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Path of Exile: Pagan

Epilogue: Whispers in the Dark

The spirits weren't with her.

The cell was dark, dank, and apart from the faint glow of the setting sun pouring in through her window, lightless. But that meant little to Sheba. She was born in the dark. She grew up in the dark. The comfort she craved was something outside this world altogether.

She rubbed her hands, struggling to channel some magic. It wasn't completely gone, but the wards enacted around the cell prevented her from using it. Once she was outside, the cuffs would be back on, and she'd be in the same situation. Bound for Wraeclast. The continent of the damned. The place where all exiles went. And even without these limitations, her powers were still limited. She had failed to pay the blood price. It would take time to regain the spirits' trust.

Smiling grimly, Sheba set her hands on her legs instead, like a schoolgirl. Wraeclast. Oriath. It meant little to her. As little as the sound of an opening door. As little as the sound of footsteps. As little as the sound of Sir Philip of the Order of the Templar walking up to her cell. She looked up at him.

"Hello good knight. Feeling lonely?"

He just stood there. Calm. Impassive. Filled with loathing.

"That's it?" the witch asked. "Nothing to say? Still want to give me the silent treatment?"

"You leave for Wraeclast tomorrow."

Ah, here it comes.

"Sentence has been pronounced," the templar continued. "Judgement has been rendered."

No trial then? Ass.

"A ship will take you to Wraeclast. You'll be cast ashore. You'll die. You will be punished. Perhaps you will find some salvation. But I doubt it."

"That's nice," Sheba said, leaning back against her cell. "Anything else?"

Philip remained silent, though Sheba could see past the façade. He hated her. And that she wasn't showing any fear or discontent made him hate her even more.

"Oriath, Wraeclast," the witch murmured. "One land is like any other. The elements are my allies. The dead will be my servants."

"You should be afraid, witch."

"Fear is my closest friend." Sheba stood up. "You can't scare me, Templar."

Silence filled the cells. Apart from the sound of dripping water.

"I'll take my leave," the templar said. "You have a nice day in Hell."

He started to walk.

"Does it bother you, Philip?" Sheba called out. "To have all those deaths on your head?"

He turned around. "Those deaths are on your hands. Not mine."

"Right, right…" Sheba smirked. "Do you think your men are happy in your god's afterlife? You think they forgave you? You think those children are having a nice time?"

The templar's hand touched his sword.

"There's nothing, nothing, that you can do to scare me," Sheba sneered. "I stopped being scared long ago, when I realized the whole world was afraid of me. Fear's beneath me. Terror's my wine. And you're nothing but a poor sack of meat who only does what his god tells him to do."

"Oh, I know what I am," Philip said. "And I know what you are. A scared little girl who talks to ghosts and demons. Wants them as friends. And deep down, I know there's some of that fear remaining."

Sheba fell silent.

"So be afraid. Because it'll get worse. And by the time death takes you, you'll wish you'd been burnt alive back in Strobel."

And with that, the templar turned and left.

Sheba remained silent. She sat on her wooden bed.

She remained seated for a long time.

The End


A/N

Well, that didn't go so well. Maybe when the game's actually released, there'll be more interest in this section of the site.

As I mentioned in ch. 1, the prologue would explain why this couldn't function as a oneshot/short story, namely that's with the POV shift. Usually with short stories, POV is limited to one character only, rarely shifting. Given how it suddenly shifts at the end, I felt it made the story to be better suited to be multi-chaptered rather than a single installment.

For what it's worth, I've got one other Path of Exile story on my 'to write' list titled Footsteps on Dead Leaves, which deals with the backstory of the ranger class. However, at this time of writing, my current writing focus is on a Section 8 story titled The Spark of Life.