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Fallen Three

“That's impossible,” Marshal said. 

“That's cute,” Wraith said. “Look around. Do you think that word has any meaning anymore?”

“Wraith,” another voice said, a new figure entering the scene. Elderly, stooped, using a cane. “Remember this version is all he has ever known.” 

Wraith made a movement like a shrug and faded into the shadows. Callan sniffed the air and perched atop a mound of rubble, keeping watch. The old man walked over to Marshal. Extended his hand. “My name is Dex. Good to meet you.” 

The stories about Dexter Washington told of a brave peacekeeper, a warrior and leader devoted to justice and willing to break the rules to achieve it. Despite the man's age and frailty, Marshal could immediately sense the accuracy of the tales. The handshake was strong in a way that transcended muscle and bone. “I'm Marshal, of the Staves. Is it true? About Frontline?” 

Dex frowned. “It is. The last of the Swords stationed with us fell two days ago. We fought for another day, until... Well, I know 'tactical withdrawal' is just a fancy way of saying 'retreat'. But it's better than 'surrender' I guess.” 

Marshal's eyes were wide. The people of Haven lived in fear of destruction by the Demon Army. They always had. The Swords were dedicated to preventing that fate. And much of the work of the Cups and Coins went towards supporting the Swords. The losses of the soldiers that never returned from battle were keenly felt and only served to reinforce how precious and fragile the sanctuary of Haven was. And yet the threat, so permanent and omnipresent, had become almost abstracted, another story to be told but not fully believed. 

Another story that was coming true. 

Dexter sighed. “I'm sorry, son. We failed you. After everything...” And Marshal sensed that he was talking about more than losing Frontline, more than the War, maybe even more than the Fall? 

“You just saved my life,” Marshal said. Trying to give them something. 

“Why are you out here?” Dex asked. 

“I was looking for you. I was... curious. I wanted to know... I needed to know...” 

“And the Arcana let you go? Alone?” Dex looked troubled. Exchanged a glance with Callan. 

Too much was happening. The stench of Demon's blood in the air. “How, sir? How did it happen?” As if understanding the cause and effect would make it more digestible. The same reason he was out here in the borderlands in the first place? 

Dex looked both sad and angry. “Well. It turns out that Max was wrong. Wrong about Control. Wrong about Morganfokker. Wrong about everything.” 

“I don't understand. Who is Max?”