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The Mist-Shrouded Isle, amid a grove of tall aspens and long grasses.
Cold, with light gusts of wind now and then.
Nagase, Ecl (Blazeh), Ondinea (Couvina)
"Ecl! Ecl, dammit! Don't you dare!"
The elf had begun to nod off; slipping into the sweet, painless darkness. He longed to, even as the logical part of his mind screamed at him to grasp at the light with all the fervent desperation he heard echoed in his companion's voice. There was pain in that light; pain in being awake.
But it was a pain well worth enduring if it meant he would survive.
Ecl, as the voice had called him, was an elf of middling height and long blond hair; his half-lidded eyes were dull grey-green, and he was dressed in the garb of a Heartwoodian ranger. His entire right side was stained in blood, and one arm lay useless, the muscle cut to bone. White fire, heatless and healing, licked at a deep gash that cut under the ribs, from a sword-strike he'd been unable to dodge. "Just focus o-on me," a large shape next to him demanded, voice trembling in both anger and fear. "Me, got it? Don't you dare go to sleep!"
"Nagase," he whispered weakly. A smile crossed his features. "You..."
"Don't talk, e-either," she snapped. Nagase was a young dragoness; her scales were a deep sapphire streaked in metallic gold stripes, ending at silver plates that covered her underside from throat to half the length of her long tail. Her large, batlike wings were webbed in silver on the ventral side, while their dorsal top was a mixture of similar blues and swirling golden markings. Silver horns framed a narrow, tapered face and a long silver mane ran from between her violet eyes down to a foot or so past the end of her spine.
She controlled the healing white flame; her reiatsu danced between outstretched talons, knitting muscle and sinew, but it wasn't going fast enough. Blood stained her talons where she'd carried him - crimson pooled beneath him at an alarming rate. If she couldn't stop the bleeding in time...
His vision blurred as the colors of the dragoness ran together like a water-submerged painting. The real world fell away again, but this time, not to darkness - to shouting and roars, a cry of pain, the clang of steel...
...running, then, as fast as he could. Nagase was somewhere behind him; a blur of blue and gold as she tore through the Faction ranks. Her fury was boundless. But where had the other dragon gone? He saw a flash of white scales and had followed, but lost the smaller drake in the crowd.
It wasn't long before he found it again. "Wait!" the elf cried, breaking into a run. Sword drawn, others scrambled out of his way, as he pursued the beast through the small port city. Rounding a bend, he skidded to a halt -
- in his path stood not the dragon he had been looking for, but six guards. Six Faction guards.
Whirling on a heel, he began back the way he'd come, only to find four more behind him. He cursed once, lowly, hesitating; his escape routes to either side were blocked by buildings. The only way out was... well, was to fight. Ten against one wasn't the kind of odds he wanted to gamble on, but he didn't have a choice.
He wove a quick spell to strengthen the sword in his hand, and lunged at the four, ducking beneath a spear thrust as he sliced one across the chest. Parrying another blow, he flipped that guard's blade from his hand and barely avoided a second spear before being forced to withdraw.
The first toppled easily enough. The second glowered at him, retrieving his weapon, while the remaining soldiers began to close ranks and surround him completely. There was nowhere to run - he swallowed hard, tense as a cat, ready to spring at a moment's notice. Ecl didn't, however, see the guard up above; one that leaned over an iron railing, bowstring drawn taught, arrow nocked and aimed...
"Give it up, elf," one of the guards said gruffly. "Your dragon friend will not win. You've nowhere to go. Put down yer weapons and come with us."
Another hesitation. The tip of his sword lowered an inch.
"It's surrender or die, elf," another spat. "You take any longer, we'll decide for ya!"
His sword lowered another inch. But then, he heard the distinct twang of a bow - the whistle of a fast-moving projectile. Too late he moved, throwing himself to one side - too late he reacted, as the shaft buried itself in his shoulder. With a cry, he rolled as he fell, and scrambled back to his feet as he swung the sword wildly at the nearest guards, hoping to break their ranks and get through before they could descend upon him.
Fire erupted along his side; agony jolted through him, even as something else hard and heavy smashed into the arm that had been shot. His sword clattered to the ground as he recoiled, a blade slicing back from where it'd cut up under his ribs, below the leather armor's protection.
He couldn't fight. Not like this. Another step back, and another, before he fell to one knee. Grimacing, he looked up as a guard approached, blood running through his fingers like water through a sieve. Defiance entered his gaze and he snarled something in elven - then the man struck him with the pommel of the sword and he fell, fell, fell into darkness as something roared above...
"...again and I'll char you to fucking ashes do you hear me?!"
Nagase's half-snarled, half-roared words hurt, his head pounding. Ecl forced open his eyes, lifting from the memory that had plagued him for the last two hours they had fled pursuit. He remembered the panicked flight well; the last jump through the portal, avoiding Faction arrows, that ripped open the wound in his side almost beyond repair. That had been a lifetime ago, it seemed; worlds away it was, but the time had been short. Why did that one scene haunt him so, and not the rest?
He found rational thought a little easier, now. Breathing wasn't so difficult. The pain... the pain was easier to bear. Weakly, he looked down and saw Nagase had repaired much of the damage, and the bleeding was beginning to stop. "I kn-knew you could... could do it," he whispered. Had the Blue been crying? "Don't shed tears f-for me, I... I'm not dead y-yet..."
"Only because I-I keep yelling at you not to sleep," she growled. "I've probably a-alerted everything o-on this damn sky-island, you stupid elf. If something a-attacks us, it's your fault!"
A dark being stalked through the trees. Quite literally dark. His skin was a rich, tar colored black that seemed to stain his breezy clothes. Perhaps they had a design long ago, but now it flows with rusted colors and black smears. Little gold tassels seem to be the only thing to survive.
Long, shining teal hair styled around his neck before becoming completely done up in a bun. Eager eyes scanned every inch of tree before his path as his only hopes now was simple.
Don't get caught yet.
He paused his journey to survey his surroundings more accurately. There were a few trees nearby, this was good yes.. especially considering how the sun should rise in a few hours. At least no one would grow suspicious if they somehow saw smoke. Hopefully? His expression twisted itself as he pondered his options.
Casting a gaze to the grassy floor behind him, he observed the dead Avian he'd dragged so far out. Where the limbs grew colder, the center of his corpse was still warm...
Making up his mind, Ondinea chose to cook the body sooner rather than later. Just... not too close to anything flammable. As luck would have it, he did manage to find a patch in the grass of pure dirt. Goodness had he been here before? Ah no matter! With a deep breath and a wicked grin, the dark being tossed the body aside as he crouched down to begin his cooking.
Setting up his area took a bit more time than he'd have liked to admit. From setting up the fire pit, to lighting the fire, to undressing and plucking those damned tasteless feathers off the body, one could feel the tension rolling off of him. Alas, all his hard work was blessed in the end as the easiest part came next! Quickly digging into his pouch, he dug out handfuls of herbs and a rather beautiful knife. Swiftly seasoning the large stone slab with the variety of dried herbs, he then shifted his attention to what he knew BEST.
It took the dangerous creature little to no time carving the corpse into mouthwatering slabs, filling the stonetop with as much as he could manage for a batch.
It took him significantly less time to cook what he could manage, only maybe enough to feed... 6 people not including himself? Well, as long as he could hand some to the friend who got him all the way up here, it should be more than enough. Best to go quickly now, especially before those roaring yells grow closer. A shame he had to leave behind most of the bones really. All of them together might have been able to fetch a pretty penny, but these feathers and Avian armor right now would have to suffice.
He positioned the warm stone over a shoulder, a stack of a fresh, warm, succulent breakfast stacked in a neat pile as he hurried away from the body remains.
Where he excels in cooking his murders, he unfortunately lacks exceptional talent in navigation. It was midmorning now, and he managed to miss this sight through the trees. A bright blue dragon with metallic highlights before an elf who was NOT looking to well now. Maybe he could just walk away from this if he had come from behind. But nope. He had to walk right into the front of this sight.
He cursed to himself as an ear-to-ear grin parted the darkness of his face. Long sharp fangs made themselves evident as he decided to just own this now. Can't run from a dragon after all.
"Hello there, Blueberry! Is everything quite alright over there?" He called out. He wasn't sure how he portrayed himself now, but he almost felt sick with unease now. He could very easily die right where he stands. While the thought was disappointing, it also seemed rather exciting to think about. What would happen with this encounter? What exactly was his fate destined to be now? He repositioned his stance, holding the food before himself now. He just had to wait now for his later answers.