The crew returned to their tasks, most still shaken by the nightmares that manifested before them. Some breathed heavily, sweat decending from their brow. I blocked the images from my head. When my mind relaxed however, the formless figures would return.
I stood upon the bow, the cleansing breeze rippling through my coat. Cool and crisp, it would soon be tainted by battle. Blood would flow, and agony would run through these crimson winds.
"Battle." I mouthed.
The monsters still lurked ahead, not far now. What would they be like? Perhaps the elvish legend was true. They were the children of the hungry deity, come to eat us all. At that moment the concept seemed all too real. I almost broke a molar clenching my teeth.
Would they kill me?
Would they feast upon my corpse? Devouring my rotting flesh! Oh gods!
My mana spiked and I turned upon the speaker with blades drawn to his neck.
The calm face of Tariq greeted me, only slightly suprised I was trying to kill him. I grasped my emotions, cutting the magika flow.
"I.....sorry." I shuddered.
"Something on your mind?"
"Nothing you will pay mind to Pridean."
He sat on the steps to me, his eyes narowed slightly.
"You persist in refering to me by my species name. As if it curse."
"It is forsaken." I muttered in reply.
"And tell me, what gives you the right to call it that?" He asked.
I reached into my coat, removing a spyglass. He looked at curiously before I explained:"This gives me more than enough right! When I lived a nomadic existance upon my mothers ship, I watched beastmen invasion as if it ritual! Perhaps you know of Dactrial, fair Actorial's sister city. I watched as forsaken species razed it to the dust it started from! Retra, Yona, Portilo, these are no more than words now! They have no place left to name. Other than the gaveyards these wonderful lands became. And who to blame for this scourge? Your tribal cousin species."
"You cannot assume a whole civillization's ideals based on a single army!" He responded, trying to find reason amonst my angst.
"Nay, not a single army. So many names and appearances have tried to conquer us. I stopped caring what the details were. They were always at our walls, always at our throats! Burning and butchering! The women and children would be taken for their rituals. I despise your attitude, opression I believe was the term you used? Alow me to use one of my own for your own people's deeds:Massacre!" I silenced at this, realizing how loud I had become.
Tariq shook his head. Perhaps I had gone to far, or maybe not far enough.
"The axe swings both ways. My species had many who did not participate in battle against you, most even saw it as an atrocity!" I'd finished my argument. Content that I had put my place on the board.
"That is where we differ. I already told you that I bare no grudge against your race. All I ask is that you may look at us as people, not as one huge creature compised of many. All of us are unique, and I will pray alongside you when that time comes to mourn those lost."
I felt.....strange. That moment I looked at him, I saw not the freaks, who's blood I spilled. But something else.
"I must leave once more to prepare, but comtemplate upon what I've said."
"That I will. But do not forget to consider my own words."
When he disappeared, I felt more alone than ever before. The deck was clear. No commands to be spoken. No people to haul water barrels. And the anxiousness returned. The terror returned.
Something rumbled in the distance. It was like a hoard of people all screaming at once. I thought perhaps below me the voices of my crew and blessed allies were laughing. But it came not from here, but just below the horizon. I hadn't been watching, as the flat plains had been split apart. A gap within the earth, the monsters were gathering. I pulled open my spyglass and pondered for the moment if I should look. The assassin within ordered me to observe.
Why would you wait! It laughed. You will soon be at the claws of the beast with blades drawn. Let's see them. Let's see if they're worthy to accept the punishment of Ziyous Teps-Adius!
My gods you're arogant. I replied.
I was thankful. The bloodlust quelled my fear, allowing me to place the iron rim to my eyes.
That burst of confidence did not survive the things I saw.
They were knights. Just as had been described.
The beast will stand three meters in height
He will wear a suit of grey armor
A maw with curved fangs many
A single eye the size of the largest fist
It will screech a war cry into battle
Ahead of these monstrosities were what we called "gremlings"
The Gremlings stand only as tall as a dwarf
Two circles small with cresent grin and hooked nose consist the face
In it's hands lie crooked tools to tear and consume
A flood in numbers
But I easily reconized what danced like flies around the knights heads. And what rolled clumsily high above.
The knights' winged familiars have only body and teeth
The size of eagles but with flailing tails
Dragons incarnate they may be
But unlike the lizards they are crushed by a warriors hand
More worrying are the carriers
Huge and looking like bloated fish
They appear like airships
With hulls slung below
Manned by Goblings and led into battle by knights
There they were. Exactly as they were described. These were actual crossworlders. Yet I saw not colossals or witch doctors. This was the only relief I would get from this situation.
You have arrived with haste. I thank you.
The voice, it had returned. Now it sounded more audible. Somewhat feminine in nature, but still very commanding.
I don't require praise, I need you to tell me what you are!
Oh is that so? My, shall I tell you what i'm wearing while i'm at it? The sarcasm made me want to slam my head against something.
You came to me. The least you can do is explain how you're in my head!
Telephathy. Pure and simple.
The overwatchman cannot preform telephathy on this level. Am I to believe you have surpassed him?
I'm welcome to your other explanations.
No. Forget it. I have another thing to ask, do you know what the crossworlders are searching for?
Starting to put the pieces together? Go to the mid-length of the canyon, you can bypass most of their forces by going above them, the leviathans are all bulk. You can out run them.
My ship can supress them after we pass by. Me and the others can decend into the canyon.
Home free from there. But please, hurry if you can. I can hear them outside. Getting far too close for comfort.
My breathing had returned to normal. The fear had been eradicated. My smirk had plastered itself to my face once more.
"All hands! Prepare to attack!" I yelled with urgency.
Hopwil had already been standing on deck, watching the monsters gather ahead. He walked over to me, and joined in watching the monsters ahead.
"Looks promising." He said.
"How would you like to get in the thick of it." I asked.
"You need me to watch your back?"
"No, you and me are going to plow the creatures away from the canyon's center. From there, we take up the search they began."
We both chuckled at this for no apparent reason.
I heard the wooden planks behind me creak as Tariq and Tallia approached.
"Do you plan to get us killed?" Tallia asked with a sigh upon seeing the forces ahead.
"So those are manifest? Hideous." Tariq snarled.
"Carve them into something more attractive then." I mused.
I heard the crack of shudders breaking open. A few moments after I heard the thumps of crossbows firing. The crossfire would soon begin. And we would fall into the sea of chaos, standing our ground until they swept us out.