A cloaked figure rides across the moonlit field. It rained on his way here, and the hooves of the horse splash in the puddles of the pitted road that leads towards a dilapidated building. It was once a warehouse for a trading company, but the company had fallen into ruin, and the building forgotten. Now it was occupied by dawn-touched fanatics, who used it to stage runs on caravans leaving the nearby city. There is a light shining from the upper floor, where there are a few windows. Nearing the building, the figure dismounts and slowly walks towards the building. The figure pauses before the door. The door is only slightly worse for the wear as the building. Inside the sound of voices speaking in Thol can be heard, laying bets on dice and bragging about their latest attack.
The man smiles grimly. “I’ve got you now” he says in a low voice, in Aeg. He raises one hand, gloved in deep red leather, and knocks on the door. The voices fall silent. “Are we expectin’ anyone?” a voice queries in Thol. Footsteps sound leading towards the door. The door opens slightly and a ragged looking Thol carrying a sword looks out, but cannot make out a face in the shadowed cloak. “Who are yea and what is yer business here?” In broken Thol he answers “I be seeking ones of the name of Therin”
The door shuts and, and whispered conversation erupts. He cannot make out what they are saying. The door opens once more, slightly, and another face shows in the doorway. This Thol is better dressed, but does not seem to bear as much weaponry or armor as the rest. “Who are you and how do you know of me? What do you want?” The figure responds (in markedly better Thol than before) “My name is Aello, and our paths crossed many years ago, in another land.” Aello pulls back his hood and exposes his face, a feral grin splitting his wolverine face. “And I seek your blood.” The Thol, a surprised look of alarm on his face, tries to slam the door, but Aello kicks it open violently, knocking him backwards. Another half dozen men stand within, drawing various weapons. They are covered in mismatched armor that has seen better days, and some of them even bear signs that their previous owner died wearing them, slashes and holes in the armor. There is one rather heavily built fellow wielding a massive hammer, another with a mace, and one with a sword. Two skinny fellows seem to draw bows of some sort. “I have spent a long time searching for you, Therin. You were not easy to find.” Walking into the building further, he lets his cloak slip completely off exposing blood-red hide armor. He draws a shield from behind his back and a kopesh from his waist. “This is going to be fun.” The Thol turns and flees, disappearing in the darkness.
The six Thols move to advance on Aello, but cannot ready their weaponry in time. A peal of thunder fills the room, as Aello roars a mighty battle cry. A shell of stone and earth form around him, and electricity sparks from his skin. He charges towards them, Kopesh raised above his head, and slams into one of them with all of his strength and force, doubling him over. Back and forth the battle rages, the three thugs supported by two fellows with bows trying to bring down this interloper and Aello giving as good as he is getting. A cloud of lightning envelopes Aello, striking out at his foes seemingly in sync with his own blows. A hammer swings by but misses, Aello dodging out of the way and the hammer smashing a good sized dent in the floor. Aello swings his kopesh, and lightning fills the air, arcing off of his weapon, through his unfortunate foe and continuing on to strike another, who falls to his knees as his legs give out. A mace clips Aello in the back of the head. Arrows rain down upon Aello, often missing or not piercing.
Aello’s attacks seem to draw upon the very earth itself, and eventually Aello triumphs. Looking down at his foes, he sees the massive hammer and picks it up, realizing it is magical. “Hmm… I kinda like the feel of this.” He stows it in his backpack for the time being. Looking around, he does not see Therin. “The coward ran, did he? Heh, so you want to drag this out. Well, have it your way.” He moves towards the back of the building, where they disappeared. Eventually, tracking their footprints he discovers a secret door. “Thought you could get away, eh? You can run, but you can’t hide.”
Behind the door there is a wooden staircase, leading to the roof. As he exits on to the roof he is ambushed by three Thols, who attempt to restrain him. Taking their measure, he snickers inwardly and lets them think they have won. As a figure darts out from the shadows with a dagger, Aello breaks free with a jerk and slams his hand down upon the ground, seemingly drawing some energy from it. As he looks around, the others suddenly looks nauseated and sick. The figure lurches away into the darkness, and one of the Thols looks askance at the figure, then darts away to follow it. The two who remain nervously look at each other, wondering if this is as easy prey as they thought it was. As they fight, Aello has the obvious upper hand, and actually seems to be toying with them. He taunts them mercilessly as he savagely beats them up. Just when it seems Aello is going to win, the two Thols return, and charge at Aello, managing to land a devastating blow on Aello, who was preoccupied with the other two. Aello takes a moment to recover, and looking around, grins evilly out of proportion to his situation. His armor flares red, and he pulls out a flask of something, and throws it to the ground. All around him flames leap up, and the wooden boards of the warehouse catch fire.
Scoured by the burst of flames, they try to attack Aello, but he seems as unfazed by their attacks as he is of the fire. He stands tall, ignoring both their attacks. Aello straightens and stops for the briefest second, and energy visibly gathers to him. All around him, the remaining Thols are knocked about by storm winds, and are unable to keep their feet, staggering away from him. They seem to come to some sort of unspoken agreement and all turn and flee almost at the same moment.
Moving through the flames, Aello seeks out the one who is clothed in fine garments. Picking him up handily, he walks calmly to the nearest wall, where he came out, and pins the struggling figure to the wall. “Years and years ago you came to my town, you bald bastard. The townsfolk wanted to slaughter you where you stood, and we could have, too. Instead, I spoke up for you, and advocated to give you the benefit of the doubt.” The terrified figure struggles weakly, as if to say something, but cannot make a sound. Aello continues; “In return, you broke free and slaughtered half of my town. You destroyed my town, and burned down my home. You killed the only women I ever loved. You killed me that day. It’s only fair I repay the favor.” With that, he shoves the kopesh through the fearful Thol, impaling him and pinning him to the wall. After killing the last man, sword still dripping blood, he takes on a very distant look in his eye. After a moment he sinks to his knees and whispers “now what?” As the strings holding Aello away from his own pain, away from his own heart dissolve, the very air around him becomes violent.
Suddenly grasped by the situation, Aello flees away from the scene, leaping from the burning roof, running frantically away, trying to outrun his very self. He finally collapses to his knees again in a field. A mighty storm is gathering around him, making it hard and painful to get anywhere near him. Thunder fills the air, as the last of his mental blocks dissolves and a great cry rends the air. Lightning strikes. The earth shakes. As the storm subsides, there is a great rumble of earth, and a pillar of stone is forced up from the earth.
Aello kneels upon the pillar, holding the bloody hammer. With a sudden burst of rage, he stands up and slams the hammer into the stone with a great force. Beneath him, the stone splits apart, and cracks spider-web away from him. As he sinks to his knees once more, the stone pillar crumbles to the ground, leaving him lying in a heap of rubble. Still holding the hammer, he starts to cry, and the tears fall on the blade of the sword, wiping away the blood. As if in sympathy with him, the heavens above begin to rain, soaking Aello and turning the ground to mud. The rain runs down his face, runs down the handle, and wipes away the last traces of blood.
Epilogue Within the burning warehouse, a cleverly disguised door opens, and a shaken Thol steps out. He is dressed much better than his (former) fellows, with fine clothes. He views the carnage with jaded, hateful eyes. He walks over to where a Thol in matching finery is pinned to the wall with a sword. He puts a hand upon the body, and the clothing seems to dissolve, revealing tattered armor like all the rest. “Rest easy my friend, and I am sorry. I never thought he would get this far.” His eyes harden as he stands there. “I will avenge you, Rienes. It was I he was after, and you paid the price.” As the flames grow, Therin turns away, and leaves the warehouse behind him. He gazes out into the horizon, where a storm is gathering. “I will find you, Aello”