Til Death Do Us Part The faces changed, but the routine was always the same. Donovan hardly kept track of times or days, his only appointments set by his own schedule with little care for what seemed too early or too inconvenient for his clients. But the sacrificial ceremony of the fate festival reoccurred around the same time with each passing year that it was as much as a gauge for the passing time as any. He never missed the invitation.
The elaborate temple was familiar, quietly admiring the architecture as he wandered his way through. As soon as the ceremony ended, the crowd clearing, and the body of the sacrifice forgotten, Donovan's own ritual began as he swept in unnoticed to collect what was his. With a barely whispered chant, pale hands gently caressing the face of the deceased, he'd guide the spirit from its body into the other side. Sacrifices were usually easy to lead away, their spirits already broken by torture that the embrace of Death was welcomed, no desperate pleas or protests to cling to what was already gone. Made his job easier, he supposed. He could hardly disapprove of any method of death, had very little care for how young or old they were.
Sometimes they needed extra comforting, coaxing to accept what Fate had brought. He'd hold the hand of a crying child, reassurances that the worst was all over now. Donovan was glad to have never known Life, viewed his work as all that was good and freeing from pain. And he had a quiet fondness for those who helped deliver. So he had noticed the year that the Shadow Cleric had changed to a rather somber young man, liked seeing him the year next.
But this time of the year was different than usual, no ceremonies or holidays surrounding the circumstances of his visit to the temple. Just a natural death, age taking its toll. Standard procedure, though lacking any excitement. Entering the peaceful room where the deceased lay in bed, he realized he wasn't alone.
The Shadow Cleric, he recognized instantly. A man whose name wasn't on his list for quite some time yet. Respectfully, if only because of the man's position and all that he'd given and would give, he waited by the door for the cleric to finish up his business instead of interrupting. He was nothing but patient, after all.