Waking in Darkness

It is dark wherever you are… so dark that no matter how sharp your senses, they seem to have abandoned you for the moment. The world feels like it’s spinning and it makes you sick, but you cannot make it stop. Your head throbs and your ears ring, and you close your eyes tightly trying to figure out what happened.

The last thing you remember was waiting for the festivities to begin, and now everything hurts and you feel a terrible weight pressing in around you. You almost cannot catch your breath, each inhale sharp and full of daggers, and it makes your head hurt even more.

After a few moments though, you begin to hear the sounds of rocks clattering, coughing, and moans of pain, as well as smell the choking scent of dust as your senses slowly come back to you, but all remains pitch black.

You feel rubble all around you, and realize that your body is covered with dirt and debris. Despite your general aches and pains, however, you are fairly certain that you are not truly injured beyond having the wind severely knocked from your chest.

To those whose sight is beyond the scope of human ability, or if a light source is produced, you can see that you are in a large underground cavern; one wall of which is now nothing more than a mound of rubble. Stalagmites and stalactites reach towards each other like the teeth of some great beast you find yourself trapped within the maw of, and the hungering dark around you surely feels like the belly of a beast waiting to swallow you whole.

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The air around you is thick with dust, and every few moments small landslides of gravel tumble down the mound towards you. Slowly your headaches begin to clear and you can lift yourselves up from the rocks and dirt you find yourselves covered in, and suddenly a rush of memories sweeps over you as your mind clears.

Armasse officially began at noon, with the blessing of the festival by Lord Hulran himself, ruler of Kenabres. The crowd gathered in Clydwell Plaza quieted as the aged inquisitor took the stage, clad in shining, resplendent armor. He cleared his throat, but just as he was about to speak, a bright light shone from the west, as if the sun were rising from the wrong direction. Hulrun’s shadow fell huge and distorted across the cathedral’s facade. A moment later, the sound of a thunderous explosion ripped through the air and earth, along with a violent tremor.

To the west, the fortress known at the Kite – the location of Kenabres’ wardstone – had vanished. In its place, a brilliant plume of red fire, lightning, and smoke erupted from the heavens.

A moment later, a powerful roar accompanied a welcome sight rising from the crowd – Kenabres’ greatest guardian, the ancient silver dragon Terendelev, who had until that moment been attending the opening ceremony disguised as a human.

Above, another form appeared, as nightmarish as the dragon was breathtaking. A humanoid shape three times the size of any man, with skin coated in fire and lightning, gripped a flaming sword and whip. The creature’s identity was immediately obvious: Khorramzadeh, the Storm King of the Worldwound, had come to Kenabres.

As the ground continued to shake and disgorge demons into the streets, the dragon and the balor lord clashed above. The fight was over in a few harrowing moments, as the balor cut deep into Terendelev’s body, swooping down to strike the dragon and arresting her charge. A few more blows, and the titanic duo spiraled downwards towards the crowd.

The sight of the dragon smashing into the facade of the Cathedral of St. Clydwell is one no witness would ever forget. At that moment, a colossal demon erupted at the far end of the plaza, reducing several buildings to ruins as it smashed its way into this world. The rift it created shot across the plaza, and this time there was no escape. It opened below your feet, angling away into the darkness.

Yet even as you fell the noble dragon saw your plight. Though she knew her death stood over her, she seized this final chance to save a few more souls. After she uttered a few arcane words and stretched out a bloody talon, you felt her magic take hold of you, slowing your plummet into the darkness as if you were mere feathers falling into the pit. Yet the fall remained as inexorable, and as you drifted downward into the depths, the last thing you saw was the Storm Kind standing before the ancient silver dragon, his sword lashing out and cleaving full through her neck.

As her severed head fell, the rift above you slammed shut, and the light of the world above was gone.

Waking in Darkness

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