Nirahn laid sound asleep as thunder clashes from outside his room, completely oblivious to it all as he was deeply immersed within an odd and peculiar dream, one unlike any he ever experienced beforehand. He found himself out in the middle of nowhere where a lingering darkness covered large portions of the surrounding landscape, among a howling gale that blew in his direction. Nirahn tried to look onward into the distance in order to survey whatever was up ahead but the stinging winds only clouded his vision.
“Hello!”, he yells while fighting to eschew any more dust from entering his eyes. He calls out a second time, followed by a few more attempts, but there was absolutely nothing. No signs of any potential life or even anything beyond the macabre, just an empty shadowy wasteland and winds so parlous and grainy it matters well be from the breath of an actual stone dragon.
The long, tedious moments of dead silence were too much for him to bare any further. Left with no other options he drops down onto the rocky surface before screaming out for this desolate nightmare to come to an end.
“By the scales of Glamdoragos, unleash me from this perpetual hell that you've cast upon this broken down vessel, I beg of thee!”
“So the young man pleads.”, echoed a loud, dominating voice from beyond the tenebrous depths.
“Who are you!?”, the Draxxus son shouts, struggling to cope with the fierce winds.
“Tell me, son of Demethil.”, the stranger spoke as the winds suddenly increased in velocity. “How far are you willing to go in order for this madness to cease? Would you honor and obey my commands, without question?”
The Draxxus son contemplated to himself whether he was still dreaming or, to even accept the possible notion that this might be the result of divine intervention. But if that was the case, why him of all people.
“By what use would I be to anyone?”, Nirahn impugns, unsure if he really needed to be indebted to any amount of godly servitude, especially towards an unknown one at that. He begins to ponder even further whether this mysterious stranger is actually a cosmic figure or something more sinister.
“How do I know that you aren't attempting to trick me?”, Nirahn implies. “Or that you might be a demon variant sent from some frost ridden abyss.”
“Oh there's a lot of potential in you Nirahn Draxxus.”, the stranger passionately affirms as the winds within the darkness began to disperse. “While I can confirm that I am a trickster at heart, in all honesty I am not what you would call some ill gotten monster.”
As the dust settles a radiant circle of light casts itself upon the Draxxus son. He picks himself up as the stranger responds back, the voice now suddenly mimicking that of an elderly man.
“Now that we have that situation out of the way, allow me to properly introduce myself, who may or may not be an Elysstian deity. Around some parts inhabitants are prone to calling me by a certain name. A name that I've wanted to abandon for a while now because of reasons I can't properly explain right this moment. So I've decided to take upon myself a new title that's a little more fitting to my actual character.”
“And that new title is?”, Nirahn rudely interrupts.
“I was getting to that part!”, the stranger contests. “By the great divine, for someone who inhales too much of the crimson grass you're quite the impatient one. Very well, you may refer to me as simply Irvine.”
“Irvine?”, Nirahn remarks in confusion at such a simple name. The light above begins to increase in intensity, causing him to shield his eyes once more before the stranger answers with a more thorough title.
“Irvine Bartholomew Donovan, former practitioner of the fine arts and a connoisseur of most excellent potable delights.”
“Oh that's fantastic, just bloody fantastic.”, Nirahn scoffs, annoyed at how out of all the Elysstian deities that decide to reveal themselves to the Draxxus son, it had to be this bastard trickster.
“I could have had Khalahandra or perhaps even Borios Battleborn. But nope, I'm now stuck with someone of your fatuous demeanor.“
The Draxxus son then pauses to remind himself of what exactly he was getting himself into. Moments go by before he decides that since this was still technically a dream, it wouldn't hurt to chance fate and humor this Irvine fellow.
“I suppose I don't have a choice in the matter, so what you do want with me?”
“How would you like to leave this boring old city and journey out into the open world?”, Irvine proposes before slowly dimming the brightness of the light. “Give yourself an opportunity to start life anew?”
“Oh you're a funny one.”, Nirahn mocks as he uncovers his face. “Even if I could leave, how are me and Laznea suppose to survive among any society that normally wouldn't take well to our species? I'm needed here in the city and whatever comes our way the people of Lahsuls and the Silver Dragon battalion can easily take care of it.”
“I hate to tell you this, son of Demethil.”, Irvine cautions. “But the next calamity that's heading your way will not be one you'll be able to easily overcome. Besides you aren't fooling anyone with your false heroics.”
“Just what are you getting at?”, Nirahn angrily asks when the light above suddenly disappears. Mere seconds pass before it returns in a spasmodic fashion. Constantly flickering with the effulgent tendency of a sugar crazed fly, the firework display proved to be too detrimental for his eyes to handle. Feeling disoriented, he loses his footing and stumbles backward onto the ground, smacking his forehead onto a rock before going unconscious.
Awakening to a thunderous blast, Nirahn was drenched in sweat as the rain outside continues to pour down onto the city. The moon's glow shined through the window, granting some level of visibility as he tries to discern exactly what occurred in his dream.
“What in the seven hells was that all about?”, Nirahn questions to himself as he rises up from bed in order to better focus his thoughts. Was the vision that he'd experienced nothing more than just another crazy nightmare, a possible side effect brought on by years of constant intake of a certain plant. Or could there possibly be more to it?
“Nah, it was probably nothing.”, the Draxxus son doubts, mentally storing away the notion of the dream being nothing more than what it actually is. Just another crazy sequence that will have no bearing on anything remotely relevant and will soon be forgotten about. Or so he hopes.
As his eyes clear up Nirahn reaches for a candle next to his bed stand, igniting it with the palm of his hand and slowly walks towards his desk where he discovers that the silver box container had been tampered with yet again. He pries open the lid and is shocked, or rather more delighted at the abundance of freshly harvested crimson grass that was enough to last for several weeks.
“Looks like you two kept your word.”, Nirahn mutters under his breath as he lifts the container up where underneath a sealed envelope drifts onto the desk.
“What could this be?”, he asks himself before placing the container back down and grabbing the envelope. He opens the bottom left drawer and procures a letter opener, proceeding into nimbly tearing apart the envelope that contained a letter inside. The Draxxus son silently read to himself the message that was inscribed.
To second son of Demethil,
If you are reading this, then it would be wise to take heed of the danger that come your way. For it isn't man or elven kind but rather a primordial evil has cast its vision onto Lahsuls, seeking to destroy everything and everyone you hold dear to your heart. Do not kid yourself into believing that you're capable of driving back this threat. Even with all my power I would still be unable to comprehend the sheer devastation caused by whom the Elysstian gods refer to as a crimsondread, a being renown for being one of the worst types of demons you could ever stumble across. Now luckily for you he's only sending down his minions, though there is a possibility he may reveal himself. Either way your people will not survive through the night. If I could be of any assistance then perhaps I might be able to get you out of the city. Take whatever you see fit and meet me over on the south gate. Though you must make haste since you won't have much time till the swarming commences.
~Irvine Bartholomew Donovan~
This letter had to have been a prank set up by his older siblings, he thought to himself before soon coming to a realization. If they were indeed trying to set him up, why then is the signature inscribed at the end completely identical to that stranger he encountered in his dream. Especially considering how they both tell of a threat far too much for the yugitashi people to handle.
Nirahn took the letter to heart, now truly understanding that it wasn't just some preposterous dream consisting of utter piffle but rather a warning sign telling him that he needed to leave town and fast.
Without a moment of hesitation the Draxxus son proceeds to undress from his now wrinkled military outfit before laying it onto the bed. He then rummages through his closet, scurrying for any clothing that was more suitable for the road. After finding the appropriate attire, which consisted of the usual long pants and sleeveless shirt combo, he pulls them from the hangers and quickly changes. Tying together the laces of his steel toed leather boots Nirahn then scourers the room, taking with him several essential items, including his dragon clawed ivory pipe, a small brass cylinder canister of crimson grass, but most importantly a particular katana he's had since his teenage years.
Constructed from the finest of valortite and sporting a blue dragon visage at the base of the hilt, the weapon itself was one that was passed down from the Draxxus lineage as Demethil, along with others before him have utilized this tool for many a perilous occasion.
Though Nirahn was in a rush, he had to stop for a brief moment to marvel at how well crafted this sword was and the importance of how he must never allow it to fall into the wrong hands. Not because this instrument was renown for some mystic power, but Nirahn knew he would eventually have to one day pass it down to someone who would carry on the family bloodline.
After gathering what's needed the Draxxus son exits from the bedroom, figuring to himself that he might want to check up on his older siblings to inform them of this bizarre situation.
He heads upstairs and approaches his brother's door, knocking gently so not to cause much of a disturbance. A full minute passes by with no response, causing Nirahn to become a little more worried. He slowly pushes the door open, stepping through and quickly notices that his older brother was nowhere within sight.
“This is not happening.”, Nirahn denies to himself, concerning the complete absence of Glonfel. He then leaves and dashes for Kasslenn's room, only to discover that she too hasn't returned.
The Draxxus son began to contemplate to himself everything that has happened so far. How his older siblings were venturing up into the mountains, the vision that warned of a threat too much for the yugitashi people and also that letter, that strange letter by the same Irvine. All of which tied together concerning the rising population of scourge hoppers. Nirahn comes to the only conclusion that both Kasslenn and Glonfel might have possibly fallen to their demise and that the razor bladed spiders, now under the command of a crimsondread were heading towards Lahsuls.
“I need to warn Laznea about this.”, the Draxxus son swears, not willing to forfeit the one person he holds dear to his very essence.
“Bishop takes pawn.”, Hallid eagerly calls out as he claims another piece. “Your move Mr. Bristleback.”
“It appears that my rank has been severely reduced down.”, Fynly comments to himself while contemplating whatever moves he may have left at his disposal.
Both Hallid and Fynly, having just become full fledged members of the Silver Dragon battalion were stationed at a guard tower located on the northern city perimeter. Having finished up with the days work which mostly consisted of the same boring routine, the two of them decide to take a break from their hectic schedule by engaging each other in a competitive chess match.
“You don't have much in terms of options.”, Hallid boasts at how he basically has his adversary trapped in a corner and reduced to three pieces.
Fynly begins to focus his thoughts, taking into account how he could potentially rise out of this predicament. He yearned in vain to wipe the smirk off of his opponent's face, for him to realize that his winning streak which has lasted for days now is about to come to an end.
“Looks like I've won yet again.”, Hallid alleges, completely oblivious to what Fynly had in store.
“Well it would seem to be the case.”, Fynly admits as Hallid bursts out in cheer, believing that his opponent has finally submitted. “If you haven't left yourself wide open.”
“Excuse me?”, said the surprised Hallid, noticing the wide grin on Fynly's face as he glides his rook piece over to his black king.
“Checkmate!”, Fynly boldly affirms, finally putting a stop to Hallid's continuous winning streak.
“Oh would you fancy that!”, Hallid comments to himself, his face turning bright red. How annoying that after blazing through the trails of victory for so long, he ends up put in his place, something that doesn't happen often during chess matches. “So you've finally conquered me.”
“Try not to take it too hard?”,Fynly firmly jests, completely aware of how his long time friend normally dealt with losing, most of the time not to the best of manners given his ego.
“I desire another round.”, Hallid demands, his temper simmering down as he places his chess pieces back onto the gaming board.
“Mate you've lost!”, Fynly disputes. ”Sometimes you gotta accept how the cards fall onto the table and besides I.......” As Fynly was about to finish his statement he is immediately cut short by another guard darting into the room.
“Hallid we got an arachnid problem!”, the distressed guard loudly asserts.
“Not now Varyan!”, Hallid shouts back, placing down the last pawn before suddenly realizing the unusual nature of this current threat to the people of Lahsuls. “Did you say arachnid problem?”
“Quite a large one.”, Varyan acknowledges as he rushes out from the room, the other two guards calling a cease to their rematch.
Nirahn pushed onward into the streets as the heavy rain battered down in his direction, the occasional bolt flashing across the dark clouds. The Draxxus son, as usual of his species didn't take well to this kind of weather. But this was the one time he was insistent on letting that slide. Having already lost his father and possibly his older siblings within the same week, Nirahn was not ready to suffer yet another tragedy.
He comes to a halt at a corner where his first destination lied a short distance away.
“Almost there.”, the Draxxus son sighs in relief as he pauses for a few seconds to catch his breath, eventually sprinting again until finally showing up on the door steps of Laznea's estate.
“Laznea!”, Nirahn shouts as he continued to knock loud enough to catch the attention of those inside. A minute goes by before the front door opens, cracked enough for Laznea to peek her head through.
“Nirahn!”, the yugitashi woman gasps, somewhat perplexed to see him outside when its raining. “What are you doing here in this weather?”
“Well you know, nothing beats a stroll through a thunderstorm.”, the Draxxus son quips as another bolt flashed from a mile away.
“Is it alright for me to?”, he politely asks, whom by now is thoroughly drenched in rain water.
“Oh yes where are my manners?”, Laznea apologizes as she allows him into her home. They both rush inside, shaking themselves down before stepping into a room with various pieces of ornate furniture spaced throughout, the area fairly lit by wood burning from a nearby stone chimney.
“By nirvana's grace you're soaking wet.”, the yugitashi woman openly stating the most obvious as Nirahn moves closer to the fireplace to dry himself off.
“Oh that's what I'm talking about.”, the Draxxus son mutters under his breath, shivering from the cold as he tries to absorb enough heat without jumping head first into the fire, as wonderful as that may seem. He soon directs his attention to Laznea, his reasons for being here sidetracked as he notices her wearing a blue bathing robe.
“You look lovely tonight.”, Nirahn remarks, being taken aback by her appearance.
“Is that all you have to say?”, the yugitashi woman asks, demanding a more honest statement.
“Well the night gown perfectly accentuates your eloquent bosom.”, he admits, complementing her petite and gorgeous figure.
“A lot more eloquent than a woodland nymph.”, Laznea proudly claims, placing her hands over her delicate bosom, reminiscing at how she fares against those forest animals from an aesthetic viewpoint.
“Kinda hard to argue with nature's perception of raw beauty.”, Nirahn asserts before walking up to her. “But to be fair you haven't tried to stab me in the back and we've stuck it out, through even the worst of times. So yes you certainly are more eloquent than a woodland nymph. For you are my one and only inamorata.”
“You certainly know how to lift a woman's spirit.”, she affirms before leaping into his arms.
“I learned from the very best.”, Nirahn implies as he fully embraces her gentle touch. She felt quite warm, he thought to himself. Much warmer than any open flame. To ever believe that Laznea, of all the females he could have been with, it had to be someone who was once timid and more of the quiet type. How, or why she would open up and eventually become his true mate is a question the Draxxus son did not want answered. He was glad to have finally found someone whom he could connect with on a personal level.
The three guards make their way onto one of the side paths as the rain continues to descend from the night sky above.
“Whoa, would you look at that.”, Hallid whispers, steadily approaching the railing as he witnesses a scourge hopper far off on the outer perimeter of the mountains.
“What in the world is it doing this close to Lahsuls?”, Fynly asks.
“I don't know.”, Hallid remarks. “Just as long as the bastard stays where its at we should be fine.”
Fynly began to ponder to himself, observing the creature as it was scratching the mostly dirt and grass surface with the blades of its front appendages. While scourge hoppers are normally regarded as an invasive species they tend to not disturb humanoid settlements considering they would much rather avoid confrontation, instead saving such a moment for prey that weren't very good at a defensive countermeasure. However this one seemed odd, almost like it had something sinister in mind. The creature directs its multi-eyed gaze towards the three guards before letting out a loud screech.
“Damn, it spotted us!”, Fynly begrudges as the scourge hopper started to charge towards them.
“Hallid?”, Varyan cautions, frantically biting his lips before responding back. “Please tell me that thing can't climb walls?”
“Well its not going to have an opportunity tonight.”, Hallid asserts as he backs away from the railing. “Varyan follow me, bout time we whip out the big guns.”
The two of them make a hasty retreat towards one of the guard towers to the frustrated dismay of Fynly. His heart was palpitating like crazy as the scourge hopper was half-way across the plains and quickly gaining momentum. The frantic yugitashi was able to make out it several eyes, including the central one. The creature's black eyes were cold, emotionless and devoid of any sense of capable reasoning. As the creature was nearing even closer towards the city, Fynly hears footsteps from behind, quickly turning around to see that both Hallid and Varyan have returned, carrying with them several supplies.
“What with all this?”, Fynly asks, anxious to know if this battle strategy that they have in mind was suitable for this particular threat.
“Haven't used this in a long while.”, Hallid comments to himself, lowering a steel hand cannon onto the ground before issuing a command towards Varyan. “Let the other members of the Silver Dragon battalion know that this fight is going to require some extra bit of firepower.”
Varyan wanders off to inform the others as Hallid pries open a wooden barrel containing water proof gunpowder, quite fortunate given the present circumstances. He pours enough into the cannon while carefully avoiding rain water from getting into the chamber.
“Alright everything is set.”, Hallid confirms as he hoists the cannon over his shoulder, holding on to it with both hands. “Fynly, help me with the ignition.”
Fynly helps hold onto the device as he notices his partner removing his left hand and reaching into a brown satchel tied around his waist, producing a small black-green colored stone.
“Wait, you're using pebbles!”, Fynly contests, doubting to himself how these middling rocks could ever be used for something like this.
“Actually they're shatterspark spheres.”, Hallid clarifies as he loads one into the cannon before taking aim at the blood thirsty scourge hopper, making sure he has it within perfect sight. “Normally these babies don't deal much damage when simply thrown. But when launched through any device capable of generating high velocity. NOW!”
Fynly quickly ignites the cannon, sending the stone propelling towards the screaming scourge hopper. His eyes widened as upon impact the creature immediately explodes, scattering its fleshy and internal remains upon various directions, including the two yugitashi themselves.
“By the scales of Glamdoragos!”, he yells, originally not expecting the damn pebbles to be so destructive.
“So much for the arachnid problem.”, Hallid boasts as he wipes a piece of visceral matter off from his brow.
“Yeah perhaps you shouldn't be counting your chips just yet.”, Fynly impugns as he points out in the distance. Hallid turns his head, his moment of triumph immediately cut short. He didn't want to believe what he was seeing, yet it was so evident.
“You have got to be kidding me!”, he comments to himself as a legion of at least thirty or more scourge hoppers descend from the mountains and steadily rush towards them.
“Everyone take position!”, he loudly commands as all the other guards stationed on the walls take aim with their cannons and fire away. Managing to penetrate through the first defense, the Silver Dragon battalion pushed with all their might to ward off the oncoming assailants, their blown apart bodies quickly littering the battlefield. However not long afterward their efforts were starting to wear thin as more and more spiders frantically pour out from the mountains and storm through the plains.
Though the guards continued to blast through the stampeding hoard, they soon found themselves edging closer towards deaths door as the scourge hoppers were somehow able to climb onto the walls. One by one the guards met with an unfortunate and grisly demise as the spiders made short work of them before setting their sights onto the city itself.
“Its concerning the whereabouts of Glonfel and Kasslenn.”, Nirahn answers as he stares deep into the dancing flames, now suddenly remembering why he came here. “I've searched throughout my house and there appeared to be no signs of their presence.”
“How long ago have you seen them?”, Laznea asks.
The Draxxus son pauses briefly before responding further. “Last time I remember seeing them, they mentioned how they were heading up into the Shi Habura Mountains, looking for any fresh batches of crimson grass as a means of paying me back. ”Its been over six hours and they've yet to return.
“So Mr. Draxxus is still obsessed with that damned stuff.”, she decries at the concept of her partner having a smoking addiction, regardless of it being a partial staple of their species.
“Must we discuss this right now?”, the Draxxus son begrudges as he picks himself up before directing his attention towards Laznea. “I'm old enough to where I'm able to make my own decisions and besides it is an honorary custom among our people. There is nothing wrong with following through with time old traditions.”
He then searches himself thoroughly, finally procuring the letter before handing it over to Laznea.
“What is this?”, she openly states while unfolding the letter.
“Just showed up on my desk from out of nowhere, along with the abundance of crimson grass.”, Nirahn asserts as he paces himself back and forth. “I don't know what's more weird. That letter or the fact that it was sent to me by the same person who appeared in a vision. Both of which warned of a danger too great for our people to withstand.”
She began to silently read through the inscribed message, pondering to herself if this was an elaborate hoax. However that notion soon dismisses upon reaching the end where she spots the odd signature. A signature that looked rather familiar, though she still was not sure of its origin.
“Who's Irvine Bartholomew Donovan?”, she asks.
“The man from my vision.” Nirahn acknowledges, pausing for a few seconds before responding again. “He said that he may or may not be an Elysstian deity who wanted to put behind his old namesake, for reasons he would not reveal. At least not for now.”
“An Elysstian deity!”, she gasps, mentally trying to unravel the
identity of this particular being. “What else can you tell me about this Irvine?”
“Well for starters he's quite full of himself.”, Nirahn quickly belittles. “Said he was known for being a trickster at heart and
a connoisseur of most excellent potable delights.”
The yugitashi woman took everything he said into consideration as she carefully reads over the letter a second time before coming to a sudden realization. The actual identity of this mysterious stranger.
“Nimgree!”, she silently comments, placing the letter down as she begins to take her leave.
“Laznea, where are you going?”, Nirahn calls out.
“I'm going to throw on something a little more appropriate.”, she implies before running out from the living room and making her way upstairs.
Laznea hastily unties the band strapped around her waist, removing her blue robe and setting it onto the bed. From there she heads for the closet, skimming through various outfits before finding one suitable for trekking lengthy distances. A loud bolt struck nearby, mildly startling the yugitashi woman as she began to change. She thought heavily to herself, going into detail the rarely spoken history of this cosmic character.
Mostly regarded and rightfully so as nothing more than a devilish prankster god of the Elysstian pantheon, Nimgree was originally known as the messenger of bad omen, a not so fitting title given how nearly all those who encountered him were never properly informed of what calamity awaited upon their doorsteps. In other words he was never good at his job. No doubt resulting in countless deaths, all of which could have been avoided if he wasn't so cryptic with his messages.
“Why reveal yourself to Nirahn?”, she asks herself as she slips into a pair of black leather boots. Considering the repeated failures of Nimgree's earlier attempts, why only now does he demonstrate some aspect of competency when it involves the yugitashi people?
She finishes tying together the laces when something large slams onto the side of the house, startling her a second time.
“Damn it, I am really getting sick of.......”, the yugitashi woman was about to finish her sentence before immediately noticing the bedroom window shatter into a thousand various shards.
From out of the the rain emerged a scourge hopper as it squeezes its body through the frame. After stepping through the creature then directs its gaze, its hooked mandibles dripping intensely with saliva at the prospect of this lone woman becoming its next victim.
“Oh no!”, she groans, scrambling to locate the nearest weapon as the spider lets out its signature ear inducing screech before inching towards her.
Nirahn was getting comfortable next to the fire place before being suddenly alerted by loud noises coming from one of the rooms above.
Without hesitation he jumps onto his feet, unsheathing the katana belted from his side and started to rush upstairs, soon coming to a locked door. Taking a moment to tense out his muscles Nirahn busts down the door before dashing into the bedroom and is shocked at what he witnesses.
The scourge hopper had his girlfriend pinned against the wall, fighting to dig its mandibles into her chest.
“Laznea!”, the Draxxus son calls out as he attempted to reach her. However he was right behind the creature as it started to violently kick its hind legs backward. He nearly had his face skewered, Nirahn thought as he was quick enough to dodge away.
With the scourge hopper somehow being distracted Laznea was able to nimbly sneak by before procuring a scimitar leaning against the nightstand.
“Die you bastard!”, the yugitashi woman yells, plunging the blade deep into the creature's central black eye, twisting and turning before pulling out. The scourge hopper screeches wildly in pain, knocking it out of balance as orange blood oozed out from the open sore while Laznea makes a quick getaway.
“We need to get out of the city.”, she proposes, both her and Nirahn leaving the confines of the bedroom before the creature could retaliate.
With the rain finally gone the two of them hurried out from the front yard as multiple loud screeches and the screams of various town folk echoed from the other side of the city, further warning the yugitashi couple that the scourge hopper's were not far behind. They sprint across several street corners, Laznea anxiously struggling to keep up as the yells, the horrible ear grinding noises continued to grow in number. As terrible the sounds were this was not enough to deter them as they pushed further along, soon arriving on one particular street where the city exit was only moments away from their grasp.
“Slow down”, she calls out, stopping for a few seconds to catch her breath. “I can't keep up with you.”
“We're almost to the southern gate dragonfly.”, Nirahn affirms, halting his speed before making his way over to Laznea as she tries to gather enough energy.
“We can't rest now.”, he urges while lifting his girlfriend up and looking into her face, his vision fixated on her frightened yellow-green eyes. “Laznea, I know you're scared. But we're going to make it through this.”
While Nirahn was busy trying to ease Laznea, she slowly turns her head, her eyes further widening as a scourge hopper slowly crawls onto the shingle roof of a nearby house before leaping high into the air.
“Nirahn!”, she screams, tackling him to the ground as the creature lands down onto the spot from where they once stood. Laznea rolls to the side to take position while the spider directs its callous gaze towards the yugitashi woman before dashing head on. She presses her hands onto the grass, quickly rising to her knees before tumbling back, barely avoiding the scourge hopper's blades.
Laznea continues to dodge the creature's attacks, each additional strike more relentless than the last. Just like the last skirmish with the previous scourge hopper, this one in particular had difficultly keeping track of targets on opposing sides, opting to ignore Nirahn throughout the process yet again.
Hopefully this one isn't afraid of a little fire, the Draxxus son thought to himself. With valortite katana in hand he slashes at his hand and smears blood onto the blade, mere seconds pass before it bursts into flames. From there the Draxxus son focuses his efforts, studying the ravenous creature's movements as he waits for the right opportunity to strike.
The scourge hopper shoves Laznea onto the ground and as it was readying to bury its front appendages into her, Nirahn had already initiated a running charge as he jumps onto its abdomen. The creature immediately begins to flail out of control, fighting to shake Nirahn as he climbs his way further up before sending his burning katana cutting deep into its backside.
Laznea then took the opportunity to draw out her scimitar and dives underneath where she could better exploit a vulnerable trait of these damned arachnids. Strong and durable legs but the same cannot be said for other aspects of its abhorrent anatomy.
After slicing into the creature's underbelly she quickly rolls away as its internal organs spilled onto the surface. Nirahn jumps off from the spider as it lets out a harsh screech, slowly wobbling back and forth before collapsing onto the ground.
“Yes!”, Laznea shouts with glee as she pulls herself up, brushing dry soil from her shoulders before walking towards the corpse of their slain opponent. “These spiders certainly aren't too bright.”
The yugitashi woman then shifts her attention towards her lover, both of them exchanging warm smiles towards one another. Nirahn fully knew within his heart that they were going to survive this night and nothing was going to stand in their way. He was going to live up to his word for once.
However fate can sometimes be a nefarious one whenever it rears its visage, even to go so far as to alter the course of those unexpected. If only that light at the end of the dark road, that speckling glimmer of hope didn't immediately shatter upon impact at what would then follow.
“LAZNEA!”, the Draxxus son screams with the fury of a raging inferno as an elongated blade pierces through Laznea's chest. He stood in a state of trepidation as the fractured scourge hopper tries to lift itself up, wanting to further decimate this young woman. Eventually its life begins to finally give out before stumbling back onto the ground. Nirahn, throwing down his katana quickly rushes towards Laznea, who by now has lost too much blood and lays dying on the grass surface.
“Nirahn!”, the yugitashi woman trying to piece together words as she's nearing her final moments of life. “I can feel my vision fading fast.”
“Dragonfly, you can't leave me!”, he begs, firmly grasping her hand tightly as tears began to form around his eyes. “Not after so much we've been through!”
“And for that I must thank you.”, Laznea answers, her body temperature steadily growing colder as she tries to further communicate with her dear lover. “For all the wonderful times.”
“But........ I'm afraid this is the part........ where we part ways. I love you Nirahn Draxxus.”
This wasn't happening, he thought as he watches the final traces of vitality slip from her breath. This had to be another bad dream, a terrible nightmare that could not be for real. By the scales of Glamdoragos she couldn't be gone, not like this. Especially when he swore to himself that they would live out their lives, happily together till the end of days.
“Laznea, I'm so sorry.”, Nirahn wept as he brushes hair from her now expressionless face. Feeling both mentally and physically broken, he simply didn't want to accept how his one true love, the last person he actually gave a damn about, was no longer with him.
“Nimgree was indeed correct about you.”, said a sulfurous voice that could not be visibly discerned. “So eager to run away when you could have stood your ground and fought back.”
“Where are you?”, the grief stricken yugitashi asks, trying to pinpoint where the voice was coming from before noticing the clouds above swirling violently around in a circular pattern.
“Oh, nowhere in particular.”, the demon implies as the clouds begin to turn crimson red. “I suppose I cannot blame you, son of Demethil. Afterall there are few out in the universe who could even come close to matching wits against one even the Elysstian gods fear.”
“Crimsondread!”, the Draxxus son openly acknowledges on what he was up against.
“I see the serpents lettuce hasn't tainted your mind.”, the demon jests, pausing for a few moments before responding again. “What a waste of a innocent life, oh most unfortunate girl. Not deserving for someone such as yourself, a complete coward among you pitiful excuse of a species.”
“Come down here and say that to my face you overbearing innocuous pile of pumice!”, Nirahn shouts, not willing to put up with anymore of the crimsondread's disparaging insults.
“Ah, the dragon has quite the volatile tongue.”, the demon answers before erupting into laughter at the sheer prospect of enervating what remains of this insipid wyrm.
A fierce gale blows in Nirahn's direction as the clouds continue to swirl about, the center mass soon turns black as obsidian before a multi-horned skeletal face, danced fully in orange flames reveals itself to the world.
“A complete coward among you pitiful excuse of a species.”, the crimsondread boldly asserts, his eyes of burning orbs staring heavily into the soul of the distraught yugitashi.
Nirahn looks towards the demon, the wind picking up speed as he further clenches Laznea around his arms. He didn't feel it necessary to go on, the Draxxus son thought to himself. Having already lost everyone so far, in so little time, its was only fitting that the wayworn student of Delinautis throws down the sword and face the eventual arrival of his searing demise.
As Nirahn was readying to accept his fate at the hands of this indomitable presence, he soon hears a second voice, a familiar elderly voice from nearby. “Nirahn, get inside!”
He then turns his head, his vision soon fixated on a dilapidated house that's still miraculously standing.
“Hurry up!”, the voice yells, sounding extremely similar to that trickster as more scourge hoppers show up into the vicinity and begin to approach the yugitashi couple.
Despite not wanting to let go, Nirahn lays his deceased girlfriend to rest, quickly reaching for his katana before running inside as the spiders soon surround the building.
After closing and locking the door, he then sets himself down onto the wooden floor, trying desperately to fight off any more tears before the voice calls out a third time. “Over here mate.”
Already feeling the weight of the entire world on his shoulders the stressed out yugitashi lashes out.
“Goodness you apocryphal sewer rat, give me a moment to come to grips with this whole situation.”
“We don't have time for that.”, Irvine responds as a pale brume begins to appear in the living room, soon forming into an oval shaped gray portal.
“A moon portal.”, Nirahn whispers as he lifts himself up before moving a few inches closer.
“Hurry up!”, Irvine shouts as the ceiling begins to crack. “This house will collapse any second now!”
Nirahn took the hint and rushes through, scarcely avoiding collision with the falling roof as the vaporous gate then dissipates into the void.
Falling flat onto his face after an mistimed step, Nirahn soon rises up from the mist shrouded surface as he tries to glance onward through the layered thickness of this pallid landscape.
It was too reminiscent of that one place, he thought to himself while wandering aimlessly through the mist laden environment that continued to get thicker the further he traversed.
From what can be gathered given his limited vision, it was nothing more than a featureless expansion of gray and white that seemed to never end, which would probably be perfect for those who prefer their homes to be as uninviting as possible.
“Irvine!”, Nirahn calls out, now at a point where his eyesight couldn't see past five feet. “Irvine, where are you?”
The mist began to grow even heavier as the Draxxus son was starting to feel himself becoming deprived of energy. His eyes turned weary, his muscles slowly freezing as he was unable to walk anymore. Like a coarse and finely tipped needle Nirahn collapses onto the ground, wondering to himself if this nightmare has finally come to an end or it was just the beginning of even more uncertainty.