In Chapter 21, Dora performed psychometry on Ray’s morningstar:
She saw a rich, powerful man walking through the streets of his home town. He was happy, and he had a secret. This day was the best day of his life.
Kristoph van Horten had always been a man of faith. His father brought him into the family traditions at a young age and he’d been devoted ever since. He attended services regularly. He tithed. He showed respect and humility. And after 40 years of faith and devotion, he’d been given a sign of favor from the perfect one, the one who truly knew him, saw him, and understood him. Today, he would advance to a level of communion with his deity that few are fortunate enough to attain. All in the name of beauty and perfection. Art and faith and life and devotion made one.
Van Horten was handsome, fit, and patrician. Comfortable in his power, yet a tiny bit sniveling. His clothing was the finest of the fine. His hair ws perfect. His teeth were perfect. His smile was infectious.
“Today is the day,” he thought.
He walked into the most exclusive club in the city. The staff all nodded and greeted him by name. “Welcome, Master Van Horten.”
He smiled. He couldn’t help himself. He even tipped them. Why not?
The package tucked under his arm was growing heavy. He wasn’t accustomed to lugging that much weight around—he’s a trading magnate, not a stevedore—but all this physical work would be worth it. Because he had the perfect gift. To celebrate this, the best day of his life.
It’s a weapon. A family heirloom from back when his ancestors actually fought in wars and swung steel. It’s a morningstar, named Hoarflame.
The practice, unspoken but known, is that one makes a gift to the priest or priestess overseeing the rites. The ceremony takes much out of the celebrant, even though they believe in it and love it. It asks so much of them. Of course, it will ask much of van Horten, too. But the gift is a sign of gratitude. And respect. “You do this thing for me. Thus, I give of myself to you.”
Van Horten reached his private table and saw the new priest that would be conducting his services. “So young,” Van Horten thought. Perfect skin. Smooth hands. Though, there’s something weird about his body. His wrists were so skinny. His arms were so long. His head was a little big. And there was something odd about the way he sat.
Van Horten was on the verge of niggling doubts, but then he saw the fire in the young man’s eyes and he knew he was in good hands.
“Welcome,” said the priest. “Please be seated. Let us feast before the celebration begins.”
“Before we do,” Van Horten said, “I have a token of my appreciation that I’d like to share.” He laid the box on the table and gestured to it.
The young priest opened the box. Inside, it was the morningstar. Old. Solid. Black. Glowing ever-so-slightly pale gray. Licked with silvery flame.
Van Horten spoke. “It has been in my family for centuries, I believe. The crafter’s name is lost to time. And it’s certainly seen some use. But beauty, in my view at least, isn’t just about outward appearances. It’s also about the perfect implement being perfectly used in a righteous cause. And my hope is that if you ever find yourself in need of the perfect implement to help you defend our faith, that you will see beauty within the magic of Hoarflame.”
The priest licked his lips and said, “Thank you. With all my heart… thank you.” Then he leaned in close to Van Horten and whispered in his ear, “For eternity…”
First Reference: Chapter 21
Other Notable References: Chapter 22, Chapter 29