Though sealed away within what seemed to be a hollowed out dwelling tower within the dragon king city of Shakanzer, Valysan did not need to see the sky to know that the Sun was finally overhead. The chamber he sat within was inert and unadorned, but if his information was correct, the secrets hidden within simply waited for the calling of the Unconquered Sun to reveal themselves.

Moving his hands to his lap, the eclipse caste solar sat perfectly still. For a time nothing seemed to happen, his form beginning to disappear within the stillness of the ages that still gripped this place. Then, in a torrent of light and essence, the exalt’s anima banner lit up the room.

As the light of the Unconquered Sun filled the cavernous space, lines of luminance began to coalesce and dance across the floors and walls of the hexagonal chamber, growing outward and upward like water flowing along a channel. Turning his gaze to the sky, the eyes of the former Varagian ambassador followed the scintillating paths until they reached the ceiling. As they did the entire tower shuddered as the roof began to split open like a flower blooming.

“System restoration in progress. Primary and reserve recharge in progress. Diagnostics in progress.”

Valysan heard the mechanical voice, speaking in Old Realm, but did nothing to respond to it. Instead his attention was focused on one of the walls. Here panels had begun to slide apart, revealing a pod within an alcove beyond. Looking away for a moment the exalt watched the same process repeat all around the room, dozens of times in total. Returning his attention to the original, he observed as a portion of the pod became transparent, revealing the form of a slumbering anklok within.

“System restoration at 15%. Life support analysis initiated.”

As he rose to his feet to get a closer look at the nearest pod a new sound caught his attention; a cascade of tones like the ringing of glass chimes. Tearing his gaze away from the stasis capsule, the Varangian started to look around the room. But for his efforts, the only thing he could determine was that the sounds were getting louder… closer.

It was a glimmer of light caught out of the corner of his eye that drew his attention upwards again. There, amidst the still shifting ceiling panels, the exalt saw moving figures whose details were difficult to discern, framed as they were by the Sun. But as they crawled in through the roof and started down the walls, the clarion tones clearly originating from these beings, Valysan was able get a good look at them. Creatures that, though they were shaped like raptok, appeared to be made entirely of colored glass.

“Wyld essence detected. System restoration at 25%. Countermeasures queued.”

More than a third of Shakanzer had been claimed by a Wyld zone, but the exalt had hoped he would not have to deal with its denizens. Unfortunately he would have no such luck today. Still if these “countermeasures” were at all effective, he hoped he wouldn’t have to hold against this force for long. Drawing his weapons from Elsewhere, Valysan prepared himself for the battle to come.

The next 90 seconds were a flurry of light and motion. Though the beasts were not raptok, they moved like the agile dragon kings, forcing the exalt to stay in motion or risk being overwhelmed. Time and again his reaver diaklave met glass, shattering his adversaries and sending showers of incandescent shards through the air. But for every one he killed, three more came in through the ceiling. Alone it was a battle he could not win. But the eclipse caste still held out hope that he was not alone.

“System restoration at 100%. Countermeasures initiated.”

Having stayed away from the walls, the Varangian almost lost his footing when a portion of the floor at the center of the room fell away to reveal a large crystal. Unable to fully turn his attention away from his attackers, the exalt could only watch out of his peripheral vision as a white light started to build within the stone. For several long, agonizing seconds nothing happened, and then the glass raptok here gone. If he hadn’t been so relieved to be alive, Valysan might have considered it anticlimactic.

With a soft light still radiating from the crystal set in the floor, the interior of the tower showed no signs of the glass constructs that had besieged it. And just as abruptly as the fey creatures had been destroyed, a new figure appeared within the tower, this one a regal looking anklok. The slightly transparent animating intelligence bowed deeply before speaking the words that would change Valysan’s life forever.

“Welcome home, Consul.”


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