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Posted by on 2000 Dec 10 |

Sorrow, Slaughter and a Starry Vision

(Crossing, Zoluren: 233 Arhat 363)

Baresh was just closing somewhat early when a young Rakash female rushed into the tavern. Her loose shoulder-length auburn hair was disheveled, while her armor and her grey Moon Mage robes were stained with dirt and blood. Her amber-gold eyes were filled with a feral rage–and the bitter awareness that there was nothing she could do to satisfy that rage.

"Can I…help…you?" Baresh inquired, making sure that he kept far away from her teeth and fingernails.

The woman smiled sardonically. "Oh, you need not fear. I will not harm you–though I would tear Sorrow’s throat out if I could. I don’t suppose you’d have any metheglin?"

"I did hear that there was some problem with Sorrow," Baresh said cautiously, pouring a generous amount of the honeyed and spiced mead into a large pewter stein.

"Yes, I think you could say that," the moon mage said, sighing. "It’s hard to separate rumor from fact at this point. I’ve heard a thousand different things, most notably that Sorrow has the book about the Zaulfung Stones, and that the city of Dirge was cut off in the battle. Likewise, I heard that Arthe Dale was taken over as well." She snorted. "A great conquest, that–ravaging a tiny village of innocent halflings.

"I do know a few things. I know that Riverhaven was devastated, and that at one point virtually the whole city was dead, with no clerics to raise a soul.

"I know that Leth and Shard were blocked off. Oh, you could take the ferry from Crossing, but just south of the docks, there were Sorrow’s Regiment and Sorrow’s Company–waiting. His men even invaded the Crossing itself! The Rangers’ Guild, the Clerics’, the Empaths’…all came under attack.

"But the most terrible thing was the vision which most of us Moon Mages saw in the heavens." She fell silent, staring morosely into her drink.

Baresh glanced at her uneasily. "What did you see?"

The Rakash sat up very straight. As her golden eyes filled with a combination of wonder and terror, she began to chant in a clear and penetrating alto voice:

"For a brief instant your mind is suddenly filled with images of an endless night sky. Stars swirl wildly about you in a celestial maelstrom as your mind gropes to find anything familiar to grasp as a heavenly anchor. The brilliant pinpoints blur and meld until they organize and form the pattern of the Raven. The constellation of the Raven begins to trek across the darkness, leaving its normal course in the cosmos. Swooping down, the Raven momentarily covers the constellation of the Lion. The Lion flickers briefly with a crimson aura and then goes dim."

"We talked about it at the Moon Mage guild afterwards," she added in a normal tone. "The majority thought that the vision spoke of Sorrow overthrowing order and justice."


"But why?" She sighed. "Well, Sorrow’s last name is Ravenblades, and I believe his House’s emblem is a raven, is it not? And then, the Lion is the symbol of your god, Chadatru, the god of order and justice.

"Of course, we could be wrong. Even the normal predictions we make are very hard to interpret, and I’ve never had a vision of this magnitude before. Indeed, I hope that we are all consummately wrong! I don’t like to think about what life would be like under Sorrow’s reign. I suspect it would be nasty, brutish and short.

"Please, Baresh…if you love these lands, pray that Sorrow doesn’t do as we foresaw. Pray that we are wrong."

With that she took two swift gulps of her drink, placed a handful of coins on the bar, glanced back at Baresh with a sad and frightened expression and loped out the door.