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The ground started to shake again violently, with a large crack opening in the village square. Some people who were still running were swallowed into it, along with Kovern. The crack grew, and buildings started to fall in as well.

“We’ve got to run!” cried Gaian.

“But what about this rain?”

“Either we run through this rain, or the Earth swallows us up? Now are you coming or not?” And with that Bevern and Gaian fled.

Outside of the village where once there were fields there now flowed rivers of magma. There was still a passable route which Gaian and Bevern ran along. “If we can keep up this pace we should be able to reach the mountains and take some cover there.”

“What makes you think the mountains will still be there?” Gaian had no answer to this.

From horizon to horizon the sky was black, with streaks of lighting darting across it. The rain was easing off slightly, and wasn't as acidic, but it had left its marks on Gaian and Bevern.

About ten minutes later they could here some loud growling from behind them. They turned round, and saw that a pack of Fire Hounds were pursuing them. “What are Fire Hounds doing all the way out here?!” cried Bevern.

“I don’t know, but keep back!” Gaian drew his sword, but as Bevern had no weapons he had to be careful to keep out of the way. Fire Hounds were extremely dangerous.

They stopped just short of Gaian, flames sprouting from their nostrils. There were eight of them. Even one Fire Hound could prove a test. Two leapt at Gaian, and he swiped his sword at one, cutting it in two, but the other got his arm in its jaws. The others all started to pounce on him, and there was little he could do.

“ICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The cry from an unknown voice was deafening. Jets of ice hurled themselves towards the Fire Hounds, who barely had time to yelp before they died. Once Gaian could stand up again he could see Sianna standing before them, her long skirt billowing in the wind.

Bevern had a look of shock on his face, “You’re a witch?!”


“B...but what’s a witch doing working as a barmaid?”

“What’s a soldier doing working in a stable? Even witch’s tire of the army as well you know.” She saw the blood oozing from Gaian’s arm. “Here, let me take care of that.” She placed her hand over the wound. “CURE!” A blue light emanated from her hands, and once it had died down, the wound was healed. “So, where were you guys thinking of running to?”

“The mountains,” said Gaian, “Maybe we can find some cover there.”

“OK, but we should pass by Glemack Town, there may be survivors there. If there are any we have to help them.”

“What about Eliviston?” asked Bevern, “Aren’t there any other survivors there?”

Sianna shook her head, “As far as I could see, only we got out. Now, come on, we can’t stay out in this rain for too long. We have to get to Glemack.”

“But, and I mean no offence here, how will you be able to keep pace with us?”

“I caught up with you, didn’t I? I’m under a Haste spell. But we need to get moving, it will only last for a few hours, and I’m not going to be able to cast many more spells today.”

“Come on,” said Gaian, “It should only take an hour to get to Glemack.” He headed off down the path, and Bevern and Sianna followed.

No one said anything as they continued running, and Gaian was just acting without thinking. But as they ran the enormity of what has just happened hit him. He wasn't a religious man, but was Kovern right? Was this really the end of the world? His world had been green and pleasant, now a mighty storm raged overhead, everything was destroyed, and the very Earth was splitting apart. Was this just a local catastrophe, or was this happening throughout the world? Gaian feared the worst.

About half an hour later they all had to stop. A river of magma blocked their path. There was no way to get around it to reach Glemack. Bevern turned to Sianna and asked, “Do you have any spells that will get us across this?”

“’Fraid not.”

“Then,” said Gaian, “There’s nothing we can do, we can’t get to Glemack. I say we have to turn back and continue heading for the mountains.” Reluctantly, Sianna nodded.

As they started to turn back they heard a cry behind them, “Wait!” They turned round, and behind them they saw a man holding a staff, running towards them on the other side of the river. “Thank goodness! I thought I may have been the last man alive. Are you from Eliviston?”

“Yes,” answered Gaian, “but we fear we’re all that are left. I take it you’re from Glemack?”

“Yeah, but there’s no Glemack any more, it’s been swallowed whole...”

Gaian looked at the magma river. “I don’t think there’s any way across this.”

“It’s no problem.” And with that he held out his staff. The magma started to part slightly before it. It didn’t move by much, but it moved just enough to provide some safe land for him to walk on. He slowly moved across the river, the staff providing a tiny patch of land for him to walk on, with the magma moving back to recover the land behind him, until he was fully across. “If it weren’t for the staff I wouldn’t have made it out of Glemack. I was totally engulfed. I saw people...” His voice trailed off.

“We have all seen terrible things today,” said Gaian. “What is your name my friend?”


“I am Gaian, and my friends are Bevern and Sianna. We’re heading for the mountains. We have to run, do you think you’ll be able to keep up?”

“No problem, but what about the girl?”

“I cast a Haste spell on myself.”

A look of horror spread across Tyght's face. He stood back and pointed his staff at Sianna's chest, “Keep away from me, witch! Your brand of magic has no place in this world! Magic should only be practised through Leven! We don’t drain the power of the world!”

“We don’t have time for you prejudices!” exclaimed Sianna, “My order was able to accept the Leven’s place in this world, we only wish you could do the same for us. We don’t drain the power of the world either, that was just a vicious rumour! Now, you can either come with us, or stay out here and die. Either way, we’re getting out of here.” And with that Sianna led the way. Gaian and Bevern followed, and Tyght brought up the rear.

They continued on in silence for the next hour. The landscape around them was all the same – utterly devastated. They couldn’t see another living thing.

It was Bevern who broke the silence, “Surely we should be able to see the mountains by now. But there’s nothing!”

“Then we must assume that they too have been destroyed,” said Gaian, “But we should continue to head for them, there still may be something left that can offer us some sort of shelter.”

Sure enough, after another half an hour, they could see some foothills on the horizon. The remains of the mountains were scattered around them, and rivers of magma flowed between them. The party redoubled their efforts.

Before long they reached them, and, as Gaian had predicted, there was some shelter available, which took the form of a cave. They all scrambled inside. “Thank God we’re out of that rain!” said Bevern, “I don’t know how much more of that I can take!”

They all huddled inside the cave and looked out, surveying the landscape. Night was starting to fall outside, although it just meant that the sky was turning a deeper shade of black.

“So what do we do now?” asked Bevern.

“We sleep,” said Gaian, “We’ll see how the land lies tomorrow. If the rain has stopped, and the magma doesn’t spread, we’ll head out and try and find other survivors. I say we head towards the coast. Port Klempt has probably suffered the same fate as Eliviston and Glemack, but we don’t know what has happened to the seas. If we can find a boat, maybe we can find a way to safety. It may just be this area that’s been affected.”

“OK, sleep, that’s good, I like sleeping.” A look of fear spread over Bevern’s face, “But what about the Fire Hounds? What if there are more of them out there?”

“Fire Hounds!” exclaimed Tyght, “What are Fire Hounds doing all the way out here?!”

“It’s the end of the world,” said Sianna, “Get used to it!”

“We’ll take turns to stand guard. I’ll take first watch. Bevern, I’ll wake you in two hours.”

The party began to get settled for what was sure to be an uncomfortable night. Tyght looked at Sianna in disgust, “You stay on the other side of the cave, witch!”

Sianna sighed, “Oh, whatever!”

“Give her a break,” said Bevern, “If it weren’t for her and her Ice spell, Gaian and I would have ended up as lunch for a pack of Fire Hounds earlier.”

“And at what cost was that?” said Tyght, “The planet can’t take your magic! When she cast that spell she weakened the life force of everything around her. They suck the life out of the planet, her kind!”

“Well just take a look out there!” Sianna screamed, “In case you hadn’t noticed we don’t appear to have much of a planet left!”

“And whose fault is that? It was probably your kind who caused this catastrophe, sucking too much life from the planet!”

“Enough!” shouted Gaian, “We don’t know what has caused this! Whether it’s magic, or Geevan, or whatever! But it has happened and for all we know we may be the only people left, and we’ve got to deal with that. Our destiny is in our own hands!”

Suddenly, a bright light emanated from deep within the cave. “Come,” said a soft voice far in the distance, “Come now, Warriors of Light.”

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