Herstil

Herstil Ombrick was a priest of the Aclyssian order and believed as all priests of the Almighty that there should be temperance in order. It is the way of nature to fall into chaos, where things occur without meaning or purpose. Preist Ombrick knew he had what all the crawling things and blind creatures of the world lacked and that was the discipline to perform the same task at exactly the same moment every day. Among that he was the bearer of one of seventeen timepieces in the known world.

Each morning he would awake without any provocation at exactly six o’clock in the morning. He would make his prayers, bless his breakfast, dress appropriately for the weather, take up his ticking timepiece and make his way from his home at one end of Green street down the cobblestone through the dawn to the other end. There at the very end he passed through a large gate which had over it Aclyssian words forged in iron: “The Almighty Forgets No Soul”.

The campus was surrounded by a ten foot high stone wall with a cast iron spike fence above it and Beyond the gate Preist Ombrick stepped with precision across the stone path to the great stone structure of the orphanage. It was perhaps more akin to a dark square castle than a state building. The building itself sported many gothic buttresses and gargoyles that frowned downward at Ombrick as he passed into the heavy doors of the main building.

Ombrick would make his way to the endless wooden steps that zig-zagged skywards. His feet pressing in on the same indents that his predecessor bell ringers had. The same dust would rise up after him as he crossed back and forth ever higher. It could not be said what thoughts graced him each morning as he climbed those endless steps, perhaps he thought of the squeaking wood or the musty cold that embraced the upper levels. Perhaps Ombrick thought of how the sun shone through the slats on the sides of the tower catching the dust. It was most likely that Priest Ombrick simply rose without a single thought in his head.

The highest tower of the Orphanage was one of the highest points in the city. It rose above the winding streets, the shops, the three or four story buildings and nearly reached the height of the Lord’s castle on the far hill. When Ombrick reached the top of his long flight he beheld the great bell. It was a great brass thing, about ten inches thick all around it’s twenty foot radius. It was carved with High Aclyssian texts around it in concentric rings.

When Ombrick beheld it each day the sun had just risen above the horizon and the brass would duly shine above him. The Preist would then consult his timepiece and he would find that it was still ten minutes before the hour of seven. The breath of time would each day be regarded as no more than an oversight, and he would sigh as if he had other obligations. He would turn from the heavy brass bell above him and move to the wall where long ago a slot in the wall would open to reveal the sprawling expanse below.

The sight would gaze upon the city, quiet before a man or woman stirred, when the lights were dark and the last lingering moments of dreams encompassed all their realities. The view would look beyond the far walls to the southern mountains. Their eastward faces turning golden in the sun’s reflection off the snow. The sky above them still dark, but rising in crisp blue.

He would give himself that moment of reflection before thanking the Almighty, looking to his timepiece and grasping the heavy rope. With all his strength he pulled down and the heavy brass bell would budge a slight angle. Once after another the priest would pull and release and the mechanism above the bell would groan. The struts would creak and the tower began to vibrate in excitement for the new hour of the day. Inch by inch the bell would rock and it’s heavy clapper would remain still nearing the sound bow. The heavy brass ball would remain motionless as the bell neared it.

Ombrick would be sweating by the time he got the bell moving, he would look at his timepiece and when the hour of seven struck on his timepiece he gave one final great tug on the rope above. The bell would slam against the clapper with all the great sound of God himself. His ears would ring in it’s crisp thunder and the tower shook in satisfaction.

He rang it, striking seven times before letting go and allowing the bell to go back into silence and the day to begin. He would check the open slot and see below the figures of the day workers and farmers, the merchants and nobles slowly emerge from their houses, the birds would take flight and the blue sky was above the Bright mountains.

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