"By the Runes, Chapter the First" Also contains a preview of AIR #1.
Nimue Inwudu is a fair sylph, a seer, loyal to the land in a medieval kingdom full of intrigue and dark magic. Her recent reading of the runes foretells a coming time of darkness and strife, even before the druids of the Elmwood Council come seeking her aid. They ask her to intercede with the King's Wizard to help avoid a coming calamity. Then she is faced by a Stranger who declares that she knows the destiny of what is to come and nothing can change it.
She cannot, however, ignore the druids or her promise to them. So she seeks her older sister, Morgana, in an effort to determine her role in what is to come. She finds her sister filled only with her own bitter goals and a cold and empty heart.
So she goes to the King's castle, seeking the Wizard, Merlin. She finds him casting a powerful binding on something in the keepsafe in his tower. She uses her wiles to attempt to enlist his aid in the coming strife.
Later, she is again approached by the Stranger, who reveals that Merlin is actually the cause of the problems that beset the kingdom and, in fact, consorts with demons! He asks why she involves herself in these affairs. So she shows him a simple family tending their fields and livestock, a family quite content with their lives. She reveals she will do what she can to correct the balance and retain this peace... until their tranquility is suddenly crushed under the war hooves of an army bound for destruction of the King!