Azrayael heard a familiar voice in the darkness. “Azrayael….. my champion…..come to me”.
He opened his eyes and saw he was in his room in Mordent, the recent events that unfolded the previous week all came rushing back like a tidal wave hitting a sand castle.
The death of his brother paladin Kacaga and the faithful hand of light Corinthas. The destruction of the dark one…… Azrayael knew the dark one could not be defeated so easily nonetheless they had destroyed his host and it would sure to be a setback in his plans. The winter wonderland massacre. The ice fortress where he had retrieved the gem of great power. Thinking he had lost Pip and Rex, only to have them both return being spared by the holy light. The war with the ice giants and the loss of Boot the great dwarven fighter they had traveled with, quite possibly the second best Dwarf he had ever heard of.
Breaking his chain of thought he heard the familiar voice again. “Azrayael, my champion, it is good to see you doing so well, come outside the inn you have to see this.”
Azrayael started heading towards his armor stand and the voice sounded again. “No my champion, you will not need protection.”
Azrayael hesitated, he did not like being outside without his armor, it felt like going to breakfast without clothes on.
Faithful to Heironeous he obeyed her command.
As soon as he left the inn he was hit with a bright light and a haze that seemed to make him feel at peace, without concern and without doubt. There keeping a steady ten feet from the ground hovered a winged woman with a fifteen foot wingspan dressed in golden armor that was draped in a red cloth pieces, pointing with a flaming sword that burned with gleaming light to the temple nearby.
The temple was cold, dark, and rugged. Azrayel found his way through the labyrinth of the temple as if he knew the way. At last coming to the center piece he found the center brazier with glyphs on the wall behind it. He felt a chill crawl up his spine as he tried to make out the glyphs. They didn’t make much sense and seemed to glow when his fingertips neared them. “How did he get here?” he thought. Confused and a bit light headed he moved closer to the dimly lit glyphs, as hard as he tried to make sense of them they only looked like ancient markings forming a story he would not know. He let out a deep sigh asking Heironeous for aid. To his astonishment they began to swirl and blend together, the entire passage illuminated the very dimly lit room and formed words he could read.
“In the darkest of times you will be tested. Should you fail the darkness will consume you.”
Did this speak of the prophecy of the dark one? Could this be his destiny? To stop the great evil which caused the war. It must be, his redemption for all the ill he had caused.
“How could a lone paladin stop something so powerful?” he said aloud without thinking he was talking out loud.
The glyphs swirled and changed and again seemed to form words he could read. “You will not be alone, there is one who will be with you in the end, and without working together neither her nor you will be able to stand against the darkness.”
Azrayael felt an empowerment like nothing he had felt in his life, an accomplishment like none he had felt, even becoming a paladin and passing the trials that took years did not compare to this. He had his calling, his reason for existing. To bring hope, to bring light, to bring salvation. A hand print appeared on the wall where the glyphs had been, it had a slight blue glow to it. Azrayael pressed his hand to this new blue glyph and he it resonated loudly, he moved his hand away and there was now blue chalk on his fingers.
The floor began to shake and a crack began to form in the ground. Panic swooned over him and he looked around for something to grab on to. The gap grew in size quickly expanding it’s diameter rapidly blocking the only exit. Nowhere to run the gap crept on him like a shadow, he fell into the chasm. This rush, this fear, it was not normal, it was not real. Azrayael had fought the undead, werewolves, giants, and even dragons he did not fear these things. Falling on the other hand he had no control over. Adrenaline shot through his body, his heart rate accelerated and beads of sweat formed near his brow. He could see the ground coming up fast, lit up unnaturally.
The impact was brutal and knocked the wind out of him. His eyes shot open and he saw he was in a familiar room in the Flaming Horse Tavern. Azrayael quickly looked around the room, “Was I dreaming just now?”. His armor was nearby on the stand and seemed to radiating that same faint blue glow that had been in the temple.
He lit the bed side lantern and confirming his suspicion his fingers had been smudged with blue chalk.
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