Friday, July 29, 2022

Durest: They Grow Up So Quickly

Durest stood in the doorway of the former Temple of Helios, newly dedicated to Indra, and watched as the last of his followers shuffled out. In the weeks that they'd spent in Rockdale, he'd accumulated quite a congregation: enough to fill the chapel and then some. He wasn't honestly sure how many of them were sincere in their devotion and how many merely feared that he might do horrible things if people didn't show up when he held services, but they came and they offered praise and Indra seemed pleased. 

He had just turned to shut the door when he saw another dwarf come around the corner -- and not just any dwarf, either. It was his oldest daughter, Vandra, and she had company. 

He caught her eye, waved, and then waited as they closed the distance. The girl with her was dressed in a black skirt-and-shawl combination that almost looked like a robe; she was human, and... buxom, he thought, and shoved that thought down. He was not going to take that sort of interest in his daughter's friends. 

Also, there were a couple of hobgoblins trailing along behind them, and there was something about the way they moved... Zombies, he thought, surprised. Very well crafted, too. 

"Can we come in?" asked Vandra, and Durest grinned. "O'course." He motioned them inside, and closed the door behind them. 

The girls were four steps into the temple when the human paused, taking a moment to study Bob. The skeleton stood politely back against the wall, well off to one side; the undead were Durest's particular obsession, and not part of the formal worship of Indra. 

"That's some nice work," the human said, sounding faintly surprised. 

"I told you you'd like my dad," Vandra said.

Durest offered a smile. "I was going to say the same about your two. The skeleton's called Bob."

"The zombies are named Pain and Suffering," said the human girl. "They were the first ones I raised."

"And you've managed to keep them intact? Good work." 

Vandra cut in. "So, um, Dad. I'd like you to meet someone. This is Wendy. We're... kind of an item."

Puzzled, Durest had just opened his mouth to ask what sort of an item when it occurred to him that there was really only one possible answer in this context. He closed his mouth, nodded, and then said: "Like calls to like, it seems."

Vandra flushed, but Wendy just nodded. Durest said, "Right, well, I'm not sure what you're looking for under the circumstances, but if ye want to know if I object, I don't. Sure'n I'd rather have yez choosing your own company than having it thrust on ye by t'elders of yer clan -- and I say that with no insult intended towards yer mother."

Vandra said, "Thanks, Dad," and Wendy just nodded. 

"So this is a death church?" the human asked. 

"Not so much," Durest said. "It's for the worship of Indra, the Blue Devil, keeper of the sky and the winds and the storms. He... indulges me interest in death and resurrection."

"I like him," said Wendy, and reached out to clasp Vandra's hand.

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