FINAL NIGHT, KHARVAG’S RETURN
Arlem was nearing Kharvag, the creature was vainly trying to turn its face from the hail of magic and arrows that rained against its scaled skin. He could hear more shouting behind him, he thought he heard his name, but he was too far lost to his adrenaline now, the blood rushing in his ears, and haze building before his vision. Arlem stood in his stirrups, bellowing out a soundless cry as he and Loki charged the creature. Kharvag had seen them, and lunged its snout forward, gnashing its teeth at the horse. Loki reared, tossing Arlem into the air, and in an instant, the horse was crushed beneath one of the dragon’s mighty claws. Kharvag lunged forward again, jaws snapping around Arlem.
Instinctively, Arlem threw his shield arm above his head, and then drove the point of his sword upward into the dragon’s maw. Thick beads of rancid acidic saliva welled and streamed down upon his armor, eating through the steel and mail. Dark black blood spurted outward from the roof of the creatures mouth, where Arlem had buried Xarthox’s blade to its hilt within the purplish flesh. Still, despite his efforts the beast’s jaws closed more, forcing him to kneel in a pool of the creature’s acid, which ate through his grieves and the flesh of his leg. Arlem screamed in pain. Why? After all the dreams, all the signs. Why did I not heed them? Kharvag shook its head in rage and pain, the blade snapped free of the hilt held in Arlem’s hand. Kakku’s shield had begun to pock, the thick beads of saliva being too much for the ancient metal. Arlem grit his teeth, knowing his end was near. A heat like that of hellfire seared against his skin, and he saw the dark light of the demon’s fire welling deep within its throat. So be it. Arlem stared down the coming blaze, knowing that he would die here. So be it.
Ariel watched in horror, as Loki was smashed beneath Kharvag’s claw, and Arlem was snatched from mid air into the monster’s jaws. No! Her mind deadened. Ariel screamed aloud, her voice lost in the deafening roar of the battle at hand. She drew the sword that mirrored the one she had given Arlem at her side, and in her other hand she held aloft her staff, using her heels she kicked her fox forward, charging headlong towards the dragon. Something hard hit her from the side, and she tumbled from her mount’s saddle, losing her grip on her sword and staff. A gasp of pain escaped her lips as she smacked into the hard ground beneath her, and an echoing grunt came from Kracker, who’s weight held her firmly to the ground.
“Get off me!”Ariel screamed at him, thrashing against his plate mail. “I have to save him! I can save him!” She was crying now, and she could feel her heart begin to ache. “Kracker please!” She screamed at him again and again. “Please let me go!”
“Ariel, stop!” Kracker yelled at her, he held her firmly by the shoulders, and kept his knees pressed against her thighs so she could not kick him. Still, he ducked his head to the side each time one of her fists pounded too closely to his face. “He’s gone Ariel! Stop, you have to stop! You can’t die too! We need you! Please stop! Get a hold of yourself!” He begged of her, tears welling in his eyes as well, as he fought against her. “Ariel!”
“No, no, no, no, no!” She screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks, leaving tracks in the built up dirt and soot. “Kracker get off!” She said, her anger beginning to subside. “I could have saved him!”
A bone chilling roar tore through the air like the crash of thunder. Kharvag tossed his head from side to side, anger and hatred in its eyes. A jet of blood red flame ensued the roar, blasting forth from its mouth. Visible in the flame, was Arlem as he was shot from the beast’s mouth, like a ragdoll through the air. Ariel halted her fruitless struggle with Kracker, as she watched her love fly through the air, tendrils of smoke rising from his body. The jet of fire had launched him over the cliffs that guarded the great lake of Ruemon. If Arlem hadn’t died from the dragon’s fire, the fall surely would kill him. Ariel felt herself grow cold. She watched the scene unfold in front of her for what seemed ages. Vaguely, she was aware of Kracker lifting her from the ground.
“Take her from the front lines!” He shouted, at Sang, who had ridden with Niko and Nurjah to their location. He helped the other man lash her over his saddle. “Find Vendette! See if she can help her. They’ll break if we lose her too Sang, we have to keep her alive and safe!” Kracker tossed Niko and Nurjah, Ariel’s sword and staff.
“What will you do?” Sang shouted back, deftly controlling his mount with his knees as the ground beneath their feet shook. “I will come back!”
“No, stay with her! She is going to need your help. We have to keep her safe.” He said. “Arlem may have been mad near the end, with his talk of the Goddesses, but for his memory we will need to keep her safe! He made some fools promise to the divine, Sang, and I mean for us to keep it!” Kracker slapped Sang’s warhorse on its rear flank, and sent it running towards the rear of their battle lines. He mounted his dread steed now, and drew the long two handed great sword he had sheathed at the horse’s side. “This is going to be rough…” He muttered, trailing off into his thoughts. He heeled his horse onward, towards the great dragon.
Vaguely Ariel could hear her friends talking, she thought she recognized her name a few times. They must be talking about me. She thought. She felt sad, she had watched her love die, and with him all the color seemed to have drained from her surroundings. Blankly, she looked around at her surroundings. She was back at their camp, overlooking the battle as it stretched onward still. She watched countless waved of soldiers and knights break upon the dragon and its horde. Like waves crashing against one another, the two armies collided, the twisted creatures of Avarice, and the joined Realms in their armors and colors. She didn’t feel for them though, as she had before. She watched as Kharvag unleashed a torrent of hellfire from its jaws again, incinerating everything before it, regardless of their allegiance in the war. Ariel. She felt her name being called, she looked around her, but she didn’t recognize the group around her. Ariel. She blinked. I know that voice, she struggled to hold on to that voice, I know this. Vendette? She opened her mouth to reply, and she felt a sharp crack against her cheek.
Vendette withdrew her hand, shaking the sting out of her palm where she had slapped Ariel. “Ariel!” She said again, gazing intently at her best friend. “Snap out of it!” She shouted at her.
“Oww…” Ariel murmured, meeting her friend’s concerned gaze. “Why did you slap me? I was going to answer.” She stood up, from where they had propped her up in a sitting position behind a barricade, and adjusted her dress, making note of the fraying seams in the back of her mind. Looking around her, she saw relief in worried faces, but she could sense their unease as they all looked upon her. Vendette placed a hand on her shoulder, and pulled her close against her in a hug.
“I’m sorry Ari.” She said, her words nearly halting in her throat. “I’m so sorry.”
“It was just a slap Vend…” Ariel said, hugging her back. “I needed it.”
“No Ari, not for the slap…” Vendette held her at arms length again, and searched her face. “For Arlem… I am so sorry. We will get revenge for you I promise.”
Arlem. The thought hit Ariel like a blacksmith’s hammer on an anvil. Her stomach seemed to flip over, and she could feel a knot building in her throat. She felt her shoulders slump, and her knees buckle slightly, causing her to lean into Vendette for support as the memory came back in full. She had watched Arlem die. He was gone, and that was it. There was nothing she could do for him now. Fighting back another wave of tears she looked at the sky. Why did he have to die?
Ariel cleared her throat, and stood straight up, gently removing her friend’s hands. She looked at her friends gathered around her. Silverbells, had her hands clasped in front of her, as she watched her with sad eyes. Susie was in Mike’s arms, and the two of them seemed afraid to let each other go. Her knights were there, well most of them, Nurjah had his arms folded across his chest, his face dark. Utorrent and Niko had their hands on the hilts of their swords, and she could hear the faint scrapping of steel upon steel as their fists clenched in their gauntlets. Sang stood in the back, his gaze upon the ground and his face stern. She felt bad for them, Arlem had raised them all to Knighthood, each one sworn not to him or the guild, but to her service and protection. It was his faith in them and pride that had made her succumb to his want of them for her. She was certain the rest of the guild was down in the fighting somewhere. She ached for them to be at her side, they were her family, and she had left them.
“Nurjah.” Ariel said. “ Take the others with you, I want you to find the others and make sure they are safe.”
“Consider it done.” Nurjah said, bowing. He clasped Mike on the shoulder, and motioned for the others to follow him.
“Wait.” Ariel called, the five men all turned back in response, halting in their steps. “Sang, where are Arion, Kracker and Ace?”
“Kracker told us to take you back and guard you Ari…” The young knight responded. “I think he is right. Arion and Ace I think are still with the others trying to hold the valley.”
“I want you to find them, and find Kracker too.” She looked intently at them. “I’ll be fine without my knights for a while. The rest of the guild can protect me.”
“Okay.” Sang said, saddling his steed.
Ariel watched as they rode down into the valley, Sang peeling off from the other four knights, and heading towards where Kracker had knocked her from her horse. The Avarice horde was thicker there. She could make out the banners of Lucid Dream against the flank of a mass of the horde, fighting to overpower the vast numbers welling against the ranks of the allied guilds at its front. Dami, Dax, Optimus, Autumn, Susie, Mike… She thought of all the other couples and families within their family. I have to keep them safe. She thought, her echoing to despair she felt at the loss of Arlem. I wont let anyone else die.
Don’t be so foolish my daughter. A deep and warm resonation sounded within her, echoing against her thoughts. She could remember her, her mother, Dione. Many will die, this is the tragedy of war, the consequences of our haste.
Ariel looked out over the battlefield, counting the remaining banners and the size of their forces against the overwhelming horde under Kharvag’s whip. We need you mother, please, we cannot do this alone. She weighed the costs of her decisions against those of her enemy, the one who thoughtlessly destroys its own to kill her friends. I am lost.
We cannot come, our bodies were destroyed when we made the sacrifice to seal Kharvag away the first time. Eos and I can only watch this fight, and influence it in small ways. Dione whispered to her, and her alone. However, Astraeus will allow you to summon him again from the ethereal plain. There was a silence that followed. Then, We have gifts, behold. I love you Eisorthi tia paesaer pandraes.
The air crackled with the charge of a thousand lightning bolts, and a long peeling thrum echoed from the very earth itself. From the center of the swirling maelstrom of clouds above Ruemon, six beams of green-hued light shot out at blinding speeds. Ariel took a step back, and the mages around her began casting a magical barrier around them, as two came their direction. The beams came to a halt, just within an arm’s reach of Ari. The glow of their lilght began to recede, and within them, seemingly floating by unseen power, were a magnificent white staff and a thin band of metal. The staff, its crest glowing with the light of a thousand suns, and its shaft etched with scrolling clouds, had ancient aelfin script tracing the lines of the clouds. Sky fury, the staff of Eos. Ariel gasped slightly, it was Eos’ staff. This meant, that the thin circular band of metal, had been her tiara. Ariel reached out and took them both in her hands, at which the power holding them aloft withdrew. She looked out over the battle field, wondering where the other beams of light had gone.
“I’m going to need the mages.” Ariel said, turning to her friends. “All of them. Tell everyone to retreat to the valley’s pass; we will hold them off there, until my plan is complete.” Vendette and the others looked at each other, then curtsied, and ran to find messengers to disperse them across the battlefield.
Astraeus, I need you. Ariel called.
Kracker grit his teeth and grunted. Sweat, drenched his brow and blood matted his hair to one side of his face. His armor was coated in blood and gore, most of the blood was not his own. At least he hoped. Strewn about his feet were numerous dread lords of the horde, all slain by his hand. Before him however, was the strongest and most skilled opponent he had faced yet. The Dark Knight, Commander of the Avarice Horde, Nox. The knight was playing with him, leading him into foolish mistakes during their swordplay. And why not? Kracker thought to himself, I am too far out. What was I thinking? That if I killed Nox the battle would end? This is the kind of thinking that got Arlem killed. Kracker changed his stance, shifting his feet to follow his opponent as the knight circled him. I will not die. He set his jaw, clearing his mind as he readied his sword for the coming onslaught.
Nox cocked its head to the side, as if regarding him. Then, quick as a viper the dark knight lunged forward, the blade whistling through the air towards Kracker’s face. He had barely managed to dodge it, but still he felt the sting and saw the beads of blood spatter from his cheek where he had been a moment too slow. He had been slowing down more and more, his body unable to keep up with his growing exhaustion. He parried the next strike, which came swinging around towards his thigh like a cracking whip, and steel met steal with a resounding clang. Still though, he was able to meet that strike unharmed. What followed that strike in the past though, that was what worried him. Calm, he reminded himself.
Sure enough Nox stabbed forward, then slashed at Kracker’s head, he desperately parried the first strike then dodged the second, coming around to arc his great sword over his shoulder, using his whole weight to whip the blade around. Nox parried the blow, allowing his strike to glance off the long sword the dark knight carried, and bury Kracker’s blade into the corpse of one of the slain dread lords. Nox stepped to the side, throwing a punch at Kracker, which connected squarely with his jaw. Kracker fell back, into the dirt, and spat out blood. Nox stepped over him, his blade raised high.
“Haaargh!” A shout sounded from behind Kracker, and Nox stumbled backwards as Sang collided with the dark knight using his shoulder, before swinging his own great sword up in making the knight retreat further. “Get up Kracker! We can take him together!” Sang shouted to him, shielding him with his own body in case Nox advanced again. Kracker nodded and retrieved his sword from the corpse, a sickening squelching noise accompanying the steel as he drew it out.
“Where is Ariel?” He asked, his eyes grim as he looked at the other man. Sang had sprays of blood coating his armor, and it looked as if he had caught fire for a moment a well, by the singed look to a patch of his hair. “Why did you leave her?”
“Ari is calling everyone back, she sent me to get you and the others. Matapang, Arion and Ace were close to you, I think they wanted to get Nox too.” He said. Sang shrugged and regarded him, “I sent them back with the others. We should try to do this quickly so we can catch up.”
“Yeah, easy for you to say,” Kracker said smiling and joining Sang’s side. “ He’s fast, be careful.” Sang nodded to that, readying himself.
Nox watched them, then did something unexpected. Nox threw down the long sword he always carried, and held out his hand. A red light began to flicker into existence around his outstretched gauntlet, and a dark shadow started to appear. It solidified, as a long black great sword, its blade a smoky crystal like color, and wicked prongs stood outward from the flats of the blade. Nox held it firmly in one hand, and the reddish glow seemed to encompass his armor as well. The dark night ran at them, sword high, then jumped into the air, launching itself over their heads and twisting as it flew. Nox landed behind them, and Kracker and Sang both barely had enough time to turn for a hasty parry, before both of them were knocked into a heap backwards. Their blades both shattered from the blow.
“Little, pathetic Dragon Knights.” Nox’s voice came from under its helm placing emphasis on the words dragon knights. His voice sounded off, strangely light and eerie. “You truly thought you could defeat me. I am one of the original Dragon Knights, and was charged to stay alone, far in the north, at the frozen tomb of the Great One.” Nox regarded them again, then looked at their shattered swords. “Emtlant steel, is no match for Dragon forged blades. This, Nox held his blade reverently before him. This one, is the last in the world now, the others lost to time and the greed of your races. Ready yourselves now, the goddesses have forsaken your world, you will die here, and now.” Nox began to advance, then froze. A loud resonation began to come from the earth, and the hairs on Kracker and Sang’s necks stood on end as the air around them grew charged with the feeling of electricity. Two bolts of bright green light struck the ground before them.
There, standing in the, were two great swords much like the one that Nox held in his hand. He had stumbled backwards when the blades had landed, cursing. In that brief moment of confusion, both Kracker and Sang had leapt forward drawing the swords from the shattered earth. They were feather light, and could be held in one hand unlike their steel or iron imitations. The two looked at each other and smiled. Nox brandished his blade in both hands now, weary of their new found weapons.
“Those don’t belong to you.” Nox said, anger touching his voice. “Those are my brother’s swords. Those are not yours.”
“They aren’t ours?” Kracker hefted his new sword and looked at Sang. “What do you think Sang?”
“They look like ours.” Sang said, smiling, as he spun the blade around his palm. “Yes, this one is definitely mine.”
The red light around Nox deepened and grew. “No matter, you are still no match for me. After I kill you, I will take those swords and destroy them for good!” Nox lunged forward in a stabbing motion towards Sang, who quickly stepped around the attack, and then followed with his own strike after Nox had reversed his attack to parry a strike from Kracker that would have taken off his head. Sang’s sword bit into the steel plate behind Nox’s shoulder, cutting loose the dark knight’s cape, and spraying blood into the air. Nox arched his back and screamed in pain, lurching forward and off of Sang’s blade. Whirling around in rage, the dark knight attacked Sang, invoking dragon magic as flames danced out of his blade. Sang met his opponent’s attack with one of his own, a bright flash of blue light erupting from his sword in response to the fire. Kracker came at Nox again, this time striking him across the front of his helm with his fist, and following the strike with a stab to the knight’s thigh. Nox tried to attack again, but was forced to defend against attack after attack from the two knights, their blades unrelenting and unforgiving as they pounded against Nox’s own sword, forcing him to collapse on his wounded leg. They stopped, allowing Nox to stand again, righting himself.
“Prepare yourself Nox.” Kracker said, his voice dry. “For this is where you meet your end.”
Nox drove his blade into the ground, then reached up to remove his helm. “Very well, Dragon Knights. Don’t hold back.” The knight said harshly.
Nox shook his head, as he removed the helmet, long auburn hair spilling out over his breastplate. Except, Nox wasn’t a him at all, but female. One of the most beautiful elves Kracker had ever seen glared defiantly back at them, her full lips split from where he had struck her helm against her face, already swollen. Behind her violet eyes though, was a deep sadness, but the way her mouth twisted into a grimace spoiled the effect, causing her to seem mad. She is mad. Kracker told himself. Or else she would not have chosen this path. Kracker met Sang’s eyes, the other man knew as he did, that she was beyond saving now. Even if they could have saved the knight, she would have been crucified by the masses for her crimes against the world .
“Now!” Kracker shouted. As he ran forward, swinging his sword around with blinding speed. Sang met Kracker at Nox, his blade flying the other direction. Nox remarkably, countered the two swords, driving her own into the middle of where the two blades met. She stabbed downward, the prongs of her sword locking both of theirs in place with her motion. She deftly lifted herself up, and spun her body around her sword’s hilt, delivering a spinning kick into both Sang and Kracker’s chests.
Sang grunted, as the wind was knocked out of him. He stumbled backward, drawing his blade away, Kracker mirroring him on the other side of Nox. She drew her blade from the ground, and smirked at them. She eyed Sang, and he set himself in a defensive stance, ready. She ran at him, raising her blade to her side, preparing a slash. Sang swung his sword to deflect the coming attack, and at the same moment, she slid down onto her hip, using the momentum of her run to slip beneath and between his legs. Pain like fire raced up his back, where she caught him with an upwards back swing. He felt the hot wetness of his blood as it ran down his back. Sang spun on her, swinging his sword and shouting. Nox caught the strike with one of her own, grinning maniacally at him.
“Sang!” Kracker shouted, already running to his aid.
“Kracker, get behind her!” Sang shouted back, as he withdrew his attack and swung again.
“Oh, please do.” Nox exclaimed laughing. “I haven’t had this much fun in centuries!”
The three of them spun and whirled, the two men lashing out together, attempting to catch her between their blades, and she, lithe as a snake slipping between each stroke. Despite her injuries, she wasn’t slowing down, and even with the new swords, that seemed weightless in their hands, the two knights were succumbing to their wounds. Kracker caught Sang’s eye, and he nodded to him, his eye grim, and jaw set. Sang nodded, knowing what to do next. Nox spun, whipping her blade around in a circle, faster than the eye could follow, and at that exact moment, both men lunged forward, stabbing and leaning backwards at the same time. Nox’s blade barely missed taking off Sang’s head, neatly slicing a piece of his earlobe. Kracker had caught the tip of her sword to his shoulder at the beginning of her attack when they had stabbed.
“Gha…” Nox choked, blood peppering her lips. She looked down at herself, where both of their swords had caught her through her middle. “You…” She was breathless now, she looked at them both. “I…” She sighed, her eyes beginning to glaze over. “Thank you, for releasing me.” He voice trailed off.
Kracker and Sang withdrew their blades, and then together, carried her back with them, towards the valley pass, where their allies were miraculously managing to hold off the sea of Avarice spawn. Kharvag, was still being held at bay, as the casters in the camp threw everything they had at him, blocking his way with eruptions of earth and fire.
“She was…” Sang started, blushing slightly.
“Yeah.” Kracker agreed, pointedly not looking at the limp form in his arms. “Not as pretty as Lena though right?” He said, feigning an attempt to make the situation lighter.
“Yes. Not as pretty as Lena.” Sand said, smiling and allowing his mind to wander off towards thoughts of the Deil he had fallen in love with during their adventures. “No, not nearly as much.”
Kracker rolled his eyes at him, and they laughed.
Silver stood at the prow of the great airship, behind him the Guppies were hastening to finish their preparations for launch. He could hear Ebilfish barking orders at them, which made him smile. He liked it when she was forceful with those around her. He had a thing for strong women, and this one, this one he planned to marry. I’ll be **** before I allow some vile dragon to ruin my dream. Beside him, LC stood with his palms on the railing, looking over the ship’s railing towards the very solid ground well below them. The man was fine with heights, but Silver suspected that crashing in a gigantic ship built to fly was not something the man found as an enticing idea. Especially regarding the cargo they had finished loading onto it moments before.
“Just think LC,” Silver said, smiling. “We will have the pleasure to claim something not many others in Litos will.” LC scowled at him, most likely already knowing what he was going to say. “We were on the maiden voyage of the mighty airship Tricarion.”
“Yeah, but from my understanding a maiden voyage isn’t supposed to be the last voyage a ship makes.” He said, frowning.
Silver sighed, he knew exactly what the man feared, he did too, but he trusted Arlem’s plan to work, as crazy as it was, and Ebil swore up and down that she had made preparations to get them all out safely. “Look, I trust Arlem and Ebil to know what they’re doing. Besides, I thought you were in this to the end with me?” He said, raising an eyebrow at the other man. “The Silver Knights have been through worse haven’t we? What’s a little explosion compared to all the battles we fought?”
“You’ve been hanging out with the members of Lucid Dream too much if you think this explosion will be little, Silver.” LC looked outwards over the hills and plateaus between them and Ruemon. “I recall Arlem once saying he was going to pull a small group of those wretched undead out of their mobbed masses before…” He looked at Silver, quirking an eyebrow in return. “Do you recall what happened then?”
Silver chuckled and clapped the other man on the shoulder. “He swears there weren’t that many of them when he started back still to this day! Come, help me find Ebil. We need a little more enlightenment on just how it is exactly, we are going to survive this one.” He said as he started off across the ship’s deck. LC caught up to him quickly, then fell in at his side, matching him step for step. Together, they stepped around the hurrying members of the Guppies, trying hard not to put too much thought into the strange and puzzling tongue the pirates had developed. They, like Ebilfish, were armed to the teeth with fantastic weaponry that Silver longed to try for himself. LC stopped, and nodded in the direction of the hatch below them, where Ebil’s plumed hat was just visible from where she appeared to be perched on the ladder. Silver jumped from the forecastle deck, and landed lightly on his feet a few yards away.
“Ebil, can I borrow you?” Silver called, putting on his most charming smile and adding a small swagger to his step.
The felynx’s head emerged from the depths of the hatch, her large tricorn hat proceeding her. She jumped out, and onto the deck before him, placing her hands on her hips and eyeing him. “What is it I can help you with my dear Mr. Silver?” She asked, her voice quick and light.
“Well, I was hoping you could impart some of the grand plan with myself and LC here. We are regrettably both quite fond of our lives, and would prefer not to just… well, to put it lightly, die.” He said, shrugging nonchalantly.
“Ah.” Ebil regarded him slowly, taking a moment to answer. “And what is it you would want to do in this long life of yours, that it is so important you don’t die?” She mused.
“Well, for starters, I have yet to make you my bride.” Silver said, returning the searching gaze she was giving him.
Ebil laughed, then cleared her throat. “You just won’t give up will you Knight?” She crossed her arms across her bosom, and leaned against one hip. “I’ll make you a wager.” She paused, looking out towards the growing darkness in the sky towards Ruemon’s direction. “Should we all survive this, I’ll consider it. Only if, we all survive though.”
Silver bowed, grinning. “I’ll take that bet.” He said, “Only, how exactly is it, will we pose any hope for surviving?”
Arlem fell; he could hear the sounds of the battle playing out around him, beginning to grow distant as he fell farther. He stared at the sky, at the red and black angry clouds, belching forth fire and soot. What have we done? How many more will die for our folly? His mind went over the past as he fell, flashes of memory taking hold of him, each more vivid than the last. So, your life does flash before your eyes, he thought as he fell, time seemingly slowing. Funny that, I always had wondered. He saw his friends on Balt, laughing and smiling with his family. He saw their bodies, and homes burning, the hot wash of blood that covered his arms as he severed the orc chieftain Tunkra’s head from its body. He saw Ariel, standing amidst a mountain of hyaen corpses, fire and earth erupting around her. Fondly, he embraced these memories, knowing that he had lived as best he could. Ariel’s frustration with his insisting they marry, her challenge after. Nitty’s amused smile as she allowed Arlem to take the Baston Hollow. Ariel’s astonishment and happy laughter. She gave him Kakku’s shield as her acceptance. Their engagement ceremony, Silver proceeding over it, and their friends and family present.
He remembered the warm sun, as they had basked on the bridges of Ruemon, eating and reminiscing on the past. The way her long hair spilled across her shoulders and down her back. He watched their last adventure, racing against the other guilds, all of Lucid Dream laughing behind him as they plunged across the frozen tundra. Shinzo and Pure, both arguing against him to leave the gateway sealed. The frozen form of Kharvag, black beneath the strangely green ice at the base of the cavern. Dione and Eos, shouting in his mind, the ice breaking, Nox had found them, his armies surrounding the guilds. Hundreds dead. The crash of the waves against the hull of Ebil’s ship as Kharvag broke free, the icy ground around it splitting. Ariel’s face, as she watched the apocalypse begin, the determination and anger in her eyes. Her eyes, looking deep into his soul. Her eyes…
Darkness enveloped Arlem again, this time accompanied with a heavy impact, the last of his air escaping him. The weight of the water enveloping his body bore him downward, crushing him against the hard stone floor of the lake. He faded further into unconsciousness, the darkness seemingly unending.
Ariel held Eos’ staff before her, and her wore her tiara upon her head. She could feel the amount of magic she could call upon from within the two items, and reveled in it. She was surrounded in their light, as she began to cast her spell. Behind her, the Shadow mages were using their spells to heal the mass of paladins and warriors struggling to hold the pass below them. The other sorceress’ were casting pillars of flame and whirlwinds into the horde of darkness pressing at their front. She sighed, drawing deeper upon her magic, feeling herself drain of energy as she cast.
That’s not enough child. A new voice reached her mind, not that of her mother, or that of Astraeus, though she could recall it. You’re an Archmage are you not? Eos voice hung still in her mind, the weight of her words seeping into Ariel’s being. She could feel her magic beginning to drain less quickly. The Archmages, are the queen’s of the sorceresses. The song casters. So sing little one. Sing stronger than you ever have before. I know the words, let me help you. Open your mind to me. Ariel allowed herself to relax, gasping as the knowledge of the spell she was casting came to her in full. She had only seem but a small amount of what was possible, now she saw the entirety of the spell.
Her voice rang out strongly, surprising her in its clarity amongst the clamor of war around her. She felt the meaning of the words as she sang them, powerful and yet mysterious. She allowed Eos to guide her mind and her tongue, her whole being. The Goddess directed her thoughts, and he watched as she pointed the staff towards a mass of the Avarice horde below. Hundreds of them fell, lifeless to the ground. She sang louder, and drew more of their lives into the spell. She could feel herself radiating with the heat of the spell. It was intense, and she wanted to cry out in pain, but she did not break her song. She watched as a mountain of water began to rise from the chasm surrounding the lake of Ruemon. The mass took shape, a gigantic water elemental. Astraeus.
Ariel felt Eos’ love pour into the words through her, urging her lover forth, helping to channel the magic into his new form. The ethereal being began to take full form, his arms forming, shards of the shattered tower at his finger tips like claws, large stone chains hung from his shoulders, imitating a stole and showing his true position among the elementals. His eyes were glowing a bright white, as if he was infused with the light of the moon, and his form began to shimmer, and a haze grew about him, as he slowly was coated in a frozen armor.
Astraeus surged forward, driving a gigantic frozen fist into Kharvag’s rear flank, catching the dragon off guard. The beast lashed back at him, gnashing its blackened teeth at his face, and slashing at him with its claws. Astraeus caught the dragon’s claw in his own, grappling with the beast. Kharvag spewed flames against Astray’s face, causing the elemental to recoil, and steam to emit from him. Ariel sang louder, louder than she could ever remember screaming, and Astraeus regained his composure, charging back at the demon before him.
Silver stared across the expanse before him, unable to break his gaze from the sight before him. Their forces were holed up in the mountain pass, the Avarice horde washing against their numbers. Helplessly, he watched his comrades fall below him. “****…. Just..” He scowled, worry furrowing his brow. “What happened to your plan Arlem? Where are you?” Silver scanned the milling soldiers below him, trying in vain to make out the gold and blue of Arlem’s shield. Instead, he found that they were using the old tactics from the previous Ruemon wars. The casters were all behind, attacking from afar and healing the fighters engaging the enemy blade to blade. That was encouraging at least. Something however, caught his eye, a bright golden light at the peak of their encampment, overlooking the battlefield. That it was magic, he was certain, he could see the spells weaving about the light, their alien language visible to the naked eye. What in the blazes is that?
“Silver, look!” LC exclaimed, pointing in the direction they were headed, toward Ruemon, toward Kharvag. “How did they summon that?!” He shouted, awe filling his voice.
Silver looked where he was pointing, and his jaw dropped. Across the ship, he heard exclamations and curses he recognized for once, coming from the pirate guild. Before them, the largest elemental he had ever seen was doing battle with the great dragon, the two of them locked in combat, and destroying their surroundings. The cliff sides of Ruemon were giving way beneath their feat, and the ground around them was aflame with Kharvag’s fire. The demon was roaring, and biting at the face of the elemental, who responded by bashing its head against the dragon’s maw. Behind him he heard Ebilfish’s shout.
“All hand prepare for egress!” She shouted, leaping over the railing before her and landing, running, onto the deck below her. “This is it! Time for our grand finale! Silver, LC, that means you too, c’mon!” She waited until the last of her crew had leapt off of the ship each one with a pack on their backs, splaying out against the open air before them like flying squirrels. She waved for them to follow, then vaulted over the railing, her tricorn hat flying off her head. She too spread herself out against the sky. The Guppies before her had begun opening the packs, and small canvas sails expanded into the air above them, catching them in their fall, and slowing them from the certain death below.
“Alright LC, lets go!” Silver shouted, motioning to the other man. LC nodded, then climbed the railing. He turned to Silver, waiting him to join him, and Silver smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll be right behind you.” With that, he shoved the other knight off of the ship, and out into the open expanse of air between him and the ground. I hope to the Goddesses that this plan works… otherwise, I may very well have killed one of my best friends. “Meh…” Silver sighed scratching his goatee, then made his way to the rear of the ship. He stood upon the railing one hand on the hilt of his sword, and holding onto a rope that was part of the rigging of the airship. It really was a marvel. Gigantic and silvery-white, it glistened in the sunlight, and here, where the sky was dark and surrounded with fire, the ship still shone brightly.
She was diving now, her mighty prow pointing straight at Kharvag. What in the blazes are we doing? Silver’s gaze went to where the elemental was locked in combat with the dragon, and paused. Is that a person on its head? Silver squinted at the fight, but jagged sheets of ice and gouts of flame blocked what he was sure was a person from his view. Well, whoever it is, they’re mad. He thought, he looked back towards the ships prow, and balancing on the railing, he jumped backwards into the air, flipping off of the ship a good hundred meters above the dragon. There, he snapped the chord attached to the strange pack, and grunted as the force of the air and wind around him caught within the sail that released above him.
Silver looked back at the dragon, wanting to watch the ship collide with its demonic head, and realized at that moment who the person atop the elemental was. Arlem, what are you doing? Silver began to sigh, and at that moment, the airship collided with the side of Kharvag’s head. The resulting explosion from the charges placed at her prow was immense, the shockwave knocking Silver into a wild swinging spiral through the sky, lifting him higher than before, and knocking his breath away.
Have you really given up already? Dione’s voice seemed to emanate through the water encasing Arlem. You’ve decided to die and allow my daughter to die as well? Her tone was cold, annoyed. What happended to that man who so desperately wanted to kill Kharvag for good? Was it all a lie? Did you lie to me, Arlem. Her voice grew louder upon his name, racking his whole being with her strength. Have you already died? Did you succumb to your weakness so quickly? Arlem felt the water around him surge forward, an eerie light enveloping his being. Have you given up? Her words tugged at Arlem’s soul, the same way he felt his body lifted amongst the currents forming around him. Do you admit your defeat?
No. His thought, painful, quiet. No. Stronger this time. I will never give up. His eyes shot open, the swirling water around him, flashing brilliant hues of silver, white, green and gold.
Arise then, Arlem. Dione’s voice was stronger, proud. Take the gifts I have born you. Fight for your world. Fight for my daughter. Win. The green lights flashing in the current around him came to a halt, before him, was a shield as clear as glass, but shining with the light of the moon, and next to it, a sword, just as brilliant. You called yourself my shield. Behold, Arlem, my true sword and shield. Her voice faded, and Arlem reached out to the two mythic items. He grabbed hold of them, and felt his body rush upward, through surging currents.
He could breathe. He gasped, as he exploded through a thick layer of ice, and fell the his knees upon the frozen surface. What the… Arlem shook his head, taking in his surroundings, the shield and sword in his hands. I’m still at Ruemon, the Shield and Sword of Dione… He gazed back across the world around him, and his eyes fell upon Kharvag, who seemed enthralled by a bright glowing light coming from their force’s camp. What is going on here?
Welcome back little knight. Astraeus’ familiar voice echoed in Arlem’s mind. You must hold tightly to me. Dione may love this world and her daughter, but do not believe she would bring you back again.
“Hold on to you?” Arlem said aloud, looking about him, at the giant mound of ice. “How?”
Hold on! Astraeus’ shout rang in Arlem’ head, causing him to wince. The gigantic elemental surged forward, toward the dragon, attacking Kharvag’s side.
“Ahh!!!!” Arlem began shouting, as he drove the sword into the ice before him. The momentum of Astray’s attack caught Arlem off guard. “Astraaayyy!” he shouted, as he drove the sword into the ice before him, narrowly escaping being thrown to his death.
Don’t move! Astray’s warning came, and not a second too late, a Kharvag’s vicious retaliation caught the elemental. The two of them became locked against each other, Astray struggling for purchase against the dragon’s strength. Kharvag reared his head back, and Arlem knew what was coming next.
Raising Dione’s shield before him, Arlem shouted to Astray. “Here comes his fire!”
Ariel stood atop her perch, arms outstretched, and singing her strange spell aloud. She watched in eager anticipation as Astraeus continuously rebounded from Kharvag’s attacks, and unleashed his own fury upon the demon. She felt powerful, more so than ever, and she felt an intense and utter hatred for the dragon. I will destroy you. She thought, the very being of her soul willing the thought to life. I will not let you win. You will die here, Kharvag, and with you all the torment you have brought our world. She focused even more of her will into the spell, drawing on the lives of the demon spawn in the battle below her, and feeding their power into Astray.
A strong resonance came from the air above her, a heavy thrumming sound accompanying the feeling. Daring to look upward for just an instant, Ariel saw the airship Tricarion as it flew overhead, the magic enhancing her vision, she was able to make out the members of the Guppies as they dived off of the edge of the ship. The ship thundered onward, diving towards both Kharvag and Astraeus where they were deeply engaged in the task of destroying one another. The ship closed the distance quickly, shining in the darkness, a symbol of the realms power. In a moment, everything changed, there was a loud explosion, the ship and the side of Kharvag’s immense head erupting in gouts of flame and smoke sending a shockwave through the air and causing her to stumble. At that moment, she lost the spell. She watched in despair, as Astraeus’ form withered, no longer being fed with the power she had provided for him. Kharvag’s was thrashing around wildly, and in a moment, the elemental was smashed in a shimmering cloud of ice, and a massive wave of water crashed to the ground about him, cascading over the cliffs to the draining lake below, and washing out the plains at their feet.
Ariel watched in horror, as Kharvag in a new fit of rage, the side of its mighty head, weeping black blood, and dotted with flame, turned its attention back upon the battle before it, his jaws opening wide and unleashing a massive river of Hard fire. The attack demolished entire ranks of her fighters, and the Avarice Horde alike. Men and women, all going up in flame without the time to even scream. She felt tears stinging her eyes, so many dead, so quickly. She felt hopeless, the airship having been a plan that Arlem had worked on with Ebilfish for days, both of whom had been so sure that the explosion would mortally injure the dragon. Apparently; however, that was not the case. Ariel reached towards Eos’ staff, and grasped it firmly in her palm. If we are to die here, we will all die together, she thought. No one gets left behind.
Out of the corner of his eye, Arlem watched the Tricarion as it approached, descending from the clouds, shining as the sky wept fire around it. Finally some good news. He thought, a grim smile growing upon his face. He exhausted, for what seemed hours he had been clinging to Astraeus as he and the dragon fought with one another, neither giving ground. Now, upon seeing what he knew to be a flying supernova of flame, coming straight towards them, he resigned himself to the inevitable. I guess I really will die here.
“Astraeus!” He shouted, “I’m going to mount Kharvag, try and get me close!”
The elemental seemed to bubble with response, then surged forward, tossing its head against Kharvag’s, and allowing Arlem the space he needed. Drawing Dione’s sword from the ice, he ran at the dragon, jumping through the air and landing atop the beast’s head. He stabbed downward, plunging his sword into a crack between the dragon’s armored scales, and held onto the blade tightly, raising the shield towards the Tricarion as it closed the final distance between itself and the dragon. Dione… I may need you now even more than I did before. He thought, bracing himself for what was to come. I highly doubt I’ll survive this too.
The impact of the Tricarion was nothing compared to the blast that followed. The mighty airship became a million pieces of shrapnel, tearing through the air as a wall of roiling fire followed them. Or at least that is how it seemed. For what seemed like years, Arlem watched the explosion erupt upon the side of the dragon’s read, reaching towards him. He had reacted to the blast before the ship had struck, instinctively raising his shield arm to cover himself. Still the eerie glass-like quality of Dione’s shield made the event seem much more intense to him as he actually watched the explosion. Kharvag was roaring drunkenly, claws reaching up to rake at its flaming skull where the left side of the demon’s head had been blasted into a repulsive mass of raw flesh burns and open wounds. The dragon’s screaming sent tides of fear cascading through his body and into Arlem’s bones. Clenching his jaw, Arlem stood up slightly, hunched low to dragon’s skull in case he needed to quickly regain his balance and hold while the beast writhed in pain.
Desperately, Arlem searched the side of the dragon’s skull, looking for its eye beneath the mass of raw exposed flesh. He found what he was looking for after his third time looking across the scene. Grotesquely deformed and charred, was the gaping sore where one of Kharvag’s eyes used to be. Bracing himself, Arlem wrenched the Dione’s blade from where he had driven it between the dragon’s scales. This is where it ends! He thought, adrenaline coursing through his body. Arlem took one long stride forward, and launched himself off of the top of the dragon’s head, using the demon’s throws of pain to propel himself into the air. Flipping around in midair, Arlem dived downward at his target, blade extended before him.
With a disturbingly wet sound, Dione’s blade bit into Kharvag’s flesh, rending through it far easier than a hot knife through butter, pausing with an audible scratching sound as it hit bone. The sword stopping its descent caused Arlem to jerk to a stop, wrenching his shoulder in the process. Using the shield as a secondary weapon, Arlem beat its edge into the dragon’s gaping eye socket, creating a pocket for him to hold onto. Kharvag took notice of the new pain, and his screeches of pain took on a more primal sound, as they became roars of fury. Hot tendrils of flame lined the sides of his jaws, as he shook his head madly, attempting to dislodge Arlem. Sweating with the effort of holding onto the dragon, and from the heat of burnt flesh and new Hard fire just below his feet, Arlem scowled. How is it I got myself into this mess? Gripping a fistful of the lacerated and avulsed flesh from where he had beaten Dione’s shield into the beast’s eye socket, Arlem hefted himself into the gaping hole, and wrenched her sword free of where it had bitten into the bone below.
Arlem drew the blade back, and began to hack and slash savagely deeper into the dragon’s skull, taking whole chunks of raw and bleeding flesh out of the creature as he did so. Motes of black blood began to pool around him as he chopped into the creature. Deeper he dug, using the blade as an anchor when Kharvag shook his head over and over. It was slow going, but Arlem took pleasure in knowing he was causing the demon immense pain. Die Kharvag!
The force of the dragon’s voice in his mind caused Arlem to flinch. He had forgotten that like the goddesses, the dragon was able to communicate telepathically. **** you! Arlem shouted back in his mind. Just die already! His strength ebbed as the dragon spoke again.
I will not die to you. I am immortal. I am all powerful. I am the constant hate and greed of the world. I will never die!
Arlem doubled over in pain, as a large section of his back was torn open by one of the dragon’s claws as it raked the side of its face again, digging for him. Burn you Kharvag! “Burn you!” Arlem screamed aloud and within his mind. Wearily he raised the blade again, pain wracking his body as he felt more blood escape him in the motion. He feebly fell forward, the sword stabbing into the dragon but not as effectively as before. He felt something tug at his subconscious.
Do not give up, Arlem. Dione’s voice echoed in his mind. I am here. Energy surged into his being, again, bringing him back from the point just before the grave. He felt the Goddesses’ strength become his own, and the bleeding from his back began to staunch itself on its own somehow. Roaring in fury himself now, Arlem began battering his way deeper into the demon’s skull. Black blood and gore covered him head to toe, slathering both him and his armor in a sickening stench and wet coating. You cannot give up! My strength is yours! Her words coursed through him, reviving him further. His feral attacks began to become more calculated and fluid again, as he switched back into using the sword as he normally would have. Large pieces of rancid smelling flesh were chopped away, as Arlem dug his way deeper. He was up to his waist in the blood and gore now, his blade flickering before him. Kharvag’s protests in his mind were drowned out by the screams of pain he was emitting as Arlem attacked.
Then the whole world seemed to sway, and the dragon had stopped screaming. Arlem looked about him, his fury subsiding, and the reality of his situation dawning upon him at last. Turning back towards the outside world, he saw he had managed to carve meters into the demon’s skull, turning the entirety of the flesh around him into a bleeding sore. Panicking now, Arlem tried to crawl back out of the dragon’s head, back out into the open world. If I am still inside when he falls, I’ll drown. The thought urged Arlem onward, yet he still stumbled through the muck of freshly cut flesh and blood. He tripped forward, submerging himself in the grime, and came coughing and spluttering back up. Burn me! This is NOT how I die! He frantically scrambled forward, using Dione’s blade to cut away anything blocking his path. Miraculously, he emerged, the light of the burning night sky around him, and stench of war bringing tears of joy to his eyes. I made it. He thought.
”Oof” he grunted, as he was struck from behind, causing him to lift up and out of the creature’s skull, making him airborne. Panic surged through him again, then he felt something grasping him firmly, and looked about himself. Just over his shoulder, was Silver’s soot streaked face, the other man had flown in behind him on one of Ebil’s canvas sails, and picked him up. Arlem had just that moment to catch light of the situation, before realizing that Silver was muttering something. “Err… What?” He asked.
“Did the blood soak into your ears as well? I said you weigh too much! We’re dropping way to fast!” Silver shouted at him, grimly setting his jaw and eyeing the ground below them, which sure enough, was rushing up towards them at an alarming rate. “Hold on man!” He shouted again, right before they both impacted with a heavy thud, and at that same moment, the ground itself seemed to shudder at their impact.
They both rolled away from each other as they crash landed, and despite the confusion, Arlem saw that Kharvag had collapsed as well. So… that’s why the ground shook. He thought, smiling. Good thing I wasn’t still in there. Cursing and grunting brought his attention back to Silver, who was struggling to stand up amongst a tangle of rope and chord that kept him attached to the crumpled sail on the ground behind him.
Ariel had turned her attention back to the battle, using Eos’ gear to draw deeper upon the magic she could access. Pillars of fire ten times the normal size of which she could cast were erupting amongst the ranks of the Avarice Horde. A terrible bone chilling roar ripped through the air, causing her joints to ache and her mind to reel. She turned her attention back to Kharvag, and watched the massive monster before her lash out against itself, writhing in agony from the apparent pain of the blast. It worked after all. She thought about when Arlem had first described the plan, all the faces of the other guild masters in the conference hall looking at him like he was mad. She smiled grimly now, watching as the avarice horde seemed to falter completely, falling before the renewed surge of strength the forces of the Goddesses now seemed to have acquired. If only you were alive to see this, my love.
A strange flapping noise caught her ears, and behind her, Vendette shouted in alarm. Ariel whirled about, just in time to see Ebilfish shouting at them all to move. The felynx hit the ground at a run, trailing the canvas sail she had used to egress from the Tricarion. She stumbled forward, and caught herself kneeling. She began taking the pack attaching her to the device off, when another shout from above announced the arrival of the knight LC, as he completely out of control collided with Ebil. Ariel and Vendette ran toward them both, and helped dig them out of the mass of canvas and rope. LC looking like he had gone into shock.
“Was that completely necessary?” Ebil grunted as she waved off their hands and stood up on her own. “Did you completely forget how I had instructed you to use these, or did you sleep through my instructions?” She said, placing her hands on her hips. He had opened his mouth to reply, but Ebil waved him off. “It doesn’t matter anyways, we made it out alive.” She turned her attention to the sky, and searched the clouds, a frown tugging at her lips slightly.
“That was impressive Ebil.” Ariel said. “I am glad you’re alright. Vendette, let the scouts know they will need to search for the Guppies as they land. I don’t want any of them to go unseen in case of injury.” Ariel had already turned away and was heading back to her rocky dais overlooking the battlefield below her, when she felt someone catch at her arm. She paused, looking over her shoulder, and seeing Ebilfish staring straight past her. Ariel opened her mouth to say something, when the other woman shook her head, released her arm and pointed.
The dragon Kharvag seemed to be falling, its protest of pain and fury no longer punctuating the air with their terrible sound. They watched in awe, as it crashed into the ground, its head bouncing once in a very limp way, the ground trembling at its impact. Ariel rushed forward, looking down over the battlefield, where the Avarice horde seemed to fall upon itself, its ranks shattering and dividing as they frantically tried to run. It was no use though, for at that moment, the reserve units they had stationed down the valley came into view, mounting a charge of fresh bodies and bloodlust into the retreating backs of their enemies. Ariel immediately began casting her magic, creating whirlwinds and pillars of fire before the retreating enemy, causing them to alter course. The other casters among her ranks took note of her strategy, and together they managed to corral their enemy, allowing for their melee forces to begin a darkly satisfying slaughter of their enemy.
Ariel turned her attention away from the gruesome scene before her. They would finish the cowering horde, but they would lose many more of their friends in the fight. That, she could no longer watch. Ebil was searching the sky above them, biting her lip, and her brow furrowed slightly, small crinkles at the corners of her eyes. “What are you looking for?” Ariel asked, her gaze going to the dark clouds that still rained soot and ash down from them steadily.
“Hmm? Oh, it’s nothing.” She said, tearing her eyes away and looking at Ariel. “Where is that Arlem of yours? I need to congratulate him on another of his insanely reckless plans working.” She gave Ariel a smile, that quickly dissipated. “What? What is it?” Her eyes grew concerned as she looked at Ariel.
“Oh… its..” Ariel faltered for words. “He… he must be very proud.” She said, looking away from Ebil’s face a tears began to sting her eyes. “I need to begin preparations for a final meeting with the factions. Many things to be discussed.” Ariel quickly stepped around the other woman, leaving her to wonder after her as she hurried down the slope, Vendette and Susie coming to her sides. “I will be in my tent. Come get me if anything needs my attention.” She said, hurrying her step. “I just need some time to think.” When she reached the command tent, she was greeted silently by the Blades. Arese, Sexy and Shale all lounging against her furniture, scowls across their faces.
“Lady Ari.” Shale said, standing abruptly from where she and Sexy had been playing with a stones board Arlem had set up in a corner amongst some pillows. Her armor was as always, splattered with gore and grime, of which she nor the other Blades ever seemed to take heed of. Sexy stood more slowly, carefully arranging her skirts, which had a tear across her left hip, which normally would have caused Ariel to blush.
“There is something you must see to.” Arese said slowly, as she turned away from studying the map that had been weighted down upon the table. “I would have brought it before Arlem…” She started, spreading her hands to her sides as if in defeat.
Ariel swallowed, a lump having formed in the back of her throat. “Can it wait until later?” She said, her voice cracking.
“Kracker and Sang have come back.” Sexy said. “And they’ve brought with them something you must see.”
“It’s an Elf!” Shale said her excitement clear upon her face.
Pain raced through her body, causing her to whimper slightly. She was aware of noise around her. She tried to move her body, and more pain like white hot fire scoured her being. She gasped, her eyes fluttering open. The light blinded her, but she blinked and assessed her surrounding quickly, panic rising within her as her eyes darted across the roof of a tent, lighting upon the two men standing over her. Something caught at the edge of her mind. Something she felt she must remember but could not. Opening her mouth, she began to speak, but was immediately cut off.
“I don’t think you should do that.” One of the men said, his arms crossing over the plate on his chest. “You don’t have much strength left in you, from what our healers say anyways.” His eyes were cold and his face hard. Beside him the other man watched, anger and pity warring with each other across his face.
“Who?” She murmured, her voice sounding frail to her ears. Something in her mind protested.
“No.” The other man said now, setting his jaw. “Who are you?”
“I…” her breath caught, and she cried out in pain as she began to cough, each spasm feeling as if it was tearing her apart. Choking in air, raggedly, she managed “I” cough “don’t” cough “know.”
She faded back into darkness, the voices of the two men fading into nothing as she did.
More will follow.
Shout out to you Dragon's Prophet players Reading this! Just updated it after i made you all the link thread.
And SHoutout to you too Flip. Its rare i pop back in I know, but I miss you guys.