In a place known as Georn, man lived oblivious to the war raging around them on the earthen astral plane. A war fought between good and evil. Those that identified with evil worshipped the Dark King of Abaddon, and were known as the Orpheus Society. They believed mankind was inherently corrupt and undeserving of Georn. They sought to bring the corruption to the surface, and damn as many humans as they could to the fiery pits below.
On the other end of the spectrum were those who followed the path of good, worshipped the Lord of Light, and called themselves Disciples of the Light. As one would expect, they sought to protect and bring out the purity in mankind’s souls.
The soldiers of both sides were descendants of humans who could claim bloodlines connecting them to angels or demons. Their ancestry gave to them varying powers, long life, amazing recuperative abilities, and the capability to walk among the earthen, heavenly, and hellish astral planes. The first being where all major battles were fought, outside of the view of normal humans. The second two planes were where their bases of operation resided; since no one, unless they were dead, pure demon or pure angel, could enter the domain of the Lord of Light and the Dark King.
The war had been going on since almost the beginning of time, but in recent history a decisive battle was fought to a standstill. What the Orpheus Society did not know was one of their followers–labeled a deserter after this battle–was destined to bring about mankind’s salvation.
The spear pierced Sotiris’ armor through the back, and the last few minutes of his life were upon him. The Paladin of the Spear, Damien, was making his way through Sotiris’ comrades as if they were nothing but blades of grass before a tornado. He thought he had made it a safe distance away, but he had been mistaken.
Lying face-down on the ground, the power of the spear began to work its way into the armor that surrounded his upper-body. The spear, commonly known as Void, would cause the armor or anything covering the body to crush the person wearing it. It was truly Damien’s power, and the spear was simply a medium for said power, but it did not stop people from naming the spear. It was a slow and agonizing death. Any attempts to pry the outerwear off while the magic was still active would cause a transfer of the magic to that person.
As Sotiris’ armor slowly crushed him, Damien walked over and yanked the spear from his body. The only person who could halt the advance of the magic was Damien himself; and that was not likely to happen.
“The battle seems to be over,” a female voice said, not too far away.
Damien turned his head toward the direction of the voice. “Yes, and it is a stalemate once again,” Damien said, disdain dripping from his words like ichor.
“I must pray over the fallen and heal the wounded. Would you mind being my guard?”
The voice was nearer this time, sweet and clear as a bell. If her words were the last Sotiris were to hear before joining the Dark King, he would die content.
“If you truly must, cleric, but be quick about it.”
A heavy boot kicked Sotiris’ side, and he was rolled onto his back. Damien’s chiseled features, lined with deep disgust, was replaced by a hooded figure.
“May the Lord of Light have mercy on your soul,” she said in that beautiful voice. She folded her hands in prayer, and continued in the high language of the Disciples of the Light.
Sotiris almost laughed, but the armor was now crushing the breath from his body. In an effort to halt her prayers, he clumsily lifted his arm in an attempt to grab for her hands. She caught his hand in hers, and Sotiris’ eyes rolled into the back of his head as the vision came upon him.
Anyone with either Angelic or Demonic blood had the ability to have visions; though some were more prone to it than others. This was his first. It amused him that the only one he would get in his lifetime would be right at the end of it, where it would be useless.
He saw himself, years older, standing at the forefront of the army of the Disciples of Light. He had a sword not of his knowing, and all the armies of the Orpheus Society were chomping at the bit to attack.
Lifting the sword, he swung it once, and a blinding light fell upon the rival army. Screams were short-lived, as that one swing took out over one-quarter of them. Fatigue weakened his body, but not his resolve. A joyous shout went up from his comrades behind him, and the charge that sounded was triumphant.
Sotiris remained still as everyone rushed past him, like water flowing around a rock. Once everyone passed, a gentle hand encircled his sword arm. As he looked down he saw the white hood of a cleric.
He had a feeling they knew each other well, intimately in fact, and a surge of warmth and happiness ran through his body. Her hands passed some of her innate healing energy into his body, bolstering his strength.
As she began to turn her head up to look at him, and him at her, the vision shattered.
Sotiris gasped for breath as he came out of the vision, and the cleric did the same, though the armor crushing his body made it impossible to draw breath.
“Damien, you must stop the magic. Now!” Her voice was urgent, and she did not wait for the paladin to reply. She tried to unbuckle his armor from him as fast as she could, but the tightening and the magic made it slow going. The magic slowly trickled over to her, and for some reason alarm welled up in his chest.
She grabbed the knife he kept on his belt, and hacked away in a panic at the straps holding the armor in place. In the process, she was damaging her hands in her haste. The cleric was moving so urgently, the hilt kept slipping, and the blade would catch her hands. The magic had crawled up to her wrists now. If the magic had no coverings to constrict it would use the body itself to crush bones. Her hands seized up, and made it even more difficult to hold the blade.
The paladin cursed, then there was a clink as the spearhead touched his armor. Almost too late though, as his eyes danced with spots. As the magic flowed out of his armor, the cleric was able to free the chest piece and the padding beneath it. Sotiris gasped for breath and looked over to the hooded figure, who now cradled her useless hands in her lap. Their hands were the conduit for their power, much in the same way Damien’s spear was the conduit for his power to crush beings. She might never be able to use her power again. It was a lot to give up simply because of a vision, which may or may not come true.
Damien ran off, likely to find another cleric, and left the two of them alone. Even if he wanted to attack and kill the cleric, which would earn him high praise from his command, he was too tired from the battle and his near-death experience.
His gorget had begun to crush his windpipe, and it made talking difficult, but he had to ask: “Why?” His voice was a harsh croak.
She moved closer, and tried to heal the damage Void had done to him. She grimaced. Moving the energy through her damaged hands was beyond painful, and also destroying any chance she had of another cleric healing her hands properly.
Sotiris struggled to lift an arm, to stop her in the same way he had tried to stop her prayers, but he halted the movement when she began to speak.
“What is the loss of power for one cleric versus gaining the one who could destroy the armies of the Dark King?”
As the healing energy moved through his body, it caused him to drift off to sleep. He struggled against it for a minute but then relaxed.
I wonder who the cleric was, he thought to himself. Though he was happy to be alive, he could not explain the sadness that washed over him as the darkness embraced him.
She did not think he realized he had spoken the words aloud, and it gave her a sense of relief. How could he come to love someone as damaged as she was likely to be? It made her chest hurt to think of losing her healing abilities, but she held firm to the question she posed to him. What were her powers compared to the salvation of mankind? In a word? Nothing.
Healing him was almost too painful to bear, but she had to get him stabilized until Damien could bring another cleric.
Looking down, he did not seem like much. He was handsome, with the look of a rogue about him as most of the children of the demonic were. What better way to tempt humans? His hair was an ashen blonde and cut short to his scalp, and when his eyes were open she saw they were light grey like a cloudy dawn. Though he was lying down, she could tell he was of average height. His exposed chest told her he was just on the outside of too muscular to be called lean, but only just.
She did not recognize him as one of the higher-ranking members of the Orpheus Society, so what was so special about him that he would become the savior of mankind? The other portion of the vision was disconcerting. Was this truly the man she was supposed to fall in love with? He looked so peaceful lying there, and yet not even twenty minutes ago he would have been willing to kill her, and all of her friends. It would not be so easy to reconcile that fact with the vision she had, especially to said friends.
She turned toward a voice she knew well, and Charis saw her childhood friend, Zoe, running over to help her.
As Zoe got close enough to see Charis’ hands, she gasped. “My lady, how could you-”
“Never mind about me. I need you to continue the healing, please,” Charis said. The pain shooting through her hands was immense.
Zoe dropped to her knees and took over the healing. Charis gave out a groan and ceased the flow of energy through her hands.
Because of all the energy she poured through them, her hands were almost completely healed themselves, but they were severely scarred, and starting to curve into claws from all the scar tissue. Pushing so much energy through them, but not having it directed at the wounds specifically and guiding the healing, had caused irreparable damage. She would not be a cleric for much longer.
“Would you mind telling me why we just lost our High Cleric to a demon’s spawn?” Damien asked coldly.
Charis turned to him, and rage danced through his fiery blue eyes. Not on her behalf, of course, but for the Disciples. She was their highest ranked and most powerful cleric. The word ‘was’ ripped through her heart like a knife.
Though she wanted to cry, Charis bolstered her strength and told the two of them about her vision. Damien raised a thick, black eyebrow in skepticism, and Zoe’s face was pale behind her slew of freckles.
“We’ll have to see what the Head of the Disciples thinks about this, and have the memory of your vision tested to see if it is true,” Damien said incredulously, as though he already doubted the validity of Charis’ vision.
“Yes, she will. But if it is true, can you imagine what that would mean?” Zoe asked in awe, and tucked a strand of golden-red hair that had fallen in front of her face, behind an ear.
“It would mean the deliverance of mankind from the Orpheus Society. Their corruption would no longer taint the souls of those on the edge between good and evil. While humans will still have the capacity for evil in their souls, it will be greatly lessened with the Orpheus Society gone and not able to whisper terrible suggestions in their ears,” Damien said, matter-of-factly.
“That is why you have just lost your High Cleric, Damien. For the hope the vision will come to pass. So good can flourish in the land thereafter,” Charis said.
She looked down at her hands, and then to the one she had just saved. She sincerely hoped the vision was true. Her reason for doubting the validity had nothing to do with him being a demon spawn, and everything to do with her. In the vision she used her powers, and her hands were whole. Had she risked the vision by saving his life now? But if she hadn’t…She shook her head. Now was not the time for doubt. She’d need all her resolve to convince the others of what she’d seen. It was sure to be an interesting few days, to say the least.