Malthael had been with me for about 10 years and has born witness to my growth. I met him a few years after I had left Pandora while I was training with the guards at Fort Hellgraf, near the inner edges of Tristram. I was working toward getting stronger, so I could finally avenge my family. I had been training for months. The guards were even harsher than my father was when he had trained me, and the food served there was disgusting. Undercooked potatoes accompany slices of burnt meat that had the taste of very bland rubber. I always fought tears as I remember the home cooked meals my mother would cook for me. Then it was back to relentless training. We would train for hours and hours on end, until night came upon us. I only lasted those few long months, I couldn’t push through the torture any longer. I had decided to take my chances of being on my own, armed with the rigorous training my father had offered. I threw my belongings into my sack, putting my short sword and leather sheath carefully on top. I left in the dead of the night, pitch blackness encompasses me as I made my escape.
I had run across a secret passage a few weeks ago, it was near the main gates, but it was thoroughly hidden. I quietly thank my luck, there is no way I would have made it out the same way I walked in. Hugging the wall, partly to cling onto shadows and partly to help guide my way. The hollow passage seemed to scream every small noise I made. Grimacing, I silently plead to the gods that no one had heard me. Finally the tunnel opened up to the large field that encompassed the towering walls. I stealthily walked in the high grass toward freedom. When I looked up I noticed the moon was at its highest point, so I made a run for it. I ran and ran without looking back. I knew that the moon would shine on me like a spotlight, it wouldn’t be long until the guards came for me. They would have surely captured and punished me by morning, for deserting the front lines is the largest form of betrayal. After a couple miles, I looked back and saw that the castle was still dead, there wasn’t the sea of glowing lanterns I had expected. It appeared no one had found out yet, so I walked again. My tired legs were thankful for the break, running through grass almost as tall as I am made me feel like I was wading through high water. My new mission was to make it to Pandora and find out what had happened. I made my way toward the dawn sky, colorful clouds clung to the horizon as the sun begins its journey to the other side of the planet.
I came across a good sized building. As I got closer I recognized the symbol of a church, although it had clearly been neglected. The wood rotted away and the structure swayed under the slightest breeze. The overgrown grass and rickety building were likely to provide a protective cover. I walked around to the back of the building and entered through a small entrance. The inside was even more rugged and broken down, one of the support beams was broken on the floor and leaning against one of the windows. Spider webs decorated the corners of the room and what was left of the beams. I stepped over the broken beam and looked at the dusty decorations. Different kinds and colors of glass filled some of the windows. I walked past the wooden benches, and noticed the degrading wood, a telltale sign of the benches’ age. I picked one of the benches that seemed to be the least decrepit and sat down before clearing off the blanket of dust. Clouds encompassed me, which caused me to choke and cough. I set my bag of belongings beside me and dug through it until I found my water pouch. I desperately lifted it to my dry, chapped, mouth. Nothing but dry air and dust filled my mouth and I let out a sigh.
I need to find some water.
I had survived for about 3 to 4 days at this point and I was sure that the guards were searching the surrounding areas looking for me. I looked out the shattered church window at the statue in the front of the church. It was of our God, Odin he is known as the “God of all Gods”. I bowed my head in respect and turned my attention back to the room.
I started heading for the door and heard a rustling nearby. Startled, I ducked behind one of the benches and scanned the area near the doors and broken windows. I looked for the slightest movement outside of the church. I pulled my short sword from its sheath and held it in front of me. After a few moments of silence go by, I slowly went around the beam and tried to make the least amount of noise possible. I take cover by the door and look out. There doesn’t seem to be anyone out there.
I put my sword back in its sheath and walked out of the church. Suddenly, I was grabbed by a hand and shaken. It was like being caught in a vice grip. I cried out in pain and looked at whoever had grabbed me. It was a Dragoon. The thing that I was supposed to fight back at Hellgraf. I tried reaching for my sword with my other hand, but it noticed me lowering my hand closer to my sheath. It rigorously lifted me high in the air with a hiss and ripped my sword off of my waist. A terrifyingly furious roar escaped from its mouth, and threw my weapon from me. As soon as it had turned it’s head toward me, I kicked it in the nose. It let out an ear piercing cry. Suddenly released, I fell to the ground, landing on my side with a loud thump.
My arm had a shooting pain radiate throughout my body. Grimacing I hugged my arm tightly against my body. I firmly grasped my sword handle and pulled myself up. I ran back into the church and heard raged stomps as it trailed just behind me. I slid under the beam and attempted to build a barricade. After countless moments of silence, the sound of splitting wood filled my ears. It echoed a thousand times through the deserted building. With one last measured attack, the Dragoon had crashed through the beam. As splinters and large pieces flew everywhere, I held my bag up as a shield. It let out a growl of triumph. It quickly reached to where the weapons were strapped to its back and grasps a huge battle axe with strange carvings in it.
It was the same markings I had seen years before. It seemed to be stained red with blood on the blade and handle.
I started crawling backwards quickly. I hit the back wall of the church, with nowhere to go and the beast with the axe closing in, I felt an overwhelming fear.
Kneeling down, I whispered a prayer to Odin. ” Please my God, the God of all Gods. Save me from this impasse that I have stepped on. I know you are more powerful than anything on this world and i’m not even worthy of your power, but please, I beg of you. Give me the strength and courage to face this evil. ”
I heard the clanking of the Dragoon’s talons grind into the floor. With each booming stomp, it came closer and closer toward me. The beast lifted its axe up, then with all it’s might brought it down. I roll out of the way at the last second. I watched the axe smash into a statue, time slowed as it crumbled and fell to the ground. A cloud of smoke and dust risen from the demolished decoration. The Dragoon peaked its scaly head through the smoke and snarled at me as I sat still on the floor. Jumping up in one swift move, I raised my short sword and charged the towering monster. When I made it to the belly of the beast and tried to slash him with my sword, the thick scales and armor were merely grazed. My sword bounced off the surface of the beast. It shook with a throaty laughter as it shrugged off my attack with ease, then lifts The Dragoon had let out a deep chuckle and lifted its axe high in the air. It parted its scaly lips, exposing its protruding pointy white teeth. I watched its cheeks stretch up toward the eyes that gave them slight wrinkles and cold, narrow, eyes. and as it was going to start its swing, a blinding beam of light crashed through the ceiling and shined light on the debri left on the ground and dust particles in the air.
Blinded, I tried to cover my eyes slightly, trying to see what has become of the dragoon. The Dragoon roared to my side and I had swiftly look to my left. The particles finally clear out of the church and the Dragoon was still going for its swing but something wasn’t right. Its whole body came closer clumsily. I stepped back a couple steps and with a loud crash, the dragoon collapses onto the ground. There is a wound on its back. It was a thin, but deep cut from the back. It looked as though a sword had pierced its chest and through its armor. That had not come from me. I inspected the wound. It was seared as though it was burned. The fresh wound had been cauterized black. There weren’t any fire nearby.
” Do not be afraid, young one.” a deep and modulated voice out of nowhere spoke out. I quickly pulled my sword up out of its sheath and stood my ground facing the direction of the voice. The ceiling had a huge circular opening where the light had busted through. There was a blur in the corner of the room, barely visible in the shadow behind the light.
The figure looked up and called out to me, “ You are the one called Nathaniel, Yes? ”
Baffled, my defenses go up as I respond, “ So what if I am? Isn’t it common courtesy to name oneself before asking for another? Who are you? ” Then a sudden glimmer of light started to shine from the man’s armor.
He walked into the light. He was cladded in pure white colored armor that I had never seen before. He was holding a shield in his left hand and short sword in the right. The shield was circular, and had seen many battles, judging from the obvious imperfections. It had an insignia of a sword with wings on it. His shortsword had a distinct inward curve and was steaming with crimson blood. The blood of the Dragoon was slowly burning away from the blade. Uncovering the same sword with wings as on his shield.
Once he had a look at the corpse of the dragoon on the floor, he said something in a language that I did not recognize. Suddenly his sword and shield disappeared in a flash, leaving only particles still floating in the air. I looked back up at his face. He was bald and had a older look. When I saw the halo atop his head, I was taken back. A halo? Is he a servant of the Gods’?
Still baffled, I asked him,” Are you an Angel? ”
He admirably looked up at the light of his halo and said, “ You can say that. “ He gave me a knowing smirk before looking somberly at the room.
He walked toward the broken statue, knelt down on one knee, and closed his eyes. After moments of deadened silence, I heard his voice speak in a low tone as he whispered something. It was undoubtedly either meant for only his ears or the ears of the one he served. While it was was too quiet to hear what he had said, I recognized it as the language he used earlier. I sheathed my sword and patiently waited for him to get back up, although my mind was reeling with questions.
After he had finished speaking in his foreign language, he looked up at me.
Acting as though the conversation was never interrupted he continued,” So, if you are the one, then I shall identify myself. My name is Malthael. The humans know me as the Angel of Justice Malthael. I have come from the High Heavens called Valhalla. I have governed and passed judgement on the Human race for hundreds of years. However, now the war between Dragoons and humans has affected my authority. They have taken the lives of many of my people. Where I once was feared and ruled with a heavy hand, there is now not a single flinch about my name. I fear I am the only one left of my race and I was called on just before this meeting, Odin himself assigned me a task. To find the one called Nathaniel Thorson who holds the title Magni and aid him in his endeavor. So I ask again. Are you Nathaniel? Nathaniel Thorson? ”
Shocked and trying to process all of these unforeseen events that are unfolding before my eyes. It takes all my might to stand in place and look confident as I nod my head indicating yes. Although I was sure I looked about as confident as I felt. After all, I was in the presence of a real angel.
He also nodded his head although he looked fairly distant.
Finally he says, “ Good. so shall we go? ”
“ Where would we go? We are in the middle of nowhere. ” I asked uncertainty as I gesture with one hand the vastness of the environment.
He lets out a soft chuckle and smiles.
“ What are you laughing about? ” I asked. The edge in my voice had certainly given my annoyance away.
He grinned at the ground as though he purposefully riles me up just to see my reaction. “ There seems to be a settlement not to far from here in that direction. ” He gestures with his hand toward the opposite wall, as though I was able to see through solid walls.