The Whispers – Chapter Five

Hello there!  Thank you for joining me for another chapter of Tellest’s newest feature, the “interactive” story, The Whispers—a story which you and readers like you are helping me tell.  For ease of navigation, I’m going to have little mini tables of contents on these posts, so feel free to use them to jump around and discover how The Whispers works, how you can help steer the direction of the main character’s choices, and, of course, read the story.  I hope you enjoy taking part in this interesting new Tellest adventure!

The Whispers Concept

The Whispers – Chapter Five

Voting Instructions

 

The Whispers Concept

The Whispers is a story that takes place within the Tellest universe.  It’s a story that is written by Michael DeAngelo, but it’s told with help from the readers.  The Whispers follows Declan, a young man who was recently evicted from the temple where he grew up.  When he was younger, he used to hear voices, and the clergy interpreted those voices in ways that they thought brought them closer to divinity.  But with the whispers growing quiet, Declan was no longer needed at the temple, and he was instead shipped off to a nearby adventurers’ guild.  The voices have recently returned in his time of need, and have offered him advice on what to do in order to survive.

If you haven’t already figured it out, you are one of those potential whispers!  At the end of every chapter, Declan is given a choice.  Every reader has the chance to vote and influence Declan’s decision, as long as you’re a member of the Tellest newsletter.  Every time you vote, your voice holds more sway as well.  Everyone who casts their vote in earlier chapters will now have a stronger voice, and Declan will hear them a little clearer.  So for your voice to be heard best, you should get in on this story early.  There is another way to gain additional voting power, but that will be described in the voting instructions at the end of this post.

First thing is first: you’ve got to read the story (starting with chapter one, if you prefer).  Then if you’re not already a member of the newsletter, go ahead and sign up!  Tellest has awesome freebies that we give out right away at sign-up, and more that come along every few weeks.

Without much further adieu, let’s continue our tale, and find out the most recent choice Declan made with the help of our Council of Whispers…

 

 

Chapter Five:
The Art of Healing

Know your limitations, Declan,” a whisper spoke to him.

He nearly spun about, that whisper seeming so close that he half-expected the words having been spoken by one of his new guildmates.

Ask Gorik for help,” the whisper went on, and he was certain that it belonged to one of the disembodied voices that always scratched at the back of his mind.  Other voices chimed in as well then, echoing its request.  Almost at once, they drowned out any suggestions to the contrary.

Declan watched as a tear dropped from Emilie’s eye.  It was clear that she cared for Yaro, though he didn’t understand how her feelings had developed.  He knew that, in any case, the unconventional option he was about to suggest would not be easily accepted.

“I think there may be a way to save him,” Declan said, shaking everyone from their worried conversation.  “It’s obvious I don’t know Yaro, or know how bad his injuries are, but there’s something we can do to try and help him.”

Ilayeth spun on her heel, turning away from Emilie for the first time since she had left Gorik’s pen.  “What are you talking about, Declan?”

Squaring his jaw, Declan took a step forward.  “I know that the guild’s cleric is at the Grey Arches,” he said, nodding toward Jace.  “But what if there was another cleric nearby that the guild could rely on?”

Though she was intrigued by his words, Ilayeth folded her arms over her chest.  “Your staff can make you capable of many things, but I don’t think it could lend us any healing magic to poor Yaro.”  She paused for a moment, letting Declan’s words better reach her then.  “Unless you mean…”

Declan nodded.  “We already know that it was not their intention when they attacked for things to become as chaotic as they did.  Now, it may be time to loosen the restrictions even further, in exchange for—”

“You can’t be serious,” Emilie growled as she stepped closer to the guild’s newest arrival.  As she spoke, he watched her auburn hair flicker with deeper, vibrant red hues, and wondered if perhaps the clouds had shifted in the sky, letting sunlight cast down on her head.  She was far enough within the stable at that point though.  He knew that there was some other magic at work.  “They tried to kill us—all of us.  They nearly had their wish with Yaro, and you want to let them finish the job?”

Ilayeth raised her hands to placate her guildmate, but she knew the futility of her request.  Gorik would have certainly heard Emilie’s words by then, her heated statements not easy to disguise.

Declan took a step closer to her as well.  “We’re all worried here,” he said, his voice cool and quiet.  “I know that.  But I also know that we don’t have many other options.  Nobody else here has the capabilities that the goblin does.  We can try to make Yaro’s last moments comfortable, or we can take a risk and try to see if we can make an ally out of our prisoner.”

Pressing out a deep sigh and shaking her head, Ilayeth rubbed her head as she contemplated Declan’s suggestion.  “Is this your idea, or did the whispers tell you this was what we should do?”

“I would think that I would have suggested this anyway,” Declan said.  “But the whispers did suggest this course of action louder than any other.”

Emilie grasped Ilayeth’s arm, then.  “What is he talking about?  What whispers?”

Ilayeth winced and tugged her arm away, pausing to look at the girl’s red tresses.  Sure enough, they were more vibrant then.  As she rubbed her arm, Ilayeth sent a disappointed glare at the girl.  “You’re not the only person in the guild with strange gifts, it seems, Emilie.  Declan has his own power, though he seems a bit more in control of his than you do yours.”

Declan chuckled, if only to relieve some of the tension that was building there.  “I assure you, I have no control over what I hear—only what I say.  Right now, I believe that if we’re trusting Gorik at his word, we can trust him to save a man who is doomed otherwise.”

“We can’t,” Emilie said.  “He’ll hurt him.”

Ilayeth turned back to the girl and draped her hand on Emilie’s shoulder.  “He won’t.  We won’t let him.”  She paused then and pivoted back to Declan.  “Go on Declan.  See if we can enlist his aid.  We’ve no hope left for Yaro otherwise.”  She led Emilie away then, back toward the guild house.

With a quiet sigh leaving his lips, Declan looked to Jace who stood visibly shaken after the exchange.  The two men said nothing though, only offering solemn nods to each other as they digested the situation that they found themselves in.  Jace extended his hand, revealing a small silver key, which he tossed to Declan.

It seemed not all the things that kept the goblin restrained were magical.

Declan returned to the pen, and when he looked at Gorik, he knew from the goblin’s sympathetic gaze that the question he would ask had already been considered in the cleric’s mind.  Still, the man returned to the center of the impromptu holding cell, holding the key in his hand, and displaying it to the prisoner.

“You heard all that?” he asked, though he was certain of the answer.

Gorik nodded but offered up no further revelations.

Declan took another step forward and brought the key up to the one of the cuffs, working at freeing the goblin from his bindings.

“I haven’t given you an answer yet,” Gorik said.

A weary grin was on Declan’s face the next moment.  “One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes what hasn’t been said is more important than what has.  You haven’t told me you refuse.”

Even when the first cuff was opened, Gorik kept his other arm in place, letting it dangle in the air rather than pulling the length of chain from the wooden beam above.  As Declan moved to the other bound arm, he looked at the man’s eyes.  “If I do this, I’ll be free to move about the guild hall?  No longer a prisoner?”

“If you save Yaro, I’ll do my best to see you free to move about or from the guild hall if you choose,” Declan replied.

A moment later, the goblin’s other arm was free as well.  He grabbed the sorer of his wrists, rubbing it and wincing enough that Declan could see his sharp teeth.  “I don’t know why, but I trust you,” Gorik said.  “Everyone else seems to look at me like a monster, but you’re different.  Have you encountered my kind before?”

“You’re my first,” Declan replied.  “During my time at the temple, the only folks I really saw were humans and the occasional dwarf.”  He saw a brief reaction to that revelation and wondered if Gorik was more aware than he was when Tornig rushed the gnoll.  He shook his head then, knowing that there were more pressing matters at hand.

A moment later he led the goblin from the stall, nodding to Jace as he went.  “He and I will head into the guild hall now.  Maybe you could wait with Tornig and the other prisoner.”

“You don’t want an escort?” Jace asked.

“No need,” Declan replied.  “Orn is still out there mumbling to himself.  I don’t expect any issues, but he’ll be there to look out for us if there are any.”

Jace held out his hand, urging the pair onward.  If what Emilie said was true, Yaro did not have much time.

Together, Declan and Gorik returned to the guild hall.

 

*          *          *

 

When Declan arrived at the top of the stairs, he hesitated for a moment.  He saw Emilie in the corridor, leaning against the wall of one of the rooms.  She looked weary, but Declan knew that there was a great force still within her.  His companion noted his hesitation, and stopped in the stairway, recalling that not all the members of the guild held him without contempt as Declan.

Still, as Gorik leaned back, further out of sight, the step that he stood on creaked, ensuring that neither of them could make a quiet approach.

Emilie looked down the hall, spotting Declan there.  As soon as she recognized him, she wore a scowl.  Though it wasn’t as vibrant as before, he noticed the flickers of brighter red in her hair.

She pressed away from the wall then, but before she could take her first step from there, the door to the room swung open as if by a gentle breeze.  She halted, looking instead to her guildmate who emerged from there.

Ilayeth, not expecting to be scrutinized the moment she exited there, displayed a dejected look for a second too long.

That second was all Emilie needed.  “What’s wrong?  Did something happen?”

“Nothing we didn’t expect,” Ilayeth replied.  “He’s still with us, but it’s not looking good.  Even if the goblin does decide to help us, he—”

Declan cleared his throat then, venturing further into the hallway.  “He’ll help,” he assured.  “And I’ve assured him no harm will come to him after he does.”

“You shouldn’t make promises you don’t know you can keep,” Emilie grumbled.

“Emilie!” Ilayeth chided.

“If Yaro doesn’t live, neither should the goblin.”

Despite her growing anger, Declan took a step closer to her, confidence in his presence.  “It wasn’t his doing that left Yaro injured.  None of the members of the guild were killed while he and the gnoll were here—it was another member of their troupe that was responsible, and it was a surprise even to them.”

“Is that what he told you?” Emilie growled back louder.

“Enough!” Ilayeth shouted.  “I’ll not have the two of you carrying on like children.  “No matter what happens, Declan’s plan is the only one we have right now.  We can sort through the rest when the healing magic is in place.”

Sensing a lull in the conversation, Gorik ascended the last few steps.  He kept his head bowed, and held his sore wrist still, looking as though he were still in chains.

Though Emilie had begun to step forward, Ilayeth pushed on her shoulder, the demure half-elf exercising a little more force with the heated young lady.

“He’s right in here,” Ilayeth revealed.  “I don’t know if you’ll be able to save him, but I thank you for trying.”

Gorik stood a bit taller at hearing her thankfulness.  He nodded, and stepped forward, but once he passed where they stood, he breathed out an anxious sigh.  A glance inside the room showed him all he needed to know: Yaro was in dire straits, and even an accomplished cleric would need a miracle in order to save his life.

His disdain was even more apparent than Ilayeth’s had been.  He stiffened at the sight of the wounded human and looked to Declan with tremendous concern.

“I…I would ask that Declan and I could treat him in private,” Gorik stated.

“You what?” Emilie seethed.

Declan stepped between them then.  “It’s alright,” he said.

“Why must you do that?” Ilayeth asked.  “We’re already taking a huge risk with you even treating Yaro.  But you want to remain alone in a room with a dying man and the one person willing to put their trust in you?”

“He is dying,” Gorik repeated.  “And it’s farther along than I expected.  I know what you ask of me, but it won’t be easy—the last thing I want is to allow myself to be distracted because of some unbridled rage drawn in my direction.  I choose Declan to watch over me while I work my craft because I also trust him.

There was something earnest in his tone, and Ilayeth looked to their newest recruit to observe his reaction.

Declan flashed a reassuring smile to her, and stepped past her, into the room.  “It’ll be okay,” he said.

Gorik hesitated a moment before he followed the man into Yaro’s chamber, and neither Ilayeth or Emilie exhibited any further protest, though Gorik could see by the look in the girl’s eye that she wanted to.

It was Declan who slowly shut the door, offering up another nod of hopefulness as the way shut before his new guildmates.

“His book is on the table by the bed.  Be careful,” Ilayeth whispered to him as the door latched shut.

When the unlikely pair realized they were alone with the failing man, Declan watched as Gorik’s shoulders slumped.  The goblin knew how integral saving Yaro was to preserve himself.  And yet, the odds of that happening seemed dire indeed.

“You can do this,” Declan said.  “You can do this, right?”

Gorik swallowed away the tension building in his throat and turned to Declan.  “I’ll do my best.  But I would ask something of you.”  He began unlacing his battered tunic, displaying the wound that he had incurred earlier that morning.  “I’ll need my full concentration if I am to bring this man back from the brink.  Every burning itch I feel in my chest—every twinge of lingering pain… I need to cleanse myself before I can focus on him.”

Declan walked past him and picked up the old leather-bound tome that Ilayeth had left waiting on the table beside Yaro.  He extended it toward the goblin a moment later.  “Do whatever you need to do to give Yaro a fighting chance.”

Gorik bowed his head and took the book from his captor.  He opened it then, shuffling through the pages until he landed on something with oddly scrawled lettering and a depiction of a strange deity drawn in dark, smudged lines.

Realizing that the words were not written in common, Declan wavered in his stance.  He leaned on his staff then, hoping with all his heart that he wouldn’t need to use it again any time soon.

Taking in a deep breath, Gorik pointed to the faded page of the tome, and began to recite his words of power.  “Cla’wennie, taradaray, gathrak,” he whispered.  “Renagas gadӓn malak.”

Declan watched as Gorik closed his eyes, repeating the words again and again.  The goblin pulled his finger from the pages then, pointing it toward his wound instead.  A subtle green light filled the room, emanating from what seemed like thin air.  Declan struggled against the growing brilliance, watching as Gorik’s cauterized wound seemed to fade away.

As the words and the light faded from the room, the goblin was left with a grin upon his face.  He looked to Declan then, nodding with purpose.

“Let’s get to work,” Gorik said.

 

*          *          *

 

Perspiration marred the goblin’s brow, and often, it dripped down his face.  The fading glimmer of sunlight that shone through the window left the droplets of sweat glistening there on his olive skin.

Declan fought with himself over whether to dab at Gorik’s brow with a cloth.  He thought better of it though and left his focus on Yaro when he was needed there.

The guild’s falconer still clung to life, though Gorik’s magic seemed to cause him more pain.  On several different occasions, heavy thumping came from the door to the hall, and Declan had to demand silence.  He wondered how many times Gorik had to attune his focus again—and how much time they had lost.

He knew, though, that Gorik struggled to help Yaro.  The injured man lay there in bed, only briefly opening his eyes from time to time.  His bouts of unconsciousness were a mercy, Declan knew.  And as Gorik pulled him from that necessary reverie with healing magic, Yaro felt the cruel sting of every injury he had sustained.  With his tunic ripped open, Declan could see the wounds that were inflicted upon him.  Whatever had blasted through the guild hall was now embedded in him, splinters of wood and shards of metal stabbing him perpetually.

Gorik worked with his eyes shut, as though he was feeling through the man’s battered flesh.  Over the hours he was at work there, Declan watched the goblin’s magic push the slivers of foreign material from Yaro’s body, each one eliciting a new gasp of pain or groan of discomfort.  And every time one of those left his body, a new wound needed to be sealed.

Finally, Gorik teetered backward, and it was only Declan, quick to put a chair behind him, that kept him from toppling to the ground.

For some time then, as Gorik collected himself, it was silent in the room, except for the heavy breaths of the healer and the wounded.  After wiping his brow with his wrist, the goblin sent a weary grin toward Declan.

“It is done,” he said.

“He’ll live?” Declan wondered.

“He’s no longer at risk of further injury,” Gorik clarified.  “The physical damage has been undone.  But the pain is something he’ll have to fight through.  It is sure to linger for longer than he could imagine.”

“Is that something you can help with as well?”

“I can soothe him.  I shall do my best.”

With the good news apparent then, Declan realized just how fatigued he felt as well.  Though he didn’t exert himself in the same way Gorik did, he felt sapped of energy, as though days had passed without him finding sleep.  Perhaps using the staff earlier that day had taken more of his energy than he’d realized.

When fretful pounding landed upon the door then, he realized he was far wearier than he expected.  He spoke softly, as though the person on the other side of the door could hear his whispers in their mind.  It was too quiet, he knew, when the metal of the doorknob glowed red, and the door flung inward.

Emilie was there, her bright red hair illuminating the darkened hallway.

“It’s alright,” Declan said, laboring to an upright position.  “Yaro is going to live.”

Her red hair glimmered in the fading light of dusk, but only for a moment longer.  Her features softened when she saw Yaro lying in bed.  Though he still wore a grimace of pain, he no longer looked as though he was at risk of passing.

Emilie charged into the room and flung herself at the floor by the unconscious man’s side.  She grabbed his hand, squeezing it and pressing her head against it.  A shuddering sigh escaped her lips, and she closed her eyes as she felt life flowing through Yaro once more.

When Emilie opened her eyes again, she looked to Declan and Gorik.  “Thank you,” she said, the kindest either of them had heard her speak.  “But I’ll not leave him again.”  That follow-up was said with the same kind of assertiveness that they had grown used to.

Declan looked to Gorik, who remained seated in the chair there.

The goblin simply offered up a weary grin.  “It’s alright Declan.  The hardest part has passed.  She can stay with him, and if she likes, I can remain behind as well to make sure any pain is quickly relieved.”

When Emilie said nothing to rebuke that offer, Declan knew that she would be appreciative of the arrangement.  Meanwhile, Declan was satisfied with whatever reprieve he could get.  As busy as his first day at the guild hall was, he had never felt fatigue grip at him so fiercely.

He made his way out of the room, and into the darkened hallway, closing the door behind him as best he could, its malformed lock preventing it from latching into place.  He chuckled at the damage, and how quickly Emilie had rebounded from her anger and disdain.

As Declan made his way toward the far end of the corridor, he was joined by another guildmate once more.  Ilayeth also wore her weariness like a veil—one that was heavy and kept her head bowed.  When she looked up and noticed Declan there, and not Emilie, she stood alert at once.

“It’s alright,” Declan said, growing used to the phrase.  “She’s in with Yaro, and Gorik is watching over him.”

Ilayeth arched an eyebrow as she considered that.  “Is he safe with her?”

Stifling a laugh, Declan moved farther away from the room.  “I notice that you didn’t ask if she’d be okay with him.  Emilie is just relieved that Yaro is going to be okay.  And Gorik is going to need a long rest, I’m sure.”

“You know,” Ilayeth said as they lingered by the stairwell, “if it wasn’t for you, I don’t know that we would have been able to save him.  You chose to show kindness to our foe, and that was what led him to heal someone he’d never met.”

Declan just shrugged.  “It was the right thing to do.”

“And another thing: how did you manage to excel so well at interrogating Gorik?  You would have thought you’d done that a hundred times before.”

He was already shaking his head then.  “Never an interrogation, no.  But that’s not exactly what this was.  It was more like… Well, when I was at the temple, people would often come in not because they were looking for physical restoration, but healing for the pain they felt within.  And it wasn’t the priests who could settle their souls.  All they could do was listen.  So that’s what I would do—I would listen while other people came to the temple for confession.

“And that’s all I asked Gorik to do,” Declan went on.  “It helped that he never meant any lasting harm to anyone here in the first place.  Giving him the opportunity to try and erase some of his own guilt was what I did.  He was the one who wiped the slate clean though.”

“You’re more interesting than you let on at first,” Ilayeth said with a smile.  “It was a lucky thing that Erik brought you here today.  If you weren’t here, I shudder to think at what would be left of this place.”

“Perhaps I brought all the bad luck with me.”

“I don’t think that, and neither should you.”  She waved him on then.  “Come on.  We’ve spent so long today rushing about that I think we should take a moment to breathe.”

When they descended the stairs, and came up along the guild hall’s kitchen, even Ilayeth couldn’t hide her surprise at seeing the gnoll, Ignark sitting at the table, under no supervision.

The half-elf said nothing, but looked about, as though she could find some answers in the darkened building.

Ignark looked in their direction and tilted his head toward one of the nearby doorways.  A few moments later, Jace walked into the room, sitting down across from the gnoll, with a mug of ale in his hand.  Ignark looked down at the mug, trying his best not to show any signs of thirst.

“Alright then,” they all heard then, as a door shut elsewhere in the building.  “It’s not much, but we can’t have ye going hungry,” Tornig’s voice called out as he walked up the steps from the larder.  When he noticed his other guildmates, he nodded but kept on walking, passing them by and heading toward the table.  Lit by the lanterns in the room, they could see that he carried an armful of foodstuffs: crusty breads, some hard cheese and a few scraps of salted meats.  “Nice of ye both ta join us.  I’ve prepared us a genuine feast,” he said as he hopped up and let the food scatter about the table.

After a few moments, he looked back at them, noticing their curious stares.  “What?” he asked.  “Ye aren’t the only two good at makin’ friends ye know.” He looked at the mug on the table, still in Jace’s hand, and he folded his arms over his chest.  “That wouldn’t be for ye, lad.”

Jace took in a deep breath then, and slid the ale across the table, and Ignark was quick to take it and bring it to his lips.  After he took a few sizable gulps he slammed the mug down, letting out a satisfied sigh.  He wiped his lips with his arm then, and the Declan and Ilayeth could see then that his arms were still bound by a chain.

“You don’t look like you’ve had a swig of ale in your life, boy,” the gnoll said.

Tornig turned around, if for no other reason than to hide his growing smile.  He grunted to himself then but looked to his companions.  “I figured what brings people together better than ale?  And how’d it go with your new pal?”

Before either Declan or Ilayeth could offer up their own interpretation of the events, they heard the creaking of the stairs behind them once more.  They were surprised to see Emilie there, with Gorik in tow behind her.

Her auburn hair was dark again, and they could see that any anger that was once within her was faded.

“Yaro?” Ilayeth asked.

Emilie let a weary smile separate her lips.  “He wanted something to drink.”

Though it was reserved, those who knew the falconer let a out a quiet cheer, beyond thankful that he was going to survive the harrowing injuries he’d received.

Sitting at the table though, the gnoll’s face contorted into one of confusion and anger.  “You helped them, Gorik?”

For a moment, the goblin hesitated, and looked ashamed or guilty for his part in saving the human.  But he stood taller a moment later, peering around the members of the guild to see his friend.  “You know that we never meant to cause the sort of devastation that went on here.  But given what happened, they showed us kindness.  We were caught off guard too, you know.  And when they left us here, they might have been leaving us to die.”

“Melara would never—” Ignark began before gnashing his teeth together.  “She wouldn’t have done that without a reason.  Maybe Jarayas thought—”

“It wasn’t Jarayas that swayed her, my friend,” Gorik said, weaving through the people in the room.  “Tanissa dug her hooks into her and left her changed ever since.”

Ignark huffed and leaned forward on the table, seeming more defeated than when they were captured by the guild.  “If we would have been in the building just a few seconds earlier, that could have been one of us lying up there, needing to be put back together.”

Soon it grew quiet in the room, and it seemed that none of the occupants within the guild hall could look at one another.  Breaking the silence, Jace pushed his chair back, a loud squeal reporting before he rose from his seat.  He left from the room then, heading away in the same direction from where Declan and Ilayeth had found him earlier.  He didn’t take long to return, holding a new stein filled to the brim with ale.  Without prompting from Tornig or any of his other guildmates, he handed the mug to their other captive.

Gorik took it in both hands, and turned around to Emilie, still lingering by the stairs.

“That one is for you,” she confirmed.  “I’ll get Yaro something that’s a little less strong to start.”

Caught off guard again, Gorik looked to the Adventurers of Eladia, touched by their unexpected benevolence.  “None of you are what I expected.”

“They’re not like Tanissa,” Ignark agreed.

Taking a deep breath, Gorik lowered into a seat by the table, happy to have a drink in his hand.  One by one, the members of the guild joined him there, except for Jace, who fetched more ale, and Emilie, who went off to find water for her bedridden friend.

For some time, the five that remained were quiet.  They took time to drink their ale, reveling in the tranquility.  They seemed more like peers who had skirmished for practice rather than bloodthirsty opponents who fought for their lives.

When Jace returned the final time, sitting down with his own mug of ale, he plunked into place at the far end of the table with an audible sigh.  When everyone looked to him with varied measures of friendly annoyance, he grinned back at them.  A few seconds later, he lifted his mug into the air, spilling some of the frothy liquid onto the table.  “To new faces!” he cried out.

Though nearly everyone rose their drinks to that sentiment, Ignark hesitated, realizing that they weren’t toasting merely to he and Gorik, but also to Declan.

When Gorik finished a gulp of his drink and set his mug down, he noticed his ally looking upon Declan with curiosity.

“It’s his first day here,” Gorik confirmed.

Ignark scoffed then.  “It was you and that staff that nearly put me through the wall earlier.  Without you here, things would have been much different.”

“And who is to say if it would be for better or worse?” Ilayeth considered.  “Any one of us might have been in worse shape if he wasn’t here.”

“All of us might have been in worse shape if the lad wasn’t here,” Tornig said.

“The temple’s loss is our gain,” Ilayeth went on.  She lifted her mug of ale again, spurring the rest of the table to do the same.  She took a smaller sip compared to the rest of her companions, but she noticed that Gorik refrained from drinking at all.

When her gaze did not waver, he noticed and squared his jaw.  “Declan,” he said.  “That’s not the first time today that the temple has been mentioned.  They’re not speaking of the one not far from here, are they?  The one that’s almost along this road?”

“Gorik,” Ignark warned.

“Yes, Fespar Temple,” Declan returned, shuffling in his seat a bit.  “Why?”

The goblin looked across the table to his ally.  “He needs to know.”

“Jarayas would have us skinned,” Ignark replied.

“If Melara does there what she did here, Jarayas may never be safe again unless we tell Declan and his friends.”

“Tell us what,” Tornig asked.  “Spit it out, ye blasted funce.”

Gorik closed his eyes and bowed his head.  “Your guild hall was never our main target,” he revealed.  “Jarayas and Tanissa knew that if you were left to be, you would come to the aid of the temple.”  As the four members of the guild exchanged panicked glances, the goblin raised his hands as if to placate them.  “Our plan was for me to come here and put you all to sleep.  Then together, we would go to the temple and do the same there.  But when Melara nearly tore this place apart with her explosions…”

“We need to go there,” Declan muttered.  “I have to go there to warn them.”

“Easy lad,” Tornig said.  “They’re sure to have their own defenses, aren’t they?”

“They’ve got a few paladins who guard the doors, but Fespar Temple has never seen any violence,” Declan assured.  “They’ll be caught completely off guard.  They might have already been massacred.”  As he spoke, he rose from his seat and began toward the hallway.

“Settle yourself,” Ilayeth pressed.  “We need to talk about this.”

“I may not have time,” Declan protested.

Tornig hopped down from his chair then as well, and hurried to Declan’s side, holding his hand up against his guildmate’s chest.  “Ye aren’t alone here.  Ye know that, right?  We all want ta hurry there and prevent any tragedies, but ye don’t do that by rushing without looking first.”

“Even with the staff, you won’t be able to stop them by yourself,” Gorik said.  “You’ll need allies, and yours are weary.”

“But not all of them,” Jace said.  All eyes turned to him then, and he nodded, convinced that he had answers that could help them.  “We all dealt with the attack, certainly.  But Mason, Ezra, Nico and the rest…they’re all at the Grey Arches.  We could fetch them and travel together to the temple.”

“It’d be too far to travel.  The attack would have already happened,” Tornig supposed.

“But we don’t need to travel there ourselves,” Ilayeth offered.  “Now that our falconer is back among the land of the living, he can send a message there, and we can hurry along.”

“We’d still be outnumbered,” Jace said.  “And we can’t leave the guild hall unguarded.  If we planned on going right there, we’d be even more fractured than we are now.”

“You could bring us,” Ignark said then.  “We might be able to convince them to hold off their attack.”

“Or they might be further inspired by our presence,” Gorik said, catching the members of the guild by surprise.  “Or perhaps Jarayas will condemn us for helping those we were meant to attack.  There’s no telling what’s going through his mind now.”

As the group considered all that had been discussed then, they realized that Declan had grown quiet some time before.  One by one, they looked to him, and realized that he no longer heard their voices alone.

The whispers were there with him, lending him their advice.

 

 

Voting Instructions

This month Declan has a desperate choice to make, which you can influence.  Will the whispers recommend rushing to the temple to try and stop Gorik and Ignark’s companions?  Or, will the whispers tell him to try to gather up help from the other Adventurers of Eladia who are at the Grey Arches, and possibly run out of precious time?  As always, your voice, along with the other voices that make up the Council of Whispers will help determine the flow of this tale.

You have until the 28th of this month to safely join the Tellest Newsletter in time to cast your vote.  I’ll be sending out newsletter emails to my readers, with the choice to go to the temple or to the ruins.  Then, on December 1st, I’ll tally up the votes and see how the whispers influenced Declan.  December is going to be a special month as well, because while I’m writing the annual DeAngelo Christmas tale, you’ll be given another important task to help Declan find his way.

Remember, there are two ways for you to accumulate voting power in The Whispers:

  • First, when you vote through the newsletter, you get an extra voting point for every chapter you’ve voted on.  If you voted in each of the previous chapters, your vote this month would be worth a whopping five points!
  • Second—and this one is for the Tellest superfans—if you are a Tellest patron on Patreon, you get an additional voting point for every $1 you pledge per month.  And that is in addition to any of the other rewards you would receive at the specified pledge level.  So, if you pledged at the $3 level, you would get 3 votes on Patreon, in addition to your votes on the newsletter responses.  That’s a lot of sway over Declan!  But it’s another way for me to thank you for helping me keep the lights on.

 

That wraps up how to vote for this month.  Remember, sign up for the Tellest newsletter if you’re not a member already, and prepare for the follow-up poll later this month in order to cast your vote.  Then we’ll see next month what Declan does in his current situation!

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Michael DeAngelo

Michael DeAngelo

Michael is the creator of the Tellest brand of fantasy novels and stories. He is actively seeking to expand the world of Tellest to be accessible to everyone.
Michael DeAngelo

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