The camp was quiet.
Even in the off-season, there was some noise, some activity, some bustle about the place. But this morning, as the sun rose over the pitched tents, there was hardly a stir, until a shelter swayed and fell. It was hastily stuffed into the back of a car, a couple doors were slammed, followed by a light crunching of gravel as a single car rolled slowly away.
It was like the world let out a breath it didn't know it was holding. The breeze picked up again, spinning dust devils across the long and lonely driveway. The trees sighed and swayed, and the birds took up their songs once more.
One zipper, then two three and more, as people climbed out from their shelters, stumbled and stilted to the amphitheater, like they'd forgotten how to walk. There, along a table, waited the Council of Storytellers.
Primus stood. He didn't have to call for silence, for his audience was still, patient, humbled. They were scared
"It has come to my attention that our canon has some large workings in it, devastating spells that have dire consequences for all of us, not just those performing them. They are not to be used lightly, but they are accessible to anyone, regardless the breadth of their skill or the depth of their well.
"In light of recent events, we have decided not to remove them from the canon. However, there will be increased scrutiny of any who try to use them. On your souls be it."
Primus sat down, and Secondus stood up.
"There will be no retcon. As of four am this morning, you all woke as if from a dream. The prior twenty four hours were a shared nightmare, and you will slowly forget the terrible things that happened. They will fade, as all dreams do, once we wake.
"That is the canon."
Secondus sat down, and Tertius stood.
"It has come to my attention as the Master of Coin that some counterfeits have been floating about. I have begun an inquiry into this matter. I have posted a schedule of interviews to be conducted by party. Bring all your coin to be inspected. Counterfeits will be confiscated and replaced with a writ of funds owed. Any found to be collaborating with the counterfeiters will have their writs invalidated; all others will be paid back when the investigation is concluded.
"These writs will be character bound, you may not trade them as payment. If you are short on funds due to this investigation, bring it to your storyteller to be handled on a case-by-case basis."
Tertius slumped back into his chair. Primus glanced down the line, and Quartus shook her head. Then Primus stood once more.
"Check the schedule for your interviews, we have carefully arranged them to minimize the interruption to your stories, but the investigation is a higher priority. That is all."
People stood as if set free from shackles that weighed them to the earth. There was a sudden outburst of chatter, and then suddenly everyone was talking, the spell broken at long last.
Only I didn't stand, sitting behind the table and the stage, silent, all but blindfolded in the morning sun, listening and waiting. My heart felt heavy, and that meditative retreat suddenly seemed like a very good idea.