Vol.1, Ch.1, P.3

Revision – 2022.10.27


“…Well, that’s that,” I sighed, closing the scriptures.

The Roun of Orisons.

On the morrow would it receive me and many others alike. And there, we would together attain odyl, the power to fight the Nafílim—they who so bear ill intent towards our kind. They who commit ill deeds upon our meek and defenceless. They, who from birth are each instilled with powerful odyl of their own.

It is said that in ages long gone, men were bereft of odyl and could do little against the Nafílim but be overrun by them. St. Rakliammelech’s feats six hundred years past, however, brought odyl into the hands of Men at long last. With it, they faced the Nafílim—an effort that continued on through the centuries.

Here in this kingly realm of Londosius, any of whom are received at the Roun of Orisons are also qualified to serve in the Chivalric Order. Nobles in particular are keen on this, with no small number conscripting into the Order as soon as they are able.

The kingdom itself is founded upon the congregations of resistance against the Nafílim. As such, the nobility sees itself honour-bound to join the fight. Emilie and I were no different—we both planned to enlist together.

It is scarcely the case that the sons and daughters of nobility are sent to theatres of war deemed perilous overmuch. Serve the Order for a number of years, receive the rites of investiture, gain a degree of combat experience, and then return home to one’s domain—such is the career laid out for us young nobles. To those of our station, there is otherwise little reason to join the Order.

But I thought differently.

For as long as I can remember, the legends of chivalric gallantry were and are a great fascination to me, so much so that I came to harbour dreams of donning the knight’s mantle myself. It is for that very reason that I’ve honed my swordsmanship more doggedly than any other I knew.

The time would come someday when the reins of this little corner of Londosius would pass to my hands, though thankfully, my father was yet hale in his health. Knighthood is my ambition, and it is my aim to remain a knight for as long as I can.

And of course, there’s Emilie. I dare not leave her out of the picture. Apparently, there are nobles who’ve wedded in the midst of their military service. A precedent of comfort, for I intend to propose to her sometime before I am made lord to this barony. And after fulfilling my dreams and becoming a man that even I can be proud of, I would set out for my homecoming.

Such is my wish. Such is my hope.



“Today’s the day, Rolf! Let’s give it our all!” Emilie cheered, her hands clenched with determination. We were gathered before the Buckmann manor as our carriage was making ready.

“I’m afraid our ‘all’ amounts to little, Emilie,” I remarked. “Kneel before the Reverend, close our eyes, and it’s done before we know it.”

And rightfully so, for the one officiating the Roun of Orisons was the priest, after all, and it was his shoulders that would bear the work.

“But wouldn’t it be nice to let Yoná know of our ardour? Surely She’ll answer in kind!” my fiancée countered.

“I say Emilie has a point, Brother. I’ll be coming to watch your heroic performance myself, so pray give your all to earn Her grace,” said Felicia, with a firm mind in accompanying us to the church. But with so heavy a word like ‘heroic,’ I feared my own mind was aught but firm.

“Performance, you say? Well… if you insist, Felicia,” I relented. “For you, I’ll put on my best act.”

“One worthy of ovation, I should hope!” smiled Felicia. “After the curtains close, ‘twill be long before we next meet. ‘Twould please me to have one more memory of you for the while, Brother…”

Emilie and I had arrangements to enlist in the 5th Chivalric Order very soon after the closing of the Roun of Orisons. Its base of operations stood in the marquisate of Norden, a province neighbouring the royal capital, and our departure thither was scheduled on the day after the ceremony proper.

A trip between the Buckmann barony and our destination in Norden was not in and of itself a particularly long journey, but nor was it one to be taken at leisure.

“Though you’ll be enlisting yourself, won’t you Felicia? In the coming year, that is,” I asked. “We’ll keep a seat warm for you.”

“That’s right, Felicia! A year passes before you know it!”

“My hope that it shall. I’ll be chasing your heels, you two!”

Warm smiles were shared between us.

“And how about you, Rolf?” Emilie asked, turning to me. “Knighthood’s right on the horizon at last, isn’t it!”

“The same horizon we both look upon, no?”

“True, but I’m hardly the one who’s been dreaming of it for, what, ten years now, it’s been? Why, the wait’s almost over, Rolf!”

“I share in Emilie’s thoughts, Brother. For such a momentous occasion, you seem the tree unswayed by the merry winds.”

That my dream alone gave spark to these girls’ gazes was most endearing indeed.

“A year of swainhood comes first; we’ll be as saplings toiling against winds of a different temperament, I’m afraid. Once we’ve taken firm root, though, we must ply ourselves till we’ve earned our investitures,” I explained. “I’ve no doubt it’s on the horizon, but the distance spans more deeply than we’d like.”

“Oh Brother, you’ve only to receive your accolade right as the second year opens. Then you’ll be a proud knight by the time I’m a swain myself!”

“Felicia’s on to something! We should celebrate both milestones at once! Together, of course!”

“Now, you two. Didn’t I just say it wasn’t going to be that easy…?”

A fretful shade hung in my heart, I admit, but thanks to the girls, I felt its mists lift as the carriage wended its way close, ready to whisk us off.



Solemnity draped the church more palpably than usual.

Forgathered within were children from all corners of the Buckmann barony, each having celebrated their fifteenth birthdays this year. A shared tension tugged at each of their faces as they lined down the nave.

Further in loomed a statue of our Deiva, Yoná. Framed by a pane of stained glass from behind, She cast a grave gaze down upon us all. At Her likeness’ base stood the priest, flanked by a pair of knights—personnel from the 5th Order, the same we were to enlist in. Their twofold charge was to act as the priest’s bodyguards and to survey the odyl of prospective recruits.

“Well met and congratulations, all of you,” greeted the priest. “For fifteen years has Yoná kept you in Her safe embrace. Those fifteen years find you here now, ready for the rites, ready for the new path ahead of you. Praises, all, to Yoná.”

What followed was a narration of the story of St. Rakliammelech. How he suffered the malice of the Nafílim, realised the cruelty of the world, and communed with Yoná—all passionately recounted to us so gathered.

“To that end, only for that which is good and just must you employ the gift of odyl—the same to be bestowed upon each of you on this day.”

All those present had their eyes and ears fixed to the priest’s sermon in great earnest. Glancing over, I found Emilie’s profile to be no less seized by the solemnity.

“Henceforth shall we commence the Roun of Orisons. Pray mind your order.”

Our nerves collectively frayed further.

Up ahead, a youth was summoned forth. To the transept he went, with steps unsteady with worriment. Once there, he was, from the priest, presented with a satin cloth, nestled within which was a crystal, clear and of quartz. Taking it, the adolescent then knelt down and closed his eyes. There, the priest raised a palm to him, and with a sonorous voice, began to chant.

“O Yoná, Deiva Suprēma, Aegis of Man from the Empyrean on high. Here, we beseech Thee, Most Divine, of Thy Grace, that we may dam the tides of the Wicked, and soothe the sons and daughters of Man set adrift.”

As the psalm finished, a deep blue glow sighed from the quartz in the boy’s hands. In turn, he slowly opened his eyes and gazed at length into the crystalline light. And once it had faded, the priest spoke again.

“It is done. May Yoná’s blessing find you, my son.”

The next person stepped up as the youth turned and walked back down the nave. Despite having received odyl, he seemed visibly dejected, and rightfully so.

The measure of odyl bestowed is decided by the depth of the quartz-light’s blue colour. To put it simply, the paler the light, the more odyl one is bestowed, and it is said that a light of sky-blue hue is a most excellent result indeed.

For the boy, his was of a morose shine, like sunrays drifting in the ocean depths, a dark light indicating that odyl of no appreciable amount was given to him. His drooping shoulders, then, seemed quite justified.

The Roun of Orisons proceeded further without trouble, granting odyl to each of us in turn. The responses were mixed—some radiated with elation for their results, others slumped in defeat.

“Next: Emilie Mernesse. Pray come forth.”

“Y-yes, Reverend! R-right away!” she stammered, before turning to me. “Rolf! Off I go!”

“Calm your nerves first, lest your feet stammer as well,” I said back with levity.

Taking her turn, Emilie marched forth to the transept. Like so many others before her, she, too, took up the quartz crystal, knelt down, and held it close to her heart. Her fingers clasped tightly about it, almost as if it embodied the whole of Yonaism itself.

The priest’s palm then reached out towards her forehead, whilst Emilie kept both eyes squeezed shut, betraying in them a slight quiver.

“O Yoná, Deiva Suprēma, Aegis of Man from the Empyrean on high. Here, we beseech Thee, Most Divine, of Thy Grace, that we may dam the tides of the Wicked, and soothe the sons and daughters of Man set adrift.”

A glimmer began to enshroud the quartz, as if on cue. Emilie opened her eyes nervously, but instead, found it impossible to look—the quartz was as the sun itself, luminous and dazzling. A beacon of pure white, its rays reaching up to set the vaults aglint, and down through the nave, shimmering against our faces, striking into our eyes.

The priest and the knights were taken aback, their faces stretched in shock. Ill-bearing the brimming shine, I winced and turned away for a moment, there finding the same expression of awe in all the spectators along the aisle and narthex both. Amongst them was Felicia, herself frozen in utter astonishment.

Moments later did the dawn-like luminosity begin to subside. And upon its eventual vanishing, the officiators found their wits and broke into discussion.

“Reverend… That light…! Was it not wholly pale just now…?” observed one of the knights. “If memory serves, such brilliance would mean the fullest measure of odyl has been given— ‘Aureola’, the halo-light, as it were?”

“It… It would seem so! Many years have I officiated this solemn ceremony, but this be the first mine eyes have beheld such a light!” exclaimed the priest. “Miss Emilie, yes? Oh! Bless your soul, child! Yoná embraces you with Her most profound love!”

An invigourated murmur arose through the church.

“Emilie Mernesse!” approached one of the knights. “Do tell: you mean to join the Order, yes!? Surely!”

“Y-yes, sir. I-I do.”

All eyes in the church were then trained upon Emilie.

“And you felt the odyl manifest within you, yes?” asked the other knight.

“I-I did, sir, yes. From within my chest, I sensed something… something tinged with heat, come coursing in.”

“In all the history of the 5th Chivalric Order, none till today have produced the Aureola! Be proud, for you hold the greatest odyl of any recruit to this very moment! We welcome you, Emilie Mernesse! We welcome you with open arms!”

“Th-thank you, good sirs!”

After enduring a long while of exaltation from the officiators, Emilie came back my way, her cheeks fully ablush.

“R-Rolf…!” she gasped excitedly.

“Congratulations, Emilie!”

“Th-thanks! Good luck to you too, Rolf!”

Between us was brimming mirth, till echoed the priest’s voice once more.

“Next: Rolf Buckmann. To the fore, if you may.”





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