The guards assembled in the Hall of High Honors. At the front of the room was a simple stage, free of decoration but for a small podium. A speaker stood behind it, and when the room quieted he spoke. "Congratulations. You made it. Forty years ago, you made an oath to maintain the balance by protecting the inner sanctum of this tower. You succeeded. Through you valor, your bravery, and your loyalty," He made a point of singling out a particular guard with each word, "you fulfilled and exceeded every promise you made. You are the elite, the greatest of the greats, and for that, we thank you." He paused as applause and cheers issued from the normally stoic guards. When silence at last returned, the speaker resumed. "However, it's against regulations to allow egress from the compound." A yellowish smoke began to issue from the vents. "Once more, congratulations. Farewell." A transparent pane rose from the floor, separating the speaker from the gasses. A few guards dashed for the doors, while some sat dazedly. As the first guard reached for the handle, she stopped. Suddenly inhaling sharply, she dropped to the floor and writhed erratically. The others soon succumbed, and the floor was a mass of bodies. Within minutes, their undulations ceased, and the air system cleared the room of any remaining fog. The pane lowered, and the speaker walked into the crowd. The guards' eyes followed him, though they could do nothing to move. The speaker drew a dagger from his sleeve, and methodically plunged it into the throat of the nearest guard. Her slowed heart could barely shift her blood, and rather than a spray, the liquid oozed out from her. The speaker moved about the room, and did the same to all the guards. He wiped his dagger clean on the last's uniform, and strode out the door behind the stage.
Regulations had been fulfilled.