Creatures Of Fate

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Chapter 32: This Is My World

Ra’venna is seated on Helios’s bed, her right leg tucked under left. Helios is leaning against the wall, his hands tucked in his pockets, and his eyes set on the world outside the window door. She watches him carefully. He’s been unusually quiet today. He made no protests or arguments as his parents finalized their invasion plans and appointed Terdar as the leading general. When they were dismissed at the end of the day he came into his chambers and has been staring out the window ever since. Through their bond she can feel his distress and guilt. She desires nothing more than to say something to soothe him, but words fail her.

“Do you know anything about Kudrazen, the religion of Dragons?” Helion inquires.

Confused, Ra’venna replies, “No.” Helios pushes himself off the wall and sits down on the bed in front of her. He rests his clasped hands in his lap and stares at the red comforter covering his bed.

“The myths all say that before the many gods and goddesses existed, before Entos existed, there was nothing but pure magic. As the story goes the magic slowly gathered to form Entos-the God of Creatures and Creation. From the abyss of magic he created Tevata, the suns, and the moons. He was proud of his creations, but lonely. So, he created life. His first attempts at creating life resulted in the major gods and goddesses. They were immortal, powerful, but petty. There are ten of them. Soon Entos grew bored with them. He even began to resent them.

“He left Yeowen and came to Tevata. He decided to try again. He forged twelve different creatures-the first being Dragons-and scattered them to the ends of the world. The gods and goddesses resented many of them. They thought them to be weak, futile creatures, because they were not immortal and while they possessed power they were no match for the Gods and Goddesses. They felt replaced. There was nothing they could do for Entos had created them and he alone possessed the power to destroy them.

“Slowly, the gods and goddesses came to tolerate them. The Dragons became their favorites because they were fierce and bold. Dragons believed themselves to be perfect. They thought themselves on the levels of the gods and goddesses.” Ra’venna rolls her eyes. Helios smirks. “Entos was infuriated. To punish them for their insolence he cursed them to be burned by what they covet: gold.

“His action only caused their favor to grow among the gods and goddess. They found a kinship in the punished creatures, promising to protect them and advance their wealth and power. That is the supposed story of how Dragons came to by and why they value strength above all.”

Ra’venna remains silent for what feels like a small eternity. “Do you believe that?”

“I don’t know. Sometimes I think the only reason Dragons have this belief is because it allows us to convince ourselves that what we’ve done is okay, that we aren’t monsters.” He confesses.

Ra’venna reaches across and takes his hand allowing the fire of their bond to comfort him. He stares into her purple orbs. “What do Fairies believe?” He inquires.

Ra’venna removes her cloak and lays down beside Helios, still holding his hand. Her wings lay sprawled out on the bed, the edge brushing up against Helios’s thigh. He looks away, trying to resist the urge to caress them.

She raises the index finger of her free hand and traces a pattern in the air, her touch leaving behind a soft stream of purple light. “We believe the universe grew. It began as a seed and the seed grew into a sprout and that sprout grew into a tree-Moralanus. The tree was not only a tree, but a living deity-Odea-the Goddess of Creation-The Tree of Life.

“Buds grew on the tree branches they blossomed into eight realms. From these eight realms emerged eight deities. A host of gods and goddesses. Now Tevata was not one of the realms that sprouted from the buds. It was the domain of none of these newborn deities. Tevata was the roots of Moralanus and therefore it was Odea’s.

“All the gods and goddesses desired to create something to fill their realms, but none could agree on what. They all trusted and admired Odea so they sought out her council. Wanting to appease all she came up with a solution. She offered her realm up, Tevata, the Realm of the Elements. She told them to fill the world with life of their making.

“Canja shaped Water into the Merpeople. Yyphine created Fairies and Griffins from Wind. Ximes created the Elves, Nymphs, and Fauns from Nature. Eesis shaped Lightning into Thunderbirds. Qunja shaped Darkness into the Banshees. Humus created the Dwarves from rock and mountain. Inta created the High Priests and Priestesses from Light. Dragons and Kitsunes were created by Mekmus from Fire. These creatures were placed on Tevata where they would live and eventually die.

“Odea declared it that when a creature dies they would be sent to the realm of their creator. The Merpeople are sent to Iowealyn-The Flowing Realm. High Priests and Priestesses are sent to Vegitall-The Enchanted Realm. Aekaros-The Flaming Reach is the afterlife of Dragons and Kitsunes. Fiostealas-The Lustrous Realm is the afterlife of the Dwarves. Thunderbirds go to Oddurhia-The Thunder Domain. The Emerald Realm-Caephetora-is the afterlife of the Elves, Nymphs, and Fauns. Iakutopia is the afterlife of Banshees, and Evelion is the afterlife of the Fairies and Griffins. Each creature is supposed favored by their creator.” Ra’venna lets out a bitter laugh.

“Perhaps that is the true difference between Fairies and Dragons. Dragons value strength and wealth. They seek to constantly conquer and prove themselves. Fairies, we believe all species are created different, but equal. In the way strength is sacred to Dragons, love is sacred to Fairies. It is what we value above all else. To abuse or force it is the greatest crime of all even more so then murder because it damages the soul. Fairies have never been able to understand how other species treat love so carelessly.” She explains.

Helios strokes the back of her hand. “That’s beautiful.” He whispers, his eyes never leaving her hand. “I like it better.” His grip on her hand tightens.

“Look at me.” Ra’venna orders softly. Helios does as she says. “What is this about? What has brought this on?” She questions. Her voice never raises.

“I don’t know.” Helios confesses. “It was just something that I thought of. I was just wondering I suppose, looking for something.” Ra’venna rolls over onto her side bringing her wings with her. She wraps her free hand around his arm. Through the material of his tunic she can feel the familiar fire.

“For what?”

“Hope.” Helios mumbles.

Ra’venna sits up. She pulls her hand from Helios’s and places it on his shoulder. She straddles him, taking his face in her hands. “Listen to me Helioson Shalquim, do not give up hope. You are the only hope left.” She caresses his face, a stray tear escaping from her eye. Helios watches as it trickles down her cheek. “You are my hope.”

Helios places his hands over hers. He leans in and kisses away the tears streaming down her face. Heat courses through her face and down her body. Ra’venna’s hands fall from his face to his neck. He captures her lips. She can taste her tears on his lips. Fire explodes within her. Helios trails his hands up her back to her wings. She moans at his touch. Helios kisses a trail of fire down her neck to her collarbone. He rolls over, lying Ra’venna on her back. Her hands run up his muscular chest and shoulders. Helios pulls away and rests his forehead against hers.

“You are the most amazing creature I have ever seen, my love.” Helios breathes.

“Call me that again.” He kisses her again.

“My love.” He whispers against her lips. Ra’venna kisses him softly and sweetly.

Helios rolls over, bringing Ra’venna with him. She rests her head on his chest, listening to his steady heartbeat, her arm resting over his abdomen. “It’s late.” She says, looking up at him. He strokes her bare arm, sending waves of heat down it.

“Stay.” He pleads. She smiles.

“Of course.” Helios pulls the covers over them. He kisses the top of her head. They two drift off to sleep wrapped within each others arms.

Knocking awakens Helios. He feels a weight on his chest and looks down to see Ra’venna curled up, fast asleep. Her eyes are closed and she looks relaxed. Her wings rise and sink with her every breath. He tucks a fallen violet wave behind her ear. Her nose twitches.

The knocking starts up again and Helios’s trance is broken. Gently, he shakes Ra’venna. “Love, you need to wake up.” She groans and her eyes flutter open. She lifts herself off of Helios and blinks away the tiredness. “There’s someone at the door, if you want to cover your wings.” He tells her. She gathers her cloak and wraps it around her. She’s still a bit disoriented from sleep.

Helios grants verbal entry. The door opens to reveal two maids. They bow. When they rise they see Ra’venna and apologize for the intrusion. Ra’venna rolls her eyes and slides off the bed. She runs her hands over her clothes trying to smooth out the wrinkles the best she can. She kisses Helios cheeks and exits the room, her head held high.

Ra’venna closes the room of her chambers behind her and undoes her cloak. She slings it over the bed and goes to the bathroom. Her bath has already been drawn. She tests the temperature with her finger. It’s warm. She removes her clothing and sinks into the water.

Ra’venna steps out of the tub and picks up the towel lying beside it. She dries herself off and wraps the material around her body. She pads back into her bedroom and to the wardrobe. She grabs her clothes and retreats behind the changing screen, allowing the towel to pool at her feet.

She changes into a violet, tight fitting, sleeveless top. It has a high collar lined with a black ring and a tail that extends from her waist to her ankles. She slips into a pair of black leather pants and matching knee length boots. She slides on violet, fingerless gloves and wraps her cloak around herself.

Ra’venna doesn’t even knock she just walks in. Helios is standing beside the bed tying on a red leather vambrace. The last piece of the red leather armor he is wearing. He raises his head when he hears Ra’venna come in.

“What’s going on?” She asks. She doesn’t see the maids from earlier and Helios’s silver crown is resting on a velvet pillow on a stand instead of on his head.

“My brother is marching into Sowhait with an army today.” He says. Ra’venna’s eyes widen.

“Today.” She repeats. He nods. “Why so soon?” Helios scoffs.

“My parents are not patient creatures. They have had enough of this.” He sighs and roughly runs a hand through his red locks. Ra’venna approaches him. She places a hand on his armored arm. The heat of their bond extends through it.

“What are we going to do?” She asks, her voice filled with unnatural calmness. Helios can’t fathom how she can be so calm in the face of this disaster.

“I need to stop my brother and we can’t let the army make it to Sowhait’s border or all is lost.” He replies.

“You stop your brother. I will stop the army.” Ra’venna decides. Helios’s head snaps in her direction.

“You cannot stop an army by yourself.” He retorts. She rolls her eyes and folds her arms across her chest.

“Do not underestimate me Helioson. You have not seen what I am capable of.” She snaps. Guilt passes over his face. She sighs and lets her arms fall to her sides. “Stop your brother, let me worry about the army.” She turns to leave, but Helios’s catches her arm.

“If it becomes too much, run. Fly away and don’t look back.” He pauses. “I could not live knowing something happened to you.” Ra’venna places her hand over Helios’s.

“Nothing will happen to me and I will not leave you behind.” She takes Helios’s face in her hands. “I once told you my loyalty could not be bought and I meant it. My loyalty is not something I easily give out. You have earned my loyalty Helios.”

Helios captures her lips in a passionate kiss. “I will not fail.” He swears.

“I know.”

Ra’venna marches out of the room, her face drawn and her hands ready for battle. Helios lingers behind. He reaches for his katana, but freezes. He will need something more powerful to defeat his brother. Terdar is vain and greedy, but he is an exceptional warrior. He has been trained by the best and therefore is among the best. Helios pulls back his hand and leaves the room.

He shoves open the door to the armory. The mess he and Terdar made has been repaired. Helios isn’t sure whether it was fixed manually or by the magic of the palace. His eyes flicker over the room. He spots what he’s looking for pushed up against the left wall.

Encased in a glass case is a sword. The handle is fashioned from silver and carved into the shape of a Dragon. The guard has been carved into the shape of Dragon wings. Helios slams his elbow into the glass, shattering it. He reaches in and pulls the sword free from its case.

He bolts out of the armory and down the hallways dodging the guards as he goes. Helios emerges from the silver palace, the Sword of Fire clutched in his hand.

The rage with which Avdon strikes the dagger worries Amsyn. She places her hand over Avdon’s, her fingers brushing over the rock clutched in his hand. He looks up at her, his eyes swirling with emotion. She pries the rock from his hand and sets it down on the ground beside her and takes her dagger from his hand and slides it into her boot. She intertwines her hand in his and rests her head on his shoulder.

“It will be okay.” She soothes. Avdon kisses the top of her head. “I know it will.” He squeezes her hand.

“They will not give up. They will come for us again.” Avdon tells her. He speaks of The Forsaken and the Emperor and Empress, from whom they are only a forest away from.

“And we will stand against them.” She replies, lifting her head. Avdon looks down at her. She reads guilt on his face as easily as she would read words on a page.

Sinnion curled up in the tree above them lifts his head. He shakes his head and flutters his wings, ridding himself of sleep.

“Can you live like this?” He questions softly. She pulls away, confused. “Always running. Never having a...home.” She does the most unexpected thing, she smiles.

“Home is not always a place, sometimes it’s a person.” She counters. Avdon kisses her.

“How did I get so lucky?” He whispers. She giggles. The sound is like the sweetest music to Avdon ears.

“We won’t run forever.” She tells him. His eyebrows furrow. “We will defeat Helios’s family. We will retake the kingdoms and we will live happily ever after.” He chuckles.

“You have it all figured out, don’t you?” She shrugs.

“Not all of it.” Amsyn disagrees.

Avdon holds her words dear to his heart. The hope that lives in them is what he has been fighting for all this time. It is what had kept him alive through all the hard years. The hope that there is something better, that there is someone out there.

Around them the Children are arming themselves for war. The weapons they were able to flee with are being sharpened and tested for battle. The more resourceful of the Children have been constructing their own weapons. Smaller groups of the rebels are training, some are children. Even the members of The Children that are not rebels are preparing to fight. Melancholy and uncertainty looms over the forest like a dark cloud. The Children of Tevata have not only lost their headquarters, but their homes. Again. They have no where to go now and nothing to lose. It is both freeing and dooming.

Avdon is no exception to the mood. Leaving Ta’floon was the right thing to do. He knows that, but the guilt of abandoning it lingers. To leave behind all he has fought to protect and build is not something he will easily forgive himself for. He tightens his grip on Amsyn’s hand. She seems to know what he’s thinking. She doesn’t say anything only wraps her free hand around Avdon’s arm.

The guards raise their bows and then lower them a second later. Avdon untangles himself from Amsyn and stands up as Aka runs into their camp. She marches straight up to Avdon, her spear clutched in her hand. Amsyn stands up, brushing the dirt from her pants. Aka glance at Amsyn. Avdon nods telling her it’s okay to speak freely.

“Quvania’s soldiers are gathering.” Aka says. Avdon’s face hardens.

“Are they headed in this direction?” He questions. The Thunderbird shakes her head, her sapphire hair flying with her movements.

“No, from what I could make out they are marching into Sowhait.” Amsyn’s eyes widen.

“That is a declaration of war.” Avdon motions for her to lower her voice.

“If they start war they will destroy entire kingdoms.” Avdon states. Aka doesn’t reply, but it is obvious she agrees. “How many?” He asks.

“Legions. They have flying ships as well.” She answers. A wicked grin spreads across Avdon’s face.

“Flying ships you say?” Aka and Amsyn exchange confused looks. “That is what we will take. If we take their ships we cripple them. We can attack them from the skies.”

“The ship are being raised as we speak.” Aka tells him. Avdon nods.

“Gather the others. We attack now. We take the ships. Go.” He orders Aka. She nods and runs into the camp, calling for the others. “I suppose we will see if your prince is a creature of his word.” He says to Amsyn.

She holds her head high. “He is” She declares. Avdon smiles slightly. He wraps his hand around the back of her neck and pulls her forward to kiss her forehead.

“Are you ready to fight?” He asks, his hand still resting on her neck. She nods.

“I will fight with you.” His hand falls from her neck and he grips her forearm in a warrior’s greeting. She wraps her hand around his forearm, partially obstructed by a leather bracer.

Amsyn bend down to pick up her bow and quiver. She slings her quiver over her shoulder and keeps her bow clutched at her side.

Avdon rallies the rebels to his side. Amsyn stands loyally by his side as he barks out orders. The Children of Tevata split into five groups, one for each of the flying ships. Avdon, Amsyn, Aka, Stalia and dozens of others will be taking the largest ship, the leader, and the others will follow.

They emerge from the woods like a tidal wave. Thousands of angry, battle hardened rebels. The Quvanians barely have time to react. Their cries of freedom fill the stiff morning air.

Amsyn runs beside Avdon and Aka. Sinnion flies behind them, ready to fight. Amsyn loads an arrow into her bow. Arrows rain down from the sky. One strikes the ground beside Amsyn, narrowly missing her. Sinnion weaves his way through the sky dodging them. Avdon raises a piece of the ground and uses it as a shield. As it captures arrows it splinters. He hurls it at the archers leaning over the side of the ship. It knocks several overboard.

Avdon sprints ahead of them, he grabs ahold of the rope and climbs up onto the ship, with Aka close behind. Amsyn goes to grab the rope when she sees Stalia run past the ship, in the direction of the palace. Amsyn lets go of the robe and takes off after the Fauness. “Stalia!” She screams.

The Fauness turns around and before Amsyn can register it a dagger flies past her head, cutting through several of her curls and nicking her ear. She raises her hand to touch the spot and pulls it away to discover blood. Amsyn looks back to Stalia, frozen in a fighting stance with only one dagger in her hand. Amsyn glances behind her at the dagger stuck in the ground and back at Stalia. The Fauness she’s come to call friend.

“You’re the spy.” She states. The realization washes over her. The entire time Stalia has been betraying them, feeding information to Terdar, planning Avdon’s destruction.

Amsyn raises her bow and without a second of hesitation fires an arrow. Stalia easily side steps it. She doesn’t appear surprised or betrayed, rather a wicked calmness washes over her. It infuriates Amsyn. She loads her bow and fires another arrow. Stalia runs at her, her dagger in hand. She swings her leg. Amsyn dodges the kick and strikes Stalia with her bow, causing a cut across her cheek. Stalia raises her head, her eyes darkening with rage.

She knees Amsyn in the stomach. The Elf falls to the ground, clutching her throbbing abdomen, gasping for air. She grapples for her own dagger. She stabs blindly at Stalia. She hears a cry of pain and raises her gaze. Amsyn finds her dagger buried in Stalia’s foot. She pulls it out and pushes herself off the ground. Stalia charges at her. Amsyn raises her bow to defend herself. Stalia slices it in two. The bow falls from Amsyn’s hand. She gasps. She feels a surge of pain in her shoulder and glances over to find Stalia’s dagger plunged there. Amsyn lets out a pain filled scream.

Stalia wraps her free hand around Amsyn’s throat and squeezes. She claws at the Fauness’s hand, desperate for air. She draws blood and still Stalia refuses to let go. Black spots dot Amsyn’s vision as she gasps for air. She falls to her knees, grappling at the ground for anything she can use as a weapon. Her hand wraps around the smooth handle of her dagger. She picks it up and thrusts forward, before her vision fades to black completely.

The Fauness’s hand falls from Amsyn’s throat. Her hand still on the dagger she leans forward gasping for air. As her vision clears and the world comes into view she looks at Stalia to see her dagger plunged in her stomach. The blood flows from Stalia’s wound onto Amsyn’s hand, staining it. She gasps and yanks the dagger out only causing the wound to bleed more profusely. Stalia’s grip on her dagger lessens and Amsyn’s feels some of the weight on her shoulder vanish. Stalia stumbles backwards, clutching the wound, her eyes wide. She opens her mouth to say something, but collapses onto her back.

Amsyn struggles to stand only to fall to her knees again at Stalia’s side. Her hands are trembling violently. Tears spill over from her eyes. She places two fingers to Stalia’s neck, searching for a pulse. There is none. Amsyn scrambles backwards. She covers her mouth with her unstained hand and screams.

She’s killed someone.

Avdon jerks his arm. The whip flies through the air, reverberating like the chains that once bound him. The sharp blades of the whip swipes across the solider’s chest, slicing it open. Blood sprays out and the man falls to his knees before collapsing face down on the deck.

Behind him Aka twirls her spear. She leaps forward, plunging it into a solider’s chest. She yanks it out and spins it around rams it into the throat of another. She pulls it out, and kicks the woman to the deck. The Thunderbird slices the spear through the air, opening a soldier’s chest, the blood sprays onto her, soaking clothes, hair, and face. She doesn’t blink once.

The Captain furiously turns the ship to one side, trying to send the rebels overboard. Avdon cuts his way through the Captain’s guard with relative ease. The Captain abandons the wheel of ship and draws his cutlass. The Faun rebel leader smirks. “Care for a dance Captain?” He muses. The Dragon growls.

“Filth like you should not be allowed outside of cages.” He retorts. Avdon face tightens.

He swings the whip. The Captain is able to dodge the attack, the blades instead strike the deck. The Captain, being no coward charges at the Faun. He takes a jab at Avdon, who gracefully dodges it. The Captain bring down his cutlass. Avdon uses the whip to block the Captain’s strike, the blades digging into his flesh. He feels his own blood trickle down his hand and arm. He twists his arms and pulls the cutlass from the Captain’s hand. Before the Captain can plan his next attack Avdon wraps the whip around his throat and pulls, slitting his throat.

He releases the whip, the Captain’s blood covers his chest. He glances down at his hand, which now bears a severe cut. Behind him he hears the cries of his fellow rebels and is pulled from his thoughts. He grabs onto the wheel and turns it until the ship is standing straight again. He hears the cheers of victory and turns around. Lying on the blood soaked death is the bodies of the crew, all dead.

Ra’venna drives her sai into a soldier’s neck. She pulls it out, releasing a geyser of blood. Before the solider can even hit the ground she’s slashed the throat of another.

Soliders charge at her, their weapons raised. Ra’venna dances her dance of death across the battlefield. She holds nothing back and shows no mercy. She basks in the death, like the mercenary she is. She slaughters solider after solider, leaving a river of blood in her wake. Here, she is not Ra’venna Voltrea, here, she is The Dark Duchess, The Nether Fairy.

She allows her power to seep through the surface, feeding off the death and destruction. Her dark acts feed her with energy, making her stronger, faster, deadlier. A solider fires a ball of lightning at her. Instead of striking her, it is absorbed into her. Her skin turns paler, the color of death. She slices at her cloak, shattering the clasp. It flies off of her, landing somewhere in the dirt. Her violet wings raise themselves, glowing in a violent, purple aura. The Nether rises from her within her, and spills over her. Her eyes glow as bright as her wings and Nether rolls off of her in waves.

The soldiers have never witnessed such power as this. They slowly step back, unsure of how to proceed. Ra’venna raises her arm, Nether extend from it like a tentacle and grabs ahold of a solider. It wraps around him, eroding him. His agony filled screams echo throughout the battlefield. His energy-his life feeds Ra’venna. The Nether extends from her, latching onto multiple soldiers at once, feeding on them. A dark grin spreads across her face as their power flows into her.

The other soldiers abandon their weapons and run. Ra’venna sends her power into the ground. It corrodes through the ground, chasing after the fleeing soldiers eagerly. It wraps around their feet devouring them from the bottom up. Their screams are a symphony to Ra’venna’s ears.

Briefly she can feel elements being hurled at her: fire, light, lightning, wind. All of it the Nether devours, growing in power and strength with each blast and strike. She thrusts out her arms and Nether washes over the battlefield. It tears through the soldiers, groups at a time, transferring the energy to Ra’venna.

It is not a battle, but a massacre.

Helios bolts past the soldiers who don’t try to stop him. They think he is going to kill the mercenary, to stop The Children. In the thick of it is his brother, barking commands like a general. His guards all run into the battle, straight towards Ra’venna-straight to their deaths.

“Terdar!” Helios shouts. Even over the sounds of battle his voice is clearly heard. Terdar smirks.

“You are too late brother. It has already begun.”

Terdar draws his sword. Helios charges forward, the Sword of Fire raised. The sound of steel on steel seems to radiate around them. The two dismiss the world around them, focusing on this battle, as if it is the only fight that matters. The soldiers around them are confused. They don’t know who to attack or what to do. They don’t have long to dwell on it with Ra’venna making her way through the battlefield.

Their blows are matched with the other’s blade. Helios thrust his blade forward. Terdar dodges it and swings at Helios. Helios blocks it. The two trade strikes each met with steel. Terdar takes another jab at Helios. He blocks it only to feel a stabbing pain in his side. He glances down to see a dagger, plunged through his leather armor into his side. Helios winces and yanks it out.

“I was always your better Helioson. Even if no one knew it.” Terdar boasts. Helios staggers backwards, a scoff escaping his lips.

“The only thing you have ever been better at Terdar is boasting.” He retorts. Terdar growls and charges at Helios again.

Helios fends off his strike and spins around. He grabs Terdar’s wrist and snaps it back, breaking it. The sword falls from Terdar’s hand. The younger prince uses his considerable strength to kick Helios back. He rolls across the ground.

Terdar’s golden eyes glow and light surrounds him. What would otherwise be an immaculate sight spells doom. The light grows and grows, morphing its shape. Helios scrambles backwards. The light fades to reveal Terdar’s Dragon form. As Helios inherited their father’s colors, Terdar inherited their mother’s. His scales are a pure white, with a golden underbelly and horns. He opens his jaws and releases a stream of light. It cuts through the ground. Helios throws himself onto the ground to dodge it. The light kills several of Terdar’s own soldiers.

Helios sheathes his blade and draws on his magic. His orange eyes glow. Fire bursts forth and wraps around him. He feels his features shifting, changing. His body grows, wings burst from his back, followed by a tail. His body shifts shape and horns sprout from his back and head. The fire disperses.

The Dragons stands across from each other, sizing each other up. Helios lifts himself off the ground, his powerful wings beating. The waves of wind they give up knock scores of soldiers to the ground, but is nothing more than a light breeze to Terdar. He opens his jaw and releases a stream of fire. His brother leaps off the ground into the air. Helios spins around, bringing the fire with him. He closes his jaws and flies after his brother.

“Face me you coward.” Helios demands. His voice powerful enough to shake the ground.

Terdar spins around and charges at Helios, his jaw unlocked. He tries to latch onto Helios’s throat. Helios latches his teeth onto Terdar’s wing and throws him. Terdar is thrown to the ground. It shakes as if by an earthquake. Terdar rolls over and jumps into the air again. The wind carries him to Helios. He unleashes a ray of light. It strikes Helios in the chest. He is hurled backwards, but manages to regain his position before he hits the ground. He beats his wings and thrusts himself forward, his jaw unlocked.

The two exchange scratches and bites. Terdar manages to scratch Helios across the neck. Helios bites into Terdar’s leg. The two tumble in the sky. Streams of fire and light fly across the sky, most falling to the ground, striking soldiers dead. The battlefield is aflame and littered with craters.

Helios whips Terdar across the face with his tail knocking him to the ground once again. Helios swoops down and pins his brother to the ground with his legs. “This was all your doing.” He tells him. Helios digs his teeth into Terdar’s throat and tears it open. He nearly severs his brother head completely. Blood gushes out from the wound like a small waterfall. Helios pushes himself off of his brother.

Terdar twitching body stills and Helios knows he is dead.

Avdon watches as Helioson slaughters his brother. The prince has kept his word. Avdon signals for the other ships, now under The Children’s control, to move forward.

Amsyn is curled up on the deck of one of the ships. Her blood stained hand lies lifelessly at her side, while her other arm is wrapped around her knees. The realization of the atrocity she committed has yet to fully sink in. All she can see is the life draining from Stalia’s eyes and all she can think is that she has broken her vow to never take a life.

Cries fill the air. Helios glances back towards the palace to see scores of soldiers coming out. He searches the battlefield for Ra’venna. She has managed to clear most of the battlefield all by herself. Her power has corroded through the land, leaving gaping holes. Her cape has been torn off, revealing the majesty and horror of her wings to the world.

Helios takes to the sky. He flies across the battlefield and lands right in front of her. “Get on.” He orders. Her wings flutter, lifting her off the ground. She land on Helios’s back, wrapping her hands around one of his horns to keep herself from falling. Helios pushes himself off the ground and takes to the air.

“It is over.” He states, as they fly away from the silver palace and destruction that lies in front of it.

“No,” Ra’venna says. She glances down at the burning fields. “It has not even begun.”

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