Their Story Chapter 2
By Bounty Hunter Lani
Braska lowered his head to the statue before him. This monument was of Lord O'Holand, one of the great summoners of the past. He was proclaimed High Summoner when he defeated Sin twenty years ago. The summoner who had last defeated Sin was Lady Yocum - that was ten years ago. Braska was praying to all of the past summoners for guidance and strength before he entered the Chamber of the Fayth. His time was coming soon. He only hoped that he would be lucky enough to be accepted as a summoner, and perhaps one day he would be prayed to by future summoners seeking comfort. It was the least he could do for them all.
"How goes the training?" came a recognizable voice nearby.
Braska raised his head up to cast his eyes on a familiar face. He smiled. Before him stood a man in a red coat. This man was dark in complexion, with a firm look and piercing eyes. Braska had seen him here many times. He was a warrior monk by the name of Auron. He and Braska had spoken a few times, linked by a mutual friend - Yon Kinoc - but he wouldn't really say they were friends, only acquaintances.
"Hello, Auron," Braska said. "Things are going quite well."
"I heard you were to enter into the trials tomorrow. I wanted to wish you luck."
"Thank you," he said with a laugh. "I feel I'm going to need it."
Auron shook his head.
"I've seen you here in the temple just about everyday. I must say that I'm quite impressed. I've never seen someone so dedicated to their training, though you are a priest. I think you'll make a fine summoner."
"I can only hope that I will be accepted," said Braska.
"I wouldn't say there was much to worry about. You seem to have a firm standing and strong will."
"I - " Braska began, but found his reply interrupted by a monk who had stepped out of a side chamber.
"Auron," he said, but then noticed Braska. "Oh, forgive me, my Lord," he said with a bow.
"It's quite alright," Braska assured him.
The monk bowed again for the inconvenience.
"Auron, your presence is requested by Priest Mikilen."
"Thank you," the warrior monk nodded in response, turning back to the summoner. "Forgive my leave, my Lord."
"It's alright. And thank you for the blessing."
Auron gave a humble bow and headed off to follow the young monk.
Braska went back to his position on the floor and again began to pray for strength. It was comforting to know that others had faith in him, but still he wished for the aid of the ones who went before him. They would know if he was truly ready to bear this burden.
Auron followed the young monk down the long hallway to the priest's chamber. This calling had not been unexpected. He had been preparing for this for several days now. This was, no doubt, about a promotion. He was to be second in command, since the former had been killed by a fiend the past week. Auron had the skill and experience to fill the man's shoes. He had simply been waiting.
The monk opened the door to the chamber and led Auron into a room that didn't look quite like what he was expecting to find. All he thought he would see was the priest and Platin, the commander of the warrior monks. What Auron found was the priest, three well-known monks, and a young woman with long brown ringlets who smiled at him. Something wasn't right
"Ah, Auron," the high priest proclaimed. "It is good you finally got here."
Auron offered a bow through his confusion.
"You wanted to see me, my Lord?" he asked.
"Yes," said the priest, approaching slowly. "As you know, you're up for a large promotion. You're coming on second in command."
"Yes," said Auron, wondering in which direction this was going.
"Since you are going to be highly ranked, you're going to want to present an image of esteem. Platin has captured this image. He lives highly and has a beautiful family. His skill makes him highly respected. You have the skill, but you are lacking family. You don't even have so much as a brother or sister."
"I didn't think that would have anything to do with this," Auron said, narrowing his brows.
"This is my daughter, Raquala. I have consented to offer her hand to you in marriage."
The priest put his hands on the girl's shoulders and she looked up to Auron, her eyes filled with just as much confusion as his were. She tried to smile again.
"I was under the impression that monks shouldn't marry. I've held with that. I can't say it for others, but I don't feel like it is right for me. I honor Yevon with everything I have inside. That's much more important than what I can give to society through marriage."
The priest smiled slightly and motioned the monks out of the room.
"Think it over," he said. "Spend some time with her."
Auron watched as the man left the room and closed the door, leaving the two of them alone. What was all this? Pushing him into marriage? Since when did that become part of the teachings?
"Hi," came the sweet voice behind him.
He forced himself to look at her, giving her the same respect he would give any normal person; she was nothing special.
"So, you are Auron," she confirmed.
"Did you have part in this?" he asked her quite abruptly.
"They said you were bold," she mused. "No. It was my father's doing. He wants me to be taken care of and provided for." She paused to laugh. "I don't really appreciate the fact that he feels like he has to bribe someone to marry me."
Auron turned his face away from her lovely smile. This was wrong in his mind. It was not for him to marry. He had decided that long ago. The very thought of the ministry telling him he had to marry was angering. They had no right. It wasn't in the teachings. What concern of it was theirs?
At a small laugh he looked back up to her, standing there meekly with hands behind her back. She slowly brought her brown eyes up to his.
"I can tell you don't want this," she said. "I can see it in your eyes. Honestly, I don't care for it either. This isn't what I want from life but that's a different story."
Auron just stared back at her.
"It's okay," she assured him. "Just say it."
"I don't want this," he said without trouble.
She smiled more.
"Go then. You have no hard feelings from me."
"What about your father?" Auron asked, not concerned about the old man's thoughts, but suddenly about this understanding girl's well-being.
"I'll think of something to tell him."
Auron nodded his appreciation.
"I do apologize," he said.
"There is no need for that," she assured him.
Auron did as she bade and left the room in a single movement. He was glad to be out, and even more content that he had held in his peace. He still did not understand it. Why had they even asked him to do this? He was faithful enough, was he not? Why did he need this?
"Where are you going?" came a voice from nearby.
Auron stopped in his tracks to see the priest step into the hall. The man in red's mind filled with anger, but he would control himself. Perhaps this could all be straightened out soon.
"You didn't stay long," the priest said.
"My Lord," Auron began. "I don't wish to marry. I don't know your daughter, and, no offense to you, cannot love her enough to marry her. I don't feel that I am supposed to love in that way."
"Just because you've dedicated you whole life to something? You can't have a wife?"
"I believe that having a wife will take away from me what is truly important."
"The teachings?" asked the priest.
"Yes," he said.
There was silence in the hall for several moments as the priest lifted his eyes to the ceiling in thought.
"I suppose I can see where you are coming from, young Auron."
"Then you will consent to my wishes?" asked the hopefully monk.
"Let me make this simpler for you," said the high priest. "Marry my daughter or leave the monastery."
"What?" Auron asked, unsure he had heard correctly.
"This is a disgrace to my daughter and myself. If you refuse this offer, if reflects on us. I'm afraid I cannot risk that. I'll have to ask you to leave this place. You will be excommunicated from the temple."
Auron could hardly believe his ears at this. What? How could he say this? What right did he have? Auron closed his eyes briefly to hold in his rage. Sucking in a deep breath, he finally opened his eyes again, his anger fading and his nerves calming.
"Alright," he said finally. "I'll pack my things."
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