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In the caverns of the Crystalline Silza.
Cold,l clear, and windy.
TIME: Current! Mid-afternoon.
She was here, somewhere.
Bright eyes shone in the darkness of a small cavern; from a distance, the sky-blue points could be simple reflections from the many gemstones that covered every surface, reflecting the noonday sun. The eye-glints melted back into the shadows of the crystalline cavern and away; the only thing that could be seen was the white, furred tail-tip disappearing into the network of caves.
He'd been tracking a void dragon for some time now. She matched the description he was given - the man that had approached him spun a tail of his pairbond's murder and his own maiming, an attack that had left him one-armed and severely impaired. The description was brief, but distinct: a large black dragon with eyes of red and a gem of the same color in its chest.
There weren't many void dragons in the world. Not many at all. When he found one that matched the description, around the area, he locked on like a bloodhound and planned how to enact justice - a death sentence as swift and severe as the pairbond's killing had been. When she retreated to Noctis' crystal island, he followed, like a great cat stalking a mouse.
He'd not seen her for three days, but her scent was fresh. The circadian meandered through the dark crystal caves, metallic hide reflecting the crystals thousandfold, providing good camouflage as he followed the tunnel down. Glass-scaled nightmare, they'd called him. Blue-eyed vengeance. A vigilante of justice and acute, undeniable rage. So many named he had; so many his appearance had earned. For who had seen an Umbran circadian acting as he did? He didn't share the peaceful, blissful life of most of his kind. No.
He was a warrior.
Large for a circadian, the Umbran had night-blue scales as glossy as polished diamonds, smooth and round covering his entire form. He was long-bodied and short-legged, with bright blue gems on his chest, tail before the tuft, forelegs, and centered in the silver crown that concealed his sleek horns in divine metal. Four wings graced him; two larger ones from his shoulders, and two smaller from his hips, both feathered and dotted in starlike markings along each feather. A brilliant white mane flowed from his head down his neck, and ended in a long, silky tuft at the end of his tail.
Glass scaled nightmare indeed.
She was close, now; deep in these crystalline tunnels. As the tunnel opened into a massive cave, Omen slowed, long ears swiveling back and forth to catch any sound. Come out, come out, wherever you are, he thought, imagining himself calling out such a phrase in glee. He could, but not now. Too many escape routes; he had to remain quiet. Come out and pay for your crimes...
He was getting closer.
She had been hunting the so-called “Glass-Scaled Nightmare” for months, missing him by mere hours; but those hours were long enough for Omen to escape her clutches. The anger of a thousand failures, feeling like smog clogging her nostrils, curling into her snout, Nar’ak puffed out a burst of night-black, wispy shadow. If she didn’t catch him soon, then the Void Dragon would tear the realms apart from rage. She would get what she wanted, eventually; it didn't matter if it took her one year or one hundred.
And what she wanted was revenge.
The drops of sky blue on the various crystals of Ca'riry’iiw were the only things that stopped her from taking down the whole complex. She felt her power curl inside her body, begging to be let out… to be unleashed.
But not even the strange power that emanated from the crystals could hold back the memories of her younger brother. They could not hold back the beautiful laugh that shattered her and remade her every time she heard the melodious sound… or the voice that hadn’t even matured and yet had the allure of a siren when he sang.
Hassan had been young when Omen had murdered him. Nar’ak herself had only been fifteen hundred years of age when the only light in her life had been stolen from her--
The click of claws against crystal interrupted her thoughts. She grinned with malice, her scarlet eyes dancing.
Nar’ak was going to get her revenge.
Cloaked in the shadows of the cave, almost tasting the metallic blood of her prey, Nar’aks lips curled up into a predatory smile, revealing massive, bone-crushing teeth. Her wings, spanning almost sixty feet, flared as she sent shadowfire licking up their leathery undersides.
Just like you, this dragon is flesh and bone and cartilage, she thought to herself. Just like you, he can be killed.
The shadows that hid her from sight her began to evaporate; Nar’ak stepped out into the reflecting lights of the crystals as she added more shadowfire to her wings. He was getting closer and closer--just around the corner.
Let’s see what this “Glass-Scaled Nightmare” is really made of.
Long ears flicked as he caught sound. A smile crossed the circadian's lips - then that smile twisted into a long-toothed grin.
He stepped forward, wings folded, the Void dragon in his sight. As he stepped out of the cavern, the sunlight glanced off of his scales -
- and he began to melt.
"At last," the circadian hissed, lifting off the ground as his forelegs dissolved. His eyes became pinpoints of light, and his wings vanished like smoke. His hind legs disintegrated, and he became translucent and ethereal. His mane whisked away into churning white fire, and his mouth glowed as he grinned. "Time to die, criminal."
And then the apparition surged forwards towards her, burning with ethereal light...
Nar’ak would be lying if she said that she wasn’t amused. By the way he smiled, the Circadian actually thought that he could best her in combat.
She channeled her shadowfire into a wall, attempting to halt the points of light Omen had transformed into. But she didn’t stop there. No, this encounter was one to be savored.
Nar’ak focused the shadowfire on Omen with the attempt to make a sphere of it surround him like a cocoon of darkness. Her amusement dissolved into determination at the thought of finally capturing the one that she had hunted for so long. At finally having the one who murdered her brother.
At finally being able to get her revenge.
Omen's ghostly laughter echoed loudly from his ethereal form; though he had slowed to avoid the wall of shadowy fire, the apparition phased through the sphere of dark elemental energy, twisting through the air like a windborn ribbon.
"Yes," he hissed, mane of white fire whipping about his crowned face, "they told me the Void I was to hunt had shadow magics. But you see, in this form, your shadows cannot touch me... and thus, you will fail."
However, Omen didn't attack - not yet. He analyzed her as he spoke next - her reactions, her emotions, what she did and how she did it. "You've conviction about you, I notice; before I end your life for justice, I admit I am curious... what do you believe, my shadowy murderer...?"
“How dare you call me the murderer, you heartless bastard,” Nar’ak snarled, snapping her teeth. “Perhaps I should remind you of how you ripped apart my brother piece by piece like he was some sort of... criminal!” She spat the word out like it was poison in her mouth.
Nar’ak inhaled deeply, the dark nostrils on her snout flaring. Stay calm; stay composed, she thought to herself, spiraling into the years of memories that she harbored in her mind. I know it’s here… She shoved the useless notions away, tucking them into the back of her mind to further study. For now, though, she was searching for the technique she had once glimpsed while losing herself in thought--
Oh, she was going to love this.
The immense Void Dragon’s features first became blurry; her scales didn’t shimmer with the same gleam that they did only moments before. It could have been seen as a trick of the light, if Omen did not study her as meticulously as he thought he did.
Her wings began to deliquesce into pure darkness soon afterward, and her hind legs followed them. It climbed, climbed, climbed up her body until it reached every bit of flesh and bone.
Until Nar’ak was nothing but liquid shadow.
“You would like to see me fail, yes?” It was not the voice of Nar’ak that spoke, but the otherworldly voices of the ancient beings that preceded her. “You will have to catch me first, young one.”
When the final words left her mouth, Nar’ak slammed her shadows into the walls of the cavern.
The walls around them rumbled; the sky-blue crystals shuddered and shook above and below the two.
And the fury of the Void Dragon began to rain.
The ghostly circadian ducked and dodged, weaving around the black fire as it exploded outwards from the Void dragoness' shadowy form - but inwardly, he cursed. He could not hold this form for very long, and this mark was proving to be more irritating than he had first realized.
So then, he switched to a different tactic. As he wove around her darkness, the apparition smiled, crown gleaming with silvery light. "I have never fought nor killed another Void dragon," he hissed. "You are a rare breed indeed. That is why the description the man you attacked and who's pairbond you killed was so easy to track; you are the only dragon of your kind in this entire Realm you know...
"Blazing red eyes... a red gem centered in your chest... scales black as the night... a Void dragon, black-hearted as the Void itself. You cannot hide what you've done, and I will see justice be done!"
Then, the ghostly Omen surged forward, seeking to phase right through the dragoness' shadowy form-
Nar’ak refused to believe what he said. If Omen hadn’t killed her brother, then who did?
“A skilled liar you are, full of deceit and tricks…” the Void Dragon sang, phasing into a shadow fifty feet before her. “But you are not the only one who can use subterfuge to achieve their goals…”
Sensing that Omen was beginning to tire, Nar’ak jumped into another shadow ten feet in front of her while continuing her assault of darkness and shadow; she wanted to make the Circadian desperate to the point of begging for her surrender. “I never fought nor killed another being,” she called, mimicking his tone. “It was all a setup--a ruse, to get you to come find and me. To get you to come and pay for what you did…”
His energy was quickly running out. But then again, so should hers. He ducked under another swath of black fire and banished his ghostly form, wings and limbs rematerializing as his form solidified before her.
And then, he focused; her aura burned brightly, a fine target to attack. However, along with this came the circadian's curse of knowing... and seeing that her words were no deceit.
Omen was taken aback, so much that he stared at her, stunned. Usually, his targets had no chance to speak. But this one... she was not at fault for the man's maiming, nor the death of his pairbond. How? Why? Who -
Then, one of her searing attacks smashed into his chest, and he snarled in pain. Recoiling upon himself, Omen bared his fangs, breath knocked out of him and dark fire scorching his metallic scales. "You do not lie," he hissed defensively. "Why? How?"
A small, secretive voice whispered in his mind. Does it matter? This is your target. She is a transgressor. Pass judgement...
Madness and confusion warred in his glowing eyes. "You seek to deceive me," he roared, but there was no conviction in his voice. "You somehow taint my truthsight!"
Indeed growing tired, Nar’ak shed her shadow form and halted in front of Omen. “I would never harm another unless they dared touch my brother,” she snapped right back. “Which you deemed yourself fit to do.”
She threw back her head and laughed mirthlessly at the ceiling of crystals above her when he claimed that she was deceiving him. The dry sound reverberated throughout the cavern, creating an eerie echo. “I cannot alter your truthsight; the lack of conviction in your tone confirms that not even you believe your own lies.” The Void Dragon drew closer to Omen, clenching and unclenching her foretalons; she sought to drag it across his neck. “You see, Omen… the one thing that vigilantes refuse to admit is how wrong they are to play judge, jury, and executioner. Because they will one day make a mistake--as you did with my brother--and there will be nobody else to blame. And now it is your turn to live with that burden, for you are to blame. Do you hear me? You are to blame.”
Finally close enough to touch Omen, the Void Dragon, with the remains of her energy, bellowed her fury for all to hear and lunged at the Circadian, snapping her claws at his neck.
Lies! So many lies!
A Void... I haven't...
This is the only one! The only! Only- only one-
- murderer - psychotic Void - maimed -
- k-kill - destroy... KILL!
Her words were lost upon the circadian; the maelstrom of his own thoughts drowned out everything else. The Umbran's glowing eyes had dilated, then constricted to pinpoints, as an eerie glow completely overtook them. They brightened as his ears rang, flat against his skull, teeth bared - the madness was upon him, and he could not fight it.
When her claws sank into the side of his neck, ripping through the metallic scales - he didn't even seem to feel it. He snarled and snapped back with his jaws, surging forwards at her, seeking flesh to rip and tear. It was as if the madness had stripped the knowledge of his powers from him, and he was a wild, feral beast...
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