I don’t feel anything. I open my eyes; I can see, I can move my fingers, I breathe and air fills my lungs; I am alive. The soldier's blade had stopped just before it reached my flesh, he seems to be frozen, suspended in some sort of a stasis. As I glance up, my eyes meet his, and all I see is fear. His body remains motionless, incapable of movement. Slowly, his feet lift off the ground, levitating ever so slightly. Then his breastplate caves in. I can hear his bones crunching like twigs beneath the misshapen metal. He attempts to scream, but all that comes out are gurgles. That’s when I see him — a dark-cloaked figure emerging from the shadows, with his hand slightly outstretched towards the soldier. With nothing more than a slight flick of his wrist, the soldier is flung into a pillar, with enough power to shatter the stone like glass.

The figure now approaches me, cloaked in black robes, a shroud of darkness embracing his every move. As he gets closer, his features become more distinct. Silver hair peeks from beneath his hood, and a matching sterling beard frames his features; a scar runs from his neck all the way up to his left eye, which is concealed by black cloth. He moves with a purpose, each step deliberate, exuding confidence in every stride. A shiver runs down my spine, a knot of fear tightening in my stomach. How could he do these things? How did he throw that soldier without touching him?

"What are you?" I ask, "Your powers... are you some sort of a God?" I stammered, or at least I think I did. I still hadn't found my voice yet.

"Less than a God…" He says as he unlocks my restraints with a motion of his hand. "But more than a man… Come, we have work to do."

We walk through the ransacked city. Bodies lie in piles on either side of the cobblestone road we traveled. The same ones who let out cheers and applauded at my impending doom moments ago now lay in heaps, their joy turning to ashes in their mouths. Buildings crumble as the fire rages beneath. A soldier approaches us.

“Lucian!” he shouts, “The city is almost clear, sir. We estimate around 11,000 dead, and around 2,500 unaccounted for, but we have yet to reach the lower levels of the city.”

Lucian briefly looks at the soldier, giving him a nod of approval before setting his gaze straight ahead once again. He doesn’t even bother to look around him, not even at the atrocities he and his army had just committed. He’s completely unfazed, almost as if this is routine. Horrified, i ask,

“How could you do this to these people?”

Lucian chuckles, “These people? You mean the ones who just sentenced you to death?” he scoffs, “You should be thanking me.”

I stop walking, taking a moment to process everything. He’s right, these people were going to kill me, he just killed them first… but… I look up. These were homes that were destroyed; I shift my gaze to the heaps of bodies – some of them were mothers, children... What about the innocent lives caught in the crossfire, I wonder? Were those who condemned me truly irredeemable?

“Who are you?” I ask.

Lucian pauses, and turns to face me,

"An old friend.” He says with a gentle voice as a smile cracks across his face, “I promise you, all of your questions will be answered once we return home. You need just come with me” He tries to grab my arm to pull me along, but I shrug him off.

“No… I need answers now.”

Lucian’s smile dissipates, his demeanor shifts as does his tone,

“Walk with me, or I drag you through the mud behind me like a pig.”

I stand my ground,

“Either give me answers or strike me down where I stand, because I will NOT walk any further.”

Lucian twists his face as he grabs the hilt of his sword… but then pauses. He releases his grip and composes himself once again. Either give me answers or strike me down where I stand, because I will NOT walk any further.”Lucian twists his face as he grabs the hilt of his sword… but then pauses. He releases his grip and composes himself once again.

“Fine, but let us sit.”