“The wind speaks hidden words, Cereph,” whispered Worn as the two creatures watched the darkening sea.
They stood beneath a broken awning, a golden Sphinx and chestnut centaur.
Cereph continued to stare at the rolling bay, emerald green eyes taking in the world. A glossy coat of golden fur ended at her shoulders and arms were soft human skin began. But her head held a mane of tawny hair that had been drawn up under a circlet of silver.
“I know, friend,” she said, her voice filled with sorrow. Cereph turned to her oldest companion, the centaur’s glossy coat held streaks of grey. How many ages had passed that he had been by her side.
“They will come, I feel it,” she murmured, “I’ve felt it in the ground beneath us and tasted it upon the winds of the sea.”
“Darkwell is coming,” Worn breathed, finishing her though, “but there is something upon the air that you do not speak of, something written above us, in the stars beyond.”
Cereph shifted her gaze to the growing storm and said with a long sigh, “that dream died too long ago, old friend, when Hope was an everlasting river in my heart.”
“Is there no hope?” asked Worn as he laid a hand upon her shoulder. His hooves clicked upon cracked stone floors.
A sing tear fell from Cereph’s glowing eyes, she knew her deepest fears to be true, yet she couldn’t speak them.
After a moment’s pause Cereph responded.
“We are all that’s left Worn, and it is not enough. We stand alone between an Empire and the Sea, a rabble of embattled souls.”
The centaur pawed at the ground, impatience getting the better of him.
“We are the beginning Cereph,” Worn chastised, “the Elemental will come-”
Cereph held back a roar, feeling her hackles rise with her anger.
“There is no Elemental, Worn, look around you, look at our Kingdom,” she gestured to the crumbling edifice all around them, “this place will not hold, and we will fail.”
Worn stamped a hoof and was about to counter, but Cereph raised a hand, turning her face away from Worn, and beyond the sea.
“No friend, it is over. We must ready the city to fight and flee,” she said, pausing before a dark stair. “This is the end.”
With a swish of her golden tail she was gone.
Worn stood in the ruin of Parmara, and breathed in the world around him. He turned back to the sea, nostrils flaring.
“You are wrong, Cereph,” he said to the empty courtyard, eyes full of hope, “the Elemental will come. We must have . . . Faith.”