Plumes of dust shook free from the masonry as the Great Hall of the Lairtas family stronghold shuddered. “Steady, lads,” Traghan called, easing his men for what was to come. The chanting of the mages grew more urgent. Warriors gripped their weapons closer, raised their shields.
So this is what we’ve come to, the captain thought. Fighting for dear life against these upstarts. Just a generation ago, we were pulling them up out of the dark ages, and this is how we’re repaid. His thoughts were interrupted as the oaken double doors in front of him began to splinter under the assault of the enemies’ attack. Not today, you whelps. Traghan’s teeth gritted, and his sword began to glow as he silently cast a spell on it. Today you see the might of Lairtas. The might of Faenan!
“Mages on my mark!” he barked. The door shook again, timbers buckling and cracking. Another blast, and a hole appeared all writhing arms and steel. “Cast!” he bellowed. A dozen bolts of energy rocketed toward the opening, blasting the doors back and shattering them over the invaders. Enemies streamed forth, and the battle was met in earnest. Steel rang and the air sizzled with spells. Soldiers of every stripe fell all around. Through it all Traghan flew, his sword singing and crackling with energy. He took an arrow in the shoulder, but didn’t feel it. The rush of battle filled him. He hewed through the enemy lines like a thresher. His boys were dying, but taking the enemy with them.
Finally, Traghan stood facing down the enemy leader, a towering brute that looked as though he could crush plate armor in his teeth. The monster batted aside a battlecaster, who slumped limply against the stone wall where he fell, and then set his eyes on Traghan. The commander steeled himself, trying to ignore the cuts and bruises, and surged forward at the beast. It produced a wand from some hidden pouch, blasting Traghan squarely in the chest with some foul spell and sending him sprawling. He staggered to his feet and charged again, this time meeting his enemy blade to blade. He could feel his strength leaving him bit by bit when, from across the room, he heard the novice initiate Retram call out to him. He felt the boy’s magic bolstering his spirits, and it was enough to deliver the killing blow, felling the armored behemoth he fought. Traghan slumped to the ground, still gripping the sword that lay buried in his foe’s chest. He could feel the bastard’s spell seeping through his veins like poison. Not today, he thought. Not today…
He floated for a long time among the clouds. Here was eternal spring, spent alongside countless friends. He drifted, free, through countless skies. But suddenly, he felt an unnatural wrenching. The world was torn from him, try as he might to claw it back. Things grew dark, then light again, and Traghan was dimly aware of himself, and then of someone else. Chanting which grew louder and louder, and a repulsive smell that infested his senses. Traghan stared about himself and opened his eyes once again. Here were unfamiliar surroundings, dark and claustrophobic. Traghan shrieked. The sound was eerie and jarring. There was a man standing over him gesturing in a way that was obviously supposed to mean something, but Traghan paid him no heed. All he could think of was his rest. His rest that he had worked so hard to secure. He had saved house Lairtas. Did that mean nothing? Had he not earned his repose?
“R… RESSSSSSTTT!!!” he cried. The world reeled around him. Time folded and redoubled. He saw the halls he roamed, and saw himself roaming them, and saw the others who roamed them. Six of them there were. Six that were different from the other man. Traghan was aware of his men around him. He would lead them into battle again and find his rest once more. These invaders, too, would be denied the conquest of house Lairtas. Faenan would live on, and Traghan would find his rest. He summoned up his soldiers, made them ready. On his mark, they would all sleep. Sleep forever.