Chapter Two

CHAPTER TWO

The Heroes Engaged

That night there were signs and portents to be seen everywhere. The fortune-tellers and cartomancers closed up their shops. The Sarista tents were taken down and gone before the first moonrise. A herd of panic-stricken Greymanes fled the steed-seller’s pen when Zar, the black moon, raised its baleful eye across the city.

Zar: it was months yet until the seventh month of the year, yet there it was, full and powerful, looming larger than it had in millennia, yet hardly anyone noticed. Few had eyes to see its blackness amid the stars. The few who did merely speculated on the oddity, blind to approaching doom.

When Fate’s chosen heroes arrived, we made our way to the Whirling Omniverse. Soon the sky began to lighten with approaching fire. Faces were raised, some fearful but most with expressions of anticipation, thinking this was another spectacle for the celebration.

The First Sign was coming.

When I looked around, I spied many who I knew were destined to die in this historic catastrophe: the Cymrilian rogues, with their silver hoods, the Sindaran trio caught mid-debate, a dozen others, recorded by historians not yet born. I knew they would be reborn in another life, another time, yet I still felt a pang of regret when I saw the Gnomekin children.

Perhaps they were destined to perish beneath the approaching First Sign. Perhaps, yet I couldn’t remember seeing their faces in the history books. Surely if they were here, where doom approached, then it was their fate, right?

A part of me – a part that I think of as my inner Fool-Hero – thought “Maybe not.”

Was there room for me to make a change? Could I do something? These young lives might be spared, if I dared act.

I made my decision. I would warn who I could and let the future take care of itself for once. I went among those in danger and told them to flee. I told them they were in danger, that this was no magical display of light and fire. I urged individuals and I persuaded groups.

Some listened, others did not. I noted that those I remembered from the history books laughed at my warnings, or simply did not heed me in time. The Gnomekin family, I was pleased to see, fled to safety moments before the roar of the First Sign became unmistakable.

A piece of the black moon, Zar, was about to fall on Cymril’s Magical Faire.

I did what I could, and fled at the last moment as the flaming meteor came screaming through the sky and crashed into the sixty-foot tall Whirling Omniverse. Lines of arcane energy were snapped, spiraling iron framework was twisted, and a score of Faire attendees were killed.

Not everyone was killed, however. There were dozens more that were injured and trapped amid the flaming wreckage. The heroes, true to the name, ran forth to help those in need.

They worked singly, and they worked as a team, these strangers. Many who would have died would live to see the dawn thanks to Fate’s chosen. Pixx used her sensitive nose to seek out those who were unable to call out to their rescuers.  Wu climbed amid wreckage with no concern for his own safety and pulled many from certain death. Tyranus summoned a Shadow Dragon to lift the heaviest pieces of wreckage, freeing those trapped below. Xain used pure brawn to carry the injured to safety. I called an elemental spirit to grow a tall tree beneath the rubble, clearing the way for the rescuers and preventing further collapse.

Our real test was still to come.

The Rajan death-priest Raj-Nihil and his cultists arrived during the confusion and mayhem and prepared to lay claim to the meteor. I knew we could not allow this, and informed the chosen what they must do.

The battle was fierce, but in the end the death-worshippers were defeated. We had taken the eerie crystal that had come from the heart of the meteor, and prevented it from falling into evil hands.

– End Session Two –

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