Blind Fate, part one - Anguish


Some say our fate is set in stone,
That no matter what they do, it all comes out the same.
Some say we make our fate,
That no matter what they see, if their will is strong they can change it.
Maybe neither is truly right...
Maybe you yourself chooses which of these really guides you...

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"NOOOOOO!" Kain screamed running forward slamming hard into the huge beast, pushing it off of her. In a fit of rage he used every ounce of strength in him, beating the thing unconscious. But Kain already knew it was too late. He fell off the beast sideways, pulling himself along the ground over to her, tears welding up in his burning eyes.

"My love..." Kain put his hand under her head, staring into her eyes. All he could do was look past her soon to be fatal wounds. She was slowly slipping into unconsciousness, and there was nothing Kain could do.

"N...not much of a way to spend your birthday, is it?"

"No... no it's not" Kain tried to push a smile through, only half succeeding. All he could do was focus on her... everything going on around him was meaningless. Kain looked down at himself, noticing he was almost as bad off as she was. Profusely bleeding from a large gash across his shoulder, and another on his chest.

"Sorry to bleed on you so much..." Kain slowly blinked his eyes, tears now streaming down his face.

"It's ok... I'm... bleeding on you too... I..."

Kain put his hand over her lips, stopping her from talking. "Shh..."

"Sleep..." Kain bent down, gently kissing her on the head as her eyes shut, the lack of blood causing her to completely loose consciousness. Kain shut his eyes hard, pausing for a short moment of anguish. He then turned, spinning around to meet eye to eye with the leader... The one who had caused all this to happen... The one who started this all... It somehow seemed to happen in slow motion, and just as it was about to come into view, it was wrenched away harshly...

****

Kain's eyes opened in a flash, his back pushing off from the tree behind him. He scanned his surroundings briefly, taking it all in. He was in the woods with the others, and was slumped up against a tree. He had been dreaming... Who was she... What was it that attacked them... who was the leader?

"Bad dream?"

Kain looked up, following Severen's voice, which came from above in the tree.  "Dream... memory... prophecy... something like that"

Kain sighed. "Don't sleep much, do you?"

"YOU don't sleep much." Severen paused for a moment, a smile coming to his face as he continued. "I don't sleep at all."

Kain put his head back against the tree, an emotionless look on his face while he tried to grasp what the dream had been. It was mostly blurry, he didn't have any recollection of the girl he had called 'Love', or what had attacked them in it. Worse yet, Kain didn't have any way of finding out...

Kain looked over the camp sight, it was some time around 5am, the others wouldn't normally be up for awhile. It was up to him and Severen.

"You hear them?" Kain spoke, his words as void of emotion as his demeanor. He already suspected Severen knew, he was a lot like Kain in that way. He knew danger well, and always knew way ahead of anyone else. It was the same thing that had awoken Kain from his dream.

"Yes. Two" Severen also spoke in the same cold disposition

"Long bows." Kain slowly brought his hand down, retrieving a dagger from his cloak. While rather crude, the dagger was sharpened beyond belief, its' edge thin enough to cut a strand of hair.

"You take the one taking aim, the other's mine." Kain agreed with Severen, and reacted. His movement flashed in an instant, his hand whipping forward, simultaneously along with his torso twisting to the left. The dagger flew from his hand, out towards an indiscriminate part of the woods. Kain was then instantly on his feet, and in no time holding his sword to the now seen succubus, who was laying down next to a large ornate long bow, arrow laying on the ground next to it. The succubus was clenching her hand, which had Kain's dagger imbedded directly through it, in the same area where one would pull back the arrow. Kain looked back towards the other side of the campsite, spying Severen with nearly the same results, except his was already dead.

Kain turned back to the dark skinned woman on the ground. "Go, tell your master death comes... Tell her, that he strikes from the shadows where even she can not sense him coming"

The woman's face quickly changed, turning from a look of pain to one of anger. She angrily spat towards Kain's feet. "Kill me now, my queen has ordered me to come back with one of you dead... or not come back at all"

Kain's head dropped towards the ground, pausing in thought for a moment. He suddenly turned away from the woman, clearly exposing himself to danger. He calmly walked away from her, back towards the tree he'd fallen asleep next to. He kneeled down next the tree, shutting his eyes tightly. Severen looked at him curiously, as the succubus suddenly started a short-lived scream. Severen looked on to watch the woman burst into flames, starting from her arm. Once the woman had ceased living, Kain grabbed his pack sitting next to the tree and walked back towards the succubus, who was now only a pile of ash on the floor.

Kain bent down and brushed aside part of the ash, pulling his dagger from it. He then turned back towards Severen, putting the dagger away. "I have something to attend to, I'm sure you'll be fine without me until the rest arrive." With that, Kain took off, heading out into the woods.

Severen smirked, mumbling to himself. "A dagger coated in holy water... Burns those things alive when it gets into their insides. Hurts like hell... or so I gather"

****

The dust covering the tables of the inn stirred slightly, as the wind whipped through the door briskly, another occupant now joining the bar. The man stumbled through mostly unnoticed; only one man seeming to care. The man sitting in the corner trailed the new resident darkly, though he did it in a way as to not be noticed. He clearly didn't socialize much, as two long swords strapped to his back provided an unwelcome feeling to anyone near. A black strand of hair lightly twitched out underneath his dark hood, an effect of the wind stopping as the door to the inn closed loudly. The man slowly brought his mug up underneath his hood, which greatly obscured the upper portion of his face. After taking a long sip of the black concoction, he set his mug down, looking back up to the other man that had recently entered. He was definitely the man Kain was looking for. The place was right, and the man fit the description perfectly. It was now only a matter of waiting...

Kain stared down into his mug, flickers of the past few weeks echoing through his thoughts. He lightly sighed, thinking of how it'd all happened so fast. In most respects Kain was newborn, he'd woken up in the field with no memory, nothing to guide him but the swords on his back, and the strange will in the back of his mind which seemed to come from another place... The path he took that day was no surprise, it was the only thing it seemed he could do... fight...

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[A normal field, somewhere in the countryside of Khandurus. It was a rather empty field, saving only a man lying in the center, around 10 feet away from a flowing stream.]

The man pushed himself to his feet, taking in all his surroundings. He felt like hell, and what was worse, he couldn't remember -anything-. Who he was, where he came from, how he'd gotten here... He looked at his feet, noticing a large pair of swords wrapped in a cloak. He didn't know how, but they seemed familiar. He bent down, picking them up. It was a strange sensation, he felt like he'd been using them his whole life, and could handle them like a master, yet he didn't have a single memory of ever learning how to use a sword.

The man suddenly dropped to his knees, his hands dropping the swords and clenching his head. Pain... no not pain... something else. Something in his mind, something he had to do. Someone... Someone to the west... Evil...

It was like something else was inside him, all his thoughts were pushed behind him. He walked over to his cloak, pulling it over his back and pulling the hood up over his face. He retrieved his swords, heading west. It was like he had a mission, and even though he had no idea what it was, he somehow knew exactly where to go. He rushed off, his outside looking surer of himself then what was going on in his head.

****

The newly formed group of travelers advanced on the road to Tristram, hoping to be close on the heels of Abadon. Intruder stayed to the back of the group mumbling incoherent phrases to himself, while the others stayed up in front of him, conversing with each other, and exchanging war stories. This would soon cease however, as they passed out into an open field. The group, save Atlas and Xeiss, all suddenly stopped, clenching their heads. Atlas looked at them curiously, looking around for the source of their distraught faces.
 

"Something I said?" Atlas shrugged. "You all act like I passed gas or something, and I'm pretty sure I didn't..."

"Who IS that?!" Intruder yelled out "That energy... it's killing me!"

The group slowly removed their hands, as the energy left them, and a man, slowly stepped out. The only one seeming to be hurt from the energy was Intruder, the others were only slightly overwhelmed when it hit. The man walked forward, his face only showing a look of pure inquisitorial thought, racing through his mind. The group looked the strange man over, him being around 6'3 in height, wearing a cloak, which led from a cape covering two extremely long swords, up to a hood which covered his face just enough to hide his eyes. The swordsman of the group however, weren't interested in the man, only in his swords. Two Katanas, around 6 feet in length, held on his back and lined together in an X pattern. The hilt of each was a strange black color, each carved into a Dragon. The strangest part about them was, the hilt of each sword was down, and the blade was facing up, defying physics, where any other sword held up in that method would fall down to the ground. The other thing that caught their eye, was how the blade shone brightly, like it had never been used, only polished daily. The man could only stare about the group, (through his hood it seemed, as it covered his face down to his eyes, the way he held it now) unsure about anything. Except something else drove through him. With lightning quickness his hands flew behind him, pulling the blades out and downward, bringing them in an arc around his sides, the blades came to a stop in front of him, the blades facing out at opposite sides, in a sort of triangle pattern. It was about now that the group could react, beginning with Intruder who scowled, his eyes turning a deep black, as a bolt of flying death headed for the man in front of him. In only a slight movement, the blade altered in position, moving in front of the black energy. The energy met the blade, which seemed to cut the energy in half, dissipating it outward. The man raised his head up, finally revealing his eyes, though only to Intruder. Intruder stared at them, almost seeming to fall into a trance. The eyes were a shade of blue that would rival the sky, or the bluest ocean. However something made Intruder shake off the feeling of a trance. A bolt of what looked like lightning, shot straight through the man's eyes, and then disappeared, leaving no trace. Intruder normally would have taken this time to attack, however one of the others stepped in front of Intruder, holding his blade in defense. It was Shin Hikaru.

"Who are you, and why have you attacked us?"

The man seemed lost at this question, his head, as well as his two blades dropping slightly. He only mumbled out a slight response.

"I... I don't know... All I know is this man must die"

The man again raised his blades, and although the hood covered his eyes from it, he could clearly somehow tell Shin Hikaru would not let him kill this... man... that he somehow knew he must kill.

Shin Hikaru spoke, though not showing any signs of movement. "This man is under our protection, fight him..."

Celes continued "And you fight us."

The man was clearly annoyed at this, although it did not seem like he cared about fighting them all. Only that he did not want to hurt them. Intruder was the only one he felt he had to kill, the others were just the opposite. In a clear moment of disdain, with the same lightning quickness that he had drawn them, his swords flew back and around, coming to a quick stop back in the X pattern on his back, again defying gravity.

"That man can not be trusted... but I can not fight you, just to get to him." The man pulled back his hood sllightly, showing a portion his black hair, and blue eyes to the rest of the group. Intruder stared at him, wondering if the electricity he had seen was an illusion, or something else...

"You have no memory?" Celes questioned the man, quite curiously.

"No, I can't remember anything before today, not even my own name."

"Kain..." Xeiss walked out, from her previous quietness. "That's the only thing I can find in his mind, aside from his strong will to kill Intruder."

"Kain... could that be your name? How about we call you that until you can find if it is your real name?" Celes gave a smile, as Intruder scowled again, which he seemed to do a lot of lately.

"I suppose I should be called something, and Kain does not sound bad. Would you tell me where are you headed?"

Celes answered the man, before anyone could prevent her from it. "We're going to Tristram in the east, to prevent the king of evil Diablo from..."

Celes did get interrupted however, by Intruder. "He doesn't need to know! Don't even THINK about inviting him into this group.

"Then Tristram is where I will be. Thank you lady... well, I suppose it does not matter if I know your name"

The group turns behind them, as they hear a loud crash. Their view is met with a tree, totally broken from its trunk, yet no signs of anything that broke it. As they realize what happened, they turn back, only to find Kain gone, no sign of him left.

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That was what started Kain on his fight against Diablo, though somehow he felt like he had long been in that line of work. Diablo was only one beast, though stronger then most; there was a lot of evil just as bad...

Kain reached down, taking another sip of the strange brew. He found he didn't care for any ale, but decided to try a drink the bartender offered. It was very strange, the bartender described it as some sort of alchemy mixing crushed beans with hot water... It didn't taste bad though, and somehow did seem to give a slight buzz of energy...

As he regained his concentration, Kain's eyes quickly trailed back to the man he had been waiting for. He was now sitting down, and was looking around impatiently, obviously waiting for someone. Kain already knew this, and patiently sat drinking the brew, waiting, with whispers of fate flowing through his mind. It had all seemed to go well, he did the only thing he felt he could do... fight. There was nothing to help him find his past, so fighting seemed like a good way to occupy his time. And It had all seemed to be fine... that is, up until the monastery...

That was where he had first seen her, and though he knew she would hurt the group, he had let her go... It was a mistake he shouldn't have made, one that cost Celes her life, in turn costing Atlas' life as well. Kain sighed, breathing out the devils' name in a slow, long tone...

"Scarlet..."

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"Hold still."

Scarlet turned toward the new voice, one that was surprisingly masculine in a monastery filled with women. As she turned she saw it was a man, one with dark clothing, two swords strapped to his back, and glowing eyes. He was concentrating deeply on a vial of liquid in his hand, pouring a drop or two on Scarlet's chains. Amazingly, the liquid burned through the chains and Scarlet's hand was suddenly released. She was shocked, to say the least.

"How... who..."

"Acid. The only weakness of these magical chains. Works well on normal chains too, of course."

"But she said they couldn't be broken by anything..."

"Come now, you seriously think she would have told you that you could have used acid on them?"

The mysterious man finished his work on her chains, and began working on Celes'. Meanwhile, Scarlet watched as Andariel and Phena chained Xeiss to the altar, considering whether to help her. Xeiss would tell the others who Scarlet was, but Scarlet wanted more than anything to get back at Andariel.

"Scarlet."

She turned back to the man, who had released Celes by now. "How did you know my name?"

"That is of no consequence right now. Take Celes out of here. I will rescue Xeiss."

"You still haven't told me who you are. Besides, I want revenge on Andariel myself."

"I know what your intentions are, and they aren't just to kill Andariel. Now GO."

Scarlet wanted to know how he could possibly know anything about her, but he ran off before she could ask.

"That's Kain. He's always like that. Come on."

Scarlet, looking back at Kain once more, followed Celes out of the room quickly and quietly. The two of them ran down the hallway for some time, until Scarlet realized she was alone...

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Kain looked back up to the other corner of the bar. The man was still seated at the table alone, and had decided to eat while still waiting for his contacts. Kain took another sip from his mug, going back into his thoughts while waiting for the rest to arrive. It was the monastery that had brought Kain to this bar in the first place. He'd gotten to it quickly, took as much time as possible to learn every inch of it, and had no trouble staying hidden from Andariel and her minions. Stealth was second nature to Kain, just as battle was... It was in one of the monastery rooms he had found the letter telling of a bar... this bar... Kain reached down, pulling a parchment from a pouch strapped to his side. He slowly looked down reading the letter...

Andariel...
As I have promised, your service will be paid. Attached to this letter is the location of the meeting place for many of Diablo's lower servants. If you ever need service, that is the place to go. They know many things, and are all highly skilled.

P.S. Enjoy Xeiss and Celes.
Abadon

Kain pushed the parchment back down into his pouch. If someone knew how to get to Scarlet, Abadon, Intruder, or Diablo, this would be a likely place. A few stray comments in the bar earlier had hinted about a group meeting soon, all being trusted servants under Abadon. Kain just needed to find someone. Evil had struck, and it needed to pay for it... He had to make them pay. Kain's eye level dropped back to his mug. He'd saved Scarlet, Xeiss, and Celes. He thought he had saved them all, the only thing left to do, was save himself...

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Kain's eyes trailed from Andariel to Phena, and back, keeping both of them in sight. Though the corner of his eye he could see Xeiss escaping through the tunnels to freedom, or at least her group. Kain breathed a silent sigh of relief, they were free, and if need be he could now die. Of course this wasn't something Kain planned, he had more things to do. His right blade clashed against another, Phena now advancing on him. Kain quickly drew his blade outward, then brought it for a low stab, forcing Phena to retreat. Kain took the opportunity and jumped backwards, giving himself some room. It was then, that he started to notice something else. The force of the energy that took the form of lightning in his eyes was stronger then it had ever been, and now took residence inside his blood. Though it not bring pain, he could feel intense pressure through his entire body. His eyes quickly drew wide as he screamed what would sound like one of pain to most hearing it.

Kain's head raised, looking back at Andariel. He noticed the strange sight of Phena, who now lay on the ground, screaming and clenching her head.

"What are you? No mortal has this power... That energy..."

"Something that doesn't fear you. And that is enough"

"You are strong warrior. It is a pity men are inferior, lest I would bring you through our ceremony"

"I would sooner die... You bring pain. You bring suffering. And you bring despair. You seek to prove you are worthy of your brother's power. Such a goal can only bring one of the light, to remove you from this world"

Andariel screamed, raising her claws to meet Kain's blades. Each flashed sparks wildly, though neither would give in. Andariel stared eye to eye with Kain, his eyes still flashing wildly.

"Who are you?"

"I am just a man who dislikes evil. You are evil. It is balance"

Kain forced his blades upward with all his strength, sending Andariel backward over the altar. Kain quickly backed up to the far wall, surveying his options. It didn't look good, Andariel would be at Kain's throat in seconds, as well as countless succubus. Kain could only fight so much, Andariel and the succubus combined would be too much for him to take. Luck would to come to his side, the question however, was what kind of luck...

Kain shuddered slightly. Something wasn't right... He somehow knew something was here... something different... but the feeling of evil in the back of his mind was silent towards it. Kain looked over at Andariel, confirming his feelings. She too was preoccupied with this new threat, and whatever it was, it was enough to even scare her. Kain soon noticed the temperature of the room, which was dropping, and fast. Kain shuddered again, a small wisp of wind breezing through his ear. It was faint at first, as if an invisible being were whispering inside Kain's ear. A moment later it happened again, this time being more audible.

-=fffrrrossst...=-

Kain searched around him, finding no source of the voice. His only reassurance, was Andariel, who also looked about, startled.

-=fffrrrossst...=-

"Stop this now, human" Andariel threatened towards Kain.

-=Qqquite pppowerfulll, but he isss not the sssourceee=-

Andariel scanned the room, the amount of sheer annoyances today were beyond belief to her.  "Show yourself!"

-=A quessstionnn fffooorrr the mannnn who fffollowsss aaanothersss fffateee...=-

Kain instinctively looked up, figuring this... voice... was addressing him.

-=Whaaat do youuu sssseee, lllaaate aaat niiight, whennn the deeemonnns come?=-

Kain stood silent, as if he didn't want to answer

-=Whaaat do youuu sssseee, lllaaate aaat niiight, whennn the deeemonnns come?=-

Again Kain was silent, but just as it seemed the question would have to be re-asked, Kain spoke, his tone speaking as if it wasn't him, but something inside him.

"I... I see myself, trying to contain a power I can't control. A power that destroys everything, without thought of good nor evil..." Kain's head dropped, wondering where the answer came from, and not liking it at all.

Kain along with Andariel shuddered, a sharp chuckle passing through their ears.

-=A fffoxxx tttreadsss wwwithhhinnnn the lllammbbsss, yet he refusssesss to mmmovvve to the diccce. Oooneee who underssstannndssss... Or oooneee who isss blind?=-

Kain shivered, as a crisp wind seemed to encircle him, giving off the feeling as if a ghost had walked through him while he'd been walking over his own grave. Needless to say, it wasn't something you'd ever want to experience.

Kain reassured himself, no matter what the enemy, if it was evil, Kain would fight. "Whose side are you on? I will fight you if need be..."

-=Sssidesss arrreee of no connnsssequennnceee... Angelllss... devilllsss... Waaarrr innn Heavennn... Waaarrr in Helll... It doesnnn't realllly mmmatter... The sssun willll stillll rrrise... The seasssonnns willl still turn... And There willl still be fffrrrossst...=-

The wind picked up slightly

-=And there willl still be Kainnnn...=-

The focus of the room sharply moved to the far corner, as a slim man now stood, chuckling in its' dark embrace.

-=The qqquesstionnn isss, what willll Kainnn beee?=-

Kain began to wonder what this thing was, and why it seemed to toy with everyone it met.

"I don't understand..." Kain tried moving towards the man, but quickly stopped, noticing the room becoming dangerously cold the closer he got to the man.

-=You willl...=-

A thin grin slowly formed along the man's face

-=Llleaveee ussss fffoxxx. Wwwalk amonnngsstt the lllammbbbsss... Sssooonnn you willl ssseeee... Sssooonnn you willl rememmmberrr... Sssooonnn, we ssshhhalll alll ssseeee=-

Kain brushed his hand against the nearby cold wall, causing a large portion of the wall to open, showing a secret passage. He stumbled halfway into it, then turned back towards the man.

"Why do you do this?

Frost chuckled slightly, sending a chill down Kain's spine.

-=Becaaauuuse I caan...=-

Kain's better judgement kicked in, as he rushed out into the passageway. It shut loudly behind him, a cold wind flowing out from the thin spots where air could pass through. Kain hastily made his way through the passage, a cold wind leaving one last hint of that without a name...

-=fffrrrossst...=-

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Kain closed his eyes as the wind whipped past again. A third monster had now entered the bar, sitting at the table with the man. It greeted the others at the table, indulging itself in the food that sat about the table. The three at the table exchanged conversation, though they were still clearly waiting for more members.

Kain's thoughts trailed from Frost back to Scarlet... The monastery hadn't been the only time he'd seen her. Twice he had known of evil that would strike, and he had done nothing...  The fiery soul had shown herself to Kain a second time... but this time it was in her true colors...

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It was a time after escaping from the monastery, Kain rushing through the road at a rather fast pace. His wounds were now bandaged, and he was headed off the bar he'd learned of in the monastery. His eyes suddenly traced upward, as the wind grew stronger, and in his mind, the spark of unknown that tells him of evil, went off. Something was coming, and it was big. Kain quickly drew his hood up and over his face, hiding it completely...

Scarlet landed on the ground briskly, arching her head around Kain as to create the most fear possible. A deep smirk came to her face, sensing this one definitely had money. At least she could get something out of tonight, adventuring wasn't much in her taste.

"I know you have money human. Give me what you have, and I shall not eat you"

Kain paused a moment, looking down to his pouch. Money wasn't something he thought of, or cared for much. He quickly reached down pulling a rather large pouch from his side, which jingled loudly as it landed on the ground. As Kain backed off a glint caught Scarlet's eye. The point of a sword peaking from behind his cloak. Scarlet tried to cover another wide smirk as she realized exactly who this man was. Though Kain could not recognize her, she knew who he was. The same man who had freed her in the monastery a short time ago. She still wondered about her feeling of seeing him before. Even when she first saw Kain she had the feeling she had known him from somewhere, and she couldn't grasp the place. Shaking the idea from her mind, Scarlet reached out her long talon, scraping up the large pouch of coins.

"Do... I know you from somewhere, human?"

The man had barely moved since Scarlet first landed, and spoke quietly, yet without fear.

"I would ask you that... you see, my memory isn't quite what it used to be... I think..."

A strange human, as most were, Scarlet thought, she somehow had a hard time shaking the feeling that she had known this mysterious man from somewhere in her past. However she had to get back to the group soon, and thus needed to answer the question at hand. Whether or not to kill him... He wasn't part of the group, but he was a threat to Abadon. At the same time he wasn't much a threat to Scarlet, his swords being his only means of attack, and she could easily stay back and just roast him. After a few moments she finally decided to not waste a good investment, later she could talk Abadon into paying her to hunt this human. She also owed him slightly, for freeing her in the monastery. After all Dragons weren't heartless creatures... most of the time...

"You are a smart one human, your life shall not end today"

Kain's cloak flapped wildly from the down-gust as Scarlet took flight into the sky. Kain looked up, as the dragon quickly disappeared into the air out of sight. His thoughts trailed around the dragon's questions, she did somehow seem familiar... Though with Kain's memory as it was, he had no clue to where he would know her from. Either way, he had no time to bother with such things. She had taken all the money on him, though he did not care. He hadn't even realized how much money he had, as he'd instinctively taken everything the monsters had on them when he removed their evil. And the funny part was the money the dragon took was only a small amount of what Kain had collected. He'd buried most of it, seeing as he had no need for it. He didn't have much need for money, but he'd acquired a lot of it from various places, including the monastery. He'd figured it was better off in his hands, rather then Andariel's. Shrugging it off, He quickly sped off, back on his task to reach the tavern.

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Kain watched the corner table intently. It was now time. Kain calmly and collectively rose from his table, walking across the room towards the group of evil that had gathered. He pulled a chair from the table next to it, and sat, across from a large menacing ogre. His intrusion was met with a group of cold stares, the mage who'd made it to the inn first speaking to Kain.

"Something you need?"

Kain took a deep breath, then spoke in a straight tone. "You are going to tell me everything you know about Diablo, Abadon, Scarlet, and the man who carries winter with his voice"

The group at the table quickly rose to an uproar, laughing loudly. The large ogre spoke. "And if we don't?"

"Then, In 5 minutes... no one at this table will be upright..." The group again burst into laughter. Kain continued however, his tone as cool as before. "5 minutes after that, if I still haven't gotten my answer... no one in this room will be upright. Save the bartender of course"

The ogre slammed his hands on the table, pushing himself to his feet off his chair. Kain, anticipating this answer, slowly set his mug on the table, raising his hood just enough to reveal his glowing eyes to the ogre. The ogre's jaw dropped, his face turning to alarm...

[5 minutes later]

Kain walked up to the wall, pulling Murasame from it, which in turn released the ogre from the wall, dropping to the ground with a loud *thump*. Kain reached down, taking another sip from his mug, as another group of monsters raised from their seats...

[5 minutes after]

Kain sat back at the table, looking over the bar. No one was upright anymore, the only two people in the room not unconscious on the floor was Kain, and though a little shaken up, the Bartender. Now though, Kain had to wait for one of them to wake up...

Kain thought about when he'd found out...

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Kain kneeled in the tree, watching the others from afar as they each spoke over Celes' grave in turn. Kain stayed in the tree, too ashamed to show himself to them. It was his fault. If he'd only gotten back to the group quicker... Somehow... it was... it was his fault. He just kneeled there, motionless, for longer then most would stand.

The group had long left, though Kain still stayed still not having moved in the tree. He then felt it. His eyes flashed as a figure came into view. Though at first unwelcome, that quickly changed as Kain noticed who the figure was. Kain's swords flew in front of him, noticing Scarlet nearing Celes' grave. He watched intently, as she pulled a blue rose, and set it on Celes' grave, sighing. Kain, seeing Scarlet starting to move off, wasted no time, leaping from the tree towards her.

Scarlet, sensing Kain's attack dodged to the side barely avoiding his blade. She retreated quickly, flames encircling Kain. "Where did you come from?"

"From darkness" Kain spun holding one sword outward cutting through the fire and dispelling it, and launching the other through the air at Scarlet. Scarlet dodged to the left. The sword grazed her shoulder clothing and tearing through her bow, which was fixed to her back. A stream of fire formed, shooting towards Kain. Kain brought his sword in front of him to the fire, dissipating it outward as it collided with the blades edge. Kain noticed the hilt of the blade glowing, and somehow instinctively pointed it towards Scarlet. A ball of red fire formed at the dragon's mouth of the hilt, and flew out at Scarlet. It impacted, sending Scarlet reeling back a few feet, her aegis to fire preventing her from any damage.

"Impressive, not many humans can match me in this form." Scarlet smirked. " Too bad you have to rely on those swords to do it though...

Kain remained unnerved. "You can not anger me dragon. You will die, or I will die. Either way, fight me now and let it be settled.

"Why do you value dying over the life of one human? I like you Kain, you remind me of an old friend. Leave now before you anger me, don't force me to fight you without restraint."

Kain stood his ground. "If he's anything like me, he's long left your friendship. Only when one of us is dead will I stop pursuing you.

"Such a pity. I have things more important to attend to then you. We will settle this later"

Kain shielded his eyes as fire erupted around him. Scarlet shrieked loudly, taking flight as a dragon after a few moments. Kain could only watch as she escaped from his sight into the distance...

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"Wakey, wakey. Now, tell me what I want to know."

The ogre coughed up a bit of blood. "Fine, but it won't do you any good. You can try all you want but you'll never get to any of them. Abadon is protected by his army of undead in Dorado, and Diablo is protected by hell's minions"

"Then tell me about Scarlet. I know she's moved by now, where is her new lair?!"

"That I don't know! She doesn't even tell Abadon where her lair is!" The monster breathed heavily.

"What of the mage, Intruder?"

"He doesn't work for Abadon anymore. Last I heard he was heading for some cave..."

"Diablo then, how awake is he?"

"Awake enough to rip you apart, and feast on your worthless soul!"

Kain slammed the ogre back to the ground, sitting back at the table frustrated. He was getting nowhere, and doubted anything would come out of this trip. It was a mistake to think he could get anything substantial out of Diablo's servants. They were too loyal. It was also a mistake to think Abadon or Scarlet would let out anything vulnerable to servants as weak as these were. Surprising how much he manipulated and used Andariel. Such was evil.

Kain grabbed his pack, tossing a few gold coins to the bartender. He hadn't gotten anything big out of it, but at least it was less evil, and one less meeting place for evil. Looking the room over he moved towards the door, suddenly stopping. Kain turned back towards the bar, a small glint catching his eye. Kain dashed back towards the bar. His eyes fell upon a notice on the wall. Kain read it intently, and then turned, grabbed his pack, and dashed out the door at full speed.

The bartender smiled, his eyes fixed on Kain as he exited the bar. He looked about the room, his eyes beginning to glow a fierce blue just as the door slammed loudly, the notice dropping from the wall and floating down to the ground...

We're looking for a few good men!
Seek the paladins of Westmarch and help defend the innocent.
Join us in our fight against the dragons!

The ad was scrawled over a large drawing of a red dragon...