And Yu-Shan Wept
Bloody Hearts Bloody Dreams
I am home, among my trappings and belongings. My wife and daughter sleep peacefully beside me, and all is still. My people, and my family, know peace. But there is heat, and a hint of smoke in the air. Little Friend senses trouble.
I rise from the nest of blankets and cushions, donning not my desert robe but the chieftain cloak; I must remind them who I am now, so that they do not forget their place, or mine. I step out into the rock tunnels, to find not a soul stirring. The smoke comes from afar, wafting down into the warrens from up above. Perhaps some lookout cooking an early breakfast?
No, there is no lookout; someone will be severely punished for this dereliction. But the clouds in the sky are lit from below. Night turned to too-early dawn by oranges and yellows. The heat and smoke are thicker now, and I see they come from the horizon. I need only peer above the rocks to see the source.
The fire is not the rising sun, warming us from the east. Nor is it from the distant specters of the Nine Flames, smoldering away to our west. From the north comes a different kind of burning mountain, a monolith, a titan of stone and embers. It blazes hotter than the sun, waves of heat rippling across the sands and scorching my face.
Figures of flame and rock march out from it, spreading a carpet of liquid fire behind them. Wherever they touch, I see the other tribes roasted, flesh burning and muscles tightening, their bodies bent into a kneeling posture as they die. The creatures of fire and stone march on, unsatisfied with this conquest, and indeed, seem to squabble over it whenever they encounter their fellows.
They have not yet reached our home, but surely they will. They seek to make all the desert like their mountain, sand into lava, men into slaves.
And then I awoke, here in Gem, in the lavish home of Touch of Sepia. Was it merely a dream, inspired by the flames of the Death Knight, the painting of the Guildswoman, and the threat of the great bird? Or was it a vision, sent to me by the Highest? Little Friend doubts it was the latter, and I trust her instincts. Still, an omen is an omen, regardless of its source. I must remain on guard against this burning mountain and its servants.