Most of my tutelage under Tunon had been in libraries, great halls lined with books and scrolls detailing the laws, rules, and regulations of life in Kyros’ empire. Years spent in those musty rooms did not prepare me for the acrid and heavy fumes I found within the Burning Library. The heat of it all hit us like a wave, causing even the heavily-armoured Barik to recoil instinctively. Whole rooms had been consumed by lava, molten rock that continued to bubble up even years after I cast the terrifying Edict which blasted these lands.

Almost immediately we saw an impassible glowing barrier, covered in floating mystical sigils, possibly representing different schools of magic. Behind the barrier was supposed to be the most prized possessions of the library’s sages, undoubtedly the artifact we sought. Barik tested his sword against it, finding his iron blade couldn’t even touch the softly-pulsing barrier, turning it away with each attempted swing. Somewhere in the blasted ruins we would find scraps and scrolls sufficient to break down the barrier, hopefully before other Scarlet Chorus teams could.

Shortly we came across a dying Sage, blood pooling beneath him. “Don’t let the Chorus breach the wards,” he pleaded, grasping up at us with crimson-stained fingers. “There’s more at stake than just their pride.”

I looked to Eb to see if the man could be saved, but she shook her head. Magic was a powerful force, and she a most competent practitioner, but some conclusions were too far gone. The man died at our feet, clutching a scroll tightly in his left hand. Unfurling it, symbols and characters none of us understood were scrawled across the page. “We’ll need a Sage,” Eb lamented. “They write in their own code.”

Taking the page of mystical script with us, we progressed farther into the library, smoke and ash blocking visibility and making breathing a labor. Stealth was our ally, as it wasn’t long before we came across a band of Scarlet Chorus, obviously planning to sabotage another group that had progressed farther. I cleared my throat and stepped from the shadows, catching them off-guard. They weren’t difficult to convince to move along, particularly when I suggested that they may have the drop on another few Chorus members who I had seen through the cracked walls some yards distant.

Knowing I would have to cross swords with these pillagers eventually, I was admittedly glad to have them weaken themselves against one another before they came across my path again.