Sean was up and around by the time his men reached the next district, but their arrival wasn’t welcoming. Sean was appalled to hear that they had been forced to carve a purchase for them to disembark, just as he was appalled to hear that the city was stuffed with refugees from farther down river. Was it an invasion? It looked like it. He needed a plan.
He had acquired the loyalty of two major armies during his travels around the northern half of his country, and after alerting them to be ready by dawn, went to the coast. Two of his coastal cities had been brought low and the citizens had fled up the river. Sean looked further along the coast and spotted more ships heading west under cover of dark. He warned that garrison commander, promising to be there at dawn to help, and then for good measure, he alerted the next garrison along the coast to be on the alert.
The next morning, he placed one of his armies on the hill above one of his beleaguered cities and the other army above the second city then he rounded up all the demons among these two cities and the one they had just passed through and went directly to the third city to help as he had promised. After a very long day of killing, both with magic and with his swords not to mention the damage his horse was doing, the invaders started to surrender.
As soon as his prisoners were suitably contained, Sean checked in with his other generals - both of them had been victorious that day though one city had been successfully killed. The other had had walls and the long ago builder had warded them against magical attack, a step that had been crucial to its defense. The other city didn’t have any walls and a goodly portion of it had been sunk in the ground turned liquid by magic - and buildings weren’t the only things sunk in the ground that way - it would be a long time before all the bodies were found and given a suitable burial.
With the battle won and the invaders dealt with, Sean returned to his original task; he had to find the rest of the nobility and winter was already in full swing.
Back out of the mountains, Sean was back among cities he had disrupted earlier that summer. Most had managed to retain their status as a city, especially after its citizens returned, but some were still in uproar. In one such city, the demons had escaped, and in their madness, they hunted anything that moved. In another city, child mages had taken refuge in large numbers and they were attempting to see to the security of the city but there was little commerce; they needed a more experienced hand at the helm.
With Sean’s magic drawing on energy reserves that were reaching their limit despite his best care, Sean needed to find new resources; draining energy from the people around him, though useful at times, was an undesirable source. He therefore learned to draw it from the elements themselves. Freezing water very suddenly required energy to accomplish but the act released energy and to spare.
In the last coastal district, the last one before heading for the middle and then up to home, Sean encountered a problem he could not possibly have planned for. He was kidnapped. Under a cloak of magic bent to hide him and his captor, he was hustled away to hide, and because of his magic, he was drugged to subdue it - all in the name of hiding and even though the city was searched, his captor kept moving him.
It was during this enforced incarceration that Sean’s deadline arrived, and regardless of drugs and bindings, Sean disappeared to reappear in the geographic center of the land, naked and in several feet of snow. After spending an entire day struggling to wrap a cloak around his body, Sean looked up into the night sky. He finally realized why he had struggled so hard to do all the things he had been doing over the last few months; he understood why time was of such an issue. Destruction was approaching fast and he had to divert it. It was impossible to divert it completely but he was strong enough and now connected enough to avert it. This planet had two small moons, one light and one dark. They were the fuel for the oldest legend in the land, one he had been connected to at the start of his journey. Another asteroid was coming into their space and it would come way too close. Using all the magic at his disposal and drawing on all the elemental energy around him, Sean fused the three bodies into one and released it into a new orbit.
The drain was tremendous and every mage in the land felt it. Proportionate to each mage’s strength, they were all knocked out anywhere from a few minutes to hours or days; Sean slept for months. His friends finally found him and took him home and he slept through it all. He slept all the way up until his wife went into labor.
When he recovered, he tied up loose ends left hanging by his extended nap; now he could finally be the king he thought he should be.