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"Who be you," Malika whispered once more, her head leaning still against the stranger's chest. "Orthael you may be. Paladin you may be. But you be not like the others who would have come before, the others who would have seen me yet not seen me. They be complacent and indifferent." Finally she looked up, looked him in the eye. "You see me," she said with a kind of awe in her voice.
And see her he did. He took a long, quiet moment to look her over. She was spattered with blood and gore, but he was amazed to see that not a single drop of it was hers. Whoever this girl was, she was a master swordsman - and so young! But there was no doubt that she was the reason he had been drawn here.
"I am Orthael," he said again, "servant of the All-Consuming Fire, and I have come to lend you aid, if you would have it, my child." He saw her features tighten at the word 'child,' and he winced inwardly. No, he thought. This one is no child.
Malika took two deep breaths, then said, "I accept your aid, holy man."
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There was a silent explosion of glittering light that swept through the forest in a radiant blast.
…Aspects of Divinity
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