The Scales of War

Visions of the future

Déjà vu washes over you as you look around at the cavernous chamber in which you find yourself. Your footsteps are muffled by the plush, red carpet beneath your feet, leading you through long rows of marble columns that stretch to the ceiling far above. Polished braziers shed bright light that dims just a few short feet away, leaving much of the room in shadow. Before you stand a set of massive double doors, flanked by two wavering, indistinct figures. As you draw closer, you are unable to distinguish one figure from another, or even put a race or even gender to them. However, you can discern that their overall appearance seems martial in nature.

Without a word, the figure to your right raises a hand to one of the huge doors and pulls it aside for you, beckoning you to enter. Your feeling of déjà vu strengthens as you pass the doors; beyond, the red carpet continues to a raised dais that occupies the center of the room. Light from immense windows pours into the circular chamber, crossing each other on the carpet before the steps up to the room’s central platform. Atop the dais sits a semicircular table at which seven more shifting figures are seated. By contrast to those before, however, these seven are easily distinguishable. In fact, no two are alike; each looks like the reflection of a unique rainbow reflected in a rippling pond. Waves of arcane power wash over you as you approach, filling you with awe and trepidation in equal measure. Your memory clicks, and you recognize that you are before the Court of Dreams.

You ascend the two steps to the dais to stand before the council. A whisper sounds deep in the recess of your mind.

“Welcome back, world walker. It seems your travels have taken you far from home. Tell us what you know of this Modra, and the arms dealer who hunts him.”

After listening while Orpheus tells of the Army’s exploits, the whisper comes again.

“Your path is true. Your journey to the Shadowfell will lend you insight into what is to come. Look to the Dream; it will tell you more. Farewell…planes walker.”

You feel something take hold of your consciousness, followed by the sensation of acceleration. Thousands of images flash before you, slowly at first and then more rapidly. You see men and women of all races, some of which you have no name for. Dreams and nightmares pass before you. A number of images stand out in your mind:

-A vampire approaches threateningly, fangs bared. As it draws nearer, you notice one of its fangs appears lit from within, and tiny figures move inside. The other fang oozes burning hot red blood, shot through with streaks of black;

-Creatures – humans, orcs, goblinoids, giantkin, animals, are twisted by dark experiments into horrific mockeries of their former selves, looking like nothing less than killing machines;

-A broken fortress atop a fiery ravine, from which a massive serpent arises to wrap its slick coils around the crumbling battlements;

-A shining longsword sitting in a glass case catches and reflects the light. Suddenly, a woman’s scream echoes out from the sword, shattering the sword and its glass case;

-A demon faces off against a angel on an ancient altar atop a raised dais. The altar alternates between giving off a bright white light and a smoky, reddish glow, seemingly with the tide of battle between the angel and the demon. A pack of howling jackals slowly circle the pair at the foot of the dais as they battle;

-A dessicated humanoid rides a dragon of bone that belches clouds of poison gas onto a group of refugees fleeing a collapsing, burning building. Taking wing, the bone dragon and its rider fly up to circle a city you quickly identify as Overlook, but an Overlook aflame, with mobs of soldiers burning and looting as desperate refugees flee the city for their lives…

Your eyes snap open, the dream already fading. You feel a wrenching sensation as your eyes open to darkness. The light returns, but dimmer than before. As you become accustomed to the low light, you take in your surroundings. The chamber in which you find yourself is a strange inversion of that you just left. Walls once white are now jet black; the chamber’s entrance and the portal on the wall are now reversed. The collapsed wall, previously in the northeast corner of the chamber, is gone. Instead, the floor in the southwest corner is collapsed. Gray glass globes lining the walls give off the dim light illuminating the chamber.

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