[Dark Prophecy][Chapter II]

Written by ZeusLegion. Edited by Auspex Turmalis.

Table of Contents

Chapter II

Khrillian closed the book and placed it back in its case. Gather together what? Khrillian wondered. If only I could ask him now. "Laurioch, why did you not warn me?" he projected aloud in exasperation.

"He had his reasons," came a voice from behind. Startled, Khrillian turned to see a shimmering apparition hovering in his library chambers. The color of Khrillian's skin paled in fright, as dread and disbelief gripped him like a vice.

The translucent spirit waved a hand, and a calm feeling flooded Khrillian's body. "Do not fear us," said the ghost. "There are worse things than the light of the dead to be afraid of."

"What do you want with me?" Khrillian asked.

"We have come to help," the spectre explained. "We tried once before with your comrades, the twin warriors." The spirit split into three separate forms, each one the image of a long dead warrior.

"And we failed miserably," said another spirit with a mixture of anger and sadness.

"Our enemies and yours are one step ahead of us, and with our powers waning we could not foresee the tragic events that have recently occurred."

"What have you come to warn me of? This Baafo'Met creature?" Khrillian asked. Moloch was right, he thought. It is coming for us.

"The Baphomet is more ancient than your entire race. It has powers you cannot imagine and its only desire is to be free of its prison, so that it may unleash that power. It will do anything it can to escape, and it has many agents willing to aid it in that task," said the third spirit.

"What the Baafo'Met and its minions do not realize, however, is that our people are gifted with the Sight," said the first.

"It cannot detect nor comprehend our inherent psionic abilities. It is unaware that we possess foreknowledge of its schemes, and that we are able to aid you with that knowledge. That is your edge," said the second.

"What do you want me to do?" Khrillian asked.

"Warn your friend Moloch. It is he who is in the most danger now," the spirit replied. "And beware the Judicator... for his path bears the greatest shadow of uncertainty."

Moloch, Khrillian thought as he hurried through the halls. Moloch is in danger.

He had known his fellow Dark Templar for most of his life and the thought was alien to him. Moloch had survived great personal and emotional loss. He had conquered every enemy he had ever faced, save one. It was not always easy and he had suffered a great deal, but Moloch was a survivor, and the notion that he could be harmed — and perhaps even worse — made Khrillian feel sick and hollow inside. He had always considered his fellow Dark Templar as being the opposite of himself. Where he was buried in books reading about the lives of ancient heroes, Moloch had lived such a life himself. This thought brought on a startling revelation to Khrillian: Heroes die, he thought. He picked up his pace.

Beware the Judicator, they had said. Out of six Protoss warriors, two were dead, and another missing — likely a traitor. Moloch could be next to die, and Turmalis... Khrillian paused, contemplating the thought. He had liked the Judicator from the moment he had met him, and he had thought it evident that Turmalis felt the same way when he had appointed Khrillian his Chief Advisor. But the spirits had said to be wary of Turmalis, and he had neglected to ask why. Now the unasked question gnawed at him. He couldn't imagine the Judicator as a traitor. It was a preposterous idea, but then he remembered the Judicator's odd behavior after the death of the twin warriors. It was as if the light of his very soul had left his body. It was clear he was very disturbed by the deaths of his comrades and recent events, but there was something he had been holding back.

The usually detached Judicator had slipped during the earlier conversation when Moloch had offered his condolences, and Khrillian had unequivocally heard emotional anguish barely being contained as the Judicator struggled to retain his stoic front. As Moloch had explained about his own loss long ago — perhaps his way of trying to comfort Turmalis — the Judicator had seemed lost in his own world, asking frivolous questions and barely paying attention. It was as if he had been drugged and was just going through the motions. At the time, Khrillian had thought it was just shock, but now he wondered if it had been something more.

He was still wondering that when he turned a corner and ran headfirst into a dark shape that knocked him to the floor on impact. Looking down at him, the shadow offered him a hand.

"What is wrong?" Moloch asked, lifting his friend up.

"Moloch... what I am about to tell you, I scarcely believe myself," Khrillian replied.

"I will believe it," Moloch stated. "I sensed something odd emanating nearby. What was it?"

Khrillian explained what had happened, and about the thoughts that had been gnawing at his mind.

In his dimly lit chambers, Judicator Turmalis sat silent, watching thin beams of light penetrating from a shaded window, turning shadows on his walls into what his mind imagined to be any number of horrifying images. He imagined two of the shadows as Khorun and Nurohk, impaling Zerglings by the dozens only to be surrounded by acid-spewing Hydralisks. He imagined their last words, as their flesh melted away and their insides poured out, as if liquefied.

He awoke from his imaginings and touched his face to find it was wet, and stared for a moment at the tears he had wiped away.

He then accessed a communications terminal and waved his hand over a series of crystals, until the appropriate channel had been accessed. A familiar face dialed into focus.

"Judicator Turmalis? I am honored. What brings you to call me here?" the voice questioned.

"Khorun and Nurohk are dead," Turmalis replied matter-of-factly.

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