21st of Floodtime, Parvan Fields of Antioch, 4:09am
“Master Chalum… we can’t stay here… we need to go!” Ozwack called over the sizzling and crackling of the fires. The request was pointless, there was nowhere to go. Both ends of the valley had now been blocked by the flowing magma, fires raced up the valley walls. A skilled climber like Maul-Chalum might be able to pick his way through and escape, but he had about two hundred people with him, and the unconscious Curtis as well, he’d never get them all out.
“Oswack, if you and Soaz want to go, I won’t blame you, take anyone who can fly or you can carry, but there is no escape, this is where the Goddess wanted us, this is where we are” he looked around seeing the haze of heat in the air, the rise they were on would ignite soon, the death’s of the younger more fragile of their group would soon be on his hands.
“I told you Master Chalum, we will not leave you” Ozwack stated, Soaz accenting his point with a little tingle of a bell. Maul looked around for a sign, The Goddess could be subtle, did he miss a turn, a path or a cave?
“We are here! WE ARE HERE!” he cried into the night “WHAT WILL YOU HAVE US DO? THEY NEED YOU GODDESS… I need you” he said the last as a whisper.
“Curtis… are you ok?” Maul was by the little faun’s side, the faun nodded
“water…” he croaked. And quickly the wild elf pulled forth his skin and unstopped it. The water was warm and leathery but the faun did not complain
“Curtis… I’m sorry… I… I led us to…”
“To exactly where the goddess wishes us to be my friend” The burnt faun said
“But… but…” Tears were in Mual-Chalums eyes, he knew that death was upon them, even if his friend was too delirious to see
Curtis began to sing softly, a gently hymn to the Goddess about Faith. Maul couldn’t help but smile, he supposed if this were to be the end, then so be it, he would die with faith, as a believer. He joined into the song, grinning wider as he heard Levan and Oswack, even Soaz join up. It wasn’t long before the rescued villagers began to sing as well, even with the tree’s sizzling around them, waiting to explode into flame, still the people on this little island in a sea of magma sang out to the glory of the Goddess of the Night Wind.
It was Levan who pointed up into the night sky first, seeing the giant black wings of the angelic woman. As the beats from her wings brought fresh cool air to those below and cast out the smoke that threatened to choke them.
“I Am ARIUK, First Storm of the Goddess of the Night Wind. Fear Not Mortals! Your Goddess has Heard Your Prayers, and Wishes You Spared on This Night!” her voice swam across the breeze bringing hope and comfort to all who heard it… somehow each knew that Ariuk spoke to them, in their native tongue. The Ordinal landed stretching her wings wide as her eyes caste across those assembled. She reached out grabbing a shaven dwarf huddled among the survivors. “You dare to act as spy or traitor? I see your heart, and you will turn to the Parvan as soon as these people are free” with an easy flick of her wrist the dwarf spun head over foot through the air and landed out in the sea of magma, screaming in wretched pain until he sizzled away into nothingness. With the grim work done she looked at those assembled “Come closer now, Our Goddess loves you all, and will see you safely through this night.” With the people moving in the wings of Aruik stretched and grew as she wrapped them around those assembled, protecting them from the heat and fire and sheltering them from the falling burning debris. It only felt like a few moments but it must have been hours… or perhaps days as when she pulled her wings back, it was day. The magma had hardened to stone and was cool to the touch, the fires had long since burnt out their course leaving husks of tree trunks, the ground was coated in a thin grey ash.
“What now? Where will we go?” a villager asked
“I cannot lead you” Aruik stated, “You must follow your own mortal breeze, but were I mortal, my path would follow that of the Prophet Curtis” she said pointing to the Faun who for the first time was completely speechless. With her work done she looked above, high up a small vortex of clouds began to form, her wings thrust her from the ground and she flew into the eye of the vortex and disappeared. Moments after her departure the vortex calmed and dissipated, leaving them standing in the barren fields of Antioch once more.