by Jon Sheridan. Part 1 of The Mystic Wars, followed by The Broken Mask.


Teaser Edit

Why all of this, Brel?

The moon shone brightly on the Sorcerer as he made his way out of the deep expanse of Shell Forest. He glanced behind him at the Shield he dragged, and the moon's light bounced off of its silvery surface, blinding him. He trudged on, shivering. Shell Forest always made him nervous, yes, and the night was cold, but he shivered for another reason. Lilith’s words bounced across his mind, livid as fire.

She had been right about him. He had been raised in the Faith, worshiping the Mystics for the kindness they showed the people of Nanue. Even in the three years since turning his back on the Faith, after all of his crimes, Brel could not find any proof that the histories and legends were wrong, that perhaps the Mystics were deserving of the deaths he had handed them, continued to hand them.

Why all of this, Brel?

Was there an answer? He surely had not given her one.

He made his way back to the camp, the massive silver Shield behind him a dead weight. He couldn’t carry it like a warrior might; he could barely lift it. He was interested in what powers it would grant him once he learned its Mystery, for he had been a scholar. Never a warrior, never accustomed to weaponry or battle. Now, battle was as familiar to him as his eyelids, though his weapons were hardly physical. Not a Priest of the Faith, for sure (though he had never really counted himself among their number), but no warrior either. He was the Sorcerer. His greed for knowledge had been replaced with a greed for something else. He had confessed as much to Lilith before the winds took her, but it did not answer her question. Not for her, and not even for himself.

Again her words echoed through the corners of his mind.

Why all of this, Brel? The question, asked so serenely, with such strength behind it, had been at odds with the truth he knew: her life was fading. Death would take her before long.

My people have done nothing but teach yours, help yours, serve yours. All of our power, all of our wisdom, we have done our best to impart upon you. Why kill the Mystics? Why steal what we would have given you freely? You once called yourself a holy man. She had spat the words.

I called myself nothing. That is what they chose to call me.

You avoid my question. All of this death for something we would have given you. By the Mysteries, why?

It was not the bravery she had shown in the face of her own pitiful death, nor her tragic tone which made the words continue to bubble up to the fore of his mind. It was his own response, the last words she would hear, which disturbed him.

You would not have given all of it to me, he had responded, and even to his own ears his voice sounded dead.

As the light had left her eyes, her form became inky blue smoke, alive in the moonlight. The cool night breeze cleared the smoke away, and where Lilith had huddled, dying and inquisitive, the Shield had appeared. She was a powerful Mystic; her Shield would no doubt grant him immense magic indeed.

Why all of this, Brel?

The wind carried her words to him like a sigh.

He could think of nothing to do but laugh.


What Really HappenedEdit




Priests of The Faith of the MysteriesEdit