By EM Malachi
Mondain was dead, and his Gem of Immortality lay shattered upon the floor. The Stranger picked up a shard of the gem and examined it closely. The corruption from Mondain had started to clear, revealing the blue-green world of Sosaria turning on its axis. On that world, people began to move through the moments of their lives.
The Stranger watched as Sosaria’s people recovered from the Shattering. The armies of Britannia defeated Mondain’s hordes and returned home to rebuild. The survivors of the fallen Rondorin Empire flocked to Zento, the new capital city of Tokuno. The Lands of Danger and Despair fell into war and ruin, as the White Dragon went mad with his daughter’s death. The terrible powers of the Dark Unknown settled into Dungeon Doom.
The Stranger carefully put down the shard and left Shadowguard. Inside each shard, the centuries passed.
Anon finished drawing the last detail on the elaborate circle. He looked with distaste at his blood-stained fingers. The sacrifice had been the quickest way to gather the mana needed to cast the spell Minax had requested, but he didn’t like having to get his hands dirty. Still, the denizens of Doom had provided a most impressive spell. It would allow Shadowguard to shift in space and time, letting Minax move her armies to any point in Sosaria’s past or future. The demons had warned that it would take incredible power and control to complete the casting. The rune burned into his chest flared slightly with the dark power Minax had branded into him. Placing the remains of four rare creatures into the circle, he started to channel his own mana into breaking Shadowguard free from the ethereal tether that held it in place.
Hawkwind checked the position of the four gems, insuring that he had made no mistakes. The cost of the gems in lives had been very high. He would not let the sacrifices be in vain. He started the incantation from the Codex. With each word, more and more mana streamed to him from the facets of almost thirty shards. The top of Stonegate became an eddy of raw elemental mana, summoned from the conflicts of Felucca, the bitter Malas void, the mercurial seas of Tokuno, and the ruins of Ilshenar.
It was beautiful, until tendrils of demonic corruption started to darken the edges. As the Time Lord’s and Anon’s spells conflicted, the spell of the Silver Gate weakened against Anon’s onslaught. Making himself corporeal, Hawkwind poured every drop of mana his mortal body had into a desperate attempt to maintain control, but it seemed inevitable that Anon, empowered by both Minax and the terrible powers of Doom, would win.
Then, across the shards, thousands of others joined Hawkwind, pouring their will into weaving silver strands to hold Hawkwind’s casting in place. Each different voice, human, elf, gargoyle, and even goblin, spoke the same words of power: Vas Rel Tym Por Ort. The magic of the united effort cascaded against Shadowguard and Anon.
As Anon faltered, his magic flailed wildly across the Ethereal Void. The uncontrolled demonic spell lashed out, finding other fragmented timelines and pulling them toward him. When the closest of these collided with Shadowguard, the two realities merged. Every abomination in Minax’s fortress screamed from the backlash. Towers collapsed, and an entire wing of the structure was fused into solid rock. The mana surged through the connection, burning a magical path through the Ethereal Void between Sosaria and wherever Shadowguard now was. Seeing the steady moongate shimmering before him, Hawkwind smiled and collapsed in exhaustion, his mortal body falling through the Silver Gate.
Waking later, Hawkwind looked up at an unfamiliar sky. Sitting up, he stared across a landscape of giant reptiles and lush jungles. It wasn’t Sosaria, past or present. “This is unexpected.”
“Those who live here call it Eodon.” Blackthorn stepped out from the brush. He looked weary and bruised. There were strange claw marks on his arms. “They were very helpful in finding you.”
Hawkwind tried to stand, but he stumbled in exhaustion. Blackthorn took his arm to steady him. “You cast your Silver Gate to Shadowguard. I am not sure how you managed it, but the magic of Sosaria is now intertwined with this place.”
Hawkwind smiled and said nothing.
“The purpose of my actions was never to stop Minax, but to protect the great tapestry of time. Still, Minax has lost much. She can no longer lash out and retreat to safety. The fate of Minax now rests in the hands of the people of all Sosaria, on every shard and facet.”
Thus begins the Time of Legends…