Part I: The Red Star

With a bone-rattling explosion of light, the very fabric of night is ripped asunder. A whirlwind of arcane force whips the once quiet glade of Gamboge into a miniature cyclone of chaotic flashes, with the very air screeching as though the universe itself were protesting this sudden event.

And with an abruptness as jarring as how it started, the madness ends, and the rending sounds of reality tearing open, are replaced with a long drawn-out scream of terror and pain, as two figures wink into existence, the ground steaming and burnt beneath them.

The figure screaming, his arms spread wide as his face faces into the sky, rolls over and collapses, the scream lasting as long as the breath within his lungs can maintain it. Grey-skinned, his eyes orbs of complete blackness, Legion pants and gasps as though he’s just run a thousand leagues to reach this point.

Beside him, Morpheus has remained on his feet. His pale skin is marked by tattoos and piercings, the hallmark of the shadar-kai. He peers around, taking in the forest surroundings, his face confused and bewildered. As his eyes fall upon the collapsed form of Legion, his face twists into carnal rage. In the blink of an eye, Morpheus‘ dagger is in his fist, as he flips Legion over onto his back and grasps the front of his tunic. The dagger hangs over Legion, the blade quivering as though it takes all of Morpheus strength and will to hold it at bay.

An end, finally; is all Legion can think. It was folly to think his tale would end any other way than this, but still, even those without hope can dream sometimes, no? With no resistance, the mage closes his eyes, and waits for the blade to fall.

“Do it…” he moans, “End it… finally…”

Morpheus‘ hand pulls back even further, but before he can ram the dagger home, he bellows an almost animal howl of pain and rage, and drops the dagger. Throwing Legion roughly to the ground again, with much disdain and disgust, he stands and glares at his nemesis.

“Where is she?!?!” Morpheus shouts, his fists clenching and unclenching, his eyes darting around the clearing, “What trickery is this?!?! You promised me Shareen!”

Legion has no answer, as he remains on the ground staring into the night sky. He shakes his head, as if to clear his vision, and stares again. Morpheus‘ rage begins to subside, as he catches the confused looks Legion directs towards the night sky. He too, turns to look up, not seeing anything until a moment later, when he spies a bright red streak racing across the sky.

“What is that?” Morpheus asks the wizard, his anger forgotten.

“What… is what?” Legion replies, his voice weak.

“That.” The monk replies, as he points to the streaking red star. But Legion‘s eyes never leave the quadrant of the sky he is staring at, in fact, his eyes widen in shock. To see Legion, normally an emotionless and inexpressive creature, showing such a depth of confusion, suddenly concerns Morpheus.

The wizard finally looks to the red star, but he continues to turn his head, as though it is of no consequence. Morpheus looks about again, trying to shake off his unease at the way Legion is acting.

“Is this Cloak Wood? The Dales…?” the monk asks, as he glances around. When no reply comes, he looks back to Legion, only to find the wizard has not moved at all. He just continues to stare into the sky. Angrier than he should be, Morpheus stalks over to Legion, grasping his cloak roughly by the shoulder, he shakes him to get his attention.

“Where are we, damn you?!?”

Legion‘s head turns slowly, and Morpheus can’t be sure, but he senses an element of fear in the shades normally expressionless face.

“I… don’t know.” Legion replies weakly.

Author: Neil