The Lost Nine

The sky overhead turned brilliant hues of orange and blazing reds as the aging cleric came to rest against the decaying remains of a road marker. The dusty trail all but swallowed up by the ravages of time barely visible as it snaked down into a shallow valley. The silver etchings upon his heavy plated armor tarnished and faded, not even the bright evening sky causing once ornate armor to shine.

The holy man let out a long sigh as his weary blue eyes slipped to take in the sight of the far side of valley. Taking in the sight of the overgrowth of nature that obscured heavy steel doors that barred entrance to a past long forgotten. A past that like the inevitable flow of time could not be stopped or ignored, only endured and survived.

With another long draw of breath he eased down onto the remains of a stone wall that once adorned the side of the path, gaze sweeping from overgrowth to that path upon which he had come. The sight of dust rising in the distance giving rise to a grim expression across his weathered features. A slip of the shoulder letting heavy shield slip from his back to rest against the ground as his mind drifted to what was to come.

What would he say when they passed him on the road? Would he tell them to turn back and abandoned there quest despite knowing that they would not turn back and could not imagine what would become of their days to come? Would he tell them to be strong for some acts must come to pass and it is their burden to weather the coming storm? Perhaps he’d simply offer them the simple advice that it best to rest before slipping past those heavy steel doors.

Finally, a smile crested his lips, breaking the otherwise grave expression. He saw something in those weary travelers as they crested the path into view. They would never be the souls that had come before, not the adventurers he had once called friends and companions, but yet there was promise there. Perhaps there was more than just a glimmer of hope that they’d survive what was to come and rise above it. Perhaps they would weather and grow stronger and push back the darkness that would come.

With a final exhalation he pushed himself back to his feet. Raising a hand in greeting, he finally knew what he would say.

The Lost Nine

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