All was quiet in the town of Album Mediolanium. Night had fallen, the people were asleep, and the only beings moving in the town were the nightly guardsmen and the occasional stray dog. Occasional earthquakes had been plagueing the town for a few weeks now, but the citizens had learned to disregard the rumbling and quaking from deep under their feet. It had never done any harm.
The earthquake that hit was the heaviest yet. The ground shook, roof tiles sliding down to smash on the pavement with the sound of breaking pottery. Animals yowled, birds chirped, dogs barked and the wolves howled. The town’s inhabitants rushed out of their homes, as they’d been taught in case of earthquakes lest their dwellings collapse on their head, when the rumbling ceased. One of them, Lucius Trepidius, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and rubbed again. This could not be real.
Pushing up from under the tiles of the market’s pavement, had risen the twin prongs of an unknown structure. They curved slightly towards the middle, were made of some kind of stone, and inscribed with sigils that glowed a dim orange in the night.
It took only a few minutes for most of the citizens to gather around this otherworldly sight.
Suddenly, a loud keening sounded, like the death scream of a flayed man, and with a flare so bright it left afterimages in the eyes of the Valkorian citizens, a curtain of fire blazed into life between the two prongs of the structure. It whirled, red and orange and yellow, flame within flame, the fire lazily twirling around the center in a slow, circling motion.
From within their depths within depths emerged a figure. Tall as a Valkorian, if not more, he wore a long robe embroidered with a flame pattern that covered his hairy, inhuman legs. Unearthly muscle bulged under skin that bore a jaguar’s mottling. Eyes blazed bright cyan, ears and nose attuned to the slightest smell, the softest sound. Black hair hung from his head like a curtain, reaching down to the back of his knees. His chest was uncovered, deep blue, bearing some kind of ritual scarring. A vest of sorts covered his shoulders, though this bizarre style of clothing had never been seen in the world before.
In his hand was a tall staff, inscribed in the same script that covered the gate. It was crowned with the inverted image of a bird of prey, culminating into two sharp prongs flanking a crystal that radiated a sickly green.
The creature surveyed the civilians gathered before him, and sniffed. Derisively.