The Army of the Light was relentless with handling out assignments. While the Templar of the Rose was making excellent progress, which included incursions inside Antorus, the heart of the Legion of Argus, the demons were pushing back as hard and as often as possible, desperate to regain the upper hand in this war. The only who was more relentless than the demons was Matthyas Lionheart. With a fervent zeal, he would quickly take these assignments to aid in the war effort. The specter of Argus that was assisting him still weighed heavily on his mind. He continued to see evidence that this specter was helping him from the shadows, but he trusted his hunter friend, a night elven huntress named Shernis to help him. He just needed to be patient with her while she gathered the clues toward a location where he might be found. In the meantime, a new assignment caught Matthyas’s eye today; the Legion was developing a new weapon. There wasn’t much more to that dossier than a vague location of a cave in the Antoran Wastes.
Matthyas used a beacon of a light to land in the wastes and began his search. A few hours and several dozen dead demons later, he found such a cave that matched the description. The light from his fiery defender powered down to nothing as he carefully moved around, investigating this hideaway. Near the end of this corridor the cave opened up and he saw a large room with about 12 red-skinned Eredar and one creature chained with the Legion’s trademarked burning green infernal chains. This majestic beast was covered with blue feathers and outlined with gold feathers, a lion’s head with a golden mane, and the edges of its wings, mane, and paws emitted out light. One Eredar used a large, electrical pike and jabbed the beast with it. An electrical discharge came from the pike and it let out a pained roar, flapping its wings in a vain attempt to escape. The Eredar were laughing.
One of them inquired, “What a stupid creature. Is it really worth the effort to turn this beast into a weapon of the Legion?”
“Absolutely! If we can tame and twist this beast, we can use it as a war machine to help turn the tide of this war!” One of them retorted.
This must be the weapon that I’m searching for. I wasn’t expecting to find them torturing a creature. Ugh my stomach, I can’t stand the sight of the Legion torturing this beautiful creature. I want to run out and get reinforcements but I don’t want them to harm this being anymore. What should I do?
Matthyas eyed a pallet of explosive barrels near the workshop of the Legion. The paladin grabbed out his fiery sword and aimed it at the barrels. A few of the Eredar heard the sword and one of them saw what the Paladin was doing and shouted, “Stop him!”
A fiery beam came out of the sword and penetrated the pallet. An enormous explosion incinerated a few of the nearby Eredar and the force of the explosion reverberated, shaking the entire cave. It was far enough from the beast that it didn’t harm it, but a couple of its chains were weakened and it managed to break free. Matthyas charged toward a pack of remaining Eredar and in a flurry of blows, sliced through them without any effort. Burnt and scattered limbs fell on the floor while a few more of them managed to grab armaments against him. The beast went after two of them and bit down on one head of the Eredar before it could try to defend himself. A loud scream and crunch followed, and the body quickly went limp. The other two faced off against the beast and the Paladin and attempted to attack. The one that went after Matthyas banged his weapon against his fiery sword, but the sword melted through it effortlessly and singed his leather armor. He caught on fire and screamed.
“By Light be purged!” Matthyas shouted as he impaled the Eredar, burning him further to a crisp.
The beast used his glowing light tail to cause the Eredar attacking him to lose his balance. It swung its massive body to hit the Eredar, flinging him across the cave where his head hit several rocks and broke his neck. The last few surviving Eredar in the cave made a hasty exodus toward the entrance, some dropping their weapons and tools. Matthyas thought about giving chase, but the beast caught his attention. It was in agony, in pain and roared out toward him, assessing if the Paladin was one of his torturers.
An image of pain and anger crept in Matthyas’s mind, but those feelings were independent of his, as if they were being coming from elsewhere. “I don’t want to harm you! Here let me help!” He used his hands to send out a few flash of lights and some of the creature’s previous wounds began to disappear. While it still set up a defensive posture with its body, it lowered its head. A feeling came over the Paladin that if he approached the creature, slowly, he could use Lay of Hands to completely heal the creature. Matthyas sheathed his sword, looked away from the creature, and began to slowly approach. He could hear it growling and flapping his wings, but the feeling that he could do this successfully was strong so long as he was careful. Inches away from the creature, he slowly extended a hand toward its face and touched its head. A glowing light from Matthyas’s hands passed throughout the creature’s body and an image of peace and gratitude appeared in the Paladin’s head. Tears began to form under Matthyas’s eyes.
“Are you feeling better?”
The creature fervently nodded its head.
“Can you understand me?”
The creature once again nodded its head repeatedly.
“Who are you?”
An assortment of images and feelings appeared in Matthyas’s head. He could see the creature flying with others of its kind. Smaller ones, bigger ones, different colored ones, and then the Legion’s soldiers came. He could see the creature itself was able to escape from the destruction but it was the only one to do so.
“I think I understand. You’re an orphan like me. When the Legion came, when they created the scourge, they took away everything from me. My home, my family, my son, they were all gone.”
Tears formed at the thought of those painful memories and a feeling of sadness came from within Matthyas and was projected toward him. The creature whined, moved closer to the Paladin, and licked his hand.
Matthyas used his other armor-plated hand to carefully wipe the tears away from his face. “What should I call you? The beast, the creature, doesn’t seem fitting.”
The creature nodded and words began to form in Matthyas’s head. He felt a name call out to him.
“Is your name Roshan?”
The creature quickly nodded its head several times.
“Roshan, what a pretty name. Your powers are undeniable. I can see why the Legion covets you. We have a lot in common thankfully; we’re both orphans because of the Legion. I think we would do well to work together as allies and friends. I also wish to protect you and give you a home. Tell me, Roshan, will stand with me against the Legion and against all who would oppose us?
The creature nodded empathetically. It turned his head, spread its wings, and roared loudly. A sense of belonging and happiness overcame Matthyas’s mind.
“Well met Roshan! Let’s leave this dank cave and report our progress to the Army of the Light, and see what they have next for us. After that, perhaps they can help me make me a saddle for you.”
Roshan growled and shook his head. An image of being burdened by something that would weigh him down was projected to Matthyas.
“I promise I’ll make sure the saddle is comfortable and light enough for you too!”
Roshan quickly nodded its head several times and visibly pointed his paw to the Paladin. A complex feeling was digested as; “You better keep that promise or else I’ll drop you off in the middle of nowhere!”