The Tale of Captain Johne

The Foretelling of An Age

The Foretelling of an Age



The Underworld is endless. For nearly two weeks, Sutek and I have toiled northwest through passages both cavernous and narrow. Too often we hear the rustle of wings and the ghastly shrieks of mongbats. Fortunately, none have approached us. Perhaps our avian friends have spread the word that Sutek is a force to be reckoned.

Today, Sutek and I traversed the shores of what might be called a cove on the surface world. I have named it the Bay of Lost Hope, but I have kept this to myself, for I doubt my companion would appreciate my humor. We have made camp on the northwest shore where a large passage leads farther into the heart of the Underworld.


* * *


I closed the pages of my log, capped my inkwell, and placed it and the quill inside one of my pouches. After gathering my blankets, I rested my head on my hands and waited for sleep to settle in while I listened to the rustle of Sutek paging through his spell books. I was used to the routine. My companion and I would set up camp, roast our supper, and eat. Then I would record our journey and fall asleep while Sutek studied, usually without a single word exchanged between us.

Save for sound of waves lapping against the shore, that night by the lake was no different—at least, in the beginning.

The campfire had dwindled to embers and my eyes were at last beginning to feel the pull of sleep when Sutek spoke in a quiet voice. "Look, Captain, the stars have come again."

I jumped to my feet, throwing off the blankets. A thousand lights shimmered where darkness normally held reign, and there, glowing softly like two golden orbs suspended before a black curtain, were Trammel and Felucca, the two moons who nurtured the night skies I once knew. How long I stood there, my hands outstretched, bathed in the luminance of that beautiful celestial dome, I cannot recall. I do remember the tears I felt on my cheeks when inevitably, the sky rippled and shuddered as if being stripped away, and then it abruptly vanished.

"I knew I was not crazy," I whispered to myself.

"Indeed thou art not, Captain." Sutek's voice jolted me from my despondency. The mage motioned for me to have a seat near the coals that he poked with his staff.

I settled among my blankets. "How is it possible? How can we see the sky?"

"This place, these caverns, are not meant to be beneath Britannia," Sutek answered. "They are shattered lands, worlds we unknowingly stole to fill the chasm we created when we ruptured the Void and raised the Codex. And I sense that our creation is unstable at best, flirting with one reality and the next. Certainly thou hast felt the tremors in the ground. What thou hast seen in the sky is no different, except 'tis the Void itself that trembles, and the reason why I cannot summon a moongate to escape this realm. But the Heavens may still be of help. The stars serve as auguries."

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