Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pious Paladins of Pragmatism

"Bring forth the demon." The Quisitor ordered.

The armored knights around him tensed as the priest began to chant out the blasphemous spell. The smell of sulfur filled the air, mingling with the sweat and fear and smoke in the vaulted chamber. The braziers and candles flickered and danced, making their shadows cavort on the walls behind them. The circle glowed and filled with black smoke as the priest chanted.

"Be strong!" The Quisitor's voice rumbled over the priest's chants. "Face the evil, know it, know that we command it."

The singsong chant halted abruptly, and the smoke took form. Kneeling in the center of the small circle was a skinny and lanky form the size of a teen, but with claws, horns, hooves, and wings. All over it was pale, the color of bleached bone. It lifted its demonic face to the knights surrounding it, and it laughed, solid black eyes taking them all in.

"You should not laugh so before your betters."

"Worms crawling about on the dirt are your betters. You're damned, each and every one of you."

"You're here to answer our questions. You will be silent otherwise."

"Oh, please, do ask away. Always happy to serve."

The Quisitor's jaw tightened. "Tell me what Orcus has planned for the Northern coast."

"Death. Yours." the demon lifts a claw and points here and there among the crowd. "His, hers, his, that one especially, his, he'll live only to watch his family ripped apart one by one in front of them, unless he kills them first." It turns back to face the Quisitor. "And after we start with his little girl, he will."

The knight, visibly shaking, draws his blade and swings it before anyone in their shock can stop him. As the blade passes over the circle, breaking it, the demon snaps out toward the Quisitor, the sword passing harmlessly behind it.  

While their faith is as strong as any, their loyalty to dogma in the face of unholy terrors is lacking. Believing that any weapon used in the cause of good is good, these knights and clerics have been known to summon, deal, and even ally with their enemy to further the goals of goodness. The leaders of the order, Quisitors, are charged with keeping their paladins on the path of good, in spite of the tactics they use. The holy orders hunt these sects down when they find out about them, believing them to be no better than demon worshiping heretics.

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