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Coming of the Cadre

by Alex Benson

The robed figure of Prince Etienne d'Ambreville, arms spread outward, began murmuring strange words, almost chants. On the wall in front of him, hung an ornate mirror framed by silver; its face reflected the mage's image. Around him, were four of his assistants, each following the Prince's lead.

As the Prince's chanting grew in intensity and volume, I noticed that the mirror's face began to take on a different aspect. Replacing our beloved Prince's reflection, was that of a landscape. The ground was broken and barren. The only structures visible were charred or crumbling ruins. I think that I saw several piles of what appeared to be skeletal remains. The whole scene was terrifying and I felt an overwhelming sense of despair.

After a while, the mirror locked onto a structure in the distance. As the image enlarged itself on the mirror's face, it become evident that the structure was some sort of stronghold. It was a sturdy old keep, constructed of thick stone slabs.

To my surprise, the mirror seemed to move straight through those stout walls and appear on the other side, giving us a view of the keep's interior. Under the Prince's guidance, the mirror floated through the corridors until it came to a great room, most probably the keep's main hall.

There, before us, were perhaps four or five hundred men and women wearing armour and weapons. Seated around many long tables, they seemed to be in the process of eating.

Obviously, the mirror was visible to them, for only seconds after it arrived in the room, they had all noticed it and jumped into a defensive posture. The mirror must be some sort of portal, through it we could observe them and they could observe us.

By now, the Prince had stopped his incantations and was watching the warriors through the portal. He seemed pleased for the sight of them caused him to smile a bit.

After what seemed to be an eternity, one of the warriors stood to the front of the mob and very rudely asked us what we wanted.

Prince Etienne grinningly replied "I am Prince Etienne 'd Ambreville, of the Principalities of Glantri. We Glantrians are the descendants of your masters, the Followers of the Flame. I have come to bring you to us to continue our battle with the Followers of the Air."

The Prince fell quiet and awaited a response. After a moment the warrior looked at us and began laughing. The noise intensified as all of the other warriors also began laughing. This went on for over ten minutes. During this time, Prince Etienne showed great control as he endured this display of rudeness.

Once the warriors had finished their fit of laughing, the man that had first "greeted" us walked closer to the portal. Motioning to the other warriors, they drew back giving him some room. He then drew his sword from its sheath and held it in front of him in a defensive manner.

"I am Rhostoufs the Third, King of the Cadre." the warrior resounded. "I spit on your appearance here. I spit on your war. I spit on your Glantri. But most of all, I spit on you."

This show of rudeness expectantly angered the Prince. Raising his hands, he began mumbling a few words, casting a spell, I assume.

"I would not do that if I were you" stated Rhostoufs bringing his blade up in front of him.

A bolt of lightning erupted from the Prince's fingertips and shot into the portal towards the waiting warrior. Instead of frying Rhostoufs, the bolt bounced off his blade and came back through the portal striking and killing one of the mage's assistants.

The Prince gazed in horror at the charred remains of the mage beside him. Then, turning to the portal, "I shall show you who your masters are" and began moving his hands and mumbling.

"Etienne, I would not do that if I were you" said Rhostoufs mockingly "Turning that one will probably destroy half of that room."

This statement, though mysterious to me, caused the Prince to halt his spell. He lowered his hands and crossed his arms. His face changed from anger to calm. "Now, I assume you do not wish to re-join us."

"Join you" spat Rhostoufs "You saw what your last little war did."

"That was to determine which faction was dominant in the Empire" retorted Prince Etienne. "Besides, the Flaems created the Cadre."

"True, you gave us the skills and knowledge to fight the Air Mages and their spells. But, when you lost, you abandoned us here among the wreckage." responded an angry Rhostoufs.

"Tell me Etienne" asked Rhostoufs "Have you ever seen what the remains of a million people look like? Have you ever walked through the ruined hopes and dreams of an entire planet?"

Prince Etienne was quiet as Rhostoufs stared at him through the portal.

"Your arrogance will destroy you." yelled the Prince " You will have to answer for not coming to our call"

"Watch your threats mage" retorted Rhostoufs" The Cadre have changed since you left. You mages left much behind as you scrambled to escape. We took that incorporated it into the Cadre's arsenal. Search this world. You'll find few mages here that oppose us. We are too strong."

"You will be seeing me again, Rhostoufs" shot back Etienne.

"Etienne, you do not understand" stated Rhostoufs shaking his head "The balance of power has shifted. We, the Cadre are the hunters and you mages are the hunted. If we owe you anything, we owe you for showing us where you are. We may come to Mystara, but it will be to hunt your kind down."

With that Rhostoufs stabs at the portal with his sword and the portal begins to close. Through the shrinking hole, the noise of cheering and laughter can be heard. It stops only after the portal completely closes. In its place is the mirror, its face cracked.

Looking at Prince Etienne, I wait for a response or comment. He says nothing to me. Instead, he orders the three surviving assistance to destroy the mirror and burn all notes used to research the portal.

The mirror and notes gone, I inquire about the report. The Prince takes the papers and reads over them. Crossing out certain words in it, he explains what has happened.

Centuries ago, Glantri and Alphatia were once one in the same. However, there was a civil war based along theories of magic. "Our side" formed units of special non-spellcasting troops, the Cadre. They were equipped with magical items and weapons to protect them against some spells.

When the war ended (the Prince did not state who won) the planet was devastated. Both sides left the planet and coincidently came to this one. Unfortunately, many of our people were left behind.

Now, I ordered the destruction of the mirror to prevent the Cadre from coming here. It is true that they have grown stronger over the centuries, but they can be handled. Unfortunately, we are at war and we do not want to give the Alphatians a potential ally.

as recorded by Jon Perre
Senior Scribe to Glantrian Council
Kaldmont 12 AC1006

For those that read the posts "the coming of the Cadre" and didn't get it, which is understandable, here's a quick outline:

The Cadre was started by the Fire Wizards to fight the Air Wizards during the Alphatian Civil War. The Cadre was a unit of non-spellcasters trained to use special tactics to take on the opposing mages.

When the war ended, the Cadre found themselves left behind on the Alphatian home planet. Despite the Air Wizards' "super-duper wind spell" the Cadre survived along with groups of other Alphatians left behind.

Over the centuries they struggled to survive, overcoming threats from outside and inside their numbers. Finally united, they planned to avenge their being left behind as well as the utter destruction of the world.

Their opportunity arrived when Prince Etienne of Glantri contacted them, asking them to "re-join the Flaems (Glantri) to fight their old enemy the Air Wizards(Alphatia)." The Cadre refused and used the contact to "lock onto" the location of the Flaems. With this, the Cadre planned to send warriors to Mystara to exact their revenge on the Flaems.