Posts tagged ‘world’

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep6)

More endless salt-flats opened up above the canyon.

Far behind them they could make out the island where they had entered the enclave’s territory. “Night will be upon us soon. We better make haste if we want to reach Dorei.” Back on salty ground Fathala felt the impact the salt had left on her skin immediately. After only a few meters her underside ached and burned tremendously. “We can’t reach it by nightfall.” she remarked, suppressing squirms of pain.

“That much is true, but I don’t want to stay in this desert for longer than need be.” Lilly had fastened her face cloth again, although currently no wind was blowing. “It keeps moisture close to your breath, keeping you from dehydrating.” ghostly Naga Eric appeared to remind her of why she too should fasten the cloth.

 

“If none here had cause to kill or banish the Sphinxes, why was the bane created then?” musing on a riddle she had posed herself Fathala flinched away as Lilly cleansed the wounds. “They themselves made it.” mentioning it like it was only natural Lilly took great care with the raw wound on Fathalas underbelly. “Giving it to the people of this world was their way to show their trust in the people. And gain theirs in return.” after washing away the blood the wounds kept weeping pus, carefully Lilly washed over them again. closing them with her powers. “Please stay off the ground for a few hours, I can heal you again, but it would hurt more.”

Fathala looked up into the night sky, “Won’t be hard, I’m tired anyways.” Six weeks! Had i flown I’d be there by now. Gently smiling Lilly sat down next to her Naga companion. “Good. Three weeks since the Florals, we should be there soon.” Against the shining marble that was the rising moon the treetops of the Dorei coast presented a relieving sight for the wanderers from the desert. Returning to safe spots amongst the trees, a few evening birds crossed against the marbled spot of light in the skies, some shrieking. “Say,” Fathala ascended the gentle slopes of the coastline next to Lilly. “I have been wondering how you knew of their arrival.” Both women had taken off the cloth from their faces as they started approaching Dorei, Lilly smirked plainly visible. “I came into existence when my counterpart Lillian became what she is today, the first of the Succubi. Some traits she has, I also possess. One of which would be to feel the presence of men to seduce. Florals can’t be killed by a Succubus, which is why I can’t feel them. But when Dorei arrived,” she didn’t ned to finish her sentence for Fathala to understand. Fresh air gusted down towards them. It carried scents Fathala thought she had forgotten and would never smell again. Wood, sap, grasses, blossoms, flowers and fresh water most of all. Honing in on the smell of fresh water Fathala led Lilly across the beach. Huge obelisks seemedto seam the  coast line, tall hewn from granite, with inlays of jade, forming words neither of the two could decipher. “I guess that is how they transfered everything here.” Loosely pointing at a difference in the ground, running in a straight line between the closest obelisks Fathala didn’t stop on her way to the fresh water.In the ground native to the Dorei of the world was a dry depression left by a creek, Fathala turned inland. The dry creek bed continued, but less dead, the ground was moist.After a few minutes Fathala found a small artificial lake, and an artificial creek bed leading back inland. They knew before coming here that water was scarce, and made sure their rivers and creeks didn’t spill into the vacant ocean. In one fluent motion Fathala took off her clothes and slipped into the waters of the lake. Having sweetwater wash.over her scales and through her hair was refreshing and rejuvenating.Pure bliss.”Do you.think this wise?” Eric floated before her. Unlike a living person, his ghostly image left behind in her mind, could talk beneath the waves. But only to her. Why would it be unwise? Fully aware she was talking to herself Fathala made a mental reply.”You are encrusted in salt, this might be drinking water.” Or irrigation. The salt I brought in here is not going to affect this water.Above the water Lilly awaited the Naga with the same arguments Fathala had encountered below, never the less she washed the skirt and top she wore before arriving in the saltflats. Slightly damaged by her disgraceful landing, but still well enough to be worn, she donned them again immediately, still feeling uncomfortable without, like a Naga normally would be. “Are you done polluting the water with salt?” agitated Lilly paced around the lake. Constant murmuring of the natural running creek and the less calm gargle of the artificial one, drowned out most other noises, although the breeze caught in the trees and occasional sounds of nightly birds and animals still reached the ear. I never knew how much I love the gentle tingle of grass blades against my skin. Slowly the two followed the artificial creek. Dawn broke as a village appeared in the green fields. It’s late autumn, but this seems summery.

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep5)

For what felt like a day they followed narrow tunnels, most natural caves, south east. In the beginning of theor journey these tunnels had been filled with the soft noise of the boiling sludge, after an hour or two the pools vanished, and their journey was accompanied by complete silence.

Pale blue light signaled an opening, a narrow crevice in some rocks, once far below the waves of the ocean. As the water had spilled out into the abyss through the broken rim, it left salty earth, below a certain level, too low to drain, it evaporated, leaving behind a salt desert. Outside the crack was deep canyon below, steep, almost vertical, walls above. Narrow steos had been hewn out of the rock, both leading up and down from the opening to the tunnels. On the other side of the canyon similar steps led from the depths brlow upwards. “This rift lies only three weeks away from Dorei, when the Chimera’s return, please kill yourselves before you give away our secrets.”

Lilly smiled kindly, from beneath her cloak she produced a her waterskin and the cup, poured some water in it and emptied it above Beecha.

Stunned by her waste of water the man stared at her wide eyed. “What?” he felt the cool touch of her finger on hus lips. “I gave you hope. And time. Close this portal to your place, it is important.” she turned, letting Fathala see what was happening to the Floral. His bark skin turned softer, and softer by the minute, until only his normal skin remained.

Baffled he stared after her as she already descended the steps, their destination was beyond the other side of the canyon. Amazed Fathala bowed before him, then turned to follow the shrinking figure in brown-grey cloth.

 

Tears burned hot in Fathala’s eyes, refusing to believe the cruelty of what she saw. Mummified by salt, Naga and Naga eggs littered the ground of the canyon. Hot air vents from underground volcanoes heated the deep, like most breeding grounds the saltwater Naga had. After the water had drained from the oceans above the canyon was filled with water for long times, but both the heat from above and the heat from below dried it out. Subsequently turning the shrinking ocean into a dead salty lagoon, then into sludge, finally into completed dry salt.

For as long as they could the Naga came to lay their eggs, until none escaped, none returned, none lived. For all she knew, she might be the only Naga on that world.

Amongst all her dead people she felt their despair. Hopes of having a healthy brood, of surviving the hardships of the salty deeps, all crushed. Mummified with the ines who hoped and the unborn hoped for.

“They can be avenged.” Lilly put a hand on Fathala’s shoulder. The florals, or who ever built the steps, had also raised a bridge between the two sides of the canyon. Rope and wood perfectly preserved in the dry heat. “By slaying the one who caused this?” she couldn’t turn her face away from the dead.

“By preventing others to suffer the same.” it was her ghostly vision of her dead spouse who spoke. Still he looked like a Naga man ought to look, if there were any. “Or by preventing the Naga of my world to die like this?” she repeated his words to Lilly.

“Your world’s Naga would suffer a different fate, keep in mind that the Dragons want your world for their own. They have minions in the deep who will cleanse the oceans for them. But yes, by preventing them to be wiped from the face of the world.” unlike before, tears flowed from Fathala’s eyes as she turned her head round to look at Lilly. “Minions in the deep?” with a sigh Lilly turned away and continued her way across the bridge. “Your kind has encountered them in ages past. Tentacles, hungry mouths and the powers of the eel.” a chill ran down Fathala’s spine. The doom that haunted my people from the seas into the sweetwater sea! They were minions of the Sphinxes. I should’ve known.

“The dragon that held me left that knowledge in my mind.” she explained calmly. None of it happened here, so there are no sweetwater Naga. While ascending at the other side of the canyon Fathala regained her composure.

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep4)

Other Florals wih bark for skin greeted them. They had even lesser accommodations than the others, there was a salty note in the air of their quarters. In few words he explained that mostly those starting to show signs of the bark went out to scout. “Beecha. You brought the strangers here?” another man in bark approached them slowly, dragging a limb. “Chessa, old friend, they are harmless.”

Fathala stole a glance to Lilly. I’m harmless, for sure, but this one?

“We ought to be going.” Lilly whispered to the Naga. “Well,” Chessa began, turning to the guests. “we cant offer you much. Cave fungi, Lichen, thats it. And a few drops of water if we can spare them.”

“Allow me to kindly refuse your hospitality, we followed Beecha because he said that the pole was deformed.” it was Fathala who took the initiative.

Laying his stiffened forehead in wrinkles Chessa turned to Beecha, then back to the two women. “It’s true,” he.pointed with an entirely stiff hand at a woman sitting at a table staring at the two. “Daydi saw it with her own eyes.” Weird names. But these are weird people in a weird place. The woman got up, approached them, surprisingly light footed. “Aye. It crumbled to gravel, and then reformed to a shining pillar of black obsidian, and a huge gaping circle in it’s center.” A portal! “That was several weeks ago.”

Again stealing a glance at Lilly, Fathala saw that she maintained her expression perfectly, giving her reason to doubt once more. “The land of Dorei is fertile, it came here trading place with Dorei of this world.”

Stunned silence was the collective reply to Lilly’s surprising news. “Aside of water and healthy soil, they can provide food.” trying to help Fathala looked desperate.

“That is ill news.” was Beecha’s reply, releasing the two from their suspense. “Quickly, recall all and any scouts from the south-west. Tell all others to search for cover too, return here if possible.”

Not understanding why the florals reacted with fear to the news of fertile grounds Fathala watched the quicker ones of the bark inflicted disperse in great haste. “We thank you for this vital information.” Chessa indicated a bow. “But we must ask you to leave us now.” he nodded to Beecha who returned the nod and began wrapping himself up once again, in order to bring the two women back to the surface.

 

“Your enclave’s grounds are quite extensive.” Lilly had explained to her Naga companion that the Florals feared the Sphinxes returning with a vengeance, once they discovered the lifeless Dorei where a fertile one should be. Rightly so. I hadn’t thought of that before, but I merely need them to send me back.

“Yes. They are.”

“Could you bring us closer to Dorei?” Beecha stopped abruptly following Lilly’s request. Bearing an expression that was the non verbal question as to why they wanted that. A short nod in Fathala’s direction was Lilly’s reply.

Raising his eyebrows as good as the bark stricken man could he nodded, turning into a cave tunnel they hadn’t used on their way in.

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep3)

“Word n the salt pans is the pole has been deformed, perhaps with the same purpose?” it was Lilly’s turn to shrink, the Sphinx had been working with Leif and the bane, transforming the pole, but she had kept her motifs to herself. “So there are more?” Fathala tried not to sound as she felt. Instead of a reply the floral waved them to follow him. Not far behind the position where he had stood a crevice cleft in the rocks, giving way to a cave. After several meters light grew scarce, Fathala made her Naga light appear. In front of her the Floral man made a squirming sound. “I’m sorry if my light hurt your eyes.” immediately she sought forgiveness. If thw Dorei should prove to be a dead end to her intentions to get back home, he and his people might be an important stop along her way back to the sweetwater sea.

“I should’ve thought of that,” he replied, “you have not adapted to this sort of darkness.”

After a few minutes the cavern had gotten eveb hotter, basins of salty sludge softly bubbled beside their path. Vapor rose from them, collected at the ceiling above and subsequently condensed, trickled down on the sides into small shallow trenches, designed to carry the water off.

Alhough they can make their own water, they won’t share it freely. After about an hour more they reached a large dome in the cave. Several dozen people wandered about. All florals, most looked malnourished, most eere far younger than the man who had found them. “We die young mostly.” he had caught Fathala’s slightly terrified look as she had glimpsed a girl of about thirteen years, carrying a seedling. “Yes, it is her own, not her little sibling.” he sounded as sad as Fathala felt terrified. “Florals in my world have a seedling patch to nurse their unborn.”

“For now. Maybe that will change, the Chimera who is responsible for all this,” he pointed around, “has returned to there, and with her countless others like her.” he eyed Lilly carefully, still uncertain whether she wasn’t the Chimera.

Soft daylight streamed through the large dome, where it touched the ground the florals stood in tightly packed groups, drinking it in, their feet dug into the ground. On firat glance it.looked like regular soil, free from salt.

No food. They can go without it. Not very well though. “We scout the desert, over time we had learned how to conceal ourselves.” he sighed. When he removed his cloak his skin turned out to be as hardened as bark, other florals avoided him. “It’s the curse of age.” thoughtfully he examined his hands, stiffened fingers, his joints made cracking sounds when he wiggled his fingers. “Some believe it to be contagious, but I know it is just age. And the conditions we live in.” he lowered his hand and waved them to follow him.

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep2)

“Naga died, not by the hand of the sphinx, but what she had done to the oceans. In your world the Sphinxes have set a killer in the seas, so they won’t do the same to your world.” Lilly’s voice was muffled again by the cloth in front of her face, she had given Fathala a hooded cloak and facecloth too. Together they moved westward, what seemed to Fathala as the direction east was in in her home. “Where are we going?”

“Dorei.” was Lilly’s answer, meeting the eyes of her Naga comapnion Lilly understood that she did not know Dorei. “It lies south west of the pole, in your world it’d be north east. It was destroyed by the sphinx, but the people of Dorei in your world are resourceful.” she smirked behind her cloth, only visible at her eyes. “Most people who come here from your world come here by accident. Not the Dorei, they have switched the devastated land of this world with their own from yours. They are here with all their people and all they need to live.”

Fathala stopped dead.in her tracks, Lilly turned around, her ataff whirling, gave her smack on the bottom, and before Fathala realized, both of them were.moving again. “Don’t stop. At all!” she pointed back, the ground they just had left had become slightly darker. “Some nasty salt sludge lies buried beneath the surface. It can swallow you whole.” recalling she spoke with a Naga Likly eased her tone slightly. “Maybe you could escape, but better not test your luck.”

Before them the flat salt pans went on to the horizon, making Fathala long for a change. The salty ground made her raw, more than rocks did.

“How did the Sphinx miss out on the people of Dorei coming here?”

“That bloke Leif was pulling her over into your world, she was almost completely gone from me when they arrived.” How did you know of their arrival? Though feeling curious she couldn’t afford losing Lilly as an ally.

 

Grotesquely shaped dry branches reached from a massive tree skywards as if to beg the heavens for help. Roots, thicker than the two women combined had dug into the soil ages ago, in order to find some source of water. “I’ve met a floral girl once on Naga’na. She was a brave young woman. And she would’ve loved to see this.” Nicodia. Where ever you might have gone, I hope you’re far from the Sphinxes.

 

“Hello.” startled the two women turned to the source of the greeting. Just like themselves the shape that had emerged from the cracked, and washed rocks was wrapped in hood, cloak and face cloth. The voice was smoky, like Fathala had heard from humans and Albin who had a long history with the pipe. “Greetings.” Lilly finally replied, shoving herself between Fathala and the stranger.

“May I ask what brings you to the floral enclave isle?” the man asked, revealing himself as a Floral when he removed the hood. “We’re bound for Dorei.” curious how the florals survived in the salty desert Lilly lowered her staff. “Ah, water business.” his voice indicated a smile beneath the cloth. “We come from the sweetwater sea.”

As far as they could see the eyes of the floral man squinted. “The Chimera lives there.”

“Lived. She was pulled through to my world.” emerging behind Lilly, Fathala removed her own face cloth. “If she’s truly gone, why didn’t you stay?”

“She knows the passage through, if she and her brethren decide to come through, where do you think that’ll be?” Lilly gave up on shielding the Naga. Where am I to pass back? Dorei in my world will be a desert. Discouraged by her own thoughts Fathala noticeably shrank.

Again the vision of Naga Eric appeared, smiling benevolent, trying to encourage her, but this time he uad little success.

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep1)

Grey hard crystalline ground stretched in all directions. From horizon to horizon, just the flat grey unforgiving salt desert. No trees, shrubberies, grasses.

Winds gusted, whirling up clouds of dust, dust that consisted solely of salt, and traces of other materials. Hooded, wrapped in several layers of cloth, and a cloth in front of the face, a lone figure wandered through the saltpans, that once were the ocean floor.

Carefully placing steps, probing for unsafe ground wih taps of a staff the figure was not the fastest, but didn’t want to.break through the hard salty crust to get stuck in a puddle of salty sludge.

The sudden sound of a splash, accompanied by thunder as if huge waves broke above, the figure looked up, finding another figure in the air. The second figure had wings, but seemed to be unconscious, flying onward but in a steady decline. Might be some time until she comes down. If it truly is a Naga. After an hour the supposed Naga came down, landing unpleasantly on the salty ground. A cry of pain followed. That woke her.

Still taking care.not to cruah through he surface into sludge the hooded figure continued on. Guided by the Naga’s cries the hooded figure navigated through the salt pans.

 

“You were flying eastwards, you crash landed westward.” the voice of a woman reached Fathala, it seemed distant, all of her body was burning, in every scratch there was salt, her left wing was dislocated, her right wing broken, her right arm didn’t feel much better. “Mirror world?” only now, after crying in pain for a while, did she notice how raw her throat felt, how dry she was.

“Yes.” a hand white as snow appeared from underneath the cloaks. Fathala felt like crying but was too dried up to shed tears. The alabaster woman! She is going to kill me! Another figure appeared above her. Wings like fire, garbed only to hide his private parts. A male Naga, Eric’s ghostly Naga shape. “Do not be afraid of her.” he said in a calm voice. A cold, yet warming touch sent shivers through Fathala’s body, the burning vanished, and the pain in her extremities eased. A healing touch?

“I take it from your reaction to me, that you have heard of me.” the alabaster hand withdrew beneath the cloaks again. “Or rather, of her.” as she removed her hood more white skin was revealed to Fathala, framed by streams of fiery red hair. “The Sphinx had taken possession of me, used me. Not so long ago a young, handsome man had come here, to the sweetwater sea. She used my body to seduce him, to make him bend to her will.” she helped Fathala stand up. “I am Lilly.”

“Fathala. I suppose you don’t carry any water?” Lilly produced a skin and a cup, poured some water into the cup. “We need to ration it.”

Eagerly Fathala gulped down the water.

Upon defeating the sphinxes the last time, one had been left stranded in the mirror world, with her counterparts. Life giving benevolent creatures, who saw no danger in the new arrival. One by one the malevolent sphinx killed her benevolent counterparts, met with no oposition by the people of the mirror world she wreaked havoc on them, murdered them, tore holes in the rim and let the oceans drain into the depths. When she had nothing left to destroy, she turned on Lilly, occupying the immortal anti Succubus, biding her time until she could slip back into the world she belonged to.

War Journal – 1 Swift Wings (ep31)

Heeding the old woman’s warning Fathala turned, no one was paying her much attention anyway. Quickly she slithered up the steep stairs, crossed long hallways, past common rooms.

A soft and gentle growl rose from the rock around her. More and more knights poured out of the rooms, old men, younger men, but still old, young men. Fathala had hoped to see one of the sons Eric had left with the order, to warn them, yo take them with her, but she saw not one.

Soon she found herself out in the open again, from the dry heat of the keep she had cone back to the damp, icy air of an.almost wintery pole.Within.minutes had she flown to he house, dusk was close, not that it matter much with the dark clouds above. For a moment it appeared to her that an immense ray of golden light was engulfing the pole, or at least the mountain with the keep in it.

Roused by the unusual sound of her wings beating the air Thorsten rushed out, his family in tow. We raised him wisely. He had packed some provisions and clothes, on his arm a little child. Fathala couldn’t tell whether itvwas Erica or his own daughter.”We need to leave.” she didn’t waste any breath on long explanations, the ground beneath her grumbled softly. “I thought as much.” he replied, showing his luggage. “Fishers bay is too far away, come father.” He is accepting this better than I thought.

Thorsten led his family west, out to the place where he and Eric had built the first boat, to find an identical ship waiting for them. Fathala felt almost bad for abandoning hers in the middle of the ocean. It would’ve been towed by the Albin ship, and would be inaccessible now as well.

“Tide is out.” Thorsten sounded desperate, but Fathala recalled that he couldn’t know of her ability to let the ship to water.

Mere moments later waves towered over the mast that now seemed tiny by comparison. Although she felt the exhaustion of her powers Fathala kept pushing he ship away from shore, out into the raging storms.

 

Above and behind the wandering, furious mountains of water the tall black rock stood above, barely distinguishable from the dark skies and waters. Deafening thunder roared, making Fathala and Thorsten turn their heads. Just as Fathala had feared, a broad ray of light crossed the skies above, engulfing the mountain.

Another thunder sounded as the top of the rock was torn apart, fire and molten rock spewed forth from it, immediately a plume of ash and smoke rose into the sky, melting through the clouds, forming an even darker cloud above.

“Faster!” she cried to herself, closing her eyes to propel the ship faster through the waters, but exhaustion got the best of her, leaving the ship adrift in the currents of the storms.

 

Relieved she noticed the currents carried them off.

 

Thorsten stood next to her, his hand on the rudder, while she was hanging against the railing of the ship. We’re doomed. Streams of lava ran down the slopes, whilst more ground shaking explosions tore at the peak of the pole mountain. Fathala saw that something massive was spewed up inside the plume, but couldn’t determine if it was chunks of rock and lava or their dreaded enemy. “Wave!” Thorsten’s cry took her attention further down, amassive wave raced towards them. I can’t breathe seawater for long. An hour, maybe two, before I die! she wanted to cry but felt a ghostly touch on her left shoulder. Glancing up, she found Naga Eric smiling down on her benevolently. Returning the smile she rose to her full size, wind caught in her spread wings, ripping her off the deck, dragging her high up.

Deepin the western horizon clouds opened up to send the last rays of daylight into the world. Wereit not for the catastrophe raging around us, this would be a peaceful sight. Good bye my children. She glanced down on the tiny boat dancing on and between the the mighty waves, ahead of the large floodwave. Summoning the remainder of her strength she pushed the little boat away. Far away from the wave pursuing it, where the sea was deep enough forthe wave to disperse in the deep.

Aware that she had no.place to land anymore, she.plunged downwards to catch the massive wave that had threatened the boat until then.

Lit by the light from the west she could see her distorted reflection in the front of the water wall for a moment, before she was struck by a waterfront as strong as rock.

 

Leif smiled as he cradled he bane in his hands. “She is dead, our gift to the world will soon,” he felt the lips of he alabaster woman touch his. “They are here.” she breathed wih a cold smile. “Thanks to you, the dragons have returned.”

Not understanding Leif tried to gatger any meaning from her eyes. But again he felt her lips on his, her tongue searching for his. Before he could resist he felt a sharp stingin his throat.

The alabaster woman stood over him, one hand buried in his hair, one tightly clasped around the arrow she had forced through his throat, she kissed away the blood he spewed up. “I am a dragon, or a chimera or sphinx. We have many names, and I have brought my brethren here. Thanks to you.” she smiled turning to face outwards through the dense curtain of water behind the waterfall.

She felt the coming presence of the other sphinxes, a demented grin jerked the corners of her mouth around. Under a maniacal laugh she ran towards the waterfall.

 

Whlana felt air brushing against her face with increasing intensity. Suddenly liberated from the alabaster Chimera she fought to forget the countless times the creature had spread her legs for Leif. It had left memories in Whlana’s mind. It had been true that the chimeras of the other place were bringers of life, but the alabaster creature had not come from there.

Suddenly Whlana felt the crush, every thought stopped, there was just water and rock, bones like sand and blood everywhere.

Darkness.