Prologue: CatalystMature

     Z'arasa the Flaming Dervish of the J'rask Order peered out from atop the cliff that overlooked the bustling city of Dr'sha, the capital of commerce in the western desert kingdom of Gran'sha. Her comrades, fifteen of the Order's finest men and women, known as the Flames of J'rask, were fanned out to either side of her, gazing just as intently as she. Kit'ar makes sixteen, but she was scouting. All wore robes the color of the beige sand and clay colors around them in order to blend with their environment. What use would it be to proudly display their crimson robes bearing the golden sapling that was their order's symbol if they would only be found out and have their plan shut down before it even began? They had been camped there for three nights, veiled by strong magicks, preparing, and on this, their third day on the cliff, the time for action was nearly upon them. 

     "Where is Kit'ar? She should have been here two minutes ago." Z'arasa did not move her gaze from Dr'sha as she addressed her colleagues. Her question was answered immediately by Kit'ar herself.

     "I apologize for the wait Z'arasa-shen." Kit'ar had chosen to be overly formal in using the    -shen honorific, recognizing her fault. Z'arasa did not require any explanation, as was customary. As long as there was no new vital information, Kit'ar held the responsibility of recognizing weather or not she had messed up, or if there was a legitimate reason for the hold up. Z'arasa was in no way upset. And in this case, Kit'ar had encountered a sand demon some way outside of the city, which put her behind schedule.

     "The Yul'zun have arrived in the city. The procession will begin within the hour."

     Z'arasa nodded silently. "The world is about to change. For better? For worse? We are merely the catalyst for the change; the world that corrupted to begin with will be in charge of the outcome. This will be a pruning. A purge meant to shift our course in the right direction."

     None of the others replied. They didn't need to. Z'arasa unsheathed her broadsword, which she had named Ka'skln, Life-granter, and raised the point skyward. The others readied their weapons as Ka'skln began to shimmer and distort the space around it. A few seconds later there was swift, deep bass note and the distortion enveloped them all. Suddenly, the Flames materialized in Dr'sha in the middle of the main street that ran through the center of the city, at the head of the procession of the Yul'zun, who stopped in their tracks, now staring wide-eyed at the Flames. 

     The street, which had a moment ago been raucous, was now soundless. In an instant those near the front of the procession with the Yul'zun had quieted and this swept down the street like a plague. Even the children kept still and clutched to their parents. The musicians and fire-breathers and jugglers and all of the other entertainers spread throughout the procession clumsily came to a halt in there revelry. 

     The Yul'zun Elder wasn't nearly the eldest, but age had little weight in the eyes of the Yul'zun. Elder was a title bestowed upon whosoever had the cunning, the wisdom, and the tenacity to lead an order of bloodthirsty, power hungry Liches and the political prowess to make the world fall in love with them. 
    The Elder rose, standing upon the platform that bore them through the streets. She glared at the Flames with dark eyes and opened her mouth to speak, but before she said a word, Z'arasa raised Ka'skln and the rest of the flames lifted their weapons in suit. The same deep bass sounded and the space around the Yul'zun wavered and they were swiftly consumed by it. Instead of transporting them as it had the Flames, though, it left the Yul'zun bloodied and mangled; dead where they sat. 

The End

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