28th-30th Days, 12th Month (Dance’s End) of 526 AF

OOC: Again, thanks due to Shimmin.

The clerics managed to stabilise both Jack and Oswyn, stopping the terrible bleeding. It’s two or three days later that Jack heard that the palace medics were unable to reattach his arms, despite their best efforts. They tried to encourage him, recounting tales of soldiers who’ve lost an arm and retrained to reattain their previous skill – albeit with years or decades of special training and painful therapy – which was little comfort. On the basis of close observation and prayer, they believed that the Temple of the Sage might be willing to help Jack, as he seemed to have a spiritual affinity to the Sage’s philosophy, albeit a faint one.

“Well, there’s always the possibility that, ah, the Barthory family can always use another hand or so around the place, eh?” said Vaclav, attempting to cheer Jack up – possibly. He did not succeed.

The party assured Jack that they were keen to help him, and headed off to the temple of the Sage. This was a huge library of abstract theological texts that made little sense to anyone but experienced priests – however, as one of the tenets of the Sage is that sound decisions cannot be made in ignorance, the Temple also offered more basic texts and priestly advice to those facing quandaries.

A priestess of the Sage cames to speak with the party and Vana and Jack explained the situation. Jack was very pragmatic about it. The priestess said that she assumed, from the story, that Jack would like his arm restored. She explained that the nobility and necessity of fighting evil creatures was all well and good, but the Sage calls upon us to do good as well as to resist evil. “Is it your killing arm?” she asked. Jack explained some of the mechanics of halberds, a standard weapon for dock guards. Vaclav attempted to intervene, explaining that Jack has not just killed, but also built orphanages with that arm – but Jack politely corrected him.

The priestess muttered a brief invocation to the Sage to clear away falsehood and reveal only the pure truth. She then explained that whilst the love and support of trusted friends was respectable, there could be no goodness without truth (or something like that). She started to quiz Jack on his actions – how did he choose who lived and who died? Following orders. Whose orders? He listed a few. Which side did he fight on in the war? The winning side.

Through this questioning, she discovered and pointed out that he did in fact make a choice to disregard the orders of the “lawful authority” and fight for the rebels. He did, at least, disobey orders when it seemed the right thing to do at the time. He was, then, a man of conscience. Jack demurred somewhat, being very pragmatic. On the whole, the priestess thought it would be truly exceptional for the Sage to immediately grant her the power to restore his arm – but there may be a way to demonstrate the necessary moral character to receive such a blessing.

The next day was the Festival of the Fulcrum, a yearly time of instability in the cosmic order, and one when strange things can happen. The preistess suggested that Jack take a tent and firewood and set up camp on the coast for the five days of the feast. If he were lucky, something might happen then.

The party stocked up, buying an ample supply of provisions. A trader offered the party an actual swan; after some deliberation, the party accepted this. They then decamped to the coast to await whatever fate the Gods sent.

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