Much too soon again the downing sun slid over the horizon, sending the town’s silhouette running over the barren fields.
There wasn’t a soul who hadn’t heard the rumors. Hushed words of promise, hopeful eyes looking up at the skies. But for some, their grudges left no place for hope. A single betrayal might have been forgivable, but even the gods can’t be excused decades of neglect after continuous commitment by the people. And it wasn’t just us. Neighbor villages had come to us seeking aid, but there was nothing we could offer. The endlessly cooling winter had long since eaten through our fields and reserves.
A messenger boy from the empire had arrived today, bearing the expected news that no support would be sent our way the next months. Some folks would have told you all about the uncharitable scrooges in the empire settlements, but in all likelihood they were barely scraping by themselves. Under current conditions, expending resources to keep unallied towns afloat would spell their downfall faster than the most foolish war could.
Though it was becoming difficult, we were still holding up our end of the contract. The elders had decided that would be our best chance at making the gods return, hoping they would one day go back to abiding the laws they themselves had smithed. Despite our efforts, the elders had passed away. We continued their will, unknowing if it was the right thing to do. Unknowing how soon we all would follow.
The sun refused to sink all the way. The shadows stood unmoving. People noticed, gathered, retold the rumors. In an instant, the horizon was set ablaze. Furious flames raced in all directions, setting ablaze all the ground they could touch. Rushing towards us, ahead of the inferno, was a tall figure. In the blink of an eye it was at our gates, greeting us with an apology.
They had returned.