So. It has been a month since last chapter. You guys must be wondering if I dropped it. Nope. I had exams and then…my laptop went bust. I didn’t have much cash at hand right then so I had to wait for a few days to buy a new one. It will release regularly from today. Here is HTSAS, from my new laptop that is red as wine(well, I am sure it is more like dried-blood red but the shop assistant was adamant that it was wine-red)
Chapter 17: Surviving Dragons, Elves and Psychotic Tendencies
“…Vashtii Ragetide, the Hero-King of the Elves is a figure shrouded in mystery like the shadows of the forest. Legends claim that he was the firstborn of an Urvan-ere, named Sylfael Ragetide and her Aivern Shinaerl Stillglade. Sylfael was a scholar in her own right, and revered in the land. However, she was persecuted for blaspheming the Tree of Life. It is said that she killed her own Aivern out of rage and spite after Vashtii was born, for he had formed the contract with force and rape. For her transgression, the four clan-heads of the Sun-Elves and the three clan-heads of the Lunar Elves passed their judgment, and condemned her. As punishment, the seven clan-heads raped her again and again, in view of the Tree and Elves. After her punishment, she was executed by hanging from the Tree…”
— Legend of Vashtii, Somarael Greenlake, Part- I
Our ship hurtled towards the monolith in a suicidal spiral. Shit, those magic Battleships can endure this, not our normal Nampar!
The men on our decks screamed, their eyes white. Collin frothed at the mouth. Faeve clasped her crossbow hard enough to make it creak audibly. In front of us…the monster ravaged the second battleship.
It dove in and out of the hull, as if threading its body in a piece of cloth. With every passing, the ship broke apart even more. The men loosed their weapons at the Spire Master ineffectively. It chomped on the crew. The sickening sounds carried across the waves and to our ears.
Chills crept down my spine. I turned towards Faeve. Her face was ashen.
“Prepare to fight! the Navy can’t hold it!” I shouted. Shit, my legs are shaking.
She jolted out of her thoughts and looked at me. Her eyebrows knit together, “Fight? You could not even hold off assassins”.
“In case you hadn’t noticed, they had trained for it whole their life. I just started a year ago!” I bellowed at her, “Besides, not as if you were much better! You got surrounded on rooftops”.
She put her hands on her hips, her lips curling up in a snarl, “Fool, I ambushed them! As if they could get close to me with such sub-par skills”.
We glared at each other. Her deep green eyes bore into mine and then…trembled.
The monster had decimated the ship and swam in midst of the debris. It prowled the wreckage, picking off stray men one by one, crushing them in its iron jaws. Desperate screams filled the air.
“We need to get out of here, even if it means fighting the Spire Master”. I told Faeve quietly.
She nodded, tightening the straps on her leather armour.
The monster swam away, satisfied with its hunt. Then it dove deep into the sea. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! canons spat out fire from the lone surviving Battleship. The cannonballs breached the sea surface in torrents of water and sunk ineffectively.
With a jolt, the current pulling us became stronger. Shit! We are almost upon the wreckage!
“We…We wont survive if we hit the broken ships!” Sullin bellowed, his hands gesticulating wildly.
He is right.
Water rose up in cascades as the monster breached the surface close to the other ship. Its jaws opened wide. A black abyss stared back from its maw. Its fangs dripped blood and bits of flesh. Some spears and swords had lodged themselves between its scales.
Its red eyes glowed in the dim moonlight. The monster charged the battleship. Water swirled in eddies at its wake, the sea churned foam. Our ship had come close enough to the fist sunk ship to carry over the smell of spent blood and gunpowder.
The monster roared…the boom shook the deck of our ship. The stench of blood…awakened the monsters, the monsters inside me.
My head throbbed with their cries.
Rend! Burn! Destroy!
Their cries awoke what I was afraid of; myself.
A savage grin split my face. I could feel my teeth gnashing against each other. Faeve shifted beside me. Her voice was uneasy, “Eridan, don’t—
“Shut up, Elf. Now…we hunt”. I snarled.
I took out Thirst. The blade glinted silver in the moonlight. Faeve shivered, my bloodlust colouring her thoughts. I didn’t have to look at her to know she was trembling like a leaf, responding to my wishes.
Her thoughts flowed into me as my bloodlust slowly drowned her own cold steel like mind, melding her to me.
Yes, this is domination.
She curled her fist on her heart, shaking her head.
Feel with me, Elf. The rise of the seas, the aroma of blood, the stench of danger. Come.
Her legs trembled, as she grasped her head with her hands. Her porcelain skin was flushed crimson.
The souls not only use me, but I use them too. I will take this bloodlust and use it to fight.
Faeve clasped her hands as she understood my intention, her deep green eyes met mine.
Savage grins split our faces as we delved into each others’ aggression, the music of blood trembling in ecstasy.
The monster was now just a few feet from the bow of the remaining battleship. The mounted canons swerved to face it. Red light engulfed its humongous Noxrate canon, red lightning sparked along its length.
The monster bit down, wood and rope crunching in its mouth. It swallowed the front of the agic canon and…froze. Canonballs hit it like a barrage and exploded.
Red light spilled along its mouth, reaching till the mid of its serpentine body. The scales were lit underneath by a vicious crimson light as the Noxrate discharged inside it. The monster exploded in a flash of red light.
A crimson beam extended from its neck, burned through its skin and streaked skywards. The beam stretched up and cleaved though the sky. The monster’s skin smoked and crackled as it wailed.
It’s still alive? Fucking snake!
Like its previous head, this one too had sustained heavy injuries. Just how tough is this thing? Half its face had melted away, cracks spread through its upper body. Blood gushed out from its torso, reddening the seas.
The ship it has attacked had its front chewed off, the hull exposed. Cheers exploded from its deck as the monster wobbled, its red eyes dimming.
My grip relaxed from the handle of my sword. Guess I don’t have to fight it anymore.
The shouts from the half decimated ship split the air, the men on its deck dancing when another sound assaulted our ears.
A loud cracking sound stopped the shouts of men…their cheers turned to fearful shouts. The Noxrate canon was still spilling red light. The length of its body glowed deep orange. The monster howled again, this time the sound came in gurgles.
The Noxrate exploded.
In a moment, the remnant of the ship was swept up in a torrent of red light and fire. With the sound of a hundred thunderclaps, the ship blew apart into kindling. Smoke curled up from the remaining debris, accompanied by the foul stench of burning flesh and wood.
The monster boomed weakly, declaring its victory. Our ship shuddered as a piece of driftwood from the first sunk ship hit our Nampar. Shit! We are too close!
Half-sunken, the remnant of the first battleship loomed before us. The current carried us straight towards it in frightening speed. Sweat fell from my temples. My bloodlust gave way to cold dread.
“Deploy the fucking wings, dammit!” I shouted, running towards the left ‘wing’ of our ship. Sullin ran towards the one on right, stumbling.
The wings deployed with the sound of creaking metal. Huge nets unfurled from it on both sides with a rushing sound. The leaden weights made the nets swiftly sink underwater.
Then it caught the first piece of debris. The nets that were used to catch fish like a trawler now caught pieces of driftwood. Hopefully, this will slow it down.
The ship careened to the side as a huge piece from the sunk ship caught in its left net, the current making it swerve. Sounds of shearing arose from the wing and metal screeched, straining to arrest the speed and…stopped.
Shouts of joy exploded from out deck as the ship slid to a halt, the debris that was to be our death saved us instead.
I looked up at Faeve. Her face taut with tension was relaxed, a loose smile adorned it. Her teeth flashed as she gave me a grin. Relief flooded through me. Is it my feeling or hers? …doesn’t matter.
The ship was stood still in the water, the current beating against it with force. Wait what was that?
Something stirred underwater, far away near the fog bank. How can I even feel it?
Legs and tails swished underwater, beating steadily towards the spire. I flashed a tiny smile as I realised what the creature…no creatures, were. They had arrived.
Another roar brought us back to reality. Everyone stared at the source. The monster was wailing with half of its head gone, his body punched with holes. But…it was not dead.
The last battleship was totally obliterated, leaving only a smoking patch of wood on the sea. The monster howled at the moons, its body shaking—wait…it is dying!
Suddenly, red eyes turned towards out ship, Shit! The monster noticed us!
It swam fitfully against the seas, the glass-like clear water parted at its wake. The monster was almost dead, but even with its last breaths, it was capable of annihilating us.
“Faeve”, I called out.
“Madness”, she replied shaking her head while readying her crossbow and daggers.
I took a deep breath and let the voices inside me…take over.
The world ground to a halt. Colours exploded, every hue more vibrant and visceral.
Kill. Kill. Kill.
Aroma of blood and death swirled around us, egging me on. The salty-sweet smell of blood burned my throat.
My lips hurt from the inadvertent feral grin. I didn’t have to glance towards Faeve to know that she smiled too.
Unease flowed into me. Ugh.
I twisted towards Faeve. She was staring at the sea straight while she chewed her lips. Her hands were curled into tight fists.
I sauntered up to her and grabbed her jaw, forcing her to meet my eyes.
I don’t fucking care for this right now.
“Look, Faeve. Just as you are using me to get back to your homeland, I too am using you to get more power”, my voice rumbled strangely from the AP laced delivery, “drown in my bloodlust, Elf, and let me use you”.
She flinched. Her eyes went wide as my mind tried to assert dominance over hers. Her lips opened and closed like a breathless fish.
“After all, you are my Urvan-ere”, my fingers dug into her skin while my face was close enough to send shivers down her spine. I do not care right now what I have to do to use her abilities. I will force her mind into submission.
Her hands fell limp beside her. Her eyes bore into mine. Her powerless hands rose up to brush my cheeks.
The world split into two. I looked up at myself, trembling in my heart.
He will consume me…I…I can’t stay myself. I am losing control! Gods protect!
I could see my own face, glaring like a beast. A beast that won’t listen to reason. A beast that will consume my mind, body and soul.
Is this how Faeve sees me? Our minds had melded, as the connection grew stronger than ever. I could feel, see, hear what she did.
But…I need to give in to him right now. For now…as the decree of the Tree of Life, under the ancient pact, I am his. His to use, His to protect, His to ravage. The Urvan-ere belongs to the Aivern.
I could feel my skin burning as a something hot seared into my skin…from my own fingertips…No, from my fingertips to Faeve’s. It was Faeve’s thoughts just before! What the hell is the connection actually?!
Eternities passed in the space of a few moments. An Urvan-ere stared at her Aivern, their eyes boring into each other. The raging sea stilled, my sense of unease quietened as I acclimated with the connection.
But I will kill him one day, for all he and his kind has done.
Faeve’s parting thought whipped into me like fire. Thick hate drilled into my senses.
That’s right…she hates me. But for those few moments…
Faeve broke the eye contact as she turned towards the monster. I could sense what Faeve was sensing. It was as if I had extra limbs and organs. She and I were synched.
“Shall we go into battle, Urvan-ere?” I whispered.
She didn’t answer. She didn’t need to. A feral grin that mirrored mine crept up her face, her teeth shone like fangs.
She has given in to my bloodlust.
Metal clinked softly. Someone behind us screamed. But for now, only three things existed in this world. Me, Faeve and the Monster
The monster reared up in front of our ship, a few metres away. Its half-decimated jaws opened wide, half of its teeth broken from the Noxrate blast. Drool and bits of smoking meat hung from the ravaged right jaw. Bits of skin and flesh plopped into the sea when it roared, its body vibrating.
Almost dead, still so much arrogance!
I roared back at it, my voice laced with massive amounts of AP. The boom shook the ships, hitting the monster like a battering ram. Faeve trembled beside me, half in bloodlust, half in arousal from the battlecry.
“Always wanted to hunt a Wyrm”. I said quietly, finally having remembered its name.
Red eyes like simmering embers stared back at us. The fins along its body rose up like small sails. Then it shook like a frill-necked lizard, its fins rattling with the booming cry.
AP concentrated beneath my feet as I jumped straight towards the lizard. The deck’s tough Xecchian wood creaked and cracked from the recoil of my jump. Faeve stumbled as the ship shook.
The wyrm-like monster pulled back at my unexpected charge. I landed straight on top of its flaring nostril. The AP charged Thirst sunk into the monsters snout. I used the momentum from my jump to catapult myself on its head. The blade sheared its flesh apart. The dull sound of the blade wrenching apart the nose was accompanied by the screeching wail of the monster.
Not so tough, eh?
The top of its head was still intact. The neck however had a thick hole through it where the Noxrate canon’s charge had punched through. I raised up by blade in my hands, plunging it straight down on its skull.
Clang! The blade-point met its scales. I used the enhanced force from my black arm to sink it deeper. By now, the arm had recovered to the point of full manifestation.
The beast roared.
The voices in my head went wild.
I let myself drown in their anger and thirst. Power flooded through me, I cloaked myself in the rage of the fallen.
I sighed. Looks like someone found a Thesaurus.
AP charge flooded the blade. The steel creaked with tension…and released it. The AP boomed along the skull of the monster, cracking it. The vibrations turned the rest of its head into mush.
My other pair of feet pattered onto the monster like leaf, landing softly. No, it was Faeve’s. Our connection made me feel like she was an extension of me, her body belonged to me.
The monster roared in pain as Faeve’s crossbow loosed its bolts. With dull thuds, the arrows sunk into its eyes. Thick arms the size of small minivans swerved up its head as the monster tried to dislodge me.
But Faeve’s eyes informed me of that movement. I swerved like lightning. Still, the edges of its claws hit me like a ram, throwing me off.
I flew backwards. The contact scored a deep gash across my armour. I fell down and the slithery scales offered me no traction.
I continued falling along its length. Shit! Shit! Shit! I got too taken in by the bloodlust to take into consideration its slippery scales!
I extended my blade while falling. The tip dug into the Spire-Master’s skin, scoring a deep wound along its length, the sword slowly digging deeper. The fall was arrested as the momentum slowed. I hung from the blade, halfway along the creature’s length.
Deep anger flowed into me as Faeve became enraged. My body shivered as I took in her bloodlust at having her Aivern hit.
I used the blade as a fulcrum and swung back up on its body. I bit down on the glove of my left hand. I ripped apart the glove with my teeth. Leather left a bad aftertaste in my mouth.. Time to see how my new power works.
I pressed my hand into its scales. The cold hide sent jolts up my arm.
Let the power of ages flow in this arm of mine,
Ravage of decay, embody me, spread your icy fangs.
Disintegrate in impunity, punish my enemies.
For I have housed the rot, taken in the corruption.
My incantation ended. I couldn’t see her but I sensed Faeve shivering from the feedback. Black rot spread through the monster’s skin. Black smog consumed its scales as acid crept inside it. The monster screamed and flailed in desperation twisting its body.
A sharp jolt to my sides almost made me lose my grip on Thirst. I looked down….and there was no wound. Nothing had hit me. What the?
I sensed Faeve whimpering in pain as my sides exploded again in dear agony. Oh fuck! synched senses mean we share pain too!
The monster bucked and twisted, trying to dislodge us. My power spread through its back, eating into its flesh. Skin withered and blackened as smoke rose from where my hand laid on it. My palms sunk as more of its meat was eaten through.
With a loud roar, the monster rushed towards the sea. It drove inside the water with manic speed. I held on as the serpentine body submerged, the water churned.
Oh fuck! fuck! fuck! The bloodlust had made me forgot another important fact. The monster could dive underwater.
Water rushed around me and into me in torrents. The strong currents hit me like trucks, making me lose my grip…almost. My hands had already sunk into it arm-deep so the water didn’t dislodge me, but it had its toll.
The strong currents hit me with enough force to make me wince with pain. I couldn’t even shout and risk water flooding my lungs. Not that I am too successful in that. Water was already streaming through my nostrils, entering in frigid waves.
Where is Faeve? The intense pain had dulled our connection somewhat. I extended my sense to reach out to my Urvan-ere…there!
It was as if she was a patch of green luminescence in a sea of inky black, Our connection spread like a thin strand of luminescent string, visible underwater. I could not see her directly but…I could sense her, glowing, writhing and calling out. She was hurt.
Irrational hate swirled up inside me. How dare you hurt my Urvan-ere. I was shocked at my own reaction…is this a result of our connection?
My muscles tensed unknowingly, the black hand now dug even deeper with its claws. The monster buckled even more, blood swirled out from the open wound. The rot was not working anymore!
The swirling currents had numbed the power. Undersea, the rot progressed much slower. The AP in this ocean was abysmally low, making me unable to unleash the full power of my black arm.
In that case…
I pulled out AP from the monster itself, using my other hand that gripped Thirst. The enormous amount of AP channeling out of the monster’s body made the blade buck and twist. Steam rushed out from the blade as the AP rushed forth into me, boiling the water surrounding it.
I turned the monster’s own reserve of AP against it. The rot now spread like a wildfire, engulfing it. The monster now twisted in coils, the water bubbled around it.
But…my breath is almost at its limit! I can’t breathe anymore!.
The underwater rush of the monster had driven most of the air from my lungs. A year of consuming and training had given me more endurance than Olympic Athletes but…this was too much.
But I will make you pay, slimy asshole. How dare you hurt my Urvan-ere!…dafuq? The connection is making me want to protect her!
The thin strand of thread that connected me to Faeve now glowed even more brightly. Thick bloodlust flowed from me to Faeve and from her, to me. Our aggression melded and rose exponentially.
The monster bucked up, rushing towards the surface. The charge discharged the last of the air from my lungs.
Like a freight train, the Spire-Master breached the surface. I doubled over as I coughed the water out of my lungs. I keeled as pain like jagged ice shards swirled around my chest.
I could feel Faeve gasp too. But her Elven body quickly recovered. For a brief moment, when I was weak, her cold assassin mind asserted its dominance over mine. My pain was suppressed by her mind, and spurred me to action.
The monster was now floating on the surface like a huge whale, his limbs trying to scratch of parts of its own body…Has it gone mad in its own pain?
I stood up, dislodging Thirst from its skin. My knee bucked…but stayed put. And again…Faeve was engulfed in my bloodlust. I felt her go weak in the knees from my rage. I stared towards the figure straddling the beast’s head. A pair of forest green eyes stared back at me.
I smiled at my Urvan-ere.
She smiled back at me, my emotions mirrored on her own lips, curled up in a snarl.
After that, a dance of death started on the monster’s prone body.
Our daggers and blades sunk into the monster with eerie precision. What was her dagger made of anyway? Our senses were attuned to each other. Our breaths felt as one, our steps synchronized to the tune of death.
There was no one in this world, but us. A world of an Aivern and his Urvan-ere. I could feel Faeve shudder as my thoughts reached her. Every beat of her heart answered mine, as mine hers. Our blades sliced at the monster in perfect unison. My eyes met hers once again, and we grinned.
Her mind was ice, and mine fire. We consumed each other, and grew even stronger. My breath felt lighter, my vision sharper. Colours exploded once again. Plethora of sounds and smell entered my senses.
This is the world Faeve sees.
A low growl resounded in my throat…and was mirrored by Faeve’s. Our senses, heightened beyond measure kept track of each other. Every movement, every beat was a perfected dance.
Even sex doesn’t feel so good.
Faeve trembled as the thought crossed my mind. Her legs buckled for a beat as the bloodlust aroused her.
Then came her hate. Hate beyond measure. Ice shards plowed into my body, shearing apart every organ. My mind was frozen. My knees trembled, and I myself shook like a leaf as I realised for the first time…exactly how much Faeve hated me…no, an Aivern.
The connection broke with a snap. The world grew dull suddenly and the sensory feedback cut off. I slumped like a doll cut of its string. My limbs grew heavier, my hands trembled. The rot that spread with every swing of my blade slowed down as fatigue engulfed my body.
Faeve’s hate terminated the connection?
I looked at her, she turned her eyes away from me, trembling. Her porcelain skin was flushed a deep rouge, while her knuckles were white.
No, the connection is still there but it has dulled.
The monster under us rumbled at its momentary respite. Our combined bloodlust that had locked it into place had vanished.
Just how much does she hate me?
It wasn’t so puzzling anyway. Tell me, what will you feel for someone who had taken away your dignity and then made then obey you with force? Almost enslaved your mind and use it to their own purposes, making you feel the same emotion as them, eating into your thoughts and stealing them?
But…I had no choice. To kill a god, I needed to become like them. Sorry, Faeve, but I can’t hold back. Not anymore.
I looked at Faeve, this time she stared back at me, hunching her shoulders. Her red lips trembled as she started to say something.
She couldn’t finish. Her light frame flew like a loosened arrow as the monster bucked up, regaining its spirit. An arm had smashed into her like a train, making her fly sideways far away into the sea.
With the same fluid motion, the monster doubled up on itself and charged towards me. In a flash, the huge head hit my gut like a battering ram. Air was driven out of my lungs as I flew backwards.
I hit the wreckage of one of the battleships. The force was strong enough to make my body break through layers of wood and metal. I finally came to a stop, half-submerged. My mouth was barely above the water-line. Broken pieces of wood gaped from my torso. Splinters had embedded itself into my limbs. Bubbles formed as more air escaped from my sunken mouth.
I lay in the wreckage, amidst broken ship-parts. The wood shrouded my view from the outside world. Only the moon was high up in the sky. I could feel Faeve’s consciousness cut off from me. Did she faint? Or is she dead?
My arm throbbed. Pain like fire lanced up my black arm. I didn’t even have the energy to scream.
But…I still had one trump card left. Them.
Even before the battle I had sensed them break into the fog bank, attracted to the aroma of blood and death. Now they were near, very near. My power as a chosen vassal of Zain let me sense their thick feet parting the deep seas, their tails swishing like whips.
I called out in my mind.
O scions of the dark, jaws of steel.
Rend with your claws, rip with your teeth.
Let shadows sing of your justice.
Balance keepers of the depths, bring down your peace.
I, who has offered your kin my own flesh calls out to you.
Bring to my enemies the doom they seek.
Strength flooded my muscles. I wrenched my body from the wooden stakes that held me. I crawled out of the wreckage, blood streaming in my wake. I climbed out and saw the sight I was waiting for.
Hundreds of black patches breached the sea surface in unison. Water cascaded from dark scales
as hundreds of red eyes glinted up. Water churned as powerful tails split the sea. The Great Sea Crezets had arrived.
Once again, sorry for the long delay. I hope you all will forgive me…
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