Chapter 25 (15th of Vashi in the year 6199)

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Twice shall the light call out to the darkness and ask it to repent

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Twice shall the light call out to the darkness and ask it to repent. Twice shall the darkness refuse and will condemn itself.

Proclamations 10:100

Noranda paced the palace halls

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Noranda paced the palace halls. In the late hour, a mixture of excited and nervous energies roiled inside her and prevented her thoughts from settling. She thought it odd that her mind was so unable to find peace.

As she drifted along, the fallen angel came to a covered stone balcony overlooking an expanse of the gardens. Light of the Eye of Earoni bathed the meticulously kept congregation of trees and plants in a dim glow. Standing there, she observed the darkness, knowing that she must put the unease within her to rest. It would serve no purpose to allow it to thrive and distract her.

One hand secured on the stone railing, Noranda studied the reddish circular imprint on the palm of her other. It might have healed from when she had tried to touch the medallion Cassandra wore, but not completely. Now it remained as a not-so-subtle reminder of her past choices that had driven her to this place in her life.

First in her thoughts however were how Lord Hedric had tasked her to lead his troops against rebel forces amassing near the city of Ishenvol. Reports had come in about an army like none seen since the fall of Hitithe and the great battles fought as Lord Hedric swept out of Srabeth and across Hitithe. Once he had united the Crimson Thrones, and cast down the last of his fellow Blood Lords, it was only a matter of time before his army led by those who feasted on the blood of the living would triumph. And triumph he had.

So decisively, in fact, that for the hundreds of years since there had been no serious challenge to his rule. Until perhaps now. Supposedly there was a cleric, a true cleric, leading them, and Noranda wanted to see if such was the case for herself.

The opportunity presented to Noranda was one of redemption. Lord Hedric hadn't allowed her such a privilege since failing him at the Mount of Carnak. Having been there, having seen the shrine with her own eyes, he could not fathom how she did not remember how to find the temple where the Tear of Earoni had been laid to rest. But the truth was, she did not. That important memory had been so thoroughly and completely erased to the point where there was not even the chance it could be reclaimed as a dream.

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