The Chosen Five
Watch your Bax
The swirling, smoky mist that fills The Gate has you enthralled once more. The ebon undertones seem eerily reminiscent of the inky core of your soul that you’ve fought so long and hard to suppress. Suddenly, you are snapped out of your reverie by a long, guttural growl. The sound reverberates off of the walls like the roar of an angry dragon. “Oh great … Not Bax again!”
Bax has never been your friend. She has taken Etheran under her wing for quite some time and is, at times, just as protective of her as any dragon would be over her brood. You have pondered why she’s always had it in for you. Is it the classic good versus evil routine? Nah, too easy. Perhaps the blood that flows through your veins once spilt the blood that flows through hers. “To hell with this,” you think, “I’ll just confront this head on.”
“What is your problem, Bax? Can’t you see that I don’t wish to be disturbed?”
“This world would be better off without such evil, Sam’ael. Perhaps we should settle this now!” Bax reaches for her blade prepared to cleave you in two. She lunges. She swings! You hold fast … not flinching a muscle … not batting an eye. You know she cares to much for Etheran to cause you harm without provocation.
“Well? Spit it out, Bax. What the hell is your problem with me? Or are you too cowardly to speak up?”
Silence fills the air as Bax glares at you intently. Her sheer draconic nature would’ve dropped a lesser man dead from fright. Finally, she speaks. “It was yoooouuu, Sam’ael! You are the one that corrupted Etheran’s heart. Her love for you cost her her paladinhood. When the leaders of the church found out who she chose to spend her time with, they excommunicated her. I begged her to denounce you and seek penance but she refused. She said, ‘If they can’t see the good in him then I’m better off in another church.’ She has given up so much … and for what? A devilish abomination? Absurd.” Bax continues, “Know this Devilboy! As long as Etheran lives, I will not touch a single horn on your head. But, if she dies, I will adorn my lair with your skull.”
With the gracefulness of a serpent, Bax confidently strides out of the room and you return to your reverie.
As the door to his chamber slammed closed, Sam’s head slowly dropped; Must everything be a battle? Regardless of his intentions or context, it seemed that he would forever be doubted. It was interactions like this that convinced him that his fate in the nine hells was already ensured. Now, even the one speck of light in his life, the one thing he had always felt was pure had been threatened. But even more than Bax’s irrational anger, he was shocked to hear of Ethran’s excommunication. Although she had always caught a certain degree of flack by associated with him, he had hoped that an institution devoted to truth and good would avoid practices such as guilt be perceived association. How many unjust actions and persecutions had begun with a similar premise? No matter, he would not apologize for their relationship, his heritage did not give others license for such blatant racism. Perhaps Ethran’s exploits with the Guardians would give the church cause to reconsider their decision. Personally Sam had little use for any formal religion; while he had no doubts about the essence of the god’s divinity nor the level of their power, he was less impressed by the endless ambitions and posturing of their followers.
He then turned his attention to the more immediate threat offered by Ethran’s bodyguard, Bax. Replaying the previous events in his mind, he couldn’t help but sigh. The level of enmity Bax expressed seemed too extreme. There must be something more there. Could it be an inherent trait, something primal or genetic at work? There was certainly precedent for their conflict, since his terminal ancestors had created the tieflings, the dragonborn’s imperialistic proclivities had ensured persistent conflict with his people. It did not seem to matter that Malachi had earned their respect. For all their talk about honor he had not met a dragonborn yet who lived up to their talk. Ironically, he knew, and even respected, her need to protect Ethran. It was truly unfortunate that Bax’s emotions clouded her judgement. If she could pause a moment and look objectively at the situation she would realize that there was no man or woman alive who could “make” Ethran do anything. Any consequence she experienced, be it good or bad, followed from her own decisions. Furthermore, she had proven herself very capable of protecting herself in any situation. If Sam was truly a threat to her, he had no doubt that it would be Ethran, and not Bax, who confronted him in the end. Nevertheless, should Bax insist on battling him, Sam’ael felt sure that the dragonborn constituted very little in the way of a real threat. While he was a competent warrior, he was surrounded by men with whom he had forged a close friendship with and sworn a fierce loyalty. should Bax decided to challenge him, show would find she was facing a veteran unit more than comfortable meeting any foe head on.
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