Approximately one year after the Kathleen Incident. A year and one half after defeating the Darkness.
"Have you ever tasted ash? Ever had the displeasure to swallow it and have it absorb all the fluids in your mouth and stomach?"
"No, I'm afraid I haven't. But I don't think I would very much like it, master."
"Mmm. And what if you were eating your favorite dish, and every time you swallowed, the food turned to ash?
"I would most certainly dislike that, master. It's not fair to taste something so wonderful and have it turn to an infernal heap of nothingness afterwards."
"Exactly. That's my point Nathaniel. Why would this be fair to anyone? Would you ever wish this upon someone else?"
"Of course not, master. But you must remember that I am pure of heart. I do not wish harm upon anyone unless it will benefit you."
I nodded simply, knowing that this was the exact response my servant would give me. It is the same foe I fought almost a year ago when I tried to save Kathleen. I had actually faced it several times throughout the following year, but only now has it coalesced into something formidable again.
"My visitors are turning to ash, Nathaniel. And I'm not entirely sure how to save them. My world has been free of corruption, all darkness and doubt cast out for many months now. Tell me, then, why does this still happen?"
Nathaniel smiled earnestly, "Your world is young, my lord. It is not yet fully attuned to the light with which you and I have graced it. You're trying to fit too much in too small an amount of time."
"Do you still think this is the Archon's doing? I brought prosperity to this world, and this is how he repays me?!"
I whirled up from my chair and and cursed, "I'VE HAD ENOUGH. This is not what I deserve. I freed this world, and all I want in return is unbound, blissful affection. Is this such an impossible request?"
Nathaniel stood up and walked carefully over to me.
"Master, I have seen your work first hand, and I know you deserve even more than what you ask for. Allow me to quote a proverb I'm rather fond of: Those who receive what they deserve grasp it with their own hands."
I sighed, "And we both know how well that worked last time."
"Last time was a year ago, my friend. You've changed since then, this world has changed, but it's not quite ready to heed to everything you ask by itself. A crop grows best when it is coaxed from the earth rather than allowed to sit."
"Alright, enough with the cheesy proverbs. I get it, but I don't how I would go about 'coaxing' the desired result from my world."
Nathaniel smiled, "Why don't we go find out together?"