Defeat (Part 3)Mature

Zane cursed at himself for being stupid. He shouldn't wish for something he knew couldn't happen. He simply had to focus on his own Mystics. Well, two of them. Air was too hard to control, though he would never admit that to his damn brother. How did that sandreaver use it so naturally? Sands! If it wasn't for Zane's natural skill in Flame, then he would have swore the idiot had just wanted to shame his older brother.

Zane missed his brother.

'I do not!' Zane thought furiously. 

"I'm going to buy some new clothing," Zane told the old man, "I take it I can leave the f- woman here?" 

The man nodded. Thank the Unscarred Creator in Paradise that he didn't try to make more conversation. The last thing Zane wanted was to talk to someone like a damn old friend. People thought small talk was polite, but Zane hated every damn moment of it. There was no one he wanted to talk to like that. And let all the ones who wanted to talk to him burn in the sands. 

Zane left the Healer's building, making sure to leave his desert jacket behind. He didn't want to explain the blood to every filthy guard he passed. It was just another pain. Luckily, as if a reward for putting up with all the filth that had happened so far, Zane found a clothier easily.

"Evening, sir!" an elderly man said. From how he said it Zane could tell he always said the same thing so it had become habit. He was sitting behind a musty counter reading a book by Flame-light. Good, he wouldn't be the chatty old man that Zane hated so much. 

The style of the Plains people was much more colorful than the Faerein. Instead of the brown, gray, and whites that frequented the stores in the desert home, there was red, blue, green, and even some black. It was colder in the Plains, though. Must have ruined the damn people's sense of style or something. 

Zane picked out a red jacket that looked to be leftover from the winter season in the Plains and took it to the counter. It wasn't as good as a desert jacket, but it extended down past the knees and the tag attached claimed it was fireproof - something Zane could really use. 

The old man grabbed up the jacket with his offhand. It took him a second, but he realized that the fabric was, in fact, a heavy jacket meant for winter. He looked up. "Ah, you must be from the desert," he said slowly, letting his Flame made fire go away. "That will be three brass orbs."

Three? "Is the fabric for these damn things really so expensive?" Zane asked, still pulling out the money. It was a lot, but not much compared to how much he had. 

"Yes," the old man said, recounting the gold Zane gave him to make sure it added up. "We get the material from Serpents that wash ashore every few weeks."

"Serpents?" Those huge snakes than are found in the deep reaches of the ocean? Zane thought they were a legend or something. Damn!

"Yes, each body makes about three hundred of these coats, so they are coveted, though not for the fireproof part. They are also extremely warm." As if to prove his point, he hefted the jacket open and pointed at the hard leather inside. Sure enough, it was warm.

"Sands!" Zane said in surprise, "I needed this days ago. Wouldn't have had to use my damn Flame Mystic to keep warm." 

The old man laughed. "I know, it is quite a tiresome thing." He finished the order and Zane pulled on his new jacket. It really was long, but it did it's job well. 

That conversation hadn't been terrible, either. Maybe it was a sign that his day would actually cool down. Sands! He realized that damn woman couldn't talk to him for a while! How long had it been since he had been free from her continuous annoyance that she called a voice? It felt good being free of that!

"You are very smart, Zane."

Zane turned to see a man walking down the street behind him. He wasn't large or anything, but the white mask he held in his hand gave him away as the one who spoke. "You bastard! Where is my brother!?"

Many people turned to stare at them oddly and a wide birth formed. The man holding the mask touched his hood in an odd way, then waved for Zane to follow him. "It's too crowded here," he said, "I want to talk to you alone."

Zane didn't budge, though. "What makes you think I'll listen to you?" he snapped, creating a point in the air in front of his knuckles. "You damn sandreavers attacked me!" 

Now the people seemed worried. Zane ignored them, though. He had his target in sight. 

The hooded man sighed audibly and crossed his arms. "Fine, we go the hard way." He turned and stuck one of his arms upward. "I didn't want it to come to this, though. I wanted to just take you to see the little boy. Would have been easier on you to just walk into the cage willingly..."

"By the Sands, what are you...?" 

A black vortex of darkness appeared in the sky just above the hooded man. A Voidgate! Zane tried to run and grab the man, but ended up grabbing empty air. The Voidgate dissipated a moment before he could touch that too. Damn! 

And then Zane heard the roar. 

It was deep and fearsome, like that of a lion - which Zane had seen from a traveling circus - yet louder. Like three hundred lions roaring together. Zane started to wonder what it had been but it came again. He knew what it was then. He couldn't admit it. Not even think it. It was more like an intuitive feeling. 

And then a massive figure dropped from the sky and landed right in front of Zane, crushing two men and injuring another with the massive spikes that jutted from every part of it's body. The creature stretched almost three times as large as the largest horse and was the same color of red as Zane's jacket. 

A Great Lizard. 

The last thing Zane saw before blacking out was a massive tail with two spikes larger than the rest. Sands... 

The End

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