I wrote this as part of a journal entery for my Sigil campaign characer, Anya. It turned out rather nice, however, so I decided to post it here as well... just because I'm a big ham and like to get lots of attention :P

To set the stage, this story takes place during a session is which Anya nearly dies at the hands of a Dread Wraith.

For a little more insight into what's going on, it may help to add that Anya is a 1/2 Orc Bar/Clr of Amaunator.

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Blackness. Cold. I'm cold.

There, off in the distance, a light? Yes. It's growing brighter... I can feel the warmth of it on my skin, driving the deadly chill from my body.

I see a man in the light. I cry out, "Papa," but there is no answer. Only the light, growing ever brighter. Soon it completely illuminates the darkness, all I see is the bright light, and at it's center, the man.

"Stand."

The voice is stern, commanding.

"Stand, Anya."

I try but the cold has driven the strength from my body. "I can't."

"Why do you fight?"

The question confuses me. Why do I fight? I can't answer. I don't understand the question.

"Why do you fight, Anya."

I struggle to think. Why? Why do I fight?

"Answer me."

Images emerge from my memory. Mama and Papa, Donia, Kaye, Ta'navin and Tempest, Warsor, Kamaner, Inass, Kellie and Patches, Zileen, Vorlock, Erithin, Nayla, Zerek, Kam, Opeth, Yolion, they pass before me eyes in an instant, and then I know the answer. "I fight for them."

"Why do you fight for these?"

I feel strength begin to return to my body at last. Muscles cold with the touch of death flare with the power of determination. "They are my family. I protect them. I fight for them, even if it means I must die."

"Why die for these?"

I feel the blood of my lineage rush one again through my veins as I cry out, "Because I love them."

"Then stand."

I open my eyes to the darkness of the temple, and raise myself from the ground once more, facing the wraith. I see the hatred in it's eyes, I hear the mocking laughter as it whispers, "Pray, child. Pray."

I feel the full force of the rage enter my blood, the strengths of my father, who's face I see for just an instant before it flickers away and is forgotten. "I'm gonna take you with me," I sneer at the thing as I raise my axe for the final strike, glad in the knowledge that my blow will at least weaken the abomination, and give my friends-- my family-- a chance to fight on.

The axe swings down, and time slows. I see the wraith twist at the last moment, opening a part in it's own insubstatial form through which my axe travels. I see the thing sneer back at me as it reaches out it's cold, dead hand to touch my flesh once more. My last though is not for myself, but for those I have just failed.

I turn to them, I cry for them to flee, knowing that after it has consumed the last of my life it will surely turn for them.

An then I feel it, the cold embrace. Colder than the grave, and I can feel myself falling to the floor. The blackness closes in quickly and I am blind to everything.

Except.

There, a tiny speck, infinately far away. And then a voice, echoing across the void.

"Come."

The blackness fights back against the light, struggling to extingush the pinpoint radiance. The cold bites into my very soul, and I cry out in anguish from the pain, and because I have failed.

"Anya. Come to me."

I fight at the bitter chill, trying to beat it back, but it refuses to let go.

"I am weak, child, I cannot hold it at bay much longer. Come now and live on to protect you family."

As I struggle to move toward the light, my body feels heavy and sluggish. My spirit within feels loose, as if with a single breath it could come free of the constricting flesh. The idea apeals to me. If I lose the flesh, I will travel faster toward the light...

"Resist the temptation to free your soul, child. To do so will spell bane for yourself and for those who's lives you seek to defend."

I trudge onward, the nubness eating away at my senses and the urge to free myself almost unbearable. Slowly, painfully, the light grows brighter, and I again see the figure at it's center. The coldness flees from the light, and I find that I can once again move unhindered, and that my spirit is firmly rooted.

The man, I find, is the source of the light-- or, more appropriatly, he is the light, it streams from him in a gentle but powerful radiance that warms my tortured body and soul. He is wizend and frial, near the limits of both existance and power, but there is a stuborn look to him, as if he could exsist by shear force of will alone.

"You have done well, Anya," he says soflty.

"I failed them," I reply, and hang my head in shame.

"You did not. Your act gave them the time they needed to destroy the evil which threatened them."

He reaches out a hand, frail and weak, but at the same time, full of power. "You are special, Anya. I saw that the moment you were birthed, and I delivered you to those who would prepare you for the path you now must tread. I looked forward to the day you would come to me, and embrace my teachings with your heart, and when that day came, I rejoiced. You are the one who will bring forth the light from the darkness, child. Only by the strength of your hand and the power of your will can this come forth."

I shake my head sadly, not understanding. The only thought in my mind is the fact that I failed those I swore I would protect.

The man gasps then, as if in great pain.

"I grow weak, child, I do not have time to explain more fully. Once you have returned to the lands of the living, seek me in my house. There I will speak to you once more, and set your feet upon the road that leads to your destiny. Be sure that it will lead you to the one you seek to protect above all others."

He then places his hand upon my brow, and I find myself back in the desecrated temple, surrounded by the ones whom I have taken as my own.

Later, I sought out my god in the places I thought he may be found, the sunlit temple, the deck of the ship while the sun beamed from on high, but I did not find him. Only after the minstrations of a healer did the thought dawn on me. I had been seeking him, but not in his house. I needed to find a temple, but there was none dedicated to him in the land I was in.

But, is a temple not merely a structure dedicated to ones own god? An idea enterd my mind then, and I snuck away from the others, back to the ship.

There, I requested, and was granted, a tent. After, I found the spot upon which the sun shone brightest, and there built the structure I required. I hung the symbol of my god over the door of the tent and entered, secure in the knowledge that he would be there, waiting for my visit.

I spoke with him... that is to say I allowed him to show me what he had meant by his words to me. I soon realised his great love for me, and once again gave over my life to him.

Not long after leaving my makeshift temple, a woman of the people of the land approached me, and asked of my order. I gladly shared the message of my god, and she promised to keep it in her heart for the rest of her days. It made me happy to see the light of my god within another soul.

And now I am here, once again beside my family. Zileen plays with Patches and Kellie rests easily at the bar, sharing gossip and drink with Zerek while Yolion sits alone, mending his bowsting. And I, of course, sit at a table in the back, drowsing over a mug of warm milk and remebering the reason I fight.