Land In Revolt Interludes
The crimson droplets fell like raindrops from his outstretched hands. It seemed like an eternity before they reached the ground; time was slowed as if affected by some strange magic. No arcane ritual was the cause, however. It was merely the impact and shock of the brutality that preceded this moment of stillness.
Even in his feeble state, somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he regarded how the blood didn’t splash. Once it came into contact with the sand, the two combined into a gory mixture not unlike flour and egg. It was equally fascinating and horrific. He could have been lost forever in observation had the sounds of the dying man next to him not jarred him from his trance.
The man twitched and gurgled with every fading breath. With his throat torn out, there was little more of which he was capable. A pool of similar “dough” grew around the dying man’s head as the spams lessened. His assailant looked him over with pity and sadness.
Bile rose in his throat. Watching a man die was not new to him. He knew such events were not uncommon in his past – of that he was certain. What caused him to suddenly wretch were the dying man’s eyes. As wide as globes and full of pure terror, they fixed on him with pinpoint accuracy. A tear rolled down the man’s bloody face and it too was swallowed by the timeless sands. Then there was silence.
The dwarf rose to his feet and continued to wander once more.
* * *
Reporting to The Three was always harrowing but this time was different. This time, the words he chose could change history.
“We cannot remain neutral on this forever,” said the Guardian. “Sitting on the fence will lead to nothing but tragedy.”
“But of course we can. Neutrality is the position we’ve held for centuries. It is one of the advantages to living so long,” sneered the great red wyrm.
“Raxis’ point is valid, Guardian,” bellowed the powerful gold dragon. “Majeria has seen it’s share of conflicts. None of which have garnered our involvement before. I’m not sure how this is any different.”
“It’s not, Athest,” chimed the stunning amethyst among the group in a voice that sounded like shattering crystal. “The short-lives will fight their petty wars, pursue their short-sighted agendas and time will march on. Just as it always has. This current squabble is of no concern to us.”
“I humbly disagree, Lord Veles,” protested the Guardian. “This situation is most certainly a different animal altogether. I do not mince words when I state this conflict could cause irreparable damage to our world. What’s at stake here is nothing less than the future.” “You speak from the lips of your weaker bloodline, Guardian,” countered Veles. The gem dragon’s tone was not condescending yet unrelenting. “You have not seen what we have, your frame of reference skewed by your limitations.” The Guardian knew the wyrm meant no offense, it was just the amethyst’s nature to be so damned direct. He couldn’t let it shake him, though, only respond in kind. “Limitations or not, I do not think any of you can argue that, while not as aged as yourselves, I am no stranger to incredible events. Please do not begrudge me that which I have witnessed.”
“The Guardian speaks true,” intervened Athest. “His place among us is an honored one and we take to heart all he presents.” “My thanks, Lady Athest,” replied the Guardian. “My time spent among them confirmed my suspicions time and again. The enmity between them is palpable. The Essence stirs and I am certain this conflict is the cause. They will destroy one another, my Lords, and take Majeria with them.”
The dragons exchanged worried glances amongst one another. The Guardian knew his words hit true their mark. The red wyrm, Raxis, was his greatest concern. The “peace” shared amongst the clans was tentative at best and it certainly didn’t extend to the rest of Majeria’s populace. “If I leave this place for no reason, I will tear their cities asunder and reap what treasure I may from their charred remains. I would suggest you make certain you are correct about this, Guardian.” Bile stirred in the Guardian’s stomach; Raxis made a valid point and the Guardian was certain he would make real his threat if inconvenienced. “I hear and understand your words, Lord Raxis. I shall continue my investigation in this matter but please consider what already I have presented .” "Go then, Guardian, and do your duty, " growled Raxis.
Following the order, he quickly turned and left the Great Hall.
After some distance from the entrance, he paused to gather his thoughts. The meeting with The Three weighed heavily upon him. With a snap, the halberd appeared in his hand. The familiar touch of its ancient steel soothed him. He leaned upon it while watching the setting sun, trying to plan his next move.
Crolin Orclsayer, Guardian of Dragonkind knew he had work to do.
* * *
“Amazing…” the young elf whispered to himself.
He wished his idiot of a cousin had done a better job of relaying his concerns about the growing activity here. He wished he did not bear witness to a cadre of metal men mulling about the place. And for the first time in his relatively young life he wished he hadn’t been right.
The metal men were a thing to behold indeed. These were no mere golems. Just a brief observation revealed they acted with obvious sentience. They moved and behaved like so many other races in the world. While out of earshot range, the elf could tell they communicated verbally. That, for sure, was nothing he’d ever seen a golem do.
This news was big. Huge. He alone had braved the dangers around Magehelm and finally laid eyes upon the first “people” to come out of the forsaken stronghold in years. He collapsed his magic spyglass and tucked it back into his belt pouch. He had to move now. He needed to get this information to the right source. No one short of the Great Thane should be alerted. The thought of presenting this news to the fabled Aramil Nailo brought a smile to his face. Visions of scantily clad elf maidens and riches flooded his senses as he turned to make his exit.
The blast sent him some ten or twenty feet through the air. He probably would’ve been flung further if not for the sudden collision with the tree. He collapsed in a pile of broken bones. Pain seared through his body; his insides felt torn and useless. Even if he could move, the agony would most likely prevent him from getting too far. One sense that hadn’t failed was his hearing. Acute as ever, even with the blood oozing from his ears, he listened as heavy footsteps approached. “There,” said the metallic voice. It sent chills down the elf’s shattered spine. The armored feet grew closer and then they were on top of him. Not unlike a wet sack of potatoes, the elf was lifted helplessly in the air.
The metal man’s large hand wrapped around his throat. The elf was caught between wonderment and unmitigated fear. The metal man’s eyes bore down on him. Eyes, the elf noted, made of none other than pure Essence. The elf closed his own eyes and prayed for a quick death.
With a quick snap, The Gods answered his prayers.