Sin, or love? Dorian seeks to rid himself of sin, to purify his soul, leaving him free to pursue a socially acceptable life and marriage. But can he? His only hope is to leave the world of the living and walk the Path of Redemption. He knows he can make it on his own. But Osval, his closest friend, insists on accompanying him. How can he expiate the worst sin of all with Osval by his side?
The Guardians of the Path occupied a small Church and refectory complex crouched uneasily on the side of the massive, looming Hellmount. The entire volcano was enclosed by a stone wall, securing it, making certain that no unwary wanderer ever trod the Path by accident. Dorian couldn't stop himself from sticking tight to Osval's side as they approached the very gates of Perdition.
"I didn't think it would smoke all over like that," Osval said, pace slowing.
"It looks ready to swallow the world."
The two men lagged behind, not even noticing Rothanna's resolute march directly into the Church. The volcano loomed over them, threatening imminent destruction.
"What if it erupts?"
Dorian chuckled weakly. "Then we'll know the Creator has deemed everyone for miles around worthy of ascension to Veritas."READ MORE
"Maybe." Osval's feet stopped moving, and he reached out and touched Dorian's arm. "Dori. Are we really going to do this? Are we truly going to walk the slopes of a volcano? They erupt, you know."
"I am. I don't know about you, but I need this, terror and all. I want to get rid of the sin inside me, before it corrupts my life through, past all hope of redemption. I need to be normal."
Osval looked away from the looming menace, straight into Dorian's soul. "Dori, whatever happens in there, remember the good times we've had, okay? I've never seen you as a sinner, or anything other than a normal person, and my closest friend. Never forget that."
"Nothing will make me forget your friendship, Osval," Dorian said, fighting to keep his response in check. He only partially succeeded, for no power in him could keep his hand from reaching out to touch Osval. "Or the way you refuse to give up on me, no matter how I try to push you away for the sake of my soul."
"Your soul. . ." Osval broke off what he'd been about to say, and gave himself a shake. "Right. For the health of our souls, then. Let's do this."
Together, they moved the last few steps of the path, each entering the Church because the other did.COLLAPSE
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