𝒯he path ahead of Delano-Dakari and his men was obstructed by the fog that quickly swept away as if sucked into a void, allowing glimpses of the continuous cobblestone road. Removing flares from packs hanging off their belts, the reddish hue and smoke filled the tunnel with light and moving forward with great caution, there was the inner gate hanging from its hinges old with age as the iron had rusted. The Captain throwing the flare to his feet removed a small hand-held GPS navigator from his sleeve pocket but staring at its screen, there was no signal or battery life. He frowned then shoved it back in its pocket as he knelt down, retrieving the flare.
“Keep your eyes out!” he muttered over his shoulder.
“Sir…” multiple voices answered behind him.
Suddenly, rattling chains echoed loudly behind them and when turning around, the other gate seemed to have renewed itself, slamming its points deep into the ground, leaving no chance of escape.
“I thought it was broken!?” Basil complained.
“There’s magic here…” Eustace revealed, “very-very powerful magic!”
“Nothing we can’t handle!” Faron added smugly with underlying fear.
“Captain, look!” Jack pointed ahead.
Turning around focusing his eyes toward the direction his comrade had pointed, shapes began forming themselves into solid structures; ruins of this island’s past inhabitants perhaps, they didn’t know but all these men wanted to do was get in and out before their lives, like those reported lost from their General, would be added to those missing numbers. More iron metal gates laid spread out across the grounds as they approached what looked to be an empty fountain; the dirt filled hole revealed weeds growing rapidly out of control and a Gargoyle statue broken in half. A larger structure stood before them and as their heavy boots echoed along the cobblestone path, they arrived at a surprising feature.
“Is...is that a bloody castle!?” one of the soldiers shone his flare ahead of him; his eyes taking in the ruins with one of the tall towers crumbling along the top but still standing; the walls were broken down and front doors laid shattered within the entrance.
“It’s too quiet!” Delano-Daraki frowned then turned to his men, throwing the extinguished flare to the ground, “Listen to me now.” he watched as other flares huddled closer together creating a bright enough light source, “Spread out in three directions and search for anything useful that we can bring back to General Matrx and Lord Drakuul. If you find nothing, return back here and whistle once you do but be cautious, and make sure it’s your comrade alongside you.”
“Meaning what, Sir?” Faron questioned.
“This place is living magic so who’s to say it can’t play tricks on you!” the Captain lectured, “Now go…” he nodded then three groups parted, disappearing into the fog that wasn’t as thick as its initial introduction.
Men and women stood at the windows of the dwellings, watching as men with rifles strolled across the grounds, inspecting the island. They gasped as they closed the curtains hushing one another as men approached the door, stepping through it as if they weren’t even there. Everyone on the Isle knew how the mirrored effect worked but nonetheless, it frightened everyone as the armed men walked through the lounge unaware of the residents’ presence. Lady D and Katrina stood in front of the crowd that scampered toward the stairs while others behind them held onto weapons or pottery from the kitchen ready to defend themselves and their home. The sound of the mens’ footsteps was unsettling, as were the large rifles they carried. The invaders found nothing of interest and when exiting the dwelling unaware of their watchers, the residents sighed as they quietly returned to their rooms but as one of the women squeaked in fear, it attracted the last soldier; he turned approaching the staircase’s location. His eyes scanned the space between himself and the fearful crowd but found nothing, although his human senses knew something wasn’t right about this location.
Suddenly, a small feline ran past the mans’ feet meowing and hissing, attracting his attention as the animal scampered outside.
Lady D stood in the middle of the crowded staircase watching as the man officially left the structure following after the feline she knew was her beloved Freya. Turning to everyone, she mouthed the word GO then stood along the wall as residents rushed ahead of her up to their rooms. Katrina stood across from her and together, they shared a worried expression before breaking eye contact as their heads veered around the corner, making sure the lounge was clear of intruders. She worried for Freya who had never ventured outside her room but her worries were put at ease when she suddenly appeared rubbing against Lady D’s ankles. She quickly reached down, sweeping the feline into her arms.
“Lady D…” Katrina’s voice urged softly, “come…”
Lady D turned, seeing the Irish woman standing at the bottom of the steps with her two daughters then swiftly strolled across the lounge. She was welcome to stay in Katrina’s room until Lady D’s daughter came for her.
“It’s alright…” Katrina comforted, “your daughter will be alright.” she smiled.
Despite the awkward tension between the two of them, Katrina respected the love Lady D had for her daughter. Slowly ascending the stairs to the second level, everyone retreated to their rooms, remaining quiet and still.
Examining the ground beneath their feet, they followed cracked cobblestone walkways; some leading nowhere while the others led to more ruins revealing burnt structures not worthy of a detailed inspection. Scattered men in the groups muttered how there was nothing but cats, rats and birds nesting in the structures. Growing disappointed that nothing was found, nothing alive worth mentioning that is, it was then the men began hearing hisses, growls and whistles in every direction around them. Thinking maybe some of their men had returned to their last position, Delano-Dakari shouted loudly; his voice echoing in the distance,
“Regroup...regroup! Regroup into formation NOW...regroup!”
The groups regathered upon their Captain’s orders, continuing to hear the menacing sounds around them. Gathering in a circular formation; their rifles loaded and ready to fire, they rattled due to jittery nerves. Their eyes scanned the distance ahead of them, seeing nothing but the faint lingering fog and ruin structures.
“I know you’re here!” Delano-Dakari ordered, “From the authority of Lord Drakuul Lexus of the Great City reveal yourselves at once and surrender NOW! Try anything and we will shoot and kill on sight!” and continuing to scan the fog, the Captain’s eyes fixed on silhouettes walking toward them. Growing closer, they aimed their rifles and flares in their direction, “Halt...stop where you are!” the Captain continued in a command, taking a step forward, “Halt!”
“You have two options!” a woman’s voice answered; other voices repeated her words from all directions in a menacing taunt, “You can leave with your heads still on your shoulders or…” she chuckled with a chorus of laughter behind her, “you die here, never to be found. Your choice, but if I were you...I’d take option number one.” her voice slurred the words slowly followed by a guttural growl.
“I’ll not say it again! Surrender now!” Delano-Dakari ordered once more ignoring her warning, feeling an uneasiness as his Shayd senses caught it; the oncoming surge of magic about to be unleashed upon himself and his comrades.
“You had your chance…” the woman taunted once more before hisses and growls echoed as figures swept by in swift breezes or blurs through the fog.
“Fire!” the Captain exclaimed; gunfire began echoing throughout the estate until their first cartridges were empty, “Hold your fire, hold your fire!” Delano-Dakari shouted as he lowered his weapon listening around him.
It lingered for the longest time before faint laughter once more was heard all around. Abruptly, the fog completely faded out; figures with weapons in hand stood before them as did the castle which wasn’t a castle at all, stood massively behind them creating a dramatic silhouette. The invaders attempted to back away but there were figures encircling them from all directions.
“I did give you the option to leave.” a young woman with raven hair stood in front of the warriors behind her; a massive hound stood alongside her snarling his slathering jaws, “But you didn’t take it.” she grinned with sinister intentions, followed by engulfing in a low fiery Aura.
The Captain lowered his rifle, studying the men standing behind her taking in their supernatural and paranormal presences’ determining how difficult this skirmish would be. He sensed the levels of the purebloods and half-breeds of the Demons present, knowing it would be quite the challenge. Removing the rifles’ strap from across his chest, he held it out before dropping the weapons.
“Captain, what are you doing!?” Jack argued but the Shayd didn’t answer.
The young woman gripped her sword tighter as she backed away with the hound, taking notice of the man’s intentions.
Suddenly, four of the human soldiers toward the rear of the circle were pulled away from the circular formation; their screams echoed loudly as their throats were ripped out by fangs of hungry Wraiths.
Now, I don’t think I’ve ever explained how the Wraiths feed. Normally, a Wraith is nothing more than a ghastly creature or ghost with no physical form that feeds off energy but that’s not the case! Wraiths are living beings, requiring blood to survive (yes, they’re vampyres, but that’s not their label). When a Wraith feeds, they sink their fangs into their victims yes but that’s not all they do during the feeding process. They dig their nails deep when clutching their victims either from the back (their hands holding onto chests for leverage) or the other way around depending on the Wraith and while draining blood, they also absorb the energy that resides within the blood. They DO NOT feed on souls unlike the Shadowed Ones that feed on blood, its energy and souls alike.
The soldiers watched as their comrades attempted fighting off their attackers but when their eyes watched as a physical bluish-white hue had been exchanged from victim to assailant, the Wraith released the humans that laid at their feet with pale loose skin; the supernatural creatures rolled their shoulders as their red eyes leered in squinting gazes. Their twitching nailed fingertips covered with blood that dug through the armor and heavy clothing, were eager to repeat the process, as were their fangs that craved more.
“You had your chance to surrender so if it’s death you want, little girl...then death is what you’ll get!” Delano-Dakari barked loudly then as he clenched his fists that took on a dark green hue, he lunged forward as did the Shayds behind him.
It was official...war had come to the Isle that had never been invaded by outsiders but the island’s Demons, half-breeds and warriors gave these intruders more than they bargained for.
The Shayds didn’t expect to come across such powerful Demons as their magics shot through the air like laser beams, either bouncing off shields or making an impact on their intended target. The sound was like fireworks going off as the pops and zaps continued back and forth. There were moments where Demon or Shayd were left stunned or frozen in place, allowing their enemy to lash out the final kill. There were moments where Demon or Shayd used their telekinesis; figures being thrown across the field or to the ground with fierce heavy thuds against the grass. Anywhere from Biokinesis, Electrokinesis and Thermokinesis were used, mixing with arcane spells and chants being used against one another.
The half-breeds on the Isle like myself put up a fight but since our magics were limited, we depended on our physical skills to survive.
For the Lycynians present, it was difficult for them as they wanted to unleash beast-mode so to speak and as Derek threw his weapon to the ground prepared to do so, Anthony stood in front of him, talking him down in between moments of striking at Shayds that threw balls of magic that Anthony deflected with his sword.
“We can’t...we can’t!” he shouted, “Not if you intend on killing everyone here! No...”
Derek huffed, releasing a low growl as his yellow eyes blinked rapidly, staring into the Italian’s eyes, that were also yellow. Nodding in agreement, he retrieved his sword then sprinted alongside Anthony who lunged toward a group of humans that stood vulnerable, relying only on their rifles of which left their intended injuries; Anthony moaned as a bullet embedded itself in his left shoulder while Derek was shot in the lower abdomen avoiding major organs. He was used to suffering bullet wounds so to the tall Samoan, it felt like nothing more than pin-pricks. They growled pushing the pain aside as they extracted their claws, slashing and tearing the men apart.
The human soldiers, regardless of their own tough training and expertise, found the warriors that emerged through the fog, strong and full of spirit.
The men upon the ships that remained hovering in place, began hearing the chorus of shouts and gunshots erupting from below and with their eyes too, the fog thinned out revealing figures standing not too far from the aircrafts. They muttered among themselves thinking for a moment, it could’ve been their shipmates but using binoculars, the figures weren’t of their comrades. They watched as beings stood illuminated in pale green light while other figures teleported from their place, revealing their supernatural Wraith or pureblood Demon status. Where they teleported, the men didn’t know but lowering the binoculars they scampered among the decks of their ships grabbing their rifles and flashlights.
The fierce Shayd Captain, Delano-Dakari had just deflected the advances of three warriors charging toward him as they bounced off his shield that held, despite the constant friction. Throwing the shield outward before it shattered like glass, the warriors were thrown backwards to the ground before he squeezed his hands closed into tight fists; the three warriors laid there screaming and squirming in place as they felt their blood boil before their organs exploded. Blood leaked from their ears, mouths, nose and eyes as their skin turned red as if blistered. Breathing heavily and shaking out his hands, he shouted out watching warriors around him continuing their skirmishes,
“Is this it!?” he mocked, “Demons and Wraiths!? Show yourself, little b*tch! Show me who and what you are!”
Jon had just slain one of the Shayds, growing the upper hand slicing the mans’ throat swiftly with one of his daggers; the man didn’t think the young man before him relied on other skills other than the use of his arcane magic. Jon smiled, wiping the blade clean on the mans’ shoulder then roughly kicked him backwards to the ground, leaving him bleeding out with his hands to his throat and gasping for breath. Jon raised his gaze observing the Captain of this troupe and quietly approaching him from behind, his stealth was halted when a bullet struck his right upper thigh. He released a loud moan in pain as he fell to the ground for he had never been shot.
Delano-Dakari continued searching the field when he heard a loud moan. Turning around, there laid a red haired young man on the grass a few inches away holding onto an injured leg. He mocked, eyeing the young man, not in interest but in disgust and waste of power. He took in a deep breath as if catching the young mans’ scent then growing a faint grin, he knelt down before him reaching behind his back for a large hunter’s knife with a sharp jagged blade.
“You’re a powerful one, aren’t you?” he questioned, pointing the knife toward the young man, “Join us! Join us, and I’ll let you live!” he offered.
“I’d rather die, thanks!” Jon groaned, then spat in the mans’ face.
“Shame on you then, kid...” the Captain stood gripping the knife’s hilt tighter and raising the blade, his upper body suddenly jerked forward as if something struck him from behind. He dropped the knife reaching his hands over his shoulder searching for the weapon and turning around, there stood a young woman; strands of her blonde hair hanging in her face while she stood in an archer’s stance. Her bow was empty of an arrow and then the man realized she must have embedded one in his back. He glanced over his shoulders once more when his eyes caught the faint glimpse, before his vision began to blur, black feathers attached to a long 32 inch arrow. He chuckled in mockery then cursed, “Killed by a girl…” he fell to his knees watching as the young woman approached, stringing two more arrows in her bows’ string and standing at least a foot away, she released the arrows that plunged deep and strong through the mans’ thick armored vest. His chest jerked backwards before Jon lunged forward, pulling the man to the ground on his side then slit his throat.
Sarah ran toward Jon falling to her knees alongside him. Laying her bow next to her she reached for his leg but he flinched, pushing her hands away.
“Are you alright?” she worried.
“No, but yeah, I think so. Didn’t hit any major arteries or I wouldn’t be sitting here.” Jon complained, “Good shot, eh!” he attempted to change the subject as he reached over, pulling the arrows from the corpse, “Here, take these and go...I’ll be fine.”
“But…” Sarah tried to argue.
“Sarah, please...go.” he urged, “Yza needs you.”
Sarah frowned then leaned in, giving him a quick kiss before grabbing her bow and arrows then sprinted off; he could hear the rapid whooshing sounds of her bow releasing the arrows as the bow curved from the strain of the pull.
Glancing around taking notice he had a moment’s break, he created a shield around him then removed one of his daggers from their place in his belt. Pulling aside the jean fabric near the injury, he slowly dug the blade’s tip into the wound that continued leaking blood, retrieving the bullet with a clean swift scrape. He held his breath with his eyes kept closed then released a heavy sigh, knowing that part was over. He removed his belt then wrapped it around his upper thigh then stood, limping in place when suddenly an unsettling thumping pounded against the barrier; soldiers shot their futuristic bullets and laser rounds but they bounced off. Jon frowned, gripping his daggers then released the barrier, jumping toward the men slicing and swiping his blades with such precision and speed despite his injuries; he sped through the men in a thick blur.
For the Wraiths present, they had fed on quite a few of the soldiers, regardless if they were human or Shayd, and knowing they were on the brink of a frenzy, something that’s dangerous for anyone around Wraiths, they managed to hold back their hunger and rage, wanting to enjoy the fight. They too, suffered bullet wounds but while their blood pumped from rage, they barely felt the sting as the bullets were ejected from their bodies, falling to the ground at their feet. They hissed then couldn’t help themselves as their fangs craved the taste of blood.
Zanz and I released our hellish rage; Zanz morphed into the hellhound he projected in the Boar-wolf cave while I released blasts of my fiery Aura which was something the men, human or Shayd didn’t expect for some were Pyrokinetics but they weren’t capable of manipulating the fiery energy coming toward them. I too created shields that didn’t last long for it wasn’t as strong as the others, but I relied on my telekinesis throwing knives that were dropped. After kicking two men to the ground, with one swift turn I decapitated them both. Blood dripping from my blade, I turned glancing up toward the wall before feeling the sting from a bullet wound that grazed my left leg.
“Sh*t…” I moaned, “not again.” I remembered the wound on my leg from the Boar-wolf cave that Nick had healed. I limped pushing the pain aside then turned my head hearing a hound howl loudly. Zanz growled as he lunged at the men tearing out their throats or ripping spines from their columns with his powerful hound jaws. His hellhound Aura, like mine, revealed itself and he was absolutely magnificent! I smiled with pride, “Good boy!”
“Shadowed Ones...get to work!” one of the remaining soldiers ordered.
The creatures released piercing screams as they hovered above the ships, wanting to feed on the energy that lingered aboard then slowly turned their translucent bodies, swarming through the air with swift smooth movements before being attracted to something near what looked to be the slate wall; lights flashed like something that summoned the creatures.
“We’ll take care of the creatures while you take care of them still aboard here and that of the ship near the harbor!” Azir instructed.
“Right!” Wyatt nodded then turned, ordering guards to begin their attack on the ships and as he sprinted down the walls’ length he glanced back, watching as the Jinn began swinging their massive Scimitars toward the air, making impact with the Shadowed Ones. He broke his gaze then turned to two of the guards; one Demon and the other Wraith, “Go release the Ravens. It might help with a distraction!”
The guards nodded then teleported in their individual abilities, appearing at the Raven aviaries; the black birds squawked loudly. Once the cages were opened, the birds flew quickly toward the wall where they automatically knew they were needed.
Although the swords left cuts on the creatures that kept their corporeal form 99% of the time, the Jinn’s weaponry wasn’t enough for since the last they had fought these creatures, they’re stronger and more adaptable to the strikes. And what made it more difficult, the creatures weren’t close enough to continue the strikes, so dropping their swords or spears, Azir and his kin began reciting a spell in their African tongue as their hands once more, glowed. Suddenly turning their heads to the left, a thick black mass approached followed by the sound of heavy flapping of wings. It attracted the Shadowed Ones’ attention as they began feeding off the feathered animals; their small bodies falling swift and heavy to the ground or along the walls’ walkway. Azir frowned then continued the chant as he and kin began releasing another round of magic in a blast-wave like manner.
The energy pushed outward at first then changed as if being absorbed into the Nubian beings but to the eyes of the guards that stood far enough away, the Jinn were fascinating. With the magic gathered, building stronger and stronger, the energy swirled before being released into the air creating a bright flash of light that blinded the guards who watched as the Shadowed Ones hovered in place as if stunned. The Jinn continued releasing their magic while Azir and Natash stepped aside, reciting another chant that created small green orbs with a yellowish center that twirled around the shadowed mass that remaining Ravens swept through and pecked at.
The two spells grew more intense as the orbs enlarged, frightening the Ravens as they flew off. Advancing closer to the creatures, mixing with the magic his kin continued to release, the orbs created a containment-like bubble that left a two inch space between the magical barrier and the creature’s essence. Azir ordered his kin to cease their magic and upon his instruction, their words ended as their eyes watched the orbs illuminate brighter squeezing the creatures together into a small compacted ball. With the final word of the Jinn’s spell, the orbs exploded emitting a light with faint symbols hovering about, tearing the creatures to shreds as the orbs faded. The entire swarm was destroyed in one single moment that came and went so fast, that it would make your head spin.
Wyatt and the guards that were going to board the ships were crouched nearby, shielding their eyes from the blast of light. Standing to their feet they glanced toward the Jinn seeing Azir and his kin, nodding in their direction; giving the signal things were handled. The Jinn clenched their hands into tight fists feeling an extremely intense warmth.
The men on the ships became startled when figures appeared on board in swirling colored flame or clouds of black supernatural mist.
“Demons! Wraiths!” the men shouted aiming their weapons.
The air echoed with gunfire before it was quickly replaced with shouts and screams of sheer terror for the Demons and Wraith guards swept through their enemies with such fierce veracity that wasn’t expected. Wyatt and Justin took six other guards to the ship that hovered above the harbor; the Jinn on the wall watched as blasts of colored light flashed in the distance as Demon and Shayd unleashed their arcanism upon one another.
I grunted and released battle cries, as did my fellow warriors then having a moment’s break I glanced toward the sky, calling for Abraxas who immediately answered my summons; his form dove before stretching out his wings a few feet above the ground.
“Burn them all!” I ordered telepathically before he could take his perch on my shoulder.
“With pleasure, Mother!” he answered as his small body swerved in one clean turn then shot straight back into the air morphing into a larger size while keeping his own form. He released loud powerful roars that shook the islands’ foundations then turned his focus upon the ships. The Wraith and Demons that had invaded the ships all turned their eyes toward the sky watching as the Keeper’s dragon hovered above.
“Off, get off...get off!” Caleb shouted urgently as he pushed his friends toward the rails of the ships and turning back watching as the dragon breathed heavily bellowing a large flame, he leapt off the rail in just enough time for once the dragon released his bellowed breath, it rained fire that scorched the back of his shirt as he flew through the air before teleporting in mid-air to brace his fall along the walls’ walkway.
The Jinn scattered avoiding the flames that were so intense, they worried it would melt the slate.