The Liar, the Madman, and the Shofet
It was just before the new year, in Roarkian of 545CE, that Gaudiguch began to experience strange sensations throughout their city. Strange shadows darting over the ground with no source to cast them, whispers with no mouth to speak them, and painful headaches where there had been no issue moments before.
To some within the city, these were but an omen of what was to come later in the month. These individuals had been witness to the strangest sight in the city over many years: an enormous butterfly made of pink, prismatic light that would carry them to a strange, alternate reality. In this reality, they would meet a raving Madman, and a sympathetic Liar.
Shortly after the new year, though, Gaudiguch began to experience anomalies on a scale that had never been replicated, from monsoons to auroras and heart-rending howls that filled the Basin with the sounds of children weeping. The sensations picked up pace, leading to the grand reveal of the butterfly known to them as the Herald emerging high above the Eternal Flame and descending to wrap the city in an enormous pink dome.
This strange turn of events was shadowed by an even more disturbing sign, for the world blurred and appeared not only once, but twice, thrice! The two additional realities shifted slightly to the left and right of what we would know to be real, and in what could be either a split-second or an age, monstrously large wings could be heard beating in a terrifying pulse. And again. Then everything returned to as it should be, apart from the new decoration in the Free City.
No less than thirteen Gaudiguchians ran to the Palace of Pleasure as a storm of dark sand and red lightning converged upon it. They found the entrance blocked by the power of the storm, but a strange pink portal floating in midair to allow them entry. Taking a bold plunge, they entered the strange world and found themselves caught in a final confrontation between the Madman and the Liar.
Splitting themselves into two parties, they attempted to find a peaceable solution, but there seemed to be no way to appeal to either of the parties beyond brute force. To make matters worse, the storm itself seemed to respond to the Liar’s distress, a jackal manifesting from the sandstorm and devouring Gaudiguchians whole, sending them to places unknown before they would eventually find their way back to the entrance of the Palace of Pleasure.
In the end, a test was placed before all parties involved: Would they strike down a cobra, the Liar’s self-proclaimed only friend, or allow that same cobra to kill the Madman who had proclaimed his intent to slay both the Liar and the “darkness” that manifested the storm? Lines were drawn, and before many could begin to understand how the test would play out, the Madman dashed forward and smashed the cobra with a large, sharp rock before everyone’s eyes.
The sandstorm responded to this distress, and soared high above the Basin of Life, where it coalesced into a single point and dove back down, revealing that the darkness was none other than Mysrai the Thousandfold, stepping forth in the jackal-headed aspect of the Shofet of Abyssal Scales.
What does this mean for the Basin? Is this the last we’ve seen of the Herald? Where exactly has Mysrai been this entire time? So many questions left unanswered; is it fate to know so much, and understand so little?