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Caldrice's blog

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Light filtered through the leaves overhead, and for the first time in two decades he knew not where he was. The place, wherever it was, invoked an overwhelming sense of calm through his entire being – a sense of calm that could only be compared to that of a long journey’s end when the valiant hero, at long last, finds their way back home. He glanced down – surprised to see himself dressed in rugged leather attire, but he quickly discarded that curiosity as a breeze rolled through which sent his arm hairs on end.

Caldrice glanced towards the gently swaying lamps, admiring the swaying grass in the fields just beyond before his feet slowly carried him down the cobbled path. With each step, a memory would stir deep within his mind – a memory of a child’s laughter and a carefree euphoria that seemed to overwhelm him.

What is this place? He thought to himself, in the distance the vague outline of a cottage against the harsh, yet warm gleam of sunlight. He’d inhale, softly, taking in the sweet scent of nature as he laid a hand upon the decrepit roadway fence – fingers dancing upon the splintered wood. Walking onward, as if he were a marionette being urged forward by his strings, the minor details he observed from afar became more defined. From within, he could smell the lingering scent of pie crust cooling upon a windowsill, along with the worn shingles and chipped paint that now fluttered beneath each passing gust of wind as it waited for its chance to break free.

Glancing down, he paused at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the cottage porch. It would be rude to barge in. So instead, the Lightslayer glanced around until finding a path of long-since trampled grass which may lead him to the occupant of the cottage. Pressing his palm against the cottage wall, his fingers would dance against the hardened paint, often slithering beneath it to break free a colorful shard or two. The act itself, as he heard the paint chips snap free from the rest of the coat, was satisfying – something which sent a pang of nostalgia through his heart before he found that he had reached the end of the path.

Blue eyes darted between worn, moss-covered headstones of varying sizes – one had words etched into the aged tone surface, while the other two remained blank. His gaze, respectful, shifted between the one which were marked:

Illyanna, beloved Mother and Wife – the Light claimed you too soon.

“Illyanna.” He mumbled softly. The name, as he spoke it aloud, sent a shiver of loss through him – as if the name was a long-lost curse which had been placed upon his very soul. Overwhelmed, he took a step back, glancing around until noticing a woman sitting upon the stone nearest to him. Her expression was soft, even as it was cloaked, partially, behind auburn curls which swayed gently with the breeze.

Jessandra! A memory surged within his mind, Caldrice’s arm stretching out to reach her, but as he did the landscape shifted. Instead of the calm woodland he had been walking through, he gazed briefly upon a hellish landscape baptized in hellish fel – his arm, previously intact, appeared withered and rotted. He blinked, shaking his head, hoping to be rid of this horrible vision of armageddon, only to notice the woman was now gone. Feeling the urgency of adrenaline coursing through his veins, he ran through the trampled path only to see her further down by the cottage’s porch, glancing slightly over her shoulder.

“Wait!” He shouted, running towards her, but as his hand brushed her shoulder the hellish landscape which he had seen before came rushing back to him, Why did you come back here, Caldrice? Why couldn’t you let me go?

“Why couldn’t you just accept what my fate was?” Jessandra softly spoke to him, trying to anchor him into the reality he lived in, but something within him had stirred – as if a primordial truth had been made clear to him. With the glimmer of clarity flickering through his eyes, Jessandra Brookbloom shook her head, “Why couldn’t you accept it!” She shouted, gripping his shoulders harshly – the metal fingers of her gauntlets sending a dull, distant ache through his shoulders.

We’re losing him!

The Lightslayer’s vision flickered, brow furrowing, as if he was reluctant to wake up from a deep slumber.

He can’t wake up, not yet!

At a rapid pace, the place he had grown to know in the unknown amount of time he had lingered within its calming grasp was ripped from him in a vortex of black and various shades of blue until the familiar grey that accompanied the Forsaken curse filtered his vision once more.

“Where is that cleric?!” Shouted an unseen figure through a congealed mess of phlegm.

“I’m here, I’m here.” Grunted a distorted figure that shifted into the Lightslayer’s vision.

“I thought you said he’d remain incapacitated for the entirety of the procedure – what happened?” Demanded the other, his voice booming beside his left ear.

“Caldrice Sullivan must be a rare case.” The Cleric murmured, “You’ve read what they could dig up on him this far from Undercity – a seemingly high profile Lightslayer – not to mention that whatever mauled him on Argus didn’t seem to hold back.”

Argus…

Their bickering fell into the background as his gaze danced around his form – or what was left of it, at least. Across a macabre workbench, in what appeared to be an outpost of the Royal Apothecary Society, his limbs and fragmented armor were strewn apart – the only one remaining attached to him was his left leg, but even that had sustained heavy damage in which splintered bone appeared to be held together by metal clamps.

In vain, he tried to speak – only to find that his lower jaw was no longer connected. To the sound of his gurgling, and the near-comical, yet weak, flailing of his tongue, the perceived authority figure who remained just out of sight barked, “Sedate him, Cleric – I don’t care if you are unable to leave his side – I need this one alive.”

“I can’t promise anything-“

“I wasn’t asking.” The figure interjected.

Reluctantly, the Cleric nodded – placing a decrepit hand upon the Lightslayer’s head, “Of course, High Executor.”

The shadows creeped across his vision – an insidious sensation before giving way to an overwhelming numbness which, despite all his years training to use the Forgotten Shadow as a weapon, not even he could resist.

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