Noah was unnerved by the beating of his own heart. He smiled a little; it probably had something to do with his nerves.
Not that this was the most important moment in his life to this point.
The Monks of the sacred and distant planet of Mosuria were important in everyone’s lives, even though a more secular rumbling could be heard every few decades.
Noah had sincerely ascended; he was to be made the Bishop of his homeworld of Ciscadellia. This was where the seminary resided, and the aspiring young monks would spend their formative years under his tutelage, until they made their pilgrimage to Mosuria before their first assignments. Were his sweet mother still alive, Noah thought, she would be endlessly proud of her youngest child. Noah would exit this chamber changed eternally in the eyes of God, henceforth bearing the title of his forebear, Bishop Ciscedellia.
There was but a step higher, but Otho Gondsbane wasn’t about to relent his position. Elected as Prime Minister of the Avalolian system while still holding the highest position in its church was unprecedented. The Bishop of Mosuria tended to his the world all outsiders were barred from with the ferocity most monks could hardly imagine, though Gondsbane was woven into the fabric of their isolated world.
Noah did, though he thought his heart may have stopped; it was a moment ago all he could hear and was now absent. He was paralyzed by a joyous fear.
Noah noticed that his name echoed throughout the chamber for several seconds when the Grand Bishop spoke them. This was not lost on Gondsbane. While average in height, he was strong in stature in a way that dared the aging lines on his face to cross him. Perhaps all great men gave this impression, intimidating and endlessly perceptive.
“This sacred hall will be the last voice that speaks your name. The Rextsur, the gift from God to be used by our hands to do his bidding is protected here in this sacred place for you, my son.” Spoke Gondsbane’s voice, surprisingly quiet, but always heard.
“Though age and duty call us from this life on most occasions…”
Noah felt uneasy. The Avolonian Guard has reported the former Bishop Cescedellia’s death days ago, assumably from his old age of 104.
“...the eons of our Church have taught us but one other way for our brethren to be taken.”
The suspense in the air was palpable, but before Gondsbane’s next word tore through the air a body appeared from nothing onto the stone floor.
The old body on the floor weakly writhed, the expression on the man’s face hidden from no one in spite of the black bag over his head.
Gondsbane began walking a circle around the man
“You see, I find it fitting that your duty is to teach in your Bishop’s seat, my son. This first memory after you have touched the Rextsur will remind you to teach your pupils what happens when you sow seeds to grow against our order.”
The other Bishops, silent against the far wall made their first move since Noah had entered the chamber. He wondered if they had drawn a breath since his arrival. Having been summoned by Gondsbane just as the seemingly soon to be former Bishop Cescadellia was he hadn’t noticed much about the cavern he was brought to.
As the seven other Bishops separated Noah’s eyes were drawn to a small area cut out of the stone wall. In the middle of the area, little more than a foot across and high was the Rextsur. There were dark lines in every direction on the outside of the rock, but most of it was opaque showing the changing colors within.
The colors changed in a way that felt natural and slow, but in reality the colors inside were always changing. Some soothing blues and greens, a red flash, and a few Noah couldn’t recognize. It was as spectacular as every rumor about it, perhaps more remarkable because of its underwhelming size.
Transfixed Noah walked towards it, Eight pairs of eyes staring at him, the old man still lying on the floor.
He stopped just in front of the opening.
“Touch it, Noah” said Gondsbane, with the slightest air of impatience in his voice.
He then began to see things. More accurately, he thought, he began to know things. He saw the nine planets of the Avalonian system in all their glory at once, but he could point out mountain tops and ponds, trees and lonely fields. It was as if he was on a trip through every inch of the worlds that he could know.
With a blinding flash of light he dropped to the floor.
Then there were hands, looking at either side he saw that they belonged to the other monks, faces still hidden behind their hoods. The lifted him up.
“As I have said… you are a teacher.” Gondsbane’s voice said, bringing Bishop Ciscedellia back into reality. If you could call it reality, the worlds and his knowledge of them was all new.
“And as the other Bishops and I know, and as you now know, the Rextsur understands you. Your essence. What gifts birth has given you are amplified endlessly…”
Noah would have been nervous, but the Bishop was not. He took no joy in knowing the next words, but the path of the next moments was clear. He confidently cut off Gondsbane’s next words.
“...and I am a teacher.” Bishop Cescedallia said as he rose.
He could see in his mind’s eye somewhere, in an inlet, exactly what Otho Gondsbane wanted him to find.
Flying straight to his hand was a sword. At least that was the closest word the Bishop could think of as its hilt came into his palm.
The blade seemed to be made from the same lines around the outside of the Rextsur. However, as if welded into the rock-like center there were hundreds crystals sticking straight out. The effect was gruesome.
He wanted the man on the floor up and in front of him, rose his hand to the man and it happened. He stared at the black bag over the man’s head. As if he could read the man’s thoughts he simply stated:
“We will not sully this moment with your face. You will die as all enemies of the Monks of Mosuria- with neither name nor visage.”
He swung the awful sword horizontally, penetrating the man’s neck. He then pulled it back with considerable strength, the crystals tearing through the man’s neck before he dropped to the ground.
There was a flash, and every emotion and image in the late Bishop’s life was given to everyone in the room. Without no one but the Monks in the room his life and times would be known only to them, as was their custom.
The silence that had taken over the room was then penetrated with the echo of a sound from the farthest side of the cavern, and two horrified pairs of eyes had clearly seen the Bishop’s ascension.
Just as the horrible sword had flown into Bishop Ciscedellia’s the two people hiding in the corner came to Gondsbane.
The look on his face was, like all memories after one touches the Rextsur, burnt into the Bishop’s sight. There they would remain until his death, where 8 of his brothers would see his own life.
He doubted that anyone could forget the look of calm loathing Gondsbane gave them.
What he saw next he knew would haunt any soul, as steam rose from the hot waste made of two people by Avalonia’s head of both church and state.