Shaking the Earth
Shaking the Earth
"Oh, come on, Argus!"
Celobia had been waiting for about an hour for Argus to come up from his ravine, or even at least say something. As his calls became ever more half-hearted, the Lion lounged boredly on the stone at the edge of the cliff. If he could, he would have yawned.
I have more important things to do than wait for a woes-me sentinel to talk to me! I could be speaking with Celosia right now!
Finally, Celobia got to his paws. The Lion shook himself before beginning to walk towards the exit. But he had hardly gone five yards when a rough voice called up from the ravine.
Celobia paused and trotted back to the edge.
"Argus? Is that you?"
The Sentry grumbled.
"Who else would it be? Old Man River?"
The Lion sighed. "Right. Well, I have something to ask you. It has to do with the Wanderer and why he is here."
There was a pause before Argus huffed.
"I believe that the Wanderer is trying to resurrect his um… dead girlfriend… through Dormin. Dirge said that They have incited a ritual, and that the boy is killing all of us so that he can bring the girl-whose name is Mono- back to life. However, the poor creature has no clue of what toll this is taking on him, and that this is helping Dormin as well. Dirge and I have both concluded that the Wanderer is doing all this because he loves her. What do you think?"
There was silence. Celobia was beginning to think he needed to repeat himself when the Sentry replied.
"I agree. I agree with all you said. But what can we do about it?"
The Lion bowed his head. "In the words of Dirge… We must fight like the Colossi we are. There is nothing else we can do. But you know the truly sickening thing, Argus? As the boy kills us, he becomes nothing more then the walking dead."
"That is what you meant by the ritual taking a toll on him, isn't it?"
Even though the Sentry couldn't see it, Celobia nodded.
"I'm afraid so. And as the Wanderer becomes worse, Mono becomes better. I have seen her! She looks much less like a dead girl, and more like a young maiden who is merely asleep."
A loud sigh sounded from below.
"It's not too surprising, my Lion. As evil and putrid as Dormin is, They always stay true to their word. When this ritual is completed, she will be fully brought back to life. I don't doubt it."
Celobia's eyes flared. "When the ritual is completed?! Argus, have faith! Once my mission is finished, that when will be at least reduced to an if!"
There was silence. The Lion looked confusedly over the edge.
Celobia growled to himself.
But as the Lion was walking away, he heard a shout from behind.
"Yourmission? Celobia, we all know it was Kuromori's! Stop attempting to accept your horrible mistake and instead accept what we all think of you! A no good murderer! I only played along with your game because I thought it would give you some incentive to go back to your City and stay there, where none of us will have to tolerate your so-called nobility any longer! Can you hear me?!"
The Lion heard loud and clear.
And as Celobia left a yelling Argus behind, he walked with his head drooped in shame.
"When he comes, I will give him no mercy…"
Before the theory had been accepted, Dirge had been part of the small group of Colossi that believed that the boy needed to be given a chance. However, the Sand-Serpent now believed that the Wanderer needed to be rid of by any means necessary.
Dirge lay coiled underneath the sand right where sunlight poured in from the gaping hole above. Above all others, the Sand-Serpent probably had the most superior of combined long-distance senses. He could feel the vibrations of human footsteps from a mile away. He could hear the neigh of a horse from five miles away. And he could see the individual scales on a white-tailed lizard from an astounding ten miles away. When the Wanderer came, any attempts to hide from Dirge would be in vain.
Already the Sand-Serpent felt the vibrations of a horse galloping and jumping over the Arc Bridge, which was a thin, partially broken bridge that connected the Southern land and the Northern land in the west. Dirge didn't dare poke his head out of the sand to hear his likely assassin's approach. He lay, waiting, for the boy and his steed to arrive. When the pounding of hooves on sand came to a halt nearby, as if the Wanderer had come to the end of his trail, the Sand-Serpent made his appearance.
Dirge uncoiled himself forcefully, and thrust through the sand at top speed. As he circled around one of the rock pillars, the Sand-Serpent threw himself out of the sand, mouth crackling with energy, in an impressive attempt to intimidate the Wanderer. And once he was stably back in his substance, Dirge made a bee-line for the stunned horse and rider.
Seeming to regain his senses, the boy kicked his horse, shouting,
"Come on Agro, let's go!"
Agro complied just in time to canter out of the way of the speeding Sand-Serpent before galloping in the other direction. Dirge turned and smashed through several sand dunes in order to catch up with the terrified equine. For a minute or so, the Sand-Serpent trailed behind the horse by a few mere yards. Dirge took in the Wanderer's appearance with disgust. His acute eyes took in every drop of black blood that stained the boy's cloak.
The blood of my cousin is on his hands… HEmurdered Hydrus!
Fury making his eyes flare red, the Sand-Serpent once again launched himself out of the sand… and directly into the Wanderer and Agro. He heard with satisfaction the pain-filled cries of his victims as he dove through them back into his substance. Doing a long turn around a nearby rock pillar, Dirge kept a large eye on the boy as he got back to his feet and soothed his horse enough to get back on. Immediately Agro cantered to the closest pillar and stood next to it, refusing to move. The Wanderer didn't seem too keen on leaving solid rock just yet either. So the Sand-Serpent settled for circling around them, glaring at the pair menacingly. The boy held up his sword so beams of light focused on the two vitals on Dirge's back, and seemed confused. The Sand-Serpent even heard him think out loud,
"How the heck…? Urg. The universe just can't make it easy to destroy these things…"
For a few more minutes the Wanderer simply watched Dirge circling the pillar with a contemplative look on his face. Suddenly, the boy's face lit up with an idea, and he urged his horse off of their stone oasis. As soon as Agro's hooves hit sand, the Wanderer kicked him into a gallop. The Sand-Serpent turned and followed, quickly catching up with the horse. Dirge was perplexed though when the boy turned around in his saddle with a wooden contraption in hand. He was even more perplexed when the Wanderer took out a sharp stick from a container on his back and drew it back in the contraption. However, the Sand-Serpent was not perplexed when the sharp stick was shot in his eye. Dirge shrieked in pain and rage. He closed both eyes and spiraled blindly through the sand. His pain was numbed when he crashed into the wall of his cave.
Completely bewildered and shocked, the Sand-Serpent writhed his entire back in the air, not wanting to take his head away from the wall. Shouts of celebration filled Dirge's ears before the sensation of something crawling up the fur on his back startled him. In his confusion, the Sand-Serpent didn't even bother to shake. But when he felt a wrenching pain shoot through the vital on his lower back, Dirge's head began to clear. He shrieked and shook slightly as another stab hit his back. Just as the Wanderer finished getting rid of the vital, the Sand-Serpent turned his head and dove back in the sand. He didn't even stop to appreciate the cry of surprise from his attacker as he barreled towards the other side of the cave.
That putrid Dormin! Their pawn is even more powerful then I thought! And it is even evident in his appearance how far Their malevolent claws have dug into him…
Despite his common sense telling him what a bad idea it was, after a few minutes Dirge turned around to pursue the horse and rider. As he caught up with them, the Sand-Serpent noticed how calm the boy seemed. Even Agro had eliminated his fright, and concentrated intently on the ground in front of him. With mechanical, quick movements the Wanderer turned around in his saddle and once again shot a sharp stick in Dirge's eye. The Sand-Serpent furiously cursed himself as he once again spiraled in pain and confusion towards the cave wall.
There was almost no space of time between Dirge crashing into the wall and the boy jumping onto his back. The Wanderer sprinted up over the arc of the Sand-Serpent's back and immediately began stabbing the second and final vital. Dirge shook, but his renewed shock hindered his strength. It was not very long before the boy's work was complete.
Weak, numb, and breathless, the Sand-Serpent fell onto his side. His entire body was forced out of the sand. As his once acute vision slowly turned black, Dirge watched the Wanderer vigorously praise his trusty steed. But the horse took no notice of his master. Instead he gazed at the dying Sand-Serpent.
Poor creature… It doesn't deserve to take part in such a horrible fate…
Celobia gasped and tripped.
Once again the Lion fell slightly over the edge of his sister's canyon, but when he looked down he realized he was right above the path down to the bottom. Celobia let go, and looked below.
Dirge is gone now… and Celosia is next…
The Lion shivered at the thought of the Wanderer taking down his sister before shaking himself back into his normal mindset and starting down the path.
I can't let that happen… And I won't…