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The End

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There is a “flex” in the air before a flash of light and a swirl of cosmic energies signifies a portal has been opened, and a bridge between one point in space and another is formed, forcing the rest of the Verse to grind to a halt momentarily. It deposits upon the yellow sand of that desert city, one breathless and terrified elf, and then collapses, folding in on itself until it forms one bright and fragile singularity before that too winks out.

The heat. Firstly the heat and the burn of the rays as it feels intense enough to flay skin from muscle. The scents of the city- of flies and death and the scent of dry musty things becoming drier and mustier- missing the scent of baking bread, and the delicious mouth water aromas of the street hawkers, cooking their wares over hot coals. Slowly, the woman looks up, eyes watering against the harsh light of the Ar’Elian Sun, squinting against the blur until finally, the scene forms into a stark reality.

A band of azure sky, and where the city should be, buildings and minarets and fantastical Moorish architecture that had stood for 1000 years, was now a wasteland of pulverized rock, the horizon broken with the remains of buildings that thrust their remains into the air like skeletal fingers. Ar’elis was gone and the wind now lifted it’s remains and tossed it into the air in a billow of dust.

The elf slowly lifts herself up into sitting, her eyes wide- she can hardly comprehend what has happened to this place that she had called home. They finally did it. That crazed dragon and his minions. They had finished the city. Finished it completely. Only one landmark, the indelberg known as the Mount Of Kings still stood, but any structures that were atop it had been turned also to dust. It rose as majestic as ever, but what was crowded around it had returned to desert.

Shoulders sag and she feels as though her world was ending. But her world had ended the minute she had arrived on this Hellish planet but the rest of her just needed a chance to catch up. She was done. It was over. The will to continue was a palpable sensation as she felt it leave her body. Ar’Elis reflected what she felt inside. There was nothing left. She and it, had been reduced from a vibrant entity filled with joy and vitality and hope- to dust.

“You did it, your crazy bastards!” she breathes through lips that were as arid as the landscape. “You blew it up!” A sob before she screams “Gods damn you! Damn you all to Hell!”. The whistle of the wind across a newly formed landscape was her only reply.

A minute passes, perhaps it was an hour. Or a day. Time had ground to a halt and was meaningless. After what feels like an eternity, she hauls herself wearily to her feet. Nothing, no one, nowhere was safe from the influence of Siclides or the ravages of war. Her body feels hot with the astonishment of seeing the once proud city reduced to nothing. She grips the flesh of her arms and hugs herself as the tremors of shock take hold, flesh crawls.

“I need to get out of here” she mutters to herself, fingers dancing through the air, crafting another portal to Gods knows where. Her mind was blank, so the fact that a portal had formed at all before her was remarkable but it did, and remains hanging in the air like some great unseeing eye. “Away from this place” before stepping through the aperture, not knowing where she might end up, or looking back at the devastation behind her


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