- Collision Course
- The Desert and Lake groups edge closer to collision with one another.
- Two Become One
- The Desert and Lake groups collide at last into one chaotic frenzy.
Stella Delphinus, Lake Hylia (Lake), Morning 2
With the remaining ice on the lake becoming dangerously thin Stella decided now was the time to get out of the battlefield all together. Knowing that she had made enemies on both sides of the war Stella was unsure if she could further help the Hylian's, or if they even deserved her help. She needed more time, time to figure out who she could trust, time to discover what had transpired in her thousand year absence. She would get none of it down here in the thick of battle.
Looking up Stella noticed Shadow Kargarok's plucking surviving Twili out from the waters edge and flying them to relative safety on the cliffs. Jumping into the turbulent steamy lake Stella struggled against the heat and the current as she swam through the waves. Yet more than three decades of hailing from the stormy Eastern Ocean more than adequately prepared her to push her Zoran abilities to the max. As a Twili gasped for air at the surface one of the winged beasts swooped in to retrieve him. Luck ran out on the Twili as Stella pushed him away and hijacked his ride.
Holding on for dear life Stella wrapped her webbed hands as tightly around the creatures talons as she could muster. Sure enough the Zora began to take flight. Before she knew it she was hovering over the feuding armies raging on the cliff sides. The Kagarok attempted to drop her off at the nearest Twili controlled area, but Stella refused to let go. Struggling for survival she punched the bird beast's belly repeatedly and swung her legs like a giant pendulum. Throwing it off balance Stella clung to the Kagarok until she was safely away from both sides in the rear.
Dropping down she landed with a thud near the border region stretching out towards the desert. Checking to see that she was not seriously hurt Stella rose to her feet and was now home free. At least she would have been had she not landed in front of a mismatched pack of Hylian special forces. The girl she had purposely left behind in prison was among them.
"What? How did she get out of that dungeon so fast?"
Ella's eyes narrowed in anger as her subject of hatred came into view.
Ella Huntley, Lake Hylia (Outskirts), Morning 2
As Ella and her new companions approach the lake, the true scale of the conflict crept into view. Thousands on both sides engaged in fierce mêlée. Some were locked in tight formation while others had broken into directionless brawls. For a brief moment Ella wondered if her father could be among them fighting as a mercenary for the Huntley families well being. Once she had taken revenge against Stella and fulfilled her promise to Jaden, it was high time to find Marlow and drag him out of the country if necessary.
Scanning the carnage spread across the horizon before her Ella wondered how she was ever going to find that traitor Zora in all this mess. Just then her brows perked up in disbelief as Stella dropped in to find her. The two starred each other down in awkward silence for a moment before Ella made the first move.
"Wrong turn bitch! I'm here to kick your aquatic ass!"
As Ella ran forward in an vengeance fueled furry she tossed a morning star at her Zoran target. Stella narrowly ducked under it and had just enough time to block a swing from Ella's staff. The wooden pole and the bladed halberd traded blows as the fight began. Faster than the untrained eye could keep up with Ella spun her staff at Stella with the intent to kill.
"OK. I can see your obviously a bit upset about what happened earlier. But wait! There's something important I have to tell you" shouted Stella in an exasperated tone.
"Don't try and backpedal your way out of this Stella." Having none of her nonsense Ella threw another throwing star as the two pole arms locked together. Her opponent deflected it with a swipe of her free fin, but her strength was clearly wearing thin.
"Please listen to me. I've made a huge mistake!"
"Then I'll ensure its the last one you never have" replied Ella.
Ella swung vertically aiming for the head. But Stella parried the blow and tripped the Hylian girl to the ground with a kick to the rear of her shins. Strangely the Zora warrior didn't move in for the kill but instead moved in with a war of words.
"Listen. We're in the future. Both of us! Somehow we've traveled through centuries worth of time. It's currently twenty-one... something years After Demise. The Zora and Hylian's aren't at war anymore. We don't have to fight each other any longer. Please Ella you've got to believe me!"
Ella stopped for a moment in bewilderment, but only to scoff off her remarks. "Humph. I really can't tell if your that bad at lying, or if your insane enough to actually believe that."
"Fine. Don't believe me." Stella pointed to the group around them witnessing the fight as spectators. "Believe them. Ask them what year it is. Ask your friends if your accent sounds ancient. Ask them if King Dromand's still alive."
The Zora turned to the members of Darrel's marines.
"I don't wish to fight any of you. We're both speaking in Ancient Hylian aren't we? Then tell her what year it is and I can end this."
Jaden, Twili Desert Camp, Morning 2
Darrel's call could not have come sooner. The Twili had been fully exterminated, and the group was ready to assemble and continue. Jaden felt very disturbed about what had happened. Not only here, but he could feel the Chieftain's presence coming from the lake. The Chieftain was not normally one to take up arms unless it was a last stand situation. His mind was far more valuable than his body in his old age.
And why was there so much flame? The violet blasts had stopped, and smoke was rising. Black smoke. Things were still burning, and Ella was waiting on Jaden to make his next move. She wanted to get to the Lake just as bad as he did...
"Screams have stopped. Looks like we're done here. I'll help us all get there faster. Form up on me. We charge!"
Tapping deep within himself, he shared his gift of fleet-foot with the group, causing them to be able to march at the speed of a horse at full gallop.
As the horizon's view was warping before their eyes, Jaden saw an unfamiliar creature cradling his barely conscious sister. She was glowing brightly, most likely after heavy use of her abilities. Why was an angel carrying her? Was she dying? Did she bring back help from the Sacred Realm? Where was Elly amidst all this? And why was the Chieftain at the lake?
The two were still a ways off, but Jaden called out to Darrel in pure confusion.
"It's Kae! And a real tall angel! Why are they running away?"
Darrel had a stern look of concern on his face, but motioned for Jaden to keep moving. Most likely Kae was looking for Jaden, and things must have gone very wrong for Nayru's Scion to be fleeing.
Jaden's hands were ready to draw in case the angel was hostile...
Aris and Kae, Lake Hylia Outskirts, Morning 2
Aris had to become very creative to keep Kae from passing out. As he kept moving away from the battle at large, there were hordes of zombies blocking the way. He advised Kae to assist them in making their own.
"Lady Bryseis, lay waste to these undead wretches! Clear passage away from this madness."
As the Scion raised her celestial arm to open fire on the blazing zombies, she felt three strange presences from behind them. One was very striking in resemblance to something she thought she felt after hitting the tree. Why had the Chieftain left the Redoubt? Would he have joined an open field battle instead of running the entire tribe's ops? She felt the Eye of Truth being used...twice now...and a primordial presence matching the one that had taken her arm! Had Isaac found the Chieftain? Was he in danger? And lastly, a measure of the Twili's dark magicks had strongly registered in her senses. Something else had gone horribly wrong. They had to get back and help.
"I'll do it if we must, but if you didn't feel all that power coming from where we were, listen to me. We have to get back and cover the escape to Eldin! Elly is back there! So are what's left of my people's forces. My leader is there! And so are other dangers!"
Aris shook his head violently and increased his speed away from danger. At least these hordes were manageable.
"I will do nothing of the sort. That battle is lost, and you will not be lost with it!"
Choking back tears as she struggled to lift her head, Kae let loose a flurry of Lunar blasts, fragmenting tens of undead at a time. She had to keep firing. Even if her lover was callous and pragmatic, protecting her was his top priority. She couldn't fault him for that, but she did anyhow for leaving Elly behind. Dying would render everything moot, however.
He commended her for being able to get through safely, and for a few moments, they were in the clear. But the ground began to turn to brushland, not the rocky soil around Eldin that Kae had described during their time in the Sacred Realm. They were headed away incorrectly!
Oddly enough, this proved to be a moment of bittersweet serendipity. Kae spotted a band of warriors running toward them, and at first, she wasn't sure what side they fought for. But daylight had come. The Sun was rising, and its Knight marched among their number, as did Jaden.
"Aris, it's my brother! And Darrel Mytura! They march from whence we came. We must form up with them."
Gritting his teeth, he nodded and turned around, hovering alongside the Scion's brother. Introductions would come later. Warnings had to come first.
"I must warn all of you that you approach a lost cause. The Twili used their dark magicks to overtake our forces, and the combined forces of a Primordial and potentially your Sheikah Chieftain have shattered the frozen lake. Purest black evil resides under its waters based on the concussed ravings of Lady Bryseis. If we all go together, we help our allies get back to Eldin."
Darrel Mytura, Southwest Pass, Morning Two
Jaden's ability lent them speed, enough to close the intervening span between the staging area, now a trampled ruin of corpses and bloody sand, and the looming hills. The urgency, they all felt it. They'd been waylaid too long, and the Twili had been able to make their assault on the lake's frozen surface without delay. The Hylians would have the better fortified position at the far edge, controlling the ascent into Lanayru's highland terrain, but against the Twili numbers and the Twili magicks, he feared they would be fighting a losing battle.
They passed through the mouth of the southern pass at a blurred sprint, and were nearly at the apex of their ascent when Jaden called them all to a halt with a sudden shout.
"It's Kae! And a real tall angel! Why are they running away?"
Darrel skidded to a halt, frowning. His heart pounded vigorously against his ribcage. Kae? Could it be? He'd seen the flashes of light coming from the lake before daylight hid them from his sight, but he wasn't sure he'd believed that it could really be Kae.
But sure enough, the angel hovered into view, tall enough to make even the tallest of men, even Chamdar himself, seem average or even short by comparison. And cradled in his arms protectively, even, perhaps, lovingly was Kae.
Darrel's heart sank a bit at seeing her. In the six months, he had been leading a losing war effort against the Twili, regardless of how much success they'd seen in the field. It had been like unto a cucco attempting to consume an adult dodongo one nibbling bite at a time. Their progress had been minimal at best. A stalling tactic. He had harbored a hope, deep inside, that Kae's return would turn the tide and the constant pressure would abate. The Twili would be set to scurrying. As he looked upon her now, ragged and beaten in a way he'd rarely seen her, he began to lose that hope.
"I must warn all of you that you approach a lost cause. The Twili used their dark magicks to overtake our forces, and the combined forces of a Primordial and potentially your Sheikah Chieftain have shattered the frozen lake. Purest black evil resides under its waters based on the concussed ravings of Lady Bryseis. If we all go together, we help our allies get back to Eldin."
His expression was stern, even cold. No, he realized now that he would not be able to set aside his burden anytime soon. He looked to Jaden briefly, then back to the angel.
"We will proceed as planned, and hit the Twili's rear flanks. If things go so poorly as you say, that will at least give their forward ranks reason to turn about. If we're lucky, it will allow the defenders on the far edge of the lake a chance to disengage and make a tactical withdrawal to a defensible position." And if we survive, we'll join them after. "We've delayed here too long. Let's move."
Southwest Overlook, Morning Two
Their ascent through the pass complete, Darrel stood still holding Horus draped across one shoulder, and stared down from the heights of the mountainous boundary, into oblivion.
To the western side of the lake, the Twili lines were still intact, a roiling mass of dun skin and black armor that chilled his heart. To the far side, though he could not see clear across through the curtain of steam rising like a sheet between, the Hylians were staggered, reeling. This was a rout. At the heart of the lake, the sheet of mystical ice had been torn apart and whipped into a swirling maelstrom whence a palpable darkness, a sickness that nearly made him sick even from his distance, emanated.
The muscles in his jaw flexed. It was as the angel had said. The lake was lost, and there would be no reclaiming it. All that was left now was the salvage what little they could, withdraw, and regroup in hopes that they might find some way to turn back this pall lying across the land.
He felt drained. The heart of him, the belief in victory, was bleeding away. It was as though his spirit withered. Kae was a mess. Horus too. Jaden's men brought with them the betrayer. They had arrived too late.
"It's lost..." he murmured, more to himself than to those clustered around him. He didn't care that the words might be misconstrued. They had failed.
He had failed. The Twili would soon ascend from the lake and spread like a blight across Lanayru, and from there into Eldin. The mountain would be their last chance at a strong position, but only if they had forces left to hold it.
Just then, a single ray of the morning sun pierced the billowing clouds of steam from the east and played warmth across his face. He inhaled, hearing Helen's soft whisper in his mind once more.
You will have to find your way without them.
There was nothing for it now, no use in dwelling on what couldn't be changed. They needed to do what they could to survive.
To the north of their position, the calls of winged beasts and the beat of enormous, unfurled wings brought his attention. Massive argoroks took flight from the cliff's edge further on, wheeling in the air and winging toward their position with Twili mounted on their backs.
Some day, I think, you'll realize what you are capable of.
It was time.
His spirit roared to life again, a living, unseen flame within him that suffused him with strength. Only this time it was different, for there was no hope in it, only determination brought on by the absolute necessity of what needed doing. As Jaden had done extending the range of his speed boost to the rest, he let that strength of spirit extend beyond himself and into the hearts and minds of those with him. To do what needed doing, they would need what strength and resilience he could offer. They would fight harder now, the strength of their sword arms pushed beyond mortal limits.
"Henreth," he called back to the armored youth. Something about the boy, strange speech and all, made him want to trust him. "You acquitted yourself admirably back there. I need something else from you now. Keep your squad of the Knight's Sword and hold this hillside. Cover our descent. Follow when you're able."
He turned to Jaden, who met his gaze with a determined one all his own.
"You know what to do."
And with that, he shifted Horus to his left shoulder and drew Morning's Edge in his right hand. As the argoroks and the warriors they carried bore down on their position, he stepped to the edge and leaped clear. The sword in his fist began to gleam with a golden radiance as he plummeted, its brilliance gradually building. As the wind tore at him, threatening to rip Horus' limp form from his grasp, he turned the blade down and dropped into the midst of the Twili's rear lines.
The explosion of spirit energies as his blade met the earth tore a hole in their lines, sending soldiers and pieces of soldiers spiraling through the air to rain down amongst their brothers and sisters in arms.
Sha'Tive, Lake Hylia, Morning 2
The three arrived nearby the Lake far quicker than any of them had imagined they would; the sun had barely budged since they left the walls of Hyrule Castle Town behind. The sight that they were met with was terrible, but encouraging for the three of them. Sha'Tive quietly stifled a giggle as they walked among the forgotten dead on the lakeside, carefully stepping over corpses that had been dragged over by something big, if the impressions in the dirt were any indication. Dean quickly observed that they weren't merely walking past the dead, but rather an abandoned burial ground. He muttered about the pointlessness of it before remembering that with Prince gone, so was the chance to add those lost in the fight to their numbers. He cursed the inconvenience before remembering himself, catching up with the other two, who had crouched near one of the corpses.
"This Hylian is obviously a woman...' Sha'Tive said under her breath, '...Just barely though, with how mangled she became in death. Probably wasn't a pretty exit."
She smiled as those final words left her lips.
"Was' th' plan you cooking, miss?" Stewart croaked, tightening a nut on his wrist absent-mindedly.
"...I'm going to get to Horus without anyone knowing."
"Yes, and all it takes is a little disguise."
Dean scratched his head as he joined the crouched huddle, keeping an eye out for stragglers.
"I see what you're planning, Sha'Tive, but there's one problem."
"What's that?" Sha'Tive raised her brow at Dean.
Dean gestured her body generally with a quick hand gesture.
"Your skin. It's unmistakably Twili, there's no way they'll be tricked."
Sha'Tive stroked her face as she recalled what she looked like. She hadn't considered the fact that her mutation into a being of Twilight was going to be a factor. She frowned at the corpse, her plan crumbling apart...Only to mend itself as she investigated the corpse's belongings. Folded and tucked away under the woman's belt was a bloodied dainty handkerchief, soiled further by the dirt that the body rested in. Sha'Tive took it and looked it over, the gears in her black and white head turning before a smirk met her face as she looked up to her subordinates.
"So...' She started, breaking the thoughtful silence, '...Here's how I'll do it."
Raising the handkerchief to her face, Sha'Tive wrapped it around her head, concealing her right eye and the black flesh on her face underneath the bloodied and muddied cloth. She pulled tightly as she finished tying it behind her head, giving Dean a knowing fanged grin.
"I cover the onyx with this, then I cover my pearly flesh with the dirt we have here, and voila!~' she punctuated her last word with a hand smearing dirt on her face, 'I'm a Hylian woman who has gone pale from shock and has seen hell. Now help me get this armor off this stupid cow."
The two von Jarls looked at each other incredulously before shrugging and moving to drag the corpse into a nearby bush to disrobe it. As bad a plan as this kind of espionage was, it was a step up from what they were used to, which was no plan at all. Working together, the three of them were able to get Sha'Tive dressed behind some brush into the Hylian set of armor, helm, hilt and all in almost no time flat. Completely unused to being dressed, she took some time adjusting, walking back and forth and trying sitting and standing positions in the heavy disguise as Dean and Stewart watched on in silent amusement.
"Alright, that's enough time wasted...' Sha'Tive sighed finally, 'So here's the plan...'
Sha'Tive's comrades silently stood at attention, smiling with excitement. Finally, some action for the both of them; It was about time.
"I'm going to run into view of one of those stupid 'Light Warriors', pretending to be trying to regroup with some of 'my' kind. It's a time of desperation for their side if Horus' state is indicative of their whole group, they'll take any help they can get so they won't question it."
"And us?" Dean interrupted, forgetting himself in his lack of patience.
"You are coming with me, since you're feeling so pushy.' Sha'Tive pointed at him accusingly. 'You're going to be my 'attacker', because part of my act is going to have to include me being overwhelmed, just like the Hylians were at this lake. I'm going to use this to try and 'ward' you off, then one of them will have to come save the day and take me in..."
"This is an awful idea..." Stewart said to himself, flicking a gear on his mechanical arm.
"...From then I play things out and when I find an opening, I'll tear them apart from the inside out. All it takes is for me to kill one of their own, then the seeds of doubt plant themselves when I make my escape. The rest will take care of itself."
"How long do you think it will take?" Dean asked, furrowing his brow.
Sha'Tive paused for a moment, considering that question.
"...I don't know how long it will take but in case things go bad, Dean I want you to stay close after the initial act. Keep to the shadows, don't make any sounds. We don't need to breathe, so that's the easy part, but..."
The three of them were startled by the roaring crack of Darrel's spirit-bound attack, which echoed through the air far and wide; A declaration of strength and determination.
"...We need to go, so I'll keep things quick for you, Stewart. I'll need you t-"
"I'm stayin' 'ere fer now." The bald zombie said abruptly, quickly bowing in attempt to pardon his rudeness.
"I smell som'thing I don't like in 'is place. I'm gon' investigate." He grouchily turned to the lake, popping the knuckles of his one real hand. 'An' if my gut isn't lyin', I'm gon' to a score that has waited too long t'be settled."
The other two nodded at his initiative before disappearing into the brush, towards Darrel's attack and Horus' scent to begin their act. Stewart leaned against a tree, watching the chaotic waters carefully.
"Y'all go git yerselfs killed...Now as for ye in th' water...Y'better not be who I think ye is, I swear to Farore's fifth nip..."
Umbra, January 2, 2108, Lake Hylia Battlefield
Umbra kicked back on the chilled silt of the Lake's floor, fingers folded behind her head and ankles crossed. Her eyes slewed wily-nily about the water's surface, watching as those above died their pointless deaths, as the duskshard made its inexorable way back to her.
"Come, now, my children." she hummed. "Listen to my song. Come, away, forever."
A thin smile tugged at the corners of her lips. The first of the tendrils of duskshard growing down through the waters had reach her. She held out her left hand, allowing the small particles of darkness to spin together into a marble atop her palm. She stroked it softly with her right hand.
"Live with me." she continued her song in a whisper to the slowly expanding wad of clay. "Lie with me. Come with me. Die with me."
Her lips pressed to it with a faint maternal kiss. It almost seemed to squirm in happiness at the attention. But her ministrations were interrupted in a two-fold explosion of violence. The waters of the depths, darkened by the emulsion of duskshard, began to brighten and brighten, all in an instance, glowing hot with pure light and bubbling under the heat of that light, piercing deep down to the lakebed in pillars of pure intensity. Even as this luminosity built in a thunderous calamity, a gurgling voice full of malice rose with it, shouting against the coming explosion.
""You..." it boomed, '...Leave...Now!!!"
How unique, how now. A tree that could walk, in this realm? Well, the Hylians did have their elemental spirits, too, after all. Still, this single psychotic sylvan sentinel was less of lesser concern. She could already feel the flow of its sap, like an unmeasured heartbeat without a heart, how familiar that feeling, now, the lines of veins throughout it suffused with the dusk through its own roots, sucking greedily at the water around it, sucking greedily at the poison which would bring it truth. This thing, whatever it was, it already belonged to her, as all the Lake, as all the Twili, as soon the world, no matter what all they could realize in their limited capacities, no matter what they thought their actions meant, self-volition damn them!
And the lights, well, Light and Darkness, both the same. She was Umbra, that which straddles the frame of the Light and the depths of the Dark, and neither could harm her, as each gave her form and strength. Cruel joke, following the pillars with her mind's eye. A Twili, too. Cruel joke, that staff from whence the light was fired, like being slapped by your own severed arm. 'Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.' Damn the goddesses! Such a twisted humour to be attacked twice, three times, in one primary instant by these rebellious slaves, poor limited beings that didn't even know their own place in the world, floundering and squirming through life; lost, alone, directionless.
She grimaced at that. If only they did know! If only, in their limited capacities, they could understand what this world was, what it meant. Damn them and their petty concerns!
"You need a teacher! You need guidance! You need truth and meaning!"
Umbra threw out her left hand as she shouted, and the head-sized ball of duskshard went out form her palm, both collecting with it more mass and leaving behind a thin string of itself, tied around Umbra's middle finger. The ever-expanding sphere broke into a multitude of smaller yet still-expanding spheres, each which began to spread flat, becoming each an ever-expanding disc until they all slammed into the pillars of light, absorbing that blinding brightness, sending all that energy down the tendrils into Umbra's hand, which she focused through her body into her right hand and released, once again, in all its magnitude, upon the assaulting tree moments before its giant wooden fist could find purchase on her flesh.
Half the discs slammed down, pinning the tree-creature to the lakebed. That one could wait
The other half of the discs rose, further onward, to grab the Twili assailant and drag it through the depths to her. The duskshard discs surrounded the figure, pressing, compressing, forcing its painful way through pores, into nose and mouth and ears and eyes, invading the body, to sit in bricks of clay in the creature's lungs, breathing magic through veins where once air flowed. This conversation would take a while, no use if the prisoner drowned. This lesson would last a lifetime, best to make the student have a full one.
"Hello, son," she purred at her captive, "you've been very naughty. Care to explain yourself to mother?"
Treant, Lake Hylia, Morning 2
Treant barely felt the great chunk of condensed clay slam its body hard onto the lakebed, but it closed its eyes in acceptance of death all the same. Moments passed as the murky water calmed along with the displaced sand from the impact before Treant opened its eyes once more, realizing that its end wasn't so near after all. Rising to its feet, the tree beast held the clay up high over it's head before letting it rest with a thunderous thud on the watery ground before it's feet. It stood there for some time, considering the options it could take before coming to a moment of clarity.
"...Lake...gone...Lost...cause..." Treant mumbled in a bitter, mournful tone.
What was once a beautiful lake was soiled beyond saving. There was nothing left that the Treant as it was could do. Hanging its head, the tree creature abandoned its previous gusto and pursuit in trying to save the once crystal clear lake, and began its lumbering walk to the surface. It wasn't too long, ten minutes at most, until it arrived from the depths, resurfacing subtly out of the water and back onto the ever familiar lakeside dirt and grass. Only a seconds hesitation gave it pause before it continued its stride back into the trees, without looking back. A moment of panic struck the Treant as it found its ever idle companion laying on the ground. Quick to it's knees, it scooped the fallen body from the ground, holding it close and checking around like a concerned, overly protective parent. Panic melted away to relief as it found nothing wrong with the body, but relief became concern within seconds.
Who would move the body? Why? The tree looked around, it's beady eyes darting around, through and past the trees and brush around it, in attempt to find anyone, or anything that may have disturbed it's beloved friend. It's panicked form came to relax as nothing of note seemed to be found. Treant hugged the body close as it rose to its feet. Perhaps their companion was just simply improperly placed and it fell...Maybe. Giving the immediate area one more sweep, the newly magically powered and clay-armored Treant continued on into the forest. It was no longer safe where it once lived. This horrible creature that now soiled the lake with its presence wasn't going to stop with just the water, something a creature as simple as Treant was able to understand. As much as it loved this place, it knew when to cut losses.
Though it moved it's body slowly, its pace was rather hurried compared to its typical stride. It's one instinct was to get as far away as possible, which was cut off as it found a mess of decayed bodies on the ground. Zombies, whom had been felled again, lying on the ground as static as the Treant's friend lay in their arms. Another instinct kicked in, to bury the dead and honor their memory, but this instinct was once more overrode by a discovery concerning the fresh injuries on the bodies as it leaned over to check. These poor souls were felled by magic...The same magic that woman used...The woman the Treant had a score to settle with. Anger swelled up in its chest as it let loose a angry growl from within, rumbling through its hardened roots and clay armor. Its anger was suddenly interrupted however, with a voice, which seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once.
"No...We must not be angry with her...It isn't she who did this to us...She's different now...kinder...weaker...The woman we seek would have killed us in a stroke."
"Treant...Kill...Suffer...For...This...' It muttered to itself, looking at its mighty hands. 'For...Ruin...Life..."
"Beth did change us, yes...But our anger is misguided! Who we are looking for is gone...Quell your anger, please...We must save our strength."
"We need to find that woman and quickly!"
"No! We've done enough! We've almost robbed ourselves of any way to change back...We must find her again, before she succumbs."
"She's the only person we even know who can do anything for us. She can maybe save us..."
"...Us..." Treant repeated itself wistfully as it looked down at the body its consciousness once inhabited. "...Save..."
It shook its head slowly, sighing deeply before continuing its stride, following the path of carnage as quickly as it could. Stealth be damned. The voice had a point that the Treant was willing to accept, at least for now. Anything to be normal again...Anything.
Two Become One
CONTINUES FROM Dry Run P#205
Henreth, Twili Desert Encampment, Morning into Day Two
Henreth regrouped with the others, waiting to hear what happens now. They needed to get to the nearby lake.
"Screams have stopped. Looks like we're done here. I'll help us all get there faster. Form up on me. We charge!"
Jaden was apparently using magic because Henreth could now feel himself being endowed with energy. The others took off at speeds no normal human can achieve alone, and he quickly followed.
They were finally close enough to get a clear view of the lake. Previously stated earlier to have been frozen solid, now there were chunks of ice both large and small floating about in the water. On the western bank of the lake, Twili were pulling themselves out of the water, but there were no Hylians to be found anywhere, not any that Henreth could see. This was polar opposite to their victory at the encampment.
"It's lost..." Darrel was heard saying under his breath. Henreth could understand, the very event they were seemingly trying to prevent has already happened behind their collective back.
The cries of creatures were heard coming from the north. Large dragon-like beings could be seen taking to the skies. Upon closer inspection, Twili could be seen riding on the backs of these animals, like they were no different than horses. And the fliers were heading towards the group.
After a couple moments, Darrel seemed to have recovered from his slump, showing more determination than ever previously displayed. It was at this time Henreth could feel more energy flowing through him. Where the previous energy made him feel faster, this time he felt stronger.
"Henreth, You acquitted yourself admirably back there. I need something else from you now. Keep your squad of the Knight's Sword and hold this hillside. Cover our descent. Follow when you're able."
Without waiting for a response, Darrel turned to face Jaden. "You know what to do."
Darrel, with the unconscious Rito still on his shoulder, then jumped down and hit the ground with explosive force, beginning his assault on the Twili.
Just in time as well, for the Dragon-mounted Twili have just arrived. Henreth quickly charged up a sword beam, preparing to fight.
Senshi, Lake Hylia, Morning 2
Taur had closed the distance faster than Senshi could have expected making it all the more apparent how out matched he was at the moment. He was beginning to wonder if he would even be able to run.
It was then that Taur said something completely baffling, "There’s no need for your blood to be spilled, worm. My Lady only wishes to reclaim what is hers and you have been claimed. We don’t have to be enemies.”
The questions that that statement left Senshi with were numerous, but more importantly it would give him time to stall. He had a rough idea of how long it would take for another canon shot. He'd just have to hope Misha hadn't gotten to the gunners yet to tell them to redirect their fire.
Senshi started to buy himself some time and maybe get an answer or two about this new threat, "Your lady? I see you've move up since leaving Pepperwhistle. Though I have to say I'm disappointed in you Dagnir. All that time around con-artists like Zeiss and Pepperwhistle and you never learned how to a decedent pitch. I mean for one you should know a threat of violence alone wouldn't be enough to get me to go with you, you know I'm a fighter. And there there's this lady of yours, it would help to tell me who she is and what she wants with me. After all what you said doesn't make sense. She wants to reclaim what's hers and now she's claiming me. Well then she wouldn't be reclaiming me, it would be a brand new claim. Unless there's some detail you're leaving out."
A shot rang off in the distance. Senshi started to count his blessings that it came sooner than he had expected. The second he heard the ball whistle through the air he tried his damnedest to focus on it and use it telekinesis to alter its path just enough.
"Oh well, guess we're out time. We can finish this talk later, but in the mean time I'm going to have to decline your offer," as soon as he finished talking a the canon ball came crashing down towards the over buffed Darknut giving Senshi the moment he needed to put some distance between the two of them and hopefully enough time to regroup with the others.
Simeon Ryssdal, Lake Hylia (Underwater), Morning 2
Simeon watched with horror as the attack he poured all his might into was absorbed by the figure on the lakebed. Never before had his magic been so casually brushed aside. Somehow this being had mastered the abilities Simeon thought only he could control. The Twili commander struggled to keep from panicking as his lungs rattled with the feeling of asphyxiation. He needed to breathe, but was far too deep now to make it to the surface.
Searching for a way to save himself, Simeon found nothing. He reached the conclusion he was going to die. What a painful way to go thought the Twili as water started to enter his lungs. To be killed not by sword but through drowning was such a humiliating end. Simeon thought how Zephyra would be left a childless widow all because of his careless strategy. At least this time around he had a reason to care if he lived or died. After all the early mistakes, this time he could go in good conscience knowing he had done the will of the dusk.
Gagging silently in the darkness Simeon awaited the final pain of death. The agony he felt next was nothing short of inhuman. As the shards of blackness violated his existence every part of his being seared in torment. His eyes burned, his teeth gashed, his airways collapsed upon itself. Yet this was not death. Coming to his senses Simeon found himself unharmed, and very much alive on the rocky abyssal plain.
To call his labored acts of respiration "breathing" would be fallacious. The horrid tasting mud that coated his lungs was nothing like the odorless oxygen people subsided on. But no longer was he at risk of drowning. Finding himself before Umbra, Simeon realized he had been saved by the very creature he tried to kill. He stood in awestruck at the woman's frame of pure darkness, as beautiful and frightening as a raging tornado.
"Hello, son, you've been very naughty. Care to explain yourself to mother?"
"Mother? What are you..." Simeon stopped himself upon finding his voice carried sound through water. Whatever this woman was it obviously saw value in keeping him alive. Perhaps the wisest course of action was to proceed diplomacy through reasoning with her. After all he stood no chance in fighting her. Maybe he could use this to the Twili's advantage.
"I am Simeon Ryssdal, Baron of East Kheyja and commander of the Twili forces in this region. I was in the midst of battle along with the rest of my men when the lake broke open and we fell in. I assumed you were a Hylian and attacked you as such."
Simeon paused for a moment.
"You are a being of the dusk are you not? Then there is no reason for us to be enemies. I fight in the name of our duskshard religion, a faith the Hylian's consider blasphemy. Release my men and together we can crush these violent nonbelievers!"
Umbra, Beneath Lake Hylia, Morning 2
Umbra blinked, head tilted slightly to the side, as this Simeon spoke. A slow smile climbed its way into her expression. Being of the Dusk! Ha! For all their worship, these Twili certainly knew very lightly. As with all religious zealots, so hopelessly devoted to a cause they little even understood.
"Oh," she said, reach up to brush away a flow of hair that had drifted across his face in the water's lazy wafting, "you poor creature. You being of the Dusk. You don't even know who I am, do you?"
She tutted at him, as a disappointed mother was, after all, supposed to do, and wrapped her arms around his head, pulling him to a maternal embrace in her bosom.
"Yes, yes. You are the being of the Dusk. Molded by it. Formed in it in your infancy. Twisted, shaped. Broken down and drawn up. You, guardian of light, sentinel of darkness. Passing gasping life-filled husk of being. That which this is no longer is all you can ever hope and strive to be."
She caressed the back of his head, stroking his hair, eyes turned to the surface of the Lake, peering after her toy Darknut.
"I am Umbra. I am the perfect cast shadow. I am the darkness and the light."
She pulled his hair, forcing his head backward to stare wide-eyed into her face.
"I AM the Dusk and the Twilight."
Jaden Bryseis, Lake Hylia Outskirts, Morning 2
Ella was full of remarkable vigor with how she charged alongside her mentor. It didn't make sense how she knew him, and he was still wrapping his head around it. But he did not detect psychosis like the other newcomers had. At least until she caught sight of a female Zora, she was level-headed.
But that Zora and Ella exchanged fightin' words. Pretty savage ones at that.
"You speak of days long gone. This is 2108, ladies! You're lucky I speak your dialect, otherwise we'd all be trying to kill each other!"
Jaden motioned to Ella to stay her blade, but she held her ground...
Darrel gave Jaden his favorite set of orders possible. To raise hell. Unit Zero did not accompany him this time, and filled with the Spirit Strength, he took Starcaller in his right hand and a morningstar in his left, ready to eviscerate any infidels that entered his view. As he scanned the field, he saw plenty ripe for the taking...
"Angel boy, dear sister, you both ought to join me. This is going to be fun-"
Something in his peripheral vision really bothered him. Set him off in a way nothing else could. Reaching for his flask, he emptied its contents straight down his throat, and then he threw it violently on the ground. Filled with blind, visceral rage, he began to shift form...
Taking on the Major Arcana of Defiance, he grew to nearly ten feet in height, turning translucent and ruby red. His skeletal framework and discernable anatomy all took the form of stars and their swirling parts. Roaring like a wild beast, he took up arms and charged headlong into the thickest parts of the Twili who had remained behind. And though normally he would strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, his Arcana released unnatural mental compulsions that provoked all hostiles in his proximity.
"YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME, YOU BASTARDS!!! OPEN YOUR VEINS!!!"
He could feel the Chieftain's presence, and while he knew he would be censured for this, it didn't matter anymore. Jaden was turning Twili troops into steaming piles of giblets with minimal impact. And even though their compatriots could see they had no chance, they could not help but rush at this intergalactic monstrosity and meet their end. They kept chattering that they had to kill it, and more just kept coming at him as he mowed them down with obliterating swaths of his weapons. As one group fell, he charged into another. He was drunk, livid, and indifferent. And he wasn't going to stop.
Kae and Aris, Lake Hylia Outskirts, Morning 2
Aris was very surprised that no orders were given to him by the Sunrise Knight. He had learned of Darrel's heroics during his studies, and was glad to have met him, even though it was not in a formal manner. As a result, he fell back to his original charge, keeping his Scion safe.
"I feel renewed, Aris. Let me to my feet once more, and I can take my brother up on his invitation. Nothing less than a Pyrrhic victory is acceptable to me."
He complied with her wishes to an extent before seeing Jaden take up the flask, and he covered his face with his palm when he heard the guttural yells. Kae's jaw went slack, and she was about to give chase and cover her enraged brother. Before she could step too far, Aris gripped her celestial arm and shook his head.
"It would be your last battle. Spirit Strength infusion or not, you risk a severe acquired brain injury. Do not dishonor your people or her memory. Wisdom would leave you at best, your life at worst. Jaden is built to take on impossible odds-"
The ground tremored at their back, and they could both see the savage Treant closing the gap quickly.
"We may not have a choice, love."
It did not take aggressive action, oddly enough. Instead, it lay the corpse that Kae saw earlier before them. It asked her to save them...and all the hate kept flooding her mind. What terrible fate had befallen the forest being?
"Promise me you will not take up arms and I will try. You see, whatever rage filled you before, it's old. Older than myself. Not as old as Aris here, but pretty old. Whoever beheaded this poor girl is long since dead. And from the looks of things you think I'm her. Or it. I don't know. The first step toward letting go, it's forgiveness. It is the hardest thing to offer someone, because nine times out of ten, they don't deserve it. But in the end, it makes you the better person. Or being. Sure, what they did was awful. But if you stay bitter toward them, it's like poisoning yourself and hoping they die because of it."
Aris kept a very close eye on Kae as she took a few steps toward the gargantuan forest creature. He was about to speak words of caution, but she continued.
"Minutes earlier, you tried to kill me. I've been at war for months. Naturally, I should attack you. But I didn't understand. I'm trying. And for what it's worth, I forgive you, forest being. Wisdom is discernment, and I know what you were then is not the core of your character. Join up with my people, follow us. We can help you work through all of this when we get to safety. Please. We can save you, if you allow us to."
Though he did not approve of this course of action, he was proud of Kae for trying to be the better person. He would not have forgiven anyone. He never had to. Redemption to him was vanquishing anyone who wronged him. He didn't make things right in the Sacred Realm. He made them even.
Treant, Lake Hylia Outskirts, Morning 2
Treant ground its teeth-like jaws together, every fiber in its being screaming to strangle the life from the woman who stood before them. Nothing filled it with more desire and excitement than making her a smear across the soft earth, but Kae's kind words and the persistent voice in its head kept it from acting on instinct. With their limited social ability, Treant was relieved that little needed to be said for their situation to be known, and confusion wasn't met; That would have made the killing intent come roaring back with certainty.
"Please stay patient...We can do this if we focus hard enough on what's most important..." The voice reassured knowingly. Said voice was really the only thing holding back Treant's rage, as if it was shackled by rationalization itself.
"...What...Will...I...Do?" Treant rumbled, keeping to the kneeling position it had taken to level the height difference, and to minimize a physically convenient posture that would allow stomping Kae into paste without a thought.
"Strong...But...' It paused, looking down at the ground as it closed it's eyes as if in pain.
"...Broken..." It rested a hand on the body it had laid down in front of Kae as it almost whispered its last word.
Murmurs of a voice that did not belong whispered in the deeper corners of Treant's mind, but it was subtle and gentle. It made a quick decision to ignore it; There was a bit more to fret about at large than voices in it's head...Again.
Darrel Mytura, Lake Hylia (Behind Twili Lines), Morning Two
The world was a crimson mist. After the devastation wrought by Darrel's initial plummet into the rear ranks of the Twili army, most in his vicinity had turned toward the source of the disturbance. Twili bearing swords, spears, and every other weapon of war imaginable crowded in, only to find their foe intractable. Jaw set, eyes ablaze, Darrel was a stormwind, a tornado, as he slashed through metal to bite deep into the dun skin that sheltered beneath.
The air was alive with sound and fury, shouts and the clangor of combat, and the Sunrise Knight found his center. Morning's Edge was a fiery blur, lashing this way and that, always a hair's breadth from allowing some enemy weapon to sheathe itself in his flesh--or into that of the avian ally lying limp over his left shoulder--always eliciting a spray of blood in the act of turning them aside. Bodies pressed in on all sides, desperate to forestall his advance, bid toward him by the calls of their captains, but he advanced. The sun warmed his face, the strength and clarity of purpose it brought he dealt back upon the Twili in strong measure.
The way opened behind him, and as his half of the Knights Sword filed in behind him, spears or swords leveled and shields raised, they pressed forward.
"Golems! Bring him down!" The strangled cry of an officer snapped at him over the din.
Twili soldiers drew back, allowing Darrel a moment's respite. He almost wished they hadn't, so lost in the moment was he. Motion was death. Five hundred years of combat training had turned him into a weapon, and he finally had an enemy against whom he could bring that weapon to bear. It was freeing. It was without the burden of command decisions. It was necessity.
The pause did not last long. Lumbering beasts of stony dark clay, enormous, animated by vile magicks, imbued with incredible strength, charged through the faltering lines of the Twili infantry. They towered head and shoulders over him, and they moved as though they intended to grind him into a paste upon the ice with no thought for themselves. Mindless. Weapons of destruction without thought for self-preservation.
As though shrugging off a burdensome sack slung across his shoulder, Darrel cast Horus back across the ice and allowed the Sword to form a shield-wall between the limp Rito and the enemy. Then, face still and hard as stone, he snatched up a Twili shield in his left and hurled himself forward, rolling through his dive to come up in the midst of the golems. Walking siege engines they were, but ponderous in close range combat. He ducked a blow and let one golem take a deep chunk out of the hip and oblique of one if its compatriots. His blade lashed out as he spun, narrowly deflecting another mighty fist with the borrowed shield, which crumpled beneath the blow, and it cut neatly through the upper leg of his assailant. The beast staggered and fell, crippled but still dangerous. No, these were not creatures crafted with intelligence.
They were built to destroy, and in this moment, so too was he.
He slammed Morning's Edge into the gut of one, then spun as it faltered and brought his own fist around, wrapped in chains which had taken on the same reddish-orange hue of his sword-blade, and smashed it into the other. A small flash of energy unleashed, smaller this time than his landing but no less concentrated, left the third golem lacking most of its left shoulder and head. He ripped his sword free of the second golem's chest and caught a flailing, rock-hard fist as he turned into a swing and cleaved the beast through at the neck.
A pause. The Twili at the rear lines drew back. Towards the maelstrom at the lake's center. As the last golem toppled, Darrel paused to survey the area.
Jaden, or at least he believed it was still Jaden, had taken on the form of a towering monster, and was wreaking his own havoc through the Twili ranks. It was a bloody slaughter they wrought, and it appeared to have drawn the kind of attention he'd hoped it would. If the struck hard enough, eventually the front lines would take notice. Once they disengaged, it would allow the Hylians to withdraw, however hastily, to a more defensible location. If such a thing still existed.
Darrel moved back a few steps and took Horus up over his left shoulder once again, allowing the Knight's Sword to form up around him. As he turned and brought his blade up, preparing to resume his inexorable march east across the lake around the pit wherein dark powers raged in a tempest.
Something brought him up short.
In the corner of his eye, through a gradually dissolving sea of Twili soldiers under vicious assault by Jaden Bryseis, a figure caught his eye. Clad in Hylian armor, the figure ran at a staggering pace. Only when he saw the creature lurching behind, giving chase, did he understand. He snapped a quick hand motion to the Sword and then turned toward the figure. He let the light of the Edge build again, rising to a glaring crescendo. Any Hylian soldier he could save now would be one more he could field against the Twili later.
Any Hylian soldier he could save now was one less to weigh on his conscience.
"Ho, soldier!" his voice was as the crack of a whip. "Drop!"
When he brought the blade up and directed it past the soldier and into the chest of the undead fiend, that spirit energy unfurled in a pulse of sizzling energy.
Isaac Telmar, Lake Hylia, Morning Two
Isaac could do nothing more for the Red Ice General but leave him to his submarine slaughter. In the wake of his aerial assault, Isaac had risen higher into the morning sky, concealed within clouds of steam which still billowed up from the swirling waters super-heated by his intervention. From on high, he watched. He watched the titan from Castle Town make his bid for Shinigami, and delighted in the violence they shared between them. He cared nothing for their arguments, of course, but simply enjoyed the show.
She certainly did have a unique sense of humor. A marvel, that one.
The battle had degraded into a rout. The Hylians would never recover their footing now; the only hope was to pull back. It should have been Shinigami himself making that call, but the man was occupied. So too was Polaris, wreaking whatever bloody butchery he could beneath the waves. The Hylian force must have lost a great many of its officers to the predations of the Twili.
A hole opened in the steam as he stood upright on a well of air and regarded the field. A stray shaft of sunlight played across his face.
Moments later, a sharp BOOOOOOM brought his head swiveling around toward the west. Toward the desert.
There you are! I'd begun to wonder if you were ever going to show your face, old friend!
It was Mytura. The Sunrise Knight, it appeared, had deigned to enter the fray at the back of the Twili lines, causing an enormous commotion with that blazing sword of his. Moments later, another figure joined the assault, towering and scarlet-hued. Between them, they punched deep into the Twili army, drawing the eyes of those at the fore.
It was time.
Tucking forward, Isaac launched into another steep dive toward the surface, only this time veering east toward the Hylians arrayed there. He bypassed Shinigami, busy as he was with the black-armored brute she'd sicked on him. He rolled himself forward again in the air and hit the ground in a crouch before the first Hylian soldier he could find bearing the knots of rank.
"What are you still doing here you light-blinded ass? You've lost the like about as soundly as you could have," he snapped, gesturing the Glaive for emphasis. "Sound the retreat, unless you all want to die here!"
Horus and Sha'Tive, Lake Hylia (Behind Twili Lines), Morning Two
Horus gasped sharply, his consciousness returning to him. A whirlwind of information surrounded him as he tried to process the situation with ragged breath and shaky hands. His head was clear and the chilled air filled his lungs with a satisfying bite, like he had just enjoyed his first breath in years. The avian’s face was caked in the dried tears that had streamed down his face before, a reminder of where he was before he left the waking world. Horus’ very veins burned from the poison that ran through him still, but the paralytic side effect had left his system. He was also ravaged with an awful headache quite unlike any he had the displeasure of dealing with, making it hurt to even look at the morning shine off the ice below. Above all of that, his conscience weighed heavily on him as he found himself getting choked up all over again; The psychic trauma, the constant nightmares, the good Hylians he had killed and buried in secret during his more minor episodes…
…None of it mattered now. Darrel was strong and skilled, but he was no machine. He couldn’t do what he feared was happening alone. He could smell it in the very air; They had lost this fight, and what was happening now was an act of vengeance. Such a flavor of violence was what Horus needed right now. Fighting his silent sobs and gritting his teeth hard, he suddenly made his consciousness known as his crimson wings gave a single mighty flap. The Rito took to the air for just a moment, landing gracefully next to Darrel’s side as he immediately reached for his daggers, crafted and forged with materials stronger than anything that was available for any Hylian he had met; The only trade off being their length. Given his strength, such a thing mattered little as he drew them with a somber, serious tone to his movements. Scowling and trembling with rage, pain and guilt, he turned to look Darrel in the eye, nodding his head. He dared not say anything, for he knew he’d choke on the words that would come. His daggers where his voice for the next few moments, which was all they needed at the moment. His sharp eyes narrowed like they did when he focused, and joined Darrel in his dance to cut down every Twili and Golem they could. The still wind began to pick up and whistled with sharp, angry tones. The air was filled with the sound of jingling loose chains and disturbed leaves in the trees, accompanied by the violence they surrounded.
Sha’Tive dove to the icy ground on her back, letting the lack of friction slide her towards Darrel as she held her helmet dearly on her head for fear of it falling off from her actions. Dean looked at her with a look of indignation as he was pierced with what he thought was an impossible attack, stopped in his tracks as he fell to his knees. She looked back at him briefly, mouthing apologies before she returned to her feet and joined Horus and Darrel. She silently hoped she had not just sacrificed Dean for the sake of establishing the first step of her plan, but was forced to cast the worry aside. If she was going to play the part, she needed to think it too; At least for now.
“Goddesses b-bless you, sir!’ she chirped with a breathless sigh of relief as she drew her sword, ‘My w-wits left me so thoroughly, I’d f-forgotten m-my blade when he gave ch-chase!”
She hadn’t realized the gravity of the situation until she had entered the thick. She knew this was a war, but being right there was something else. Sha’tive for at least moment was fearful, before she remembered just how powerful her targets were. This was no suicide mission; these soldiers had surely fought in more dire straits…She hoped. Her hope was partially dashed when she noticed Horus’ ragged breathing and Darrel’s deathly stare. On a second thought, she realized those were looks of men ready to die fighting for what they believed in.
“Wh-wh-what’s the plan?” she stuttered at Darrel, actually trying to maintain her wits as she crouched into a more comfortable stance.
Chapters of Interloper War Season 3
|Six Months Later Part I | Six Months Later Part II | Gathering Forces | In Ruins Wake Part I | Forgotten | A Battle of Ice and Fire Part I | In Ruins Wake Part II | Dry Run | A Battle of Ice and Fire Part II | Lab Experiments | A Battle of Ice and Fire Part III | Grem's Approach | Mad Science | Breaking Point Part I | Another World | Breaking Point Part II | To Be Whole Again | Stalling For Time | Tides of Destruction | Hints of Sunrise | Threads of Fate | Whispers of Victory|