How did I get here? A once simple railway station worker is now one of the major lines of defence for our city. I stand at the busy nodal point of the Grand Canal, the railway line and the M50, a hub at the centre of three main transport links for the city. A blizzard is predicted to come from the West at any moment, most likely freezing over the canal and leaving the railway line covered in a thick layer of snow. I thought the motorway would be okay, for the time being, however I couldn’t be further from the truth.

Standing atop the hill beside the roadside I suddenly see them. Monsters. My legs start to tremble from the fear and the cold, as the horrific beasts pour out in seemingly endless amounts from what I believe to be a portal on the other side of town. They start to veer off the motorway, towards the centre of Clankland, appearing to gather around the hospital. I know the hospital can’t be their final port of call so, as I often do, I feared for the worst. If the M50 is left defenseless, they have a clear path to take over any and all parts of our country, the consequences of which I know cannot be good. My mind goes into overdrive trying to rapidly come up with a solution before it’s too late.

I look around, attempting to find some sort of inspiration for a solution to help me save our country, and then I see it. Behind the thick fog on the mountain top, I catch a glimpse of the pointed roof on the ancient round tower. I now realise what I have to do, the fate of Clankland rests in my hands. The journey up to the tower is no easy feat. The steep incline and rocky terrain are made slippery by the early beginnings of the blizzard. My vision soon becomes obscured by the swirling snow, combined with the grey blanket of fog that quickly worsens the higher up I trek. Eventually, I see a soft, glowing, amber light in the distance, guiding me up the remainder of the mountain to the round tower. I know the mages must be home by the lit candles inside the doorway. I creak open the heavy door of the tower and quickly make my way up the twisting spiral staircase.

Rue is in a collapsed heap on the floor upstairs, crying his eyes out. The other two mages, Alysonius and Miche, lie dead. Blood is trickling out of Miche’s lifeless body, creating a crimson puddle on the floor. I don’t have enough time to ask what happened as I have a country to save.

I explain my situation to Rue, who, consumed by his grief-stricken tears, doesn’t reply. I begin to fear for the worse; the snow trapping me in this dingy tower.

“Rue,” I plead “you are the only one with powers strong enough to save Clankland. I need you. The innocent civilians need you. Our country needs you.”

 

I eventually persuade him and we leave the tower, stepping out into the sub-zero temperatures outside.

 

We slip down the mountain until we reach the roadside. Someone has put up a barricade across the main road into Clankland, which buys us some time, but not much. Rue stretches out his hands and purple flames shoot out, aimed at the monsters below. The beasts are slowly levitated upwards by a violet cloud of smoke, suspended in the air. Rue uses all his energy to move the cloud of monsters over the frozen canal on the other side of the road. He suddenly throws down his hands, sending the monsters hurtling down, crashing through the thick ice over the canal. And there they drown. While letting out horrific screeches, and gasping for air, they fumble to try and get out of the freezing water, but to no avail. Their green skin slowly becomes white, shrivelled from the cold currents, and as the last one bubbles under the water I let out a huge sigh of relief. Rue lies on the ground, exhausted. Both of us are okay, the civilians are okay, and most importantly, Clankland is okay.