Chapter Two - Page Nine.

The group trudges onwards expertly moving as though the thick darkness doesn’t surround them, doesn’t hold them in its empty embrace.  

“Rune looks so much bigger when you are walking around it instead of looking down upon it.” Tarius says, his red eyes full of wonder. “It looked so much different last time that I was in this form, walking on this earth. Now, it seems empty and cold.” His grip tightens and loosens again and again on his beautifully crafted bow before he shakes the dark thoughts that are galloping around his head. “To think, it only has six village empires spanning all over Rune itself.” Tarius mutters more to himself than to the others.

Around the Zodiac warriors are gnarly looking trees and bushes, their branches like hands attempting to reach out and grab the group. Before the Sun God Sol vanished, they were once lush. Like all other plants and vegetation in Rune, they used to be full of greens and other vibrant colours holding rich, plumb fruit for any to pluck from its branches. Patches of small forests used to encase the east section of the Lunar Village Empire in beautiful colours that shone in differently when the moonlight caught it in various different angles. Now the trees are empty, as if the life left them the same time that the God Sol did.

Already, the Zodiacs and their mistress have wandered east, far from the Lunar Village Empire’s main settlement, heading towards the Mist Village Empire. The group are now making their way onto the fields where men dare not go.

The wind continues to swish around Nova as she walks, the darkness increasingly covers her pale face with every step that the group takes. Her face is void of emotion as she walks, as if she were in a trance.

Rexrus pushes Ophi along as her little feet root themselves to the earth as she once again attempts to part Tody away from the end of his tail. He hisses at her playfully, lightly licking at Ophi’s wrists lovingly before resuming his action of nibbling at his own tail. Seira giggles as she skips circles around Ricorn, flicking his beard whilst humming one of her self-made songs.

Nova continues walking, seemingly oblivious of her warriors’ lively natures. Rius and Leonardo walk closely behind her, both arguing about nothing between themselves as their eyes shoot ice spears at each other because of their opposing opinions.

As the group travel onwards, the earth beneath their feet begins to turn black and the withered plants become few and far between until there were nothing left. With each step, their feet sink into the once fertile soil as it squelches and causes thick dark liquid to rise and cover their feet. Nova halts, her eyes gazing around their surroundings that seem to stretch out as far as the eye can see. “This is where it happened all those moons ago.” Images of war from long ago flashes before Nova’s eyes.

Isorropia sticks her spear into the sludge that has been produced from within their footsteps. She flips her weapon, inspecting the liquid with a frown. Cercan reaches out, touching the thick substance, his usually bright silvery blue eyes have taken on a darker shade. “It’s blood.” Rexrus’ dark green eyes look sad as he kneels close to the ground, seemingly devastated at how much that the earth has suffered and how vegetation refuses to dare grow. Ophi wraps her hand around one of Rexrus’ ham fists, flashing him a very sad smile as he rises to his feet with a heavy sigh.

Vi scowls deeply, as if angry at the ground for being the way it is. Her wide emerald eyes are full of unshed tears. “H-H-How did it get l-l-l-l-like this?” She tears her gaze away from the blood-soaked ground. “Why h-h-hasn’t God T-Terra done a-a-a-anything to help this l-l-land?” The small warrior turns back to the group, seeming to plead with her Lady Nova for an explanation. 

Lady Nova slowly turns her gaze to the Zodiac warriors. “Brother Terra cannot help, no Earth God would be able to.” She dips her big toe into a footprint in front of her, watching the bloody soil rise and stain her pale skin. “It was a very long time ago when the Destruction God Exitium attempted to take over, destroying the Elder Gods and their ways. Brother Sol and I were still very new and we did not expect the outcome of our actions.” Nova walks around her warriors as their gazes follow her as they are entranced by the words of history. “So many lost their lives here. Innocence, demon and God blood spread across this land and mixed together, poisoning the earth. For hundreds of years, nothing has been able to grow here, even with Terra’s attempts to heal this cursed land.” Lady Nova reaches out and wipes away Vi’s tears. “This land spreads out for miles, separating the Lunar Village Empire from all of the other empires that create the world of Rune. The mortals call it the Graveyard, and many do not spend long here.”

Ricorn gazes at the sky before clearing his throat. “We should move, my Lady.”

“The ghosts of those who perished on this soil are still here.” Isorropia mutters before the group begins to head further east, trudging through the poisoned soil that stretches out far around them. Sting’s eyes scan across all directions, being on the lookout for danger whilst hidden in the darkness as the screams of those who had perished travel with the wind that begins to howl.

“At least there will be some decent booze at the Mist Village Empire.” Cercan smiles, ignoring the dark and cold atmosphere of those who have left this earth long ago. “If not, we can always head to the Lagoon Village Empire. Now there are some great memories… well, mostly complete memories. They really had some great meade.”

The End

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