- 1 Prophecy's Child: Faith of the Fallen
Author's Note: There is much pre-history existing that comes prior to this arc of the Storyline, however, I've yet to be able to recover the original documentation. I will be updating/adding it in as soon as I am able to either recover or re-write the work.
Gospel stood on the edge of the stone circle in the Arathi Highlands, watching Alkan summon the fearsome shadow, Dreadsinger. It felt as if her consciousness was wavering, and her memories became fragmented more and more as The Other fought to come into dominance. Weakened by her battles and internal turmoil, and further wounded by Darthal's refusal to attend the ceremony, even as mere support for her, left Gospel drained and without the resolve to fight.
The Other came to the fore, and She and Dreadsinger duelled in words, bantering back and forth. The Dreadsinger threatening the lives of Gospel's allies, but foremost, the life of her good friend Akallandin. The Other cared not, taunting the Dreadsinger, for if He destroyed Gospel's friends it would only fuel the torment of the paladin and drive her further toward Darkness, which served The Other's plans quite well.
"Kill them all, by all means," The Other had said, "You will only be doing me a favor."
The Dreadsinger, through Alkan, demanded to speak to Gospel, but The Other refused. She did not know what this covenant had planned, but She wouldn't go down so easily. Yet, it was Sirithil Nightstone's words that goaded Her to obey, "Let us speak with the girl. Surely you'd love to hear her beg for the lives of her friends..." And, indeed, it would be music to The Other's ears, for the more Gospel wounded herself over these pitiable humans, the easier it would be for The Other to finally win her over. So, The Other permitted Gospel to come to consciousness, but the cunning alter ego kept control of their shared body. Gospel the mind and mouth, The Other the body.
The Dreadsinger came forward, once again threatening Akallandin's life, dispassionately listening to Gospel's cries as she begged the shadow-thing to not harm her friend. She begged Akallandin's forgiveness, having never wanted to endanger the lives of anyone else. She begged from her heart, as she never had before, but the monster in Alkan would not listen.
The Dreadsinger roared at her in rage, demanding for her to stand up and fight, but Gospel could only cry back in bitter refute, "I cannot! Thou didst only command The Other to let me SPEAK, not to ACT." But, the warning went unheeded, and the unholy rite continued. The Dreadsinger, enraged, shape-shifted into a shadow-dragon spewing fire in Gospel's face, trying to goad her into a fight, and lashed at her with a mighty paw, sending her flying.
She landed in a graceless heap some distance away, still and unmoving. The Dreadsinger approached, drawing a darkly enchanted dagger, claiming that this would be the end of it, that the sacrifice would be made that was needed to fulfill the Prophecy. Yet, he did not count on the cunning of The Other. The Other still controlled Gospel's body, and it was the Other who grabbed his wrist when he attempted to plunge the dagger into the paladin's breast.
The Other fought back, but the irate Dreadsinger saw nothing but the prize of sacrifice before him, and heeded not the protestations of Gospel's allies around him. Even Sirithil in her wisdom, believed the Dreadsinger to be competent, and prevented Gospel's friends from rushing to her aid. The Dreadsinger roared his might, the shadow-dragon plunging forward with an unholy strength.
The Other resisted only a critical moment more, and then, at the last possible second... gave Gospel her body back. When the wicked knife stabbed deep into the heart of the paladin, it was her body and her consciousness that it pierced... and not The Other. She fell to the ground, clutching the grievous wound, her life-blood pounding itself out between her fingers.
The Dreadsinger pulled the knife back, roaring his triumph, unbeknownst to him that his ritual had failed. The others of the Circle stared in horrified fascination, unsure of whether this was supposed to happen or not.
Gospel gasped against the agony burning in her chest, "Akallandin..." Her paladin friend knelt close, drawing her carefully up into his arms. She leaned close to his ear, murmuring her last request.
"How he doth underestimate The Other. Oh, Light... I am dying, Akallandin. Take thee my Oathbreaking; accept my rite as I renounce the Light, and foreswear the life of a paladin..." she gasped around each word, fighting to stay only a few moments longer. She saw Akallandin hesitate, his disappointed frown almost writing his refusal and her death sentence, "Please, Akallandin..." she rasped, blood spilling from the corners of her mouth, "It is the only way..."
Akallandin, in his nobility, clutched his hands into fists, but resignedly gave himself up to her command, "As you wish." With all the courage he could muster, the paladin rose to his full height, looking to the assembly around the Circle, "From this day forth, let it be known that Gospel Lightfaith..." his throat choked, and his voice failed him a moment, but he quickly regained his composure, "...that she is no longer a follower of the Light, nor a sister of paladins. She is Oathbreaker, and broken."
Gospel could only smile at him, the glittering emerald of her eyes clouding in death, her final words a mere gasp of breath, "Thank thee..."
"Until the day of his death, no man can be sure of his courage." -Jean Anouilh, Beckett, 1959
There was Light.
Devoid of shadow, all was bathed in radiant, amber-hued softness; it was warm against the skin, carrying the faint scent of lillies in full-bloom. Gospel stood in this light-washed world, dressed in an elaborate white robe woven with small crystals. With every movement, the crystals chimed against one another, creating a soft, soothing background to this already tranquil place.
"I've died...haven't I?" she murmured softly, lifting her right hand and putting it over her heart, directly over the place where the enchanted dagger had pierced her flesh and drawn her life's very blood.
There are Greater Fates for Thee than Death...
That Voice emanated from everywhere and nowhere at once; it seemed to reverberate around her, dancing along her skin--and yet it seemed to thrum within her heart and soul, as if she were nothing but the string of a harp in a greater orchestra. It was a Voice that commanded, and a Voice that soothed, all in the same moment. Gospel could only stare upward in wonderment, unable to respond to that simple statement.
Oh, Child... The Voice was warm, filled with pride, Thou hast Exceeded my Expectations beyond all my Hoping.
Gospel raised a hand, sweeping a lock of her silver hair back behind her left ear, looking upward into the amber glow, "Thy expectations?" She lowered her hand once the hair was tucked, clasping her hands before her chest, almost as if in prayer, "I did only what was required..."
The Light around her seemed to swirl and dance, caressing around her like a gentle wind. The warmth touched her cheek, almost as if in a ghostly kiss, What was Required and More! Oh, Silvered One, Child of Prophecy...! Thou hast Served me far greater than ever I Served thee.
"I have served..." Gospel blinked momentarily, her feathery brows knitting in consternation, "But I only serve..." Her vivid green eyes went slightly wide, as tears began to brim along her lashes. There was only one thing she served faithfully,"Oh, Light..." she murmured.
The gentle wind settled, bringing with it that amber lily-scented softness once more, I am.
Gospel fell to her knees, interlacing her fingers and bringing them to her chin as she bowed her head reverentially. Her throat closed, so great was her awe, her eyes staring at the ochre-colored ground in stupefaction. To be here, in this august presence...! It was not something she had anticipated; she had only waited to die, and for Akallandin to take her Oathbreaking.
The Oathbreaking! Gospel closed her eyes in shame, even as the warmth of the amber light surrounded her. This was no place for her. She gave up all this, repudiated it in hopes that The Other might be, once and for always, defeated. Her tears slipped unheeded down her cheeks, her skin burning with her great shame. She didn't deserve to be here.
Oh, but How thou Dost! The Light responded joyously, Child, Child...canst Thou not See? "Great Sacrfice Divine". To Save thy friends, Thou gave up that which was Most Precious to Thee. Thy Faith, Thy Servitude...thy very Life. The Light seemed to solidify around her, blanketing her like a cloak, enshrouding her in brilliance, comfort, and gentleness, Thou art More than ever I could have Asked.
Gospel bowed her head in humility, the greatness of that Voice it's pride and love filling her very being. It flowed into all the empty, dark places that The Other had poisoned, pouring into her with that amber glow and loving warmth. What was broken was made whole; what was splintered reforged. All the sorrow and pain she had experienced was washed away in cleansing Light. It left her feeling rejuvinated, refreshed, and for the first time in a long time... filled with Hope for her future.
It is not in thy Destiny to Die just yet, Silver Child. There is Much in this World that doth have Need of thee. Rediscover the Light, come once again to thy Faith... I shall Await thee.
The Light around Gospel faded, but it did not leave her. It stayed warm and welcome in the depths of her soul, a single candle burning for the long road ahead. There was the sudden sensation of falling, of dreaming, of forgetting...
Gospelina woke in the inn, looking around the room in confusion. In one corner, neatly placed, was a pile of battle-scarred armor upon which rested one of the mystical Phantom Blades. On her left hand was a ring of Truesilver embedded with three stones; this hand she raised to her forehead, "Where...where am I?"
Gospelina stood in the rented inn room, the door carefully closed. She was over in the corner, standing over the neat stack of armor and the Phantom Blade. She reached out a hesitant hand, touching the hilt, the Icy Chill enchantment upon it radiating a soft coolness. Her long, elegant fingers brushed against the leather-wrapped grip, the rough texture like fine-grained sandpaper beneath her touch. Slowly, she withdrew her right hand, turning that same hand over to regard her palm with an almost analytic detachment.
The fingers of her left hand brushed over a palm that was smooth, slightly roughened, as if rubbed by the constant pressure of holding something. Her fingers were slightly calloused, "Swordsman callouses" she'd heard Gale and his friends remark about such. It was almost like a badge of honor, to have these swordsman callouses, for it meant that the person bearing them had much experience with a blade.
But proper, well-bred Stormwindian Ladies didn't fight.
She turned away from the accoutrements of war, her eyes catching her own movement in the small mirror hanging on the wall across the room. She gazed at her reflection; heart-shaped face, molten silver hair, and those vivid, soft green eyes.
"Who art thou?" she murmured, bringing her left hand up to touch her own cheek, "Art thou a woman dead... or a woman lost?"
Gospelina put that self-same hand over her mouth, stifling the sob that threatened to overwhelm her. So much of this didn't make sense! Where was Gale? Where were her parents? Who were all these people who knew her, yet she could not put name to?
Master Gith, a nice old man, who first gave her the news that she was someone else. Was he perhaps just confused? Shocked over his friend's death and wanting to see something where there was naught?
Then there was Finnel, loyal as any lioness to her pride, a fierce friend that both fascinated and frightened her. The Lady Lightfaith must have been someone of worth to have attracted a friend such as Finnel. She had extended that branch of friendship to Gospelina, but did she dare to take it? Did she have the courage? Finnel's path of friendship could very well lead her down a path she was not prepared to follow.
The path of Truth.
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. -Carl Gustav Jung
Gospelina relaxed in the hot water of the bathtub, steam rising around her as the water lapped against her soft, pale skin. She rested her head back against the rim, staring up at the tiled ceiling of House Nightstone's private bath.
"Do you have any dreams?"
Alkan had asked her that earlier tonight, and did she? She couldn't remember. When she asked herself, "What are my dreams? What do I want to be?" it felt like her heart swelled within her, and there was almost a...magic she could feel swirling through her. It was brief, like a gust of wind on an autumn day, scattering the leaves then leaving them to flutter forlornly to the ground.
She couldn't explain it, or what it was. How could she tell Alkan? What did it mean, this feeling? She raised her right hand out of the water; the skin rubbed smooth, and calloused. She'd seen it yesterday--Finnel had the same hands. Finnel was a paladin, a servant of the Light. As good and true a friend as any could want...paladins couldn't lie, could they?
Slowly, she rose out of the bath, rivulets of water running down her lissome frame. With an almost ritualistic care, she dabbed a towel against the dampness of her skin to absorb it, until she was mostly dry. Only then did she take the towel and wrap it around her body, shivering slightly as the night air caressed her water-softened, silky skin. She took a moment to wrap her molten silver hair in a second towel, only a few droplets escaping to pad softly onto her bare shoulders. She flitted back down the hall to her room, like a pale ghost in the moonlight lancing through the large windows of the night-darkened manor house.
She slipped into her room, walking quietly across to the small dressing table. She sank down into the small stool before it, picking up the brush and letting her still-wet hair loose of its confines in the towel. It fell in ragged, soft gray tendrils, and she ran the brush through it as she continued to browse her thoughts.
There was also that man from last night, Akallandin, who spoke so ardently of the Light. The things he had said, the fervence with which he had spoken, had struck an odd chord in her. It panged discordantly with her beliefs, yet the note it struck sang with such prodigiously sublime beauty she couldn't ignore it. She didn't believe in the Light, but upon hearing Akallandin's voice, hearing him speak, something in her stirred. She had blushed at that, turning her face from the paladin last night, not understanding what it was she felt.
Gospelina sat before the mirror, examining every detail of her reflection. She was beautiful, in an aesthetic sense; pale green eyes, the color of the purest jade, set in a heart-shaped gentle face and framed by those shoulder length silver tresses. Pale ivory skin, marred only by one singular pale-white scar. Her fingers caressed the curious scar on the left side of her chest, just left of her breastbone. As if someone had plunged a knife into her very heart.
A scar she could not ever remember getting.
So many fragmented pieces, so many feelings she couldn't explain. She raised her jade eyes to the mirror, looking at herself intently, "Who art thou, pale ghost?" she murmured, "Art thou I who art but one and lost alone, or art thou a woman whose death doth haunt so many in this city that they see thine face in mine?"
Gospelina put both her hands to her face, weeping, for no answers would come, only an emptiness in her heart.
The sweet, thrumming notes of the gittern* echoed through Gospelina's room in House Nightstone. Her fingers played along the metal strings, elliciting a heart-achingly pure melody. After a few moments of melodic prelude, her voice joined with the notes of the gittern; innocent and pure, her music coming from her heart, like ruby-red drops bleeding from a fresh-cut wound.
Oceans apart,day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice, in my mind
But it doesn't stop the pain
If I see you next to never
How can we say forever?
Her voice was beautiful, and well-trained. It soared into soprano, and fell as deep as contralto, an excellent range for song in the female voice. Her song echoed around the room, as she sat in the bay window that overlooked the courtyard of the Nightstone manor, her pale jade eyes watching the comings and goings of the House.
Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Oh, how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you...
Her fingers faltered against the strings, the last notes dying like songbirds hushed by the entrance of the Hunter. Who was she waiting for? Why would this song come to her now? She set the gittern aside, rising from the bay window bench. She took a few steps away, looking back to the gittern as if it had been a friendly cat that had suddenly scratched her. She put her right hand over her chest, directly over that strange, pale scar.
"Is it someone thou doth know, Ghost of my Soul...?" she murmured, "Doth thou sing still for thy beloved Darthal...?"
It was the first time she'd ever admitted aloud that there was some kind of connection between herself and Gospel Lightfaith. No matter how ardently she wanted to deny it, no matter how much Alkan wanted her to find her own path--there were too many who looked at her with knowing eyes, too many who saw a face in hers that she did not recognize.
"What half-life must I now be made to live? A girl with no House living in the shadow of a Greater woman, whose life doth touch so many who seem to love her so...?" Gospelina walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge, her hand still over the scar on her chest, "Am I to live as sorry replacement of thy belovedness? Or shalt thy supporters give thee up forever as dead, and leave me to a life of my own...?"
The young girl shook her head, blinking back tears that she again couldn't understand. Why should her heart ache like this, when she speaks frankly of banishing this Ghost in her Soul forever? Her heart ached with loss, it ached with emptiness, as if to give up the Ghost were the worst act she could ever commit.
- gittern: An instrument similar to a harp, save with strings made of metal instead of catgut.
- Song credit: "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx
"I was wondering if thou wouldst e'er arrive..." the voice was a low, pleasant contralto that echoed through the vast expanse of Gospelina's consciousness as the young girl slipped from her waking mind to her dreaming one. She materialized in a beautiful garden, enclosed in a frost-windowed greenhouse. Low hedges blossoming with fragrant flowers enclosed a small grassy tuffet in the center of which was a pedestal upon which was an earthenware pot. Growing in this pot was a single, delicate tigerlily, over which a tall woman stood, her shimmering silver hair falling over her shoulders.
It had been the woman who spoke, as Gospelina entered the garden, moving to one of the curved benches that sat along the line of hedge. The young girl sat upon the cool marble, looking up at the woman, who faced away from her, tending carefully to the tigerlily in its pot, "So...thou hast been waiting for me then?" she asked quietly.
The woman nodded, but did not turn, "I have been waiting several days, in fact, for thee to more comfortably accept my presence. Alkan and Finnel hath done their duties for thee marvelously." Her elegant, long-fingered hands caressed the leaves of the lily, a set of pruning shears carefully cutting the brown deadness from its edges. Gospelina watched as the brown, deadened parts of the leaves fluttered to the ground.
"Why...why hast thou been waiting, milady?" Gospelina asked, uncertain, her eyes still following the deadened parts of the flower as they fell to the ground.
The flower-tender turned her face slightly, so that she could be seen only in profile, Gospelina could see the glint of pale emerald eyes, scrutinizing the spreading leaves of the flower's bulb, "Much like this flower, my little one, without care and consideration, thou shalt wither and eventually fade. Yet, thou canst not take care and consideration of thyself without first knowing the Truth."
The young girl bit her lip, half-crawling off the bench to fall to her knees in the grass before the woman, "Art thou whom I perceive thee to be...?" she whispered, "Art thou the Ghost who so haunts all who look upon me?"
The woman looked down at her, and Gospelina saw her own face, perhaps slightly older and more wise, looking at her with those pale eyes of purest jade from the flower-tender's visage. "I am one who shares with thee all the pains, joys, and loves from the Life that was taken from us... although the memories I harbor are safely taken unto the Light for safekeeping, until we were once again ready to take on that mantle of responsibility."
"So..." Gospelina murmured, bowing her head, staring at the grass beneath her hands, feeling every blade that pressed into the tender skin of her palms, "What everyone hath told me before now is true..." She looked back up at the woman that towered over her, "We are one and the same."
Gospel set the pruning shears down upon the pedestal, shifting her weight to her far leg as she bent to kneel down before the young girl that looked up at her with a face from yester-year, that looked up with her own eyes, filled with fear, confusion, and a strange longing. Gospel reached out one of those elegant hands, touching her younger self's elaborately coifed silver hair, "We are who we are," she responded quietly, "Thou art thyself, as much as I am mine. Yet, we are also one and the same, in this body. Thou art myself, and I am what thou art destined to become."
Gospelina gaped at her older self, blinking uncomprehendingly, "Destined?"
The once-paladin nodded sagely, "I see, no one hath saw fit to tell thee yet of the Prophecy, as one Brother of the Abbey did see fit to do so for me. Very well, I shall tell thee of our destiny, and our future." Gospel recited the Prophecy, as she had done so many times before; yet unlike anyone who had ever heard the Prophecy, Gospelina's eyes took on the spark of recognition.
"Of course," the young girl murmured at last, "Crimsonlock, and Lord Darthal..." she looked up, her brow furrowing, "Master Alkan?"
Gospel could only shrug in response, "Crimsonlock watches over thee like a she-wolf over her packmate, Lord Darthal thy guardian, to hold true thy heart--as for Alkan, perhaps he may be the Keeper, giving thee the gift of Knowledge," the ghostly former paladin reached out a hand, putting her palm to the young girl's cheek, "But no Other shall there be for thee, Little One. That part of us hath been vanquished, never to return to hinder us again."
"That is why thou art..." Gospelina said quietly, unable to finish the sentence, because--No, Gospel wasn't truly dead, merely waiting.
But the Ghostly One nodded all the same, "Once thy walk unto the Light is completed, we who art two shall be remade unto One."
"I see..." Gospelina responded, the world around her fading gently as morning broke in the real world. She was waking, and there was much to be done. She sat up in bed, looking at the world through new eyes, now understanding the strange feelings she'd been having, and why. They were not her own, but the feelings of the Ghost that slept within her. The young girl put her hand over her heart, murmuring, "I will honor thee, and we shall be remade unto one, and thou shalt be reborn," she said softly, "Gospel Lightfaith."
Gospelina lay in bed long into the morning, hugging a pillow close to her chest, remembering the feel of Alkan's arms around her. She trembled, but it had little to do with the coolness of the morning, but the stalwart beating of her heart. A heart that had no more room. This heart belonged to Darthal, even though it spasmed with pain at the thought of him. What haunted love was it that Gospel harbored for the Death Knight, to know such bittersweet desire?
How she had wanted to tell Alkan how she felt! She buried her face in the pillow, gasping as the anguish of the dagger point of her unrequited love drove deep into this heart that was not hers to give. Gospelina would have wept, were there anymore tears to shed, but she had promised Alkan that what remained of this life she had--this life that, indeed, was hers for now, would be devoted to happiness.
Her hand went to her cheek, where his lips had touched her skin. It wouldn't have been fair to either of them, for her to tell him now. He had said himself that he thought of her as a sister, that small love would have to be enough. She would hold tightly to that, and hope that come what may, it would be enough to keep Gospelina's memory alive when Gospel returned.
She rose at that point, unable to stay abed any longer. She walked over to the dressing table, letting her silver hair loose from its elaborate coif. Absently, she picked up the brush, running it through her hair. Softly, she hummed the Song of Streunan to herself, slowly picking through all of her happiest memories, most of which were of Alkan, and Finnel. In her mind, she picked up each memory, as if each were a globe made of the finest-spun glass, her fingers caressing the surface of the orb lightly as her lips curved in a smile of rememberance.
Oh-so-carefully, she gathered all of her best memories, storing them away into a collective that she would always keep in her soul. The next to last one she held was of last night, when Alkan and she had raised their voice in song, and had danced into the night. Of that moment when he had held her close, and it almost felt as if he might...
Gospelina shook her head, setting the brush aside abruptly. The sat there, quietly, for several moments, staring at her reflection without seeing it. With infinite care, in her mind's eye, she lifted the final orb from her memories. The orb filled with her love for Alkan, and for Finnel, for all whom had touched her life with such joy. She held it close, letting that love seep into her very being. Then, meticulously, she held the memory away, placing it gently atop the others she had collected.
Yes, she said to herself, regarding the assembled memories, There is happiness here--and there will always be.
For where there was love, there would always be happiness.
In the dream-garden of Gospelina's mind, Gospel waited. Waited as she had every night since the first dream she had met the young girl. Yet, tonight, she waited long into the darkness, so long that she began to walk the expanse of the dream-garden to bide the time. It was not some few minutes later, that Gospel heard the sound of crying; the bittersweet tears of loss that Gospel herself knew only too well. It took only a few extra steps through a hedge maze to find Gospelina kneeling in the grass, her arms pillowing her head on one of the curved marble benches.
"Oh child," Gospel murmured, "What tears are these on the eve of what should be a joyous occasion..." She knelt behind the young girl, putting her hands on Gospelina's shoulders.
'Lina shook her head, "I did a foolish thing, and now...now I shall live in torment for the rest of my days."
Gospel took a hand of the girl's shoulder, gently stroking those soft, platinum locks, "What couldst thou have done that was so foolish? Surely..."
"I told him!" 'Lina sobbed, crying out that statement in a voice that was laden with her anguish, "On the eve of my destruction..." she gasped past the pain in her heart, "I told him..."
The older woman winced in sympathetic understanding, "I see," she murmured quietly, watching the younger version of herself, "And--what did he say to that?"
'Lina's sobs seemed to increase at that question, her shoulders shaking with the force of her sorrow, "He said..." she gasped around her tears, "He said he loved me in return."
Gospel took her hands from Gospelina's shoulders, rising abruptly to her feet, blinking in stupefaction at the young girl weeping before her. Alkan...loved her? The once-paladin ran a hand through her silvery hair distractedly, her mind racing for answers she couldn't begin to devise. There were no answers, merely more questions--and no time. She looked once more to 'Lina, the young girl continuing to sob out her depthless sorrow as she mourned a love she would never have. Gospel's heart contracted painfully in sympathy; it wouldn't be fair to take away everything 'Lina had built for herself.
She backed away quietly, leaving 'Lina to her grief, although the once-paladin's face set into a mask of determination. She wouldn't destroy a life...not even to save her own.
Gospel left the Garden that represented 'Lina's consciousness, returning to that plane of Light where she'd been residing in waiting. The amber-hued glow surrounded her, filling her with that sublime peace. Yet, peace was not what she wanted at the moment. She wanted answers. She looked up into the air, where she knew that omiscient presence waited, and she spoke to it with a gentle tone that did not match the determination in her heart, "Light, I beseech thee for answers, for I fear I must know..."
Ask Thee then, Oh my Beloved Child, and I shall endeavour to Answer Thee. That great presence replied, once more enveloping Gospel in its warmth and light, seeking to comfort, even as it prepared to provide answers for whatever she would ask.
Gospel looked to the floor, absently rubbing her hands together as she pieced together what she was going to ask, and how she was going to ask it. She bit her lip thoughtfully, before once more looking up at the light-filled air, "What will happen tomorrow?" The question seemed to echo around her ominously, for the Light did not immediately answer. She shifted her weight on her legs, trying not to shuffle in anxiety. She had to know. Had to.
Art Thou Prepared for Thy Answer, Silver Child? the Light inquired, the very air laden with the great responsibility of the question.
The once-paladin drew a long, steadying breath, squaring her shoulders as she once more turned her face upward, her silver hair falling in a golden-touched silver sheet over her shoulders, "I am, my Lord."
Then open Thy Mind to me and I shall Show Thee what Awaits Thee... Gospel did not need telling twice. She closed her eyes, slowly letting out the breath she'd drawn, opening her mind and her heart to the august presence she knew and trusted so well.
In the beginning, there was Darkness.
Around her, she could hear voices calling her name, feel hands on her shoulders shaking her to wakefulness. She opened her eyes to see Akallandin standing over her, with Finnel and Crimsonlockl on either side. She rose to her feet, looking first to Crimsonlock, whom--even in her undeath--she could still remember by the beautiful music of her flute. She hugged the Night Elf warrior, and received one in return; then she turned to Finnel.
She'd never seen eyes that held such joyous anguish; joy, aye, certainly--but sorrow, a sorrow that resounded with the loss of someone cherished. Gospel looked around at the other people that hemmed around the edges of the Shrine of Uther, their eyes radiating a joy at her return, but no eyes save Finnel's showing any regret that Gospelina was gone...
Gospel put a hand over her eyes, shaking her head as she closed her mind to the Light, "Enough..." she murmured, "That's enough." Just that little snippet told her all she needed to know. 'Lina's life would end tomorrow if she didn't do something about it. Setting her jaw firmly, she lowered her hand from her eyes, looking once more heavenward, "I would ask a favor of thee, my Master..." she said quietly, putting her arms to her side as she looked up in entreaty to the ochre-colored light that surrounded her.
Thou doth only need to Ask, Silver Child... the Light replied patiently.
She drew her hands up, as if in prayer, clasping them before her chest, "Take Thee my service, for now and always," she said fervently, looking up at the Light with eyes that shimmered with unshed tears, "Take my life and bind it forever to Thy Divinity." Tears trickled unheeded down Gospel's cheeks, "But let not this travesty against Life occur. Let Gospelina live, no more to dwell in the shadow of a woman she shall never become. She is her own person now, with her own Destiny. Let her have it, and be not forgotten."
If Thou doth break from her, Silver Child, Thou Shalt Lose more of Thyself than is already Lost... the Light responded gently.
Gospel bowed her head, her tears falling upon her hands in slow droplets, "I know..." she whispered.
The Light, again, did not immediately respond, but the air around her took on a certain heavy poignancy, pregnant with the weight of consideration that the Light was giving this decision. For the passage of several heartbeats, there was naught but silence between them, the intensity of the moment filling Gospel with some small thread of...not so much fear, as it was--expectancy. It surprised her then, when the Light around her contracted to a single beam, in the center of which she stood.
By Thy Oath thou art, Here and Now, forever Sworn unto my Service. In every Deed, thou Shalt Serve in my Name. In every Action, thy Hands shalt Move as Mine. Every Life thou shalt Touch will be graced by my Light. The Light's voice around her boomed in pronouncement, the words seeming almost like an incantation, In this, thou Shalt Serve faithful, as my Avatar.
Gospel fell to one knee, bowing her head beneath the Power of that voice, "So Thou doth command, so shall I obey."
Then rise, Light's Avatar, Silver Child...Gospel Lightfaith. Go unto Thy Life Renewed. Seek Thy lesser self at Uther's feet when Thou doth come to Thyself again.
The beam of Light seemed to shatter into a thousand glittering fragments before filtering back around her to once more surround her in that amber glow. Yet, Gospel continued to kneel, offering her silent thanks to the Light, for giving her Life...and allowing her to spare another.