For the first time in a long while, light descended into the subterranean den deep beneath the moor and things most monstrous stirred within.
A figure accompanied the light. It was a man, tall and confident, covered shoulders to toes in gleaming plate armor. He held a burning torch to his side—the flames casting harsh shadows across his onyx face—while his free hand rested on the pommel of a sheathed sword.
Stepping into the den’s first chamber, the man halted and sniffed the air: wet earth mixed with brimstone and decay. He grimaced, and whispered, “Evil dwells within this cave.”
Evil he had been mandated to purge.
Three tunnels led from the chamber. The orange glow of the man’s torch edged into these winding tunnels, weaving between hundreds of spindly roots that jutted and dangled from soft soil walls. Barking crawled out of one tunnel and moaning echoed from the other two.
The man dropped the nearly extinguished torch to the ground. From its sheath he pulled free a long blade of blessed steel and from his back he brought forth a kite shield emblazoned with the arched cross of the Zakarum.
Dark shapes appeared in the tunnels. The aromas of hell and death intensified, suffocating the chamber.
The last wisps of torchlight burned away. Darkness enveloped the man like a shroud. He closed his eyes and his expression relaxed. Dropping to a knee, the man began muttering prayers to the High Heavens: he prayed he could deliver salvation unto the ravaged people of Khanduras; he prayed he would have the might to combat the forces of evil that would destroy virtue; he prayed for the conviction to face the hellspawn which came to snuff out the Light.
Skittering and shambling forms unseen stole from the tunnels into the chamber.
The man stood and finished his prayer. “And I shall scour this pestilence from the world.”
An unstoppable expansion of radiant light burst from the man like a star, evaporating his shroud. The fiends shrank from this aura of divine magic, this invasion of the Light into their lair of evil.
Guided by his faith, the holy Protector of the Word charged gallantly into the midst of his foes and smote them with righteous zeal.