The Forsaken Race; Darker Times

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Good News

Submitted: November 10, 2017

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Comments: 1

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Submitted: November 10, 2017

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(Hello, readers! So here we are. The second book of the TFR series. PLEASE NOTE: if you have not read all of "The Hidden Truth", then I highly recommend doing so before continuing. This is the second book, after all, and you could easily get lost without a proper introduction to the characters and setting. For those who are ready for book two, then please enjoy this new and exciting phase of the story!)

 

 

 

"Good news!" Seyber chimed.

She had been wanting to say that phrase for a while. An entire moon, to be precise. Thundur's wound had been showing no obvious progress, and Seyber's untrained mind was not good at finding many signs of improvement. Now, when she went to change the bindings on Thundur's spinal wound, she had finally found something encouraging. 

After getting no response, Seyber turned back to see if the other two were even listening. Zin, who leaned against the wall of the room, had his ears pricked, waiting for an explanation. Leiytning, who was working on yet another glitch in his new prosthetic, seemed to be ignoring her. That much came as no surprise, but Seyber was still unamused by it.

"Are you ignoring me on purpose?" Asked Seyber, snapping her fingers to get Leiytning's attention. He finally seemed to acknowledge her presence.

"What were you saying?" He spoke, at last.

 "I said that I finally found something encouraging!" She spoke in a cheerful manner. "The wound is finally starting to scar over; not even removing these bindings caused it to reopen, like it has been. In other words, it's starting to heal. That means you can stop worrying, and you better, because the others are worried about you."

Leiytning grunted with irritation. "In case you haven't noticed, Thundur's the one on her deathbed. I'm not the one that anyone needs to be concerned about."

Zin rolled his eyes. "Then prove it. All we ever see of you is when you're in the Oculus Cavern, or holed up in this room being miserable."

Seyber stood up from kneeling at Thundur's bedside. "That much is no surprise, Zin. We all know Leiyt's one weakness is Thundur herself, both literally and figuratively." She spoke with a  more teasing tone and a childish smile. "I myself find that well-known secret very cute, even if-"

She was interrupted by a series of sparks that came from what Leiytning was working on. Zin and her both flinched at the sudden series of popping sparks and clinking gears, but it died down after given a few seconds.

"Do tell me," Seyber spoke with a smirk. "What did I say about your prosthetics?"

"Shut up, harpy," Leiytning responded, fixating the prosthetic to his left wrist. The faux hand looked more like a mess of silver gears and wires that happened to have five metal fingers attached to it. It still had the necessary plates intact, so as to protect the insides and make it slightly less robotic.

Zin, lost in his own world until then, added his own input to the previous conversation. "You can start going on more missions now that Thundur's getting better. In other words, you can start helping with the work. Taking down a wyvern isn't as easy as it looks, y'know. If it weren't for Timbur, then that thing would've quartered us where we stood."

"That's a bit dramatic," Seyber remarked.

For once, Zin didn't dignify a response and remained silent. HIs mocking smirk didn't make Seyber any less happy, though, and she sought a bit of vengeance.

With an equally mischievous smirk, Seyber turned to the leader. "Oh, Leiyt? Where's your pet?"

Zin looked slightly confused, but when Leiytning pointed at something beneath the worktable where he stood, Seyber picked up a stay spring and tossed it in the direction. Just like this, there was a loud hiss. Zin instantly went from seeming careless to frightened, looking around in a panicked manner.

Seyber's gaze turned to a glare, despite the smirk. "Something wrong, Zin?"

"I know that sound," Zin growled. "Where are you, you little-"

"You could be more specific, Seyber," Leiytning interfered, now standing. "Is this what you're looking for?"

When Zin turned to face Leiytning, he was greeted by the head of a black snake, only a few inches from his face. It hissed again, showing off two venom-dripping fangs. Leiytning seemed oblivious to Zin's discomfort, finding no problem in the fact that a four-foot snake was currently coiled around his own extended arm and shoulder.

Zin squealed and ran out of the room at a fast pace, with not so much as a sound to mark he was standing nearby only moments ago. Nightshade, the snake, coiled tighter around Leiytning's arm, clearly surprised by the reaction to her misinterpreted 'hello'. Seyber was finding this very amusing, already knowing this would leave him scared for a while.

Leiytning grunted, clearly annoyed. "Honestly, of all the things for him to have, it had to be a fear of snakes?"

"It could be worse," Seyber spoke through her laughter. However, her expression turned to one of disgust as Nightshade slithered across Leiytning's shoulder and neck, and eventually found herself back on the worktable.

This time, Leiytning found confusion in her disgust "What?"

"I'm not scared of snakes," Seyber spoke, "But that's just disturbing."

"They're only lizards with no legs, nothing scary," Leiytning responded. "Besides, it's not my fault snakes are drawn to Thundur and me, it comes with a certain 'mentality' that we both possess, as I'm sure you know."

Seyber looked less happy by the thought. "I don't want the details; I'm sure you attract a lot of trouble with that kind of aura. But, something else...Zin was right, mind you. Worse than snakes have found their way onto our land, like the wyvern he mentioned. Things have been appearing out of nowhere, often when caught in fits of rage or fright. There was a Blazer behemoth in the Sorrowful Moors. Since when does that happen?"

"Strange, yes," Leiytning agreed. "How long ago was this?"

"I don't know...seven days, or something like that," Seyber answered.

Leiytning was instantly irritated by the fact that this hadn't been reported. "This is the first time Timbur's decided to slack in his work. It better not get any worse than this."

"You should ask him about this," said Seyber. "He knows more about it than me. You aren't the only one who's been slacking on Thundur's account, probably another reason as to why Timbur's been less active. With everything else happening, I've no doubt his schedule is filled to the brim, if not beyond."

"The same goes for us all," said Leiytning. "For that earlier remark on my 'only being miserable,' you should know that someone has to keep up with Thundur's work. I'm not a spirit-walker, but it's better than nothing."

Seyber shrugged her shoulders in response to that. "You surely know enough about spirit-walker business, by now. It would be a lot better than anything our other siblings could do. I love them all, but, well...no one blessed them with a very high intelligence."

"As if anyone didn't already know that, between rumors and their 'interesting' presentation on the battlefield."

"Agreed."

"And speaking of siblings, it's too quiet. What happened?"

Seyber looked unsettled by this, as well. "I don't know, but let's hope nothing gets broken, nobody gets killed, and nothing catches on fire."

 

 

\\\\\

 

 

The scorching heat of pure fire singed the ends of Kita's hair as she took cover behind a boulder. Flames were pounding against the other side of the large stone, threatening to burn her alive.

"Scorch, this better not be another misfire," she muttered.

Once the fire stopped coming, Kita used the rock to pull herself up, and peer over its edge. It wasn't Scorch, it seemed, and the threat was now focused on another one of the three demons that pursued to kill it.

The threat itself was easily over twenty feet tall. Once the sun hit its hideous scales, they turned from black to a dark red. Sharpened talons threatened to slash away its enemies. Tattered wings flew up in a threatening manner, and a mouthful of sharp fangs and fiery breath completed its nightmarish look.

Think, think, think- how the hell do we stop this thing?!

Looking closer at the dragon, Kita tried to find anything that would help the others bring it down. Unfortunately, there seemed to be nothing that would reveal a weakness. The scales were like unpierceable armor, and getting too close resulted in an attack from sharp claws, fangs, or a thick tail that smacked around its victims. Then there was the fire, of course. The flaming breath that was reducing this area of the Silent Meadow to a plane of embers. Splotches of burnt earth speckled the green grass, smoke still rising from them.

"Any thoughts, mortal?"

Kita turned to see who had joined her. It seemed that Timbur had retreated from the fight. His machete was still drawn, and some black blood from fresh wounds had stained his skin and clothes. His shoulder-length hair, dark green in color, was disheveled and speckled with stray ash.

"Nothing," said Kita. "I never even knew that dragons were real."

"Much like you, they're a real pain-in-the-ass," Timbur sharply responded. "This is confusing, though. Wyverns are common, but dragons don't dwell anywhere close to our lands. The majority of them inhabit the Western Territories."

"The Western Territories?" Asked Kita. "But why is one all the way out here?"

"If I knew, then I wouldn't be confused," Timbur retorted.

Kita looked down, with a sight sense of helplessness. "It seems invincible. There's no way to get close to it, and it has that fire breath for ranged attacks. How do we-"

"Incoming!"

Kita glanced at the dragon, but only saw a stream of fire hurtling toward them. She and Timbur both took cover behind the scorched rock, until the fire yet again ceased. Kita peered over the top of the boulder again, as did Timbur. While Timbur was marking the status of the other warriors, Kita continued looking over the dragon. That is, she did until she finally noticed something. If it would be possible to hit this spot, then it surely would've been the weakness of sorts that they were looking for.

"Timbur, look closely at the scales near the top of its neck," Kita urged, nudging Timbur so as to get his attention. He clearly didn't like that, grunting and smacking her hand the second it came within a few inches of him.

Kita rolled her eyes, then pointed to where she was talking about. "Just look, goddammit!"

Timbur finally obeyed, observing the scales that were closer to the head of the dragon. These ones seemed smaller than the rest, but still covered its skin without a break. For the most part, at least. What Kita was surely talking about was one specific spot, where there seemed to be a chip in the natural armor, and the area around it was scratched and dented.

"Alright, I have a new idea," Timbur remarked. "You, stay out of the way."

Making sure that the dragon was not attacking them, Timbur ran out from behind the rock at a fast pace. Naturally, his speed was impressive, as it was one way to compensate for his lack of raw strength. And, even if he denied it, height. The beta halted only when he met Scorch, who was aiming his golden shotgun at the dragon, and from a dangerously close distance.

"Scorch!" Timbur called. "Get back! Regroup!"

Obeying the command, Scorch made sure that Jem would be able to keep the dragon's attention on herself, and without getting killed in the process. Once assured of this, Scorch left the fight and met with Timbur.

"What's wrong?" Scorch inquired.

"The scales that are close to its head seem less tough, and there's already a very small exposed area," Timbur explained. "Try to keep firing in that area. If we cause a larger break, then we could land a fatal hit to the veins in its neck."

"Good plan," Scorch remarked. "Tell Jem to get back, though. It doesn't look like she can hold this one-on-one fight up for long."

Timbur only nodded before running off, leaving Scorch to continue the fight. He cocked the shotgun, then moved closer to the dragon. Noticing the distance between himself and the target made him sigh.

"It's times like this when I wish I carried a rifle, instead." 

Finally, Scorch quickly took aim and pulled the trigger, sending one heavy bullet flying through the air, and leaving a stream of smoke and small flames behind it. The shot hit the dragon just behind the head. 

Crumbling bits and pieces of scales fell to the ground; an encouraging sign. The dragon, however, was now focused on Scorch. Still, he refused to back down, and only cocked the gun, chambering another bullet formed from magic behind his cursed weapon. Scorch fired, but the bullet missed its target. 

The dragon suddenly inhaled, opened its mouth wide, then spat a stream of fire at the demon before him. However, Scorch did not move. They took no effect, and only fueled him. When the fire ceased, the flames left on his body did no damage, and they seemed to sink beneath the skin.

"Doesn't work on fire purebreds!" Scorch taunted, cackling a bit. He fired another shot, and managed to completely shatter another couple of scales on the dragon's neck. They were just behind the spot where the jaw connected to the skull. The dragon did not attempt to ignite Scorch, but moved closer and tried to snap at him with huge nightmarish fangs. Scorch retreated, dodging the attack.

"Status report!" A voice spoke, recognized to him and Timbur's.

"I managed to cause a break!" Scorch responded, firing another shot at the break in armor-like scales. His bullet only hit the shoulder of the dragon, and bounced away. Timbur moved closer, trying to view the battle without getting noticed by the dragon. He spotted the break, where pale reptilian skin was revealed. The dragon's amber eyes were fixated on Scorch, intent on killing the fire purebred.

"It'll be easier if this became a blindside," Timbur spoke to himself. "Master, let's hope training me this way actually pays off."

He reached at three out of twelve of the new weapons that were holstered to his belt, and unsheathed three small throwing knives. Each was silver with one emerald placed at the base of the blade.

Timbur took aim, keeping his gaze focused on the dragon's eye. The dragon began breathing fire once again. While it was busy attacking someone else, Timbur hurled all three of the knives. They whistled through the air until the sharp blades burrowed themselves in the tender eye-flesh. 

The dragon screeched, flinging its head up as it released its agonizing wail. The fire breath stopped, but the dragon immediately snapped its head back to see Timbur with its one remaining eye. Timbur hastily moved away as the dragon braced itself to spit more fire. After all, Timbur himself was not as resilient to fire as Scorch, due to him being a forest-demon.

"Jem!" Timbur called. "Scorch and I will keep it distracted! Try to land an attack at the opening in the scales!"

Jem, faced to the side of the dragon, flipped her golden mace in hand. "Consider it done!" She responded.

As her brothers went about distracting it, Jem ran closer to the dragon, trying to stay on its blind side, and spotted the opening in the armor-like scales. The spot where she needed to hit was high above her, though, and the dragon was still spitting fire.

"Nothing a bit of magic can't solve," Jem spoke to herself, retreating back a short distance. 

Suddenly, the dragon's head snapped back, spotting her. Scorch shot a bullet at its head before it could attack Jem, though. The dragon, unaffected by this hit, resumed attempting to ignite Timbur and Scorch. 

Stone-gray aura spiraled around Jem's hand, and she extended her hand out in front of her, keeping her palm aimed at the ground. The ground began to shake a bit, then the magic grew faint and shot into the ground. Jem began running toward the dragon. As she came close, the ground split, and a large, sloped stone shot out from the earth. Jem leaped onto this rock, then used it as leverage to get onto the dragon's back, then continued until she could reach the spot on its neck.

"Time to die, bitch!" Jem exclaimed as she swung the mace into the flesh of the monster. The dragon screeched, and tossed its head back in an attempt to throw Jem off, but she was not moving. Her free hand's unsheathed claws were hooked into the skin. Jem pulled the mace out and hit again, trying to make the wound as deep as possible. The dragon staggered, its movements rigid and unsteady, and eventually fell, shaking the ground with its weight. The fall threw Jem off, but she was uninjured.

"Finish him, you two!" She commanded.

Timbur, not needing to hear this twice, raced forward and sank his machete into the fresh wound before the dragon could recover. One swipe, and its throat was torn open. For good measure, making sure it wouldn't recover, Scorch shot out its other eye. 

The dragon roared with agony, but then lay still. When Kita saw it go down, she came out and regrouped with the demons. None of them seemed too happy after a battle like this.

Jem sheathed her mace. "What the hell was a dragon doing here?"

"A good question," said Timbur, sheathing his machete. "I'll ask Leiytning, when we get back."

"Yeah, let's get out of here before something else pops out of nowhere," Scorch agreed.

Timbur began to lead the way back across the Silent Meadow, toward the portal which would lead to the Dead Beach; the only entryway to the fortress where they resided. Jem, Scorch, and Kita all followed the beta while talking about the battle. Timbur had not joined in on the conversation, though. He was concerned about the more pressing matters.

What the hell is going on, exactly? These recent days have had the strangest enemies in the most random places. Dragons don't live in the Northern Territories, and these other beasts looked like they were just trying to act out-of-ordinary. What kind of muldarch travels above ground, and what fire-related enemy would want to be in a watery swamp? I don't get it...

"Great," Scorch remarked, glancing at the sky in the east. "It looks like it's going to snow again. More water- just what we needed."

It was true that the eastern evening sky was full of gray clouds, and the air was getting much colder. Kita felt herself shiver at the occasional stray gust that hit them. She often wished that she could have a demon's vessel, so that the cold wouldn't bother her as much as it did. It was mortal limits like those that restrained her from being able to keep up with her demonic friends.

"Maybe the sudden weather change is throwing the creatures off," said Jem. "Like how birds migrate for winter? It could be the same with them...once out of countless winters..."

"Dragons don't migrate on account of weather," said Timbur. "The same goes for behemoths and spinapes."

"And the muldarchs?" Asked Kita.

"They do travel if their cave gets too cold or too hot," Timbur replied. "But they travel by tunneling through the ground, not by land. It's because of something to do with weight distribution, I think."

Kita was not anymore satisfied by the answer, since it didn't give the answer to the question of why this was all happening in the first place.

Either way, she collected her scattered thoughts as the portal came into sight. Once it had opened, and the others had gone through the pit of dark aura, Kita jumped through. In a matter of seconds, she had ungracefully landed on her knees on the white sands of the Dead Beach.

the landing is still a problem.

Jem and Scorch were discussing something, but Kita decided to brush herself off and follow Timbur to the fortress. This didn't go unnoticed, of course, and he grunted with irritance.

"Why do you always have to follow me?" Timbur growled, as he opened the fortress entrance.

"Because I heard that you were going to talk to Leiytning," said Kita. "I haven't seen him in a while, so I'm curious if there's something wrong."

Timbur merely snorted and ignored her. Kita watched him shift into wolf form, then continue through the entrance tunnel. Kita also ducked through, hearing the entrance seal behind her.

Him being rude is better than a death threat, right? 

It was true that Timbur was beginning to ease up with the constant threats that he terrorized Kita with. Just because he was easing up did not make him any nicer, though. What was usually a blade to the neck had become either ignoring her or an insult. 

When they emerged into the Hex Den, Timbur shifted back to demon form. Kita had grown used to the sight of Leiytning in the Hex Den, using a seeing brew to keep an eye on what, judging from the map in the mist, looked like the Blood Forest. Seyber was observing from nearby. Despite Leiytning being perfectly adept for doing Thundur's work, Seyber liked to be nearby, due to herself being the official apprentice of the spirit-walker.

"Greetings, Leiytning," said Timbur, a slight dip of the head showing a sign of respect. Leiytning only grunted, which was basically his way of returning the greeting. At least, that's what Kita assumed, as that was his response to a lot of things.

Not one for conversation...Of any kind, really. Especially with Thundur gone, or so they say.

"What took you so long?" Asked Seyber.

"Oh, we were just slaying a dragon in the Silent Meadow," said Timbur, using a sarcastically casual voice.

"A dragon?!" Seyber exclaimed. "Why is there a dragon over there?"

"I was hoping that Leiytning would know," Timbur replied.

"No, I don't," said Leiytning. "But dismiss it for now. I have a mission for you."

"What is it?" Asked Timbur.

"There's been suspicious activity on Sybilius borders," Leiytning explained. "This is the third time in a matter of seven days. While it could be nothing, I'd rather not take chances while Thundur's down. Corelia could easily be plotting another attack."

"Dammit," Timbur muttered. "Every time we turn around, that bitch is coming up with some new plot."

"That is why I advise you and the others to not travel alone," said Leiytning. "That rule especially applies to you and the mortal. Corelia is desperate to get rid of both of you, and with her newfound power, she just might accomplish that if given the right chance."

Timbur nodded in response. "Understood. What about this assignment you have?"

"I gave commands to a few informants to see if they could find anything," Leiytning explained. "They've already finished their observations, and now I want you and Seyber to meet them at the entrance of the Raven's Cavern. Listen to what they've found, then report it back to me."

Timbur shot Leiytning a suspicious glare. "What kind of informants?"

Leiytning rolled his eyes. "I know your standards, and none of them are elves or dwarves. It's just Druitt, Griffon, and some Rítin whose name I can't remember; someone Thundur decided to hire."

Seyber chuckled. "If she's anything like Algus, then I will-"

Seyber flinched from the harshness of Leiytning's glare and tone. "Don't. Bring. That. Up. Ever."

Timbur muttered to himself, "it has to be a Ritin."

"You just like to complain about anyone that comes from an outside race," Leiytning snapped. "Believe me, I understand, but this is not the right scenario for that nonsense. Now get going and stop complaining."

Kita fancied the thought of, again, getting away from the beach. "Am I allowed to come with you, Timbur?"

"No," Timbur snapped.

Leiytning spoke blankly, "Take the mortal with you."

Timbur groaned upon hearing this. "Why do you always have to defend her?! Can't you see that she's already annoying without encouragement?!"

"Lighten up, Timbur," said Seyber. "She won't cause any trouble."

Timbur ignored his sister, muttering a few curses under his breath. He shifted into wolf form, and shot back through the entrance tunnel. Seyber also shifted, gesturing for Kita to follow, as well.

More suspicious activity, Kita thought. We just slay a dragon, and now this?

 


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