Born from a single candle, the God of Golden Light spilt out of the window and onto wet cobblestone. Unsteady, waxy reflections passed over Him as leathery boots tromped the winding corridors of the city. And wherever they went He followed: trapped in gas lamps, reflected onto belt buckles and shimmering in the glassy stares of the drunk and the hungry and those who were too much of one to remember what the other was.
Behind a façade of iron and glass an old man sat hunched over a desk carved out of jungle wood. He made scratchings on paper with a metal-tipped pen. The words that he scribed were not of the Queen’s language and few in Caladon would have been able to decipher the ornate symbols that he swathed expertly across the page.
Still, if you were to look closely, you would have seen the strain in the old man’s arm—an urgency in the tension of his wrist. For the letter he wrote was filled with strange portents, rising tensions and unlikely possibilities.
There was something like the sound of the rustling of leaves pressed up against the door by a sudden, violent breeze and the old man grew tense. The pen tumbled from his fingers as a pair of strong, gloved hands gripped him around the neck.
The gloves melted the life out of him in a matter of moments. His body slumped ungracefully to the floor. The murderer held up the letter, glacial eyes scanning the page, then dipped the corner of the parchment into the flame and watched as the letters dissolved into ash, unread by their intended recipient—though perhaps not forever, because fire never forgets.
With one final motion, the murderer snuffed out the candle and the storefront fell into darkness.
– excerpt from “Alex Magnus Vs. The Thuul”