Mikary had heard the calling so loudly she had thought, for a moment, she was going deaf.
She had taken that calling and hitched her wagon to it, packed her whole life into two packs and gone questing.
“Why now?” her mother moaned. “The lovely boy down the street was just beginning to look at you properly.”
“Why there?” her father frowned. “There’s dangers on the road you can’t imagine, and monsters in the woods.”
“Why Andrung?” Everyone wanted to know that. “Why the Missing god, the lost god, the failed god?”
“Why Paladin?” The boy down the street was as lovely as Mikary’s mother said. “Why god-touched, why pure, why would you go adventuring at all?”
Mikary had no answers for them, so she gave none. The voice of Andrung was loud in her head, so loud she could barely hear the questions anyway. She packed up what few possessions she had, and she walked.
“Why now?” Villagers could see the godhead about her, and that was enough for them to give her sustenance and shelter, to ask her for blessings and prayers. It was enough for them to ask questions. “The roads will be wet with mud and thick with brigands, now.”
“Why there?” The other Paladins she passed were generally polite enough not to sneer at her choice of faith, but her choice of locations, on the other hand… “That forest has been blasted and useless for generations.’
“Why Andrung?” Even the Paladins asked that eventually. “Why the god that left, the god that does nothing, the god with no light?”
Mikary had no answers for them, so she gave none. She gave blessings – Andrung had no light, but there was warmth aplenty. Andrung may do nothing, but the gift of the god allowed Mikary to do plenty.
On the road, at least, nobody asked “Why Paladin.”
“Why now?” The forest was dark, and the voice of the god had left her head. The only voice was the traveler in front of her – tall, taller than the tallest man in Mikary’s village, and nearly as broad as the road. “Why do you travel now, when the farms need tending?”
“Why here?” His companion stepped from the forest. Only half as tall as the first one, he was twice as wide. “Why come to the depth of the world, where the monsters live”?
“Why a paladin of Andrung?” This one was a shadow on the other side of the road, with a voice like a granny. “Why the god the world bypassed? Why the god who was thrown off?”
For them, Mikary found she had answers.
“I come now because I was called. The roads are muddy, the crops need tending, and the man back home will have found another girl when I return. But now is when Andrung called me.
“And here is where he called. I answer the voice of my god, to the forest dark and blasted and perhaps full of monsters, because the god called me here. Where else would I walk?
“And who else would I choose? Andrung chose me, when naught else would satisfy. The forsaken god, the forsworn god, perhaps, but I come here, I came now, I came for Andrung. Because Andrung called me.”
“Then come to your god.” The three spoke as one, and Mikary understood, finally, why she had come.
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