Here we are. The first teaser for War of Nytefall: Ravenous and I’m going with the prologue for a bit. Less chance of spoilers, which is going to be a challenge this time around. There’s a big event in Eradication that played a role in this one. Two actually and they might be unavoidable. Oh well. Nothing I can do about that because the show must go on. Enjoy the opener.
“Mardus and I are going to work at the stables,” Claria says with a barely noticeable lilt in her voice. Taking a handkerchief out of her back pocket, she hurriedly wipes her mouth clean of the sweet sauce that she can still taste at the corners of her lips. “Thanks for offering, but I think I can handle the sweat if it means I can be with him. That’s another reason I really wanted to get here quickly. Mardus is sweet and handsome, which means several girls want to whisk him away from me. You would know what I’m talking about if you didn’t replace your boyfriends every few months.”
Velly playfully snarls at her friend before stating, “Not my fault that they leave me out of fear of my parents. That’s the one downside to them being guards. Do you hear something like flapping wings? Oh, the mayor may have requested the griffins from Gaia again. They haven’t been here since Serab and Yagervan began butting heads. You’d think both sides would understand that border towns need to have fun as well. There they are in the . . . Those don’t look like griffins.”
“They look human, but with wings in place of arms,” her friend mutters while squinting into the distance. She is vaguely aware of the festival falling into silence as everyone notices the approaching forms. “I haven’t seen anything like them before. They’re staying around the sun, so I can’t get a clear look. Could be large birds since they’re coming from the plains. You know how strange the beasts are over there.”
“The guards will protect us if trouble starts.”
“Your parents will be fine too.”
“Of course, since they’re the best.”
The girls are knocked off their feet when the creatures unleash a barrage of lightning blasts from their wings. Debris is sent hurtling through the air as stalls explode from the attacks and those inside are left severely burned. Screams ring out as the crowd stampedes towards the town and people scramble into any building that is not locked. With an ear-wrenching shriek, the harpies dive and split up to follow the different groups of calicos. Arrows slam into the predators, who ignore the pain and calmly pull the projectiles out of their flesh with their taloned feet. The wounds are gone almost as quickly as they are made, which forces the warriors to aim for the eyes and mouth. Those with only swords and spears focus on preventing the citizens from trampling each other by directing them towards what they hope are safe areas. Unleashing a steady blast of lightning, the largest of the attackers carves a deep furrow in the ground to split the fairgrounds in half. Many people fall into the damaged earth and cry for help as three of the harpies land and stick their heads into the narrow chasm. Sniffing at the air, the predators’ wild hair shivers and stretches like serpents while fangs sprout from their dry-lipped mouths. Instead of devouring the defenseless calicos, the creatures snort in dismay and return to the rest of the flock. Terrified by the close encounter, those trapped in the ground remain silent and close their eyes out of fear of the monsters returning.
Instead of running away like the other citizens, Velly and Claria remain curled against the side of the butcher shop. Hands over their faces, they peek through their fingers while remaining perfectly still. With the goal of appearing dead, the girls have their tails lying limp on the ground, but they cannot relax the rest of their muscles. Flinching at another blast that decimates a tightly packed group of people, they are terrified to see that the largest harpy is heading in their direction. The creature is flying low to the ground and weaving from side to side as if inspecting all of the groaning bodies that it comes across. Coming within ten feet of the girls, the predator abruptly veers up to avoid crashing into the side of the building. Velly is the first to release her long-held breath and Claria is about to do the same when the butcher shop is shaken by an impact that causes the wall to bulge. Timidly turning their heads, their faces go white at the sight of the harpy sitting on the awning, which has been bent enough to put the woman-like face within inches of the terrified calicos.
Baring its fangs, the harpy sniffs frantically at the two girls while its hair turns into tiny hands. The black claws press against the calicos’ skin, but never break the surface. Without warning, the creature drops from its perch and lands with all of its weight falling on Claria’s left leg. The limb snaps and she starts to scream before she is picked up to dangle in front of the predator’s slavering face. The fear coursing through her veins causes her throat to close, so she can only cry and gurgle in pain while she is thoroughly examined. Taking another sniff of the girl, the harpy tweets like a canary and casually flips her through the butcher shop’s thick window. Forgetting about the danger, Velly is about to scramble after her injured friend when she is pinned to the ground. The large foot talons pierce her flesh as she is inspected by the smaller ones in the hair, which slithers under her clothes. Turning her head, the calico sees that the rest of the flock has become more aggressive with the citizens. Pulverized corpses have been added to the scattered injured as two of the monsters lift people high into the air and drop them after one of them does the strange sniff test.
“Please don’t kill me,” Velly whimpers before she is suddenly released.