The Collapse - Part 1

Published by Lindsay Wardell on 05/22/2018

The city of wizards glistened below, as Lindin stood outside his tower. A breeze blew past him, ruffling his robes and hair slightly. The sunset of spring struck the windowpanes in such a fashion as to render the land below a reflection of the sky above. No matter where he went, Lindin always felt that it was the most beautiful sight in the world.

By coming here, he hoped the events of the last days wouldn’t weigh so heavily on him. Gellinns’ death had left him with a feeling of foreboding. He didn’t know what was coming, an oddity in his life. Such unknowns made him feel quite uncomfortable.

Nearby, other wizards were gathering, discussing the issues of the day. The topic of a dance came up frequently, but Lindin didn’t catch when it was exactly. Social activities were not among his interests. He preferred the quiet places, where he could think. Generally, he wouldn’t have stayed on the balcony when they arrived, but he didn’t want to miss this sight. Not tonight.

As he watched the streets, something began to itch on the periphery of his senses. Naturally, he closed his eyes, allowing his mind to scan the city for any of the disturbances he’d been watching. Velsyph had clearly already been at work; barriers had been established across the city that hadn’t been there even earlier today. Perhaps that was all he sensed. Perhaps there was nothing to be worried about.

He followed the spellweave to his regular destinations, watching for any abnormalities. Around the walls, through the watchtowers, into the sky, back down, into the library, underground, around the senate… wait. Something was wrong, as if the entire flow of power in the city was pooling underneath the Senate chambers. Massive amounts of energy churned under the surface of the ground, hindering the flow of the arcane throughout the city. Worse, it was growing.

Lindin watched in his mind as the massive currents of arcane energy crashed against the walls of the lower chambers in the Senate, churning in recognizable patterns. He could even tell where each wizard stood inside the building, adding their will to the great spellcraft. Perhaps, then, it was nothing.

But something continued to itch within Lindin’s senses. Something wasn’t right with... whatever this spell was. It was too great, too powerful. The strain on the wizards casting it became quickly apparent. One fell to his knees, yet continued to channel energy. Another collapsed entirely, while arcane forces plowed through her body without regard for her well-being. One by one, the wizards were falling, and as they fell, the spellcraft grew wilder, more chaotic.

A rush of energy tore through the spellweave, crashing into Lindin. He reeled from the impact, as if it had been a physical thing, nearly knocking him off the tower. The conversation of the others ceased, as they ran to support their associate. “Are you all right? What happened?” they asked.

Lindin shook them off, as the tower they stood on seemed to wobble. Or was he disoriented? Before he could speak, another wave of energy flowed through the tower, then another, then another. Everyone looked around, panic evident in their eyes.

“We need to get out of here, now,” he said. He reached out into the ether, calling to anyone able to listen, “Get out of the sky!” Confusion echoed across the spellweave, but there was no time. Lindin bolted for the tower’s exit.

In the center of the chamber sat the glowing teleportation crystal. Without a second thought, Lindin reached out to it, his fingers barely brushing its surface as he tried to slow down. A blue glow spread over his body, then his surroundings vanished into an indescribable burst of energy. Within moments, the city formed around him, the towering presence of the Senate chamber filling his view. Damn, he thought. Not the place to be.

Desperate, he reached out into the ether again, trying to contact anyone that could hear him. When his mind touched the arcane, however, he was overpowered, and fell to the ground, crying in agony. The storm building under the chambers was too great for him to use any spell. Pain ripping through his mind, he pulled as much power into himself as he could, striving in vain to contact someone. It was no use.

He let go of the ether, the pain subsiding with the release. Rising to his feet, Lindin looked around at the commonfolk of Arhals, moving about in their lives. Not even one had paid the slightest attention to him or his cries.

Once again, he tried to reach the spellweave. It was much harder than before, more like searching for a reflection in mud, but eventually he managed it. Next to him, under the Senate chamber, the whirlwind of energy continued to grow, threatening every moment to come undone. It grew and grew, rising high above into the sky, between the floating towers.

Then, in a moment, it was gone, dissipating into nothing. The deafening silence that followed was harsher than the vortex of energy had ever hoped to be. Before Lindin could register what had taken place, an implosion pulled against him, wrenching him from the ether.

He shook his head, trying to clear his vision. What is happening? Instinct took over, and his vision turned once again towards the spellweave. As he did, he felt the ley lines throughout the city fade away, as if broken. The very foundation of the arcane bent and contorted, like a rope snapping against itself. Pain lanced through his mind once more as he felt them shatter into pieces.

Lindin fell again to the ground, convulsing from the storm of energy around him. He felt the ether itself contort and writhe, almost a living being trying to break free. Like paper being folded and torn, the arcane energy that filled the city seemed to pull away, twisting upon itself in a cacophony of energy and power that only a wizard could sense. Lindin grasped his head, paralyzed by the sensation. He wanted to cry out, to release the pain that it caused, but there was nothing he could do.