he sun has but recently reached
its zenith and hovers above the earth like a burnished disk of gold shining good
fortune and health upon all that toils beneath it. The
rays of sunlight fall upon a verdant field filled with the lush growth of a new
spring and the promise of a new year. The field is deserted, save for one man
standing upon it. He stretches his arms upward, and his back outward flexing
muscles that are pleasantly tight. The warmth of the sun fills him as his arms
come up to complete the stretch he has started. Life fills his eyes as one
refreshed from a long slumber and he gazes about him, enjoying all that can be
seen. Upon hearing the birds sing their daily song the man breaks into an easy
smile and he begins to take a step towards the birds and their sweet songs.
His foot falls back to the soft earth and he moves slightly forward with his
step, blinking as he moves. After but a moment his eyes open again, there before
him has appeared a new sight where there was nothing
but grass. A stronghold tall and fair has arisen before him. The grass rises
only to be met by the foundation of this immense place. Stones, the size of a
man, are mortared together to form the foundation of an insurmountable bastion.
They sparkle clean and white as if newly chiseled. Of carved wood and cleverly
filigreed iron is the gate made of, wide enough to fit twenty men abreast.
Following the ironwork upward along the gate, the man’s eyes continue up higher.
There they stare in awe at the elegant towers and bright, snapping pennants,
pure amazement fills the man to see something that is made of cold rocks and
dead wood to be turned into something of such rare seemingly living beauty. Then
he spies the mighty battlements of the fortress and beholds twenty upon twenty
hosts of men standing in force. Bright are the helms upon their heads, new
burnished are their strong spears, and proud are their visages.
While the man admires that which
is before him, a part of him notices that the birds sing no more, in fact there
are no noises to be heard at all. Curiosity overtakes him and he turns around,
he is taken aback by what he sees. Men, women, and children are before him, in
the hundreds. The lines of them stretch back to the horizon. Strong, hardy
people they appear one and all. Simple clothes they wear and simple, yet honest
do their faces appear. Fair skin or tan, dark hair or shining, light eyes or
shadowed, each is as different from another as can be, yet a strength and
resemblance emanates from them in such a powerful wave that the man can not help
but take a step towards them to join their ranks.
With his step comes yet another change, those he was coming forward to embrace
as brethren no longer appear as they did but a moment ago. The inherent strength
in their faces has been leached out as if stolen by the grave. The men now have
pained despair painted upon their faces, the women have become haggard and
withdrawn, and the once inviting smiles upon the children’s faces are turned to
expressions of fear as they clutch their mothers' skirts. The now wretched hosts
open their mouths as if to raise a great shout, but not a sound comes out. Fear
replaces all other expressions and many a hand rises up to point back the way the
man had been facing.
Following the direction of their hands the man turns once more only to see that
the great hosts of gleaming soldiers have raised great bows of wood, arrows of
light are fitted to the bows ready to be shot. The man opens his mouth to shout,
but once more not a sound is heard, he then raises his arms, waving them wildly
to gain the soldiers attention. He takes a step forward to try to reach the
gates before the arrows can be loosed. But, with his step the mass of men draw
back their bows as one and loose their shafts out past the walls they stand
upon. The very sky shimmers with the light from the arrows that were loosed.
Seeing the arrows take flight, the man stops in his tracks, riveted by the sight
of seemingly a thousand suns crossing the sky. He squints against the glare as
he follows their flight through the air. They fall with unerring accuracy, each
one striking true. The man’s hands go up to cover his eyes from the horror he
now sees. Blood pools upon the ground forming a lake of death. Man, woman, child
it did not matter to the arrows, all were laid down in death. The limp forms of
brave men lie pin cushioned above the bodies of their loved ones, brave deeds
were all to no avail for those bright tips found even those who sheltered behind
them. Few are those that still stand, silent tears fall down their stricken
faces. The lips of the wounded twitch and tremble, as they were work into
grimaces and noiseless shrieks of pain.
Image description: Interpretation of a dream of
Dael Lurusian, a high priest of the Hermien Sect of the Mynian Kingdom. Picture from
the game Magical
Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration
drawn by Quellion.
Bright tears fall from the man’s eyes to see so many indiscriminately killed. He
leaps forward to aid those he can, his heart going out to them even as it is
ripped asunder by that which he sees. Before his eyes the shimmering spirits of
the dead and dying quickly flee, as if they cannot take
their host's pain any longer. With his step forward as with every other, the
scene shifts yet once again. No longer is the field filled with the wounded,
now, only long dead corpses remain with naught a mut of
flesh left upon them. The endless fields are barren and hold only dust. All that
was alive is gone, only the now cold stone remains.
Tears now blind him as the man continues running forward; with each step another
image is presented to him. Images to make the soul wail, they are filled with
nothing but fire, death, and destruction; one leading to another, a vicious
cycle that he cannot escape from. Finally when his legs can no longer hold him
he collapses weeping to the ground, his tears falling upon the scorched earth.
After some time he slowly raises his head up, afraid of what he might see, but
needing to nonetheless. No more is the verdant
plain or the strong fortress. Burnt bones litter blackened earth, riven are the once strong gate and ruined
are the once proud walls. Naught is left of the shining host nor of the
slaughtered people, a feeling of emptiness permeates the land. The man knows
that nothing now lives in the blighted land.
He pulls himself forward but a few nailsbreadths, his exhausted body not able to give
any more. Darkness encloses all of the land and all is blotted from the man’s
vision. Finally, after an eternity of dead silence, a harsh sound comes through
the darkness. It is the laugh of a broken man. Whispered, cracked words follow
the laughter, “So, he who created all that is has died, and with his death so do
we all die.” Once more harsh laughter is heard, and the man chokes on the
laughter. For it, like the words, are his own.
Lighting rips through the sky and thunder cracks apart the heavens, causing the
man to violently awake. His arms naturally come in front of him in a protective
gesture. After a moment he puts down his hands realizing that he is not to be
attacked. He pushes himself to his feet and stares at the myriad pinpricks of
light that meet his eyes. “May The Creator protect me”, he whispers in
chattering breaths. He wraps his arms tightly about him to ward off the chill of
the pre-dawn darkness. “What does it all mean, what am I to see from this?”