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BISHOP


It was a memory that would haunt him forever. When he was a younger man, Bishop would sit near the fountain and stare into its crystal-clear waters trying to discover its secrets. The fountain was an elaborate three-tiered masterpiece designed from plans found in a book that had survived from Before. It loomed over its small circular courtyard. From the top, water sprouted out of a small tube and then cascaded down the tiers to join the water that rested in the shallow pool at the base of the massive sculpture.

It was the ripples that fascinated him; the way they would crest and move from side to side. When souls were present in the fountain, it looked like they danced and frolicked just under the surface. Bishop couldn't actually see them, no matter how hard he tried. The souls remained invisible to him. The Residents of Malm believed it was a magical thing given to them by the Creator. Bishop wasn't so sure.

That night was the eve of a Soul Distribution Day, and so the fountain was inhabited by several souls who had been Called from wherever they were kept when they weren't in the fountain. Bishop had sneaked out to the fountain to watch the souls at play. After watching for what seemed liked several hours, Bishop had been gripped by an irrational desire to jump into the fountain to play with them.

If he joined them, he wouldn't have to be alone any longer. It was like they knew that he felt like an outsider; not being able to recall his parents or childhood. The only thing he knew was the garden. They told him that the only thing he had to do was crawl into the shimmering water and float with them and he would never be alone again. He could hear them whispering to him. They wanted to play. They wanted to share their secrets with him. They wanted him to be one of them.

His foot had just brushed the surface of the water when Bishop heard yelling behind him. Suddenly, two acolytes were at his side, dragging him back from the fountain's edge.

Years later, Bishop could recall the sinking feeling of despair as he fell backwards, as if in slow motion. The three of them landed in a heap several feet away from the fountain's base. His voice, howling in frustration and rage, penetrated his ears. He struggled against the acolytes; he wanted to be with the souls in fountain. He wanted to play. He wanted to be free.

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