When True Night Falls: Shattered Part 2 - Paradise Lost WarderDragon Petrarch dropped to his knees. "H...Heloise," he choked, reaching a trembling hand to touch her face. Heloise, she had been called. The Maid of Amitel. Sunhair. The Fair. Blades of argent light cut through the stained glass window and illuminated her ravaged form, a shadow of its former splendor, spread eagled upon the marble floor. She was draped in a pool of her own blood, silver chains wrapped tight around her throat. Silver nails driven through her palms into the crossbeam beneath. She had been Crucified. The Sorcerer bit back tears that threatened to blind him, and looked away. A black rage filled his chest. For of these tortures, for all the pain wrought upon this innocent girl, none were more horrific than the last. Upon her face was a bandage. It was wrapped tight around her temples, obscuring her eyes. Tears of blood, having long since dried and cracked, streaked down her face. Heloise would never see again. Petrarch threw his head back and screamed. He screamed in Rage. In Sorrow. In Violence, and Wrath. He had ...killed. He had done murder. He had damned himself to the Inferno to prevent this. To save her from these madmen. But it had been for naught. He had not been strong enough. He had not been fast enough. He had not fought hard enough. And now he had lost her. Forever. He doubled over and began to pound his fists into the floor, the sense of loss ...overwhelming. At last he looked up, tears welling in his eyes, and stared up at the stained glass mosaic. A conquering angel stood there, Gabriel, his foot pressed against the throat of a Serpent, lance thrust through the Guardians throat. "God," he said, managing a whisper. "Please... I would trade my life, for hers..." Silence. And then a faint cough. A gasp for air. "Peter...?" a voice choked in response. Petrarch looked down in disbelief. Her lips had parted, though fresh drops of blood formed on her lips. She was alive. "Hold on," he crawled to her, cupping her face in his shaking hands. "You're ...You're going home." She nodded once, in silence. She had trusted him. Believed in him. Even when he had not deserved it. "It is going to hurt...," he breathed, reaching his hand across her arm, finding her palm. He could feel her nod against his throat. And then he pulled. She did not scream. She arched, and gasped, but did not scream. She could scream no more. He reached over and grasped the other. It slipped out of the crossbeam with relative ease. "...You're going home." Petrarch took her wrist, and pulled her arm up around his neck. Heloise gasped, her nails biting into his shoulder, holding him. He slid his arms under her, and scooped her up. She buried her head against his chest, and nestled in its warmth. The Sorcerer pushed himself to his feet and turned, gazing down at the profusion of death before him. Priests, their ceremonial robes slashed open, cut with his Sword were scattered about the room. Inquisitors, beheaded corpses whose gilt robes and jewels from noble patrons painted in blood. He had killed them all, he knew that, though he could not recall the images through the black rage. God forgive me, he thought. I have damned us. But he would have done it again. Heaven was not enough, not without her. He stepped over the Archbishop, Marcius, and the Head Inquisitor, their lifeless eyes staring up at the ceiling. They had begged for mercy in their last moments. Begged to be spared. So had she, he told himself, When she had been put to the Question for a crime she did not commit. When they drove nails their nails through her hands. Down the hall he moved, leaving his bloodied sword with the dead. It was of no use to him now. He could feel his strength waning as he moved, the cuts across his side beginning to burn, the arrow he had broken in his left thigh forcing him to limp. It lanced through him with each step. But he would not stop. He could not stop. He was leaving this place, once and for all, and she was coming with him. "Peter...?" Heloise whispered against his chest. "...Yes?" the Sorcerer breathed. "Set me down." He hesitated, and then stopped. The moonlit hall was devoid of Life. Sound. No signs of pursuit came. At last, he nodded, and bent his good leg, lowering her to the marble tiles below. She pressed herself back against the wall. "What is it, Heloise?" "I want to see you." He knit his brows. "But..." "Please..." her voice trembled. And then he understood. She reached a hand out into the space between them, her fingers curling, searching for him. He reached up, and touched her hand. She wanted to recoil, the pain of her fresh wounds causing her fingers to twist in pain, but she forced them to uncurl, and reached out again. He guided her, and she placed her hand upon the side of his face. "You came for me," she whispered, a faint smile crossing her lips. She was strong. How could she smile through the pain? He tried to force a smile, but it was a vain attempt. So reached up and brushed her forearm, comforting her, and himself. Tears began to well in his eyes. "Do not cry," she breathed, brushing her thumbs across his eyelids, wiping them. "It does not hurt ...anymore." He rest his forehead against hers. "You and I, we are leaving this place," he whispered to her, and then leaned back to study her face. "This Godless Temple of False Priests. These Butchers and Liars." She faced him, guided by the sound of his voice, almost as though she could still see. "We'll find ourselves a place in the country, far away from this place. Where they cannot find us. Where they cannot hurt us anymore." "I'd like that." Petrarch paused. The sound of voices. Pursuit. "We must go." He did not offer her a chance to respond, but instead slung her over his back, draping her arms and legs over his shoulder. He could hear her heart beat, fluttering in fear as he began to pace through the corridor faster, turning left, and right; lost in a labyrinth of doors and tapestried chambers. The voices became words, and then the words became shouts. He ran hard. They would escape. I will not loose her again. "Stop right there," came a shout. "Halt!" And then it happened. Petrarch slid to a stop, a pain lancing through him, an overwhelming pain that caused all the muscles in his body to sieze and buckle. One that promised the kiss of death. He looked down at the haft of a spear thrusted through his chest. He gasped. Pain. Overwhelming pain. He couldn't breath. He couldn't... ...and then a blind rage boiled up within him. Anger. Wrath. Hatred. His teeth clenched. He wouldn't allow them to touch her again. To use her. To harm her. God forgive me for what I am about to do. Petrarch pitched forward, the momentum launching Heloise over his head. She tumbled to the floor in a heap. He turned, just in time for the Sword to catch him in the stomach. A Temple Guard. Petrarch glared in rage, and then grasped the mans wrist with one hand. The man, stunned, looked up at the Sorcerer in recognition. "Petrarch?" Petrarch pulled, and sheathed the blade further in his stomach. The moment of surprise was enough. He thrust his hand up, driving the stiletto blade into the mans jaw and up through his brain. The Guard - a childhood love of Heloise who had turned on when the others had - collapsed and breathed his last. For a moment he thanked the Light she could not see what he had done. Petrarch choked, and gasped as though drowning, foam and blood coming up through his throat. He coughed it out, and gripped the sword end, forcing it free. "Peter...?" Heloise said, voice ringing out in panic, hands sliding across the surface of the floor, feeling for him. "Where are you?!" The Sorcerer dropped to the carpeted tiles with a dull thud, the Sword clattering to the floor at his side. She followed the sound, and crawled to him, feeling across him, searching for whatever it was had harmed him. "What happened?" She trembled in fear. Panic filled her voice. "What do I do?!" "The ...Spear." Sunhair felt along him, along his chest, and found it. Surprise echoed across her face, and she covered her mouth to stifle a scream. "No..." Petrarch moaned through the pain. "Cut it free." "...What?" "The Sword. Do it..." She nodded, at last, and felt again across the floor. She found the Sword. Grasping it with one hand, and the Spear end with the other, she struck the wooden shaft, testing its cutting power. "What if I..." "Do it." Heloise nodded, and with a chopping swing, she drove the blade down on the spear. It cut clean, the leaf tip falling. She reached around him, hesitated, and then began to pull. Petrarch clenched his teeth together, and held back the scream that would erupt from his throat. At last, the spear free of him, she crawled to him and cradled his head in her lap. He convulsed, and clenched his teeth, the taste of his own blood welling in his mouth. "Heloise," he whispered. "What do I do?" She panicked. He forced himself to sit up, holding his wounded chest in one hand. The other reached around her, sliding up her neck, his fingers curling in her hair. She understood. She brought her lips down upon his, and kissed, as blood streaked down his face and hers. At last, he broke the kiss. "I... I am going to teach you a Spell," he breathed. "The New Magick. It will heal me." She nodded. "You will speak the words - Kal Ort Por - and the wound will close." "Will it...?" "Yes." He breathed. "Yes it will..." She nodded. "Speak the words." She could feel him press something into her hands as she whispered, the sensation of leaves and spell components in her palm. "Kal Ort ...Por." Petrarch watched her, reaching up to stroke the side of her face. He watched as conjured blue flames began to lick her skin. Watched as the look of understanding, and then horror flashed across her face. "No..." She breathed. "NO!" She lunged forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, crushing her lips against his, her tears of blood mixed with his tears of sorrow. "You're coming with m..." He watched as she fell through him, as she became ...Aether. And then she was gone. "There he is!" cried a voice in the darkness. "Guards!" ...She has gone somewhere safe. The faint rasp of steel on leather, the sound of a dozen swords being unsheathed. ...Somewhere she will be cared for. "Kill him." ...God, forgive me my transgressions. I have not been a good man. I would take it all back if I could. Petrarch looked up, and smiled. He was at peace. His last thoughts were of Swords piercing his body, over and over again. ...Watch over her. ...But he did not feel them. They could hurt him no more.