Upon his return to the castle, Damien discovered everyone assembling in the courtyard. He was not surprised; Dion was always gathering people for various lectures and announcements.
Easily the oldest member of the congregation, Dion was also considered the wisest and the most respected. He looked the part also - with a thick white beard, balding head and withered papery skin, nobody could acurately guess how old he was. Although the younger children often tried, Dion was vigilant in not disclosing his true age.
As Damien picked his way through the flock of people, he saw the elderly man take his place on the podium at the front. From where he was stood, he towered almost three feet above everyone else. He looked, from a distance, as though he was hovering above the crowd, and in the distance, Damien could make out the tops of both the golden pyramids to the left, and dense woodland to the right. The cobblestone path, ever constant, appeared to potrude from the top of Dion's head, like some kind of peculiar halo. A hush settled as the elder raised his held up one hand, signalling that he was going to begin.
"Now, I'm certain you're all wondering why I've called you here." He smiled, and his eyes glittered with barely concealed excitement. Raising his arms into the air, he continued, "Let me explain. Every five hundred years, the sun and the moon come together to create what is called an eclipse. Nobody in living memory has experienced one of these, but in roughly three minutes, we will."
Murmurs rippled across the audience, both hushed tones of awe and cynicism. an eclispe was not something anyone had ever heard of before, although it was not often someone was brave enough to question Dion's intellect, but if there were ever a moment, it was now. However, nobody would have a worthy arguement against this new phenomenon, having never heard of it, and so there were no voices expressing concern.
Damien, having grown up with the teachings of Dion, always accepted his word as gospel and so settled on his back foot to look up at the sky with high expectations. He frowned.
On the left hand side, the sun had dimmed. And on the right, the rain had stopped.
For all of his life, Damien had only ever seen streams of sunlight from the desert lands. And now, suddenly, he could see carvings on the walls of the structures. They weren't close enough to be able to make out, but even the idea of a hidden messages mesmerised him. The rain on the right was a less constant entity, but when put together with the lack of light on the left, he knew something incredible was about to happen.
"Behold," Dion bellowed, as the entire courtyard was plunged into darkness. "The merging of celestial bodies!" A somewhat manic laugh escaped his lips, and while Damien watched, the courtyard was cast into an eerie orange hue. From his place upon the podium, Dion was silhouetted against the light, presenting the image of an angry deity, ready to wreak havoc.
And suddenly, in the sky, there was fire, plummeting toward the ground. People began to panic, to rush toward the relative safety of the castle. Damien was almost crushed under running feet, but with mich effort he managed to untangle himself from wayward limbs and head toward the gates. The fireballs, rocketing through the air, strangely didn't scare him, for they weren't falling anywhere near the castle, but seemed to be aimed somewhere past the trees, and somewhere past the pyramids, where he couldn't see.
But he wanted to.
Part of being a teenage boy was the fact that he rarely did as he was told. One thing that he had expressedly been told not to do was cross from the path into either of the demsnes situated on each side. Now, in the midst of the falling fireballs, he was going to do just that. This was an adventure.
He creaked the gates of the courtyard open as quietly as he could, although this wasn't too difficult to do amidst the panic. Finally, Dion had noticed the danger behind him, and managed to get himself down off the podium without injuring himself. He was beating people out of his way with a tall wooden cane.
Damien smiled to himself. Nobody was going to miss him.