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Of Futility and Valour

He came to the defense of his City, but came too late. As fast as the Wind and faster he had come, but the Enemy was swifter, and the city fallen.

Where once had risen for a sheer hundred feet the impregnable City Walls, there now rose mounds of rubble, trickles of blood and half-pulped portions of limbs testifying to the fate of the defenders, charred remains and flowed stone speaking of the awesome energies loosed against this City that was his, these people who were his people, now dead beyond recall, dead to the last child.

Through the rubble-strewn, smoking carnage he walked, and he came to the central square, criss-crossed with blasted lines of bubbled stone and charred corpses, pooled with the blood of the Children of the city, for there had been no escape save death, and death they had been given when the people did see the uselessness of attempting escape.

For a league around, the earth was burned bare by the energy weapons of the Alien craft, that none would escape detection. In a circle about the city lay the unmarked remains of the City's warriors, who died before a blow could be struck by them. Ilyon was Dead, though there yet remained one to avenge her, to avenge the Brothers of the Lion, to destroy the Aliens.

He came to that heap of rubble which was the Palace, and no sign was there of what it once had been, and though he did dig for hours he found no sign of the Axes, the sacred Heirlooms of the Realm, the Axes of Dra, which didst carve out the Kingdom from Wilderness in the hands of Dra the Lion long ages agone.

He didst raise a slab of stone upon the highest point, and he didst cry aloud to the Gods the Oath that was to bring the death, the final, black, death, to three cities, five million cowards, traitors, and slaves, and half a million aliens. His oath was simple, vehement, and true: “They Shall Be Avenged!” He didst carve upon the slab these words, beneath the sign of the Crossed Axes, and then he did depart, borne upon the Wings of Night, and 'twas long before his return.

Prequel: A City Dies.

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