The air was thick with an unnamed presence. A rush of air caused him to open his eyes and he glimpsed a flash of red ducking beyond his vision.

He blinked once and turned his head. In that simple sweep he was given a vista he would never forget. Thousands of red wings passed; fang and scale.

A knock at the door sounded and Marcus opened his eyes. He was again in his cell at the temple. Again the knock sounded from the thick wooden door. With a grunt he rose and moved to the door. Openning it he found a young acolyte standing at the door, his robes clean and folded neatly in the fashion of their order. The black and white mask of Nethys was clearly displayed on a silver chain around his neck.

The acolyte motioned for him to follow. Marcus sighed and followed. He was not a cloistered member of the order as these brothers were. He could not understand the desire of these men to follow such an existence in the name of their god. He was one of the closest to Nethys in the plane, perhaps one of a hundred who could request his power to bring the dead back to life and have that request be answered. In fact, he was close to his god in ways that barely anyone in Golarion could understand, let alone some of these temple inhabitants who could barely utter an orison to guide their hand more surely.

Marcus was one of ones who knew what his god wanted. The protection and the destruction had to be balanced. That was the nature of magic. It was a constant struggle to maintain the balance between the two. In a deeper metaphor it also was a lesson about the way the wider multiverse worked. The power needed to be balanced or the multiverse would tear itself apart. Nethys, as well as Marcus, didn’t hold it against chaos for trying to tear the universe apart any more than they could blame law for holding it together.

The acolyte opened the door at the end of a hall. Marcus had never been this far into the temple before, preferring to meditate and sleep in his cell, but spent most of his time around the city. He glanced upward slightly as he cross the threshold, as if to ask Nethys why he was being held in this backwater city so long.

His eyes flicked down to see the abbot and another cleric seated in the chairs. The man’s robes were set with the all-seeing eye. Marcus bowed his head to both of them. “Abbot,” he said in greeting.

“Brother Hawthorne,” the abbot said with a smirk. He had slighted Marcus with the low title, or so he thought. The truth was that Marcus was beyond titles. What he was, in fact, was beyond understanding of all the order, except a few. This seer seated benignly before the abbot’s desk, holding a steaming cup of tea knew more about the true nature of Nethys and the multiverse than the abbot ever would.

“Seer,” Marcus said, nodding deferentially, then as an afterthought he looked at the balding man who oversaw the temple’s goings on, “Abbot.” The abbot frowned in response to his manner.

“Thank you, Abbot Pyers,” the seer said, “for hastening to retrieve the Chosen of Nethys.”

Marcus and the abbot’s eyes met and Marcus had to concentrate very hard to stop himself from smiling at the realization that was creeping into the man’s eyes.

“Ch-chosen?” the abbot stammered as the seer stood bowed to Marcus.

“Did you not know?” the seer looked surprised. “Marcus,” he said with a note of disapproval in his voice.

Marcus actually managed to look guilty for a moment. He had not heard the disapproval of the seer, but of Nethys, as clearly as he heard the voices in the room.

“I’m sorry, Brother Abbot,” he said. “I take the rebuke of my god with peace.”

“Who are you?” the abbot asked slightly confused.

The seer answered. “Marcus is a priest of the highest order,” he said. “He is a Binder.”

“A what?” the abbot looked even more confused.

The seer looked at Marcus with an expectant expression. Taking the queue he said, “I am an emissary of the gods,” he shrugged.

The seer laughed and exclaimed, “Marcus, what is Nethys to do with you?” To the other he said, “Abbot, there are many levels of service. Some are here in the temple tending to the curious and believers who come to you. Some are outside of these walls with a mandate to do more. Marcus is one of those. An agent of Nethys. One of the Chosen.”

The abbot sat down in the chair next to him. “I don’t know what to say.”

“It is alright,” the seer said. “You only have to understand that Nethys has other ways of seeing his will done.” The abbot blinked without understanding clearly, but the seer placed a hand on his arm and guided him to the door. “All you need to know is that Marcus Hawthorne is a Binder of Nethys. He searches for tears in the fabric of balance and helps repair them.”

The abbot managed a confused glance back at Marcus, as if he could not believe such a ruffian were responsible for keeping balance anywhere, let alone the multiverse.

Marcus sat down in the chair opposite the seer’s as the door closed. He watched the seer take the seat again. “He really had no business knowing that,” the seer said, “But your journey must take place immediately and really there has to be an explanation on why a seer traveled here. The journey took more than a year.”

“The order will survive, I suspect,” Marcus said.

“You received the vision, I excpect?” the seer said.

“Today,” Marcus said. “More than a year?” he asked, only now realizing the significance of the seer’s words.

“Yes, more than a year, actually,” the seer said. “We tried to find you, but you were in the North. Nethys sent both of us to meet here so I could exchange the information.”

“If it was so important why did he only show me the vision this morning?” Marcus asked. He frowned as another realization struck him.

“Divine intervention,” the seer nodded. “My visions were clearer because I was farther away from the focus of the issue. Someone has seen you and caused a clouding of even Nethys’ omnipresence.”

“Great,” said Marcus. “Where to? I only saw vague shadows in a symbolic message.”

“I saw a great blue with a yellowed fang protruding from it.”

Marcus frowned as he considered the words. “Tuskwater,” he said finally. “It’s that new duchy to the south. I’ve heard the people talking about it in the market.”

“I guess we know where you are needed then,” the seer said.

“More rustics?” Marcus asked with a smirk. His banter was an indication of his happiness at once again going abroad in the world and serving his god.

“Bring your shield,” the seer said.

Three weeks later Marcus had presented himself to the council and found the leaders had left for an unknown destination. He decided to settle in and wait for their return. Whatever was going to happen was supposed to happen in this city.

He patiently waited for Nethys to show him the path he should take. Centered in the eye of the storm he felt that the access to Nethys’ vision should be easier. However, his prayers went unanswered. His powers still remained strong though, so he could only guess that the communication paths that he and his god usually relied on were being blocked.

Finally, he chose to rely on the strength of magic to aid him. His prayers for a powerful divination spell to show him the path was given. He saw and heard a gnome very clearly tell his story. A powerful army of gith and dragons allied and had their attention focused on the fledgling kingdom.

He settled down to wait for them to return.



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