Visions of the Future: Heralds and Elemental Sorcery
481|9|21. There are times throughout history when the stars and planets are quiet and tell us little. These are not those times. In recent memory, the visions that the stars have seen fit to show moon mages have been pondered and pored over. Many of the most recent visions have been related to the Elpalzi and their machinations against Zoluren. The others have in large part remained a complete mystery to us. That is, until last andu.
An illustration is rendered in vivid color on the parchment. It displays the constellation of the Wolf, a cluster of fourteen stars in the shape of a seated, howling wolf. The stars smolder fitfully against a vast canvas of red and purple-brown.
In this case, the first revelation of something atypical was a minute detail, which appeared a decade ago, noticeable to those well-trained in the constellation of the Wolf. At least ten years ago, at the beginning of year 408, moon mages observing the Wolf may have noticed a small plume, not unlike smoke, forming within the stars that make up the constellation. According to Miskton Ramahk and Mistanna Redivas, while its exact rate of growth is unknown, over the course of ten years the plume has grown into something more akin to a large cloud that takes up, consumes even, a significant portion of the constellation. On its own, this surely warrants concern and has disquieted several moon mages, however when combined with the visions seen recently it may be a harbinger of something larger in scope than the Elpalzi.
While at first the stars seemed resolute in keeping their secrets, eventually I began to grasp at the strands of fate. In total, a series of four visions would reveal themselves that I have come to believe are linked. Before speculating over possible interpretations, let us recount each of the four visions.
VISION 1: THE CUPPED PALMS. This vision showed a pair of glowing blue hands with slender fingers and lacquered nails. As the vision progressed, water slowly pooled up into the cupped palms, tinted metallic blue by the glow. The water began acting oddly though, not behaving like water at all. It sporadically climbed into the air in little forked tendrils, passed through the flesh of the hands without dripping below, and frothed over with sparks. After several seconds, the hands began trembling and threw away the strange liquid, which crackled into nothingness.
VISION 2: TWELVE MARBLES. In this vision, solid shadows rolled before my eyes, becoming twelve glass marbles laid out on a swath of dark blue satin. From the edges of the fabric a purple smolder encroached inward ever so slowly. After a time, the smolder reached one of the marbles causing it to fall into a black, burnt hole, creating the feeling of a twist of grief in my heart.
VISION 3: THE DRAGON-HEADED MAN. Soot and smoke suddenly assaulted my senses of sight, smell, and taste. Through the oily blackness, I glimpsed a dragon-headed man striding confidently across a battlefield, spewing bright scarlet flames wherever he went and swinging orange-yellow fists at silhouetted enemies between breaths. Of interest, the gender of the dragon-headed individual changed, seemingly dependent on the gender of the moon mage having the vision. For male moon mages, the dragon-headed individual was a male. For female moon mages, the dragon-headed individual was a female.
VISION 4: THE CLIFF FACE. This vision was the most overtly terrifying. I found myself dangling over the edge of a sheer rockface, gripped at the scruff of the neck by a transparent hand. I struggled and clawed, but my flailings only met empty air. Then, instead of simply dropping me, my captor flung me with such force that the vision itself jarred violently, coming to an end even as I heard my own frightened yell trailing off in the distance. This caused some concern to those I had been conversing with just moments before.
With rapid contemplation, the visions seem to be isolated; separate and unrelated to each other. One could be forgiven for seeing or hearing about the visions and coming away with nothing more than anxiety over the unknown. However, are they so isolated? Are the visions as vague as they first seem? Is there more that can be gleaned from them then one might first realize?
Let us recall the first vision again. While many speculated that the being involved was an Elothean or Elf, I believe that is not the case. I believe that the key is the glowing blue hands, with slender fingers and lacquered nails. Thinking back to a book I had read long ago, I realized I was reminded of a passage regarding the Second Guardians of Magic. In particular, the Guardian Elide. In the passage, Elide is described as having “soft dusky skin [that] barely contains a faint luminosity,” “delicate fingers,” “long, graceful hands,” and “brightly lacquered nails in alternating stripes of blue and silver.” In fact, all three humanoid Heralds were described with luminous skin, long hands, and lacquered nails. For the sake of discussion, let us assume that the being in the first vision is indeed Elide, a Guardian of Magic, a Herald.
But what of the water not behaving like water? Why would a Guardian of Magic cast this substance aside? Perhaps the answer is Sorcery. I managed to find an old, tattered text whose title and author were, unfortunately, lost to history. However, in this text, the author stated that Elemental Sorcery would most likely appear as an “unreal amalgamation of elemental features, such as petrifying winds, ice that literally burns, or lightning with arbitrary conductive properties.” The water in the Cupped Palms vision did have properties normally seen in lightning, with the forked tendrils as well as the frothing sparks. Does this mean that Elemental Sorcery is soon to appear? And if so, will the Heralds take offense to this twisting of magic?
If we assume that these are both the case, does it affect the interpretation of the remaining three visions?
Consider that 50 years ago the Guardians took away from us Meraud’s Gift, magic, for a time. Meraud, whose symbol is the Wolf. Recall the second vision, with the twelve marbles on the swath of dark blue satin. It could be argued that there are 12 planets, if one were standing on the 13th while observing the others. Operating under this assumption a compelling theory presents itself. Each planet is commonly associated with an Immortal and the marble falling through the burnt hole may represent an Immortal being destroyed or lost. An Immortal being destroyed would absolutely account for the feelings of heart-wrenching grief that was felt. Such a loss is unimaginable though. What could possibly cause an Immortal to be lost or destroyed? The answer: A Herald. According to the mythology of the Heralds, Immortals bow to them. Some even posit that the Heralds are the creators of the gods, or that the gods created the Heralds to keep Themselves in check. As we saw clearly 50 years ago, the Heralds were able to nullify Meraud’s Gift, one might argue Meraud’s power itself.
One other theory that I believe has merit is that the purple smolder represents Sorcery or perhaps the use of Sorcery. Purple is a color often associated with Sorcery, and the Devourer Lyras herself was said to crackle with purple and white energy when struck. In that case, perhaps the very use of Sorcery is what threatens Meraud. What if the Cupped Hands vision is showing us Elide’s realization that the use of Sorcery is out of control? If the Guardians of Magic believe Meraud is losing control of magic again, that certainly could result in a loss of confidence in Meraud.
The Dragon-headed Man vision may also be related to the Cupped Hands and the Twelve Marbles visions. I believe that the dragon head of the being is a key point. It is known that the Guardians can take the form of dragons: Glacis, Eerayn, and Sildua took the form of full dragons. However, at other times Heralds have been described as closer to humanoid in appearance (somewhere between Elven and Human). I find it intriguing that the vision has revealed a being part dragon, part humanoid. Furthermore, it is of interest that the dragon-headed being seemed to be commanding Elemental magic. I am not prepared to posit that there is an absolute link between this vision and the other two, but I will say I believe it warrants more thought and investigation. It may also be related to the recent revelation of new abilities with the spell Dragon’s Breath.
I must confess that I am at a loss as to the meaning of the final vision, the Cliff Face. At this time, I believe it is safe to say that there is not enough information, even to speculate, on what this vision might mean.
Are the stars, both in their physical changes and the visions they show from the Plane of Probability, acting as harbingers of a Herald? Has a power struggle between the Immortals and the Heralds once again begun to spill over onto the Plane of Abiding? Only time will answer these questions definitively. Until then we must remain vigilant and keep in the forefront of our minds that threats exist beyond the Elpalzi.
Reporter, The First Land Herald
Heralds of Heralds since 416!