As I watch the the imperial envoy closely, my enhanced vision reveals a multitude of auras flickering and dancing over the large contingent of dark elves in a complex web of colours and patterns. The tell tale signs of numerous wards and enhancements speak volumes about the strengths and weaknesses of our assembled opponents and a quick mental calculation confirms they are wrought with far more potent magic than we first suspected they might be. I glance quickly at our leader. Adrianna continues to discuss terms, most likely ignorant of the extent of the drow group's magical preparation. The templar's divine aura shines like a beacon of hope under the scrutiny of my arcane sight as she stands passively listening to a retort from the leader of the drow. She is young, and in my opinion, far too concerned with dogma , but there is no doubt of her mastery of the art of diplomacy and thus it is her that patiently tries to manoeuvrer the parley into a more favourable outcome. Unfortunately, the drow are negotiating from a position of perceived strength, for I am concealed in my own array of magics and observe the proceedings from a distance, unseen by mundane or magical eye. Nonetheless, my friend expertly shifts the subject of the discussion to the hostages and their return. In response to a terse demand from the dark elf priestess, the ransom is brought forward by Adrianna's token bodyguard to be presented as proof of our intent, accompanied by swiftly issued counter demand to see the hostages before we go any further.
My precognition screams a warning, and in slow motion I see with perfect clarity, a premonition of what is to be.
On seeing the ransom is present, the leader of the drow reaches under her cloak and pulls forth a handful of shuriken, fluidly casting them forwards whilst screaming an order at her entourage. As they spin lazily through the air towards our spokeswoman, I note on each of them, a thick oily coating that gleams in the gentle moonlight. The other dark elves begin to spring into action as the razor sharp throwing stars slide effortlessly into the chest, neck and face of my companion. Adrianna begins to collapse and my vision of what is about to happen starts to speed up as it converges with the temporal event horizon that prompted it.
The premonition ends and I shout the word that will trigger my contingency just as the treacherous priestess whips the shuriken ahead of her. The throwing stars blaze through the night air and clatter harmlessly against the sphere of force that springs instantly into being around us at my urgent command. Adrianna stands dumfounded as the other drow spring into action. Whether her inaction it is because of the surprise attack, or my intervention, I do not know. And it does not matter. This is now my area of expertise, and I take charge.
With a word and a gesture, I stop time relative to myself and the the world around me grinds to a halt.
I now exist in the moment between the present and the future. I glance around, and my considerable mental faculties go into overdrive as I quickly take stock of the situation. In the dead silence of this moment between time, the minor details normally missed during the flow of real time present themselves to me as plain as the moon above. Adrianna's armour reflects the light from each individual star, making the already gleaming plate looks as though it is covered in a million tiny points of white. Two Song-Jays are paused mid take-off, no doubt startled from the bush they were nesting in by my cry of warning. The drow leader is frozen with a look of incredulity on her face, half turned to her assembled troops and reaching for a profane focus at her neck, she stands like a living statue with flecks of spittle from her screamed order hanging motionless in the air in front of her hate filled face. Her minions are similarly frozen mid action, some charging whilst beginning to draw weapons, others caught in the act of drawing arcane or divine power to themselves, but all with the same look of twisted malevolence etched into their grim, unmoving visages.
Existence screams silently all around me, urging me to return to the temporal flow, my flagrant disregard for the natural order of things offends the universe in ways too profound to explain and a vortex of temporal discontinuity surrounds me, threatening to shunt me back into my proper place. In theory, I do not have long, and yet, in theory I have all the time in existence. The paradox never fails to entertain. My first act is to even further tamper with the flow of time. Reality threatens to buckle and come undone as I begin to move with supernatural haste. The conflicting patterns of temporal force resonate dangerously. Careful balance of the energies must be maintained lest I collapse the time stream itself. The resulting rupture would likely be catastrophic, not just for myself, but everything within several miles of the temporal detonation. I focus further and with my enhanced celerity I weave a myriad of other spells and effects. In a matter of thirty seconds of time relative to myself, I engineer the downfall of a drow contingent some forty strong. As I finish my final incantation, the very fabric of the universe groans as reality finally exerts itself over me. making time lurch forwards once more.
The world, from my perspective, begins to move again.
All hell breaks loose as the dark elf leader is surrounded by a cage of solid force imposed over a dimensional lock. She watches impotently as her throng is systematically destroyed in the time it takes to utter a few words. Torn to pieces by summoned creatures, imploded, obliterated by fire storms and sonic detonations, turned to solid stone statues, and a variety of other unpleasant ends. My demonstration is far from practical. The expenditure of arcane energy is grossly over the top compared to the actual requirement for a unconditional defeat of the enemy, but I want to make a point.
I end the wards preventing my presence from being detected and I walk to wards the helpless dark elf. Laying a hand gently on my friends shaking shoulder I evaluate my prisoner and finally speak
"Six Seconds" I let the words hang in the air for a while before continuing.
"It took me but six seconds to crush your pitiful band" To emphasise the point, I motion at the carnage surrounding us.
"Bare this in mind when I send you scurrying back to your masters. For when you return, you will deliver a message. You will tell them there will be no more negotiations. Tell them that by threatening the lives of my friends, they have declared war. Tell them, they cannot hide, and they cannot escape." I pause for a moment to let the message sink in.
"Tell them the Chronomancer is coming for them, Yesterday!"