Letho Ravenheart wanted to do this for so long.
Sure, there was a part of him that fought against it, that nagged at him from somewhere deep in his cranium, but it was never more than a distant drone that was growing easier and easier to ignore. He could still catch parts of it, benevolent babble and warnings and all those prideful and sanctimonious sermons that he had kept as his creed for all those years. But within the tumult of his wrath and unbridled lust for retribution, those voices were like whispers in a hurricane. And there was nothing they could do to change the fact that he hated these people.
These geese that flocked and quacked and complained, these weaklings with their hand out, always asking for more, more, MORE! Letho had given them so many years of his life, so many years of leal service, solving their problems, sorting their own messes, facing the dangers they were too yellow to face themselves. And to what end? These people never changed, never evolved, never bettered themselves. Their only noteworthy abilities were the inkling to abandon and deceive and put themselves before all others. Sure, there were outliers like he had been years ago, but they too were a part of the problem, part of the system that enabled the content to remain stagnant and the strong to wallow in their dotage. These people didn't deserve freedom. They needed a steel fist to crush them and mold them into something useful.
But that wasn't what these fireworks were all about. There was a bigger picture, a plan that the Sovereigns of Tar'shak had which Letho was not privy to, and this little piece of hell was just the first strand in the weave of that tapestry. They were testing him. Nobody said it in that many words, but he was still bright enough to connect enough dots. They were testing his will to do what it takes, his will to go against the morals and convictions he had held to for as long as he could remember. But the joke was ultimately on them. Didn't they realize that this was exactly what he wanted? Didn't they know by now that for so many years he had suppressed the desire to enact just punishment on all these people he used to cater to?
“You!” someone called out for him moments after he emerged from the blackness that closed behind him. The panic-stricken man scurried towards him like a rat before the flood, keeping one eye on the fallen form of the demon farther down the road. His flashy attire, all fluttery sleeves and lacy cuffs, was dusty and ruined. “How did you get through?”
Once he was close enough to see Letho's face, puzzlement washed over his face momentarily, followed by the dawn of recognition. It appeared his face and his name still haven't faded from the memory of the people here. “I know you! Ravenheart, right? Letho Ravenheart? My word!”
A few more staggered forward, encouraged by the appearance of this armor-clad hero that braved the barrier. In his Cillu glass full plate and armed with his dragonscale shield and spear, Letho looked every bit the Red Marshal known in these lands, his armor reflecting the flames in every possible hue of orange and scarlet.
“You're here for us, right? To get us out?” one of those gathered asked, a pampered looking kid with streaks of dried dusty tears on his cheeks. His bloodshot eyes looked up at the aging hero not with hope, but something akin to irritation, as if the squirt was ashamed he was caught crying and it was all Letho's fault.
“Indeed. I am here for all of you,” Letho said, and offered a smile. A few of those gathered had time to deduce that there seemed just a tad too many teeth visible in that smile before they were dead.
Switching the spear to his right hand, Letho pulled his left arm back and swung it in a wide horizontal arc that sent the sharpened edge of the dragonscale shield on a deadly, neck-high path. A pair of heads came tumbling behind his stroke, with another pair of throats gurgling through desperate fingers. Another man, last in line and faster than most, lost the top of his skull and staggered away like a puppet forgotten by the puppeteer. The kid, now covered in copious amounts of blood as well as dirt, screamed again. Letho shoved him to the ground and made sure he stayed there with a swift jab of his spear that turned to volume of the scream down to a dying whimper after a few moments. Yanking the spear out of the youth's chest with a swift pull, Letho proceeded to where Erhat was breathing his last breaths. This time around anyways.
“Kept you waiting, huh?” he said to the demon, sparing scarcely a glance on Erhat and the pile of rocks that kept him pinned to the cobblestones. Instead, his focus had shifted to the man who was most likely the cause of Erhat's demise. One of those whispers from the back of his brain crept through all the fire and smoke and gruesome death.
I know you.