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Tales From Tristram – Series 1 Ficlets

Chapter Text

Solitude

From the moment the sun dips below the horizon, Tristram becomes Malthael's territory. Not his alone, but it is at least a time when he is free to wander. He relishes the night, and even in the darkness he keeps his cowl raised, all the better to disguise his face. His hair he keeps long for the same reason.

Malthael is a master of shadows, and of hiding. It has always been his mode of operation: to work behind the scenes undetected. Here, it is his survival and his salvation, for the more he passes undetected by the Nephalem, the easier his life becomes.

And bereft of the Pools and the Chalice, he finds his quiet solitude in the evening breeze and the soft chitter of birds. Nothing will replace those immortal moments from before the fracture. His existence had been perfect, once. He had dipped into the knowledge of eternity, seen the threads of wisdom as they wound about creation, and known each decision he made was profound and correct.

He will never regain that tranquility. Such transcendence is beyond the mortal mind. He tries to reach fragments of it, in moments such as these. But eternity is removed from him forever.

Still.

He closes his eyes, and listens, and he feels things as they fall into place.

In the distance, he hears mortal laughter. Comradery. The tavern is full, tonight. What they celebrate, Malthael does not know. Perhaps some day, he will be privy to such things. Perhaps some day, he will reach out, unhesitant, and someone will reach back without a dagger in their fist.

That thought lingers at the back of his mind. Whispers of mortal wisdom, of all he has gleaned in the scarce year he has truly been alive. He cannot regain the omnipotent vision he has lost. But without it, he feels his eyes opened to truths he had been blind to before.

The voices that haunted him in another world resolve and become something more. Individuals, friends. Joy and laughter.

He smiles, slightly. This is as close as he will get to such truths tonight. But for now, for what he needs, it is enough.