Return of the Long Night
Volume I – Phoenix Rising
|Chapter 1: Awakenings||(Some time in the distant past….)|
Your thoughts become a rush of disjointed meaningless images – scenes that you know you cannot have seen, forms and shapes that you wear that are not your own, and hearing words from eras long past.
• A massive rock pillar rises from the surface of a rocky world, reaching towards the heavens, steaming as if the ground was alive and had been punctured by a stiletto.
• A dark figure steps out of an opening in the rock wall, which closes behind him with a suddenness. Drawing to his face, his six fingered hand holds a dark stone that seems to suck his very life and the light of the sun into its surface.
• Seven shrouded figures meet in an ancient temple, each standing proud and true, confident in their responsibility, pistols at their side and righteousness as their swords.
• A fleet of stellar ships, some as large as small asteroids, rocket across space leaving conquered worlds behind them, On each, the population is subjugated, bowing deep to their tenant masters or mistresses – each a tall, regal being holding a shining, glowing sword or staff in their six fingered hands, violet eyes shining in the adoration displayed before them.
• A massive pitch black, winged lizard (perhaps a fabled dragon) rides the winds towards an ancient, half buried tower. Reaching it the dragon changes into a slim female who descends into a chamber of immensity, filled with pipes and wiring. Within the very centre rests a cocoon of glass and steel, within which sleeps an alien beauty her violet, slit like eyes staring without sight.
• Flaming meteorites sweep down towards the ground, setting alight the forests of a quiet, farming community, leaving the ground desolate, dried and dead.
• A hooded magician stands over a table, a smelter and anvil just behind him. Laid out in front of him are six jewelled crowns and some sceptres.
• Insect-like forms, as large as horses, roam caverns and plains, attacking all life with an intelligence that reflects their hive mentality. Standing against them are soldiers, arrayed in what seems a hopeless fight, weary and scarred by many previous engagements.
• A blacksmith, dark with soot and gem dust, stands over a sphere of purest crystal within which swims an image of disaster – robed priests or monks stand before a field full of demonic, winged beings as they feed from the still living corpses of farmers and peasants. A single tear drops from the blacksmith’s eyes and as it touches the crystal sphere it runs blood red.
• A slit of darkness appears in the middle of a raging wind or storm, out of which steps a tall humanoid figure that is amazingly alive. His skin, if such ever existed, has been flayed off leaving a bloody, oozing covering over twisted and broken bones. His hair is long and unkempt, his face distorted with pain as his eyes are tightly closed to stop the tears from running. As he falls to the ground, perhaps 100m below, you cannot but wonder what or who he once was. As his body slams into the rocks below, you can see his hands, each with six fingers, splayed out as if they could stop the damage that incredibly seems to bother him little.
• Bodies, in the dozens, lie across a field, on the road and in a village square as insects buzz around. Their bloated forms, pustules broken across their skin, are hideous and grotesque.
What these all mean is beyond your understanding, and as your life drifts away, you wonder whether you will ever know….
Next Chapter 2: Trials – Into a strange land: the Village of Shyrac