Hey look, the next chapter. WORD. This is something that has bugged me...the story starts in the fourth act, but Tyrael is met in the second act...so what happened in the second act and how can I show that without ruining the continuum of these stories? Answer? Flashback discussion. WORD.
I know this chapter is long overdo, but I got busy and just was tanking on ideas BUT here is the next chapter!
Enjoy the next installment in:
Chapter Five: It All Started With an Argument
she had finally left. That morning Ulandra had awoke and come up to Tyrael personally to inform him today was the day she would fight Diablo. She seemed a bit miffed that he had not even looked up at her from where he was seated, reading a book, only giving a casual, "Sure you will,"
She had promptly called him an ass afterwards which didn't seem to bother him anymore as it used to. There was something almost endearing now about her calling him all sorts of names that would make a demon blush. He, of course, responded with outlandish more "poetic" insults of his own. What had unsettled him was she had left quickly after he had snorted at her comeback, stalking down the steps and out into Hell again. It had been quite in the fortress for the last five hours.
Usually the silence would not have unsettled him so much or even at all. He always had enjoyed the silence, even had prayed for it when Ulandra and himself had gotten into one of their legendary arguments. Now though...
"Has she come by, Halbu?"
The kneeling champion of the light jumped a bit as he heard the voice of the archangel, opening his eyes and turning to beheld the glorious archangel, shaking his head, "No...she has not come back for armor repair,"
Tyrael gave a nod. Then there was silence again, Halbu curiously looking up at the somewhat agitated looking angel who stared off over the plains of Hell. The human gave a slight sigh, getting to his feet, "You wish to be in the battle yourself, don't you?"
"...perhaps..." was Tyrael's vague answer.
Halbu arched an eyebrow but didn't press the issue. Something else was bothering the archangel, but what? Tyrael may be the archangel of Justice, but the man was a very enigmatic angel, never direct, tended to dodge around questions, and never really explain what he was thinking. That and for an archangel, he had heard from Jamella that he was a fairly good dice player.
Tyrael's formed tense causing Halbu to blink and follow the archangel's gaze, squinting slightly at the shinning figure now coming towards Pandemonium Fortress. As they drew closer, Halbu could see it was the familiar form of Hadriel, the watchman of Diablo's lair. The other angel touched down lightly and gave a bow to Tyrael, his wings flashing outwards slightly, "She has entered Diablo's citadel, Lord Tyrael,"
"So she has," Tyrael said softly, his shoulders tensing more.
All this time he had wanted her to go and face Diablo. He had fought her about it, argued with her about it, by the light, the two had gotten into a philosophical debate with Cain about it at one point! He didn't know how the greater ideals of creation, free will, and mythical invisible forces had to deal with slaying Diablo, but then, he really didn't understand Ulandra period. Yet now she was off to fight Diablo and now he felt like going after her and telling her she didn't have to.
He shifted slightly, clenching his hand a bit in irritation. She was in danger, but she had defeated Mephisto and many other demons. She could handle Diablo...but what...what if he did turn into a millipede?
As soon as that thought crossed his mind, he went rigid as if he had been hit in the face and with a low growl, turned on his heals marching back up to his spot by the fireplace. Hadriel and Halbu exchanged a quick glance before Hadriel cautiously followed after him, "My lord? I thought you would be well...in better spirits after hearing that she has gone to confront the lord of terror?"
"I should, shouldn't I?" Tyrael snapped, hunching his shoulders, "I should, but I'm now convinced Diablo is turning into a damn millepede and chasing her around in circles or she has been killed already by the demon because she tried to do something foolish!"
Hadriel looked taken aback somewhat, his wings flaring up in surprise at the outburst, "Millepedes? But isn't that from the whole argument you two-"
"Yes! That damn woman is spreading her madness!" Tyrael snarled throwing his hands up in the air, "This fortress is beginning to live up to its name the moment she stepped foot in it! I'm surprised Hell has not surrendered in the face of her unending tirades, and ridiculous notions!"
The other angel took a step back from Tyrael but he gave a small chuckle, shaking his head, "Despite all that, the two of you both tend to rant the same ways when in a temper. You sound just like her when she is complaining about you,"
"Oh? Complaining about me?" Tyrael growled, hunching his shoulders, "and what exactly does she say about me?"
Only a fool would not have missed the danger in that question. Hadriel tensed and swallowed a bit even though the action was unnecessary for a celestial being like himself, "Eh..I rather not say sir, well...it just deals a lot about where you have...various objects shoved up,"
Tyrael snorted, "How original of her and you say we complain the same way. The very idea,"
"She said the same thing when I told her the same thing," Hadriel blurted taking another step back as Tyrael slowly turned around again, wings flicking out in a more agitated fashion.
"We have very, very little in common, Hadriel. She is...intolerable,"
There was a moment of silence as the archangel sighed and turned to stare into the fire. Hadriel shifted from one foot to the other, glancing away, "For someone so intolerable, I would say...you actually are really fond of her ways. I think you enjoy how she fights you..."
"I would suggest you hold your tongue unless you would like me to show you a bit of righteous and very furious justice," Tyrael growled, not even bothering to turn around.
Hadriel sighed, letting his wings sag, "I think she has really rubbed off on you Tyrael. You might not want to admit it, but I bet from the start you felt...some sort of enjoyment in having a fight again and not just sitting back and watching. You always were one to want to entice a fight," he murmured before slowly turning around and heading to his own room.
Tyrael was silent. He didn't acknowledge the other angel leaving as he stared into the flickering flames of the fire. Their first meeting...he hadn't forgotten it for a moment. It wasn't a significant moment, nothing as grand as deciding the fate of Sanctuary or battling against the forces of Hell or attempting to stop the revival of Baal, but it seemed always so clear in his memory even compared to those more grandeur memories.
He had been weak from the battle, his energy fading even as he stood trapped within the tomb that once had held Baal. Slumped against the wall, sword planted point down between his legs, he had sat there, fuming angrily. How could he have been so careless? Now because of his own damnable compassion and faith in humanity, Baal was now free and traveling with Diablo no doubt to the far east where Mephisto had been locked away...and there was nothing he could do but sit her and wallow in his new found prison. A new wave of anger ran through him and his hands tightened on the pommel of his sword. Even now all of hell could be destroying Sanctuary or even onwards to the High Heavens while he was trapped her, useless and probably would remain trapped here until all of eternity.
He leaned his forehead against the pommel of his sword, heaving a deep angry sigh, wings tensed up and held close to his body like an agitated bird. What a joke of an archangel he had turned out to be...
Then there had been thrums, sounds of battle. Tyrael looked up as he heard the rumbles above, his wings going still as he pressed his senses towards the disturbance. He could feel the crushing evil of some mighty demon left behind, most likely a lesser evil of hell, but which one he could not tell. The very feel of it made the angel's very being thrum with disgust. His hands curled tighter over the pommel of his sword as he felt that presence and knew he could do nothing against it, could do nothing but stew in his own loathing of his jail keeper...and yet...something was off.
It was faint at first, but it was growing. Another presence. This one was more like fire, a sort of comforting warm glow emitting from it but it was growing, turning into a blaze, scorching, but it sent a sort of excited thrill through Tyrarel. He had felt this spirits before, it had been close to Deckard Cain for a while now, someone whom he rarely let out of his angelic senses. It was the hero. He had been expecting them of course...had expected them a lot earlier when he could have used their help in stopping Diablo and his brother Baal here before they had time to gather their strength further. However, they still could kill the guardian to his prison...they could still free him.
He rose to his feet and without even a flap of his wings, rose into the air lightly, sheathing his sword, all his thoughts and senses turned towards the battle beyond his prison, bending all his senses to it, trying to see the battle yet all he could feel was that clash of energy beyond the wards of his prison. Then, the foul aura of the demon vanished and the air, so thick before as if the heat of the room was coming close to suffocate him, now felt light and cool. Evil purged from the halls of the tomb for the first time since the sealing of Baal. There was a rumble above and the wards once keeping him caged in this chamber like a bird, gave way.
Tyrael had been impatient at that moment, perhaps that is what would be one of the catalysts for the eventual argument to soon follow at that first meeting, but he had forced himself to wait for the hero to arrive rather than flutter off, if nothing more than to point them in the right direction after the two already freed prime evils. Thus the first impression of Ulandra was set.
The bloody woman loved to take her sweet time getting anything done.
Nearly half an hour had passed and he feared the hero had died before she came waltzing down, without a scratch on her, humming, and smiling at him as if she hadn't known he had been waiting there for so long. She probably hadn't realized that, but in his anger, somehow he had convinced himself that Ulandra had done this on purpose to vex him.
"I had expected you earlier," he said, making a sloppy attempt at sounding civil.
The smile on her face faded a bit as she quirked an eyebrow at him, "Greetings, I'm Ulandra. I'm doing fine by the way, just kicking the ass of that slug demon and nearly got killed so had to heal up rather than drag my bloody body down her to bleed out at your feet," she drawled sarcastically, "So what are you suppose to be with the glowing tentacles and mysterious stranger look? Some sort of glow demon?"
And thus in the blink of an eye, all thoughts of trying to be civil were burned up like parchment in a fireplace, "I am an angel you idiotic mortal! I came here to stop the prime evils-"
"and looks like you really did a good job of that," She quipped back, interrupting him, "Seriously, I thought you angels were all powerful,"
"Even an archangel like myself would be hard press to fight not one, but two of the prime evils," he growled low, his wings spread out in agitation.
"Oh, archangel. Guess that explains the fancy sword and armor...soooo...now what happens?"
He blew out a frustrated sigh and resisted the urge to drop his forehead into the palm of his hand, "We go after them and stop them from raising Mephisto from his bindings if they have not done so already,"
"That's a good idea! I bet with an archangel helping me, we can char-broil the lot of em in-"
"I am not helping you directly. I'm forbidden," Tyrael said with a shake of his head.
Ulandra pursed her lips at him, eyes narrowing, "Isn't coming down here to fight with them already intervening and helping out even if it did end in utter failure?"
Tyrael gave a low growl at this, "It is not the same. This is a loophole," he snapped, "Just go to Lut Gholien and go East to the jungle city of Kurast. Mephisto was sealed beneath the temple there,"
"Wait, you sealed the lord of hate under a paladin temple? Could you have made it anymore obvious? At least with Baal you had the sense to hide it in a less than obvious location," She grumbled, shaking her head, "I guess the high heavens were short on brains for that one,"
"For your information mortal, it was my idea," Tyrael snapped.
"Damn, you really have no mind for planning these things out do you?" she drawled, crossing her arms.
Tyrael felt a growing dislike for this woman and her combative nature. He wondered if she had simply talked whatever poor demon had been guardian his prison to death with her useless banter. The archangel crossed his arms, wings held up in agitation as he looked down at her, "Enough of this. Just get moving hero. Time is of the essence,"
"So you going to teleport me there?" She asked, tilting her head.
"I do not have the energy for that right now," he admitted gruffly,"I can open a portal to Lut Gholein and from there you could secure passage by ship,"
She gave a groan, shoulders slumping at the mention of "ship", shaking her head, "I can't get on a ship, I get sea sick!"
"Sea sick! The world is in peril and you are concerned about sea sickness?" he blurted out completely in shock at this mortal woman.
She rolled her eyes, "oh easy for you to say with those big glowing...wing things on your back. I'll get on the damn ship and go to the jungle and do what you couldn't do, kick their asses and then come back to gloat,"
"If you can even do this, and defeat the three, I'll listen to your gloating without a single word of retort. I highly doubt it though, "Tyrael growled, shaking his head.
"oh? You doubt the mighty Ulandra? Well then, you just sit your pretty little angel behind right down and let me show you how its done," She scoffed, tossing her head a bit and shooting him a challenging look, "Promise though that if I do defeat the trio, you'll do whatever I want,"
"Whatever you want?" Tyrael drawled, tilting his head. He paused, thinking for a while before sighing and reaching out a hand to shake on the deal, "fine, I give you my word,"
She took his hand, a surprisingly firm grip, and shook on their odd bargain, "Good, now open the portal would you? I am not going to use my last town portal," she huffed, "you are wasting time now!"
He just stared at her for a while before raising a hand and opening the portal, giving a most gracious of bows, "Of course, would hate to waste your time," he growled.
"You better believe it," she said with a huff before stepping through the portal, it closing behind her.
Tyrael gave a chuckle though. He hadn't opened a portal to Lut Gholein. He opened one to the middle of the desert. Perhaps it was...a bit more passive aggressive then was normal for him, but as the archangel of justice, it was a punishment fitting of her banter.
With one last sigh he had left that place, taking to the air again and returning back to the high heavens, although, she had remained in his mind, irritating him still. And he had continued to think about her as he stewed in the high heavens, watching the world carefully and tracking her progress. She was...unlike other of her kind. She was rash, foolhardy, prone to banter with people and even taunt the enemies, yet she still succeeded. She had a will that wasn't unlike his own. A sort of bull headed tenacity he could very well relate too. He never forgot that first meeting because there was something else in it...something he still hadn't been able to put his finger on...
Tyrael gave a sigh as he shook his head, pulling his mind back from those memories. He was already unsettled enough by how much she affected him. On one hand he wanted her gone from his sights for good, yet on the other...
On the other hand he couldn't bare to be far from her. But after she had defeated Diablo, something he had confidence she could achieve, what then? She would destroy his soul stone, yes, but then...then...
Tyrael curled his hands into fist and his wings flared in sudden agitation. Why did her leaving make him feel so off? It was if his resonance was skipping, riddling him with small hollows throughout his body. He would miss her. She was a fine warrior of the light. That was all.
But he knew he was simply lying to himself at this point. If he acknowledged the truth though, he would be no better than his brother Inarius in having such forbidden feeling. Yet his mind was still wandering there, going to dark, sinful places that he had no business thinking about and the worse part was he was getting a wicked thrill. The look Imperius would give him if he could glimpse what he, the acrchangel of justice, was thinking might be worth it...
"By the light, what madness has she inspired in me? Next I'll be turning cartwheels across the counsel chambers..." Tyrael groaned, shaking his head.
"That would be amusing to see..." a voice said from across the chamber.
Tyrael tensed and turned, relief flooding through him. Ulandra stood there, grinning lopsidedly, her clothing torn up, armor damaged and her hair scraggly and clinging to all the dirt, blood, and other hellish muck covering her body but she still looked radiant.
"You've returned hero," he said giving a nod to her, "Did you retrieve Diablo's soul gem?"
She gave a nod, rolling her eyes as she held up the gem," yeah, yeah. I got it right here. But that isn't important. What did you mean madness and what about cartwheels?"
Tyrael silently cursed, wings tensing as he glanced away, "I was referring to you and the madness you inspire. I honestly began to worry Diablo would become a millepede and end up chasing you about in circles," he grumbled.
Ulandra blinked before she began to laugh, shaking her head, "Ha! I did worm my way in with that idea! Well, he didn't turn into a millepede so nothing to worry about Tyrael," she said with a smile, patting his arm.
"I wasn't worried about that," Tyrael snapped. She arched an eyebrow, taking in his tense form, how his wings were spread wide, the ends licking at the walls of the room, and if he had visible eyes, they would focused on her. She stared back at him for a bit before reaching a hand up to pat the side of his cowl gently, "I know. I was worried about you too. How on earth will you ever relax without me around to keep you on your toes?"
He gave a chuckle, his form relaxing, although an odd anxiety still gnawed at the back of his mind, "Keep me on my toes? You mean what will I do without you constantly there to insult me?"
"I'm just toughening you up so you can handle demons as well as I can," She said with a wide grin.
Tyrael just snorted, "Handle a demon? Ha. Child's play to handle a demon,"
Ulandra just grinned wider and stepped closer, walking her fingers up his breast plate, causing him to tense and his resonance to intensify, like an odd burning warmth that suddenly began to build throughout his form, "But is it child's play to be able to handle the archangel Tyrael?"
He just stared at her, head slowly tilting when she said that and his wings tensing up again, shocked at the very audacity of what she had just suggested, the innuendo very clear. Tyrael cleared his throat turning around to stare into the fire, "hmph. The soul stone is to be destroyed as soon as -"
"After I get a bath, a good nights rest AND, " she paused giving a wicked smirk, "my other agreed upon prize,"
Tyrael tensed again and turned to try and explain to her that it was somewhat of an impossibility to do anything of that sort between them, to try and explain there was a lot of risk, but she had already scampered off to her bedchambers.
His entire form was still humming though with that bizarre but oddly pleasant burning sensation, his wings arched and glowing more then usual. He was an angel, his ...reactions to situations were different being he was not comprised of mortal flesh but was rather made of pure light and sound. This feeling and slight intensity of his resonance here...
Tyrael gave a growl and tried to force himself to relax and not think about her words but rather on how he was going to explain that they really couldn't do what she had in mind, well at least not legally. Angels consorting with demons had been a bad enough affair and her he was considering to extend the affair to these mortals. Considering...?
The archangel let out growling noise, straightening up and turning to stalk to his chambers trying to push those thoughts of consorting with Ulandra in anything more than a professional way far from his mind. But it was like a tick, worming its way under his skin, sinking deeper and deeper until it would take most drastic measures to get off.
He gave a sigh and raised a hand to rub where his face would be, an action he had picked up from Cain, "What have I gotten myself into?"