The Awakening

Madness drove the Meer forward. Meer war chants and Juka death cries echoed through the streets of the ruined city. Terrible magic flowed from a group of desperate elders. With a final word, Adranath released his revenge. The spell of oblivion and devastation engulfed the city in an inferno. Fewer than a handful survived. Dasha, her face covered in ash and soot, cried for her lost people, “Is this how the Meer face eternity?”

Hawkwind ran his hand across the jagged edges of the fractured timeline. It was the starting point in his search. He moved to when these events had broken off. Exodus had plucked the parts and pieces it needed for its own war, taking the Juka race to be its army. As the massive Juka fortress faded from sight, Adranath had dissipated his suicide spell. Hawkwind listened in silence to the inhuman voice of Exodus: “You saw a fate undone, Kabur. Your fate begins anew, here, in my service again.”

Hawkwind let the ripples of time move him forward, as so much was altered by the machine’s manipulations. The Seer watched a younger version of himself weep as the history of Ilshenar changed. The city of Montor burned. Its people cast a last desperate spell to save a tiny fraction of who and what they were, yet the beautiful civilization of the Anskitas was reduced to a whisper on the wind.

Hawkwind moved his visions forward to Nystul casting the same spell with a crystal shard. The light of the blue Trammel moon dimmed slightly for a moment, all of its magic focused through the crystal. “It is done.”

Hawkwind followed the crystal’s path. He watched as it was stolen by an agent of Exodus. The living machine knew how to supplement its own magic with such relics. Hawkwind cast a spell to hide himself as the machine’s experiments with space and time came dangerously close to him.

The Juka were just one of the pieces in Exodus’s plans. It strategized for all foreseeable victories and defeats. A controllable human leader was part of its plans. When Blackthorn could not be convinced to join Exodus, the machine decided to create a more tractable Blackthorn for its needs, and events conspired to remove the original human lord from Sosaria.

The crystal, buried deep in the Sleeper’s Dark Core, survived the defeat of Exodus and the false Blackthorn. The dormant machine’s servants presented it to “the mother” who used it to invade Trammel. The Enchantress Minax failed, and the Royal Guard placed the crystal in the King’s vault where it was forgotten.

Hawkwind sighed as a young warrior queen ordered her subjects to bring the crystal into the light. The crystal then passed between various hands, human and demon. Hawkwind could not help but smile as an insane Ricardo chiseled off a shard of the crystal to keep it safe. The final battle with Virtuebane and the restoration of Magincia dissipated the last of the crystal’s magic.

Hawkwind closed his eyes for a moment, before pressing forward. Wading through a swirl of torn prophecies and slain destinies, he found a shimmering spell, a prison facet created by a reckless lord to hold something more dangerous. Exodus was testing the limits of the cell and would soon find a way to escape. All Hawkwind needed to do was nudge the false facet into the darkness of the Void, and Britannia would be free of this threat. If only he were willing to sacrifice the human inside…

Blackthorn was dangerous. He was still the template that Exodus had chosen. Faulinei, Shadowlord of Falsehood, had sought to use his voice before settling on Casca. Blackthorn was responsible for the failure to heal the Shattering on so many shards. He was Chaos.

Hawkwind had been willing to sacrifice so many to heal the Shattering, why not one arrogant lord? He prepared to toss the facet into the darkness of the Void. He took one final look at the moments of the man’s life, before focusing on a single chess game.

Lord British’s eyes met his opponents. “Sometimes one must sacrifice a pawn to save a king.”

Blackthorn met his gaze squarely. “Even pawns have lives and loves at home, my lord.”


The patrols found an injured human, barely conscious, at the edge of the Void. The gargoyles had brought him to the Royal City. The man seemed very tired, as if he had been awake for a hundred years.

Rhista volunteered to care for him. She brought him food and water for several days. On the third day, she found him sitting up. As she handed a plate of food to the man, she asked his name.