It isn’t really Christmas related . . . Okay, it isn’t connected to Christmas at all, but this is where the dice fell. Figure Legends of Windemere: Path of the Traitors is an easier sell than War of Nytefall After all, this story deals with a character trying to make amends for all of the evil things she’s done. I’m noticing that these excerpts are much bigger than I usually do too. Sorry about that, but it’s getting really hard to find smaller pieces to share these days.
Skipping towards Trinity, the immortal frowns when Sir Harbiss steps in her way and brandishes his spear. She is about to kill the man when her old friend shakes her head and steps forward to defend the knight. Playfully smacking the weapon from side to side, Yola tries to think of a way to get the warrior out of her path. Whenever she steps to the side, he adjusts his stance and remains a stubborn, yet easily squishable, obstacle. To satisfy a loud rumble in her stomach, the former goddess pulls a salad out from behind her back and swallows the entire thing in one gulp in the hopes of intimidating the old man. Having failed to make him even flinch, Yola clicks her tongue and reaches out to grab the weapon. She fuses his gauntlets to the wooden shaft before flipping him over her shoulder. Sir Harbiss lands against a hill that gives beneath the impact and swallows him up to his neck. Enjoying the sound that the gelatinous earth makes, the immortal has the ground do the same to the entire army.
“Like cabbages, but they aren’t as good at conversations,” Yola says, clapping her hands with glee. The woman is sent tumbling to the ground when a lightning whip takes her legs out from underneath her. “Preemptive strikes are so mean. I came here with a new deal that I’m sure you will agree too. Wait, I forgot to do something when I arrived. That guy you were with told me to make a scene, but then I said . . . who are all these people?”
“They’re relatives and friends of the people I’ve killed,” Trinity answers while moving away from the chasm. Touching her side, she creates magical bandages to keep her ribs in place, the pressure causing her to take in a sucking breath. “To be honest, I’m starting to think that this army should be bigger. Anyway, I’m to be executed for my crimes. Guess this is what I get for trying to follow a dark master and be a hero for my people at the same time. Can’t have things both ways.”
“None of that makes any sense,” the immortal claims as she glides over to the trapped knight. Sticking to the hill, she sits in front of his face and bends over far enough that their noses touch. “Trinity is a hero. Not to you, but to the chaos elves. She’s suffered a lot and had to do horrible things to keep them alive. You don’t know how bad it was before she came about. Their children were worked to the bone and their elderly were turned into birthday cakes whenever one of us was hungry. By the way, that second part was all me. Anyway, that all changed when Trinity took the throne and made the rest of us treat the chaos elves like living things. Why would you punish her for that?”
“Because I killed their loved ones, Yola.”
“Oh, I guess that makes sense.”
“I’m still not going to let you eat me.”
“But I brought salad and wine this time!”
“Please stop this silliness and help me instead.”
“I would, but . . . I was told I couldn’t because of something else that’s going to happen.”
“Who told you that?”
“Not allowed to say, but I got the message on my way here. Sorry.”
Growing swords from her fingers, Yola leaps off the hill and barrels toward Trinity, who dives to the side at the last moment. With the army stuck in the ground and unable to leave the area, the channeler is forced to hold back her power. The force blast hits with a dull whump and pushes the immortal back a few feet, but leaves very little damage. Touching a fresh divot in her skin, Yola swings her hair like a scythe that transforms into a wall of seawater. Already ducking the original attack, Trinity is unable to avoid the wave that knocks her into the pit. She catches the edge and swings her legs away from the natural spikes before a fresh blast hits her from above. Barely able to hold on, the attack leaves her with seaweed in her ebony hair and she can feel a starfish stuck to the back of her neck. Trinity is about to climb up when she feels something rise out of the earth and bite into her hand. With a yelp of pain, she throws several punches at Yola’s face, which becomes as malleable as clay. Rising from the ground, the immortal growls and snarls while trying to get a solid grip on the chaos elf’s fingers with her teeth.
A gurgling causes the two women to pause and look into the pit where the shadows are swirling among the jagged stones. Two black tentacles lance out of the ground and wrap around Yola’s waist, the ooze-dripping projections turning silver at the taste of her magic. Attracted to the stronger energy, the aura syphon yanks the immortal into its slime-covered maw and becomes a metallic beast. With its armored skin, the camouflaged predator is now visible and resembles a sea anemone with the body of a beetle. The jagged rocks are fused to the animal’s exoskeleton and there are six jointed legs that help it scurry out of the pit. Standing over Trinity, the creature opens a faint crease on its body to reveal a bulbous eye with a star-shaped pupil. It pauses to shove a few tentacles into its mouth and hit Yola with pulses of electricity to stop her from struggling. It changes from silver to gold when she attempts to break free, her efforts being quickly drained by the monster.
“Let the crazy woman go before you get killed,” Trinity whispers to the aura syphon. She creates a fireball in the hopes of getting its mouth open, but her spell is ignored. “No reason to have a snack when you have an eternal meal in your belly. Maybe we can have a trade. Can’t believe I’m trying to bargain with this thing. Well, I gave you a chance, so I’m going to blow you up before things get worse. Hope you heard that Yola and are bracing yourself.”
The beast gurgles before releasing a blast of sticky strands that lock Trinity in place. Instead of going after the trapped chaos elf, the creature turns its attention to the helpless army. Having had its fill of magic, the aura syphon is ready to gorge on fresh meat and opens a second mouth that is filled with knife-like teeth. Heading for Sir Harbiss, it is stopped when a chunk of earth erupts beneath it and flips it back into the pit. Unsure of where the attack came from, the aura syphon leaps out and reveals several eye stalks that search for an unseen enemy. A cutting wind lops off half of the projections, but Yola’s potent energy revives them and protects the crystalline armor plates. When the spell comes back around, it bounces off the new defense and bursts against a hill. Blasts of fire strike the beast from behind, so it sprouts a fan-shaped tail of water that douses the flames.
Looking around, the aura syphon stops when it sees that Trinity is nowhere to be seen and there is a hole where she once stood. Spikes grow from the predator’s belly and it slams against the ground in the hopes of impaling the chaos elf. The hiss of escaping gas is heard an instant before an explosion sends the shrieking animal into the sky. Careening towards a solitary cloud that is very low to the ground, the beast catches the scent of an aura that revives the one currently in its gut. Passing through the cloud, it finds its legs caught in a net that runs down to where Trinity is hiding behind a hill. With enhanced strength, the channeler slams the aura syphon into the ground and delivers a leaping stomp to its soft upper body. Instead of ejecting Yola, the creature opens its skin to swallow the chaos elf’s leg up the knee.
“Fine. Backup plan it is,” Trinity mutters, synching her aura to that of the imprisoned immortal.
Releasing as much magic as she can without killing herself, the channeler creates a power surge within the aura syphon. Unable to absorb or redirect so much energy at once, the predator tries to reject the grinning chaos elf. Plunging her fingers into its flesh, Trinity refuses to be thrown off and continues her assault. Blisters appear on the hard exoskeleton and the metallic color flakes off to reveal the natural black of the tentacles. Without warning, the gold returns and the animal explodes with enough force to collapse the ground. Before she can escape, the channeler falls into the pit and is buried beneath the icy dirt.