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Golden Sun: Alchemy's Reckoning

Prologue Part 1: The Unnatural Storm

Abraham Galenson, captain of the Belinsk Royal Guard and hero of the Border War, wore a grim expression as he stood in the atrium of Belinsk's grand library with a full contingent of adepts and alchemists from the Order of the Seventh Veil behind him. Outside, the unnatural storm howled on. Bolts of lightning continued to crash down all around the city, and the ensuing cracks of thunder pounded away at his ears like a hammer blow.

Queen Sveta had sounded the emergency gong, commanding everyone to stay inside and lock their doors. She had been alive in the time of the Grave Eclipse, twenty-five years ago, and installed precautions to ensure that her city would never again fall so easily to the forces of darkness. But now, Abraham was not sure those precautions would make any difference at all.

He blamed himself for not realizing the obvious more quickly. But truth told, it was hardly his fault. No one had ever imagined that a single adept might be able to deliver so much destruction upon the city. No adept had ever even dared to oppose the Fang Tribe. (At least, thought Abraham, not since that Champa pirate many years ago, and he barely qualified as a legitimate threat.)

There should have been a way to prevent this scenario from becoming so dangerous. Perhaps if they had installed alchemic wards around the city to detect build-ups of psynergy. Or perhaps if they had more heavily guarded their gates against outsiders...

But it was too late for those kinds of thoughts. The storm was here, and the highest mages of the Order were certain that it had been wrought by an enemy adept. The Queen had commanded Abraham to go to the building at the eye of this storm and put things right.

So they stood here in the library, as all of the winds in the storm raged in tight circles around its exterior walls.

The library was dark except for the ghostly glow of the psynergy torches carried by Abraham's adepts. They did not see a single living soul other than themselves in the atrium, so Abraham began to walk forward cautiously towards the staircase in the back.

The stairs creaked beneath their feet as they plunged deeper into the library. From somewhere in the farthest reaches of the basement, they could hear strange, unfamiliar noises—the hum of a generator, the clinking of heavy gears, and what might have been the sounds of small animals screaming in agony. But the noises were too far away to make sense of yet. They could only proceed with an alarming sense of unease in the pits of their stomachs and the cores of their souls.

The stairway exited to junction of corridors. The air was chilly and dry, as if the water had been drained from it. The ancient brick walls, hallmark of a civilization that had lived in Belinsk long ago, were cold to the touch.

Abraham's nose twitched. The aroma of burning oil was thick in the air. The source of the odor was far away, but as a beastman, his sense of smell was keen enough to detect it.

One of his adepts, a young woman named Vera, came to his side. She was the youngest of the group at twenty years of age, fresh out of the Adept's Academy—the most distinguished in her class and the most promising seer in a decade. With the bun of her slate-blue hair bobbing up and down between her long ears as she walked, she turned her face up to look him in the eye.

"There is disaster coming," she whispered, her jewel-green eyes twinkling with what might have been the start of tears. "I can feel something, something that I've never felt before. The spirits of the elements are in pain."

Abraham stopped short and held up a fist to the adepts behind him.

"Company halt," Abraham declared over his shoulder. Then he turned to focus on Vera. "What do you mean?"

"I-I can't describe it very well. But they are crying out in pain. Someone is harming them, in the ruins below. And I can't see far enough ahead to know what will happen, but I know that there is nothing we can do to stop him," Vera whispered to him with terror in her eyes. Tears began to run down her cheeks. "The city is about to be destroyed. Get everybody out as quickly as possible."

The color drained from Abraham's face.

"When did you see this?" he asked.

"Just now," she said.

"How long do we have?"

"Minutes, maybe?" she said helplessly. She choked back a sob. "I'm so sorry."

Abraham spent a split-second deciding what to do next.

"Everybody else, leave, and go evacuate the city right now!" Abraham shouted. "Do not question this order! Follow it without fail! Vera, come with me!"

Alarm and confusion were rife among the adepts, but they did not stop to ask why—they saw the tears on Vera's face, heard the grim resolve in Abraham's voice. They understood that there could be only one cause for an order of that severity.

Then in a heartbeat Abraham and Vera were running recklessly down the hallway towards the source of the scents and sounds, unsure of everything, ready to throw down their lives to challenge destiny.

Continue to Part Two.