“The Council has decreed that your crimes against Dragon-kind warrant your deaths, and I am here to carry out their sentence.”
She was a slender female, seemingly walking on air (not that I couldn’t have pulled that off, but still…points for style), emerging from the darkness, and she had … dead eyes.
I reached for the magic, and even though the place had been devastated by our last visit (sphere of annihilation, natch) with an incredibly dense background count, the magic responded to my commands. I felt it fill me with power, and I directed it towards the woman.
Sunder, sensing the woman in astral space, shouted “Kane, look out, she’s a dragon!”
What began as an attack spell I quickly changed into a portal, opening it underneath her in an attempt to send her away. Oh yeah, that whole walking on air thing. Guess she gets points for functionality as well as style. Shit.
The group scattered as the woman raised her hands in a violent gesture, and the whole world went white. A blast of magical fire and heat devastated the group, with nearly all of us taking serious damage. My physical senses were momentarily screwed, but I had also shifted to astral perception when Sunder warned me, and I saw some of the workings of the spell she’d cast. It seemed pretty familiar, like something I’d seen in one of the ancient texts we’d liberated from the temple in the mountains of Tibet. Note to self: Need to take a look back through that thing once we get home. Assuming we get home.
The team returned the favor, with our combat types firing everything they had at the bitch, and Sunder was preparing a big combat spell, he lit up astral space like a magnesium flare.
I saw that our erstwhile benefactor, Marshall Phillips, had been dropped by the blast, but I couldn’t tell if he had survived, so in an abundance of caution I set up a barrier to help shield him (and well, to be fair, I shielded my own lily-white ass too. Duh.). Just in time, too, as the bitch started spraying fire.
About that time, Sunder’s spell went off, a monster lightning bolt (usually my thing, but hey, you do you Sunder), and it hurt the thing. Which meant that he’d gotten her attention. Like, full attention. I could tell that casting the spell at such a high level hadn’t been easy for him, but he didn’t fall, so what the hell, maybe I’ll toss one of my own…
The physical types were going at it with this thing, Kira was lighting it up with APDS rounds, which were definitely taking a toll on it, Zee was firing all out, and Dana scored a headshot that actually drew blood.
Next thing I know, the thing vanishes, and in a wake of magic/astral energy like a shark fin through water, it bum rushes Sunder. He catches a claw swipe and goes flying into the trees. Night-night, homie.
I pull the Marshall out of the fray, and start to frantically cast spells. No, not frantically…recklessly.
Dana ditches her UZI and starts tearing it up with that crazy monowhip of hers, and she’s doing damage as well. Most of us are getting some licks in, but the damned thing must be ancient, because she’s taking it like a champ. Reminds me of this gangbang trid I caught Sunder watching in the dark one time…Shit, focus, Elf!
I cast one of the most powerful manabolts I’ve ever tossed, and it seriously wounds the thing, but the toll on me is horrific. My vision dims for an instant, and I suddenly realize that the things eyes…those dead eyes…they’re like Mei’s, the last time I saw her. Dead, and full of accusations … and disappointment.
Rage fills me and I find a reserve of inner strength. Maybe it was the rage, maybe the old gods were smiling on me, who the hell knows. Whatever the source of good fortune, I was able to push through the haze and keep fighting.
As tense and scared as I am, for the first time in a long time, I feel fully alive.
Something about the nearness of death, maybe. Or hell, maybe I was just high on endorphins or loss of blood, who knows, but I start to grin, and double down with the magic, casting twice as fast as I normally can. The drain is monstrous and I nearly collapse again, but the thing vanishes again and makes a break for it. We must have hurt it more than we realized. Yer not getting away bitch, I’m gonna mount your head on my spear.
With a flash of inspiration, I cast a portal directly in the thing’s escape path, sending it right back into the middle of the clearing for our team to finish off. It must have caught her by surprise, because instead of attacking, she grabbed Dana, and started stroking her head in some perverse parody of an old cartoon I remember from when I was a kid. I will hug him and kiss him and pet him and call him George. Dammit, the drain must be messing with my head, stay on target Red Five.
“Let me go.” And a portal opens behind her. Hey, don’t look at me, I guess she knows it too. Impossibly, while it’s past dark here, it’s daytime wherever her portal goes…I haven’t been able to open one that far away! Yet.
“Let me go, or she dies.” The dragon’s claws ruffle Dana’s hair and I can see her eyes….Dana shows no fear (Oh yeah…emotion chip.). I want to kill this thing more than I can say, but can’t risk it. She could rip Dana apart with her bare claws. I cast a couple of spells, both of the telekinetic variety. One grabs Dana and yanks her free from the Dragon’s grip, and one manages to wipe a small amount of blood from its head wound.
As I catch Dana, the Dragon vanishes into her portal, and it closes behind her. I’m exhausted, but I take time to cast a preservation spell on the dragon’s blood. Another time, bitch. We know a few ritual magic tricks that most mortal mages don’t. This ain’t over. Time to patch up our wounded and get the fuck outta here.
As tired as I am, I doubt I’m gonna sleep tonight…those dead eyes.