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Prologue: The Dead Dream v2

In Reathen's dream, he was running in a forest and there were hordes of animals scrambling over each other in a mad rush to get away from what was behind them. Confused, Raethen waded through the throngs of frenzied animals, weaving with difficulty around giant trees, through the underbrush and over fallen logs. As the masses of beasts thinned a seismic quake sent him stumbling into a clearing. Another tremor announced the arrival of an underground monstrosity that burst forth from the ground with a mighty roar.

A giant shark-like being with short stocky legs, well, short for a seventy-foot tall land shark thing. It was covered in millions of writhing green vines. Roaring again it surged forward ripping up trees and digging in the dirt as if it was looking for something or someone. Slowly stepping forward Raethen drew both swords leaving his dagger sheathed he drew power from both of his marks of Storms and Speed enhancing his abilities to near the limit.

Using both his enhanced speed and his power over the air Raethen jumped up to the land shark's elbow. He pushed off and catching hold of a large scale jutting out from the beast's shoulder, swinging up to it's back. From his vantage point Raethen glimpsed a figure down on the ground. they were in combat with the land shark fighting off the vines trying to get to the thing's scaly hide. Vines suddenly grabbed him, Raethen was caught off guard trying to get a better look at the person below. Raethen slashed the vines that gripped his arm and legs, their thorns leaving multitudes of tiny scratches filled with acid that stung his skin like a hundred rabid dogs ripping his flesh to the bone.

Concentrate, he told himself as he made his way to the beast's head, Almost there. Forced to crawl and cut his way through the vines so he didn't fall as the hulking monster snapped at its opponent below, who dodged to the side, scoring a long gash along the shark thing's face. Kneeling on the top of its neck, Raethen plunged a sword in between the scales covering the land shark's skull. The sword's acid enchantment eroded the scales and flesh away allowing the blade to penetrate deep into his victim's body.

The monster roared in pain rearing onto its haunches, vines ripping Raethen of it's back and hurling him away. Raethen landed shoulder first onto the hard ground below a sickly crunch announcing his arm had broken upon impact. He lay there dazed for a little bit, trying to force air into his lungs. Finally able to breathe right he stood up wincing from the pain in his injured arm, he drew one dagger and limped towards the land shark. Raethen watched as the beast ahead battled a figure wearing a white cape. As Raethen approached the land shark, vines seethed forward seeking his blood. He lunged forward cutting a swath of the vines off their stalks ignoring the pain in his right arm, concentrating on dodging the oncoming flurry of attacks.

Raethen enraged both his marks he slashing approaching vines as he shot upwards on the wind, and landed on the beast's back, stabbing deftly in the middle of the two scales and controlling the air to keep the vines at bay. Raethen slowly made his way back towards the head. A scream broke his concentration and vines gripped him once again, his pain flaring as they pulled on his broken arm. Hacking at the vines he ran towards the source of the scream. He glided down to the ground where he was forced to jump over vines and he climbed over a mound of dirt, and stopped stock still shocked at the bloody spectacle before him.

Blood lay in pools splattered everywhere vines bathing in the dark red liquid, and soaking it up. While many others were writhing around oozing purple liquid where they had been cut. In the middle of all this carnage lay the white caped warrior's body lying in a mangled broken heap. He or she had made their final stand here and had fought well but not well enough, he wouldn’t be able to kill this beast but he could make it hurt before he died. Ignoring the agony of his arm Raethen cast caution aside and he fought forward.

Roaring with primal rage he slashed, stabbed, and hacked at the vines carving deeper toward the beast’s leg. The vines had enclosed him now tearing at his flesh leaving acid in its place, slowly overwhelming him as he got ever closer to his goal. No! Raethen thought just barely clinging to his consciousness as it slowly bled away. Almost there. Raethen could see the scales of the shark thing’s leg and with the last of his strength he drew his glass dagger and jammed it into the soft skin behind the beast’s scales breaking it into shards and releasing the poison inside. As the beast bellowed in pain the last of Raethen’s consciousness slipped away and he fell into the deadly vines grasp to die.

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Author
Asael Verity
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4 min read
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