The Silver Princes Awash in Crimson
Tales from Meliora Posi
The following occurs after Silverwinds’ Kimberyean fountain overflows, and Artisan enlists Guldur to help with cleanup.
In the quiet darkness of the cavern, it was always night. But for the inhabitants, it was currently a time for sleep. Sleep that was, rudely, interrupted.
A terrible howling echoed down from some higher layer, the roaring of some terrible beast. Whenever the howling came, it was accompanied by faint tremors. Some of the younger centrati, barely more than larvae, turned their surge of fear into aggression. “Let us go and kill it! If the whole nest swarms the beast, surely we will tear it apart and feast!” Their elders, who had already learned discipline, simply chided them to remain calm. “Besides,” the adults said, “it is no beast, but the workings of the Low Magister.”
That did little to remove the fear, but it promptly curbed the aggression. The Low Magister was a fearful creature, an outsider who had displayed such magics that he was accepted into the city, and eventually received his current title. He was said to create monsters. The young ones hoped that whatever monster was making that howling would not be used in battle. What if there were no enemies left for them to fight?
Eventually, the howling ceased, and the adults became alert. The Low Magister was coming down. And there he was, silhouetted in the silver-blue light that shone from his servant, a leather-wrapped Man-thing. He spoke with the adults, and the young ones crawled as close as they dared, lurking from crevices and behind curves in the tunnels. The Low Magister looked much as he always did, imposing in his opalescent exoskeleton despite his size. The servant had a strange shape shining upon his brow, and was surrounded by a grinding funnel cloud of glowing sand. Some sort of elemental, the young ones concluded, summoned up by the Low Magister’s power.
The Low Magister and his servant were taken to the part of the caves that had, of late, been getting damp. The young ones could not follow, but noted that when the outsiders returned, they seemed satisfied for some reason. The adults thanked the Low Magister, and then there were only the centrati in the caves. No further howling was heard, and life soon returned to normal. Except, a week later, when several tentacled carcasses were brought down in a delightfully decomposed state. The young ones decided that this must have been the source of the howling, and were thrilled to still get to eat it.