Soup Under Shroud


Crystal Era…

Pre-First Shroudfall War…

The night was hot, heavy and moist, the air simmering in front of the spheric houses of some podunk town in the swampy continent of Meir. There was an abundance of greenry around the spheres that didn’t at all suffer from muggy weather. Sunder didn’t have much in the way of plants that weren’t hardy.

Many of the people were likewise hardy, and there was two people resting on a bench on one of the circles that passed for streets in the town. Both were vasshes, lizardfolk unchanged by the sundering, descendants of those that managed to acquire refuge, but that was long ago. The town’s protective field was long, long gone and all that remained was those spheric houses.

Many people had long since moved to other more prosperous places.

“Say what do you reckon is up there anyway Gohn?” one of them asked the other.

Both were dressed in fairly worn clothes. Gohn was almost covered in so much dirt that his original colour wasn’t visible. There was showers run by the charity that pretty much kept the town alive, but Gohn didn’t trust them, he knew of the horrors of the Collectors of Kotel. Still, he did accept their soup, he didn’t want to starve after all. He wasn’t happy about taking the soup from the Order of the Fifth Sea though.

He actually had some of this soup in a cheap bowl in his hands. It wasn’t bad stuff, but Gohn didn’t like the clawing paranoia that came with eating it. He wondered why his friend Leorago was asking about the Shroud.

His eyes turned upwards. Above in the sky was a great shadow, one with twinkling lights like distant stars, signs of life. It was the shroud that gave Sunder day and night, briefly blocking the light of the dragon sun, Zhulougr.

Nobody had ever flown up to the Shroud or succeeded in communicating with whatever or whoever lived on the Shroud. There was a barrier of toxic mist that lingered from the effects of the sundering and before Zhulougr closed his eyes. Not even the best of metals could avoid being devoured by the mist, and worse still attempts to pierce the mist seemed to increase the quantities of monsters that would fall from the mist.

Gohn really didn’t want to think about it. He had seen one of the mistspawn once, when he was a child.

“Why you asking about this? Leave well enough alone” Gohn snapped.

Leorago sheepishly scratched his head.

“I was just wondering if there be people like us up there?”

“What, vasshes?”

“No, not that” Leorago said.

Gohn knew what he meant. Beggars, he was asking if there was beggars on the mistblasted Shroud, Zhulougr smite him!

“Sure, there’s folks holding out their bowls to the mistspawn and the gribbly beasts handing out alms. Just shut up and eat your soup idiot”

“Was just wondering” Leorago said sadly.

He hadn’t wanted to evoke Gohn’s temper, he didn’t like being called an idiot.

Gohn’s attention moved to his own soup. He hoped that there really was only monsters on the Shroud. In his opinion, people could be more cunning and cruel than a monster that’d just stomp around and smash things. He really didn’t want to eat the soup today.

Still, eyes on the shroud’s twinkling lights, he raised the spoon to his mouth.

Author: SnowyMystic