A/N: The hopefully anticipated sequel to "The Paladin's Grace"… Okay I am revealing some things about Milla's character, such as her mentor's name, her past, and as I recall someone's query; her deity. There will be dialogue, and far more violence. After all Milla has found her grace, now may the darkness face her wrath. I also would like to say that once again, criticism is a Godsend and any budding writer (such as myself) would die to have some. Okay not die…per se. Also there is a spell or two in here that I am not sure is even real (by TSR and Wizards of The Coast terms)…but hey this is fantasy so HA! On another note, I made one or two prepositional mistakes, but I couldn't find a better way to word the sentence. If that disrupts the flow in anyway, let me know and I will change it as soon as I can.
Disclaimer: I do not own the deities mentioned in this little fic, it is owned by TSR, Wizards of The Coast, and whoever the Hell made the Faerûn Pantheon. All other productions are of my own accord and therefore are mine, and as such, no one may use them without asking me or referencing myself as the original owner.
Summary: Sequel to "The Paladin's Grace". Milla has come to terms with her task, now the evil will face her wrath. Reviewers get mentioned in future installments!
The Paladin's Wrath
Though Milla had attained a level of confidence and lost all guilt for her future actions, the condition of her church disturbed her. The very walls seemed to emanate this darkness, bloodstains were a common sight and the scars of a battle seemed so fresh. It was as if her mentor tore through the area and slashed his way in with the dark magic he used almost recklessly. There were over two and a half scores of well-armed priests, monks and another score of adept apprentices, who were almost or just as deadly as their elders were. How is it that her mentor had so rapidly attained enough to power to tear through the church slaying man, woman, and child without the least bit of aid? His power alone disturbed her, but not as greatly as witnessing the victims of his assault on the order. Seeing the victimized children was indeed the worst of it, each time she saw one of the children fatally wounded but walking…emotionless and soulless, it was maddening to be the one who struck them down. With each slaying of the undead she turned, the raging inferno that had become her temperament grew into a sizzling blaze. However, she had gained control of her anger, used it to her will. She took her raw disgust and molded it into her very tendons, allowing them to hone, and keep each cut true. She let the anger blanket her grief and used her anger to give her focus. Normally it was not the best tactic of sorts, but this enemy was too close to her for her to remain impartial. There were too many faces, too many she knew in a myriad of memories. Therefore, she crept through her former home praising her God, whilst using her powers of divinity to fight this enemy. This enemy that had perverted the goodly nature her home once had, and into the bereft and hollow wasteland, it had now become.
Not much time had passed before Milla ran into her enemies once more; a small contingent of undead clerics rounded the corridor meeting Milla with maces and staves drawn. Not unlike most of the walking dead, these creatures were merely puppets to their master. Their prior knowledge of spells and attack formations nearly lain to waste, only powerful magic and time could truly return their skills. Therefore, though these monsters were in many a number, few had any honest skill beyond a parry or two and lunging at their enemy hopefully to get a mouthful of human flesh. Therefore, there was little wonder when only one or two attacked at the same time. Milla, in a fury, redrew her short swords from their sheaths. She slashed out at the fallen clerics, blocking the weak blows of the undead. As her off-hand blocked the weapons, Milla's right hand used the momentum of the previous swing to increase her speed, making her first cut slice into a cleric's neck, cleaving it in two. As the head lobbed onto the ground the cleric's body fumbled about knocking into the others.
Milla would have been amused were it not for the fact she once had a crush on the headless cleric, it was ironic to say in the least. The next of the undead that approached her was an undead woman who Milla knew quite well. The woman was not un-like her, they had been close since Milla's early days, enslaved to a church praising Cyric. Not their finest hour, but they survived and Milla was quite protective of the girl, as she was the oldest of the servants. Pangs of impossible guilt washed over Milla, wave after wave crashing into her as she deflected the many attacks of the undead girl. The Paladin did not strike the undead however, no, instead she took her holy symbol, and cried out with seeming battle lust, "By the Powers of Torm I command mine enemy to LEAVE THIS HOLY SHELL!". With a passionate fury, she nearly rammed Torm's symbol into her friend's body as if expelling the curse out of her friend's skin. A flash of light cracked through the church and Milla cried in pain as the spell tore away some of her energy.
Milla gazed before her and watched as the evil was expelled from her friend's corpse. Color returned to her cheeks and her eyes were once again closed. Milla sighed in relief before once again noticing the attacking clerics. Mentally chastising herself, Milla then went into a rage of sorts, slashing her blades obliterating all in her path. Each slice lead to a brilliant display of carnage that was both mystifying and disturbing. The three remaining undead clerics began attacking more forcefully now, their puppeteer no doubt was growing impatient, willing his puppets to either fall or kill Milla. However, Milla was not one to be underestimated, and in a short series of parries and a few blows of her own, none remained.
Milla gave a quick nod to herself and looked to her friend's corpse. No wounds marred her skin…and there was a great deal of color to her aforementioned flesh. Milla rushed to her friend's body and placed her fingers at her friend's pulse. Faintly, Milla felt small vibrations. She was alive…she must have welcomed the curse early on, rather then being poisoned by other victims and their horrendous bites and scratches. Milla sighed of great relief and scooped up the fallen girl. She found an old broom closet and gently tucked her friend in after easing a small healing potion between the girl's lips. She drank eagerly; her pulse strengthening and her skin grew healthier by each passing moment. Her eyes flashed open and she spoke with a deep sadness in her heart.
"Milla! By Torm, where have you been?" she inquired hastily.
"Calm yourself Annaliel; I have been away, investigating the rapid appearance of the undead. I know of what has befallen us sister, I will set it right," Milla stated calmly, grasping her young friend's hand.
"Kyturan has gone mad! He has read the forbidden tomes, murdered our brethren! The young-" Milla cut her off mid-sentence.
"Annaliel! I know! Do not waste your breath, as it has fallen short for quite some time. I know of Kyturan's treachery, and I have seen the young ones…even if I could have expelled the curse from their bodies, they were marred too greatly, and I have not the energy. My magic has since then lain waste." Milla admitted in a whisper after calming herself.
"What are you going to do?" Annaliel asked pleadingly.
"What I have always done, Kyturan has grown corrupt, if he thinks this little stint is going to defeat me, then he is more of a fool than I thought" Milla said rising almost coldly.
"I can come with you, please let me help you avenge our brethren!" Annaliel cried out.
"Anna! Bite your tongue!" Milla harshly scolded, "This is not the time for childish -though merited- vendettas. Kyturan has betrayed us, and has massacred this church; it is our duty to send him into the next world. It is not a pleasure; it is our obligation as patrons of Torm!" Milla stated resoundingly maternal.
"I apologize dear sister, Torm forgive me," Annaliel said hushedly.
"Good, I will need you to turn any undead that pass us by, you don't have the strength to remove the curse do you?" Milla asked curiously.
"No I do not, even if I could, I feel only capable for my lesser spells," Annaliel replied.
Milla nodded and pressed a finger to her lips as she passed a large morningstar to Annaliel, who took hold of her favored weapon eagerly. Silently Milla opened the door, stepping on the balls of her feet as she crept unheard through the compound with Annaliel closely behind. Milla led with both blades drawn, and it was comforting to know that she had a companion with her. She was not used to working alone; in fact, she could only recall one instance where she was truly alone in battle, and that was when she was barely more then a child. It was when she had fled her home in search for adventure; Milla flinched with the memory, as it was the day she was captured. That day was the day she was into the slave trade, two weeks later she was sold to the Church of Cyric. That was a day most unwelcome in her memory. She saw things then that had cursed her eyes constantly throughout the years. Many a night were spent with harsh memories that had burned themselves into the back of her very eyelids.
Milla once again mentally chastised herself for allowing her mind to wander. Once again, she grew to easily distracted; penalties of working in a crisis that was a little too close to home. It was usually far simpler to expel evil. Flash a symbol, and cut the undead down. There was not an exact science to her job, but when she recognized the faces of the undead, she was not nearly as relentless. She felt pangs of guilt and her judgement was clouded.
Milla then abandoned the contemplations, again, and continued on her way through the compound, again. As she made a turn into the kitchens, she heard the grumbled moans of undead. She jerked to a stop suddenly, the sound of her armor causing attention. The undead did not hear her though, so she turned her head into the kitchens getting a view of the situation. The marred creatures were lumbering about as if lost, they repeatedly bumped into chairs and counters, as well as each other. It was almost amusing.
Milla then looked over her shoulder and signaled Annaliel to follow. Annaliel gave her a harsh nod as they both rushed into the kitchen. Milla took the left as Annaliel followed on the right. The Undead, seeing the women enter, immediately began attacking the intruders. If the monsters had fear, they did not show it, and if the women were worried, they did not show it either. In the seconds Milla began her attacks she had downed two of the monsters. Her silver and gold short swords danced in the night. Slashing, cleaving, cutting, stabbing…there were no more fantastic sounds to Milla at the time. Annaliel was also fairing quite well. Her morningstar crushed rotting flesh, whilst her holy symbol lit the room, obliterating the remaining undead until they were merely dust.
After the small battle, Milla once again nodded to her companion and they continued their trek through the corridors. Milla was silent, as was Annaliel. Their visages were stern and harsh; any joy over their camaraderie had long since been dispelled. They both crept about, weapons drawn and dead silent. It was not until they came upon a 'fork' in their path that they voiced their thoughts.
"Milla, where should we go?" Annaliel asked curiously.
"We should continue down into the crypts, there should be more undead and Kyturan would be strongest in a place of such darkness," Milla replied authoritively.
Annaliel gave a soft nod before motioning Milla to lead on, which of course she did. As the pair silently crept through the corridors, Milla, as she often did, let her mind wander. She thought of her past with Kyturan. It was suddenly her favorite pasttime to try to remember him as the mischievous priest that was so full of life. Now he has mastered the art of death, how delightfully ironic, Milla mused. She continued her thoughts trying to decipher his supposedly sudden desire for chaos. Chaos was something he did seem to revel in, so that fact alone needed little contemplation in connection with his actions. When Milla was under Kyturan's tutilege, she recalled many events that were burned into her memory, mostly because Milla had laughed so hard at the time. Kyturan, or Ky, as she often called him, used to be a joyful companion. He behaved as if he were younger then she was at the time. Often enough it was she who scolded him, and it was he who dubbed her "Milla Rhasiwas, Scolding Master". It was not the most creative of titles, hence why she did not necessarily mind; she had just lived up to the name far more often. In addition, with this newest escapade Milla would scold him in a fashion to where he would never draw breath again, if she had her way.
It was then the paladin and cleric came upon the entrance to the crypts. Unlike most, these catacombs were fairly lavish in the upper levels, but they grew far more dank as you proceeded downward. This particular church of Torm was of a smaller measure. It was not the oldest, and was not the newest. The upper levels were reserved for the high priests, and the honored ones, thus they were more empty then the lower levels used for all of Torm's servants in the church.
As the pair crept down into the tomb, they could hear the soft echo of their footfalls. The room was not very dark, torches danced in the tomb, hissing and popping whenever a cobweb or insect came into the lethal light. The first levels of the crypts were fairly lavish. Marble walls and tile complimented the supporting pillars. The coffins were marbled with gold filigri, each was custom made so that the deceased would have their golden emblem engraved into the coffin. The overpass that lead to the next level beheld Torm's symbol, a silver guantlet, had two torches framing it. This particular level seemed to hold more honor then pain. A blessing of Torm possibly. As they past through the rows of the few coffins, Milla pointed to the empty ones that should hold some of the most prestige priests and clerics that ever graced the church. It was when one of the greater paladins' corpses was also missing that Milla was truly fearful. She glanced at Annaliel, who seemed to be sharing similar thoughts.
Milla once again donned her holy symbol, wrapped around her left hand, while still holding her off-handed short sword. She walked at an angle, her left side leading as her silvery short sword was in a defensive position. The blade's golden twin, however, was held in a strike formation in her right. Milla continued leading and descended the stairs that lead to the next level, not as lavish but more intricate then most crypts. Once again, several of the coffins were open and empty. It was obvious they would face a fight in these crypts. Milla's shoulder tensed as she felt chills grasp her. She withheld her urge to shudder and continued on her way. As she progressed through the chamber, her eyes scanned each corner, and the following shadows. There was no visible danger, but Milla could sense the poisonous corruption nearby.
Annaliel grew tense as well, her Holy symbol at the ready in her right hand, her morningstar in her left, as she was left handed. On her belt, she kept a flask of Holy water and her boots padded softly against the marble tiles. Her white and gold robes were slit at her legs, giving her the full mobility of a fighter, yet still represented her as a cleric. Before this catastrophe occurred, Annaliel was studying, hoping to become a priestess. However, her ascenion in skills would have to wait as she had an obligation to save the church, along with Milla. Of course, advancement was the least of her worries now, now she needed to repress her grief until the conflict was ended.
As the servants of Torm descended to the third level, their assumptions were confirmed. They entered the darkest of the level, only one torch was lit. The fire danced behind the figure that both girls knew to be Kyturan. Despite how evil he was, he still looked like a priest of Torm. His golden hair, long and soft, was slicked back, framing his somewhat angular features. He wore white and gold robes, however the symbol upon his breast was bloodied, no longer Torm's. Only the marred symbols and his icy blue stare signified his betrayal. His undead companions flanked him, but did not charge. It seemed a speech was in order.
"Milla, Annaliel, it is a pleasure," He sneered haughtily. He always was a smug bastard.
Milla tsked coldly, "Ky, Ky, Ky, whatever led you to believe that this encounter would be pleasant? You of all should know, I do not kindly to evil Magicks, much less those spawned by the dark gods. Before you fall, I must know of course, who is your newest patron?"
"Cyric" He replied with a smirk. Annaliel gasped and uttered a single shout, "Blasphemer!"
"Quite," Kyturan said with a snicker, he barely took note of Milla's raw hatred and the gritting sounds of her teeth.
"Of course you would join the ranks of those I hate most. After all, you are the master of cliché and ostentatious flamboyance. So may I ask why you decided to slaughter all of our comrades?" Milla inquired coldly, her voice was beyond ice. She gazed at Kyturan with a look so cold, it could snow in Calimsham.
"Boredom, chaos, and of course duty. I have never served Torm, I was merely stationed here as a spy. I kept wards up around my room and mind, no one ever knew who I truly was, not even you," Kyturan said almost pained.
"Duty? You, you dare speak of duty to me? After everything we have been through, the lives we have saved, you dare excuse your betrayal as duty? To what end? I had to live in one of the, I use this term lightly mind you, 'greatest' of all of Cyric's churches. I know what happens to those who are successful. Even if they strong enough, someone always has a knife at your back, and someone cleans up the mess. I cleaned that mess several times, you, my old friend, would not last a day. You spent years here, helping people, trusting us not to harm you. Do think your new comrades will do the same? Do you, lowly worm, think that you will receive such treatment? And let us not even begin with the churches of Cyric you helped me destroy, I believe that is considered betrayal," Milla spoke with a confidence in her voice, masking her heartbreak at the sight of such evil that was her friend.
"Well, considering it was you who actually massacred my brethren, that is of little concern to me. And their numbers were small. This Church alone more then makes up for the losses, and it will be all the more sweeter when I watch the both of you die. Why so silent dear Annaliel? We were such good friends before," Kyturan asked.
"You bastard, you are a dead man," Annaliel hissed.
Kyturan barked out a laugh at that, his voice was warm, but oh-so cold. It was then Annaliel charged forward, morningstar in hand, she forgot the holy symbol and struck a mighty blow at Kyturan.
Only, it did not kill him. In fact, it did not touch him. Annaliel struck again, watching as the morningstar passed through the laughing Kyturan. She made another strike, and another. Milla was awestruck at first, but she knew the trick as it was. It was truly Kyturan, that she was sure of. However, he was not here, not in the crypts. He was well out of range for her to kill him.
"Did you actually think I would face you in person? I do actually recall everything we have been through, Milla. I knew you would come here and that if I was actually here, my chances for survival were quite slim. I am well aware of your prowess. You should come to know mine," Kyturan hissed.
"Oh I will, I will. Torm be praised when I have your head, Torm be praised," Milla whispered, however the ethereal necromancer heard her.
"Dear one, you are misguided. Torm is worthless, foolish, and unworthy of worshi-"
Annaliel could not hold her tongue. She cried in fury at the heretic who dared insult her patron. She suddenly began attacking the astral form of Kyturan. The ferocity made the undead monsters stir.
"Annaliel! Stand down!" Milla shouted, noticing the movement.
"Yes Anna, precious, you truly should be wise and listen to Milla. She has taken care of you so well after all these years," Kyturan added with a dark wink. Annaliel narrowed her eyes and suddenly threw her morningstar at the apparition. Kyturan deflected the attack and watched as it ricocheted into the nearest undead. Instantly the monster fell, the other undead began to step forward to the angered girls.
"Damnit Annaliel!" Milla muttered angrily. Annaliel tossed her a sorry look and grasped her symbol in both hands. She began to mutter an incantation; she focused solely on her prayers. Only Milla heard Kyturan's last words before he dissipated in cold laughter.
"I'll be waiting, Milla"
A/N: Well That's my sequel, now no complaints about her friend's survival, I couldn't kill EVERYBODY…I mean come on, I might as well have made her an orphan, I mean can you say stereotypical? Besides, should Milla ever lose her faith she needs good friends in high places. R&R and I hope it was worth clicking on the link. I also would like to add that "Kyturan" was my villain's name in the Labyrinth story where Milla originated, it seemed blissfully symmetrical.
May your pen stay full and your inspiration ever flowing,
- Sylistra The Scholar-
P.S. - if any were interested in that Labyrinth story it has long since been deleted. I think my first successful epic will be on here. Because let's face it, though I began my fan fiction career with Legend of Zelda (when I was barely more then a child, rather then the blissfully hormonal teen I am today) and Labyrinth (a couple of years back), my heart has always lied with the Forgotten Realms. Out of respect alone this should be where I start. Also, my epic for this will be my first successful one (either the file is deleted some how, my hard drive crashes, or my flash drive is broken. I have had a VERY bad track record…not to mention my writing was fairly poor when I first began).
Tags and shout outs:
Thazienne: Well it took a little while to decide who Milla would worship. That was why I never mentioned it beforehand. And well, I seriously doubt the judges at the writing fair would take well to the usage of gods that weren't in fact, God. This is Georgia for crying out loud… it's almost as bad as Salem, sans hangings.
Misplaced Soul: Well you never know, I don't want to do too much because Milla is becoming one of my favorite characters I have designed, I kinda want to save her until I get her "novelized". I tell you Milla is practically wringing my neck to step up…it's ridiculous. Personally I think she needs to take a very long visit to an ale-house, maybe flirt with a few handsome elves…-Milla glares- Fine, fine be all celibate. But if I cross you over with Drizzt I will have some obscene author's notes…I live vicariously through you after all…-Milla glares far more darkly- Alright, Jesus woman, get a grip… -back to you- Do you see what I have to put up with? My characters abuse me!
penny4him: Thank you so much, I get a few qualms over my descriptions because I tend to get hefty…and most people don't like long descriptions (WHY???) but I adore having everything down to the last detail, so I usually ignore them… OCD is a bitch to say in the least.