Finish the Game
Emrys would be glad to leave Harrogath.
True, the Northern Steppes were still held by Baal's army. True, a return to Mount Arreat would mean having to face the Lord of Destruction himself. True, he'd likely die in such an undertaking. But even so, Emrys didn't like being in Harrogath. Too much stone upon stone. Too crowded. And while he could find kinship among his fellow brothers, all of the line of Bul-Kathos, he was not a Barbarian. He was a druid. The open lands of Scosglen were his home.
"There. All done."
No matter how pleasantly they would treat him.
The druid nodded in silent thanks as Malah placed the last potion into his satchel. She was a kind soul, Emrys reflected. Even after the loss of her son, even after seeing so many of her kin fall to Baal's forces, she remained true to her duty, saving the lives of those who still had a chance to live them. It was a level of compassion the druid had not expected to see in his cousins, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.
"Something wrong, good druid?"
Emrys still remained silent. It was foolish of him to linger, but-…
"It's Baal, isn't it?"
He nodded. The final battle was coming. The Uileloscadh Mór. The thing that both Barbarian and druid alike had trained for over the course of their histories. And he would be taking part of it.
You're scared, aren't you? Emrys's inner self told him. Even with your companions, even after defeating everything Baal has thrown at you, not to mention earning the blessing of the Ancients…you're scared.
"Well, no matter," the healer said pleasantly, giving Emrys a reassuring smile. "You knew it would eventually come to this." The smile faded. "So kill Baal. Finish the game."
Emrys raised an eyebrow. "A game?" the druid murmured. "Is this what it is?"
"Oh indeed," Malah said. "A game. An expansion, actually."
"A game," the woman intoned. "By the Ancients, that's all this is. A game. An expansion pack. The last battle for over ten years, until a sequel battle comes out."
Emrys kept staring. He knew contact with demons could scar the mind. But even so, he did not expect this from a healer. Or any of the northerners for that matter.
"Baal may be defeated," the healer continued. "But his body shall be farmed for gold forevermore. You may win, but the battle shall be replayed. Again. And again. And again."
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Malah trailed off. Emrys turned around to see his companions standing by the waypoint. None of them were moving.
"Why are they still?" he asked.
"AFK…" Malah whispered. "They're AFK…their gods have needs…food…drink…bodily functions…or perhaps poor connections through the ether."
Emrys nodded in false understanding and hurried to join them, glad to get away from the crazy old woman.
All of a sudden, facing Baal didn't seem so bad.
Probably apparent, but yes, I admit the idea for this came from one of Malah's lines in Lord of Destruction. Specifically the line "you knew it will eventually come down to this. Kill Baal. Finish the game." Kudos to Blizzard North referencing the fourth wall, but it's not as if I need their prompting to beat the game or anything. My own needs account for that. ;)