[Some old words about Gilead – putting them here for easy research later.]
The waters ripple, and Haskeer sees Gilead.
A gray city, made from simple stone. The towers and streets show signs of great age, and great wear. This is a place where it rains much, where the people must go to the walls to stand against an endless tide of dark. Yet in every eye, a fierce pride – a bright flame that burns against the dark. The people move about their day, and among them walk the men of the Legion. The Crusaders, the Swords of Iron – their cloaks white and blue. Their armor is brightly polished, but the paladin quickly sees the signs of steady use. Leather straps worn to fraying, dents in shields carefully beaten back to true, and burnished with care.
Pennants fly from the towers, each showing three swords bound in a circle, blue on a white field. In the streets Haskeer sees simple signs of nobility, peace and kindness. A young boy keeping his older brothers from harming a kitten, an old man doffing his cap for a passing milk maid, a portly baker giving barely stale bread to beggars in the church square. The quiet prayers at the temple of the Nameless God, the priests laying hands on their flock with the gentle touch of wise shepherds.
A king with a golden crown, white hair spilling down his collar – his family drawn close around a fine table. A plan is laid out before them, a bridge that needs building — the family laughs and argues good naturedly over the plan.
“This is Gilead.” the lady said. “The anvil where the hammer falls again and again, but the steel does not break.”
The lady smiles, one tear coursing down her face.
“This is Gilead, Sir Knight. You asked to see it. No other place in this world will ever be Gilead again. If you wish to see the place that was once Gilead, then look.”
A gray city, made from simple stone. The streets are clean, not a speck of trash or debris. Repairs have been made to shore up sagging towers and crumbled buildings. The devils move through the streets with frenzied care, putting each plaza and wall into precise, scouring order. The windows burn with red and green light, strange shadows move in complex dances of pain and perversion. Armies march in a rictus of order, regiments of the damned.
Pennants fly from the towers, each showing three swords bound in a circle, blue on a white field. The fabric is stained and tattered – a mockery, pulled from rotting basement and dusty museum to dance on the wind and laugh in the face of the defeated dead. An imp slices red dripping meat into squares to sear on an open flame, a winged horror cavorts with a brace of bound creatures on the top of a broad wall – it’s face twisted with lust, an obese monstrosity hangs sluglike from underneath an archway cramming stones wrapped in grass and goat-cheese into it’s ever widening gob. Tall, angular creatures move amongst the devils wrapped in long red robes – they are treated with deference, and are quick to punish any that do not show the proper respect.
A king with a crown of glass, grass-green skin and bone laughs in a high-backed wooden throne. Behind him in a circle of steel is bound a man of average height and average features. He looks up, as if he is aware of being watched and winks.
The pool ripples and Haskeer can see no more.