Moonday, 23 Lamashan, 4733
It was a cold night, even indoors and out of the storm. Ordinarily the rain drumming against the narrow windows would offer comfortable white noise, but Ecclesia’s current surroundings gave her little ease. The recent string of murders around Sandpoint had left her on edge, and their recent discovery at the asylum did little to improve her mood.
Was nothing as it seemed? How could the town and Magnimar be so blind as to be unaware of the abuses that took place here?!
She seethed as she stretched out on the hard wooden floor. Sleep didn’t come easy that night, but the day’s exertion finally overwhelmed her…
Her eyes open to the sight of a clear blue sky. A warm, summer breeze carries the scent of familiar flowers her way. The grass is long yet soft, providing the perfect bedding for a summer afternoon nap, as she had done countless times before during her childhood in Harse.
But as Ecclesia sits up, her surroundings change. The warmth is gone, as is the soft grass and the scent of flowers. In its place, the cold stone floor of a dungeon, the stench of death and decay intermingling with fresh blood.
Her blood, she realizes.
Before she can think of why, she feels the baleful gaze of Malfeshnekor bearing down at her once more The fiend lives! She struggles to pull herself up, groping futilely for her weapon. Her hands scrabble against empty stone, finding nothing.
The fiend rakes its claws into her unarmored flesh, the pain burning into limbs as she stumbles away. Another swipe from Malfeshnekor sends her back on the ground, her head slamming against the floor. Her vision blurs. As the talon rises up for a killing blow, Ecclesia closes her eyes and crosses her arms to block the attack, but the death blow never arrives. The pain vanishes.
Ecclesia opens her eyes once more and finds herself returned to the field surrounded by flowers. A light shines directly overhead, growing brighter and brighter until she can hardly bear to look on it. As the light nears, streams of words in a foreign tongue spill forth; intonation rising and falling with the summer breeze. While the words are unknown, the voice sounds familiar. It is warm and reassuring, like that of an old friend. She cannot discern the voice, nor can she gaze into the light to make out the figure within. She closes her eyes and listens intently to the voice.
Concentrate, she tells herself, focus on the warmth, the rhythm as Laori taught you. Its truth will be revealed…
“And so you can do it, blessed child,” the voice’s words ring crystal clear in her ears, " I was beginning to think a mistake was made."
Ecclesia opens her eyes to see a golden silhouette, with hand outstretched.
“Who are you?” Ecclesia asks softly, letting it help her up, “How do you know me?”
“A friend, a helper, a constant companion in our service to The Mighty Inheritor, Light of the Sword, the Lady of Valor herself, " the spirit answers," But you already know this, as I have come to your side once before."
Ecclesia scrambles to think of an instance that would give credence to the spirits’ words. Before her mind could settle on a moment the spirit spoke once more.
“You and your Abadarian friend called me to be your shield of faith against Malfeshnekor, and I answered. Early, but I answered. Highly unusual, but these are unusual time,” The spirit explains. There is a timeless wisdom to its voice. “Varisia faces great peril, and will need champions to take on evils unseen for ten thousand years. You and your friends are proving to be those who will answer the call. Yet you doubt yourself, and have lost your way.”
“I haven’t lost my way, " Ecclesia protests, “it’s just that…all of this, gave me a moment of pause.”
“Not quite what you imagined, I’m sure, " the spirit replies.“You’ve been through a lot in a short order of time and much has been demanded of you. It is a burden all in Iomedae’s service share, some more than others. It is why you failed against Malfeshnekor a second time. Your heart was not in the fight, which is why you could not find your weapon.”
“I still need to learn the weight of my sword,” Ecclesia says despondently. " The evils around me seem to appear from everywhere, I feel as but a leaf in a windstorm."
“Then continue to be the leaf,” the spirit responds, “and ride out the wind; tumbled and tossed about but never wavering, always adapting. Remember that only you can live up to your code, and you cannot impose your morals on others; lest you become a tyrant.”
Ecclesia furrows her brow as she ponders the spirit’s words, which sounds familiar yet foreign to her, like a favorite old story that she can’t quite recall. The world around her has this quality as well, what once felt like home suddenly looks older, stranger yet still familiar.
“It looks like you’ll be needed once more. We’ll speak again soon, blessed child. I am with you in this fight, and in the ones to come. You need only call out to me from here.” The spirit gestures toward her heart.
“Wait! I still have more questions! I don’t even know your name!” Ecclesia protests.
“I hold many names, many titles from ages past and across the planes,” the spirit replies.“The one I give you is a personal one: Ell-hayzar. Remember it well, and together we will cast out the darkness.”
The spirit stretches out its hand towards Ecclesia once more, its light dimming to reveal its form: a hauntingly beautiful humanoid creature with amethyst colored eyes, like Ecclesia’s, and soft, golden tinted skin. Ell-hayzar’s wings are white like snow, contrasting with its long, crimson red hair. Ell-hayzar’s countenance reminds Ecclesia her own, and the visions of lost Thassilon, but before she could speculate further a different voice booms overhead, calling out to her…
“Lea! Get up, we’re being attacked!” Zavian shouted, shaking her, his glowing blue eyes intensely fixed upon her. As soon as her eyes fluttered, he pulls her upright while he calls out to the others.