By EM Malachi
Over two years ago…
From the top of the plateau, an old man looked down at the ruins of his world. A small herd of sickly Torax lizards wandered among the crumbling stones of fallen Morgaelin, watched by a lone shepherd. Though midway through the day, the dim star in the sky gave very little light. Seeing nothing of interest, Mythran muttered to himself and started to limp back to his shack.
At the small hut, the mage traced a rune of entry and pushed the worn door inward. Mythran stepped around various mystical traps in the long corridor, and climbing the winding staircase at the end, he entered a large study filled with tomes and scrolls rescued from ruins across the continent.
The old mage sat in a rocking chair and summoned a small animal. The squirrel scampered into a hole in the wall and returned a few minutes later carrying a cup of tea. As the creature faded away, Mythran traced his finger around the edge of the brim, slowly heating his drink. Leaning back in his chair and sipping the bitter root tea, he stared up at the ceiling. Instead of seeing the underside of thatched roof, there was only the vast darkness and distant lights of the Ethereal Void. The great emptiness between worlds did little to help his mood.
Then, in the vast distance between Pagan and the rest of reality, there was a flare of light, as if from two powerful spells clashing. When the flare faded, there was a strand of silver reaching out across the darkness. It was a most unexpected sight, something he had not seen in his decades studying the ethereal framework.
The old mage leapt out of his chair and hobbled over to a pile of scrolls. Digging through the heap, he found the “Restore to Sight” scroll. Invoking it, he saw hidden objects appear in the Ethereal Void – fragments of the ancient Dark Path. He traced a connecting path made by these objects and the strand of silver. It would be a long and difficult journey, but he believed it would be possible to make his way to the source of this new magic.
“This changes everything.”
Across the world of Pagan, the elements stirred. Boiling lava vents under the Daemon’s Crag burst forth, forming lava flows in the shape of claws. The dark underground currents of Carthax Lake because whirlpools in Vengeance Bay. The face of Stone Cove was reshaped by a rockslide. The winds around the monastery at Argentrock Isle murmured, “Soon, Master, soon.”