Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blind Ajeela

Long ago, there lived a devout priestess named Ajeela Lightbringer. She served her god with fervent devotion, caring for the poor, the sick, and the injured. Throughout her youth, she grew in wisdom and power; men, women, and children came from all over to receive healing and blessings from her. Her congregation grew to thousands, then tens of thousands, with no sign of stopping. Her life was blessed by her god; anything she set her mind to, she could accomplish.

If that was the entire story, she would have been remembered as a great saint, and likely immortalized in stained glass or painted fresco in countless chapels and cathedrals. As it is, however, few even remember her; the church erased her from their scrolls, and she vanished into legend.

Her downfall began with nothing more than a single silver hair. Somehow, the sight of that single silver hair in her otherwise dark hair stuck in her mind. Ajeela looked out at the throng of people waiting for little more than a kind word from her lips, and realized that some day, she would be too old to walk among them; too feeble to raise a hand in blessing. She put the thought from her mind, but day by day, week by week, it kept returning. At the first spring storm, her back ached; after the celebration and festivities of Brightest Night, it took two days to feel rested again instead of one. As the cool winds of autumn blew through her home, she seemed to feel the drafts more keenly than she remembered. With every reminder of the relentless march of time, the reminder of mortality in Ajeela's head grew louder and ever more insistent.

That winter, Ajeela began researching a new spell; one to grant eternal youthfulness. It was, she assured herself, for the good of all. She would use it on herself, of course, but also on the elderly under her care; what better blessing than a return to youth vigor?

Her research progressed, though at every discovery, it changed course ever-so-slightly. Finally, she asked herself, what good is a youthful exterior if you still die? And with that thought, her once straight path turned towards chaos. Her spell was finally complete; no longer a spell of youth, but a spell to bind her soul to her body forever. Youthful beauty was fleeting; to banish death was the ultimate victory. Or so she thought.

After a year of research, she found her spell. After carefully recording the spell, she cast it, not in piety, but out of purely selfish motive. The spell was a success, but the act of defiance flew in the face of her god. Angered, her deity smote her, removing her eyes and her youth, and placing a terrible curse upon her. Her eyes were given to two devout clergy to protect, in case Ajeela ever repented and atoned for her misdeed.

Ajeela was left to wander the earth, blind and without power, but angry and stubborn nonetheless. She died with no friends by her bed, but even after death, her torment continued; her spell had worked, and her soul was trapped. Her body did not decay, nor did her soul find rest. To this day, the corpse of Blind Ajeela holds her soul inside.