Calus, Euryale, and Ferk sit side by side at a finely crafted table. Uncontrollable laughter and music fills the great hall of a looming stone fortress. The Legion celebrates its victory in the recent tournament which drew thousands from across the realm. Scantily dressed women dance atop a massive wooden table surrounded by a rambunctious group of legionnaires, some whistling, some clapping along with the music, and others drunkenly staring into nothingness.
Across the hall the brawler known as Machete towers over his most recently defeated challenger. Several onlookers enter the makeshift ring and swiftly drag away the unconscious body. “Who wants some, eh!?…YOU!” Machete points to the crowd. A soldier is shoved into the center of the ring and the fighting commences.
The Triumvirate stand in unison with tankards raised in the air. The music abruptly stops and heads slowly turn to the distant sound of horse hooves clapping against brick. Two large double doors suddenly swing open. Alexander, a legionnaire scout, staggers into the hall while gasping for breath. He points behind him to the outside night. “A stone…a giant stone has fallen from the sky!”
The crowd breaks into a deafening laughter as food is thrown in his direction. He cowers behind a table while shouting profanities.
Titus the engineer quickly stands, his chair kicks backwards. “Can it be fired from a siege engine!?”
Alexander peeks over the table.”No!” He shouts. “See for yourselves!”
Euryale raises her hands and the laughter slowly dies. She turns to the other Triumvir. “I’ve heard of such a stone. The drow and the orcs have received the same omen.”
“From who?” Ferk replies.
“Thrym.” Calus states as his eyes gaze through the door into the dark nether. “We have paid homage to him at the games. Tonight we march!”
The crowd scrambles in all directions. Mugs of ale are quickly downed. Weapons are sheathed and armor is hurriedly picked up off the floor. A massive portcullis is raised to the repetitive clanking of a chain link as soldiers fall into formation and assemble into an organized legion. The commanders ride to the head of the column and slowly don their onyx masks. From the fortified entrance a sea of purple and steel marches forth. Decorated standards at evenly spaced intervals point toward the starlit sky.
The Triumvirate sit before their army on horseback while staring down upon a clearing. A giant boulder rests at the center of a smoldering crater.
“Hork!” Calus bellows into the night. A half orc legionnaire breaks through the ranks and sprints to the side of the three commanders. He salutes.
Calus points down. “Find out what it is. Try not to die.”
Hork nods and begins to descend the hill. As he cautiously approaches the crater an owl hoots. He jumps and hurls a hatchet into the tree line. The commanders look at each other as several chuckles break the silence of the night. Hork turns and scowls, and with a renewed sense of confidence walks to the boulder and taps it with his boot. The giant rock floats into the air and crashes through a row of trees, reducing them to large splinters. A map lies where the boulder once stood, untouched by the fire and ash.
The army looks on in amazement, and from within each painted mask a set of gleaming eyes grow wide in disbelief.