The End of All Things

And so it was that the Walls of Night cracked, and the barrier between life and death opened, and, for the first time, the Raven Queen’s Path permitted travel in more than one direction. The Dead swept across the land like a black tidal wave, leaving naught but scorched earth and blackened skies in their wake. Thirteen dark powers arose and led their armies in a war against all that breathed and grew.

It would have been the end of life, according to the storytellers and poets. The final silence would have fallen, but for the efforts of the greatest heroes of this or any other age. They held the line and kept the fires lit when it seemed that all hope was lost. For five years they fought and bled. They saved countless lives, and their names were known everywhere touched by the light of the sun, or where air might carry their stories.

And after five years of death and miracles, of slaughter and salvation, the war ended. The nameless malevolence that quickened moldering bones and hated all that lived withdrew its strength, and the Walls of Night were whole once more. The survivors began to rebuild.

Pacts were forged, and promises made. Nations that had once been bitterest enemies signed treaties of peace. The powerful magics that shook the mountains with their fury were sealed away deep within the earth. The Beacon of Ather’Telas was built, and it stood as both memorial and warning, unlit but waiting for the next great threat to endanger all that lived.

It has been ten years since the end of the Lich War and the start of the New Calendar. The scars on the land have finally begun to heal. The great heroes have gone their separate ways, and the tales of their deeds have begun to soften and blur into myth and legend. It has been a good ten years, a time of growth and restoration.

And on the last night of the Month of the Wren, during the Festival of Midsummer, those with ears to hear perceived a deep ringing, as if the whole world had been struck like a cathedral bell. Those with eyes to see found themselves looking upward at a miles-high pillar of flame coruscating over the horizon. And those who remembered knew that this was the call. The Beacon was lit. It was the End of All Things.

The End of All Things