The world was exploding in ten different directions at once, and I didn't know which way to look. Fire tore the sky apart in burning lances, monsters screamed, propellers whirred, and everywhere was laden with the heavy, stinking scent of blood. And them.
I screwed my eyes shut and tried to concentrate on Morgan. I could feel her trembling in the shadow of my leathery embrace, but she was all the courage I had left. It took every scrap of strength in me to keep from screaming. The sounds of the battle were pulling me apart. The terrible twisted beasts that reared and screeched in the sky were repulsive, and the very smell of them set my teeth on edge, but there was something in their cries that I understood. They wanted me. They were calling for me.
My Horde. My brethren. My army.
I bit the inside of my mouth so hard I drew blood. No, that was not me. That was the other part, the part they instilled. That was their son. Not me. Never me.
Then the rumbling began. I raised my head, flared my nostrils. Fear rose, cold and burning in my throat. The elf tensed - he felt it too, though his attention was still fixed on me.
I should kill him. And the woman. I should kill them both.
Morgan raised her head and let out a gasp. Her hand rose to something about her neck, but she found my arm instead as I subconsciously placed it across her chest. I knew what this meant. I didn't know how, but some deep-rooted knowledge in my bones told me all I needed to know. Wherever they were, Judas and Elektra had summoned their greatest weapon.
A memory flew unbidden to the forefront of my mind. I was a child; filthy, frightened, and sobbing as cold air rushed about me. Though the sight sent thrills of terror through my very soul, I could not take my eyes from the endless drop below my dangling feet. My father, his icy hands locked in a dead man's grip about my ribs, laughed, and the darkness in the pit roared with him.
It was coming.
"Morgan," my voice shook and cracked like ice on a frozen puddle, "it's coming. We . . . we have to . . . to go before . . . Morgan, I . . ."
The rumbling stopped, and my forced words died in my throat. A terrible stillness descended; the Horde paused in their flight, and the beams of fire sputtered out as their wielders froze. Every hair on my body stood bolt upright.
Their laughter hit my ears like a banshee's scream. My resolve broke, and I clung to Morgan with all my strength, snarling and sobbing all at once. They knew we were trying to get out. They'd planned for it.
And now they would call up the very earth itself to destroy us.