Sin’Beni, Lahihr Desert Plains
Three Days Later
The convoy of six Dagen-pulled caravans swam across the ocean of sand, the large creatures easily dashing over the dunes as they pulled the massive land-ships. The sun was still setting behind them, giving them some light.
There was little wind, barely a breeze.
Yet ahead, a storm of sand raged.
Sandy razor winds twirled and swirled in a thick cone of death. Yet within them, barely visible, lay a sole figure.
Makaela gazed off at the incoming convoy, as it turned to avoid her hurricane.
She chuckled, a gleam in her eyes as they widened. “You think you can avoid me?” she hissed, her voice echoing forth and reaching the convoy’s inhabitants.
Ever since three days ago, she had been in a bad mood.
Raising her right hand before her, golden spiritual energy formed out of it, “Soul School; Spirit Form; Aether Rifle.” taking the shape of a rifle. A dwarven made weapon who’s diagrams and make she had studied profusely. Holding the weapon with her right hand, she took aim at the lead Dagen.
“Soul School; Soul Mark.” She chanted, as an ethereal golden blaze appeared at her barrel’s end. She moved onto targeting the next Dagen, as the blaze seemed to follow the first, circling around her as the creature moved.
“Second Mark” She chanted once again, a second blaze appearing towards the being she aimed at.
“Third Mark” She marked each beast, creating a total of six blazed before her.
Taking a step back, Makaela took aim at the front Dagen once again before clenching her weapon tightly with both hands.
“Behold fear, behold terror. Take a look, within the deepest recesses of the abyss. Receive a glimpse of what lurks, slithers, crawls and prowls in the darkness of the afterworld.” Makaela chanted, as her eyes glowed a fierce light. “Soul School; Nightmare!”
She fired her weapon, then moving over to the next target, firing once again before moving onto the third. She shot at every blaze, activating every mark.
Duplicating the spell, and making sure none of them missed. Each of the golden blazes suddenly burst forth as a grey flame, soaring onto their mark, their course changing as the Dagen moved.
And each hit, exploding into the Dagen’s faces. But the creatures seemed undisturbed by the flames, no damage seemed to have been done either.
Confusing the convoy’s riders for a moment.
That is, until each Dagen collapsed unconscious.
Slamming forward into the sand, seemingly immediately entering a nightmare as they began to growl, snarl and struggle in their sleep.
Following the confusion, panic filled the convoy in a wave. As guards rushed about the top decks, arming cannons and ballistae, taking aim towards Makaela on their south.
None of them noticing, not until it was too late.
That to their west, where the sun was still setting, a small army was heading their way.
Riding much smaller version of the convoy’s caravan, where the rebelling xilfir and bestia. With the goblins manning their own boat, although it didn’t stay very much on course as they haphazardly swerved back and forth.
But instead of creatures like the Dagen pulling them, the rebels where casting wind magic into their sails to move forward, going faster than the Dagen ever could.
And quickly catching up to the now-stalled convoy.
When they finally noticed the incoming ships, the convoy began realigning their siege weaponry and moving troops around.
But it was too late, the rebels were already upon them. The rebel ships surrounding the convoy as riflemen aboard them fired dwarven launchers at the convoy, shooting thick capsules that trailed smoke behind them as they flew. The capsules exploded on contact, spreading smoke alongside the dozens of others, and creating a massive cloud all around the convoy.
Blinding the guards from seeing the hundreds of hooks that gripped onto the caravans’ railing, and giving the rebels cover as they climbed up beyond the cannon holes that now lay open on either side of the ship-shaped caravans.
And as the smoke began to clear, the agile and deadly xilfir, along with the hulking and powerful bestia, all appeared out of it. The guards faltered at the sight, where they expected barely geared rebels, they were met with killers in the making.
The cold bloodlust in the xilfir’s eyes, the furious hunger in the bestia’s snarls.
Each of those made the human and dwarven Sinbeni hesitate.
Something the rebels did the exact opposite of.
They charged the Sinbeni guard, bellowing in challenge as they mercilessly felled any in their way. Their sudden and relentless charge stunning the guards briefly, causing chaos to befall their chain of command as for several moments the officers were awe-struck by the rebel’s fearsome behaviour.
Several moments through which dozens lost their lives.
As arrows soared up from rebel ships, raining down upon the ship’s centre and causing further confusion.
As dreadblades appeared out of nowhere, their whips of lightning killing or at least injuring several, before disappearing from sight. Bestia warriors bashing their massive weapons through the guard’s front lines, while xilfir rogues stepped through, slicing and dicing like blades on a meat grinder.
Followed by the crazed goblin troop, as they climbed up one caravan last, having somehow thrashed their boat into it. The green skinned rebels wielded mighty iron shovels, hammers, pickaxes and…a bright one among them even held a frying pan, whilst also having mistaken a bucket for his helmet.
But their shabby equipment mattered not, as their bestial screams confused many just as much. The goblins leapt from side to side, running amok among the guard’s feet and knocking them over. While some climbed up the ropes. Swinging by a fight, panning the guard unconscious, and chuckling maniacally all the while.
The roar of battle reverberated through the convoy, as orders finally began to move across the guards. The officers trying to coordinate through the chaos and confusion, while they themselves fought off the insurgents.
But the guards were overwhelmed, and not just by the comically fearless goblins, but throughout each caravan. They were completely outnumbered.
Until, the rebels where suddenly outmatched.
As the decks quaked, the Sin Wyrms landing roughly in between the two sides, dividing the rebels from the guard. Wearing a sandy-brown cloak, hiding the entirety of their equipment, and most of their appearance.
One, in particular, stepped forth from the third caravan’s Wyrms, “You’re assaulting a council vessel. Back off now, or we shall show no quarter.” The grizzly man warned, his reptilian black gauntlets too large to hide.
“You should’ve opened with that,” Said Pyra as she appeared before the hulking man, her already small frame making her seem smaller before him than she actually was. “But we won’t mind keeping you boys busy, while the children continue their squabble.” She said with a chuckle, “Xilfir, Drakon!” then exclaiming in elven, and at her order the Dragon Knights appeared through bursts of shadowy smoke, facing off against the Sin Wyrms.
The Sin Wyrm scoffed in amusement, as he unzipped his cloak, pulling it off right after and revealing a full set of black Slayer armour beneath alongside the massive gauntlets he wore. The rest of the Wyrms did the same, each of them revealing that they also wore Slayer sets. “Murderers, we’ll have your heads for felling our Druvian brothers and sisters.” The large man warned.
Pyra chuckled awkwardly, there were a whole lot more of them than she had Dragon Knights…Gesturing at the Dragon Knights nearby her to move off, as they suddenly disappeared from the caravan she stood on.
“Retreating? Already?” The man asked with a smirk, but then noticing that those same xilfir reappeared elsewhere, reinforcing the numbers of other caravans.
Pyra laughed at his words, as her eyes narrowed. She scanned the Sin Wyrms before her, “Not at all. I just thought this fight right here was a bit unfair.” she explained with a widening grin.
“So you outnumber yourself further? Foolish dark child, you think you can hold us off on your own while your lackeys reign over the rest?” The man laughed, as he stomped a single step forwards. His expression was one of steel-solid resolve.
Until, he met Pyra’s eyes.
A dark gold energy loomed within them, surging through like electricity, spreading over her face before suddenly engulfing her body.
Pyra chuckled coldly, as the wooden deck around her cracked from the pressure her body was oozing. “You see…My sister Zentha is taking on your men over the last ship, my brother Ascal is taking the ones over at the first. It is only fair, since I am the oldest, that I take the ship with the most of you.” She explained, suddenly disappearing from sight.
The Sin Wyms where about to turn onto the rebels still fighting their guard allies behind them.
“No! Stand your ground! She’s-” The large man was about to say, as he realised something.
“I am the hunter of hunters,” Pyra began to chant, her voice reverberating throughout the convoy alongside her brother and sister’s voices.
“I am the serpent’s bane,” Zentha chanted.
“I am the owl’s teacher,” Ascal also chanted.
“The predator of those would think me prey.”
“The venom that triumphs all others.”
“The all-seeing watcher that sees all who would stand against you.”
Their voices warping with one another, as a coldness filled the listeners.
“Lord, one who I would call master, lend me your strength!” They now spoke in unison.
“For I am your hound.” Pyra whispered, “Draconic Martial Arts; Custom Art; Light’s shadow…”
“For I am your poison.” Zentha hissed, “Draconic Summon; Custom Cast; Apep! Izft! Chained Apophis!”
“For I am your gaze!” And Ascal exclaimed in a sudden bellow, “Draconic School; Custom Cast; Playing Field!”
Suddenly the last ship’s surface exploded with a golden smoke, as it warped and swirled, the gleaming clouds forming massive serpent-like shapes that flew about. The serpents dove down into the masses of guards, causing havoc among them as the rebels swarmed them, seemingly unaffected by the poisonous mass.
But the smoke was no illusion or construct of Zentha’s.
And it roared.
The serpents were alive, and hungry.
While every guard or Sin Wyrm that breathed in their poisonous golden smoke, utterly lost their minds. Their eyes gaining a golden hue as black veins riddled their skin, their bodies bulging with sudden muscle while their expressions turned just as animalistic as the serpent’s.
They seemed possessed by a demon as they suddenly turned on their own, attacking both sides with abandon while some even fought other poor affected victims of Zentha’s poison.
While Zentha herself, was nowhere to be seen.
Yet her blades flew out of the smoke all over, raining upon the guards and Sin Wyrms, devastating their lines even when none of them ever caught a single glimpse of her.
Zentha thread through her own smoke of poison, fading from serpentine cloud to cloud as she passed invisible while outside it. Twirling and dancing out of sight, a whirlwind of death as dozens of thin needle-like blades left her hands with every spin.
Her blades would soar to each and every direction, trailing the poisonous smoke behind them, which then twisted into smaller serpentine forms that struck at the closest enemy in its path. Growing long fangs before biting down onto a victim, causing some brief pain before the attacked suddenly turned berserk.
Zentha’s field was turned into her own natural habitat, a jungle of chaos which she thrived upon.
And over at the first ship, Ascal stood alone, his half of the caravan empty as the Sin Wyrms cautiously approached him. Guards and Rebels fighting behind them, while rebels that climbed up from Ascal’s side quickly moved out of his way.
The first three Sin Wyrms moved in on him, their draconic weapons engulfed in whichever element they were bound to.
Each of them meeting his bright eyes, glowing like two lanterns at night.
Ascal smiled, his usual happy-go-lucky, warm smile.
But it suddenly warped, thinning and stretching out into a wicked grin. His previously gentle eyes, distorting into a gaze of depraved amusement.
Each of the Sin Wyrms stopped in their tracks, feeling a chilling fear crawling up their spines, they shivered at the sight.
Ascal opened his arms wide, wickedly laughing all the while. “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, young and old. The Sick and the Twisted.” His voice suddenly warped too, lowering in pitch as lightning surged through his body. “Let us play a little game, you shall be the players…No, no you are the playthings! And I? I shall be the game master. You the lambs and me the wolf. The rules are simple, detestably so. Your role is to kill me, before your colleagues over the other caravans all die. That is your time limit, however, if you were to fail…Ohohahaha!…If you fail to slay me by the end of it…”
Suddenly lightning struck out of his hands, forming a massive ethereal hourglass behind him. Made entirely of golden energy that sparked with power, and instead of grains of sand…which the desert had plenty of…
Blood rushed from the dead all over the convoy, forming tendrils that were absorbed into the hourglass’s top section. Slowly pooling into the bottom.
Ascal playfully bowed, “If you fail, then this wolf shall feast upon lamb!” he exclaimed.
The Sin Wyrms snapped out of their fearful gaze, but not that they weren’t still afraid as they charged him.
Their flame engulfed weapons descending upon him, their lightning imbued arrows raining upon him.
Be it bladed, blunt, ranged or elemental.
Nothing touched Ascal, as he danced about them, shadows trailing behind his quick and sudden movements. His eyes aglow as they moved incredibly fast, glimpsing towards an attack before it even came at him.
Entertained by their fruitless efforts, he chuckled, then laughed.
And as he passed in between two of them, one Sin Wyrm accidentally struck at his own ally’s back. “Careful now! If you kill yourselves the quicker will time run out!”, Ascal giggled maniacally as he evaded and sidestepped, disappearing into invisibility for a mere moment before reappearing on the other side of the gathering of Slayers. “That’s it! Put your back into it! Oh try not to destroy your own ship while you’re at it! Haha! Almost had me there! But you better hurry, because I’ll surely not miss!”
He had turned this fight into a game, frustrating the Sin Wyrms, as they now lunged at him with abandon.
Exactly as he wanted them to be, his every word, his every action, a pre-planned act to madden his enemy. As he ruled supreme over this battlefield, like a puppeteer giving off a magnificent show.
With the Sin Wyrms being the puppets, and him the hands behind the strings.
But while Ascal’s favoured toys were deception and trickery.
And Zentha’s weapons of choice were chaos and confusion.
Pyra preferred a simpler approach.
White light engulfing her body, as she met the issue head-on.
Her fists clashing with the large Wyrm’s gauntlets, their draconic scales resisting the attacks, but the force still damaging the man’s hands with every collision. As he grimaced with each attack she met, clashing with several other Wyrms in between every strike, her fists and legs blurring with each move.
But Pyra did not like standing still for too long.
Her preferred approach after all…
As she suddenly exploded with movement, sprinting over the caravan’s deck at sonic speeds that burned the wood behind her, trailing white flames as she passed.
After all, her preferred approach…
Was a combination of shock.
As Wyrms were utterly unable to follow her, while she seemingly appeared out of nowhere, kicking off their limbs and punching their bones to dust. Her fists radiating energy as they collided with draconic armour, the air around the collision trembling as the sound of shattering bones resounded from within her victim.
As her eyes scanned the opposition, a fierce gaze making any who met it falter. The eyes of a hunter, befalling its prey.
And there was no escape.
Barely a moment after meeting her eyes, she was gone from their sight, leaving only a trail of white in her place.
Then appearing behind them, Pyra’s presence chilling her prey to the bone before her fists cracked their bodies and smashed them aside.
Unlike Ascal who toyed with his enemies, and Zentha who’s existence was all but unknown to her foe.
Pyra made herself known with the crackling of energy that resounded around her, like roaring thunder.
Pyra did not play games,
Every move was swift,
Every step a cause of death,
Her every attack sudden and decisive.
And as the battle raged all around them, with the clash of metal, splatters of blood and the resounding screams of the dying.
Suddenly a sea of shadow rose all around the convoy.
“Well well well, here I was expecting a quiet and relaxing trip through the golden sands.” A chilling voice hissed.
As Pyra suddenly sensed danger behind herself, turning to meet Umbra’s shadowy tendril with her glowing white fist.
Both of them were pushed away from one another by the following blast.
Umbra’s violet eyes shuddering as he chuckled in amusement, “How unfortunate. It seems like you are the strongest among these rebellious fools…Oh, no wait, second strongest. Maybe I should go after her instead?” he mused.
Pyra’s surroundings suddenly trembled, the very air shaking as electricity surged through it. “You shall not lay a finger upon her. I will be your opponent, and don’t you dare think otherwise. Vile Shadow Lord.”
“What do you know of my kind?” Umbra scoffed.
“Enough to say that you are Fae, pitiful fallen creature.” Pyra mocked.
Umbra chuckled coldly, as a pair of shadowy wings suddenly emerged out of his smoky form’s back. “I am as fallen as you are. Our cousins think us abominations, but in truth, we have transcended them and so they are jealous. Like you Xilfir, I have ascended above my race. You should feel honoured, soon you shall be felled by my magiks.”
Pyra briefly relaxed her fists to stretch about her fingers, as she met the Dark Fae’s gaze. “Your kind matches Dragons in power, but only through numbers and the bonds amongst them. I hope that alone, you are still somewhat of a worthy opponent. I wouldn’t want to waste my precious time on you.” She smirked as the Fae hissed in annoyance, clenching her fists once again before suddenly disappearing in a flash of light.
While the battle raged above, Makaela commanded her dreadblades through several officers, overseeing the release of the hostages.
Watching as the dreadblade’s expressions fumed with stifled rage, while they lead the tortured souls out of holes she made in the caravans and gathered them onto their own boats.
Her own blood boiled at the sight, men and women, children too. Tormented beyond recognition.
But there was something about their scars that she did recognise.
The whip marks on their upper bodies, the bruises around their lower sides. The drained sensation she felt from within them. Makaela also recognised the scent that loomed around them, an intoxicating perfume she could never forget the smell of.
No matter how hard she tried to.
The scent seemingly pulled on her, telling her to go inside. Luring her into the caravan ahead.
And she did not need to enter to know what awaited her within, the signs were all around her.
But when she entered, and was faced with the creature that would torment her sleep from time to time. Makaela was struck with shock at the form it took.
She felt her own body briefly numb as a wave of nausea blew through her. “How…” Makaela asked, as she gazed at Kayle before her.
Or what was disguised as Kayle, easily sensing through the illusion and seeing the succubus within.
Risera chuckled, “Oh you know how,” she teased with a quirky tone. “You should have been more careful with picking guards, all it took was one moment of hesitation…One millisecond to glimpse me in the eye, for their mind to utterly fall in love with me. It is a curse, as much as it is a gift~” the succubus giggled.
“Where…Where is she!?” Makaela exclaimed in sudden fury.
Risera smiled widely, seductively biting her lower lip as she leaned forward, suddenly appearing directly before Makaela. “Oh honey, if you demand something of me then I must demand something in return~” she teased, as Makaela’s dagger rose up to meet her.
The blade struck empty air, as the succubus disappeared just as suddenly as she arrived. Appearing elsewhere only moments later, “But if you demand to know where someone is…you’ll have to be a tad more specific, I’ve feasted upon too many ‘She’ to remember which from which!~”
“You know who! To take someone’s form you must first charm them! I know you have her, Risera!” Makaela exclaimed in anger.
“Ohoho, so you do remember me? Oh I’m blushing~” Risera though continued to tease further, testing Makaela’s restraint to its limits. “Ah, don’t get your lingerie in a bunch sweetie. She’s not here right now, although I’d think she’s arrived at her destination by now…” The succubus giggled, as she faded into the shadows.
And as a wave of raw hatred oozed out of Makaela, she gave chase to the demon.
Quickly finding the creature as it hid away, raising her blade to its neck, yet the succubus seemed undisturbed. Instead, Risera continued to smile, her long tongue slithering out to lick Makaela’s outstretched blade.
“Why do you not pierce me through? It is what you wish for after all~” Risera asked with cold amusement.
But Makaela restrained herself, “Because if I kill you, then I kill Kayle too.”
“Oh…then I guess I can do as I please, can’t I?” The succubus wickedly mused, “Although if you don’t stop me, then you won’t stop her either…” she then hinted.
Makaela’s eyes went wide at her words, “Destination…Where…Where did you send her!?”
Risera laughed, an open cackle as her smile turned into a vicious grin. “Umbra found your little hiding place. We know where you keep his body. And she’s there, my little kitten, with her claws at his neck~” Risera moved the blade away from her neck using her tongue, “As he lays there, defenceless, unaware.”
Makaela’s hand began to tremble, “You…”
And Risera chuckled in further amusement,
“I’ve already won~”
Kayle’s form took shape out of a burst of shadows, as her eyes lay open wide yet rolled back into her head. A pink energy tendrilled around her body, and she wore an expression of satisfaction while the ethereal tentacles crawled all over her.
She stood before Erik’s sleeping form.
She stepped towards his bed. Smiling with glee all the while.
Clenching the dagger in her right hand.