Chapter 4
The Five Towers

Isle of the Magi, East Pendragon Sea

A number of enduring local legends ensured no one would dare set foot on the island just off the eastern coast of the mainland. Five towers were the only signs of civilization on the whole island and in those towers lived a community of mages who predated the Pendragons by nearly five hundred years.
Each tower housed an order of the mages and each order was headed by a grandmaster known as an Archon. Usually they remained within the safety of their towers, but for some occasions they would emerge and this was one such occasion.
Tracing the lines from the towers, a great pentacle was formed in the center of the island. The Archons stood at each of the five points of the great pentacle. These points served as the center of lesser pentacles and at the points of the lesser pentacles stood the Archon's primaries. In turn, each primary stood at the center of a pentacle surrounded by five secondaries. There were not tertiaries enough for a further recursion, though. They stood by on the outer perimeter to minister to the primaries and secondaries as needed.
With the Archons, their primaries and secondaries, powerful magic could be made, but that was not the purpose of this day's convocation. It was but practice for the day of fulfillment to come.
At the cap of the pentacle was the Archon of Void, a man who was no longer a man. By his outward appearance, he seemed to retain a measure of his humanity, but one look into his empty, milk-white eyes would tell otherwise. Both his hair and his robes were an unnaturally deep black, so dark that no light reflected off them. Indeed it seemed as if any light that drew too close would be lost in the void he represented.
Only the Archon of Void eschewed a hood to conceal his face. The other Archons, the primaries and the secondaries all kept themselves obscured by their hooded cloaks, though it was not as if there were any outsiders who might catch a glimpse of them.
With his deep, reverberating voice, the Archon of Void intoned, "The Five are One."
"The Five are One," the other four Archons repeated.
Then all one hundred fifty primaries and secondaries echoed together, "The Five are One."
"The time draws nigh," the Archon of Void said. "All the pieces are moving into place."
"The flame is kindled," the Archon of Fire said.
"It grows with the breath of the wind," the Archon of Wind added.
"It shall travel across the seas," the Archon of Water said.
"And the land shall be corrupted," the Archon of Earth concluded.
"The order of this broken world shall be set right," the Archon of Void said. "Chaos will reign for a time, then all shall return to the Void."
"The Apostle cannot bring this about," the Archon of Wind said.
"The Apostle is but a vessel," the Archon of Void replied.
"The union of vessels cannot bring this about," the Archon of Fire said.
"The union is but another link in the chain."
"The chain does not end," the Archon of Water said.
"All things must end."
"The end is meaningless," the Archon of Earth said.
"The Void has no meaning. The Void needs no meaning."
With that, there was silence, as if to serve as a foretaste of the promised coming of the Void.