4. Calm Before The Storm
They stand as one before the priest, although they are but two facing a multitude.
One wields a sword and one wields a staff- together they wield a power greater than any in creation.
The priest sneers down from his altar, face contorted into a snarl even more hideous than the painted monstrosity upon the mask he wears.
"You dare to challenge the Dark Lord?"
The one with the sword nods, but it is the one with the staff who replies.
"Your so-called Dark Lord is nothing of the sort- he is but a failure, a fraud, a faker."
The priest will hear no more.
"Heretics! Destroy the unbelievers, my brothers! Slay them in the name of the Dark Lord, that he might feast upon their souls!"
Cultists spill from every shadow, murder in their eyes and bloodshed burning in their hearts.
The one with the staff mutters under his breath- strange syllables from before the dawn of time- and suddenly he blazes brighter than the sun.
The cultists drop to their knees before him, blinded and bawling, but the one with the sword has no mercy for them. Singing in a tongue older than language, he becomes a veritable tornado of slaughter and steel, his sword slashing hither and thither like lightning from a storm-cloud, each stroke bringing one, two, three cultists to their end. A man of his age should not be able to move so swiftly, should not be able to wield a sword of such size with such skill, such savagery...
The priest watches from his dais, unmoved even as the one with the staff joins the battle.
Sword and staff slam into the cultist horde like a hurricane and the cultists fall in their scores, but there seems to be no end to their number. The two blue-robed men face an army, it seems- a never-ending tide...
But they do not give up, will not give up- cannot give up.
Finally the battle is over and once more the odds are in the favour of the blue-clad brothers. The one with the sword wipes blood from his blade as the one with the staff steps forward to reason with the priest a second time.
"Your followers are fallen or fled, priest- surrender to us."
The priest snarls behind his mask but says nothing, and now the man with the sword speaks up.
"Your so-called Dark Lord is naught but a monster- a shard of a greater darkness clinging to shadows that can never be aught but so."
The priest's eyes flash behind his mask.
"You lie! Our Lord is greater than any Man, be he lord or King or Emperor!"
The one with the sword shakes his head sadly, and the one with the staff hardens his heart. It is obvious that the priest will not listen to reason, so he abandons reason and goes with challenge instead.
"Then call him forth that we might see his glory, madman."
The priest grins behind his mask.
"Madman, am I?"
The man with the staff nods.
"Aye- a madman who worships a nightmare- who lives in predition and thinks it paradise."
The priest's grin widens.
"We shall see who the madman is when the Dark Lord feasts on your corpses."
With that the priest throws back his head and starts to chant, the sound of his voice echoing around the chamber louder than it has any right to.
The two Wizards- for Wizards they are and Wizards they have always been, despite their appearance- look at each other in consternation as they recognise certain syllables in the unholy din.
"Brother, what have we done?"
The Wizard with the sword mutely shakes his head in answer to the question of the Wizard with the staff.
"Ask not what we have done, Pallando, but what we must yet do."
Something screams in the darkness- something screams impossibly loud and long, something monstrous and maniacal, something impossible and immortal.
The two blue-robed men tighten their grip upon their weapons and ready for the fight of their long, long lives.