The war for Vallor was a war of faith. Many soldiers and officers went into battle believing they were performing a holy act. Amongst them was also Aurora Corentyne. A girl from a noble family, who had chosen the path of a warrior. Beauty, the connections of her family, as well as genuine talent helped her quickly rise through the ranks to the position of a commanding officer. But this made her a target for enemy attack. Saboteurs from the Vallorian Guild of Shadows arranged an explosion in an imperial legionary camp. Aurora survived, but lost her sight.
The girl assumed that her life was over. A blind man can neither fight, nor lead others into battle. Her family turned away from her, for now she could neither bring them glory in battle, nor marry well. The flame of faith in her soul died out.
– My lady, I beg of you, you must eat! – The old maid, brought in from the overseas lands of the Holy Empire, was the only one who cared for Aurora.
– Leave me, Halissa. Emrys himself turned away from me.
– Then you must beg Aria for mercy.
– Do you mock me? Her followers are heretics. They are an abomination to Emrys.
– Forgive me, mistress. I am but a humble servant and is it not my place to judge such matters, but many do speak of the healing magic of her priests. So why not try, at least, if you say that Emrys turned his back to you?
– As you would have it. I have no strength to argue with you. But what could they possibly do? Grant me new eyes?
– I do not know, mistress. I shall summon them.
– Be it as you say, Halissa. You have cared for me my entire life. I trust that you wish me only good.
Desperation can push one to do many things. Sometimes foolish, sometimes heroic. And in Aurora’s case – fateful. The old maid left the room and Aurora began praying. She did not think whether it would help her or not. She spoke neither to Emrys, nor Aria. She merely prayed from all her heart so that her suffering may end.
The door to her room squeaked.
– Tell me, child. – said the newcomer. – Do you wish to be healed?
Aurora did not see the person speaking to her.. She did not know whether it was a man or a grypharim. Perhaps it was another creature altogether. She could tell neither the sex, nor the age by the voice.
– Of course I wish it. – The girl replied.
– I feel that your heart longs for something else. – For a second, it seemed to Aurora that the speaker was a woman, after all. – Be honest.
– I long for… An answer. Why did Emrys abandon me? Was the path I chose wrong? Where did sin against him? – Aurora opened her blind eyes widely and saw a figure of light amidst absolute darkness. It was a vision not of this world. She realized in horror that she was speaking to a god. Aria herself came to her prayer.
– You path was not false, child. And you committed no sin. You say Emrys abandoned you, but did he even know of your existence? For the first time in your life, you pray from your heart. And I shall answer your prayer.
The vision took a step towards the girl and stretched out a hand to the girl’s eyes.
When the maid returned with a priest from the church of Aria, Aurora was sitting on her bed. Her armour was strapped on and her eyes were wrapped with a wide band.
– You were right, Halissa. – Said the girl, without turning to the newcomers. – Aria can heal. I see more than I had asked for. I see Truth. We cannot continue sitting idly in the back. A great war with darkness awaits us. I can sense it coming.