Extinction Vignette #3 - From the Writings of the Old Man
From the writings of the Old Man
1042 Dolorum Reckoning
If Gularram was a house of snakes, King Mathias was its master. He left most matters of state to a cadre of advisors, each known publicly as the head of one of the city’s most prominent mercenary companies. Comfortable in his lush sandstone palace that oversaw the province of Gular from an appropriately aloof perch, Mathias believed his city to be unassailable by human or beast. He was half correct.
By the time the Ravenii portals opened just outside the city, Mathias and his mercenaries had become fat with complacency. They were confident in their troops’ abilities to thwart any of the belowground ruins’ monstrous denizens, and easily dispatched the half-hearted forays by neighboring kingdoms encroaching upon Gular’s wide borders. An uneasy truce had been forged between Gular, Callum, and Multnomah, and the magicians of Guin had so far withdrawn into their towers as to be considered a non-entity when it came to conquest. Dolorum, which still stands as of this writing, was one of the only kingdoms who adhered to the old ways and sought peace among its own borders rather than war at the doorsteps of others’.
Gularram fell within a handful of days, its walls better suited for deflecting wooden arrows and burning pitch than the onslaught of creatures that dwarfed its buildings by tenfold. In the end, Mathias’ impenetrable palace was no match for the casual sweep of a Ravenii’s fist, and the thieves’ den quickly met the same fate as the civilization that preceded it.
I saved whom I could, strapping civilians onto horses and sending them careening into the wilderness towards Dolorum with the city crumbling into ash behind them. The dust had not yet settled when I left with Avil and Xandra in tow, forcing them to keep moving as I brought them to the Sentinels’ last fortification, knowing they would be humanity’s last defense against the onslaught that would ensue.
In our flight from Gularram, I turned back once to capture an image of the once magnificent city in my mind. I expected to see Mathias’ palace in pieces, the ruins of the city’s buildings and spires reaching out like skeletal fingers grasping feebly at the burning sky.
There was nothing. The entire city had been razed to the ground in a final push by the Ravenii, who towered over the ruins – new and old – calling to one another triumphantly in their demonic language that quailed even the stoutest of folk. I knew then, as the last of my line, that I would have to impart all of my knowledge, and the collective records of the Sentinels, to my new wards for Gular’s neighboring kingdoms to have any chance of survival against extinction.
I do not like our odds.
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