Only your thumping heartbeat and ragged breath can be heard through the violent downpour. Trees flanking the muddy trade road render the rainstorm all the more deafening – the leaves are a million symbols crashing with each and every whip of wind and water. Thunder explodes overhead – amplifying the chaos even further. Although your senses are dulled by the uproar, you are aware of your comrades. They have seen you through much worse than this. A warmth blossoms within your exhausted self at the thought. You know these friends will always be there. Even in the face of death, your company loses nary hope nor faith in one other.
The lush forested mountains through which you’ve been marching had seen such brutally violent weather for the past 6 days. It’s taken a tole on you and your comrades. Your clothes are soaked through, your final rations have spoiled, and the wounds you’ve sustained have begun to fester due to sheer fatigue. Through the dense curtain of pelting rain a light catches you’re eye – an answer to your prayers. A few more begin to percolate through the storm as you splash closer through the muck. You recognize the orderly pattern immediately, this is the luminosity of a town’s many windows. A surge of renewed energy pumps through you. Excited noises pass between the friends at your back. The marching pace quickens.
You’re only a a hundred feet or so from the lights – which quickly multiply with each step. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind brings all of you to a halt. The sheer force of it almost launching you into the mud below. The flurry brought with it a calm. It lifted the rain, wind, and noise – creating for a fleeting moment a bubble of serenity. In the tranquility – a noise so faint, only the sharpest of ears could hear, found its way to your attention. It was a horn blast – muffled almost entirely by the raging squall. The horn sounded from the settlement beyond. It was a warning. A moment of confusion passes through your company. Was this a horn warning the watch of your approach? If not then what?…
A chill runs down your spine and your hairs prickle as you realize that, yes, the horn was indeed a warning. But it was not the watch being warned – it was you.
Something is coming.