The Great Plan Part II

  It still seems odd to me that the Obsidian King chose me. Indeed, I feel compelled here to note that I was, a priori, by no means the most powerful, talented, or gifted of the young ones trapped in the Never, at least not by the standards of my people. However, what I lacked in traditional measures of greatest, e.g., raw power and fierceness, I compensated for with that most unique and sought after of skills – I was lucky, or unlucky, depending on one’s perspective. For reasons unknown to me, the Creator, or more aptly, someone or something of great power, favored and disfavored me. I have always assumed it was the Creator -- consider it the one arrogance that I have always allowed myself. But who ever my benefactor is, he has always heard me when I cried to him, rewarded me when I obeyed, and punished me when I erred. No attempt at deceit or trickery ever benefited me, but whenever a demon horde or holy ensemble engaged my squadron, it was always from a position farthest from me. I routinely walked away from massacres, traps, and missions impossible. And because this coincidence had taken residence in my heart, it was difficult to daunt my seemingly unlimited courage, resolve, and faith.

  Succintly, despite the age of my soul, I possessed an immense possibility of being most powerful, but again, at the same time, I lacked all the normal predictors of success, and generally did not compare well to the Great Champions of my people, or even other young ones. Thus, I was quite shocked when Nemesis appeared near me beneath the platform where the King stood, and beckoned me to him.

  “The battle goes poorly boy. Come with me to the platform.”

  The fighting was heaviest near the base of the platform, as the arrival of Karak had bolstered the fervor of our undead and demonic foes, and I responded accordingly, “Respectfully master, I should remain here with my circle.” For the record, I cannot describe in words to you what Nemesis was, or what it was even like to be in his presence, but suffice it to say, upon meeting Nemesis, it was difficult to deny the existence of a supreme creator of all things, places and times – such was his magnificence. But, as I learned at that moment, for every extreme, there is a mirror opposite. If one being is an example of the infinite greatness of creation, another praises the nullity outside of the Creator – and sometimes, those examples resided in the same being.

  “Impudent dog,” Nemesis snarled, and the weight of his concentrated anger alone cracked my armor in seven places, but his grabbing of my arm only broke it in four. My mind screaming with pain, I vehemently vowed to kill Nemesis in that brief moment, although I had no idea how I would ever obtain the power to do so. Nevertheless, Nemesis would pay for this umbrage, and my spirit, still without a blade of my own, quivered in response to my rage. Sensing not only the defiance that surfaced within me, but my growing murderous intent, Nemesis paused, “What was that? You dare?!?!” The old Champion shook his giant head and laughed. “I understood now why the King chose you.” Nemesis smirked further to himself -- he did not know such sinister things lurked in one so small, and more importantly, so near him. But disregarding the implications of that last aspect of his discovery, Nemesis teleported us back to the platform, without my consent of course. Nearby and suddenly aware of my unfortunate encounter with Nemesis, my Circle Commander turned to observe the commotion, but not daring to intervene, decided to follow us to the platform, however, he did so from a safe distance.

  Meanwhile, things had not transpired well for the King. The Demon Knight Karak had entered the Never and waded onto the battlefield, clearly angling for the platform. Karak, albeit only a demon knight, was no easy opponent, and in all candor, his sudden appearance nearly guaranteed defeat for the King. Coincidently, Nemesis teleported us onto the platform, and directly in Karak's wake, and I immediately convulsed into vomiting. “Idiot”, I snarled. But I did not have time to finish my statement, or vomiting, as Karak’s first volley of hellfire at the King hurdled toward us. Somehow, I dodged the stream of hell fire as it ripped across my left shoulder. Nemesis just stood there, I honestly could not tell if he were more shocked that I had broken his grip or that I had dodged the demon knight’s attack.

  Focusing his red eyed gaze upon me, Karak hissed, “Ahhh, a fresh young soul, I will enjoy chewing the fat of your psyche little one.” Dread engulfed me as the demon knight began to focus, or rather, move toward me. “Did you know boy, that when you die here, in this place, you die forever.” My mind reeled with fear. Was that true? Doubt rose in my soul like never before, and I froze. I should have died at that moment, as the demon knight’s tail ripped across my thigh before I could perceive the danger and avoid it. Blood spewed over my face and over the platform. I bellowed, reeling from unfathomable pain. Karak was right, there was something about the Never that made things “realier”. I should have died, but had not.

  Nemesis had come to my rescue.

  “Potential aside, you still have a lot to learn, eh little one?” In the moment that I had wasted listening to Karak and falling under his spell, Nemesis had “unthought” the demon’s death blow, and countered with an attack that I could not even perceive or even describe -- but the results were apparent, as Karak flew across the platform like a rag doll. Meanwhile, Nemesis hurled me onto the stairs up to the main platform and screamed “Run! Teleport if you can. Just go to the King! Now!”

  I hesitated, but knew better than to question Nemesis a second time. However, before I could even move, another, far more intense dread washed across the battlefield causing both demons and Champions alike to involuntarily pause. A second portal opened on the battlefield and something far worse than Karak entered the Never.

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