One Last Time
The day dawned quietly, despite the strange green snow that's been falling across the city; many people chose to stay inside, uncertain what to make of this weather. There's still a strangely electric feel to the air, like a gathering storm. Something hangs over the city, something more than merely the clouds that drop this grotesquely tainted snow.
And there's a sense of /familiarity/ to the day, a growing sense of deja vu. Indeed, it feels as though this day has /already/ been lived, and people sometimes find themselves knowing precisely what another person is about to say or do. The sensation is unnerving. Worse still, with that sense of deja vu comes a growing sense of dread, as though something terrible will happen.
Or perhaps more accurately... as though something terrible has /already/ happened, and everyone is merely waiting for the world to catch up to it.
That sense of dread has continued to grow as the day wears on. By the afternoon, the whole city feels as though it's under pressure, just waiting for an outlet; it's enough to drive more than a few to the taverns to drink away their worries and fears, while others seek out the shrines and Godsworn for reassurance. It feels as though the entire city is a pile of tinder waiting to spark.
And then comes a moment when it all comes to a head: for just an instant, everyone within the walls of Arx has a sense of terror, of anguish. It feels as though the world is coming to an end, as though their very /essence/ is being consumed by something...
And then it passes, and with it the pressure, the mounting sense of dread, the feeling of deja vu. Like a cool wind blowing through the streets after a hot day, a sense of relief and respite sweeps over those within the city walls.
Then, suddenly, there's a horrendously loud sound from the Heroes Home as a huge, jagged crack shoots through the clock tower, showering bits of stone and masonry into the square below. People stare upwards in dismay... and then begin to run in terror as the upper half of the tower begins to tilt forward, its shadow growing on the ground below.
It hangs in the air for an impossible moment, as though it were giving time for those below to make their escape -- and then, as the square empties, it simply collapses in an enormous shower of stone, dust, and twisted metal. Its destruction can be felt throughout the city, like a gong rung within the /souls/ of those within the walls.
And then, as the dust begins to settle, people realize the snow has stopped falling. And a cold rain begins to pour from the sky, washing away the diseased snow. A melancholy feel hangs in the air now, an emptiness.
A sense that something vital has been /lost/, and the Dream itself weeps.
As the city recovers from the strange events of the day, those who climb atop the walls to survey the city soon notice something very odd to the northeast: a castle has appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in the forest outside of town. And though the delicate spires of this building can be seen from the city walls, protruding well above the trees, those curious few who venture into the Forest in hopes of exploring this strange new building find only an immensely tall wall with no visible joins or masonry, and no door to be found. Even walking entirely around the castle uncovers no visible means of entry whatsoever... only that smooth, unbroken wall.