Diablo III; Diablo III: Reaper of Souls and all related characters and locations are the property of Blizzard. This is a fan-written fiction.
Plot: Following the events of Reaper of Souls, a scoundrel weighs his intentions, while a demon hunter considers how far a man can fall before he cannot be saved.
Warning: Spoilers through the conclusion of Reaper of Souls and personal quests.
reckoning: (noun) The working out of consequences or retribution for one's actions.
Alexa watched the flames, finding an odd pleasure in the way they danced against the wood. She was a master at sitting quietly with nothing but her own company, simpler to leave the world behind so she could contemplate the recent events in Westmarch, but also spare a thought here and there for that odd look on Tyrael's face when she walked away from the battle with Malthael, relatively unscathed. Kormac had seen it too, and remarked upon it later as they warmed themselves by the fire. "I don't think our angelic friend trusts you anymore."
Lyndon snorted across the campfire. "Was it the way he flinches whenever he comes nearby or the fact that he can't look her in the face without working his mouth like he's bitten something foul?"
"I don't believe I asked your opinion," Kormac grumbled.
"Doesn't mean I won't give it to you."
"Please," Eirena broke in. "Won't you two stop for just a few moments?"
Kormac turned his attention to Alexa. "So, as I was saying, he's got that look."
"I noticed," she responded.
"What do you suppose he's afraid of?"
"She killed one angel," Lyndon sniffed. "What's stopping her from working her way up?"
Kormac scowled. "Unlike some people I know, I doubt she'd pick a target that could fight back."
"And unlike some people I know, she's probably not stupid enough to believe everything she's told without question, because you know what that leads to, hypocrisy, corruption, the usual. Marvelous world we live in, isn't it, templar?"
Alexa frowned at him. The thief had his faults, but misguided anger wasn't one of them.
"Don't look at me like that," Lyndon muttered. "Of all people, you shouldn't look at me like that." He stood up, gathered his weapon and coat and walked away from the warmth of the campfire, looking for some shadows to wallow in his misery alone.
"Hell," Kormac swore softly, "and here I go thinking I don't know him anymore either."
Eirena scolded him. "You two always argue. How well can you know him if disgust is all you have for him?"
"He has changed. When we met him, I thought he was a criminal, undesirable, and unworthy of our task. Since we found his brother, though, he hasn't been himself. He's been distant, angry, dare I say it, grieving. It is… unlike him."
"I grieved for my sisters, Kormac. I was angry, sad, afraid. He shares those feelings for his brother. Can you not sympathize with that?"
Kormac scowled. "I don't need to call a man 'friend' to know if his intentions are honorable or not. He wears his interests on his sleeves and in his coin purse."
"His intentions were to save his brother," the enchantress protested.
Kormac sighed. "And I have no doubt that in his mind his intentions were true, but they led to his brother's death."
Eirena huffed. "That is a terrible thing to say!"
"Are you suggesting he's responsible?" Alexa asked, her tone soft, but just suspicious enough.
Kormac flushed, embarrassed. "No! No, I didn't say that. I mean, he didn't put the knife there. He didn't kill his brother, that, that isn't what I'm suggesting at all! I mean, we were there, we found his brother, but…" He trailed off. "Perhaps you should go talk to him," he said to Alexa. "He listens to you."
"I believe it is the other way around," she corrected, getting to her feet.
"He'd be a good man if he would listen," Korman muttered.
He looked at her.
"We're all exhausted and grieving in our ways. Leave Lyndon to his."
"Happily," Kormac grunted, and looked into the fire.
Eirena looked between them. "Where do you suppose our travels shall take us next?" she asked Kormac, desperately grasping at some change of subject. She did not like to see her friends fight, especially not over one of their own.
As was his way, Kormac stammered a response "Next? Our travels? Oh, I, I hadn't thought much on it. I suppose we could go back to Caldeum."
"I spent most of my life in Caldeum. Where else would you like to go?"
Kormac managed a smile, the unpleasant conversation forgotten. "Wherever you are going, of course. I'm sure we will find no end of adventure."
Eirena beamed. "Excellent. I'm sure we'll find plenty of excitement."
Alexa listened to them for a moment and walked off into the shadows to find Lyndon.
She found the thief sitting by himself, contemplating an unopened bottle of brandy.
"I'm still not sharing," he told her.
"I didn't intend to ask. I also don't want to know where you got the brandy."
"Merchant in the corner," Lyndon said, indicating a direction with his thumb. "Flighty, but she has good merchandise."
Alexa sat down without invitation, wrapped in her cloak.
"You look like a giant bird," Lyndon said. "Bird of prey, some kind of dark bird, like you're about to swoop down and peck someone's brains out. If you're looking for targets, can I suggest our templar friend? He could use some more brain twisting, if you ask me."
She let him rage, left it alone.
Lyndon cracked the bottle open. "Really? Not even a scolding frown?"
"Do you still intend to go to Kingsport?"
The bottle hovered near his mouth. "I'm still considering it, yes."
"And what will you do there?"
"Show the same restraint you showed with that witch."
Alexa shook her head. "It was revenge. Adria's death didn't bring me peace, Lyndon."
"No? I'm sure it brought Leah some."
"On that we can agree."
Lyndon examined the bottle. "This brandy is awful."
"I'm amazed it isn't tainted by demon blood and undead bile."
The thief wrinkled his nose. "Your idea of humor terrifies me."
"I have no sense of humor."
"Clearly not, or you wouldn't direct it at me." Lyndon put the brandy down, rested his arms on his knees. "I have to go back," he said. "I have to. I let Edlin down; I let him fall because of me, and then he died because I tried to make things right. Everything I touch falls apart. So, going to Kingsport means I won't come back here. I'd never see any of you again. I'll explain what I can to whoever might listen, and when I find Rea…"
Alexa sat back, listening.
"When I find her," Lyndon continued, his voice soft, "I'm going to look into her eyes and ask why she did it."
"And then what?"
"Depending on the answer I get, the axe or the rope, I suppose."
"For which one of you?"
He rolled his eyes. "Well, if I murder her, I don't suppose they'll hang her in protest of my crime, will they?"
She ignored his outburst. "So you mean to go alone?"
"Nothing holding me here." Lyndon looked at her. "What? You don't want to come with me! What about all those demons need killing? What about that suddenly scared mortal angel over there? I mean, he could turn bad any minute. Wouldn't you need to stay here, so, you know, you could kill him?"
"It's not Tyrael I'm worried about at this point in time."
Lyndon's briefly shocked expression turned into a scowl. "If you say you're worried about me, I swear—"
She tilted her head, questioning.
"I'll just be very annoyed," Lyndon said, looking away. "I mean, really, I'm a grown man, I don't need some trigger-happy brooding bird looking over my shoulder." He sighed, put the bottle down. "Are you serious?" he asked, his voice softer than she'd ever heard. "Truly, you'd come with me to Kingsport? You'd help me find out why this happened?"
"I've grown used to traveling with a friend," Alexa admitted. "And, besides, I'm sure I could find a demon or two to kill in Kingsport."
Lyndon offered a shadow of a smile. "I'm sure I could be persuaded to help. If the coin's good."
"You'd be surprised at how good it can be. Find a few skittish priests and you wouldn't have to work for months."
"You mistake me for a frugal man."
"We all have our challenges."
"I've yet to see you take on a challenge you couldn't terrify to its core."
"There you go, looking like a bird again. Like a great brooding owl."
"If there was a bird I was partial to, an owl might be it."
"You have preferences?" Lyndon shook his head. "Here you go surprising me again. next thing I know, you'll forgive all my transgressions and throw yourself at me."
It was Alexa's turn to roll her eyes.
"And there's the demon hunter I'm looking for," he teased. "Suppose we should get a move on if we're going to make the next ship. If you're still coming."
"I don't think I said otherwise."
"No," he agreed. "no, you didn't." He got to his feet, turned to offer her a hand but she was already up. "So. Onward?"
"You're leaving?" Eirena frowned. "After all we've just been through? We've just found one another again. We can't separate so soon."
"I certainly don't like the thought of your life in his hands," Kormac said.
"I am right here," Lyndon argued.
"I'm not sure how long we'll be in Kingsport," Alexa said, stopping their impending disagreement. To Eirena, she said, "You and Kormac should remain here, in case anything else happens with the angels."
"I don't think that's a good idea," Kormac said. He looked over Alexa's shoulder. "Tyrael's not just watching you closely; he's got a few of the Horadrim watching all of us. I think he's worried, with all we've seen, that we might do something foolish."
Lyndon snorted. "Look. We've a ship to catch. Are you two coming or not?"
"I would like to see Kingsport," Eirena said. "It could be where we make our new start."
Kormac turned crimson briefly. "I… yes, a new start, indeed. Yes. Let's do that."
Lyndon sighed, and looked at Alexa. "Do we really need to bring these two along? Can't we just bring Eirena? She'll at least find shiny things as interesting as I do."
"Which is why I'm coming along," Kormac interrupted, "to make sure you don't relieve anyone of their trinkets."
"Gods, man, it's like you're completely unaware that the bloody Thieves Guild runs Kingsport. If I nicked anyone's 'trinkets', chances are the person I stole from stole those same items first."
Alexa looked at Eirena. "Eirena, would you and Kormac tell Haedrig and Shen about our plans and get any supplies we might need? Lyndon, with me."
"Are we leaving them behind?" he asked too eagerly.
"No, we're going to talk to Tyrael."
"Do we have to?" Lyndon whined.
"If you want us to leave Westmarch without too many questions, yes."
"So long as that helmet-headed nincompoop isn't asking me questions, fine."
Tyrael offered her a polite nod as she approached. "Nephalem," he greeted her.
"Tyrael. I wanted to inform you, we're leaving."
"There is still much work to do here."
"And we might return for it someday," Lyndon said, "but for now, pressing matters, family things, you understand, I'm sure, seeing as your own brother just tried to murder the world."
Tyrael gazed at him for a long moment. "You are troubled, thief," he said. He looked at Alexa. "Do not trust this one."
"Well, she does trust me," Lyndon muttered. "More than you or that tin-hatted buffoon ever will."
Tyrael shook his head. "Where are you going, nephalem?"
"To resolve unfinished business," Alexa responded.
"For my friend."
"His unresolved affairs are now yours?"
"I do not trust this path, nephalem. Do you know if his intentions are honorable? Or even directed at the right enemy?"
"I'm standing right here," Lyndon grunted. "I swear, if I had a shiny trinket or two, you wouldn't keep talking about me like I'm not right here."
Alexa pointed. "Go stand over there," she told him. "I need to speak to Tyrael."
Lyndon walked away, grumbling to himself about fallen angels, and if their heads were this thick as mortals, how daft must they have been when they were more than human? Feather-heads, all of them.
Tyrael exhaled sharply through his nose. "Our work here is not done."
"Malthael is dead; the city is rebuilding. What more do you want of us?"
"The thief will lead you to a dark path, a path that I am not sure you can leave once you begin walking it."
"I have walked this path for nearly my entire life. If anyone understands revenge better than I do, point them out to me."
"Very well. When your task is resolved," Tyrael said, "return to Westmarch. This place will need a guide."
"I'm a hunter," she told him, "not a leader. If you seek a guide, look in a mirror."
The former angel shook his head. "I have seen my mirror, and believe me, my friend, I would not wish to see that man have any power."
Alexa forced the mortal-angel to look at her. "You are still unable to face your own past and what your judgment and Malthael wrought on this world. When you are ready to face yourself, Tyrael, then you may question what I am willing to do."
Tyrael lowered his gaze. "The thief is troubled. Even I can see it. Can you kill a man as easily as you dispatch demons if he falls from his own path?"
For a moment, he saw a spark in the hunter's eyes, an echo of a promise to see the thief's intent through until the end. No matter how unsavory that task might be, if it was worthy of such a vow, then it could not be broken.
"A man falls easier than a demon," she said. "The difference between them is that the man had a choice to fall, and the demon was created that way."
"And what if a man chooses to fall? What then?"
Her eyes shifted directly at him. She had the look of one exercising great restraint over one's tongue.
Tyrael prodded: "Nephalem? And what then?"
"My aim is true," she said evenly, and walked away from him.
Tyrael bowed his head, examining Eldruin's hilt. The sword gave him no answer, no comfort.
He lifted his head, saw her looking at him from beneath her hood, her eyes two small sparks of white in shadow. "Do not forget," she said, "you chose to fall."
She joined her companions out of his sight, and he clutched his sword, lost in her words.
The thief is corrupted by greed and now revenge. That is something you know well, hunter, but how far will you to go to save a falling man?