“Gong...Gong...Gong…” The Sacred Shrine of the Lionheart’s bell chimed, the monks swarmed out, with their barefoot on white marble they came to the top of the Iron Heart Square. Layers of dark clouds gathered over the sky of this city.
The Great Demonic Wave was just as Brando had expected, from the Lion City to the Shining Sea, from the Mechanic Realm of the Hazaiers to the Drooping Cloud Mountains in the far east, the surge of the Demonic Wave alarmed everyone.
Everyone stopped their business at hand and looked up in amazement, and an obscure, indistinct blue was crossing the darkened sky, shining as if it were morning light, or piercing through the clouds like a curved arc, halfway across the sky and stabbing at the canopy overhead.
The Astrologers throughout Vaunte were on tenterhooks at this moment, the Sea of Magic was roaring furiously, and every saint who hid in the prayer room prayed devoutly to their God was having trouble calming the turmoil within.
Dark clouds obscured the light of the moon and stars, and darkness hovered over the mountains and plains, the shining lakes and rolling forests, from west to east, the Pillars of Order lit up in each of the cathedrals on the vast expanse of Vaunte.
Marsha's Tiamat Law had warned all, heralding the coming age of chaos.
Above the Iron Heart Square, bishops of lofty status looked up at the dramatic change in the sky with an indescribable expression on their faces. Some were whispering, but more had begun to turn back.
"Go to the Sublime Hall, light the Crystal of Order, and make an announcement to the other cathedrals-"
The loud voice spread across the square, the first wisps of rain drifted down from the sky, and in the blink of an eye, the temperature had plummeted. Everyone looked back, and behind them, the city bells were ringing loudly.
Across the sea, the Bugas and dozens of cities in the sky were flying slowly above the clouds in the sky. In the pitch blackness, lightning would occasionally reflect the silver spires of those towers.
In Onais, Astrologers stepped out of their white towers in turn, while the great mages, dressed in white robes and carrying scrolls, could still feel the change in the world order even though they could not see.
Tiamat's great Magic Array was changing course.
The entire world was rumbling.
Far away in the heavens, deep in the sea of clouds, lightning occasionally draped down like a sinuous flame, lighting up the dark sea. The stark white of the lightning passed through the lofty windows with their otherworldly style, reflecting the shadows of craft patterns on the long thin face of William, holding the mage's chess piece as if in meditation, his face pale.
He sat atop the throne of the Twelve, the throne behind him like an elongated shadow, the spiked backrest symbolizing supreme knowledge extending infinitely toward the vault in such a setting, full of mysterious majesty.
The old mage remained motionless, like a statue, his profound gaze gazing at the vaulted hall beneath the handrail, the restless Sea of Magic was as if it could be seen in the endless depth of his eyes. The silver-robed mages crossed the empty corridor one after another, passing through the heavy curtain hanging down from the arches, crossing the hall and coming under the gaze of three hundred and twenty gazes.
They looked up, and above them, for a change from their usual drowsy spectacle, the councillors of the Silver League frowned.
There was no whispering nor talking, but an ominous presence in the air.
"Citizens of Buga, great mages, salute to knowledge, salute to truth!"
A roaring voice echoed across the hall. The mage in white robes, with one hand holding a sheepskin scroll, raised his head like a lion and challenged everyone.
"Who foresaw all of this today, and yet hid the truth?"
"We demand an answer."
"Is this a sign of that 'destruction and new life' from the prophecy, or is it a once-in-a-decade display of the Demonic Wave’s own wrath? Tiamat's edges have long since been unable to contain the rising and violent power, and the scroll scholars and silver candles will be at every tiny sign of the fourteen hundred nodes sensing the coming drastic change!"
"But what about our senate? The patriarchs are still drowsy, where is the Eye of the Revelator? Where are the scepters of the Ten Realms?"
The mage waved his fist forcefully, as if it were a challenge: "Since the War of the Holy Saints, the response of the Bugas of the Silver Folk has been slowing down day by day,as if they were proud of themselves, this alliance is becoming droopy, and only a new spirit can revive it!"
"Change is coming, are we going to miss the boat again? The Silver Elves hvae now appeared in the world, and according to that ancient language, we should also demand self-purification and cleansing!"
"To initiate the Arbitration Proceedings!" More voices roared, and the hall was buzzing for a moment.
It was as if his face had contorted in excessive anger, the silver-haired, benevolent old man withdrew his gaze from the over-exaggerated kind of face below, and with a glance at the facetious councillors, he could not help but toss his queen chess onto the chessboard in disinterest.
With a bang, the board seemed to come to life, turning into a swamp between the black and white squares, plunging and slowly engulfing William's bishop into it.
"Those guys are really getting out of hand, Isaac's pupils." The old man's face was full of uninteresting disdain, but if he did not speak, and if he did not sit on this throne of the Twelve, as well as not wear this characteristic purple robe with lightning markings, who would have guessed that this old mage who looked no more than an old man, would be Solomon, the King of Knowledge, head of the twelve Mage leaders of the Silver.
In his most glorious years, his words were truth, his actions were the law, and he was the ultimate symbol of power and knowledge on the earth. Mortals thought he had long since become a god, but in fact, he was still Solomon, a Silver Folk, the one with the ultimate power on the pillars of Buga.
And for the rest of his life, Solomon thought of himself only as a mage.
"He has a way with his words, isn't that what that guy always does, haha. Let them make a scene, the Frostites want to influence the course of the world more. As it is well said 'the more power, the more responsibility', isn't that their usual mantra?" William had a smile on his face and the chess piece in his hand, "Of course they're not wrong, it's their responsibility, leave it to them, as they’re just a bunch of juniors-"
The old mage tapped his chess piece on the table, and the board and pieces suddenly turned into a puddle of silvery liquid, which shifted on the table as if it was afraid of William. It shivered, and flew off the table and down to the ground, escaping into the darkness.
Only then did the old man raise his untrimmed eyebrows and laugh, "But Silver Elves aren't vegetarians, we just have to mind our own business."
But in the meantime, he raised his brows then frowned, and his old, wise-looking eyes took on a sense of coldness; pursing his lips, he added sternly, "But enemies and friends must be distinguished, and if certain opportunists think they can take advantage of the opportunity to hold the senate hostage, they will get what they deserve. The League of Nethas was founded by mages who swore an oath with their hands on the Book of Knowledge. Knowledge and power are never separated, the law on one hand was to maintain order, but ultimately it was a sanction of the few against the many, and no one can question its authority above the charter of the Silver League."
The old man with the silver hair and shawl was indifferent to this speech, he frowned and stared at the few remaining pieces on the table. Lightning were leaping on the clouds outside the window, and it reflected his face and the fine wrinkles on his forehead. Finally, Solomon raised the snow white tip of his brow, looked up, and said angrily, "No, you should lose this game, William."
"No, how!" William innocently raised his eyebrows as if he were still a child and denied, "I still have a trick up my sleeve."
Solomon stared vacantly at his old friend.
"Come on, old friend, you see, chess is just a way for mortals to pass the time, and we've wasted too much time on it already. You and I are past the age of arguing over who is the winner or loser. Everything is orderly and chaotic, but in the end it all comes down to one, in some ways the guys who say that everything will come back to one are not wrong, it's just that they don't understand that everything has a purpose, the course of the world is set in stone, any change in the hands of others will upset the original balance. There is no wrong or right, everything just goes with the flow. " The old mage hurriedly laughed and diverted the topic.
"Hmph," Solomon saw his old friend showing a submissive side, and no longer dwelled on this topic: "But thanks to you and Tuman, you promptly discovered the movement of the Sea of Magic in theLoop of Trade Winds, or else those guys would really get a hold of it this time. The senate, while not shaken in the slightest, is inevitably embarrassed. The Law of Tiamat has its imperfections, and mortals look to Marsha, while we inevitably have to count on ourselves."
But then he lifted his head and asked, "But what I really want to ask is, what exactly is the master of that secret silver castle planning to do now?"
"Tuman?" William suddenly had the face of a young man in his mind, "He still remains in Aouine. You know human emotions are a wonderful thing, homeland, country, family and friendship, Tuman's life in the mortal world has more or less changed him, he probably plans to help that little country."
William said as he turned around, and a bolt of lightning struck down, his eyes reflecting the lightning.
"It's no good talking about it too easily, old chap. Even the Silver Folks have emotions, they just don't show them as explicitly." Solomon crossed his arms and replied, "But your motives should not be so simple, did you discover something else besides the Azure Lance."
"Not quite a discovery, a discovery is a very serious word. I should say it was an encounter with an interesting little fellow that reminded me of someone, ah - you are right, the Silver Folks have feelings too." William smiled slightly, "I knew that person in my early days when I passed through Aouine, but unfortunately human life is too short."
"Indeed, no matter if one was as ambitious as a lion or as firm and enduring as a white oak tree, they will eventually be forgotten as time passes in the human world. Only the law is different, for what rests on emotion is fragile, and only truth remains constant." Solomon replied matter-of-factly, but with the unhideable pride of a Silver Folk.
"Somewhat in line with your style, but we are less likely to be swayed by emotion, like this thing I asked you to do. It's best not to let the radicals gain too much support while I'm gone, I doubt there will be a war, but the Buga or the Silver Elves, they're not ready yet."
Solomon did not answer, but he just put away the pieces on the table. William sat up straight beside him.
In the midst of the storm outside the window, William straightened his hand and the staff immediately flew from the corner and landed firmly in his hand.
It was only then that Solomon asked, "I haven't asked yet, but where do you plan to go at this time?”
The old mage put on his hat, the shadow of the mage's hat obscuring his face, revealing only the long silver beard beneath, "I felt a little shift in one of the monitoring nodes, and if I'm right, something exciting might happen."
"Ah, I see."
Solomon raised an eyebrow.
The following speech was getting to its climax, but unfortunately the listener was distracted.
Black clouds filled the sky, rain was pouring from the Grey Bay to the Roshar Avenue, it was good that the Roshar people had already taken this into consideration when they founded the city, and had built perfect drainage facilities on both sides of the Avenue. The rain clouds came from the Eternal Death Sea after the summer every year, and were blocked by the Drooping Cloud Mountains, water vapour gathered into rain and fell upon. But this year the rain was particularly abundant, flash floods have washed away many bridges. A line up of riders dashed out into the rain, trying hard to move forward on the muddy path.
In the midst of the heavy rain, both men and horses were dressed in sky blue robes. The emblem on the robes was the pattern of the Wind Empress’ nine-head snake, and most of the knights wore Elven-style armor, with pointed ears and long, pale blue hair showing beneath their helmets, which also proved their identity.
"Lord Marquis, it's just ahead." A loud voice that could be barely heard in the rain shouted.
"Did any of you get a good look at what the hell that was?" The only tall Elf in the group turned around while on his horse. His chains on the armor clattered loudly but he did not care about these details and proceeded to ask in a serious tone. The style of his armor was extraordinarily precise, and pale blue magic seemed to flow through the texture of the armor's surface, keeping the armor dry from the rain.
"A ball of fire, my lord, it was probably Sarah's Tears."
The knights stood in the rain and looked at each other, they did not know what this lord from the Central Province was worried about. Wasn't it just a meteorite? The mortals of the earth considered meteorites and meteors to be the tears of the dragons in the sky, and only a few witches considered them to be signs of the unknown.
But crystallized meteorites mostly came from the Sea of Magic, and burning meteorites which passed over the forest would sometimes cause mountain fires, but the meteorites themselves contained large amounts of magical crystals, a great fortune, and every knight's heart was on fire.
The tall Elf did not answer. The world paid attention to these side events, but only a few noticed that Sarah’s Tears had come by more often since the Year of Summer Blossoms and Leaves.
There had been over thirty sightings in Roshar alone.
He remembered again the figures displayed in the scrolls. Those numbers meant nothing to a mere man, but to one of his stature, they looked like a blade stuck in a map, glinting with an intimidating cold light.
The Law of Tiamat is weakening.
But how could that be?
Marquis Steffen stared back at the windswept clouds of the Demonic Wave in the sky, the cyan arc of light reflected in his eyes, which made it seem dimmer. These knights around him were not at all clear about his true identity, those country people only thought that nobles like him from the Central were greedy and afraid of death. Little did they know that he was the Night Song Knight of the Holy Cathedral of Wind, what a joke.
The borders of Sanorso had become increasingly unstable, and unfortunately most of the nobles of the Elven Court still stubbornly believed it was nothing more than a disturbance of the Undead, thinking that Madara was incapable of starting two wars at once.
He had a nudging feeling that it was not that simple.
The seven months' report clearly marked that the number of Demons on the border was increasing, or rather, they were multiplying at an alarming rate. Dozens of attacks were reported by lords from all over, but they were deliberately hidden from the guys down there who were whitewashing the peace.
These tricks were hidden from the Elven Court, but not from the secret knights of the Holy Cathedral. The rituals had mentioned more than once that the Demonic Wave might just be a manifestation, and he, like the King of the Summer, Xan Griffin, suspected another possibility.
"I hope Farnezain will bring back good news, the Holy Cathedral of Fire is really getting corrupted, in such a small land like Aouine.”
Steffen silently hid these thoughts from his mind as he took one look at his makeshift followers who had unconcerned looks on their faces. He turned and drew his sword, with the blade glowing brightly in the rain he said, "Beware of the ghosts in the forest, let's move on."
In unison, the knights turned to face forward in unison.
But only Marquis Steffen knew that something was not right. He looked up front, and the black hole of the forest was like a giant mouth that would swallow everything.
Amidst the heavy rain, a chill went down his spine.