Three figures stood in the darkness; silhouettes outlined in the eldritch glow. Shadows danced as images flashed across a floating orb; past, present, or future, it hung over them all, a heady sound, a single word.


"You're sure?" asked the youngest, standing with noble bearing, as yet un-stooped by the weight of his responsibility.

"As sure as I can be," the old one rasped like a dried cadaver.

"Forgive me for saying, but premonition has never been your strong suit. What if you are wrong?"

The question came from the tallest one, drenched in darkness within and without. His sword spoke at only a glance what manner he was.

"You are, of course, correct," the old one acknowledged. "But what you fail to ask, perhaps is more important than what you do ask. What if I am right?"

Long gnarled fingers like old, dried twigs gently brushed the orb, shifting the swiftly cycling panorama, a strange performance, barely discerned. Fire and pain, there and vanished. Vague shapes, ill omens, dark forms dancing through the play.

"Death, yes. Death and despair," the old one said.

"Is it… the Dragon?" the dark one asked.

"It couldn't be," the young one said.

"And why not? With his keeper dead, we know not what the beast might do."

"That 'keeper' had a name!"

The young and the dark glared through the dim glowing light. Bodies taught; violence held back by an old, frayed rope, ready, waiting to snap.

"That will be quite enough out of both of you," the old one spake with authority undisputed. "Johnathan's death was a tragedy. The Dragon's escape, equally so."

"With respect," the dark one said, without sounding all that respectful, "I cannot say I agree with that assessment. The beast was always a curse under our—containment. With it now haunting our borders, it does more to serve our purpose than it ever did when we held it. It guards us just as it imprisons us."

"That is—not incorrect," the old one admitted, much to the young one's dismay.

"If this 'doom' is to come, will the beast not be a significant deterrent. What force could be powerful enough to survive? Is it not the fear of our own complete destruction the prevents us from confronting the beast?" the dark one pressed.

"The Dragon is fierce, powerful and deadly, yes," the old one rasped. "But it is not immortal, nor is it indestructible." Turning his gaze from the orb he considered the dark one who flinched under the milky gaze of eyes that saw both more and less than normal.

"The Dragon was created to be 'our' curse and bane. While without question powerful, its most frightful abilities will be of limited use against those not of our kind."

"Will they slay the beast?" the young one asked.

"I do not know. The images are foggy, unclear."

Leaning in close, nose hovering a hair's breadth from the magical glass, he stared.

"Foggy, unclear, and dark. A long hole of dark," he moaned as the billowing shadows swirled.