He began his journey standing upon a great plateau of black rock. Jagged blades of the stone zigzagged down a thousand feet and more, meeting at a deep crevasse where trails of purple and indigo light curved and flowed within some dark heart of the ground. He knew at once that this was a battlefield. Turning away from the cliff, the land before him stretched out in sharp hills and valleys, punctuated by random bursts of white light that proclaimed themselves as the weapons of this war. Shadowy mountains rose up in the distance, visible only as silhouettes against a night sky that burned with the reflected light of the conflict down below.

Once again facing the drop, he saw that within his hand he clutched the hilt of a great sword. Hilt, pommel, and blade, it appeared to be carved out of one piece of purified obsidian, slightly translucent and with a million dancing motes of refracted light inside. The blade was as wide as a broadsword, and the edges curved back and forth in a sinuous line. His finger got within half an inch of one of those curves, and even without contact he could feel its infinite sharpness. He also sensed a stirring within his flesh and bone, and realized that the sword was vibrating, low but constant.

Holding the weapon up to his face, Alan could see the light trails below through the blade of the sword. Viewed in such a way, they took on new life, as if their disguises had been lifted. They seemed to be looking back at him, expecting. His hand acted on its own, removed from the command of his thoughts. It brought the flat of the blade, just below the tip, up to rest against his forehead. The vibration within the weapon instantly resonated with his mind, and his very essence took on the hum. Fire that caused no pain burned through the shroud of his lost memories, and he was changed. No longer Alan Porter, he enveloped and was consumed by the truth of his being. The name which Siesa had uttered rang out through the infinite spaces of his mind. He was Ahlbaett.

A crash of sounds brought his attention away from the cliff and back towards the tortured land. Within moments the forces of his enemy – “Kou,” his mind told him – came flowing over the nearest hill. Ahlbaett raised the sword over his head, a look of steely calm on his face, and met that rushing force with one of his own. On that night, the blade sang of its conquests.