Unless otherwise stated, this conversation is private to the rest of the group
…After the vampire maiden was finally slain, the company of heroes determined what to do with the goods that they earned from a challenging battle. During that time there was some question as to who earned what reward and how the treasure should be divided. Despite Selene’s objection to the dividing of the treasure, Alexander spoke to her privately while the other heroes tallied the gold and this is that conversation.
“But this is outrageous, Alexander. You cannot be serious… I was just as much a part of that fight with those wretched zombies and that vampire scum as they were; more perhaps. And in the meanwhile, why should you allow them to take precedence over your will in the dividing over wealth and magical goods?
“I understand your concern Selene, but I tell you now, we shall not debate with them over the wealth again.”
“I will bow to your desires in this Alexander,” she responded somewhat bitterly, “but I say that I do not understand your motivation. It seems to me that they are greedy, selfish people. They keep treasure that they earned in a kill; that is fair. But we all did our part, and some more then others. Should that not be taken into consideration? Is my assistance to you to be viewed as a disadvantage? Should I relinquish any loyalty or love for you and then get an equal share of gold, silver, and gems as they do?”
“Enough,” he growled low in his throat. “You and my House have sworn loyalty to me. My decision should be enough, and not something to be questioned.”
“Of course, sir,” she added, somewhat abashedly. “I am sorry to question your orders.”
“Selene,” he said with a frustrated sigh “don’t be like that. These men and women who we travel with… let them squabble over trinkets or gold. That’s so much dross on the wake of life. The things you and I seek to accomplish, the goals we have before us; they will not be met with a few gold pieces or a chance magic item. So let them argue over these things. I am done with those speeches and words. My power comes from the goddess herself, and that is enough for me. Enchanted weapons; heirlooms of ancient spellcasters; elixirs of some forgotten demon of another age… all of it a means to an end. But I will not debase myself like a beggar haggling in the market square for such things; instead I shall trust in fate and destiny to bring to me what I shall truly need while I follow the will of my goddess,” he added somewhat to himself.
“Since when did you trust to destiny or fate? Did you not always say that a man makes his own destiny? Writes his own fate?”
“What?” he asked as if coming back from a private mental debate. “Writes his own fate… yes, no; of-of course we should all do our best with what is in front of us. But I meant that we should not be grasping for things to improve our power. I just meant that if we keep hoarding treasure or grasping power that we’ll be blinded to what we’re really supposed to be doing in this life.”
“I thought we were supposed to bring order to a chaotic world,” she asked somewhat confusedly. “Would it not be easier to do that with all the elements at our disposal? Gold can buy swords, and Karnak is assembling corsairs as we speak. With gold we can end him and his line. And with the power of these ‘trinkets’, as you call them, we can bargain with magi or priests for more power, and with that power, we can use that to take our experiments to the next level with the planar folk and the Halflings. Was that not our goal, not our plan; to take whatever methods we had in front of us and bring ultimate order to a chaotic world? Are you changing your plans, do you wish to tread upon another path then the one you have asked us all to follow you upon?”
“I…I… no. No,” he said thickly. “I will still fight for order, for justice, as I have sworn. But I will not be a slave to my goals. I will not argue with my allies, I will not fight with them; I will not hurt them or bring them harm over such things as treasure or gold,” he added, again, as if speaking to himself. “Other men kill for gold or jewels; but I am not those men. I am no tyrant or murderer… to kill for power alone. I’m not, gods damn it!”
“Alexander…” Selene said, her brow knit with concern. “I have never believed you to be so. Nor do any of the men of your House, I swear it.”
She turned and looked at the others, the kobold testing a gold coin in his teeth while the barbarian hefted a heavy weapon. She shook her head, clearly confused and turned back to Alexander.
“You are not a man consumed by lust of power or wealth, as your father has been. Your plans are unique, valuable, to the city, the nation and the world. Yet you say we should not seek for more then our rightful share even though our goals are better and nobler then those you ride with and if you succeed then you can even help the entire world, very well… I accept your decision; it is only just that we should all share equally. Yet now you say we should not even seek for what I deem to be our rightful or even an equal share. You seem to even now relinquish that as well… I say in truth that I do not understand you, but I will trust you… you have my oath of loyalty, and you know it to be pure.”
“Yes, pure… You are right and good, Selene,” he said softly, his eyes suddenly distant, lost in his thoughts.
“You are pure of heart and noble besides. I ask you then to continue to trust me, trust my motivations. If… if I argue with my companions… with my allies; nay, my friends, then I fear that one day I will become a man possessed by greed or lust of power. I must not be such a man. I must… resist these temptations. I will stay strong, and to prove my strength and fortitude I will not put myself, nor those who have sworn allegiance to my House, over my friends over such trivial matters again. I will not let a lust for wealth, or power, grow inside me.”
Wiping his hand over his face quickly he shook his head, watching Selene’s expression soften.
“It’s really a relief,” he added with a light laugh “not having to worry about who gets what after such events. In the end, we shall all die; and no gold can change that. And have not the great sages said ‘power and wealth is not the root of all evil, but rather, it is the lust for power and wealth that is the true root.’ Indeed, I’ll simply avoid the need to put myself or you first in the collection of plunder, and it will be all the more easy for me to avoid the roots of all evil,” he added with another chuckle at the seeming absurdity of the statement.
“You have always been an honorable man, Alexander. Yet I believe that even now you have a deeper or more cunning plan that you are not sharing with me with farther reaching goals then I can fathom, which I wish I could understand. But I don’t need to understand, in truth, for I accept your wisdom on this matter,” Selene answered slowly, considering his words.
“Good, good,” he said briefly patting her gently on her arm, his face smiling, though his eyes were again distant. For though his words were pretty, they were not wholly honest. He was not now choosing to abstain from a rightful share of the spoils for noble reasons such as piety or generosity, but instead; fear.
The fear that gripped him came from the whispering of the undead so recently in his ears as he waited for the vampire to perish, and the curse she prepared for him on her dissipation; that he would gain ultimate power over man and with it know nothing but despair.
Her words haunted him now, that his own greed and desires would spurn him to something dark or sinister. But now he promised himself that he would not let that happen. He would fight that the evil temptation that gripped him, he would stand against it and any darkness. He would remain true to his principles and do what was right and good.
Suddenly his head throbbed, and spasms gripped him. He had felt these tremors before, they preceded a waking dream that he would have on rare occasions. His father had taken him to the witches of the gray sands of Gorand’s Cove near the coasts of Tharovace when he was affected with the palsy on his seventh year. They made their charms and read the signs and declared he was possessed with the ‘second sight’; the ability to see beyond seeing and know things beyond what a mortal may know.
Now he had a vision, a dream of knowing. His eyes were open and he saw an image, and heard the sound in his ears and felt the shiver in his heart.
—The banners of the nations of Sartarus and Ravannah and a host of others he did not recognize lay at his feet. His sword dripped with gore and his skin was cold and gray, his lips dark and his eyes black, and behind him stood legions of warriors; midnight shades with glowing eyes of flame and weapons of eternal ice and darkness.
His crest was on a banner and the banner was advanced on the kings of the world; and he ascended a mighty throne and looked down upon the earth below and saw those who opposed him slain and all else his slaves.
…and the world burned bright with the fires of his wrath.
“No!” he cried out suddenly, coming from out of the vision.
“What is it, Alexander?” Selene asked with alarm.
He looked at her in sudden terror, but mastered himself, dabbing his face and neck with a kerchief.
“It was nothing, nothing… just a vision, that was all.”
“The second sight?” she asked in a harsh, panicked whisper. “What did you see?”
“I saw a man… no, I… he was not a man, he… it was a monster. I saw something that will be… close to me all my life, something that could destroy all of mankind. And this thing, this beast… I saw a monster that must die, yet… only I can kill him.”
“This is a good vision,” Selene said softly, yet with pride, as the others continued to talk beyond them. “You saw a good thing, a high and noble destiny; to kill such a monster, and only you can do so? I envy you, Alexander. Tell me, though, so I may help; how shall you defeat this creature of evil?”
He looked up at her, his eyes stricken.
“You know the plague of second sight, Selene. My visions are laced with truth, but in a riddle that I must unravel, if I can,” he said suddenly looking away from her questioning gaze.
“And this vision, this riddle… I only know that I must kill the beast before it grows impossibly strong and destroys everything that I love and hold dear, but… this creature, this evil that stands so close to me… I do not know how to kill it,” he ended bitterly.