Heralds of the Apocalypse
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We saw it last night, hanging low on the western horizon. The entire village gathered to watch its illustrious dance. An ethereal rouge glow, a single pinpoint more captivating than any of the stars in the night sky. It hung there for what seemed like an eternity, every man, woman and child fixated on its beauty. It throbbed and ebbed, pulsating in size, just like a beacon; we knew it was calling to us. The entire world stopped to listen.
The trees fell silent in their senseless rustling, the birds dared not rise to the challenge of a duet. Like a swan's song, to have heard its call was to see true beauty in the frailty of life. To gaze upon it was to know the peace that was found through the turmoil and struggles. Families hugged tight, strangers locked gazes of accord, lovers soothingly embraced, the world has never known a truer harmony or inner peace to be felt since long before these accursed wars. We watched a little longer, breaths held for the coming crescendo. Then a flash. The light rose like a pillar into the sky, and then darkness fell across the earth like the final curtain. I hold no fear in my heart. Death had come to Forinthry.
Those of us that had survived the flash chose to flee south. The western horizon was now black, cracked and torn as though the gods themselves had plucked the light from the ground in their fervour. A strange affliction has begun to creep upon the borders of our envoy. The food, once ripe, has turned to ash in our mouths. The water we'd rationed to quench our thirst now turns to steam on the touch of our cracked, parched lips. I fear many may not live to see the lights of the southern border. Famine has come to Forinthry.
The earth beneath our feet is hot. It burns with a fever of blackened ash. The horizon has come to greet us and now all around us is desolation. As the life drains from this world, so does it from us too. Our skin is now cracked beyond any repair. Our eyes red and sore. Hair is limp, patchy and matted. Wrapped in weeping bandages, we soldier on. What animals we had brought had either fled, or succumbed to similar fates. I fear we may now never escape this damnation, this torment. Pestilence had come to Forinthry.I am alone now in my journey, yet I am not. With every scratch of charcoal on papyrus, I sense them watching. My vision is hazy, but on the edges, I see them there. Roaring, clashing with steel and bone and rock. Their torment in death is the same as it shall be in life. The very flesh, scarred and torn falls from my frame. Warriors and wizards and beasts fighting in the name of the very gods that have now forsaken this land. My muscles and bones burn deep and ache with the raw fire and anger that threatens to consume me too. War has always called Forinthry home. And I fear I am finally home.