1997-09: Crystals Falls
“This is a disturbing place, Nystul," said Lord British , glancing around. "Surely magic doth not require gloomy surroundings." He stood on a small dais, gathered around the brazier with two other men: Nystul, wizard to the Court, and Lord Blackthorn. The other two men seemed quite at ease in the room, despite the unearthly shadows they cast. "Hush, my Lord. I require concentration for this," Nystul said, focusing intently on the brazier. Blackthorn peered over his shoulder with professional curiosity, then his eyes widened. "There!" the black-clad Lord said. "What is that?” Nystul muttered under his breath and swept his hands outwards, causing the flame of the brazier to leap higher. And dancing in the flames came shapes, and then the shapes resolved into images. It was Britannia, seen from far above, the shapes of the cities and coastlines discernable. Lord British caught his breath in wonder, to see his land spread out before him. Yet a figure loomed behind it all, grim and red, yet difficult to see. It lunged, and a powerful arm reached towards the green countryside, and massive fingers stretched wide... and from the fingers fell a scattering of what appeared to be dust.
The images shifted to follow one of the falling lights, closing in on it, as it was revealed as a falling crystal, that falling through the air gathered heat and light to it, shrouding it in contrails of cloud and smoke. It fell to the earth, and as it approached the ground farms became visible, and with the farms the crops being plowed in a runneled field. They saw a bull placidly pulling at a yoke, and a wagon behind it, a young farmboy perched on the wagon, idly chewing on an apple core.
And further did the crystal fall, as the startled farmboy watched, until it embedded itself with a thundering crash in the road just ahead of him, throwing up mud and rock with a sound like a thunderclap. The bull snorted and broke free of the yoke, panic showing in its rolling eyes, and the wagon overturned. As the flames began to dwindle back down, the images shrank, until Lord British was barely able to see the lad crawl out from under his broken wagon, and see the boy's eyes widen as he saw the crystal in its crater in the road before him, a crystal that embedded in it had a refracted image of a planet--Britannia itself...
The flames fell to nothing, and the three men gathered stared into the coals for a moment, faces hidden in greater shadow than before. “This is not the first such I have seen," Nystul said finally. "There have only been a few at first, but the frequency is increasing. And I fear that it means great evil for our realm. These crystals seem tainted with darkness...” His voice trailed off.
Lords British and Blackthorn exchanged a significant glance.
“I think we know their source, Nystul --but worry not about that. Can this force be contained?" Blackthorn said, hand upon his chin. Nystul looked thoughtful, then shrugged. "I am sure it can be; at the very least we could open a moongate with no egress and push them outside our plane of existence. They would however need to be gathered and brought here.”
“Excellent!" Lord British said, decisively. "And I think I know exactly the method. It has been a while since our citizenry hath had a common cause." He poked Blackthorn in the side. "And I think this may be one cause that even thou must agree with!" Blackthorn looked at him sourly, rubbing his side. "Whate'er must be done to save this land, you know that, my Lord.”
“So be it," Lord British said, turning from the brazier. "Come, gentlemen, we have work to do!”
Unseen by them, as they walked away making plans, another contrail was formed in the sky by another crystal, falling to ground from the skies over the city of Britain...
- HEAR YE, HEAR YE!
- A PROCLAMATION from Lord British to all the CITIZENS of BRITANNIA!
- WHEREAS our fair land is plagued by what scholars term meteors falling from the heavens, and
- WHEREAS it hath been determined by noted mages of the realm that these may contain INIMICAL MAGIC, and
- WHEREAS it is undesirable that said magic coexist with our citizens and cause harm to them,
- WE DO DECLARE a state of emergency, and request the aid of all who may grant it, in GATHERING UP the eerie CRYSTALS fallen from the skies so that they may be DESTROYED!