The road ahead suddenly took a sharp turn. Randia sprinted around the rocky corner and found herself at the edge of a cliff. To her right, she saw the winding stair that led down toward the Silver Star. And beyond the stair and several hundred feet below, she could finally see the eastern end of Lannamon.
The scene that met her gaze seemed as though taken from a nightmare. Fires raged, uncontrolled, throughout the city. Bands of demons, dragons, and Hellmen were everywhere, pillaging and killing at will. The Carlissan fleet had been burned or sunk, and the army base on the north shore of the firth was little more than a ruin.
She barely noticed it all. She stared instead, wide eyed, at the Silver Star Adventurer’s Academy. It stood just ahead of her, at the bottom of the stair and the base of the cliff.
It was burning.
The main gates had been shattered and great gaping holes had been torn in its walls. Demons surged in and around them, invading the grounds. Loud reports of magic boomed as blasts of fire and lightning tore through the few defenders who were left. The adamant and bluesteel spire of the great tower, once the pride of the academy and her grandfather’s home, was a solid column of flame.
The Star had fallen.
She stumbled forward to stand at the brink of the cliff and stared at the vista of destruction. Her one hope had been to reach the academy, to bring the ring to her grandfather. That hope was now gone.
I’ve failed them, she thought numbly. I’ve failed them all. I’m too late, and now the world will pay the price.From Sanctum of the Archmage: The End of the Beginning by Tony Andarian