A Gathering Storm

As I followed the man, I was suddenly greeted by another one of the Aethians at the end of the docks. He repeated some of the other man's questions, and then I was once more commanded to follow him. I obeyed, seeing no chance for escape, and he led me into a small room that might have been his office, personal chamber, or both.

He produced a bottle of dwarven drink and gestured at me with it. "Ale?" he asked. I refused, but expressed my thanks. "Let us get down to business, then. You have been brought here for one reason: you are believed to have received the Blessing of Androma. Though this means next to nothing to your people, it essentially means that you have a chance to battle the force that may tear our world apart. Your people know them as the -"

"The Manifest," I answered, "and if you mean what I believe you mean by the 'Blessing of Androma,' then it does not mean next to nothing to us. It is a sacred belief that in a time of crisis, Akoraan, the Father of our Gods -"

"enough nonsense about your ridiculous tribal beliefs!" The man shouted. I delivered a pointed stare that surely, after many hundreds of years to practice and hone it, must have stung. "What I mean, of course, is that I do not see your point in all of this. Could you make your point, please?"

"Of course," I said, still staring at him but only slightly softening the fury of it. "As I was saying, it is believed that one of our Gods will send down an aspect of himself into one of us, giving this person the power to unite the tribes against the manifest and..." I paused, looking at him again with a hint of resentment, "other outsiders. What does this have to do with me, other than your suspicion that I am Blessed?"

"That's the whole thing. We believe that you may have the power to save this entire dimension, not just your kind, if you are willing to fight with us."

I took a seat, realizing that I was still standing in front of a nearby chair, and considered the situation for a moment. I could help this man, and perhaps finally stop the crossworlders for good. Then again, why would I help a race that had oppressed and abused my people for many generations? I usually did not hold such grudges, but that did not mean I would help those who harmed my kind with such obvious disrespect. Of course, if I helped...perhaps some sort of agreement could be made later on.

"If I help you - IF I agree to your proposition - I demand that your kind leave my people alone. The excursion that brought me here will be the last that you carry out in our lands. I will not have you invaders poisoning our culture any longer.

The Aethian looked at me, clearly shocked at this bold demand. Little did he realize that, considering his race's average life expectancy, I was most likely several generations older than him. After seeming to consider what I had said for a moment, he spoke. "The recent invasion on your land was a grave mistake on the part of a rogue commander who unleashed his forces on you without the authorization of the council, and on behalf of my entire race, I apologize for the suffering your people have endured at our hand."

"Very well," I answered, "What now?"

"Now, we meet with the others. We gather an army, and we make plans."

I could not shake the feeling that a storm was brewing, but it was one that I would stand ready to meet with all my ferocity.

The End

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