Daemons of Future Past

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The skies were darkened with the black clouds of a massive storm, enveloping the forests of the Lower Dragonsclaw and Trollfang in the suffocation of its unnatural pitch. In the shadow of the mountain there was an eerie silence, the haunting desolation of some impending doom that was at once familiar and foreign, the kind of ominous portent that wakens oracles from their fever dreams and makes goatherds doubt the gods have power any longer in these forsaken lands. Something was terribly wrong.

The surrounding air began to vibrate with a strange, archaic hum, the world warping as though all of history tilted in every direction. Suddenly, there was a horrible shriek and a bright flash of light followed by a swirling cloud of shadows, coalescing into the contours of a hooded figure over and over again before being thrust forward to its knees.

The cloak of invisibility collapsed as the warlock hit the ground, the wicked serrations of his blackened glaes bracers digging into the dirt, the smoldering trunk in his gauntleted hand now scorched with the flickering heat of burned glyphs. The scent of brimstone wafted in the necrotic haze of his vruul leather, overpowered by the ozone of saturation. It was like the summer rains rather than winter storms, the winds of fate out of joint with the seasons. His head throbbed until the disorientation broke with the intrusions upon his senses. He rose slowly and stared coldly at the mountain rising above him, its peak veiled in perpetual clouds and night. The storms shrouded all the rest in darkness.

"Melgorehn's Reach," he mused to himself. The mountain was still there, it could be worse. "Within a few decades, or a few thousand years." What dialects of the common tongue might he have to dredge from his memory that had been dead for centuries? The monoliths would be gone, the rune portal sealed. Separated from his work. He would murder the dwarves if they still manned the toll bridge. That would keep with the wheel of history. No one cares about dwarves. Perhaps he was the dragon of myth, slumbering with a hoard of treasures, in this monument of ancient relics. He would slay the enchanter, live in the mountain as a hermit. The birthing grounds of all madmen and dragons.

"Do not think on night," he chuckled darkly, shattering his tincture of tkaro with a clenched fist, with a certain masochistic satisfaction. Maybe he would kill that town guard without waiting out the whole year.

The forests had not moved. That was promising. He remembered times before the lumberers had lumbered, even the stars drift over millennia. Yet had he not seen that bronze dragon flying over the black sands? Volcanic beaches wash away within hundreds of years. There is an eternal recurrence in history, echoes within echoes until the end of all things. Whether catastrophe or destiny had now embraced him was an exhilaration of dread that no beast or god could ever impart to a being such as himself.

He pulled a piece of vellum from his coat and held it in the breeze, its black waxen seal of a six-taloned claw broken, the parchment imprinted with an odd symbol: "The Grand Magister will not wish your presence at this ritual. I will be the one to watch his wife die as he stands on helplessly, savoring his suffering as the inevitable strangles the life from her. All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. This is now as it was and ever shall. Do what must be done. By the blood of the Old Ones."

It ignited in black flames in his hand, and he vaporized the charred remains in scornful derision. Bloody savants, mind walkers. What use are they? They cannot even begin to comprehend the infinite horrors of the abyss, the terrifying vistas of the vast cosmic unknown willed together in the mind through acts of prophecy and inexorability.

The winds picked up more violently, he sensed the impending coldness. Within moments he was beset upon by wraiths and dark spirits, whirling about in their ethereal forms. They merely lingered there silently, staring without lethal intent. Amusing. The silvery sigils glowed faintly as they moved about his horrific leather armor, a parting gift from that fool who believed the black shaman could succeed in this absurdity. Such a thing only ever works on young children, certainly not grown women or dead bodies.

All the more so now. The last pylon failed. It was not finished. The sickly woman will be as dead as the rest of her family. The daughter was lost still further in the past. The shadows have her. "What had I taught her of her destiny?" He wondered. There was no point in delaying. He tilted his head to the side, reaching out with his senses. Familiar voices. The apprehension washed away, replaced with clarity. He understood. He turned to the tormented spirits, his eyes turning black, commanding them to speak:

"Where is Grishom Stone?"

Columns of red light ripped through the sky in scarlet beams, striking the storm clouds above in a violent display of power. The black cloud was drawing inward, it would explode in brilliant crimson light. Black sigils were about to rise into the sky and break. "Six years to the day..." he mused, allowing for leap years, "... it would only make sense to have been here and now. There is a providence in the fall of a hawk." Where would he be? There were so many of him. The Tehir will not have made a portal to the island yet.

He cocked his head again, endlessly amused with himself. "Ah, yes. The museum." This was going to be terribly fun. Who does not manipulate themselves? It was like being a child again, raising himself with all of his own memories. With that he vanished in a blur of shadows, the undead flying off to slaughter defenders of the Landing.

Behind the Scenes

This is a vignette of the player character Xorus set in the middle of the finale event for the Keeping up with the Kestrels storyline. It is set after seeing Naimorai get lost in the past, but before her journal insinuated she was actually young Raznel. It may or may not have happened, possibly being an example of exploring an alternate possible reality, his "dread seer" methodology of studying the hidden patterns in history. "Through A Glass Darkly" is set roughly two or three months after the end of the Kestrel story ended, where he is studying the confluence of events related to it.