For a long moment Marcellus could only stare upward at the statue. He kept himself from double checking the grimoire he’d stolen from the temple; he knew he’d done everything perfectly. Yet despite all his efforts nothing greeted him in the moonlit silence, save for the distant baying of dogs. The legend of the angel of vengeance was only that: a legend.
His heart fell. So much had been riding on this spirit of vengeance that he hadn’t even considered an alternative if he couldn’t awaken her. Marcellus hung his head and turned, sitting on the pedestal that the statue stood on. He gazed out on the city that had wronged him and let out a long sigh.
“What did I do wrong?” he asked the empty night for the thousandth time.
“Nothing,” said a strong female voice from far above him.
Marcellus jerked to his feet and turned, backing away rapidly. His fear turned to glee as he looked at the statue. Or what had been a statue. For the first time in millennia it was moving.
The statue had changed from its unidentifiable stone to what simply appeared to be an extravagantly dressed warrior. She leaned forward on her pedestal toward Marcellus as a thousand years’ worth of dirt fell from her shoulders. Impossibly, her massive four-split cape billowed out behind her from a wind that seemingly only affected her.
“You’re real!” Marcellus exclaimed as her massive wings spread out, shaking briefly like a massive eagle that could pick up a horse as easily as a mouse. Her strange helmet had no slits for her eyes to use, but there was no doubt she was looking at him as she leaned. Into his very soul. Her eyes were surely the size of his entire body.
“As is your rage,” said the freed angel’s piercing voice as she nodded, indicating the three bodies Marcellus had sacrificed that night that lay not far away. “Even knowing my mission, the cleaning of this world, you still would summon me?”
He could only nod rapidly, fighting his urge to fall to one knee. He had sacrificed too much for this moment to not stand proud in its completion. Distantly the wolves howled, and if Marcellus’s view hadn’t been blocked he would have seen rapidly gathering, swirling, storm clouds.
“They’ve taken everything from me!” Marcellus cried out, pointing at the nigh-endless city spread out down the hill. It was lit by the moon, save for the rare fire that could be seen in the night. “Smite me if you will but unleash your wrath on those below until this city is ground to dust!”
Kayle leaned forward, setting one massive hand on the ground for balance, and Marcellus steeled his soul for what was to come. For the first time in his life he refused to blink in the face of danger. He did not turn away as her helmeted head approached him. His legs quaked but his soul remained strong as he felt her silently pass judgment on him.
“Until the sun rises,” she said after a long moment, her voice booming and causing the distant wolves to screech and panic, “Our vengeance is the same.”
There was no expression he could discern, but he sensed there was a grim smile behind the helmet. One of her massive hands laid down, palm up, next to Marcellus and without any hesitation he climbed onto the massive palm. Despite his resolve he couldn’t help but cry out as Kayle stood to her full height and moved her hand so that she could gently set him down on her shoulder where he sat in a chink on her shoulder pauldron.
From his new height Marcellus could see the city stretching out before him in ways he’d never thought possible.
Then she took a step.
The world shook beneath her feet, each as broad and long as a chariot with its horses. In three steps she had already clambered down from the hill that her statue had been resting on. Marcellus could already see some citizens running out of their houses to see what was happening.
The fourth step turned the first observer into paste beneath Kayle’s hundred-foot tall form. The no-longer bound angel laughed out loud as she felt the life leave his body. Her next move took her other foot through three houses, smashing their occupants within.
“People of Arkus!” she called out as the screaming spread, “A thousand years you have bound me, now ten thousand lives shall I end!”
Marcellus watched in awe as her right hand extended outward, holding something that looked like a sword hilt. Then there was a flash of light so pure it was nigh indescribable, and when she lowered her hand she held a sword that gave off an unearthly shine.
Then the destruction he had desired began in earnest.
From where he sat on her shoulder, Marcellus felt surprisingly secure as she leapt into the air. With a blinding flash her sword descended on a clocktower, cutting through the stone easily. Her left hand caught the top half as it fell and threw it side-armed at a cluster of houses, where it smashed through a dozen before it stopped rolling.
There was an angry shout from below and something bounced off of Kayle’s helm, not far from where Marcellus was seated on her shoulder. He recoiled as she turned suddenly to find its source.
Marcellus didn’t see the archer, but she did. Her free hand gestured at the offender and Marcellus watched with glee as a guard floated in the air, screaming in terror, as he approached her face. When he neared her eyes and felt her attention focus on him his screams took on a shrill, pained tone. Then she let his body fall to the ground, yet a cloud of gray smoke remained where he had floated.
Kayle inhaled exaggeratedly, breathing in the mist, then she exhaled with a sigh when it was gone.
“Yes,” she hissed as more of the city awoke and scrambled away from her, “Give me your fear and your pain!”
Her sword cut another swath through a residential area, catching a cooking pot and spreading burning oil across several blocks. More arrows rained off her armor, one catching in the swirl pattern of her pauldron. Kayle only laughed with disdain as the archers fell beneath her foot. One of them escaped with only his legs flattened; he was forgotten as she moved on, trampling everything in her path.
Marcellus could only watch in awe as she completed her dreadful task with aplomb. She was everything he’d hoped and more; his last, most desperate attempt to gain vengeance on this world. It was only until the sun rose, true, but in two minutes she’d already ended a hundred lives.
If he hadn’t been carefully perched on her shoulder he would have stood and cheered as her wings spread wide and flapped once, causing a gale that toppled every building in front of them for a quarter-mile.
“Fear not Marcellus,” her voice spoke to him, “Those few that survive will rue the day they crossed you.”
He could only respond by hugging her massive shoulder.
“Kill them all, O might one.”
“Your will and mine are the same,” she said as she spread her mighty wings once more, readying another blast of wind to destroy more lives. “This night we feast on pain!”