Where am I? Why is there so much noise? Why do I hurt? My mind reels with such questions, as for the first time I see and hear and feel. I look around me at the large buildings. I don't recognize any of them, least of all with the fire engulfing them. That's what that is, right? Fire? It's sort of yellow and orange, with so much blackness above it.

My ears take in the sound of wherever this is. I hear people screaming and shouting, words of fear and pain. Why are they so frantic? And that are those really loud noises? They hurt my ears, those sudden booming bursts. Why is everything so loud?

I look down, and see that I'm laying on stones. Are these stones? They look rough and round, and many of them form rows beneath me. Some are darker than others, and one group of them looks reddish. Those ones also seem to shine. Wait, the shining redness is moving. I tilt my head up to see the source of the red and find myself letting out a gasp.

There's a, thing there. A person, I guess. He's just lying there in the middle of the stones. The red is coming from him. Is it a him? I don't know. This red is coming from him. Is that blood? Why is he bleeding? And why does that make me feel scared?

Is that what this feeling is? I feel shaky. I can't stop my body from trembling. My breath gets faster and faster, and I feel moisture on my face. I stand up, looking down at myself and I find myself letting out a shriek. The red from the stones, it's on me too! My hands have it on them, my clothes. This isn't right, I don't like this!

I turn from the man and start to run across the stone covered paths between the buildings. All around me there's more fire. I see other people running, other people hiding, and some lying on the stones. I see others like me, and I run towards them.

I try to ask them what's going on but they ignore me, marching past me in the direction I came from. Why won't they stop? Why does all this not bother them? I turn and keep running, and find a large broken gate. Beyond it I can see green covering the ground, but no stones. There's also others like me, wandering and huddling out there away from the fire.

I run to them and ask them what's going on. One of them approaches me, carrying a yellow thing in one hand. It's very detailed and intricately carved. I turn back to him when he speaks. "Hello. I am Number 288. You are a Black Mage, like us, recently awoken. It's going to be alright, friend."

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