In a secret and ornate lair, nestled in the cavernous depths of the Molten Mountain, the great High Priestess Mishna is stoking a fire. Lost in the twirling and tumbling flames, she wonders how many more of her Ferexia must be sacrificed before the Prophecy can be fulfilled. As the flames of Mireyya’s Keep climb ever higher and approach the surface of the Burning Lands, Mishna fears that her people (in spite of their adaptations) will all perish in the cleansing fire.
Drawing herself away from the light of the stove, Mishna turns toward her companion. Gneg the Cyclops is seated in the massive armchair where he often can be found, perusing the words of scrolls, each marked with the insignia of the Torch. A huge monocle leans awkwardly against his one giant eye, which is grotesquely magnified as it looks up to meet Mishna’s gaze.
Mishna speaks a simple phrase, a familiar phrase: “Everything will burn.”
Realizing that the High Priestess is in a particularly volatile mood, Gneg pauses and carefully considers his response. In all the hundreds of years of ongoing conversation between the two, Gneg has never quite mastered escape from this particular trap. Philosophical Flyfishing he calls it, and yet again he will be the fish, fascinated by the shiny object. “Just as the Prophecy prescribes, my queen.”
Before the words have finished echoing off the cavern walls, Mishna responds. “These fools know nothing of the Prophecy. They think they know fire, but the fire that comes from below will melt their foolish notions.”
Gneg lights his pipe, and as an absurdly large cloud of smoke fills the air, he responds. “The Torch has been making great strides in their interactions with the other Splinters. They have finally taught most of their working class how to at least understand the common tongue, even if it may take them a few more generations to learn to speak it.”
“These creatures speak in oofs, grunts and gargles, and we expect them to learn the intricacies of the common tongue. Don’t make me laugh, Gneg. I’m a thousand years old, you know how I feel about smile lines. Joking aside, my poor flaming fools need to understand that the true Prophecy is not simply about setting things on fire.”
Gneg is clearly befuddled, but willing to question further. “But everything will burn, my queen.”
“This is merely a truth of the universe, my Cyclops friend. Water burns stone through wear and persistence. The light from the sun burns eyes, skin and earth. I can even rub my hands together until they burn. Indeed, everything burns. But the Prophecy is one of unity, not destruction. That which was Splintered shall be made whole. This is what has kept me awake at night in these recent years, Gneg. I daydream of the rest I shall find when I know my Ferexia are safe. I long to sleep.”
A long silence settles in as Gneg begins to ponder the final words of the episode. He knows the High Priestess will now withdraw into her aloof, dream-like state for a matter of weeks. He also knows that it has been nearly a hundred years since Mishna last changed her mind. Gneg watches the large smoke-puffs from his pipe flow gently toward the ceiling of the cavern and thinks to himself, “things are going to change in the Burning Lands.”