by Dan Dobrin
Millenia ago, on a remote planet, a battlefield among many others, raged a war of destruction and protection. The bloodiest documented war, between the original races. While the Inquisitors, the Original Evil, sought to destroy this planet full of nothing more than just a few mindless creatures, whose only purpose was to devour anything that wasn’t like them, the Seraphims, the First Angels, fought valiantly to preserve this world, just like the others before this one. Though they did not manage to save all the planets they fought on from the Inquisitors, the Seraphims were holding their own, able to save many innocent civilizations from being destroyed.
The Seraphims didn’t know why the Inquisitors were so bent on destroying world after world (they would later discover that their enemies had found a way to remain immortal without sacrificing their powers, which required the destruction of a world, to gather enough energy from the core of the planet, in order to maintain their entire race alive).
The reason why the Seraphims fought back so hard was because they were God’s First Angels, created to protect the world from the Original Evil. But the Seraphims also had a personal reason. One of the first worlds the Inqserai destroyed when they discovered the source of immortality and power, was their own homeworld. God had created the Seraphims on the planet of Hearth. It was a beautiful planet, filled with all sorts of wonders of life. It was peaceful, yet resilient. For the Seraphims, Hearth was a safe haven from the Evil they had to fight, a home, but also a training ground. Little did they, or even God know, that their corruption would slowly start while still in their safe haven.
On a sunny day on Hearth, through the portals created by the Seraphim elders, Lucian, High “Templar” of the Seraphims, their leader, and also the strongest of them all, returned victorious, followed by the army which had accompanied him on the campaign to stop the Inquisitors from destroying yet another remote planet, Plana. They were able to defeat the Evil ones, and also recovered a very … valuable package.
Floating down the steps of the pedestal where the portal lay, Lucian was greeted by his advisor, and at the same time his closest friend, and the wisest of the Seraphims, Nael.
– My Lord, I bid you welcome home. And I shall also congratulate you on your victory. Your skill is clearly unmatched.
– Thank you, my friend. But today’s victory is more than just having defeated the enemy. A new path has shown itself before us.
– What do you mean, Lucian ?
– Bring him ! Lucian orders one of his personal guard.
A Seraphim guardian, with an anxious look in his eyes, trying as hard as he could to conceal his trembling, comes forth, carrying a package. A box. Many thought that the box was heavy, and that explained his reactions. He handed the box over to Lucian. With a satisfied smile, glaring at the box, Lucian opened it, showing the contents of the box to Nael.
– My Lord ! What is the meaning of this ? How can this be ?
– Relax, friend ! He cannot harm us. Not yet, at least.
– But … How did you get him ? And what do you plan to do with him ? Could he have been followed ? This puts us all in grave danger.
– I said relax, Nael! Lucian thundered, we found him abandoned on the battlefield, after the Inquisitors retreated. We couldn’t just leave him there. And in time, he may prove a powerful ally, if he can be taught our ways.
– If, my Lord. But i doubt that can be done. And what if it is a trap ? Parthis might have followed him here. He might have an army ready to attack us at any moment. You know this to be true, you know the Inquisitors are capable of much more, and I’m sure this was no accident. It couldn’t have been. They are smart, much too calculated to miss such a simple event.
– Nael, I am no fool! We couldn’t have just abandoned him there, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. And I believe he can be changed. Maybe they just didn’t care about what happened to him and left him there, thinking that we’d do the same, given our hatred for them.
– As always, it is your decision, Lucian, but I warn you, you might bring about our doom with your recklesness.
Lucian was, indeed, no fool. He was a tall Seraphim. Despite his stature, he was gentle and kind. But also proud. He wouldn’t have admitted to being wrong, he wouldn’t even conceive of it.
The box he brought back from Plana held a baby. An Inquisitor baby. The word spread quickly among the Seraphims that an Inquisitor baby was being cared for on their homeworld. Not many felt comfortable with Lucian’s decision, but they all agreed that if it wasn’t a trap set by the Inquisitors, Lucian would’ve been wrong to just leave him abandoned on what had been the battlefield of a planet in ruins. Lucian got attached to the baby Inquisitor, naming him Raden, and spending a lot of time with him. He believed the baby to be just an innocent soul, and for that he had saved him, and thought of him as his own.
Not much time passed, only a few months, and the Seraphims learned of a massive attack on another planet. Considering the scale of the attack, Lucian mounted an army to combat their enemies.
– Lucian, isn’t it too soon? It usually takes the Inquisitors more than a year to regroup and mount another assault. I don’t like this.
– Nonsense, we just showed them mercy back on Plana, they thought they could catch us by surprise by attacking again so quickly.
– I still have a bad feeling about this, Lucian, I think we should send a scouting group to Forgix, to see exactly what the enemies’ numbers are.
– Why would we risk the lives of our men for nothing? It’s clear they’re there, we’ve all felt it. We need to head out as soon as possible.
– Well, then I wish you a safe journey, my friend, may God protect you, and may you win and return safely.
– Thank you, Nael, you take care too, old friend. We will see each other again, and celebrate another victory.
So they left through the portals, arrived on the planet Forgix, and encountered just a few legions of Inquisitors.
Lucian, in his pride, thought that the others were hiding, waiting to ambush them, and felt a tingle. He loved to battle strong opponents. An ambush, even though he had anticipated it, would prove a challenge to his skills, and he was up to it. He ordered his army to charge, not warning them about the possible ambush.
Lucian wasn’t the leader of the Seraphims for naught. He was strong. The strongest. He loved to watch the battles he was fighting, and to jump in when the enemy least expected it, when his comrades really needed him, or when he just got bored with watching. He didn’t have much to experience in this battle, as the legions of Evil ones were so few, he just watched the fight, awating the expected ambush. They defeated all of the legions of Evil ones. The Seraphims were cheering victoriously, happy of such an easy victory. All except Lucian, who felt something was off. Where was the ambush? Why were there so few Inquisitors on this world? He then put all the pieces of the puzzle together. The enemy attack was indeed massive, though their location wasn’t where they had been led to believe. They focused their attention on Forgix, and didn’t feel where the massive army actually was. Lucian concentrated on Hearth, and had a disturbing vision. Flames and death were everywhere, and soon he couldn’t take it and he was snapped out of the vision by its strength. He realized that the Inquisitors were attacking their homeworld, and that it was all an elaborate plan by Parthis, to force them to leave Hearth unprotected. Parthis must have followed the baby, Nael was right all along.
– SERAPHIMS! We’ve failed! The enemy is on Hearth as we speak! I had a vision of it, just now! We must hurry back and save our world! Let’s go, my bretheren! Lucian yelled for one last time, then they set out to reach their home as soon as possible.
To be continued…