Korrinayru, Plane of Scavengers: Mardu Hellbent Oct 26, 2018 16:31:37 GMT
Post by korakhos on Oct 26, 2018 16:31:37 GMT
The breaking point
Their first Sentinel encounter was seven hours after their journey began. It was a dragon, and it had seen the two travelers wandering the desert, immediately plunging towards them. Darios had readied his bow, but Aylin shook her head dismissively and cracked her knuckles. She had this.
She extended both arms, raising two rocky spears from the ground, which floated towards her hands. She shot them at her winged enemy one after the other. They flew towards their target, who dodged them gracefully and opened its mouth to breathe a torrent of fire that shot towards them.
The two partners scuttled in different directions to avoid the flames. Aylin buried her hands in the soil, pulling out a gigantic boulder she lunged in at the dragon. A few meters before it hit its target, the geomancer clenched her right fist and the rock shattered into pieces that spread all around, catching the creature by surprise and making it impossible for it to dodge the attack.
The dragon was hit by a few dozen stone shards and lost its equilibrium, plummeting to the ground. The creature shook the dirt of its body and began sprinting ferociously towards Aylin, who had both arms extended. The beast opened its maw to swallow her but she grabbed its mouth as it closed around her, forcing it open with her uncanny strength.
They struggled for a few seconds, and the planeswalker was slowly losing her grip on the dragon. The Sentinel realized she wouldn’t last much longer and began shaking its head to destabilize her. It violently raised its head, and the movement was too sudden for Aylin to do anything about it. She was sent flying upwards as the dragon attempted a liftoff.
But for some reason it couldn’t lift its feet off the ground. Startled, it looked down and saw that the ground itself had swallowed them, immobilizing it. As Aylin fell, she smiled, extending her arms and focusing her energy in shaping the earth into an arch that surrounded the creature’s neck and dragged it to the ground. As the planeswalker descended, sand and rocks began floating from the ground and gathering around her closed fist, making it three times its size. By the time her fist hit the dragon’s head, the impact’s momentum was high enough to crack the creature’s skull and smash its brain, killing it.
She dissolved the corpse’s earthen bonds and shook the hand that had delivered the final blow. As she stared at her work she noticed a couple of arrows stuck on the side of the creature’s abdomen and saw Darios had his bow in his hands.
“What’s this?” she asked amused.
“I was trying to help you”
She couldn’t help but laugh at this.
“First of all, I don’t need your help, you need mine. Second of all, if what you want is to help people, make sure what you do is actually relevant…”
Darios looked away blushing. He was used to a society who supported any form of effort and help, and this girl’s blunt words hurt him. As he turned back to look at her, he saw she was extracting one of the dragon’s teeth, one of the smallest ones, which had the size of her fist.
“What are you doing?”
“Just a little souvenir from this place” she replied as she put the prize away in a pouch.
They kept on walking for a few more hours without speaking. Darios was still offended by her comment and didn’t dare bring up the subject, while Aylin wasn’t interested enough in him to actually start any form of conversation.
As they reached the ruins of the Desyk castle (the capital of Desarrea before the Descent), they saw two more Sentinels flying their way.
They braced for battle but, for some reason, the creatures seemed to notice them, yet flew past them, heading towards the south. Both travelers of them were intrigued by this behavior. Darios attempted to keep moving but suddenly realized his partner was following the Sentinels and trying to catch their attention.
“What are you doing?” he exclaimed frantically “They’re not going to fight us and they’re headed in the opposite direction, why are you trying to provoke them?”
“I don’t care where we’re going; all I care about is fighting. Those two Sentinels look like a nice match, and I’m facing them off!”
“That was not a part of the deal!”
“I don’t care, this is boring, so I have the right to some fun, don’t I?!” she answered annoyed, as she turned around and tried to follow the Sentinels.
Without thinking, Darios grabbed her violently by the wrist and pulled her towards him, forcing her to stare him in the eye so he could sway her from her madness. He’d expected her to stare at him in rage, but what he saw when he stared into her face was so unexpected he felt a cold shiver traverse his spine from top to bottom.
She was staring at him in shock, and her eyes were watery, as if she was about to cry. She seemed utterly terrified, and she suddenly glanced at his hand, still grabbing her wrist.
Before he could begin to apologize, he felt a huge wave of pain spread through his face as her fist landed, sending him flying backwards and violently hitting the floor. He could feel the metallic taste of blood accumulating in his mouth as his nose and lips bled into it.
Aylin seemed to be more impulse than rationale. She raised a stone twice his size and sent it flying his way. Darios couldn’t move; all he could do was see the giant boulder fall on him, ready to kill him on impact.
But before that happened the geomancer changed her mind and clapped her hands. The stone disintegrated midair into hundreds of smaller rock chunks that hailed over Darios, bruising him in multiple spots but sparing his life.
The planeswalker stared at the scene with nothing but shock filling her face. She took a step backwards, then another, then turned around and began running, achieving to move only a few steps before collapsing on her knees in tears and beginning to punch the ground repeatedly until a small crater formed.
What did you expect? You’re weak, you have always been, that’s why it happened to you. Why would you deserve to be free from the memory? Why should anyone care for you? Why would anyone love you? You’re broken, and nobody cares for a broken person. You deserve this, you deserve all the bad things that happen to you.
The voices in her head were relentless, and she hid her face in her arms, crying desperately.
“Aylin” she heard Darios whisper behind her as he slowly and painfully approached her “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… are you ok?”
She quickly dried her tears and tried to regain her composure. She’d sworn she’d never be vulnerable in front of anybody else ever again.
“I’m fine” she lied, her tone blunt and emotionless.
She turned around, a fake smile filling her face.
“You, on the other hand are a complete mess. I don’t think we can continue any further today, so I suggest we spend the night in the castle ruins. This is so typical of you, slowing me down…”
Darios was smart enough not to contradict her. Whatever his action had triggered inside her, she was extremely fragile right now, and he didn’t want to poke the bear. He sheepishly agreed to her statement and they both headed towards the ruins.
Maybe someday he’d know what had happened to Aylin, but it would be up to her to tell him.