Before the Darkest Hour

By Word and Wind

The 3rd of Ches, 1374; Halruaa, Halarahh

Illuminated by faint hues of the Weaveglow, Greila Sontoin strode regally through the murmuring throng assembeled in the Great Temple of Mystra in Halarahh. With her each step, the crowd parted before her, staring as she passed. For some of the assembeled priests and mages alike this was the first time they laid eyes on one of Mystra`s highest of servants. The High Priestess hadn`t left her Temple at Mount Talath for over a decade.

Her face was sombre, her stride was graceful as she walked along the debris-strewn marble floor, and her stare was fixed at the Mother of All Magic`s toppled statue that lay burried beneath the pile of rubble in the center of the great nave. Keeping a respectful distance from the old matron, walked Meldrathar Gath, the Magister of Azuth. Last to pass through the gap formed by the crowd, like wolves passing through a pack of sheep, were the feared Magehounds of Halruaa.

The procession stopped as Greila reached Mystra`s broken statue illuminated by the last rays of bloodied western sun. The only clear feature that remained of the marble collosus was a half-burried head that peered almost judgingly with its one visible eye into the crowd. High Priestess ascended a shattered marble column and raised a single silver star in her right fist. The crowd fell silent as she begun to speak, her voice reaching effortlessly all corners of the Hall. „What we witnessed today was an abominable use of the Art. I have watched your Wizard war unfold and fear that now, more than ever, Halruaa stands on the brink of Oblivion – as Netheril`s twisted tribe did before you. I will stay in Halarahh to personally hold the Mother`s Court and bring justice to forces behind this tragedy. Until that fleeting balance is restored, no Kingsmoot will be held, but the rule of Halruaa will rest on the shoulders of Matteo the Jordaini- king Zalathorm`s advisor. I cannot force you to acept this condition, I can only ask this council to see the reason of my words and swear by Wizard`s Oath to uphold my decree. If anyone among you wishes to raise his objections – speak now.“

No one uttered a word, but after a few moments of silence, a person among the assembled pushed to step forward. “By word and wind, sun and star, by the sacred flames of Lady Mystra and the magic She grants me, I swear that I shall accept Your court and the rule of Matteo until your ruling on this matter is carried, so say I, Procopio Septus, apprentice to Iantyr of Halarahh.” With these words, the wizard turned and pushed his way back through the crowd towards the temple gateway, his Jordaini advisor scurrying after him – as if to flee the clamour that rose around them.

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