PART I: Not Him Again
Bade stood somberly in the financial district of the majestic city of Titan. Dark plumes of smoke billowed from the center of Treasury Square, well within the safety perimeter local West Viridian guardsmen had established to keep civilians out. The security precautions didn’t stop the occasional passerby from stopping and staring at the swath of destruction left in the wake of last week’s “accident” – though admittedly most of Titan’s inhabitants simply shuffled by on their way to where they were headed with barely a glance in the direction of the aftermath – and Bade was one such nonthreatening civilian to take a pause. A long one, as it were, as he had been affixed to that very spot for the better part of an hour, but the guardsmen patrolling the sector in which he stood didn’t seem to notice. Bade was good at that – not being noticed. It was a specialty of pale mages such as himself.
Or maybe they did notice; after all, many of these guardsmen, nonmagical as they were, were under the employ of at least one Fulcrum mage. Some of them, Bade wagered, even knew of magic. Somnambulists, they were called: those “sleeping” individuals, not able to harness any sort of magical energy themselves, but who knew about it and served its practitioners nonetheless. Those types of men tended to recognize a mage when they saw them. Bade tried not to relish in their transparent fear of his kind. Even now, the guardsman nearest Bade seemed to be sweating uncomfortably and avoiding eye contact.
The pale mage strode inward from the outskirts of Treasury Square. He had been summoned by Lorimer to meet a location just adjacent to the soul tempest – however that came to be.