A cold wind blows over the Astrid Desert as the sun sets in the distance, a popular field for battle. Two armies draw into the desert. On one side, Shiran’s Red Lion Army, a force ten thousand strong, one of the best trained militaries in the world. On the other, the Libernth Militia, a force not even one tenth that strength, cobbled together six years ago at the start of the war.
When day fades to dusk, a man in tattered robes takes flight, the representative of Libernth’s army. With the utterance of one word and the flick of a wrist, the battle is over before it can begin. All Shiran’s soldiers pulled together, hundreds dying at once, then melted from within, a miniature sun in the night. Four minutes that stretch for what seem an eternity, screams echoing through the desert, charred flesh and bone crumbling to nothing, and the sand below turning to glass. When the last breath is drawn, there is only silence.
The soldiers of Libernth tremble and weep as the ashes fade away, the enemy so feared now a mountain of ash and dust. All at once Libernth’s forces realize this was not what they wanted, that no amount of pain is worth this massacre. The monster behind this scene forms a grand throne from the ashes as he descends from the sky and takes his seat.
A young man steps out of the crowd of soldiers, Geralt Ackland. Conscripted when the war started, he rose in experience and rank, now in command of one of Libernth’s strongest units. “Why?” he speaks with a growl, “With power like yours, you didn’t have to do this! So why?!”
The ragged wizard analyzes Geralt, who was squirming before him. Something was wrong, he had checked each soldier months ago, none had this talent. Talent that could pose a threat should it be realized. In the wizard’s silence, Geralt unleashes a barrage of spells, to no avail. The more magic is thrown at the wizard, the easier it seems to deflect. Ignoring Geralt’s magic, the wizard pulls out an empty vial from within his rags and throws it at Geralt’s feet, where it shatters. Without any warning, Geralt collapses, and the wizard vanishes.
A long, cold darkness envelops Geralt, whispering to him, exhausting him. He stirs, trying to open his eyes, but the light is too strong. Geralt brings a hand to his eyes to block the light and forces himself upright. A hand rushes to steady him, he can’t make out who it is. A concerned voice calls out, “Are you okay, sir? Does anywhere hurt?” Geralt couldn’t recognize the voice, maybe one of the army’s medics.
He struggles to choke out a response, “What happened? Where am I?”
“You collapsed from severe overdraw, sir. You’re at an encampment, you’ve been out for more than a week.”
Thoughts blazed through Geralt’s mind like wildfire, about the war and what comes next. Above all else, he wanted to know what the wizard did to him, why he felt so weak. In all his life, Geralt had never experienced overdraw, even the magic he had thrown around was only a heavy workout. Something had changed, but he was in no condition to find out what. Too weak to stay awake, Geralt falls back into the rough sheets.
Thank you for reading.