By now the city was in a general panic that the garrison was powerless to control. Many of the residents headed to escape across the western bridge only to find it had already collapsed, leaving them trapped between the wide river and the living mist in the city. Some drowned in the river and the terrorized screams of the rest echoed above the din of falling wood and stone. The pressing mob which headed through the streets to the eastern bridge trampled those unable to keep up with its flowing mass.
Those who looked back said they saw people overcome by the mist which seemed to move with a life of its own, its tentacles seeking out those too slow to escape its grasp.Those who escaped across the eastern bridge and sought shelter at the East Tower were surprised that the earth’s shaking extended only to the river’s edge.
They quickly over filled the 2 story structure which was only meant to hold a garrison of some 10 or 15 men and the rest huddled in dim torch light on the surrounding grounds. Throughout the night they listened to the agonized sounds of rending stone and wood as their city was ripped apart at its seams. Some say they heard human sounds as well. Others contest the sounds were otherworldly.
As dawn broke the garrison Captain sent 5 soldiers to each of the other towers to report on their condition and bring back any survivors they might find. She gathered 30 more with her to head back to the city to see what remained after the last night’s chaos. The rest she ordered to secure the area and maintain order. No one had slept the night before and many were still terrified from the night’s events. Her group ventured back to the city, wary of anything resembling the crimson mist, but the grounds were clear and nothing blocked their path. The eastern bridge was in tact but the city itself was in ruins. No single building was left standing and some appeared to have exploded from within, their contents scattered into the ruptured streets.
They moved quickly through the streets until the Captain suddenly stopped, finally realizing what had quietly been puzzling her. The streets were clear of any victims. Her team quickly the city perimeter then moved to its center, where the assembly hall once stood. Now in its place was a gaping pit, nearly 150 feet across with sides sloping down into darkness. The stone she tossed in gave no evidence it ever struck bottom.
She returned with her group to the East Tower and took stock of what her returning guards had to report. They’d returned with other guards and townsfolk who’d taken refuge in the Towers, adding 30 more guards to her headcount, along with another 90 or so survivors. That meant only a quarter of original city’s populace had survived the night. She quickly dispatched runners to Westdale and Andor to report on what had happened, and then sent the garrison to gather food, shelter, and other supplies from the ruins.
It wasn’t long before they had makeshift tents set up for everyone and had gathered sufficient food to last for another two weeks. As the Council was gone, the survivors were now looking to her as their leader and protector, waiting for her to decide what they should do and where they should go. They were in a collective state of shock and she knew she needed to take action soon to prevent their panic from returning in force.