I sat in the lounge sipping my herbal beverage, staring into the dark shadows of the headquarters as a single source of candlelight lit one face of my cup, the fireplace, a chair, a stack of Abad’s spellbooks sorted on the table – the lit objects around the room flickered with the flame, almost phasing in and out of existence. A light breeze from the window caused the flame to dance madly, what little I could see in the dark began to flicker with more ferocity, until finally the lone candle was snuffed with a draft. I could hear the whistle of the wind as it began to grow stronger. The room was now pitch black.
I sat motionless for a moment until I began to hear voices – shouting, yelling from what appeared to a large number of men. I heard the sound of cold and tempered iron clashing and breaking, the rend of weapon, and the cry of battle. I sprung to my feet.
I quickly assembled my gear and armor, immediately removing my longsword from its sheathe. I raced to the front doorway where the source of the battle cries came, flung open the door and gazed into a scene of wanton destruction. Fire engulfed the scene before my eyes as poorly equipped civilians attempted to fend off knights in full armor. I had not immediately recognized what I was seeing, until I witnessed a lone paladin standing in front of a house as it burned. He appeared to be gazing intently, with some kind of satisfaction. I began to approach him, ignoring everything around me. I started walking, then running, then sprinting with my sword about to strike. Not more than a moment before my blow, the knight turned around ready to parry my attack. I immediately stopped in sheer horror as I stood looking at my own face. Frozen in place, I did not attempt to block his blow. With one large swing he rent my armor and nearly severed me in two. I stared at the ground, blood pouring out of my body onto the ground. The world around me began to dissipate and become blurry. My vision grew dark. I felt myself lose consciousness.
I woke up in our lounge, the single candlelight still living. My armor laid across the room in fair condition. My sword lay along with it, still in its sheathe.
I cannot hesitate any longer. The Empire will not rest, and neither must I.