War is coming. (Talia, p. 97)

She stood in the clearing below the full moon.  Broken trees and shattered stones rose around her.  The air held a hint of smoke, a memory of what was and what was yet to come.  At her feet was a half buried strip of red cloth.  She bent down, pulled it gently from the rubble and turned it over in her hands.  Red Silk.  One edge torn and ragged.  She knew this cloth, it was her own . She squeezed her eyes shut, forcing a single tear down her cheek.  This was her end.

“War is coming.”  A voice spoke behind her.  She turned to see a blond woman step from behind a gnarled tree.  The woman looked levelly at her, arms crossed and she spoke again.  “War is coming.  And again you will find yourself standing alone.”

“What do you mean?”  But the woman only shook her head.  She heard steps to her side, and saw movement again.

“War is coming.”  Spoke a slender woman, in red leathers.  “Be away from this place.  Return to me, that we may live in peace.”

She saw more movement and turned slowly around.  One by one, more figures stepped from the desolate trees, speaking in turn, until she found herself surrounded, at the center of a wide circle.

“War is coming.”  This from a woman who flickered in existence.  “My shadows won’t protect you now.  You’ve grown beyond them.  You need to find your own way.”

“I have tried.  But there is nothing for me to find here.”

“War is coming.”  Spoke a man in a familiar mask.  He hesitated, slightly behind the shadow veiled woman.  “It will bring more pain and destruction than you ever feared from me.”

“You cannot reach me!”  She stiffened, and her hand reached to her side for a blade that wasn’t there.

“War is coming.”  Another woman behind her, familiar again.  The woman’s hair red as her own, hung down in front of her face, obscuring the scar she knew so well was there.  “You’re not one of us; do not expect to find us at your side.”

“War is coming.”  A tall man in purple leathers, placed a hand on the red-haired woman’s shoulder.  “Even we may be divided.”

“Why do you speak of such things!?”

“War is coming.”  Spoken in a softer, deeper voice.  The man in red robes smiled, the moon Tarrith, reflected off his bare head.  “I may be stone and dust, but there are those that will harbor you still.  If you have the courage to seek them.”

“War is coming.”  This, a whisper, barely louder than the wind.  The woman in black had a face paler than the moon itself.  “These streets may still run red.”

War is coming.”  A woman in red rises up, with scales to match her hair.  “You once slipped from my grasp, but our bond of blood transcends death.”

“War is coming.”  Behind her, a large man in golden armor tinted red stands tall, but shakes his head.  “Your place was at my side.  You rejected that.  Now fire and ash may be all that remains for you.”

“War is coming.”  This from a figure behind a smiling golden mask.  “I make no claim to you.  I have found what is mine.”

“War is coming.”  A voice filled with sadness, and blue eyes to match the blue and gold of his cloth.  “We once stood for so much more than mere coin.  Did you?”

“War is coming.”  A voice filled with regrets, and deep eyes one could drown in.  They belonged to a young man, barely more than a boy.  “Will you run from it as you once did from me?”

“War is coming.”  It was more of a growl.  She stepped back as a large furry form padded forward.  “We will hunt again amongst the bodies.  You will not escape us this time.  You will be found.”

“War is coming.”  A dry rasp of dead leaves.  The form in brown linen, wrapped from head to toe.  “You need to decide which side of death you serve on.”

She backed away from the figure; the others stepped to the side allowing her to pass.  It shambled forward until it took her place at the center of the circle.  Another step and she backed into something soft. S he spun around, wide eyed, and looked into a pale, scaly face.

“War is coming.”  The woman in white said, her expression both serious and kind.  “We need to talk.”


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