A Fragment of Time

Prologue

It was a cold night high in the mountains. A vast army snaked like a dark spear spined column along the narrow pass, slowly making its way towards the summit. At its forefront, a rider swathed in a dark cloak. Ahead loomed a temple over the ridge as they approached. The rider raised a hand in gesture to halt. A bent figure in rags scrabbled from   the amassed infantry and  bounded up to the rider. He whispered in a dry, hollow voice.

 

“My lord, are you sure this is where the artifact resides?”

 

The leading rider threw back his cowl to reveal a pale yet noble man with raven dark hair that flowed over his shoulders.  He chuckled darkly and replied,

 

“There can be no doubt, my gaunt accomplice. Here as the accounts of Melgrin the Seer have foretold. There can be no mistake”

 

He gestured to a device on the archway to the entrance.

 

“Look yonder… the device on the entrance.”

 

Then moving his hand to the inside of his shirt, he pulled out a small leather bound tattered notebook. Flicking through the rough and old pages he turned to an ink inscribed diagram of a device depicting an hourglass wreathed with a serpent.

 

“It is an exact likeness” he proclaimed heartily.

“Have the troops readied. Our time … has come”

 

With that the his lieutenant drew his sword, and in a dry croaky voice he shrieked

 

“FORWARD!!”

 

With this command, the horde lurched forward like an armoured tide towards the gates of the temple. The towering doors creaked and groaned mournfully under the strain of the assault, until finally it buckled and exploded in a shower of shrapnel and splinters. The army surged through as a fierce torrent. Inside the temple, the retainers fell back in terror as the onslaught decended upon them. Within moments they were overrun and trampled to death. The horde pourewd on through until they reached the inner chamber. The first ranks crashed against the door in a cloud of dust. 

 

“HALT!!” Cried the leader.  The horde ceased their advance. The leader dismounted his steed. Opening the tattered notebook, he flipped through its ragged pages. As he ran his finger along the text he found a passage detailing about the artifact.

 

“So. The artifact’s power passes even through stone walls. Truly this is a remarkable relic” He proclaimed in a maniacal fit of glee. His accomplice looked up at him  with stricken panic across its gaunt features. 

 

“Master… you mean to say that the artifact has the power to turn creatures to dust?” It remarked alarmedly. 

 

“Yes my faithful minion. For this artifact is a fragment of the God Time. It was found hundreds of years ago in the mountainside where this temple had since been built upon. The temple’s very purpose is to guard this fragment from outsiders. For to come near it is to age in moments. The warriors turned to dust because they were aged years in the blink of an eye. This… my malformed lackey, is the remnants of a God. And to possess such an artifact is to become a God!” A cruel smile crawled smugly over his lips.

 

“But master!” The accomplice retorted, “If we cannot even approach the artifact. Then how by the Demons of the Pit, are we to obtain it?”

 

The leader broke out into a foul and skin crawling cackle. 

 

“Fool! Do you think Mordain Baelgrun is without device and cunning for such a mere obstacle as time? I am a creature of the night, a vampire of the darkest progeny. I cannot die from age. For time has no hold on that which is not alive!”

 

With that he strode boldly across and flung the doors aside, shattering them to tinder. Inside the chamber shining incandescently was a shard of what appeared to be glass. It hovered above a stone pedestal. As Mordain walked closer to the artifact, the air seemed to get gradually thicker. He reached forth towards the relic. His hand felt more as though it was dragging through a mire than air. Upon grasping the shard-like item his skin grew taut, but with a flush of energy returned to its current state. 

 

"It is powerful, but my regenerative power can easily stalemate" he grinned.

 "Come minion, we have what we came for, now let us return to the estate… where I shall plan my conquest"

 

His hideous laughter echoed through the temple and out into the cold mountain air as he and his forces descended back toward the gloomy forests below. Thus Mordain dissapeared from known history. Some say he met his end in wars over his kingdom's borders, others that he simply fell into a toporous slumber. Not much is known for none that have entered his region has returned to tell the tale…

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