I see the once grand halls of my lord lain waste, the smell of flames and smoke, the cries of terror flowing in through the shattered window. I look back to the mocking leader of the rebels, knowing the city was lost. The same face, the same evil, almost insane, possessed look in his eyes, the angel etched armour. I recognise the man from elsewhere, but I cannot recall. I knew my lord was safe, that was all that mattered, and I could not fight them, not any longer. I remember the grin on his face as the thin blade he held found its way between my ribs, ending my life.
The only thing to greet him when he woke was white light and a searing pain in hi eyes, which he quickly closed and covered with a hand. When he opened them a moment later, the view changed significantly, the room was pretty much bare, other than the bed he was lying on, and the set of drawers to the other end of the room. Thick bandages had been wrapped around his torso, his left shoulder covered in blood, but he quickly stripped the bandage away, nothing there other than a faint scar, to join the rest that covered his bare chest. He quickly pulled the shirt and coat back on, checking the two swords again, before putting them back on, and walking from the room.
Crys stood there, leaning against the far wall, playing with her hair, until she realised he was there. "I hope you have a good explanation for what happened last night"
"…and what happened last night?" the man asked, his voice all but devoid of emotion.
"Don't try that, I know perfectly… wait… what happened to your eyes?" she stepped a little closer, looking to his eyes that were now bright green, instead of the black they had been during the previous night.
"I think you had a little too much to drink last night…" the man said slowly.
"Nice try. I'm not just passing it all off as a drunken imagining, I know what happened"
"Really? And what do you think happened?"
"There was a fight, you and that other guy, with the armour. You had swords, a pair of them, and he drew a sword from thin air… then he made lightning hit the wall…"
The man laughed faintly, though it seemed without any mirth, as if he was doing it just to seem humoured by what she was saying "I definitely think you had too much to drink"
"You had swords!" she repeated angrily "they were in the room. I held them, don't try and pretend you don't have any swords!"
"I don't have any swords." He opened the door to the room, showing that the swords were not there, nor beneath his coat either.
She stared at him for a moment, crossing her arms. "What about your shoulder, where the bar hit you?"
He moved his shoulder for a moment "nothing wrong with my shoulder…"
She shook her head slowly. "No… I can't have just dreamt it all up… it seemed so real… you saved my life…" she laughed for a moment, mostly at herself "I am such an idiot… you must think I'm going crazy, I even think I'm going crazy. So… what actually happened last night then?" She asked quickly, still trying to think of another explanation. Then again, even she had thought it had been too strange to be true.
"You came from a bar; saw me in a fight with that man you mentioned, though he wasn't wearing any sort of armour, and was simply drunk, muttering nonsense. You tried to stop it, and he hit me over the back of the head when I turned my back and knocked me out, that's all I remember."
She sighed faintly, sitting down in a chair, running a hand through her hair, doubting what she had really seen happen. "Stop saying I got drunk! I hardly ever drink, and I was coming home from work too, I wouldn't go into a bar" she said, looking up to him, more sure of herself again.
"You don't remember anything because you got drunk, just accept that. It happens Crystal" he explained, before turning towards the door.
"No, you can't go yet, I haven't had a proper explanation…" she paused. "Wait… how the hell did you know my name? And don't say I told you, because I never tell people my full name..."
He sighed, turning back to face her, regret showing in his eyes alone "you are a lot harder to fool than I had thought…"
"What? What is that supposed to mean?"
"Well what you remember of last night was correct, you saw magic, the true magic, not just sleight of hand and mirrors. You have a talent for it yourself, it's in your blood, and you are one of few who would be able to do it, if you had the knowledge to use it"
"Magic?" she stared at him. "Now I think I should have just shut up and not asked… this is too weird… magic can't be real…"
"It's quite real…" he told her, opening his trench coat again, showing quite clearly the swords that had not been there a moment before. "That was merely an illusion, hiding my weapons, but there are far more powerful forms of magic."
Crys, or Crystal, as she apparently refused to call herself, slumped down into a chair, trying to take in what he was saying. "W…why me? Why was he after me?"
"That, I have already explained, he came after you because you are one of few, maybe the only, who can still use magic.
"That makes a little bit of sense…" she agreed "but why?"
"To get to me." He replied, his voice never showing a slight hint of emotion, despite her questioning.
"What? What are you talking about? Why? Why would he be after you?"
"In a strange way, we are opposites, but that would take a lot of explaining" he said, making it clear he disliked talking.
"Please? I have to know everything now. You can't just tell me half the story."
He nodded slowly, though not wanting to really explain more than he had to. "The first thing you would have to understand, is that there are more planes of existence, more worlds than just our own, but I do not mean planets or galaxies…"
"Like alternate dimensions?" she asked, slightly confused, and adamant to get every scrap of information out of him.
"No… think heaven and hell, higher planes, where souls may go, depending on the path they chose in life, or where they may be punished for their crimes. But they are not the only examples, nor are they adequate descriptions, but they will suffice for now."
She nodded slowly, watching him for any sign of emotion, any slight secret feeling he had behind his words, but as usual, she found none. "Ok… I think that makes a little sense, I always believed in an after life… I guess…"
"Well then, there are higher creatures also, beings that were never flesh, that never breathed, nor walked this earth, some good, some evil, or somewhere in between, beings you might call Gods."
She just kept nodding in silent amazement. Proof that God's existed, or something like them at least, but then, who would ever believe her if she said anything?
"I was sent here by the "Gods" who want to keep this world in balance, and Azrael, the one who I fought last night, was sent here by the opposed lords, those who want nothing more than to corrupt everything in this existence, before destroying this world and drawing every soul into their clutches."
She looked at him, mouth hanging open slightly "so… there is a war going on?" she asked, not wanting to believe it. Everything could be destroyed. He could mean in centuries to come, but it felt so… incredibly urgent, like everything could vanish tomorrow.
"No, neither side wished to wage full-scale war, they have sent just us, he and I. he would have tried to make you join him, through whatever means he could have, as we are both bound in a way, neither of us could kill the other, as you may remember him saying last night. He could still get any other to do it though. Even though we have been made more powerful than any human, we are not immortal. And you would be incredibly deadly to either of us, if you learned to wield the powers of sorcery correctly"
"So… what do I do? Help you, right? That's the obvious choice" she said quickly, looking straight at him, wanting to show she was able to do this, even though she was afraid of the thought of fighting.
"Do not make such decisions so quickly. I don't want you to get hurt, so just find somewhere safe to stay" he told her, turning to the door again.
"No! I won't just wait here for the world to just vanish around me" she shouted after him, standing quickly, even surprising herself, and blocking his path to the door.
"You don't have a choice, you cannot fight him, and he would not hesitate in killing you once he knows you have sided with me." He said firmly, pushing her aside with ease and opening the door. "Just keep yourself safe, I would not wish for another to die because of me" he said quietly, before walking off.
She quickly got up and ran after him, but he was gone as soon as he turned the corner, leaving her filled with more questions than she had started with, and an odd feeling of insignificance, that the world would end and she could do nothing to change it.