Deva Invoker of Amaunator
Death was his lover. They had shared that most intimate embrace more times than he could count, let alone remember. This time, when his eyes opened, that familiar sense of unfamiliarity was almost comforting. Blinking in confusion, Dorian opened his eyes to see muscular framed male figure looking down on him. Whoever this man was, he was obviously not mortal; as he shone like the sun, yet cast no shadows. Dorian sat up slowly and laughed. “Well, you are obviously not Kelemvor, to greet me in such form, since the Deva are outside his cycle. Tell me, stranger, who are you?”
“Dorian, you seem out of sorts. Do you not recall what brought you here?” the stranger asked, his voice powerful, and quiet, all at the same time.
Dorian blinked in confusion. “I can only assume I had yet another tryst with my old lover, Death.”
The man-light laughed, not a mocking sound, but a genuinely amused laugh. “Oh Dorian, I can already tell that you will be memorable even for me. Perhaps there are things more ignoble than death for one such as yourself: you committed deeds more terrible, and now you forget. You are alone and bereft, Dorian, with a world full of gods clamoring for you blood. If not your immortal soul.”
Dorian blinked, recalling nothing of his most recent life, yet strangely certain this man was telling the truth. “Immortal I may be, but you have powers that can cloud my mind.”
“Yet, I use none of them.”
Dorian knew it to be true immediately. “In past lives, I have slaughtered the reavers of the innocent, the marauders of nations. I butchered the priestesses of Lloth for their endless wars and murders. I have spit in the face of Bane himself, and have served lifetimes in The Harpers. I have never been a friend to evil.”
The man-light seemed to be waiting expectantly, but when he said nothing more he replied, “I do not consider you an enemy. Yet, your last death came at the hands of my church. You had been tricked into killing the top members of my clergy. Not just my churches, but the temples of every God and Goddess in the Realms, have seen butchery in their holy places, committed by you.”
Dorian flinched. He had once possessed a wellspring of divine power, he knew this, yet he could find none. He had memories of wielding powers immense enough to make Gods shudder. Yet, now, he felt nothing but a vast emptiness.
“You are bereft.”
Dorian stood up and glared.
“You are broken.”
“Enough,” Dorian whispered.
“And you have more enemies than ever, not just the usual members of the dark powers. No, Dorian the forces of Light are also most displeased with you, I’m certain. In fact, the only reason they do not hunt you now, is because of me.”
Simmering anger boiled within Dorian, but he was not one to lose control. “Tell me then, what I have done that is so terrible?”
The man-light stood there looking at Dorian, saying nothing. Minutes passed. Finally, he said, “I will tell you nothing, Dorian, for you will not believe. I know not the entirety of the tale, only hearsay. No, Dorian I cannot do that.”
“Yet killing me would be futile.”
“When did I say I would kill you? You are too valuable for me to kill.”
Visibly stunned, Dorian asked “How so?”
“I have been without an agent of suitable power for ages, Dorian. It is true; in your last life you slew the greatest group that had ever served me. I also know that you were tricked, and used by Cyric. You were unknowingly using one of his holy relics, unaware of how it twisted your mind. That is your only redemption now. That is why I give you this one chance, and offer my protection. You are empty, you need power. Accept my investiture of power, Dorian. You know how to use such strength, already.”
“I am a Sorcerer,” Dorian said aloud. “Yes, I am.”
“No, Dorian, you were. Now you are nothing. But you could be more.”
The words were without malice, yet the truth behind them stung. The truth that he had enemies, more enemies than he had imagined, resonated as well. “I may not have power, yet I am still something. You would not be here now, if you did not feel at least that much. What is it that you require of me?”
“I require but one thing from you Dorian. The power of Amaunator is that of Sun, Law, and Time. In every incarnation you have delivered you have upheld the law, brought light into dark, and preserved the balance of time and the seasons. These traits please me. I wish to offer you a chance to redeem your twisted deeds. You cannot undo, what was done, but I can give you the chance to prove yourself a force of good, again, to the Gods and Goddesses of the Realms. What I want of you, Dorian is your word that you will accede to three demands from me. I will call on you three times, Dorian, no more, no less. After the third, the investiture is yours to do with what you will. If you choose to continue working in my name after those three demands are met, then greater favor and influence yet, may be earned.”
Dorian stared at the man-light, no, the avatar of Amaunator. “You still do not choose to manifest yourself fully. Why?”
“Or fear,” Dorian said wryly. “You have me captive in your realm, under duress.”
“I do not hold you captive Dorian, we are in the alley behind an inn, in a mortal city. I do not fear you, though, I do perhaps fear for you..”
“I truly have failed at something grand, something horrifying. I cannot remember what, but some part of me knows this to be a truth.”
“Oh you have, Dorian. You have my word on that. The Gods themselves will love you or fear you, most will likely want to kill you, but they will dare not traffic with you.”
Dorian took a deep breath. He would need the powers of the sun god. He could rely not on Amaunator alone, yet that was his only choice now. He remembered tiny, random details of alien powers, those that typically did not meddle directly in the realms. If he was truly a hunted man he would need them all. That was later, this was now. He had a choice to make.
He knelt before the avatar. “I accept.”
The Avatar of Amaunator reached behind his back and pulled a bronze and crystal staff from thin air. “This was the staff of my former High Invoker that you slew. It lacks the power it once held, but has long been used by my church to channel their faith, which will make it much easier for you now. You have wielded weapons both greater and paltrier, but perhaps none so ironic.”
Dorian accepted the staff offered by the avatar. He swung a few test strokes. He felt the radiant power of Amaunator surge through him. Where once the divine might he had channeled had been akin to a torrent of a raging river, he felt nothing now but a steady stream. “I am not what I was.”
“Not yet,” the avatar confirmed. “But you can be again.”
“And perhaps more,” Dorian said with a smile. The Avatar flinched. Despite his insubstantiality, Dorian sensed a current of trepidation from him. “Do you regret your choice?”
“Do you regret yours, Dorian?”
They regarded each other in silence.
“Time will tell, but I think, for now, this is the right choice.” he said.
“”Then”, the avatar said, “shed what you once were Dorian. Arise Dorian Lightborn, Deva of a thousand lifetimes, three times my enemy, three times my ally, three times my indebted and now my Invoker as long as you should live in this lifetime.”
“As long as I should live.” He smiled, as a portal that appeared to go to Baldur’s Gate opened in front of him. “Do you not want to wish me good fortune? That I might slay a thousand screaming enemies of your church, people, or your kingdom?”
“Oh Dorian, you need no luck for that,” the Avatar said before disappearing.