The giant translucent spirit stepped off the pedestal, ebbing with blue energy. The twins stood and stepped back, fearful that the spectre before them might punish them for some crime they had inadvertently committed. "No," it replied. "But he is here with us, as are all the fallen Templar."
"Who are you then?" Nurohk asked.
The spirit walked around them in a semicircle, its clothing swirling about like a living thing. It turned to face them, and suddenly it was no longer Jepok's face they saw. It was Laurioch, the banished Templar comrade of Jepok.
In Laurioch's voice the spirit replied, "We... are the light of the Khala. The souls of brave Templar warriors slain over the millennia. And we have come to warn you."
"About the Zerg?" Khorun offered.
"No. They are a great menace you can be assured... but they are only the beginning of a dark tempest that will soon sweep over Aiur and its neighboring star systems. No, there are greater evils at work here. Plotting and scheming... and even unknown to them, their vile deeds and heinous plans are lesser parts of a greater destiny... a dark prophecy told long ago and as ancient as all of your heritage."
"Tell us where to seek this evil and we will gather our forces to crush it!" Khorun said.
The spirit sighed and as it did so, the face of Laurioch shifted, melting away and leaving the visage of Vridus. In his voice the ghost continued. "If only it were that simple, young Zealot."
Nurohk stepped forward. "You say you have come to warn us. If we cannot crush this thing, what is our part in this greater destiny you speak of?"
"That is yet to be decided. There are rules we cannot break, and so the burden falls to you whom we must give warning. The events that are about to take place are already in motion, and have been for a long time. They will affect you and your comrades — past, present and future — with dire consequences," the glowing spirit replied. Its shape changed again into that of a Templar that neither of the twins recognized.
"We can only tell you that it is coming and many of your brethren will soon join us. So many will die..." the spirit said, its voice pained with tragedy. "War is coming between light and dark... The third window is fast approaching and the Ba'afo Met will seek its chance to—"
The spirit's eyes grew wide in horror. "Warn them! Warn them all before it is too—" The spirit went abruptly silent and its face changed again into that of Balzara. "No! We must abide by the rules or it will have already won!"
The spirit approached the twins and laid its ghostly hands on their shoulders. "You must tell no one of our visit. Instead, prepare yourselves for the greatest battle you will ever face. We will give you a sign when the time is right."
"We will fight with every erg of strength we have!" Khorun said as he stood rigidly in his guard stance.
"Or we will die with honor in battle!" Nurohk finished in the same stance, his words echoing on the Archive's curved ceiling.
The two twin Zealots left the Archives in high spirits and with renewed strength, as the spirit watched them go. The ethereal spectre changed shape again, splitting into three Templar elders.
"We have accomplished nothing and the price is too high. We should have told them to warn everyone and damn the consequences," said the first.
"No. We have set our own events in motion to counter those of our enemies. We violate the rules now, and we will lose our advantage in the future," the second replied.
"He is right. We must do what little we can and save our strength for the corruption that is yet to come..." said the third.
An hour later, the twins were relaxing in their nutrient baths, their newly polished armor set carefully on racks lining the walls.
"Khorun, I am uncertain about keeping the vision to ourselves. If some great darkness threatens Aiur, we should warn everyone," Nurohk confided.
"Are you absorbing Korella-juice? The very spirits of the Khala bade us to keep it to ourselves. We cannot dishonor ourselves by thinking we know more than they," Khorun replied adamantly.
"But you heard one of them was in disagreement. Perhaps even they cannot see the future clearly..."
"And you can?" Khorun snorted.
"But nothing! We will stay silent until the spirits give us the sign that was promised. We have been given a great responsibility and questioning the very reasoning of the living Khala is heresy! I will not talk about this any more with you," Khorun said, rising from his bath.
Still dripping with bath solution, Khorun grabbed his armor from the racks and stormed out of the room, leaving Nurohk alone and disheartened.
The Antioch Chronicles™ © 1998, Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. All rights reserved. The Antioch Chronicles™ trademark and associated logos are the exclusive property of Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. Characters and distinctive likenesses thereof, character names, item names, place names, named events, artwork and all other related material not disclosed herein are protected under the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any reproduction, retransmission, or unauthorized use herein is prohibited without express written permission.
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