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Richard

Harwin Mandom

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A man stood abreast of time and space. Staring ahead, he saw through a thick haze that which would- or might- be. Such a sight, however vague behind the stained glass of precognition, welled within him with a myriad of emotions. Awe at its grandeur, hope at its implications, cheer at its forthcoming joy; but at the same time, terror in the face of hardship, hopelessness in the face of conflict, and above all else... insignificance. A nihilistic miasma filled him to the brim upon realizing just how little he would matter in the years to come, and how ultimately short his mirage fell along the threads of fate. Looking behind himself, the fog was much clearer. All that lay behind him was all that had come to pass. Regret, mistake, memory. But a warmth in familiarity, and a glow of pride in deeds come and gone. Turned aside, the man cast one final gaze to fate's horizon, and stepped back into the clarity of the past.

 

Then, he awoke with a start. His heart was pounding, his palms drenched in sweat. His chest heaved as he struggled to find breath. Never before had he had such a dream so vividly poignant, so intense. Whence he began to recover, a realization came to him. His left arm felt as though it were both drenched in water and lit ablaze, and that stinging pain nearly drew the air out of his lungs again. Shakily, he gripped his forearm and brought it before his adjusting eyes. It was covered in shimmering crimson, eclectic patterns inlaid through scarification adorned his limb, and his racing mind finally caught up to the here-and-now.

 

Wax candles were scattered around the cave interior, painting everything an dim and eerie amber. A pact had been sealed, and a pound of flesh given in return for an exceptional boon. Forcing himself to his feet, the warlock's eyes settled on the altar before which he had fainted. Communing with dark forces is always a taxing experience, but his hardships were proven worthwhile when the glint of a precious stone shone from the altar's center. A blackened pearl, in the center of which swirled a torrent of dull multicolored hues. Simple as it might look, it was captivating to watch; not to mention a true prize for anyone with knowledge of it's true nature. The wayward magician with a penchant for the emerald avenues of arcanism carefully scooped his prize into a small cloth pouch and strung it around his neck. His goal in hand, he could finally leave this place. Or so he thought.

 

Crossing the mouth of the cave, the warlock's eyes widened. Where once were dense forests and green, now lay a rocky beach and an endless sea, the horizon mottled by rolling, stormy fog. The warlock's ritual site had found itself transported to the Doldrums. Of course, the warlock didn't know the name, nor where the islands even were. It seems his ritualistic slumber had bypassed the Worldbreaker's ascension, and had left him in a strange land with little to go one. But still, he had his prize; that was enough for him to press on. With his pearl, there was no longer a reason to turn his back on the future.

 

It's time he moved forward.

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