Eltharion the Grim lay dead and lifeless on the shattered ground. Heinrich wondered once more how many ancient champions of immense power would fall to the Firewind Blade rather than fighting the invading forces of Chaos. Eltharion had shown a surprising amount of faith in Teclis and Tyrion before he fell; however, from what little Heinrich had read of the Grim Warden’s campaigns against the greenskins and the Dark Elves, it was Eltharion who seemed the superior general. And so, it was with some remorse that Heinrich added Eltharion’s name to the list of wasted resources better spent against the tides of Chaos beneath Volkmar, Orion, and Durthu.
Nearby, the fallen form of the Flamespyre Phoenix smoldered and faded as well, though something was different there. The resurrection of Nagash was a brutish warping of Dhar that set the Winds of Magic howling, but around the flickering Phoenix, the Red Wind of Aqshy began to surge. The Firewind Blade in Heinrich’s hand pulled in his grasp and led him to the embers of the Phoenix. The vampire knelt unconsciously and was wrapped in the flames that surged around the firebird’s ashes.
Aqshy roared in a torrent that blossomed into an explosion of fire, light, and life. The Phoenix was suffused with magic and reborn in a blazing conflagration. Heinrich, at the center of this ritual of rebirth, drank deeply of the magical fire, light, and life. As the phoenix burst back to life, so too did Heinrich shatter the curse of undeath that had shackled him to his moving corpse. Life once again burst forth in both creatures. Their eyes blazed with fire, but also understanding. The Phoenix, an ancient creature of fire and wisdom, was named Al’ar, and was birthed in the fires of the Shrine of Asuryan. Heinrich knew Al’ar, it too knew him. Al’ar saw the heart of the Starborn blazing within the reborn human, and felt a shared destiny with him.
Even when the inferno subsided, the two reborn creatures of fire continued to regard each other as their souls were laid bare before the other. Al’ar was a fierce opponent of Chaos and had worked hard to usher the excess power of Aqshy through the Waystones and prevent the Daemons of Chaos from being able to take physical form. As Aenarion had born the Cursed Sword of Khaine against the war host of Chaos, Al’ar saw the truth of how Heinrich had used whatever weapons he could to destroy the forces of Chaos as well.
The accord between them blazed as brightly as their fires of their nature. The conflagration of their souls was made all the more surreal with the ritual of Nagash’s resurrection as the backdrop. The Lord of the Dead would soon walk the mortal realm again, and here they stood, two living creatures with souls of radiant fire.
The road ahead would be treacherous and fraught with danger from all sides, including Heinrich’s erstwhile allies. But by the cold white light of logic or fiery red blaze of passion all obstacles would be scattered as ashes before the ascending Starborn.