Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Abandoned Church

The church lay amid fallow fields and gently rolling hills, a reminder of a bygone age. The old religions had been forgotten, even if their structures remained. An ancient statue, weathered beyond years, was nearly engulfed by rough greenery at the entrance-way. The doors were ajar in the cool, fall breeze and sunlight streamed into the narrow windows that provided both light and protection from the enemy. The inside was bare, save for the peeling frescoes and the heavy, marble altar.

I climbed the long, circular staircase to the belfry, winding three times to the room that still held the bell tower. This granted me a commanding view of what was once a small village, but was now only fields.

The old graveyard held the names of people long forgotten in a language familiar only to scholars now. I paused over each name, murmuring it between my lips and recording the dates of the departed for inclusion in my chronicles.

Remarkably, the priest's home was still intact, with even the thick glass withstanding the passing of seasons. Inside, all was as it was left long ago. Dusty dishes lay stacked in the meager cabinet and the wood-burning stove's grate still opened. The cloths had long deteriorated past usefulness and the food was beyond mold, but the house was still serviceable.

The bedroom door was still locked and required several moments and a brief spell to gain entry. It was equally spartan with only a bed, a small dresser and a chest as its furniture. Upon the bed was a skeleton, in gentle repose, dressed in faded undergarments underneath a tattered blanket. It appears the old priest died in his sleep some age ago, with no one to bury him. Gently, I covered the skull with the tattered blanket, whispering a belated blessing and investigated the chest. Another spell and the chest opened, revealing the priest's accouterments, prayer books and a bright, golden chalice which hummed with magic. Cataloging it within my notes, I placed it and the books in my satchel and bade the priest good-day. The chalice and books would return with me to the museum where they would be studied as part of the ancient history of this land.

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