Today I was resurrected. Pulled from the void and returned to my mostly rotted corpse. The process was very strange, my body reforming from nothing but dust. Bit by bit shaping into my bones and flesh. Standing in an empty, but great hallway of marble. All I could see was a door at the end and as I approached it I saw an immense courtyard through a series of windows. In the courtyard, I saw twelve pillars made of materials I could not discern and a great oak tree taller than any tree I had ever seen before. In this tree there where five gigantic owls with feathers as white as snow, one of them guarding a nest. As I reached the door at the end of the hallway they let out a series of hoots as if urging me to open the door. Once I did I came face to face with a mirror image of myself and I regained a fragment of my memory. I knew at this instant what I was before I died.
I was a paladin. A guardian of justice and all things pure. I remembered my training, my skills, and my code. Then without really noticing I was in the courtyard in front of the great tree. The owls lay slain by four humongous crows, their blood-soaked talons still embedded in each of the once majestic owl’s breasts. I let out a soft gasp and the crows shifted their black aimless gaze upon me. Then from behind the tree, I noticed a colossal set of black wings unfold in front of a tower. The darkness of the sky began to take a white glow and the temperature began to climb at an alarming rate as the deafening roar of an approaching inferno burst through the marble walls around the courtyard. Before I even had a chance to react the flame tore through me and for the first time in however long since I had died, I felt pain. It passed in an instance and I then awoke in a cell. Surrounded by the others that I could only assume suffered from the same ill fate as I do. An elf dressed in dark leather stood outside of our cells, he told us to remain calm. And that we were once again apart of the realm of the living. He said more than this, but I could not hear his word as I fell into my own mind.
This could not be happening, I am a man of purity and holiness. I thought to myself. What sort of cruel irony would force me to become such a foul creature? I was now one of the creatures that I used to view as an abomination. Then I realized the elf was performing some sort of magic on me as my skin began to reform on the areas of my body where it was missing. HIM! This was his doing! This elf was my tormentor. The foul mage was responsible for my unholy resurrection. I had to free myself from his reach and even though I was restrained by chains I kicked him away from me. I believe I called him a monster or I wanted to. In the heat of the moment, the line between thought and action were blurred together. He then left me and worked his spells onto the others caged with me. There were two elves and one other human that was brought back by this man. As has he fixed the others he told us of his purpose. He was but one man, on a quest to stop some unknown “other” from creating an undead hoard for an army to destroy all of creation and he has been going through these crypts to stop the other’s plan. That is why he resurrected us. So that we could not be used. He said he was going to take us away from here and we didn’t have much time.
One of the others spoke of a vision, it was the same thing that I saw while being resurrected. This made the elf hasten his actions, the visions we had must have been some dark omen. I could see, what I could only imagine was fear in his eyes when he came to free me from my chains. As he directed us away from the cages we all noticed the others that he tried to bring back. They were slumped together, their breathing labored, their bodies mangled and grotesque. The sight of them made me see that not all were worthy of a second chance at life and even though I see myself as a monster I was at least lucky enough to keep my humanity. He then brought us into a guard room where we armed ourselves to escape this hell we “awoke” in. After we armed ourselves I returned to the room we were brought back to life in and knew that I had to put an end to the suffering of the ones not worthy of the second chance. As a paladin, it was my duty. The elf saw me doing this and told me it was not wise to try to save everyone. I replied with it is my duty to try. He believes it will be the end of me, but if I need to I will sacrifice myself to make sure that everyone worthy gets a second chance.
Whether this is my destiny or not, I will live the rest of my undead days for that purpose. Seeing that all those worthy of redemption receive it, and those that do not, well, they will be relieved of the burdens of choice.