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The Darkened Seraph yielded a blink, but then flashed a smile and turned around, walking deeper into the caverns. “Shall we?” she called behind her shoulder. In the flashing lightning strikes of the magestorm, her hair rippled with color.
To one of the Dragons who she had noticed admired her wings, a sapphire Western with midnight-blue wings, Maharani posed a question: “You seem to be a close bunch of companions. How long have you been a part of Arkadian’s crew? And does he have a second-in-command?”
As the Faction returns to Felnova, sightings of snakekind have increased. There is a snakekind - or group of snakekind - heading right for your characters!
The snakekind can be of any type and in any number; they may or may not have mind-bound children slaves with them. It's up to you!
Now that they were actually setting out, the band of feral dragons set off into the cave in raucous good cheer. Arkadian's long, lithe limbs carried him past Maharani as he trotted along, though he circled back after a bit, both to regale his followers with a fanciful tale about another venture into a cave system (which most of them heartily joined in with their own additions to the story), and because this was the seraph's idea, so, in all fairness, she should be leading the way.
The Blue, distracted from the storytelling, blinked when Maharani questioned him about Arkadian and the rest of the band. He considered her questions in silence for a moment, then shrugged his wings. "We don't give much thought to time. Longer than some of the others, but not so long as some, either," he stated. Then he glanced at Arkadian for a moment as the wild feral trotted ahead again for a moment, still spinning his tale.
"Command? Arkadian doesn't command, he leads. Or follows, sometimes, if one of us comes up with an idea worth following. The rest of us follow because we choose to, or sometimes choose not to," he explained.
Unbeknownst to the band, below them, skulking in the deeper passages and chambers, a group of snakekind were making their way towards the surface. The raucous voices of the feral dragons carried through the caves, alerting the snakes to their presence...
The Darkened Seraph listened to the Blue intently. She had never encountered a system such as this, where there was no set leader and where there was so much freedom.
The closest thing she had witnessed to Arkadian’s crew was when she trained in the northern portion of Halgia, with her fellow warrioresses—
A thousand memories rapidly flashed before her eyes, memories that Maharani was not yet ready to face. It was better to avoid that topic.
Maharani thought back to the Stars of Arcana, in which Terezala commanded and the Stars obeyed. But why did they obey? Out of loyalty—or out of fear? Maharani did not fear the cruel Void Dragon, but she knew exactly what havoc she was capable of wreaking. And she’d heard rumors of the terrible things that Terezala had done in her lifetime.
What, exactly, had Maharani gotten herself when she’d joined the Stars? Allies? No—every single Star was either insane or cutthroat. They were too dangerous—unless Maharani could make them her allies. It was simple: She just needed to find the right points to press, the right motivations to get them on her side. Little by little, she could wean their loyalty away from Terezala and . . .
And what? What, exactly, would Maharani do? For what purpose was she planning this mass mutiny?
The answer came to her immediately: For freedom.
With freedom, the Stars could think freely; with freedom, they could live like Arkadian’s crew, raucous and happy and filled with beautiful ideas that had infinite potential. Maharani could envision it already: the Stars doing what they wished, whether it was chaos or alliances, without fearing retribution.
Her vision shattered, however, when she heard the telltale low hiss of Snakekind.
Maharani stilled, her hand whipping to snatch her bow from her back. But her fingers clasped around empty air; she must have lost her bow and quiver when she had fallen. A small part of her mourned the loss—after all, she had created the bow with her own blood, sweat, and tears—but it was overridden by the fact that her magic was depleted, and she had no weapon of use. Maharani’s pupils contracted to pinpoints, and her eyes faded to slate gray. “Snakekind,” she hissed. “I do not have an exact estimate, but it must be at least seven or eight—and they’re approaching quickly.” The Darkened Seraph turned to Arkadian and his crew. “My magic is beyond use, and I have no weapons—though I am skilled with many. Do any of you have a spare weapon to carry? Even a staff would suffice.”
The same Blue Maharani had been speaking with stepped forward. In his talons, he carried a broadsword. Gleaming even in the low light of the cave, the obsidian hilt was bejeweled with sapphires and emeralds. The blade itself was composed entirely of a scarlet metal.
“I was planning on selling this to some merchant or another, but . . . it seems like it was made for you, Miss. Matches your coloring and everything,” he said.
The Blue was right; the sword matched her coloring down to the loose red tunic and breeches Maharani wore. She took the sword from him and parried at an invisible assailant. It was perfectly weighted, and the weapon seemed to know how Maharani wishes to maneuver before she even moved. “It’s . . . perfect,” The Darkened Seraph admitted. “Can I pay for it later? I’m a little pressed for time.”
This earned a chuckle from the Blue. “Of course.”
Scales against glass. Zombie-like, dredging footsteps. Snap out of it, Maharani! she chided herself. Focus on the task at hand.
The Darkened Seraph looked over every Dragon in Arkadian’s crew, her eyes finally resting on Arkadian himself. “We should come up with a plan, but judging by the way you run things here, I would say that you would much rather prefer to rush the Snakekind and improvise.”
This post has been edited by SherniKaur: May 26 2018, 06:27 PM
By the time Maharani addressed Arkadian, the feral dragon had a wild gleam in his eyes, and every tooth in his mouth was on display as he grinned in eager anticipation of the upcoming fight. For a brief second, he just stared at the seraph, then laughed in amusement.
"Plans? Hah! What good are plans when they fall apart so easily? We hit them hard, and we hit them fast!" he roared before spinning around and charging off into the depths of the cave. A mad scramble ensued as the rest of the group set off after him, jostling each other as they raced to be first to follow Arkadian into the fight.
The small blue and purple female darted up behind Maharani, lowering her head, intending to scoop the seraph up on her back and carry her into the fight. "Come on!" she chirped. "We can't let these big brutes have all the fun!"
Arkadian, leading the charge, hurtled straight into a startled Jarza, swiftly downing and killing it before it could react, a wild, howling roar escaping his maw. Swiftly after, the sounds of chaotic battle erupted, hisses, growls, roars, and cries echoing throughout the cavern.
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