You find yourself sitting in a classical teahouse, very simple in the realm style, you are unsure how you got here, or even where here is, you feel you must be dreaming, but for some reason you also feel that this is more than a dream. In front of you sits a woman preparing tea in a measured and professional manner, wearing a kimono that would not be out of place at a funeral. You open your mouth to speak but no words come out, panicking you attempt to stand up, but find your body does not want to respond, you look out the window of the teahouse hoping to understand better where you are, but all you can see out the open door is an abyss of stars extending forever into the darkness. You look back to the woman who places the cup of tea in front of you, in a delicate and well practiced manner. She smiles at you slightly, the corners of her painted on red lips rising ever so little. You reach down to the cup of tea, seemingly compelled, and as you raise the cup to your lips she begins to speak, starting from a mid-point in a conversation you don’t remember starting.
“What is a story?” She asks the air, “A collection of words, a memory of things in the past, a view to the future? This is a story, perhaps even a true one, of five people trapped throughout time, from the Utopian First Age, paid for with the blood of countless, to the Decaying Second Age, collapsing under it’s own weight, to the birth of the Unknown Third Age, the stars aligned for it’s coming, to the Mysterious Fifth Age, cast forth from the past into the future. But,” she leans back and you take your first sip of the tea, the flavor something beyond anything you have imagined or could put to words, “as with all stories, we must pick a beginning, at least for this telling, it begins in the depths of the Second Age, where in Darkness with an unknowable source has begun to threaten the homes of five unconnected people, and compelled them to seek out hope from an elderly seer in the city of Shanrei. None know how connected they will become, how the strings of fate have already begun to tighten themselves around their futures.”
You feel drowsy all of the sudden, and the woman’s smirks hand reaching out to catch the cup as you pass out sideways, slipping back into reality or maybe away from it.