Prelude

Miiiin miin miin miin miin

Though it was high summer, and his black hair was matted with sweat, the warrior’s lungs stung with needle-cold inhalations.  The air was dry.  Fear had compelled him to abandon the battlefield.  Away from the rolling hills, south to the river the army had crossed on its long march.  Here in the woods he collapsed, knees and palms cut by centuries of pine needles.  The young warrior spat on the ground, everything was running.  His eyes focused on the sword, its noble bronze hacked and ruined by the indestructible grey-bright metal of the langbotmen’s weapons.

Habit and training had compelled him  not to leave the blade, even as he left his countrymen.  It wouldn’t matter, his thoughts turned spiteful.  The langbotmen were invincible.  They would slaughter the armies of Melythis and sack the fountain city.  It was the end of the world.

“It’s not fair…” he wept, and did not care to convince himself that it was from the salt in his eyes.

Miiin miin miin miin miin the cicadas replied with their screeching song.

“How long has the vath’s city stood between the rivers?” he looked up and saw through his tears that there was a noble woman there with him, scarlet eyed and black robed.  Her hair, bound in gold filigree, fell like wings over each shoulder, and a braid of flame like stag antlers hung above the crown of her head, “Since the vath first sowed the earth?  Now here you are at the end.”

He coughed, his throat was raw.  Any remaining sense had been pounded out of his skull with every footfall away from the battlefield.  He nodded dumbly.

“Say the words.” She commanded.

Miiiin miin miin miin miin, the cicadas were so loud, he thought they were in his mind.  If things could only be the way they always had been, he felt his thoughts become words:

I

Wish

Next Issue: The Giant’s Crypt

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