The last of the pages were scurrying out of the tower, burdened with bits of gear or armloads of scrolls. It’s amazing really how much stuff is required by an army to keep it functioning, even for twelve hours, without its headquarters. They had acted swiftly though, and after only a few moments the only stirring in the place was a muffled argument coming from upstairs, most likely Pagan and Sam trying to get the Old Man out of the place. Ken had already burst back into the place and up the stairs to help.
Alexander had watched Sarah leave, allowing himself a moment in his preparations to be saddened by the fact that he’d have very little chance to get to know her better. Quite a bit of spunk that one, combined with youthful exuberance, a mean streak, and an attractive shape had almost instantly attracted him to her. He had known what this night would bring, and had started drinking early. He had used briefing her for her new duties as an excuse to spend his last night sitting in the gardens under the moonlight at a woman’s side. She hadn’t known any of that part of course, and like everything else in Alexander’s life, the experience was cold and hollow, built on a foundation of deceit and misdirection. But after a short life spent alone, it was still a small comfort.
The argument upstairs had become more heated, and Carl had just appeared in the doorway and had run up the stairs.
“Hurry…” whispered Alexander frantically, feeling the presence to the South grow closer with every passing moment. As if on cue, he heard a gate open, followed by some muffled scuffling about, and then silence. The spirits that were always with him had left a few moments before, knowing that even they could not help him, and indeed would only likely hinder him this eve.
And once again, Alexander Rahl, the Chosen One, stood alone against the coming darkness.
He allowed himself a grin, hoping somebody would write that about him someday.
When he felt himself prepared, he resigned himself to sit at the bar in the commons room and wait for the inevitable. It didn’t take long to arrive. Quite anticlimactically, the inevitable used the door.
“Hello Alexander,” came the voice from the door. The man quietly closing the door behind him was a large fellow, with a swordsman’s build and a powerful demeanor. His hair was black and streaked with grey, and on his finger he bore a black ring around which tiny shadows seemed to swirl and dance.
“What took you so long?”
The man smiled a bit, leaning back against the door and crossing his arms before his chest. It didn’t escape Alexander that the man was blocking the only viable exit.
“Well, you made quite a mess. Took a devil of a long time to clean it all up. You know why I’m here?”
Alexander nodded and stood up. “Think you can take me?”
“HA! You don’t have the rings anymore, child,” laughed the other man.
“I don’t need them.”
“Well,” said the man at the door, straightening up and starting to walk across the room, “we’ll see about that.”
In the City of Trinsic, stories would be told of the inhuman screams that were heard that night from the fortress across the bay.
To the untrained observer – which there were none – it would appear that the two men just stood facing each other in the commons room of Society Headquarters, each sweating slightly, but showing no other signs of conflict. To the trained eye however, the small room was filled with a maelstrom of energies not seen in the lands of Sosaria in thousands of years. Walls of energy clashed like swords and beat against shields of will as each man tried to gain advantage over the other. Both of their eyes were solid black as they channeled as much of the Lady’s power as they could handle. The men were, for all intents and purposes, equal. Tahl-Mearis’ ring connected him directly to Her, while Alexander was bred, born, and raised to be the vessel for Aluviel’s divine grace, and using those innate talents to draw from a darker source wasn’t a difficult endeavor.
While they focused on the other in their conflict, the tower door opened a crack behind Tahl-Mearis, and a tiny shadow flitted into the room. The tiny creature hurtled itself into the Ringwielder’s back, incinerating itself completely against the man’s shields, but causing him to turn his attention from Alexander for a blink of an eye to address the new threat. With a grin of victory, Alexander hurled everything he could muster at the man, shattering his shields and cutting him off from the Lady’s power.
Tor’Ellian Tahl-Mearis collapsed to the stone floor panting with exhaustion, his eyes wide with shock and horror as Alexander approached him chuckling darkly. Alex kneeled in front of the man, and pulled the Ring of Sprit from his limp hand and placed it on his own finger. He then removed a tiny iron rose medallion from about his neck and placed it on Tahl-Mearis. He leaned close to the man and pulled his head to his as to whisper in his ear.
“Don’t ever,” he whispered, “ever think you’re better than me.”
With that, Alexander rose and strode from the tower, turning to send a last burst of energy into his fallen opponent. Tahl-Mearis’ screams filled the night as the energies ripped through him, slowly disassembling the bonds that held his form together so far from Tablenhelm. Alexander stood outside the tower, taking in the night air till a muffled, wet thud came from the room behind him, marking an end to the screaming.
“That went well,” he said cheerily to a passing sparrow, and cast a spell, taking him to parts unknown.