The Reckoning

Some say it was the Day of Undoing, or when the earth stood still.  From my stand point the earth was doing everything but standing still.  For the rest of my life, I will always remember that day with utmost clarity.  Even in feeble-minded old age, shall I be able to draw each detail of the day when our civilization faced extinction.

It was early morning and we had just begun to break camp.  Hunting down Kilgor the Barbarian was a full time job, and took a lot of men to overcome his forces.  The bloodthirsty barbarian had been waging war on us for over two years now and all of us were tiring of it.  He was a problem I was afraid none of us could solve.  To make matters worse a strange woman had visited me three nights ago.  She spoke of two swords, Armageddon's Blade and the Sword of Frost.  If the two should meet on the field of combat then the world would end.  Gelu, the half-crazed Ranger and Captain of the Forest Guard has carried Armageddon's Blade for some time now, but the Sword of Frost was only recently found by Kilgor.  The two are sure to collide in battle.  I had no idea how soon it would be.

From the north came a blinding flash, more brilliant than anything we had ever witnessed, beautiful and deadly at the same time.  It was white in the center, but soon darkened to a bloody red fringe.  Instinctively I ducked as the light came towards me.  Those with the same instincts survived the initial blast, the others did not.  We heard the blast moments later, a deafening scream of a thousand creatures dying.  Barely able to pick myself off the ground I noticed a shimmering not a few feet away from me.  Dozens of portals opened up.  She had spoke the truth and I was glad to have listened to her words.

"If the two blades meet on the battlefield then the world will be made uninhabitable.  The seas will boil, the land will heave and split open.  Mountains will spew lava and all life as you know it will end.  I have prepared for this event.  If it occurs then you must tell your men to go through the portals I will open.  They will be open as long as possible, but I cannot risk another world for those who move too slowly.  Anyone who is left here, will most certainly die.  Heed my words, for I speak the truth.  Good luck."  She had vanished right after her speech, giving me no time for questions.  There was something about her intense manners that prompted me to prepare the men.  I was fortunate, they did not panic when told about this.  A despair fell over the camp as they wondered about family and friends back home.  It was truly a dismal few days.

We had little choice.  Pushing frightened animals and villagers through the portals was difficult work indeed.  Children seemed to be constantly running off looking for a favored toy or pet.  We scurried everywhere, looking for refugees and precious supplies.  All the while the ground violently shook, throwing us to the ground unable to do little more than pray that we would survive.  When the ground did not split under our feet or shake us to the bones we did our best at rescuing as many as humanly possible.  Then the portals began to close.  At first I couldn't figure out why, but it became readily evident as to the reason.  Flaming rocks fell from the sky, and if one was going to hit a portal, it closed.  That's when everyone panicked.  It seemed almost impossible to become more chaotic, but it did.  People trampled others to get through a portal, and we worked desperately to get everyone through.  Supplies were dumped as they were no longer important.  To some the wagons of personal belongings were not to be left behind and they died for their stupidity.

It was the lava that finally drove us all through the portals.  It rolled slowly over the ground, burning and devouring everything in its path.  Those who didn't make it through a portal perished instantly as the lava consumed them.  I soon found myself too far from safety when a figure caught my eye.  Dragons swooped down and began to pick up stranded people and drop them through portals in the air.  My turn to be rescued came moments before a wave of lava claimed my life.  Looking up I saw her, the woman who warned us.  She was flying dragonback, instructing them herself.  I thanked her silently as I was dropped forty feet into soft grass.

We are rebuilding our kingdom, now called Iranese.  General Kendal died valiantly, saving others.  Most of our numbers were saved, but almost no material possessions were recovered.  Spells, spell books and other valuable information has been forever lost to us.  Our new home is along the shores of Brystol Sea, and we are trading with some of the other kingdoms along the sea.  Much of the land is unexplored, but I am sure we will soon know all of the land quite well.

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