Holy Smoke

Holy Smoke

The Gunslinger takes a pull off his hand-rolled cigar as he leans against the storefront. Just another average day in the town of Franklin. The sun shines brightly and a warm breeze gently blows down mainstreet. The Marksman rides his chestnut steed down the street toward him, as the Inventor entertains children with an elaborate trinket. Even the Barkeep has taken a moment to step outside and breath in the fresh air, mug and cleaning cloth in hand. As if the day couldn’t get any nicer, a smooth vanilla scent wafts through the air. It must be the Distiller brewing another batch. An absolutely gorgeous day.

The Gunslinger first felt it on the breeze. A slight chill and a sweet, but smokey scent carries through the gust of wind. The wind continues to blow harder and harder with each gust. A haze begins to drift through the town. The strong smell of incense is thick in the streets. The tingling of danger crawls up the Gunslinger’s neck, making his hair stand on end, the sensation of a know in his stomach. His hand instinctively drops to his gun belt. He looks across the street to the Marksman. He returns the glance, his hand already reaching for his crossbow. He feels it too.

The wind is now severe, blowing a wall of dust up from the street. The townspeople seek shelter in surrounding buildings, the Barkeep returning to his tavern and the Inventor shuffling some children into a nearby store. The Marksman and the Gunslinger meet in the middle of the street. The Marksman wraps his cloak around his face to shield himself from the dust whipping into his face, the Gunslinger pulls his bandana over his nose and mouth.

“Freak storm ain’t it,” yells the Gunslinger, his voice being ripped away by the wind.

“I’m afraid this isn’t some storm,” replies the Marksman, yelling as well, “something or someone is causing this. I can feel it.”

The Marksman sees him first, a shining Paladin emerging from the woodline. His armor shines brightly like a star in the night sky, intricate patterns accent the perfectly polished breastplate, greaves, and gauntlets. Between each piece of armor is very fine, blue steel chainmail, filling in every crack and crevice. His helmet shines brightly two, with a wing perched on each side. His visor is down, hiding the face of the Paladin, and presenting an intimidating sight for those who cross him. On his belt hangs a massive hammer, seemingly much too heavy to simply be attached to a belt. Slung across the Paladin’s back is a large shield, as intricate and polished as the Paladin’s armor, obviously forged to match the Paladin’s set of armor. In the Paladin’s hands is a tall banner with a flag fluttering in the raging winds. The flag is emblazoned with a symbol of a half sun/half moon with a spiral shape in between. 

The Paladin carries the banner out to the center of the street and plants it in the ground. Immediately, the winds cease and all is quiet. The Gunslinger and Marksman approach.

The Paladin’s voice booms out from beneath his helm, “I am the Paladin of Zauberin, almighty goddess of the light. Hear my voice and tremble.”


Narrated by Brandon Warner

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