In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a grand market town, a cathedral stood. It's presence went by unnoticed, and the few visitors that came only sought solace. The stained windows were shrouded with dust and the angels that were depicted in the once glistening glass stared mournfully out at any passers by, just hoping for one quick glance in their direction. But it was never to be. The people of this land had all but ceased to believe in god, or any divine being for that matter. The drought had destroyed crops, families and lives. At first many had sworn that the rains would return in a year or so, but a century had passed and over two thirds of the kingdom had now been reduced to nothing but barren wastelands. If there was a god, he would have heard their desperate cries and relented. Instead their prayers had fallen on deaf ears.
Because this new civilization refused to follow any higher power it was not common for bandits to run wild, or outlaws to rule entire cities at a time. In fact it had become a part of every day life. The king sent out his troops to quell this upheaval and the people were marginally happy again. As happy as one could be when they were starving and choking on dust. But there was one man who was not so willing to surrender. Some said he was a gambler, others said he was a ladies man, in fact there was so many descriptions of him that it was difficult to piece together a clear idea of what you were dealing with. Thug, barbarian, desperado, revolutionary, thief... and the list went on. It was no wonder that he was beginning to command more attention. With a following of over one hundred men - and growing - it had been decided that something considerable needed to be done to put an end to this uprising. Something different.
"Sire, are you sure about this? After all, she is your daughter." The adviser hovered behind his king nervously, raising a gloved hand to cover his mouth as soon as the wind started to kick up again. Both of the men were buffeted by the dust that whooshed past, but the shorter and plumper man that was leading the way seemed not to be phased by the dirt. "That is why I have decided to let her go. Any men we send to negotiate with this man never return. I'd like to think that if they were confronted by a woman they would be more willing to hear her out."
A flock of chickens scattered as soon as the two men rounded the corner of a crumbling old building. They didn't regularly visit the slums but it was almost always the first place to look when they were searching for the woman in question. "Why not send another maiden? Someone more disposable..." At this the larger man chuckled and he merely shook his head, waving a hand at his follower. "Olivia is the only woman I would trust with such a task. You would find no one more sincere than her." The king appeared to be oblivious to the dubious look that his adviser gave him and the grin he wore on his round face only widened when the church came in sight.
The heavy wooden doors of the church groaned from misuse and as they parted light filtered in, illuminating the aisle bit by bit until a kneeling woman was revealed. Her head was bent in prayer, her hands clasped together and her mind elsewhere. A silver cross hung around her neck, the weight of the metal was a burden to bear but she refused to be seen without it. Her lips moved but no sound came, she knew that she would be heard regardless of the volume of her voice. Chocolate curls spilled over her shoulders, framing her porcelain skin. Her complexion differed to the peasants, due to the amount of time she spent inside the church or huddled over a book. The only time she ventured into the sun was when her people were in need. She was a renowned healer and the herbal remedies she concocted almost always cured any type of ailment. Many boasted that their sudden recovery was a miracle. It was the only possible explanation.
"Olivia, I have some news." The king interrupted softly, looking fondly down at his only daughter. She crossed herself before opening an eye inquisitively, a smile forming on her nude lips. "Yes, father?" Came her melodic voice, as sweet as honey. Her hands fell to her side and she rose to her feet. She was taller than her father, and taller than most others her age. If she was anyone else she might have appeared to be somewhat intimidating. But the innocent sparkle in her eyes and the peaceful way with which she held herself spoke otherwise.
"After much consideration, we've finally decided..."
"Yes?" Olivia coaxed, resting a hand on her father's shoulder as if urging him to continue.
"To give you a chance to do things your way. There's a horse outside but first-" He had no time to finish his sentence. As soon as he had uttered those last few words she'd sprinted from the church, whooping like a little girl. The man looked across to his adviser only to receive an 'I told you so' look. When they had exited the church all that could be seen was a cloud of dust and if one were to stare hard enough they may just have been able to spot the grey coat of mare that was at full gallop.
"Go on then, you three are meant to be escorting her - get moving!" He barked at three of his guards, startling their horses enough to set them off after his daughter without any commands from their riders. Hoping that Olivia had kept in mind all that he'd told her when she'd first brought up this plan, he watched apprehensively as she disappeared from sight. Something about his daughter influenced all of those around her. Just days ago he hadn't even considered doing things her way, and now... It was true that his people lacked faith - in God, in their king, even in themselves. But there was one question that was always at the back of his mind. Could they survive much longer without it?
OOC: Interested? Follow the link to find out more faith-t31959.html#p886871
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