“It was his idea.” The woman mumbles, trying to look indifferent.
“Give it a rest Rius, I wasn’t the one whom ran straight to tell the others.” Even though Leonardo’s voice is calm, his eyes are flashing with annoyance, like a fire steadily growing stronger as he looks irritated at the blue haired woman.
“No, you wanted to play knight in shining armour and protect Nova.” She flicks her blue hair angrily at him, her eyes are ice cold. Ren can almost touch the tension in the air as her eyes become wild like the sea in a storm.
Nova laughs softly, stopping the squabble as everyone turns towards her with questionable looks.
“Now, now.” Nova slowly starts to move towards the group, her hands lightly touching the arms of those whom she passes, bringing a small smile to light their faces. “As you have all left your posts without permission, the others are now unattended and unguarded if under attack. We have to get this over with quicker than expected in case any harm is to come upon them.” The others avert their gazes, shame on their faces.
“You know these people?” Turning her head, Nova smiles softly at the Prince causing her eyes to sparkle.
“They are my friends, my people, and my warriors. Ren Lockwood, meet Leonardo, the leader of my warriors.” The man with the red mane nods slightly in the Prince’s direction before showing off as he expertly swings his broad sword as if it was an extension on his own arm. The Prince’s features harden, not amused with a man of a lower station to him attempting to be intimidating in front of Nova. “The woman in blue is Rius,” On looking at her, she rools her eyes and inspects one of her throwing knives.
“The twins are Gemi,” The boy waves his war hammer. “And Ni.” The girl copies her brother and does the same. Ni’s hair is beautifully braided neatly around her head contains tiny orbs which seem to shine silver. Her brother on the other hand has no hair at all as he stands proudly next to his sister, their smiles are exact copies of each other.
“Cercan is to their left.” A man standing in a blue cotton tunic nods at the Prince, his clothes looking as though they have been wrapped around him many times for extra protection. With a curt nod, the Prince notices the bright silver of his eyes reflecting the lanterns flame. At his hip is a strange weapon that the Prince has never seen before. It’s a double-bladed knife with a metal handle in the middle, which has an iron ring around it and another sharp spike. Again, the weapon is made from an unfamiliar tinted blue metal.
The young child, that the Prince noticed earlier, smiles sheepishly at him. Her tight locks surround her face like a halo. Her dress is a patchwork, made up of various materials and colours with a large snake tightly coiled around her torso. Instead of looking as though it troubles her, the girl strokes the snakes body.
On closer inspection, the Prince can see that the snake is eating its own tail, only stopping briefly when the girl pulls it apart but it quickly assumes its recent position. “I see that you have noticed Ophi and her snake Tody. Do not be fooled, for Ophi is just as fearless as the rest of us warriors. She might be a little tyke, but her whip is as sharp as razors and she will not hesitate to use it.” The tall man with the dark complexion announces in a deep, booming voice, standing protectively by the young Ophi, breaking the Prince’s eye contact with her.
Nova laughs softly, making the dark green eyes of Ophi’s protector soften slightly. “For a man whom is an observer, you have said much, but it is all in vain. Ren will not harm any of you. Forget not your manners, and put away your throwing axes Rexrus.”
Nodding respectfully towards Nova, the creature of muscle whom is known as Rexrus does as instructed and slides them into their holders on his back. The Prince notices a slight gleam of silver with slight green encased inside of the metal around Rexrus’ hand in the form of silver knuckle dusters.
With no time to ponder more on the strange metal, a tall man with long blonde hair and sharp red eyes moves his weight. His body is lean and his facial features are sharp with his long nose. Along his back is a beautiful bronze quiver with dancing horses engraved on the wood, and the arrows have roses with wicked thorns engraved into them. “The man with the bow and arrows is Tarius.” Ren’s eyes take in the metal of the arrowheads, noticing them having the same encased red as Leonardo’s broad sword contains. The Prince slowly nods his head towards Tarius.
“The woman in the watery blue cape and dark blue hair is Sces. Her weapon of choice is her gladius.” Turning his attention towards the next warrior, Prince Ren is surprised that he cannot see most of her face under the heavy hood she wears. Her thin lips smile hauntingly. Her torso is covered by the cape but her legs are bare, revealing thigh-length shorts and shapely legs.
The Prince watches as she puts her short blue metal swords away within her cape, adding mental images of all the weapons he has seen so far and their hiding places on the various warriors.
“Sting, you may retire to your post within the shadows if that suits you.” At the sound of Nova’s voice, the woman dressed in black nods her head. Her watery blue eyes glance once more at the Prince before fully returning back into the darkness. “Isorropia is the woman with the battle axe and frail.” Ren looks over to the woman wearing thin cloth made of light grey, almost white. Her right side is heavily armoured where she holds her battle axe. The weight of the armour looks as if it should unbalance Isorropia, however, it does not seem to affect her.
“A-and, I am V-V-Vi. Good to-to meet you Ren Lo-ockwood, son of Vi-Vi-Villiat Lockwood.” Bright emerald eyes grasps the Prince’s attention along with thick green hair pulled into a tight bun with vine and flower patterned in her hair. Her wide eyes along with her timid smile, and small size, gives an air of innocence to her, making the Prince want to protect her nearly as much as Ophi. Her pink and orange clothes act like a second skin, covering her neck to the tips of her fingers and toes. Putting away her katana, the Prince notices the tinted green encased inside of the metal, reminding him of the colour the forests used to be before the sun vanished.
A woman moves closer to the Prince, inspecting his face with her calculating orange eyes. Ren stiffens as she brings a chakram up to his cheek with her left hand and a hunga munga from her right. It has a metal pointed blade with a curved back section and separate spike near the handle. The red tinted metal of the throwing disc and hunga munga glows brightly, illuminating the Prince’s face so that the woman could get a better look at him. “Now, now Seira, we don’t want to ruin the Prince’s precious face now do we?” Leonardo smirks, clearly amused at the woman with the weapons against Ren’s face.
After glaring at Leonardo, Ren turns his attention back to Seira. Her orange eyes narrow as she inspects her, her curls falling over them. A smile spreads across her face as she lowers her weapons staring at him. “Yes! You blinked, I win!” She throws her fist into the air and swirls around. Her clothes are a mixture between cotton and silk in a light orange colour, and there’s a large rams skull in the centre of the back of her head.
Glancing briefly towards Nova, she lightly shrugs, not surprised at Seira’s actions.
A man with a thick brown goatee, with specks of green within the hairs, moves closer to Nova. His deep brown, almost black, eyes shine with respect as he holds tightly onto his spear with green encased inside of the metal. Across his nose is a deep horizontal scar which is parallel to his tear ducts. “Lady Nova, we must leave this place before something large comes this way. The creatures whom roam this darkness will gather soon.”
“We don’t need to worry about that Ricorn! We can take on whatever comes this way!” Gemi smiles enthusiastically, both him and his sister tap their war hammers together, sending shimmers through the ground. As the Prince attempts to hold his balance, Nova suppresses a smile.
“Are you two really that naïve? We have travelled far and need to camp for the night if we want to wander around here. As for taking on an enemy, it would be better for us after we get use to this new environment.” Rius hisses at them, casing a heated argument to break out amongst the warriors.
Ren stares at the sudden outbreak, hardly believing that these were the same group of warriors whom made him fear his life moments ago. Making her way through the arguing warriors, Nova smiles at the Prince as she moves towards his horse, Thunder Star. Captivated by her smile, Ren follows, holding his lantern high enough for Thunder Star’s black coat to be seen, as he gratefully nuzzles against the Prince.
Through the eerie silence, a low growl vibrates, causing the group to reach for their weapons. The strange metal of Nova’s weapons glows brightly which briefly dispelled the darkness surrounding them.
As if on instinct, Nova is in the centre of bodies, being protected from the creature approaching the ashy ruins. “It’s getting closer.” Leonardo mutters, his sharp orange eyes are slits as they dart around, assessing the situation. He sniffs the air, his face becoming tense. “It’s not alone.”
More growls can be heard from various directions, all closing in. At every snarl, the hairs on the Prince’s arms stand more rigid. Even from the light of the weapons and the lanterns flame, the creatures are partially eliminated.
The creatures, at least eight foot high each, begin to circle them. Their fur is matted and wirily, their claws are long and strong like black and blooded bone. Thick drops of saliva drools from their fierce jaws, their bodies jiggered from their bones penetrating out through their thin skin. They growl full of malice, their fat tails swinging hazardously as the vicious spikes stick out in all directions. “What are these t-t-things?” Vi asks.
Ren swears under his breath, his sword ready for any attack. “They are Clawrys. One of the most dangerous creatures around since the Sun God abandoned us. We’ll be lucky to escape with our lives.”
Rius scoffs, her throwing knives shining bright blue as he raises one above her head. “Maybe you would be, but we shall best these beasts with ease.” She narrows her eyes, carefully watching for the first sign of attack. Seira laughs, one hand holding her hunga munga, the other holding her chakram throwing disc.
At the sound of her laugh, the Clawrys suddenly leap forward, teeth bared, eyes ready for blood. Savage howls cry out in the darkness as the creatures pounce.