Death's Third March
Standing atop the battlements of the Great Wall of Aridan, the prophet Elrien gazed upon the ruined Valley of Amnidia and frowned thoughtfully. A great evil was stirring, he realized. A very great evil indeed.
He looked down at the Shadan'Ko advancing on the wall and shook his head. For the first time in their eight-hundred-year history, the Twisted Ones had organized themselves into an army to rival any in the Nine Lands. Amazing, to be sure, but not the main reason for his anxiety. The Shadan'Ko would never breach the wall. They were too wild and undisciplined for that, as likely to fight amongst themselves as to fight the Elvan soldiers on the wall above them. The evil he felt brewing was something else altogether - something far beyond the Shadan'Ko and their feeble attempts to escape their valley prison. He could feel it in his bones. It felt like... prophecy.
He closed his eyes and stretched out his Awareness, letting it slip along the currents of Earthpower as far as his abilities would allow. He felt something then, a tremor far to the east, the point of origin extremely powerful for him to feel it over such a distance. He sensed the taint of Agla'Con corruption almost immediately, but there was something else as well - a cold, almost inaudible whispering of death.
Using that whispering as a focal point, he pressed his Awareness closer and allowed the scene to come into focus in his mind's eye. What he found turned his blood to ice and nearly caused him to lose his hold on the viewing.
There, on an altar in front of thousands of frenzied Shadan cultists, lay the body of a dead man. A black hole framed with flickering tendrils of red split the air beyond the body and stretched away into shadow and darkness.
The world of the dead, Elrien thought in horror. The Agla'Con have rent the Veil.
Figures moved within the abyss, ghostly shapes that moved aside as one dark spirit approached the Veil. As the spirit neared, a swell of darkness flowed out before him, surrounding the body on the altar. Flickers of red fire spider-webbed the surface of the swelling dark as the body rose up to meet the spirit figure flowing into it. When the union was complete, the swell of darkness exploded outward with a deafening boom.
The rent in the Veil snapped shut with a hiss of angry sparks, and Elrien reined in his Awareness, so shocked by what he had seen that he was unable to respond to the questions of his concerned apprentices who quickly gathered around him. When he found his voice, he assured them he was fine and dismissed them.
Concern still glittered in their eyes, but they nodded and left him alone.
He was sorry about holding back the knowledge of what he'd just witnessed, but there would be time to teach them about it later. Right now he needed to send a message to the Elvan King. For if what he had just seen in Melek was any indication, Death's Third March was underway.
Prophecy had been fulfilled.
One prophecy anyway. The dark prophecy. The other half would follow shortly. That was the way it was with the workings of the Creator. Light to balance dark. Dark to counter light. An equal opposition in all things.
Throy Shadan, the Destroyer of Amnidia, had returned to the world of the living. The Mith'elre Chon would surely follow.