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Love and Wisdom

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    Alexandra, the powerful nephalem wizard, prepared herself for the difficult battle that awaited her past the wall of darkness. She was ready to stop Malthael and bring an end to his slaughter. Yet, she couldn't forget what Imperius had said to her before: "Malthael is my brother. I fought a thousand battles by his side and I care not that he seeks to destroy you and your kind." Imperius started. "But my brother has grown sick and he must be put down for his own sake. Yet I have not the heart to do this." For the first time, it sounded as though Imperius was hurt. All of his normal confidence and pride was gone from his tone, and it sounded as though it was replaced by sadness. Alexandra was not fond of Imperius but after he said those words, she couldn't help but feel sorry for him.

If there was a way, Alexandra was going to redeem Malthael. Alexandra took in a deep breath and stepped into the shrouded arena. Malthael stood in the center of the room, the Black Soulstone in his gloved hand. Malthael slowly looked up at Alexandra. "So... It ends here," Malthael said, his voice void of emotion, or so Alexandra thought. Alexandra drew her wand. "It's not too late, Malthael. You can stop all this and return to the High Heavens." Alexandra said. Malthael tilted his head. "Return? So I can die by my brothers' and sister's hands instead of your own? No, I would rather die by your hands than 'his'..." Malthael said, clutching the soulstone, causing it to crack.

Alexandra lowered her wand. Malthael was in pain and it sounded like he wanted to die all along. Perhaps the massacre of Westmarch was just a ruse. What caused such great pain, Alexandra wondered. Alexandra walked up to Malthael, yet not close enough that he could attack her. "What was the real reason you left the Heavens?" Alexandra asked. Malthael looked down at her in question. "I found pages that described your experiences and for a while, I believed them, but now... Now it sounds like those aren't true." Malthael paused for a long moment. What was the point of telling the nephalem anything? She was sent to kill him and yet, he felt like he had to tell her. "I left to find the World Stone," Malthael said. That was the honest truth but only half of it. Alexandra raised an eyebrow. "And? You sound like you have more to tell." Alexandra said. "And... I didn't want to burden Imperius. After Inarius and Lilith stole the World Stone, I realized something in me. I can not explain it fully, but if Imperius were to ever leave me behind... I would not be able to take it. I would lose my mind." Malthael explained. Alexandra's eyes widened. It sounded like Malthael was fond of Imperius, more so than just a brother or comrade.

"So, you left and set your mind on the World Stone so you wouldn't- couldn't think of Imperius -but why would you attack Westmarch and kill everyone?" Alexandra asked. "So that someone like you could end this torment. Even with the loss of the World Stone and the possibility to end the Eternal War filling my mind, Imperius was still there. I can still see him and it hurts that I can't be there, with him." Malthael clutched his sickle. "Please, nephalem, end my torment. Strike me down." Malthael pleaded. Alexandra stood there, shocked at what she had just heard. "No. I won't do that, Malthael." Alexandra said, putting away her wand. "Why not?! I killed thousands of your kind! You should hate me, want to end me! Take the Black Soulstone! I would gladly be rid of it if it would convince you to strike me down!" Malthael broke his normal calm composure and shoved the Black Soulstone into Alexandra's arms.

Alexandra took the soulstone and put it aside, gently laying it on the ground. She then turned back to Malthael. "I said I won't kill you, Malthael." Alexandra insisted. Malthael grew impatient and drew his sickles. "Then I will force you." Malthael lunged at Alexandra but the wizard used her spells to throw him back. Malthael crashed against the veiled wall and slumped down. He clenched his fists and smashed them against the rock floor. "Why...?" Malthael asked, staring down at the floor. He saw Alexandra's feet appear in front of him and looked up to see an outstretched hand, towards him. "Please, Malthael, come back to the Heavens with me. I promise I will make them understand." Alexandra said, smiling at him. Malthael didn't understand why she would show him such kindness, but perhaps, it was for the best. Malthael took her hand and the darkness, shrouding the arena, lifted, and the souls were released.

~~~~~~

    Tyrael and Imperius waited for Alexandra outside of the Pandemonium portal, in the High Heavens. When Alexandra stepped through the portal, Tyrael gave a sigh of relief but that was soon replaced with a shocked look. She led Malthael, by the hand, through the portal. Tyrael drew his sword, El'Druin and Imperius drew his spear, Solarion. "Alexandra, what are you doing? Malthael is dangerous. Where is the Black Soulstone?" Tyrael asked. Alexandra let go of Malthael's hand, for a moment and revealed the Black Soulstone to Tyrael. She handed it to him and then grasped Malthael's hand once more. "It's alright, Tyrael. Please, trust in me. Malthael wishes no more harm to anyone. He wishes to come back to the Angiris Council and repent for the sins he has committed. Right, Malthael?" Alexandra looked back up to Malthael. Malthael nodded in agreement.

Imperius wasn't about to believe it so easily, however. Imperius teleported to be in front of Malthael and brought Solarion to Malthael's neck. "What- Imperius, no!" Alexandra tried to defend Malthael but was stopped when Malthael, signaled her not to. "It's alright. I deserve this." Malthael said softly. Imperius moved Solarion closer to Malthael's neck. To a point when it was gently touching his neck. "Why did you attack the Heavens?" Imperius asked. Malthael was silent, a silence that said he was confused and shocked that Imperius would ever ask such a thing. "I would never attack the Heavens... I could never." Malthael said. "Your reapers attacked the Heavens to destroy the Pandemonium portal. Did you not send them?" Imperius asked. "I told them to stay away from the Heavens. No matter what happens, I told them to never set foot in the Heavens. Brother, please, believe me..." Malthael pleaded. Imperius stared Malthael down for a long time until he finally moved Solarion away from Malthael's neck. Imperius turned from Malthael. "You will be judged by the Angiris Council. If we find that you should live, then so be it." Imperius said, before teleporting away.


    Malthael walked into the Angiris Council hall. Once, long ago, he stood up there, on those pedestals with his fellow Archangels, judging what to do with the sinners. This time, however, he was the sinner and he was the one being judged for the things he had done. One by one, he looked up at the ones he had called family. Even, Tyrael, who was now mortal, was standing above him. Malthael sighed and waited for his punishment. Imperius stepped forward and looked down at Malthael. "Malthael, you have committed crimes against the Heavens. Although it may not have been your order, your reapers, soldiers under your command, attacked the High Heavens and tried to kill angel forces." Imperius said. Next, Tyrael stepped forward. "We have discussed amongst ourselves what is to be your fate but we find it deemed reasonable for you to have one say before we make our decision final," Tyrael said. Finally, Auriel and Itherael stepped forward. "If there is anything you wish to say that could change our decision, speak now," Auriel said. Itherael simply stared at Malthael, there was no need for him to say anything that had already been spoken.

Malthael's hands trembled as he stood there. Alexandra told him that he had to tell Imperius how he felt about him and why he had done all those terrible deeds. Malthael looked up at Imperius and straightened out his back. Now was the time, no more running and no more hiding. He had to tell him. "The real reason as to why I left, wasn't because of the World Stone or the chance to end the Eternal War. No, those were merely distractions. I left because of you, Imperius." Malthael could feel his voice wavering as he spoke. Imperius flinched and took a step back. "Before Inarius and Lilith left to pursue their 'paradise', I had a chance to talk with Inarius. The things he said, I didn't understand them. As time went on, however, I realized I felt the same about you, Imperius. After that, however, I was afraid that I would fall to madness from these... feelings. And so... I left." Malthael finally said it, and yet, it felt like no one quite understood. Imperius was taken aback, he didn't understand what Malthael truly meant and was unsure how to take it.

"I'm sorry, but can I just say something?" Alexandra suddenly walked into the hall and stood next to Malthael. Imperius shot his gaze to Tyrael. "What is the meaning of this, Tyrael?!" Imperious barked. Tyrael first looked at Alexandra and then back to Imperius, shocked. "Brother, believe me. I told her to wait outside until we were done. I had nothing to do with this." Tyrael said.

Imperius looked back down at Alexandra and teleported to her with Solarion drawn. "Get out, nephalem. This doesn't concern you." Imperius said, his voice filled with anger. Alexandra glared at Imperius but soon replaced it with a smile. "I just want to explain something," Alexandra said. "Let the nephalem speak, Imperius. Her knowledge will be most helpful." Itherael said. Imperius looked up at Ithereal, who looked down at him with an all-knowing gaze. Imperius stepped back and teleported back up to his pedestal. "Then make it quick, nephalem," Imperius growled. Alexandra smiled and nodded.

"What Malthael was describing was something that has never happened in the Heavens before. It happened multiple times on the battlefields of Pandemonium but never in the Heavens. This thing, act, feeling- is Love. Malthael loves you, Imperius. More than a comrade; more than a brother; more than another Archangel. Malthael loves you with every ounce of his being and wants to be with you, always. He is filled with fear when he thinks that someone might take you away from him. He gets sad when he thinks that you might leave him behind. He didn't understand it because he has never felt it before." Alexandra explained.

Imperius looked at Alexandra, questioningly, and then back to Malthael. Malthael had averted his gaze from Imperius, trying to hide the guilt in him. "What is this 'Love'? Why would it cause Malthael to run from me and the Heavens?" Imperius asked. "Love is the most powerful feeling in the world. For us, humans, it can decide whether we die early or live a longer, happier life. Yes, it can drive some insane but it can also heal it as well. It can save lives and help those who have lost their way. Love is what you feel when you like someone so much, you can't imagine living without them. Love can drive you to the edge of the cliff and make you jump, but it can also stop you. Malthael felt that if he had stayed, his thoughts would be filled with nothing but you. He thought he would become reckless and endanger everyone. He thought he would become your burden. That's why he left. He felt like it would be better to die than to get in your way. That's why he did all of this. So, that I, a nephalem, would come to kill him. He never wanted to cause you pain, Imperius, and he still doesn't." Alexandra said.

She stepped back, away from Malthael. Malthael fell to his knees. The truth was out. This was the end; this was 'his' end. Imperius teleported down and walked up to Malthael. Malthael watched as Imperius approached him and knelt down in front of him. "If this is true, Malthael - if you truly feel this 'love' - then tell me, yourself," Imperius said. Malthael felt like his entire world was about to come crashing down around him. He felt like he was about to die, right there, at Imperius' feet.

"I love you, Imperius," Malthael said. There was a moment of silence that struck Malthael to his core, as he waited for a response. Suddenly, the ground trembled and it felt as though the Heavens were in the middle of an earthquake. Once the room had stopped shaking, a peaceful song could be heard from above. To Alexandra, the song sounded like innocence had been captured in a tune. "A new Archangel is being born. Everyone, to the Crystal Arch!" Imperius commanded. Malthael didn't move; he didn't dare move, as he didn't feel worthy of doing so. Imperius grabbed Malthael's arm and wrapped it around his chest. "That includes you, Malthael." Imperius teleported both himself and Malthael to the Arch. Tyrael ran down the steps and signaled Alexandra to follow him. "Let's go. This is something you won't want to miss." Tyrael exclaimed.

~~~~~~

    Alexandra ran alongside Tyrael as they climbed their way to the Crystal Arch. When they arrived, the rest of the Angiris Council were already standing around the Arch, which was playing a peaceful song. The song grew louder as a bright light began to shine. Alexandra looked on in awe. She was the first human to ever witness the 'birthing' of an Archangel.

Everyone waited patiently as the song played on. Malthael looked up at Imperius, who was gently holding his hand. As the lowest notes played, the ground trembled, as if to add effect to the already amazing song. Finally, the song ended and from the light, emerged a small angel with tiny wings and a long staff in her small hands. Normally, new angels were adult-sized suits of armor but this new Archangel was very small and short, around the size of a 7-year-old child. The small angel's weapon was a staff, which was much larger than herself, reaching up to Imperius' height. The little angel looked around her, gazing at the people who surrounded her until she saw Malthael and Imperius. She stared at them for a long while before letting out a small giggle.

Auriel floated over to her and knelt down. "Tell us, little one, what is your name and why has Anu sent you to us?" Auriel asked. "My name is Amoriel, the Archangel of Love. Um..." Amoriel paused, taking a moment to look at the bigger angel's big, glorious wings and then looking back at her own, small, underdeveloped wings. "Why are your wings so big and mine are so small?" Amoriel asked, her voice was filled with sadness. Auriel picked Amoriel up and held her in her arms. "We do not know, little one, but Anu made you and sent you to us for a reason. We are filled with joy that you are here. So do not fret, the answers will come in time." Auriel said.

Amoriel hugged Auriel and again, looked back at Imperius and Malthael. Imperius stepped forward but did not let go of Malthael's hand. "What is it, Amoriel? Why are you so intrigued by myself and Malthael?" Imperius asked. Amoriel asked for Auriel to release her and walked over to them. "It's because I can see your love for one another. I mean, you all love each other very much but between you two, it's stronger. I feel like I could soar through the skies when I feel the love you two share." Just as Amoriel said that her tiny wings grew to the same size as the other Archangels. Her wings were delicate and flowed at the mercy of the wind. Their color matched her aspect; pale pink with bright pink streaks throughout her wings.

Everyone gasped at the sight of it. Amoriel turned to the rest of them. "What?" Amoriel asked. Itherael stepped forward. "It appears that your power is directly linked to the love that is shared in the Heavens and those that surround you," Itherael explained. Amoriel looked up at her own wings and realized that they had grown. "Oh. How wonderful." Amoriel said with a small giggle. Amoriel floated up and flew around a bit before landing in front of Tyrael.

She tilted her head as she inspected him. "You're an angel too, or used to be. And... you also loved someone, but they died, didn't they?" Amoriel asked, sadly looking at Tyrael. Tyrael smiled and knelt down, giving Amoriel a pat on the shoulder. "Yes, they did, but it is alright-"
"They can come back. They will, one day." Amoriel said. She then turned to Alexandra and tilted her head multiple times before speaking. "What are you? You aren't an angel. What are you doing up here? Where did you get that pretty wand? That stuff on your head is also pretty. What is it? You are really pretty. I like you." Amoriel said, hugging Alexandra's leg. Alexandra was taken aback by Amoriel's string of questions.

"Well, to start, thank you and I like you too. Secondly, I'm a human wizard and I came here with Malthael to tell Imperius that he loved him. I found my wand in a chest on one of my adventures and that stuff on my head is called hair. Hair is something humans have to keep their head warm. Does that answer your questions?" Alexandra asked. Amoriel released Alexandra and nodded. She then walked back to Auriel, who picked her up again and wrapped her in Al'maiesh's embrace. Amoriel held her staff tightly the entire time, but now snuggled in Al'maiesh, Amoriel lost grip of her staff, which fizzled into light particles and disappeared. Amoriel soon fell asleep after dropping her staff and held onto Auriel's robes, like a child holding onto their mother.

Auriel quietly left with Amoriel, taking her somewhere quiet to rest. Itherael teleported down from the Arch and Tyrael guided Alexandra down and out of the Heavens.

Imperius stayed behind with Malthael, who was clutching Imperius' hand tightly. Imperius turned to him and rested a hand on Malthael's darkened face. Malthael trembled under Imperius' touch but hoped that Imperius did not notice. Suddenly, Malthael swore he could hear his own song being played from the Arch. He went over to one of the spines and when he touched it, he could feel pieces of his very being returned to him. Pieces that he felt were lost and gone forever. Malthael fell to his knees and succumbed to the overwhelming feeling that the Arch threw onto him.

Imperius watched as Malthael's grey, twisted wings turned back into their original purple. Once the transformation was completed, Malthael was blasted away from the Arch and laid on the ground, utterly exhausted. Imperius went to his side and picked him up, holding him in his arms. Malthael looked up at Imperius and reached up to place a hand on Imperius' helmet. Imperius sat down, laying Malthael in his lap, and took off his own helmet. Malthael hesitated for a moment but Imperius grabbed Malthael's hand and placed it on his own cheek. Malthael rubbed Imperius' cheek with his thumb until pushing himself up to kiss Imperius on the lips. Imperius waited until Malthael was finished before he returned the kiss. They never said a word to each other; they never needed to. They already knew what they meant to each other.