested it on the altar. Her voice was soft yet resolute, “I, Daybreak Flowsand, hereby pledge my life to the noble Dragon of Eternity and Light. The Church of the Eternal Dragon shall forever be my home!”

An intense glow burst forth from the book the moment she finished the sentence, shining upon her. She grew translucent under the illumination of the divine light, the mark between her eyebrows suddenly throbbing with excruciating pain as it started to change. The power of time flooded into it, every line expanding as the rune grew more and more intricate. Golden threads of time crawled around Flowsand’s head, eventually wrapping around it completely.

This was the power of a vow made to a god. If Flowsand ever broke her oath, the divine power within would completely destroy her.

The powers of Flowsand’s title were enhanced with the influx of power. The accuracy of her appraisal was increased, while the cost of the Whisper of Time was dramatically reduced. The Lens of Time was empowered as well, now more effective against beings that were higher in level. She could now cast the spell on beings six levels higher while the duration was increased as well.

The strengthening of her title was one of the blessings she received in exchange for her life. An enormous amount of divine grace started to flood in from all directions, coagulating into a huge ball of time energy. All sorts of silhouettes flashed within, various blessings and gifts present in abundance.

This was a blessing for the devout, but the cost was huge. So huge, in fact, that it was unbearable.

On the surface, it seemed common for those of the clergy to pledge their life to their god. Flowsand’s relationship with Richard wouldn’t change much either; they could still do whatever they wanted. She could even continue to fight by his side in the myriad planes as long as there was no conflict with the Church. The only thing that changed was the destiny of her soul, of her very existence; she changed from someone next to Richard to a servant of the Eternal Dragon.

She felt a sudden pang in her heart as she watched the energy coagulating before her. It was so painful she couldn’t breathe, every strand of energy cutting deep wounds in her heart.

She did not know why things were this way, when things had changed. Their first encounter was in her carriage on the way to pick up some slaves. Her first thoughts of this young apprentice runemaster were that he was handsome and bright, but right after came his impoverished state; a characteristic of the Archerons. Someone preparing for planar war only had one soul contract and a pathetic amount of enslavement scrolls. He barely had two dozen soldiers, while all of her expenses were paid for by the Church.

Quietly, she had a change of heart.

Alas.

Flowsand sighed quietly, reaching out for the ball of divine grace. The ritual was complete, unalterable. Dedicating oneself to the Eternal Dragon was a modest and straightforward affair, lacking much flamboyance.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA