Challenge #03206-H297: The One That Matters

An aged, wizened man. He wishes he could follow his wife, and his kids, and his grandkids into the great beyond. But, when he was young, and on guard duty, he had fallen asleep at his post, failing to raise the alarm when invaders got inside, and a thousand within the city perished as a result. Now, his gods won't let him die, until he has saved one thousand lives. One life for each that had been lost. Marking his arms and hands with stripes, one stripe for each life. There were still almost a hundred to go. -- Anon Guest

Be careful when you make a Sacred Oath. They have repercussions, they have consequences. Some, like the oath embedded in a white obelisk in Whitekeep, worm their way into the oath-taker's brain and will not allow themselves to be broken. Others, like an oath on the heart of a god, allow the oath-taker to persist so they can uphold it. One has come with its own punishment.

Call him Marcus. He has had many names throughout the centuries. Once in his youth, he took an oath to preserve lives and defend them with his own. It was his bad luck that he took that oath in ready witness of his gods.

He made a mistake. He fell asleep on a night when bandits came. One thousand died, and the gods demanded restitution.

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