Something Darkly

((Five Miles From Lorcan's Farm, 2 YSTR))

The carriage had looped its way through the hills, following the road with ease. But the day's light shining upon the land did not bring an ease to the creatures of the wood, them scurrying away from the slow pace of one lone man. He walked with a sure purpose, sunlight glinting off of his mask. A staff was carried in his grasp, dark ebony wood tipped with a electrum half-circle, spikes rising in five prongs in detailed sharpness.

He had waited, knowing she came this way. She was powerful, to be sure. But she was not him, not as perfected. And all the pieces were in place for Aeran. All that was left to do was tipping the first domino.

He stopped, planting his feet as the carriage looped around a hill. The trees shaded them as they came forward. It was the horses that sensed his presence, a looming feel of his magic spreading like an aura from his body. They started to slow as the horses started to neigh.

Even beasts know when a master arrives, he thought.

The driver began to try and calm his horses, pulling on the reins. That is when he spotted the man. He squinted through the golden gleam, metal eyes empty portals as crimson robes fluttered in the breeze.

"Oi! You! Get off da road!" He called.

The man did not move. The driver began to reach for his crossbow only to feel a strange feeling beginning to spread across him. His leg felt heavy, making him look down. What he saw made him scream in terror as his legs, clothes and flesh, were turning to gray stone. He tried to get up but ended up falling to the ground instead. Amongst the grass he twisted and cried out as the stone spread.

The door opened. Finally the man with the golden mask moved, lowering his staff slightly in the carriage's direction. When he spoke, his voice came with power behind it; a second voice deep with the echo of a power dam'ed by his will.

"You have now returned to the land in utmost turmoil. Yet what remains for you to rule stands upon the precipice of destruction. What will you forfeit to save those you cherish?"

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