Thursday, July 14, 2005

00006

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The stone hallways of the monastery were quiet and shrouded in darkness except for the occasional candle left burning in the wall. A few candles were left burning during the night for those monks who may be attending an all night vigil or for elderly monks who no longer felt comfortable using their chamber pots.

Each time Caswyn approaches a segment of the hallways that was lit by one of these candles he became nervous, and would pause straining with his ears to hear if any of the brothers stirred. After a few minutes of no sound save the flickering of the candles as is sputtered and jumped in one of the monastery’s many drafts, Caswyn would hurry through the candles light.

Keeping his hood pulled low over his eyes and holding the hem of his brown robes in his hands so that they did not swish against the carpeted floor when he finally made his move through this the largest path of light he would cross through before arriving at his cell, Caswyn wondered how long he had paused here. ‘Twenty minutes?’ The room was called the Commons by the order because many monks liked to meet there to discuss the scriptures. Four stone hallways lead into the Commons, one from each direction. Caswyn stood in the shadows of the eastern tunnel his destination lay across the room and down the western tunnel. The commons was lit by four candles still burning on the walls, whose light almost reached the center of the room, and a large tallow candle on a stand in the center of the room the completed the full illumination of the room.

The Commons was often left illuminated all night as a result of its central location and because theological discussions did not always end when the sun went down. At the moment the room was empty and no discussions were occurring, for which Caswyn was especially grateful. As an initiate he was not allowed to leave the monastery, his soul was not strong enough yet, if caught outside of his room at this time he would face immediate expulsion at the very least. Historically initiates who broke this rule were blinded before being expelled from the order, but since no initiate had been caught in the last century Caswyn was unsure if the old rules still applied.

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