[With the absence of peace,
Laughter flees and sorrow conquers.
Old hatred is revived afresh
As enemies clash once again.
Loved ones shriek and perish,
And now, there is only revenge left...]
Assassin vs Dryad
Location: um_fild01 ; Luluka Forest
The assassin paused, the double katars crossed in front of him; a strong defense against any unexpected attacks. He peered cautiously around a curtain of hanging vines. There.
In a small clearing stood a creature, somewhat like a woman tangled in a plant. A dryad. Her arms were held slightly apart from her body, vine tendrils twining around her fingers. She was absolutely unclothed, save for the thin vines and soft leaves twisting around her body, covering her more intimate areas. Intricate dark markings contrasted on her pale skin, swirling around her curves. Her legs ended in many stubby root-like feet. Uprooted from the ground, they only slightly depressed the thick carpet of fallen leaves.
It was almost incomprehensible that such a beautiful and elegant creature could be the source of so much sorrow, regret and fury in the assassin's heart.
And now her eyes were closed, a faint smile playing on her lips as vines waved around and expertly twisted her long dark green hair, braiding and coiling it into a complicated arrangement set on her head.
The assassin tensed. He could hear a faint musical tune... Was she singing? No matter. Now would be a perfect time for an attack, while the monster was engaged in her elaborate grooming. He reached within himself, finding the pulsing mana core deep in his soul. Pulling out the spiritual energy, he molded a faint blue aura around himself.
"Cloaking!" He whispered under his breath, as he began to fade from plain view. In seconds, only a faint shimmer was left where the assassin had stood, easily mistaken for a heat wave.
Stepping carefully out from behind the vines, he padded quickly but silently towards the dryad. Her back facing him, the dryad continued humming her song. Training that Cloaking skill had certainly proved its worth; the dryad did not sense him at all.
Raising his right katar, the assassin's clenched fist tensed on the handle. He was definitely contracted to Death now. There would be no escape; only one of them would leave this clearing alive.
His eyes hardened with resolve. Focusing his sight on his target, the assassin slashed the raised blade down savagely and, just as vines inserted a long thorn into her hair to hold it in place, a long deep gash tore through the dryad's pale back.
Hissing with shock, the dryad spun around, anger marring her perfect features. Light greenish sap oozed out from the cut to form a seal around the wound, pulling it closed seamlessly, as if it had never opened before.
The assassin swore silently. He had known of the dryad's incredibly fast healing abilities, but nothing had prepared him for such speed and skill. He could tell his Cloaking would not last for much longer and he sidestepped immediately, both katars striking with unnatural speed. New slashes appeared and vanished almost immediately as the dryad's ruby eyes darted about wildly, vines and roots readying for combat.
With a soft popping sound, the assassin blinked back into view, his half-masked face coldly emotionless as he continued his barrage of attacks on the dryad.
Snarling contemptuously at the sight of a mere human attacker, the dryad twitched her index fingers and new vines sprung up from the ground, bursting through the rotting leaves. The razor-sharp creepers carved bloody lines on the dirty white bandages around the assassin's calves before retracting instantly.
Eyes narrowing a little, the assassin's tattered scarf whirled about his body as he darted to the left of the dryad, katar blades flashing in the morning sun. His arms were a blur of black, blood-red and silver as he wove through the stabbing vines which were always a fraction of a second too late to catch the lithe figure.
Thoroughly enraged now, the dryad commanded new vines to extend, this time viciously equipped with hooked thorns. They spun and twisted into a drill-like spearhead, and by the looks of it, undoubtedly sharp and tough enough to pierce through one's body, armor or not.
//Die, Assassin!// The dryad screeched, her serrated vine spear raised and prepared to strike.
The assassin swiftly raised his expertly crafted and refined katars over his chest, pure white hair falling over his eyes just as the vine spear struck home. The shock of the blow sent him flying across the clearing, skidding to a halt against a tree.
Battered as he was, the assassin was still alive. The dryad gave a scream of pure rage and stepped menacingly towards the fallen assassin, another vine spear already forming to replace the shattered one.
The assassin rose shakily, supporting his protesting body with a katar. He knew he only had enough strength for one last blow. One last chance. It had to be enough.
He began to raise both katars, eyes boring into the terrifyingly beautiful dryad.
Then, he started; his arms were trapped! A sudden jerk slammed the assassin against the unforgiving tree trunk, head snapping backwards and forward again. Wincing at the aching of his abused body, the assassin felt a growing dread as he realized the monster's plan. When he fell earlier, sturdy vines had twisted around his arms and torso, now pressing him in a rough T against the tree. When the dryad attacked again, he would be defenseless.
Now rendered immobile, the assassin struggled fruitlessly, finding that the vines securely looped around his arms and chest simply tightened when he did so. He gasped for breath, chest desperately heaving under the constriction. In no hurry, the dryad's face was calm and peaceful, barely masking the fury beneath. She watched him writhe in her vines with predatory amusement, pulling the vines tighter and tighter with a wave of her hand, until the assassin went limp, trapped hanging in his bonds.
//Well, Assassin, you have done a very good job.// Stalking forward, the dryad purred, ignoring the hatred that shone through the assassin's deep red eyes. A single vine rose up, trailing across the assassin's face, leaving behind a long line of blood. The vine abruptly whipped away, opening a wide gash on the assassin's right cheek. He barely flinched.
//However you try, you cannot beat me, Assassin. I will kill you like I did the rest.// Hissing, the dryad leant closer. //That damnèd village I ripped apart... Your friends and family lived there, didn't they?// Her harsh laughter filled the clearing as the assassin thrashed, snarling and whining and snapping like a wild animal.
//My dear avenger, how brave! Have you ever stopped to consider me, though?// Her mouth twisted. //Did you actually think that shy tree nymphs, such as us, would destroy a puny human village for nothing? No, you forget! You damnèd humans stripped our land and slaughtered my kin! Delicious justice, isn't it, Assassin? Your family, for mine. And you come here for revenge? I think not.// The dryad paused, trembling in anger.
//You shall DIE!// Rage overwhelmed the dryad, and she raised her second spear, jabbing it viciously towards the assassin's head.
Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the spearhead filled the assassin's vision. Horror flooded his mind and his body reacted instinctively.
Ducking his head, he violently twisted his torso to the right, whipping his legs up into a butterfly kick. A loud pop rang through the air as his still ensnared left arm wrenched out of its socket and his jaw clenched tightly in pain. The kick connected with the surprised dryad's chest, making her stumble backwards and lose balance. Some of her vines had snapped under the pressure and the spin had allowed the assassin to loosen the remaining hold on him.
The assassin landed crouched on the leaf litter, useless left arm hanging loosely at his side. Probably dislocated, he thought, a necessary sacrifice made to save his own life... "So that I can take life from another?" A quiet voice whispered in his mind. Surprised, he quickly banished the thought, focused on assessing his strength and planning his last attack.
The dryad was already recovering. She was thoroughly enraged now, glowering at him as she readied her spear once again. True to his training, he forcefully blocked out the gut-wrenching agony shooting through his limp arm, and stood, shrugging off the snapped vines still clinging to his body. Spiked levels of killing intent charged the atmosphere as the enemies sprung at each other.
The assassin spun in his charge. A wordless cry to the heavens tore out as he thrust his remaining functional arm forward, blade flashing-
A sudden silence fell over the clearing with the two figures frozen in the centre, disturbed only by the heavy breathing of both foes.
Leaves that were kicked up fell softly to the ground, followed quickly by a continuous hot stream of blood, staining the dead leaf litter bright red.
A venomous hiss. The dryad futilely attempted to push further, stopped by the hilt of a katar pressed against her chest. Paying no heed to the blade buried deep in her body, she glared defiantly at the assassin.
The twisted vines had speared through the assassin, slanting outwards, smashing the left collar bone and exiting from the back of the shoulder. His heaving chest was the only sign of exertion; everything else was hidden behind a blank mask.
Now he straightened, pulling his katar out with a jerk. He looked at the dryad who had just tried to kill him, the dryad who had caused the deaths of all his precious people. He had been unable to protect them... As an assassin, only revenge had been left, and now it was finally done.
The dryad coughed wetly. Her eyes still smoldered with raw hate, but her arms did not obey her any longer. The vine spear loosened its complicated twist, shriveling and withering within the assassin's terrible wound.
The dryad and the assassin locked eyes for a second longer, each hating the other with every bit of their existence. Then the moment was gone, the dryad throwing her head back in a silent scream as her body hardened and petrified, cracking lines splitting across the surface.
The assassin stared at the spectacle impassively. The dryad was gone. That was all that mattered.
But why didn't he feel like it was finally over? She had said something about her forest, her home, what was it again-
A stab of pain resounded through his body and he staggered, reminded of his injuries. Bile rose in his throat as he retched, every movement amplified in pain. A trembling hand fumbled at his side pouch, grabbing hold of a glass vial with thick white liquid sloshing inside. Flicking away the stopper, he drank the entire potion, wincing at the bitter aftertaste accompanying it.
The assassin grunted, feeling a welcome numbness spread through his body, followed by gentle warmth. He stood motionless as he felt his battered body repair, minor cuts sealing and torn muscles healing. His dislocated shoulder and the wound sustained from the spear were far too serious to be cured so easily. He'd need a healer for those. If he even managed to get back to Umbala town.
Still, he had escaped alive from that monster, a feat none before him had achieved. He would be the one to leave alive.
The assassin took a step back, faltering but catching himself in time before he collapsed. Leaning heavily against the rough tree trunks, he retreated slowly to his initial shelter, leaving behind a trail of blood.
Sinking to the ground behind the large rain tree, he stared blankly at the swaying sun-touched leaves, rustling, whispering, as if trying to tell him secrets of the past and future. There was no more music in the air.
The assassin struggled to keep his eyes open. Dully, he realized that he had probably lost too much blood. He had hoped to survive this. It seemed that Death had other plans. Before darkness claimed him, one last coherent thought flashed through his mind.
I have avenged you, my friends. Finally, rest in peace.
//I have avenged you, my friends. Finally, rest in peace.//