“I may have done something terrible…”
My thoughts as we came upon the edge of the barren wasteland, a place completely devoid of essence and lacking any trace of physical and spiritual life. We had been tracking down a group of Dragonblooded manse-raiders in the hopes of protecting the relics that they guard, but this place was unexpected.
The ashen dust of the land was completely still and settled and probably had been for years with no spirits of the air to stir it. Rivers bent away from the area, knowing full well the danger that the path holds. This land was touched by something strange, but fleeting memories gave me the feeling that I had somehow been responsible for this desecration.
It took us two days to travel to the center of the wasteland. Two days without any recovery of essence, as there was none to be had in the place. By the night our caste marks and animas were forced to blaze, and in the center of the land a beacon of essence erupted. Shou told us there were creatures moving through the essence, with the timing I would assume demons, but we never saw the things… only heard the screaming of the group ahead of us… Daylight brought with it another strangeness, by the light of the blue-tinged mid-day sun we were forced to kneel.
When I finally saw the manse the structure gave me chills, the design was something marked of Oramus, the Dragon Beyond the World. The being whose purpose declared what was to be “in” and “out” of creation. Those with stronger hearts showed little apprehension, but I must admit these signs were pressing me to find the safety behind the walls of Abinue and leaving this place completely.
Marks of battle were evident in this place, the bloody remains of soldiers gave us a grisly path to follow towards the center of the manse. We came upon the remaining Dragonblooded and the dozen soldiers that they brought with them in the middle of a pitched battle. A behemoth of flesh crafted with magical metals bound into the frame of a warstrider was fighting the group, without our aid the dragons would have met their end within a few more moments. In the heat of battle I barely managed to catch sight of the final blow. Xia Wren Ta’s might is really something to admire. Where most of us could merely scratch the automaton, the Silver Lotus managed to cleave the creation in two with a single mighty slash of her scythe.
We tended to the wounded mortal men and women, then proceeded to speak to the Dragons whose lives we had defended. The earth Dragon was most willing to speak, though guarded, and by the time we left the manse we were on at least fair terms with those in our company. Maybe they won’t shun the light forever? We left the wasteland, hearthstone at the ready, and made it home safely.
Oh yes, there was another important event of the last few days. An event that better explains how the place came to be. That, however, is a story for another night.