The Veil

((Prime Materium))

The waterfall was beautiful, despite the clouds above. A gentle mist covered the pool below, deep enough to swim but shallow enough to throw vibrant hues of blue. The grass swayed gently from the waterfall's breeze, dew collected along the stream that billowed onwards to the foothills.

From the mist, She emerged. Her naked feet touched the water with little more than a feather's touch as She walked to the shore. As the grass greeted Her touch, Volound gazed upwards to the overcast skies. A gentle rain was coming no doubt, the air a mild humidity. Still, it pleased Her to be back once more. However long She had slumbered was of question. Once the planes had achieved Balance and were United, Volound's goal had been achieved. There was no need for an overseer of such use.

She stopped upon the edge of the secluded scene. She bent down, something catching Her eye in the grass. The weight and sight was a rusty dagger pitted all along the hilt and blade. She did not frown but was perhaps a bit saddened. There was just the perfect Balance here, away from creations of all sorts. Perhaps She had been asleep for far too long.

But what had caused Her to awaken in such a manner? Had something so calamitous occurred that the very nature shot through Her own core? She still felt her divinity, She was still a god. Though, Her Faith was weak.

Odd. Even in Her slumber, Volound could still hear and answer some prayers. She searched and looked away to the foothills. At first, She thought a storm was brewing further away upon seeing the clouds. No. No cloud, She thought. It was smoke.

*Please, I pray to you! Spare me!*

The prayer was a cry upon her attentions. She glanced down towards the foothills once more, this time Her sight keen upon the scene that warranted Her call. What She saw shocked Her.

Men dressed in armor were torching a hut, even as they lifted many of the poor man and his wife's things. Three of them were definitely in a hurry but were chuckling nevertheless. She felt a twinge as Her symbol was lifted from its shrine over the mantle.

"Oh, and 'fore I forget!" Went the man holding a sword to the family. He struck viciously enough with his iron gauntlet to audibly crack the poor man's jaw. "Go ta camp, an' I'll make sure ya ne'er get to ta captain!"

"Please!" The woman cried.

"Please!" Mocked the others. "Come on!"

As they left, She walked forward. It was beyond their sight to see Her until they had left the house, Volound passing Between straight to their path. They stopped as they saw her at last, bag dropping as they gazed upon Her. One whistled and all the men came forward slowly. The couple climbed out of their burning home to collapse in front of it. They too were agape in surprise at the sight of Her.

They knew who She was.

"Hoo-wee! She is purty!" Said the swordsman, the three of them circling Her. Another agreed, while the third seemed uneasy. She felt him, a sputtering source of faith. Ah, you have strayed. And I do not see much Good within you, She thought.

They circled some more, their excitement beginning to poke at clothing. She slowly turned head gently to Her right shoulder, slowly blinking as Her eyes as She slid Her chin over the bare, pale shoulder. Her hair dropped as She locked eyes with the third one.

Time halted for him. He was alone, his friends had stopped moving when he heard her Speak.

You have strayed from My Path, Odaris Hellbane. You seek to steal from your fellow neighbors. You have taken with greed My Sign. You are correct in all thought. Do not be mistaken.

"What? How?"

You may still be granted pardon for your crimes if you wish. You shall live, but the others none. You will smite the Evil before you as I have decreed, and you will live. You will return the stolen to the owners, beg forgiveness at every doorstop.

"And... No...?"

You shall pass from this world unto Nothing.

He looked to the couple frozen and agreed. He was thankful for an easy way out. She did pity his narrow minded thoughts. It would be his undoing.

The man drew sword upon his comrades and swung, the spell broken. He cut down with a savage chop to the neck, making the swordsman gurgle and clutch in vain. The other man drew blade in surprise, glancing furtively at Volound. She watched as the fight went on. Her "champion" died a quick death when his head rolled off upon a well-placed swing. The man turned to find Her waiting. She grabbed his head and stared deeply into his eyes.

A moment passed, the man frozen awkwardly in mid-turn. Volound raised Her lips to his brow and embraced him lightly there. When She let go of the man, he fell back upon the ground with his eyes rolled up. She turned to the two and bade them to rise and journey to Her glade for shelter. With much praise and Faith they left as She stared at that man.

He would awake with the urge to reveal his own deeds. After which, his fate was no longer Her concern. She turned Her gaze back to the sky. Even now, he was still there. Volound called out.

*Phronesis. What has happened?*

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