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Cardiel and Sicia

Cardiel and Sicia

24 фев. 2023, 18:2524.02.23

Cardiel and Sicia

In life they were known as Kardsten and Cecilia, twin brother and sister who seemed to embody diametrically opposed traits. Kardsten was, from a young age, a very sober and serious child given to much study and thought. Cecilia on the other hand was inquisitive, full of life and intent on experiencing everything life had to offer. If meeting them individually, one would assume that their personalities would be a separating force, driving them apart. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. 

When their parents were killed in a raid on their village, the Sacred Order troops who fought to defend them took the twins back to their temple to look after them and raised these children in the traditions of the Order. 

Upon arrival at the priory, the clergy assumed that the boy would take to life within the Order immediately while Cecilia would resist indoctrination to the bitter end. Once again, the twins’ personalities defied expectations. Cecilia took to the sacred texts and mythology of the Sacred Order with a zeal that would reignite the faith of even the most jaded templar. Kardsten, on the other hand, being of a more logical mind, questioned the traditions and rites held sacred by the Order. They both took to their studies, both scholarly and martial, with vigor. One to learn and grow, the other to challenge and disprove.


Several years later, a famous archbishop paid a visit to the priory. His caravan had repelled an orc raid, and his aide had been severely burned. Naturally, Kardsten would not let the opportunity to question the great Archbishop Pinthroy on the particulars of his adopted faith. Every morning during the archbishop’s stay, Kardsten would wake early and steal down to the library to gather his research materials and evidence to present an argument to Pinthroy. The archbishop, surprised and impressed by this young man’s fervor, relished the diversion from his clerical and executive responsibilities, and engaged Kardsten in debate after debate.

After an entire week of back and forth, Kardsten felt as though he had gotten nowhere. Every point he brought up was countered and it seemed that Pinthroy thoroughly enjoyed toying with his ability to reason logically. Kardsten spent every night after their debate in the library digging for more evidence to present to Pinthroy. Each morning he took his notes and texts to the archbishop, and they would spend hours going back and forth. The frustration was mounting, but Kardsten thought he’d found the silver bullet and he was ready.


Without rest the entire week, the clergy worked feverishly to heal the young aide to the archbishop. Cecilia, given to fits of curiosity that occasionally turned to full blown infatuation, saw the opportunity to truly exercise her faith on behalf of one who had fallen victim to the forces of evil. She spent time helping tend to the barely conscious Mordecai. All the while hounding her teachers for knowledge about the magic that had marred this young man’s flesh. There was one knight among the archbishop’s guard who had some experience in the art that Cecilia was so taken by. She implored him to teach her but was rebuffed. Unperturbed, she continued to hound him and taunt him, questioning his ability and insulting his honor. When the red-armored knight went to the Chaplain for help in dealing with this annoying young girl he was met with laughter. 

“You may as well give in,” the Chaplain laughed. “She is not going to leave you alone until she gets what she wants.”

The knight finally relented and began rudimentary instructions in a magic he referred to as “Flames of Passion”. A magic that set an enemy ablaze with supernatural fire that was impossible to extinguish, save magical intervention. 

“You must find that one thing within you that you would give everything for”, he told her. “I call it the ‘Flames of Passion’ because the thought of my fierce lady ignites that within me. When you find that, the fires will answer your call.”

Cecilia hungrily devoured everything the red-armored knight taught her but was unable to produce more heat than a candle would. Frustrated, but unwilling to quit, she continued to practice long into the night well after the temple had quieted. Noting her relentless pursuit, the knight realized he was in the presence of a powerful young woman who would not be stopped, and who’s potential had hardly been tapped.


The morning of the day that Archbishop Pinthroy and his entourage were to depart, Kardsten brought his silver bullet to put the debate concerning the theology of the Order to rest once and for all. 

“Archbishop,” he began, “I have been searching all the tomes and texts in our library and I have failed to discover a single piece of solid, objective evidence that the deity that we are expected to worship, and revere exists. There are numerous accounts of supposed near death experiences, and I know of holy magic that returns a spirit to their body. But even that is not a unique magic bestowed upon us by a higher power. The savage tribes of the ogryn and foul orcs have this magic as well and they do not live by our rigorous standards of faith or even recognize our god. Furthermore, there is no uniformity in the accounts of these brief glimpses into the afterlife. How can I, or any rational, thinking being accept that there is such a being that is so pure and sacred as to merit worship?”

“Well, you have certainly thought this through and done your research.” Pinthroy replied. “Before we go forward with this line of inquiry, I have a question for you.”

“Very well,” said Kardsten, perhaps a bit smugly, “ask your question.”

“Do you need to feel cold to understand what warmth is?” Pinthroy asked.

“No, I understand cold and warmth,” answered Kardsten.

“Do you need to perform evil deeds to understand what it means to live righteously?” Pinthroy asked.

“No, I understand the difference,” Kardsten replied, now uncertain as to where this was going.

“Would you therefore concede that there are things that can only be defined by its opposite? Light and dark, warmth and cold, good and evil… deity and demon?” asked Pinthroy, slyly.

“Where are you going with this, Archbishop,” said Kardsten impatiently.

“Answer my question.”

“Very well, yes. I would concede that some things are defined best by their opposites.” Kardsten agreed.

“Indeed. Come with me, I have something to show you.” Invited Pinthroy. “Gear up and bring your sister. Perhaps we can strengthen her faith while we prove yours.”

Expecting a long, drawn-out debate, Kardsten was taken aback by the invitation. He hurried away to fetch his sister and gather his equipment. 

Cecilia was surprised by her brother when he barged in on her practicing her new abilities and told her to get her armor on and come with him. More curious than anything at her brother’s behavior, she followed him. After suiting up the pair met Pinthroy in the main courtyard of the temple. The red-armored knight was with him as well as the Chaplain who warned the knight to give in. 

Looking at the group, the archbishop took a deep breath and pulled a massive golden key out from his robes. 

“We go to face the Demon Lord,” he grimly announced. “Steel yourselves, for you go to face absolute evil”.

Pinthroy uttered a single syllable and thrust the key out in front of him. To the amazement of the twins, the blade of the key appeared to tear a rift in the air where the archbishop pushed the key. With a grunt of effort, he turned the key, and a jagged doorway opened the space opposite the party. 

“In we go, be on your guard!”

The smell of molten sulfur assaulted Kardsten’s senses, and the oppressive heat nearly stole his breath. He nearly lost his footing, gasping for breath. Cecilia gazed about in wonder and excitement, panting at the sight of the flowing lava and arcane sigils on what appeared to be the ruin of an ancient monastery’s pillars. A short path that ended in a sheer drop off into a massive sea of lava greeted their gaze. Suddenly, an enormous, bloated figure with blazing eyes and a gaping maw where its belly should be erupted from the magma and began chanting in a demonic tongue. A second pair of arms wreathed in green lightning sprang from its body beneath its first pair, and the fiend gave a roar that chilled the party to their bones, despite the pervasive heat. 

Pinthroy uttered a prayer and Kardsten felt the armor he was wearing thicken but was surprised at the lack of additional weight.

“Attack!” the red-armored knight yelled. And then unleashed his “Flames of Passion” on the monstrous figure. The party followed suit, swinging weapons at the beast and casting spells to repel and damage it. Cecilia was almost giddy at the spectacle of the red-armored knight using his abilities to their fullest potential, yet despite her greatest effort she still could not match his fervor. The demon slammed the ground, nearly crushing Kardsten, laying him out. The aftershock nearly knocked Cecilia onto her backside. Her head lolled as she tried to steady the spinning floor. Pinthroy yelled for retreat, and the knight pushed her back toward the rift in space. The Chaplain and Pinthroy dragged her unconscious brother behind them. Pinthroy stayed behind until the rest of the party made it through the rift and they all collapsed into a heap.


From that day, Kardsten rededicated himself to the Order and its teachings. His faith reinforced and cemented by the absolute evil that he’d confronted and with renewed vigor to do everything to keep those forces at bay. Cecilia came away from the experience with a realization that if she were to be an effective weapon against the forces of Siroth, then she may have to seek tutelage in arts not necessarily condoned by the Sacred Order. Over the next several years she would embark on trips to remote corners of Teleria to seek out masters of the occult and acquire skills that couldn’t be learned in the temple. She would always return to Kardsten to share what she learned, and while he was glad to have his sister back, he became more and more dismayed at how far she had strayed from the Order’s tenets. No matter what her journeys taught her, their reunions were always sweet. They would stay up late exchanging tales and reconnecting over the goings on at the temple, news from abroad and Kardsten’s latest communications with the archbishop. 

Shortly after Cecilia returned from another excursion into the Deadlands, the temple received a missive from Pinthroy himself! The temple was to muster their forces and march to the Stormwind Wastelands to push the demonic forces of Siroth back beyond the Brimstone Path. The temple readied and the next morning they set out for the Valdemar Strait, their first stop on the way to the battle. 

Four uneventful days later, they arrived at the staging ground for the battle. They were met with the familiar, though less powerful, stench of molten rock and sulfur blowing in the hot breeze. The forces of the temple were assigned to maintain the high ground of an important forward position. This location gave a commanding view of the battlefield and was key in relaying intelligence about enemy movements to the commanding officers. After weeks of repeated assaults, the Order had managed to keep the position, but had almost lost it several times, Kardsten and Cecilia were tasked with reinforcing this forward base. 

They held the point for seven days, repelling assault after assault. Then the attacks stopped, seemingly all of a sudden. After a day of no action, and furious at the apparent standstill, Cecilia proposed a plan for her and Kardsten to steal behind enemy lines and take out the opposing leadership. 

“A small band is perfect for this sort of precision, and we can’t afford to take anyone else in case the base gets attacked again,” Cecilia reasoned. “And there is no one I trust to keep me safe, and no one I would fight harder for than you, brother.”

“This is not a good idea, Cecilia,” Kardsten warned. “There is no guarantee that we’ll even make it to any of the demonspawn leaders, much less survive an assassination and make it back. We need to wait for orders before we break ranks”

“Nothing is happening out there, we can see it from the top,” Cecilia retorted indignantly. “We can see that our people are fighting and dying to push the damned demonsspawn back, and what are we doing? We need intelligence, so let’s go get it! Everyone else here will be able to hold our position without us for a day. If I have to do this without you I will!”

“Alright,” Kardsten relented. “I can see there is no stopping you, and I won’t let you go alone”.


Together they made their way around the tortured earth, skirting the main battlefield and supply lines toward the enemy encampment in search of the staging ground of the leadership of the demonic forces. The next evening, they were able to evade the patrols and make it to an embankment overlooking the enemy’s rear headquarters. Kardsten, ever studious, had brought a cylindrical contraption that he had recreated from schematics in a book from the temple’s library that allowed him to see farther than he could with the naked eye. 

“I see an altar in the middle of the camp”, he reported to Cecilia. “There is a blackened, rough hewn stone arch next to it, it has to be over 20 feet tall!”

“What do the demonspawn need with a stone arch?” asked Cecilia.

“I don’t know,” Kardsten replied. “Perhaps for some foul rite or communication.”

Just as Kardsten uttered these words, a gray skinned, horned demon with blue lightning dancing from fingertips up his arms, over his shoulders and up the length of each horn on its head came into view. The demon was approaching the arch. Kardsten’s breath caught, there was a sense of grace and pride, almost a nobility, in this demon’s mannerism that prompted a feeling of… of reverence? Impossible! The demon reached out his claw and etched a profane rune in the air, and the portal erupted in a flash of flame and a massive red, cloven-hoofed monstrosity with huge wings and enormous warhammer etched in demonic sigils strode through the portal. Kardsten’s whole body went limp with fear. Cecilia, who couldn’t see anything, took the spyglass from her brother’s flaccid grip and peered through it in the direction that he was looking. 

“What is that big ugly thing!” she exclaimed. “It’s got to be a captain or lieutenant or something!”

“Th...tha…that’s…”, Kardsten stuttered, “that is Mortu-Macaab! He is the right hand of Siroth and high commander of the demon forces and their allies in Teleria!”

“Then that’s our target.” Cecilia declared. “We take him out and we can push the enemy back!” 

“You don’t understand, we don’t stand a chance against him,” pleaded Kardsten. “He is too powerful, we need to get back and report what we found, then the archbishop and the generals can decide how to deal with the situation.”

Before Cecilia could retort, fiery chains engulfed the twins and rendering them unconscious. Just before her eyes closed, Cecilia caught a glimpse of a beautiful red skinned figure descending out of the air behind them. A soft chuckle was the last thing she heard before her eyes closed…


When Cecilia opened her eyes, she was surrounded by her compatriots. Groggily, she looked around and as her vision cleared, she saw the archbishop and the red-armored knight standing before the gray skinned demon she and Kardsten had seen through his looking device. He was restrained, tied to a large stake behind him, his demeanor aloof, almost indignant at being tied up. When Pinthroy and the knight noticed her getting up, they rushed to her side.

“Thank the gods you are awake”, exclaimed Pinthroy! 

“Where,” Cecelia started, “where is my brother?”

Pinthroy’s face fell as tears welled up in his eyes. 

“We feared that he was with you,” the red-armored knight said, pain evident in his voice. “Even as we hoped and prayed that you took someone else on this errand, in our hearts we knew he wouldn’t let you go with anyone else.”  

Cecelia fell back onto the makeshift stretcher in shock and despair.

“We found a body near you,” Pinthroy said. “But we couldn’t tell who it was. The body was utterly mutilated.”

Cecelia began to sob. Massive, pained, soul-wracking cries borne of devastating loss. Before Pinthroy or the knight could react, she lurched forward and ran to the demon that was tied to the stake. His face contorted into a look of surprise, then fear. Without even slowing down, Cecelia slammed her fist into the demon’s face. 

“You killed him!” She screamed, landing blow after blow. “You killed him!”

The two knights tackled her to the ground, but she was able to wriggle herself free and would have continued her assault if not for being restrained by the iron grip of the red-armored knight. 

She turned and snarled into his dispassionate face mask. Whipping her attention back to the bloodied demon she raised both arms, hands twisted into claws and gave a visceral scream of pain and loss. The demon erupted into flames so intense that those nearest him had to retreat immediately lest they too be consumed. The demon’s screams rent the air, and the red-armored knight dropped Cecelia to the ground. 

Completely spent, Cecelia collapsed, barely clinging to consciousness. As she looked around, her vision blurred from tears, she knew something was wrong. She could hear… laughter? Yes! Wickedly joyful cackling that shook her to the core. Wiping her eyes, she looked up at the one who had pulled her back. Her gaze met the steely visage of the gray skinned demon she thought she’d killed. Earth-shaking foot-steps approached her before she could even react. Scrambling back on her hands and knees, she found herself in the presence of Archbishop Pinthroy. He leered at her and his visage melted away to reveal the massive Mortu-Macaab! In a panic she cast her eyes around only to find that who she thought were templars and knights of the order, were in truth incubi, ifrit, and more demonspawn, of all varieties.


As he said this, he touched his hammer to Cecelia’s chest. Searing heat swept through her body, reshaping and forming her into something monstrous… and powerful. Her flesh felt molten and her bones creaked as their shape was forcibly altered. She felt a pain in her head the instant before enormous, fiery horns erupted from her skull. She fell to the ground, writhing in agony as bony appendages erupted from her shoulder blades and ignited into massive wings of flame. 

“Please gods, no,” a voice choked out, barely above a whisper. “Cecelia.”

She looked toward the familiar voice, and saw Kardsten tied to the stake, burned almost beyond recognition. The demon’s treachery became fully, agonizingly apparent.

Standing to her full height, now a full foot taller than her mortal form, she turned to the jeering masses and unleashed her full power. All demons that her gaze fell upon burst into flames as she channeled her newly bestowed power into a Firestorm Rite. She turned to attack Mortu and the other demon leadership, but she suddenly couldn’t move. The whole world turned a golden hue and the ground came rushing up at her. She fell on her side, encased in a crystal of amber.


What Cecilia hadn’t seen was the forces of the Sacred Order rushing to attack the demon’s position. Mortu-Macaab, the gray skinned demon and the rest of the demonic leadership retreated through the portal as their underlings were routed by holy forces. Following the charging troops came the real Archbishop and a divinely appointed elf known to all as the Arbiter. She and Pinthroy kneeled at Kardsten’s side and began to pray. After what felt like forever, a pillar of exquisite light shot down from the heavens and enveloped his body. After a few long moments the light retreated, and there stood a bronze skinned angelic being.

“In life you were known as Kardsten,” the Arbiter spoke. “Now ascended, and blessed by the divine, arise, Cardiel and join the ranks of the Order.”

Cardiel opened his eyes, now a piercing blue. He walked directly toward the crystal that held his sister. 

“Dear sister,” he said as he bent to pick up the shard. “I will always be there for you.” 

Cardiel turned back to the Arbiter.

“I am ready.”

Cardiel’s view tinted gold, and he looked up higher and higher as the gemstone encasing him shrunk down to size. The Arbiter held the siblings, separated only by the crystalline walls of the sacred shards.

“As you were connected in life,” the Arbiter said to them. “So too, will you remain as you continue in service to those deserving of your loyalty.”


To this day, Sicia and Cardiel slumber in their shards, waiting for one worthy of commanding them. Only then will they seek each other out and together, bring fire and justice to bear on their enemies.