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Various flowers and grasses, dyed in autumnal colors, are spread throughout the interior of the massive atrium. A serene calm fills the garden as soft winds tickle the flora. Sweet aromas spiral alongside the petals as they dance around in the breeze. Thirteen pavilions occupy a fraction of the courtyard, one at the center, and twelve forming a circle around it. The outer pavilions are perfectly distanced between themselves, the central pavilion, and the walls.
The pavilions all have twelve wooden pillars that grow up from the ground and merge together creating a lowered, dome roof with a smooth surface. Each pillar consists of several branches that weave through one another. Halfway up the dome surface, twelve more branches extend and merge forming a second, smaller, spherical dome. Above the central pavilion-dome is a glowing white sphere that hovers in place, while the outer pavilions each have a different colored sphere floating above.
A shrine resides within each of the outer pavilions. At the center of each shrine, is another large, glowing sphere. The orbs above and within each pavilion are the same color, while each shrine radiates a different color as energy shifts and sways within.
Dozens of large, egg-like flower buds, each sitting on an individual cushion, lay beneath the pavilions. The buds vary in shape, design, and size, with similarly shaped and designed buds grouped together. Resting under the central pavilion are five buds, all positioned so close together that they are almost touching. Four of them look almost identical, except for their size. The air around the smallest among these four is frigid and the bud itself is cold to the touch.
I reach my hand out and place it against the cold exterior of the bud. Why are you so cold? I frown and whisper, “You’re not even born and I’m already worried about you.”
“You talking to the kids again?” a woman inquires from behind.
I turn my head, still maintaining contact with the bud, and ask, “What do you want Novaraine?”
She sighs, placing her chin in her hand. “I told you to call me Nova,” she states, her modulated voice perfectly clear.
“You’re not my mom,” I snap, “Now answer my question.”
“You should learn to be nicer,” Novaraine rebukes, placing a hand on her hip, “Otherwise they won’t like you very much.”
I pull my hand from the bud and face Novaraine. She has a soft, rectangular face, with low cheekbones. Her round, indigo eyes are close together, while straight eyebrows with a slight curve at the end rest above them. Dark blue hair flows from her head but stops just above her shoulders. She has long lashes that caress her flawless, fair skin. Small round lips lay beneath her little, straight nose. She has a modest physique and thin limbs, yet an intimidating aura. She is wearing a dark-blue vest, a white undershirt, and clean, brown pants.
“Whether they like me or not doesn’t matter,” I state, “And you’re still avoiding my question.”
“I’m not avoiding it,” Novaraine responds, “Just delaying my answer.”
“Look,” I sigh, placing my hand over my face, “I’m sure you’re busy, so if you have nothing important to say, then you should get back to work.”
“Might I remind you,” Novaraine hisses, “My job is to watch you and the kids.” She takes a breath before exhaling heavily, “Verger Murz wants to gather everyone for a meeting.”
“We got a messenger from Elrora about the current status of Āāthel.”
“Fine,” I bitterly remark, glancing back at the icy bud. I’ll be back in a bit. As I direct my attention toward Novaraine, I see her smirking, and ask, “What?”
“People would like you a lot more if you smiled like that more often.”
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“That wouldn’t change anything,” I comment, “They’d probably think I was planning something.”
“Well, at least smile for the kids after they’re born,” Novaraine remarks, “If anything it’ll-”
“Help alleviate worries,” I cut in, “I know.” That might work for others, but not me. “I don’t know why you keep telling me, I’ve heard it more times than I can count.”
“I keep telling you because it doesn’t seem to get through that thick skull of yours,” she sighs, “Anyway, are you ready to go?”
“Yeah,” I lock eyes with Novaraine and we both manifest our wings.
Similar to all fairies, she has two large, upper-wings and two smaller, lower-wings. Thick blue veins run through, and along the edge of, her wings. At the tip of each wing, thin veins extend away from it and form two tight spirals. Dark-blue and black are the primary colors of her wings, they swirl into each other to create a beautiful pattern. Sharp, indigo glitter flitters down from her wings.
As wondrous as always. I glance at my simple, wholly black wings. A single curved point rests at the tip of each. A single vein travels from my back, through each wing, and branches out to several circles. As I breathe, the veins and circles glow yellow. I flap my wings once and yellow glitter falls from them. Mine on the other hand. “Tch.”
“Let’s go then,” Novaraine calls, “Everyone should be there when we arrive.”
As we rise into the air, I remark, “I assume getting me last was because no one wants me around.”
“I’m getting you last because you get uncomfortable being away from the kid for too long.”
We soar up and out of the atrium, and fly toward the massive tree before us. It would be nice if the atrium wasn’t so far away, but I understand why it’s out here. The large tree is dotted with archways, doors, and windows. A large opening is located in the center below the branches.
I glance down at hundreds of fairies flying around the tree. Everyone seems busy as usual. I follow Novaraine along the atrium’s branch and up to the central part of the upper branches. We arrive at a fancily decorated archway and fly through it. As we land, our wings disappear into indigo and yellow glitter, respectively, that slowly vanishes.
The archway is connected to a corridor and, as we start walking through it, Novaraine states, “I know it’s difficult for you, but behave. Regardless of what is said, do not react rashly.”
“I understand,” I flatly reply.
Novaraine walks with dignity and pride as I mindlessly trail behind her, maintaining a straight posture. Along the passage, there are a handful of fairies that, upon seeing us, greet Novaraine.
“Good day Lady Novaraine.”
“Hello Lady Novaraine.”
“Greetings Lady Novaraine.”
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As we pass by them, their attention shifts from her to direct hostility toward me.
One of the fairies whispers to another, just loud enough for me to hear, “Why’d he have to come to Kāālith? Couldn’t he have gone anywhere else?” You think I want to be here with you?
“What’s her majesty thinking, allowing one of his kind so close to her children? Doesn’t she know what they did in the past?” Obviously she does… and she’s also made it perfectly clear that if I do anything, I’ll cease to exist. A shiver runs up my spine.
“A disgrace to fairies. We’d be better off getting rid of them.”
I stop and turn toward the group of fairies, “Disgrace or not, it doesn’t change that I’ll-.”
“Revus! Let’s go.” Novaraine calls out.
I clench my fists, give the fairies one last frustrated glare, and turn back toward Novaraine.
We continue down the hallway, turn right, and two large, ornate doors come into view. Two people stand imposingly on either side of the doors. As we reach the doors, one of the guards states, “Everyone else is already inside.”
“Good. Then let us in.” Novaraine orders.
“Very well,” he answers, and the two guards open the doors.
Novaraine and I walk inside to a circular room with a round table in the center. An elaborate crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling and large rings cover the walls, all of them illuminating the room. Along the table are a number of chairs, each filled except for two.
“Welcome Lady Novaraine, Revus,” an elderly man with straight, silver hair, and a long, thin beard announces, “Please take your seats and then we will begin.”
“Thank you Verger Murz,” Novaraine replies. I simply nod.
As we walk around the table and pass by a female with long, white hair, she mutters, “Disgusting.” I look up and think about the icy bud. Your cousins’ really hate me. Not that I can blame them though.
Novaraine takes the empty seat next to the Verger. I sit next to her and another woman with long, wavy, orange hair. I glance at her and she leans toward me, whispering quietly, “Thanks for coming.”
“Sure,” I mumble. Ellalyn seems to be in a good mood. I pull my eyes from her and, as I scan the people sitting around the table, get a mixed welcome. Some glare at me, some smile and wave, while others merely look at me uninterestedly and maintain focus on the Verger. All the usual faces except old man Flos and…
I direct my attention to a man with short, teal brushed-back hair seated directly across from the Verger. He has a worn face, his eyes drooping lifelessly. His clothes are light, yet give him a professional appearance. This must be the messenger.
“Ahem,” Verger Murz coughs. Everyone directs their gaze at him as he says, “I would like to thank everyone for joining me today. As I’m sure you’ve all heard, little Lanthil has arrived with information about Elrora, Āāthel, and the status of the primordial.”
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We all look to Lanthil and, as the grown man stands up, he sluggishly complains, “Murz, could you drop the little? I’m not a child anymore.”
Verger Murz chuckles, “I apologize, it’s become habit. Perhaps I’ll consider it after your 4,000th birthday.” Habit… don’t you do that on purpose?
Lanthil sighs exhaustedly and slumps forward, “Anyway… As the old man said, I’ve just arrived from Elrora.” He pauses and narrows his eyes, the atmosphere around him drastically shifting. “Things within the spectral realm are disastrous at the moment as the primordial has continued its rampage throughout the realm.”
“Has anyone managed to determine its reason for the sudden rampage?” a man with a hoarse voice questions. I look over and see a fairy with slicked back, dark-violet hair. He has a sharp voice and wears gaudy clothes. Sidgar. Can’t you go a single conference without speaking? He looks over, locking eyes with me, and scowls.
“Unfortunately we don’t,” Lanthil answers, “And that’s only the beginning of our problems. Due to our efforts to appease it, we’ve already taken heavy casualties.”
“What’re they doing?” Sidgar ridicules.
“Now now Sidgar,” Verger Murz says in a calming manner. He looks to Lanthil and nods.
“Combining our losses with the continued rampage, it is unlikely that we’ll be able to properly regulate the elements throughout the realms. As such, we’re anticipating an increase in elemental surges within the cardinal realms,” Lanthil explains, “Additionally, the mūūns have ordered that all sanctuaries are to immediately start patrolling the cardinal realms and quell any surges that appear.”
“Preposterous!” Sidgar bellows, “A single sanctuary filled with mostly children is supposed to manage an entire realm?” I hate the guy but he does have a point. Even for the adults, this would be difficult, but them… I glance at the three white-haired and two brown-haired fairies.
“Sidgar!” Novaraine shouts, “Shut it.”
“Novaraine, don’t act like you didn’t just hear those ridiculous orders?” Sidgar barks.
“I heard it perfectly fine but-”
“SILENCE!” Verger Murz announces, his booming voice resounding throughout the room. “Now, little Lanthil, is there anything else?”
Lanthil nods, “Continuing on, currently we have zero idea about when the primordial will calm down and return to the outer skies, so expect an extended stay here within the mortal realm.”
“Again-” Sidgar starts to speak but Lanthil cuts him off.
“I understand that most vravyth’s aren’t able to comfortably withstand thousands of fairies. That is why we are planning on creating another vravyth relatively close to each current sanctuary,” Lanthil elaborates, “Once accomplished, more fairies will be able to take refuge within each realm, easing the burden on the sanctuaries, and reducing potential casualties.”
Everyone remains silent. I look over to Sidgar who leans back in his chair, his face scrunched up. What’re you thinking about now?
“And your final message?” Verger Murz inquires.
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“I have a private message for Lady Novaraine and Lady Ellalyn, directly from her majesty,” Lanthil states, then looks to Novaraine and Ellalyn, “If it is alright with you, can I meet you two in private after?”
“Of course,” Novaraine states, a tinge of happiness present in her voice.
“Absolutely,” Ellalyn smiles joyfully.
These two… I sigh. Whenever they mention “her majesty”, they lose their composure. I look back to Lanthil who glares menacingly at me. Looks like I have another fan… Oh well, if it’s a message for them, I’ll probably hear about it before the day’s over.
“Does anyone have any questions?” Verger Murz asks. Everyone looks around, but no one speaks up. “Very well. I thank you all for joining me. If anyone would like to talk with little Lanthil, he’ll be here for about two-”
Crack. The sound of wood breaking explodes from the ceiling. Boom. I look up and see the ceiling break and the giant chandelier start to fall. Quickly, I jump out of my chair and away from it. Smash. The chandelier crashes onto the table, as dust and glass explode out in all directions.
Instantly, I hold my hands in front of me and create a barrier of light. Ting. Ting. Ting. Cough. Cough. The sound of glass hitting multiple barriers echo in the room as people start coughing. Fwush. A moment later, a large gust of wind rushes all of the dust out of the three windows. What in aeth’s hell happened? I examine the room, seeing everyone holding up various barriers made of light, crystal, wood, metal, or water. Everyone seems okay.
Everyone’s eyes descend on the center of the room, and immediately locate the culprit of the incident. Laying atop the broken table and shattered chandelier is a lone girl with long, braided, green hair.
“Ow,” she wines, “I knew that was a bad idea.”
“Well well well,” Verger Murz muses, “If it isn’t little lady Aila.” His demeanor shifts, and he growls, “To what do we own the pleasure?”
“Uh…” She hesitates as she picks herself up, “I was… um…” Aila lowers her head and bows, “I apologize. My grandfather told me to wait there for some reason. I didn’t know the floor was going to break.”
Verger Murz strokes his beard and grumbles, “Flos.”
“Haha,” an old man cackles as he flies in from the hole in the ceiling, “My apologies everyone. I thought I’d teach my granddaughter a lesson about pranks and figured it’d be a good opportunity for everyone to laugh a little.” This crazy old man. A prank? He’s trying to kill someone.
“Flos, my friend,” Verger Murz mutters as calmly as possible. He’s livid… “Why don’t we have a talk about the definition of a prank. Shall we.”
“Murz,” Flos calls out, “No need to be so grounded. Live a little.”
Verger Murz sighs, “Sidgar, get someone in here to clean this up.”
“Yes Verger,” Sidgar answers and heads toward the door.
“And you, little Aila,” Verger Murz continues, “I’ll let you off with a warning this time since your grandfather appears to be at fault.”
“Thank you Verger,” Aila exclaims, “I’ll take my leave then.” Poor girl.
“Verger Murz, since our meeting seems to be over,” Novaraine remarks, “Would it be fine if the rest of us are dismissed.”
“Yes yes. You may all go,” Verger Murz confirms, then glares at Flos and barks, “Everyone except- What was that?” Verger Murz suddenly ***** his head to the side. What was what?
“Alright everyone, let’s go,” Novaraine states, leading the rest of us toward the exit.
Bam. The doors burst open and Sidgar flies through them in a panic. “Verger Murz, trouble! A feros shadar is rapidly approaching Kāālith, and it’s leading a horde of dyed.”
“What!” he roars, “How much time do we have?” A feros and dyed. My heart rate suddenly quickens.
“Not long sir,” Sidgar answers, “A group of sylphs just came across it and raced back here. At most, a few minutes.”
Damn! I turn toward the door and, as I manifest my wings, Novaraine tightly grips my wrist and orders, “Wait.”
Wait? But… I try to pull my arm free from her grasp but she tightens her hold. “Tch.”
She glares at me, then looks up to Sidgar and questions, “Why didn’t we hear about it sooner?”
Sidgar looks down at us and answers, “I’m not sure. My guess is that it crossed over from another realm and just left the world vein.”
“Verger-” Novaraine calls out.
“I know,” he interrupts and looks to Sidgar, “You’re certain of this information?”
“Absolutely Verger,” Sidgar straightens his posture, interlocks his fingers, and places his hands over his stomach. “On my name as Sidgar Mistmys. I believe the sylphs that reported this are trustworthy individuals.”
“Very well.” Verger Murz kneels, places his hands on the ground and, as he speaks, his words boom loudly as if the tree itself is speaking, “This is an emergency announcement. Kāālith will soon be assaulted by a feros shadar and a horde of dyed. All children are to take shelter within the vravyth and prepare to defend themselves. Adults are to surround the vravyth and put up a barrier. Quills are to focus on thinning the dyed. I will deal with the feros shadar.”
As Verger Murz stands back, he looks to Sidgar and declares, “Sidgar, you’re in charge of the Quills.” He turns to the rest of us and commands, “Novaraine, you help defend the barrier. Disara, Dassen, and Serek, you and your pages are to assist Novaraine.”
“Understood Verger,” Novaraine exclaims.
“Ellalyn, Serkan, Desela, and Revus,” Verger Murz states, concern warping his wrinkled face, “Protect the atrium.”
“BOOOOOOHHHHHRRRRRRRAAAAAA!” An ominous howl fills the room and resonates within me.
It’s already here? My stomach twists like it is being forcefully turned inside out. “Urh,” I mutter, gripping my abdomen. All that from just its roar?
“Everyone go!” Verger Murz orders.
Immediately, everyone’s wings appear, and we all fly out of the chamber. Hang on. I’ll be there shortly. We race through the corridor and fly back outside.
As I exit, my eyes lock onto the massive black monstrosity lumbering toward the vravyth. So that’s a feros shadar.
Its height reaches over half the height of the surrounding trees. Frayed, thread-like skin draps over the boney entity. Its thin, freakishly-long limbs contain multiple joints. Its two arms bend four times before branching out into creepy fingers, each with extra joints and needle-like fingertips. Finger-like toes extend from where its feet would be, the toes pierce the ground as it shambles forward. A small skull, devoid of eyes, rests atop the creature’s body, while long boney tendrils crawl out of the shadar’s mouth. Hovering around the feros shadar are hundreds of, comparably tiny, black creatures.
I look down through the inner confines of the vravyth, my gaze directed at the branch leading to the atrium. “Novara-”
“BOOOOOOHHHHHRRRRRRRAAAAAA!” The feros shadar howls once more and immediately the dyed scatter as a wave of disgusting energy washes over me, weighing me down. Not good…
“Get to the atrium!” Novaraine yells, “We’ll deal with the shadar!”
Thanks Novaraine. As I bolt away from the group, Serek urges, “We can help! Let us go too!” Idiotic.
I weave through the branches, pressing my hand against my stomach to suppress the discomfort. I rush around several fairies that are panicking and darting about. I glance back at the horde of monsters for a moment and watch as a massive barrier of light is erected between the feros shadar and the vravyth. Damn, some of the dyed got in. I focus on my flying and rapidly approach the atrium.
As I work toward the bud’s garden, I see something black out of the corner of my vision. What the? Glancing over, I see dozens of dyed spreading out beyond the barrier, many of which are heading toward the atrium. As long as the barrier holds we should be fine.
I arrive at the atrium and rush toward the center pavilion. I see Zoelle, Ellalyn’s youngest daughter, staring at me.
She is a bit shorter than me, with a round face, and large cheekbones. She has wavy, light-orange hair that extends just past her shoulders. Her large, round, purple eyes are tucked beneath short, angled eyebrows. She has a large mouth with full lips and a smooth, short nose. She is wearing a simple, dark-blue maid dress that goes down just below her knees and a pair of simple dark-blue shoes. The dress has short sleeves with white fabric at the end, a white collar, and a small white apron around her waist.
“What’re you doing here?” I inquire as I land in front of Zoelle, glancing at the group of buds behind her.
“I-I’m making sure nothing h-happens to them,” She stutters, trembling.
I walk to the middle of the pavilion, kneel down, place my hands on the ground, and close my eyes.
“W-What’re you d-doing?” Zoelle barks.
“Putting up a barrier around the pavilion,” I answer, channeling spīīr through the ground, and encompassing the building. Once evenly spread, I evoke the crystal axiom, and large crystal spires begin to rise from the ground, surrounding the pavilion. Focus. Just a bit more. I direct the crystals to grow up and around the dome, completely sealing us inside.
“Phew,” I exhale, “That should hold them back.”
“But w-what about the o-others?” Zoelle asks.
I turn to the five buds within the barrier, walk past Zoelle, and bluntly state, “Your mom should be on her way. Her and the others can worry about the rest.” I stop in front of the cold bud and place my hand against it. You’re the only one that matters. The only one that I need to protect.
I pull away from the buds, and begin to walk around the pavilion. There’s got to be a good spot somewhere.
“Now what’re you doing?”
Without stopping my search, I answer, “Looking for a spot where I can see outside the atrium.” I walk past one of the pillars and catch a glimpse of the massive light barrier. This’ll work. I stop and, as I focus my attention on the fairies fighting the dyed, Ellalyn, Desela, Serek, and their pages land within the atrium.
“Revus,” Ellalyn pauses for a moment, examines the translucent crystal walls, and sighs, “I’ll leave this to you.” She then turns to the others, and orders, “Everyone, take a pavilion and do everything in your power to protect the buds.”
They should be able to take care of everything else. As I watch the fight happening beyond the atrium, the light barrier suddenly disappears into white glitter. What the? It didn’t break… It disappeared… I blink several times and, realizing it is truly gone, shout, “The barrier’s-”
“BOOOOOOHHHHHRRRRRRRAAAAAA!” The feros shadar howls. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Immediately, a cacophony of chirping erupts from outside the atrium and I watch as dyed begin pouring in toward the vravyth.
“Here they come!” Ellalyn roars.
Everyone begins launching a series of attacks at the dyed that approach the atrium. As I examine the battle, something grabs onto the back of my shirt. I flinch, quickly turning around, and see Zoelle shaking. I thought you didn’t like me. I return my gaze to the swarming monsters. Is the chirping getting louder?
As the growing number of dyed flood into the courtyard, a dyed darts toward the atrium and, avoiding all incoming attacks, crashes into my crystal barrier. Bong!
Dyed are the same size as a fairy, but have a smaller torsos, and long slender limbs. They have eerie, white skin, and large heads with beady, black eyes. Their wings are similar to mine, being wholly black, but are tattered and torn. A black mist covers their hairless bodies. I understand why everyone compares me to these things, but I’m not that hideous.
The dyed presses its face against the walls and screeches, “Buuuud. Buuuud, heeeeeeere.” These things can talk? And did it say bud? Zheek. Zheek. The dyed pulls its face off the crystal walls and claws them.
Damn. I put my hand against the crystal barrier and a crystal spike juts out where the dyed is, piercing its body, and launching it away from the barrier. Ugly *******. Psss. I look at the scratch marks and watch as the black mist begins to slowly erode the barrier. Not good.
I scan the surroundings and see that more and more dyed are forcing their way into the atrium. Are they targeting the buds?
Quickly, the number balloons, and the accumulated damage to the barrier starts to strain it. I can’t hold on much longer. There has to be something I can do to stop this, otherwise I might have to take you and run. Examining beyond my barrier, I notice that the dyed are not approaching any of the other pavilions and are only focusing on the central one. I glance over at the buds. No, they’re targeting these ones.
Bong. “Iiiiiiiits heeeeeeeeeeeeeere.” Ting! One of the dyed opens its massive maw and a black, thorn-like tongue extends from it, piercing the crystal.
Bong. “Fooooouuuunnnnnnnnnd feeeaaaaaaarsooooooome.” Zheek. Zheek.
Bong. “Feeeeeeeeeel iiiiiit. Geeeeeeeeeet feeeeeaaaaaaar.” Ting!
“Get off!” I roar, launching spires of crystal at the dyed. It? Fearsome? What in aeth’s hell?
“Ellalyn!” I shout, trying to get my voice heard over the infestation of dyed. Damn. These bastards are too loud. Kerk. A part of the crystal barrier cracks. Not good.
Boom! A fierce explosion blasts the dyed surrounding us and Ellalyn flies over, turning her back to us.
As she continues her long-range assault on the attacking shadar, she asks, “Are you two okay?”
“Yeah!” I yell, “but I think the dyed are after the buds!”
“What?” Ellalyn questions, firing large icicles at the approaching dyed.
“It sounds like they’re targeting something specific,” I shout.
“If that’s the case, then we should be able to hold out and-”
“BWWWWWWWOOOOOOHHHHHRRRRRRRAAAAAA!” The feros shader howls, and the black mist coating the dyed gets thicker. I glance at the damaged parts of the barrier and watch in horror as they start to erode faster. CHIRP. CHIRP. CHIRP. The dyed begin to jump about erratically, and continue to pour into the atrium.
“Ellalyn! We need to do something otherwise-”
“I know!” I see her glance back for a moment, “I’ll make an opening for you!” Why would you- “You look pretty terrified Revus, so take that opportunity to run. Grab the kid and get out of here, that way at least in the worst case, you can fulfill your purpose.”
“This isn’t a deba- Gah!” Ellalyn screams as a black tongue pierces her left shoulder from above the dome.
“Mom!” Zoelle yells.
“Disgusting little shits!” Ellalyn turns around and launches an attack over the dome. A moment later the tongue is pulled from her shoulder and a black mist seeps into the wound. “Get ready!”
“Revus, you have to help mom!” Zoelle yells as she grabs my shirt, tears filling her eyes.
I’m sorry. I push her to the side and force myself past. I walk over to the group of buds and, as I pick up the icy one, my eyes bounce to the remaining three. I’m sorry, but I’ll be taking your family with me. I hope you all stay safe. I hold the cold, ball-like bud with my left arm, turn to Ellalyn, and state, “I’m ready.”
“Alright!” Ellalyn releases several icicles at incoming dyed, dropping them on the spot. Immediately after, she puts her hands together, “Here we go!”
I hold my right hand out, create a hole for myself and, as I manifest my wings, shout, “Zoelle, look after the others!”
Ellalyn then pulls her hands apart, and forces them forward as if pushing something and a massive cyclone of sleet blows into the sky. As I bolt through the hole, I see dozens of dyed frozen and falling out of the sky. The trees in the distance are also coated in ice. Thanks Ellalyn. I race through the massive gap in the dyed’s forces and exit the atrium.
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. The chaotic chirping erupts as I leave the confines of the building and gaze upon the hundreds of dyed that are surrounding the atrium. Fairies all throughout Kāālith are combating the dyed, trying to fight their way to the bud’s garden. In the distance, Verger Murz is single-handedly keeping the feros shadar at bay, utilizing the surrounding trees to attack and restrain the monster.
Need to get out of here. I race in the opposite direction of the feros shadar, but the dyed start to pursue me. Chirp. Chirp. Annoying and ugly.
As I fly outside the vravyth’s reach and approach the surrounding wildlife, a cluster of dyed attempt to divebomb me. I spin around, creating a barrier of light with my free hand, but it instantly shatters. Chirp. As I dodge the incoming attacks, I hear one of the dyed wail, “Muuuuuust kiiiiiiiiill.”
I dart into the nearby woods and start to weave through the trees and slip through the tiny gaps between the leaves and branches. What did you do for them to be chasing you? I glance back and see a cloud of black mist rapidly approaching. Chirp. Are they all chasing us? If so, at least Ellayln and the others should be fi- Oh s- I spiral to my right as dozens of black projectiles approach and almost skewer me. Not good. Damn! I instantly stop and bolt down and to my left as another group of dyed cut me off. They’re starting to surround me… Think. Chirp. Think. Chirp.
Another group appears in front of me and I stop for a moment, scanning the area. I’m almost surrounded. Come on, I need to do something. I need to-
Fshk! A thin beam suddenly appears and slices into the horde, bisecting dozens of them in an instant. Black liquid drips from their corpses as they fall toward the ground. Wha… I look for the origin of the attack and see Novaraine dashing toward me, releasing torrential beams of pressurized water at the surrounding dyed.
“Revus, let’s go!” She shouts as she flies past me, “I’ll get you out of here.”
“Novaraine!” I holler, chasing after her, “Thanks for coming, I thought-”
“Revus, listen to me!” Novaraine exclaims, “Once you get out of here, don’t come back until the kid’s born!”
“Shadar don’t act like this!” She barks, “I think this attack might’ve been orchestrated by something.” Novaraine continues, “Go hide somewhere and stay hidden. Fulfill your purpose and keep the kid safe. After they’re born, feel free to return. I’ll have hopefully figured things out by then.”
“Tch,” I click my tongue. So you just want me to run away?
“Don’t lose focus of what you’re supposed to do,” She exclaims, “Even if it means abandoning us. Keep the kid safe, understand?” That’s-
“Yeah…” I mutter, glancing down at the bud in my arms. My purpose… “I understand.”
“Good,” Novraine huffs, cutting through a wall of dyed in front of us.
As we fly past them, I notice that we have broken through the enclosure. Looks like this is my chance to-
“Don’t look back!” Novaraine orders as she stops in place and turns around, “I’ll see you again soon!”
I zoom by her, accelerating as quickly as my wings allow. Thank you. I look back for a moment and see Novaraine holding her arms out in front of her as a giant torrential storm pours endless amounts of water onto the struggling dyed. As the winged dyed are pelted by the violent rain, Novaraine turns her head, smiling back at me.
I freeze, spinning around as a dyed approaches and launches its thornlike tongue at her. “Nova-” Before I can finish, her stomach is pierced.
“I told you not to look back,” She yells and, as she coughs up blood, is pulled down toward the ground. I have to he- “RUN! IDI-” As she angrily orders, a second black javelin drives through her head.
I stop in place and feel my heart fall out of me. Nova… she… Tears well up in my eyes as I stare at the dense raincloud still dumping water onto the dyed. She’s still fighting to protect us… I spin around and fly away as rain rolls down my cheeks.