The Calling

May 22, 2006

Nadir had dealt with darkness before. He had spent his youth a slave to dark gods, an assassin bestowed with their demonic gifts.

Yet he had walked away, and left that life behind.

Nadir knew darkness well, but never had he found himself amidst the depths of shadow that now assailed him.

He wandered alone through dismal ruins, lost and adrift. His enemies had escaped him, the woman he loved held in their grasp.

He struggled onwards, yet the shadows around him led him astray. Here, beneath the earth, he knew despair. For all that he had cast off his past, he had nothing left to give him the strength to carry on. To save those he cared for. To stop those who must be stopped.

He was weak, and his weakness drained his hope away.

Nadir stumbled.

He dropped to his knees, feeling the rough stone floor and broken rubble scrape at his flesh. He landed hard, his arms jarring upon some blocky shape before him. Unable to see, his hands wandered over it, and beneath them felt runes inscribed into its form.

An altar.

A voice arose in the back of his mind: You seek to be stronger.

No. His mouth framed the word, but he could not speak it.

You were strong enough once, to slay your foes. You can be strong again…

Nadir snarled, his teeth flashing momentarily white amidst the shadowy room.

You could be strong enough to save her…

The snarl faded, and the light in Nadir’s eyes dimmed. Did anything else matter? What use his beliefs, should he die alone and useless in this dark hollow?

“What…. what must I do?” his words were cracked and broken, his voice rough from disuse.

Pledge thyself to our service.

He knelt forward, easy from his fallen state. He bowed his head upon the altar, and felt its cold runes digging into his scalp.

Without remorse or hesitation, he spoke, “I so pledge.”

The world exploded into light and darkness.


Nadir opened his eyes. The room was no longer filled with shadow – light drove away the darkness as he rose.

He looked down. The light emanated from his very skin.

He felt renewed vigor. He felt more powerful than ever before. And nestled in the depths of his spine, he felt… that he was not alone.

I am bound to you now.

“You… you are not-“

I am no demon, no devil. Al’azir of the seventh circle of heaven, I was called, before seeking a host upon this world.

“But I thought-“

The forces of darkness are not the only ones who seek the service of mortals. Now you have a chance to redeem your past crimes – and to save those worth saving.

Those worth saving.

Nadir looked up, the thought running through his head even as his eyes bled light. A smile – the first he had worn in many years – adorned his face

“Yes. Yes I can.”

He saw the stairs before him, leading up out of the chamber. He took one step, then another, and began the slow ascent to his future.

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