Reacquainting myself with Freemarch after my long absence has been a nightmare. I knew of the rifts and the Abyssal influence, but nothing prepared me for how pervasive both had become in this once peaceful countryside. Displaced wardens and villagers appeared frequently, begging for my help as an Ascended, and despite the cold, calculated nature of my chosen profession, their pleas rarely went unanswered. The paltry rewards offered were a bonus, as I would have done any and all cleanup tasks free of charge.
The Defiant have tried to keep the encroaching planes at bay with their technology. I've never pretended to understand such technical things, as I have always been best at letting my blades deliver my messages. But one thing I do understand is that the gods have failed us, a truth that becomes all the more evident as I see the smoldering remnants of homes and villages.
A bright light appeared behind me and I whirled to see the source. The sky appeared as if it was being sucked into the brightness. A rift was forming and I had little time to get to a safe distance. So I decided to use the element of surprise. I scoured my backpack for the device a Defiant tech had given me to open the rifts prematurely. I pushed the button and launched it at the blinding hole. As the lure made contact, the sky swirled in a mesmerizing dance and dark tendrils reached for the ground. The plane of death was coming to Telara.
The sound of shuffling behind me shook me from my daze and I rolled as a mound of flesh groped where I had been. Zombies and skeletons were falling from the rift like hail and my instincts took over. I slashed the back of the first attacking zombie, while dodging a mace from an approaching skeleton. As a came around, I beheaded the zombie and shattered the weapon arm of the skeleton. The move failed to slow it as it clawed at my arm, opening a bloody gash. The pain sent me into a frenzy and the world became a blur. More skeletons and zombies appeared but were quickly cut down. The Kelari frenzy lasts only a short time, but as the blur cleared, only one skeleton remained, materializing at a far enough distance that it did not see me immediately. I retreated to the shadows and circled in behind it. The fight was over almost as quickly as it began.
As the final blow landed, the dark tendrils that had groped for the ground retreated back through the rift. The dead remnants hissed and vanished as the death portal closed and the sky cleared as if nothing had happened. I slumped to the grass and took a flask from my backpack. I closed my eyes and took a long drink, enjoying the bite on my tongue. The pain in my arm eased to a dull throb and I sheathed my blades.
Before I had been sent back to Freemarch, I had been told that all the planes were collapsing on Telara. Elementals of fire, air, life, earth, water and death are descending on my world. The locals feared the encroaching fingers of Regulos, and rightly so. I knew what was coming, and even I shuddered at what was at stake.
I slowly rose and headed toward Meridian. I didn’t want to be a hero, but Telara needed one fast.