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By WinstonMalone All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Storm-Fallen 1: The Separator

A portal ripped open in front of Myalin with such fury that its otherworldly flames threatened to consume him. His claws dug into the soil as he maneuvered away from certain annihilation, and a bestial roar erupted from the rift of red and black fire behind him. He played with the idea that it was an enraged Ancient from a time long past come back to ravage the world once again, but he knew better.

Forced to look where his feet were taking him he lengthened his stride, dodging between the fungal trees that towered above. Sunlight permeated the forest's canopy in bright, dilated beams reminding him of the Lorrallen's advanced weaponry. I have to be getting close, he thought, flicking his tongue rapidly to taste the air for any sign of the other Liberators. Nothing.

Loud cracks and thuds came from the beast charging behind him, and he didn't dare sneak a glance at his pursuer as he slipped past the trees with extraordinary aptitude. The haft of a great axe, his weapon of choice, was strangled with knuckle cracking intensity as the monstrosity barreled ever closer, dismissing giant stalks of fungus with ease.

The Liberation of The Decrepit Forest had gone all wrong. With their combined efforts the squad of Liberators should have been able to take the forest back from the Storm-Fallen, but the portals emerged in far greater numbers than they'd ever seen before. This new-found aggression had allowed the demons to appear on a whim and, apparently, wherever they wished.

Myalin felt a chill as the cold wind whipped across his exposed face and arms as he sped through nature's obstacle course. He could feel the monster's hot breath blowing on his heels, and in moments it would overtake him. The inevitable fight excited him, as fleeing was not what Myalin Khraw was accustomed to. However, a Storm-Fallen's demon was something to be reckoned with.

Adrenaline raced through his veins. His muscles flexed under his tight, scaly skin. From his waist belt he unsheathed a hooked blade, called an Eviscerator, while still donning the large axe in his other hand. Before engaging the beast Myalin strained his tongue one last time. Lifeless smells were in all directions, counterbalanced by the echoing sound of chaos generated by his immediate foe. Very well, I am ready.

With agile precision honed by years of combat experience Myalin glided up a stalk for several strides. The monster connected with the spongy composition directly beneath him, ripping it free as it tried to halt its enormous mass. He spiraled to the forest floor landing defensively, his axe held out in front.

For the first time he got to observe his attacker. The demon stood on all fours, its top half a powerhouse made up of overlapping muscles, standing easily twice as tall as the seven foot Myalin. A beam of light shone through the fungal canopy and cascaded down upon the oily void-like flesh, hesitant to show any sort of reflection. He had felled many demons in recent cycles, but even combined they wouldn't seem equal the massive size of this thing.

It didn't smell, which he thought odd. Everything had a stench, an odor that distinguished it from others. But these demons didn't smell, they just reeked of hatred and destruction. The creature lurched forward in one all encompassing leap, its jaws open and arms thrown wide. Myalin reacted, swiftly launching himself upward with powerful legs. As the demon became vulnerable, sliding beneath him, he brought down the axe into the swamp of flaccid tentacles covering its back. With a furious roar the demon clawed at him, ripping at its own flesh. Luckily, he was just out of reach.

The monster rampaged through the forest with Myalin on its back, and he held tightly to the axe buried deep within its strange hide. If any of his Khraw brethren could see him now they'd actually be quite entertained by the spectacle of such a feared abomination shrieking helplessly while its prey rode atop it like a champion. No more games, he thought, as he devised the final strike that would slay the beast.

A second portal tore open several yards ahead, and the demon he was riding headed straight for it. What would happen if Myalin was plunged into the Abyss? Would he be imprisoned for all of eternity in the frozen realm of Mogh, or was it another realm? The monster stopped, however, as if waiting for something. It roared viciously causing Myalin to cringe, even though he hardly relied on his hearing.

The burning portal's flames crackled violently, and he couldn't rip his eyes from its depths. There was something in there, another world, he knew there had to be. These monsters came from somewhere and his curiosity burned from within like the black flames before him. Maybe he could...

Another demon suddenly emerged from the newly formed portal, much smaller in size but flying with razor-edged wings, and as if it were a planned assault the flying demon swooped into Myalin, its claws desperately grasping for his flesh. He lost his grip on the axe handle as he was lifted from the first beast. The flying creature, cawing madly, dragged inch long nails through his hide armor and into the skin of his back as it flung him to the ground.

He twisted in the air to land on his feet, and the two otherworldly monsters circled around to face him. This was the battle he was searching for, this was why he'd become a Liberator. He pulled out another Eviscerator from his waist belt, then raised both hands to his enemies and screamed, "Let me show you why they call me the Separator."

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