Panic on the ShoreMature

They scurried down to the docks, the large fishing ships and ferry boats getting packed with survivors of the onslaught.

“We’re almost there, father! Hang on!”

Isaac continued to hop on his good leg, a scream catching their attention. Frederick looked over his shoulder to see a Shadowbrood galloping down the slope of the hill towards the harbor. Frederick and his family were pummeled by the herd of panicked survivors, knocking Isaac down to the ground and smashing his last good leg.

“Isaac!” Meredith shouted, rushing to help him.

The Shadowbrood showed no signs of slowing, footprints deep in the muddy earth as the rain kept beating against them.

Frederick rubbed the wound open on his palm, blue symbols appearing at his feet as the Shadowbrood swiped at them. Frederick ducked, Meredith and Anabel falling back from the gust.  Frederick scrambled to his feet to see his father crawling across the ground, rolling onto his back and firing blindly at the monster.

Frederick tried to help, but was thrown back, rolling across the mud as the Shadowbrood drew in for the kill. Frederick pulled himself up onto his knees, his eyes catching a faint glow from his ring. The realization hit him as hard as the beast did.

“Father, throw it your Lore Stone!"


“Just do it!” Frederick struggled to pull his ring off.

Isaac gripped the stone and hurled it as best he could at the monster. The Shadowbrood stopped, catching the crystal in one of its facial tendrils and holding it up to its sunken eyes. The runes on the Lore Stone grew brighter, fine lines of white cracking the surface of the black to reveal bright green and blue underneath.

Kah'eteh!” Kelstrin called, cantering around the monster that remained motionless.

The mud dripped off his fur as he dashed over and pressed his hindpaw against Frederick’s hand, jerking his head up at the Shadowbrood.

The Shadowbrood stood up on its smaller hind legs, looking straight up at the sky. The tendrils on its face began to stretch upwards, wisps of dark cloud winding down to touch them. The monster dissolved before their eyes, taken up in a whirl of black and purple as the rain devoured the silence that fell in the harbor.

“{Why did you stop me?}” Frederick struggled to his feet, swiping the mud off his hair.

“{You aren’t their purpose.}” Kelstrin’s wound had reopened, red staining the bandages in his fur.

“{You want to explain Silestra?}”

Kelstrin stared blankly back at him, shaking his head.

“{I can only guess.}”

A few people left on the largest fishing boat ran out after the Shadowbrood vanished, helping Isaac up and bringing him onto the boat. Meredith got Anabel and Elsanor onto the boat, looking shaken but still composed.

“Come on, Frederick.” She said, taking his bloodied hand and leading him to the boat.

“We only have enough room for one more!” The captain shouted, “The ship’s heavy enough as it is!”

“Well, dammit, toss something overboard!” Meredith shouted back, her voice cracking as the tears silently flowed down her cheeks.

“Mother-” Frederick said softly.

“No! I am not going to lose you again!” She held his forearms tightly, burying her face into his chest.

“Mother, listen to me.” Frederick tilted her head up so she could look into his eyes, “Take the boat and go west. Meet up with Alfred. I will take the next boat.”

She started to shake her head but Frederick stopped her.

“You’re not going to lose me. I will see you soon.”

Meredith hugged him tightly, unwilling to let go as Frederick cradled her head to his shoulder.

“{Frederico! More are coming!}” Kelstrin shouted, his ears twitching.

“Go. I will see you again.” Frederick said quietly, coaxing his mother onto the boat.

She got on, trying to hold his hand for as long as she could as the boat kicked off and floated into the harbor.

“Please come back to me!” she shouted, the rabble of the dwindling survivors and the rain drowning her out as she vanished into the night.

Frederick watched her go, still getting knocked about as villagers clambered onto the ferryboat. He shook his head and made his way to the boat, stopping for a moment to look at Kelstrin.

“{Go, Frederico. I am much to blame for all this.}” he said somberly, bowing his head and looking away from Frederick.

Frederick remained stoic, not moving as people rushed past him. Kelstrin noticed he wasn’t moving.

“{What’re you doing? Go! I will hold them off.}”

“{You’ll kill yourself.}”

“{Isn’t that what you wanted?}” Kelstrin replied flatly.

Frederick turned his head, staring at the ground before he moved towards the lip of the boat. The crew organized the villagers onto the boat, lanterns waving through the dark as they moved people left and right to distribute weight evenly.

Kelstrin watched Frederick board, turning now as four Shadowbroods peeled through the treetops. He chewed through the bandages on his shoulder, releasing his shoulder as he bared his fangs at the approaching charge. Blood trickled through his white pelt, blasting into a verdant light as a bolt of lightening shot from his horns and struck two Shadowbroods. The force of the energy flung them back into the trees, two more rushing towards the boat.

Kelstrin leapt into the air, green light gathering on his plated forehead before he shot headfirst into the ground. The energy caused a fissure that made the last two monsters topple over each other, Kelstrin swaying from the aftershock. The ferryboat bucked from the seismic rupture, water lapping against the hull as if attempting to climb aboard.

One of the Shadowbroods tore through the trees, Kelstrin between it and the boat. His back legs sagged, visibly panting as he tried to reorient himself.

A shot of blue soared through the night, striking the creature in the shoulder and making it reel back. Kelstrin’s form shifted, fur melting back into flesh as he slid in the mud and fell. A pair of strong hands caught him, an arm wrapping over his chest as he was dragged towards the shore. Kelstrin tried to struggle, but his exertion made him woozy as his ankles carved through the mud. His head fell back to see Frederick, his voice distant in his ears as flashes of cerulean light showered past him.

“Help me!” Frederick shouted, no one dare moving from the boat.

Frederick struggled, Ur’Kan profanity flying from his lips as he reached the edge of the boat and hurled Kelstrin in.

Kelstrin bounced against the deck, dazed as passengers backed away instantly from him. Frederick, meanwhile, was aiding the crew in cranking up the boarding bridge as the four Shadowbroods regrouped and advanced once again. Frederick drew blood from his throbbing palm, ignoring the pain as words flittered past his lips. He drew five symbols before him and in a blaze of cobalt light, a dome shield grew over the boat.

No matter how hard they tried, the Shadowbroods could not break through. It didn’t lessen the villagers’ panic as they cowered from each blow, praying the shield would hold. The boat bobbed and bounced in the choppy water like a bath toy as the Shadowbroods continued their assault. Frederick held his hands above his head to maintain the shield.

“Give it the Mystic, that’s what it wants!” shouted a terrified villager.

A murmur of agreement rippled through the crowds, Frederick glaring over his shoulder.

“It wants you, you idiots!” Frederick’s composure was lost; now he had become cold.

The Shadowbroods entered the seawater, trying to follow the chugging ferryboat as the left the destroyed peninsula of Queensbury. The creatures sank into the ocean and melted away, Frederick lowering his guard only when he could see the glow of fire in the sky, and the persistent moans of the stranded Shadowbroods.

Sobs were muffled in the crowd, a solid barrier around the Mystic who lay exhausted on the deck of the ship. Frederick forced his way through, some backing away at the sight of his bloody hands as he knelt down and placed a hand on Kelstrin’s shoulder.

“It cannot stay.” Came an authoritative voice.

The captain of the ship had made his way through the survivors, arms folded as his nose dripped with rain.

Frederick didn’t move, or even bothered looking at the captain and instead focused on Kelstrin, checking his pulse as the Mystic gasped for air. The captain’s eyes narrowed and he grabbed Frederick’s shoulder. Frederick slapped his hand away automatically, glaring up at the captain.

“You will leave us be.” Frederick enunciated a word at a time, his voice uncomfortably calm.

“This beast brought this hell to our home! Or have you lost your mind?!” retorted the captain, survivors shouting in agreement, “Why would you bring this thing on board!?”

“Because this wasn’t his doing.” Frederick spat, the copper in his eyes flaring up, “Think like a human being rather than act like frightened sheep!”

The captain was taken aback, Frederick standing up with Kelstrin slung around his side.

“If you must act like animals, let it be gone from your sight and give us peace.” Frederick hissed, dragging Kelstrin across the deck and down below in hopes of finding a sick bay. 

The End

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