Mists of Kel Doran
Season 1 - Dragon-Touched
Episode 1 - The Weave of Fate
Chapter 16 - Whispers of Darkness
Chapter XVI - Whispers of Darkness
Approximate read time ~ 10 minutes
Amoran swatted at the opaque water, his eyes darting to all sides. “Camille!” he shouted, but the response was nothing more than waves crashing against the rocky shore. Pale, lifeless forms drifted to the surface, victims of a cold, merciless sea. Amoran let go of the rocks and stepped out into the cool water, feeling with his arms and legs as he waded across the underwater bed of debris. “Camille!” he yelled again, surveying the shore and the endless perimeter of rocks and boulders. “No, no…no,” he mumbled as he turned back toward the blackened abyss. With a mighty breath, he dove.
The sea greeted Amoran with a stinging cloud of onyx ash. His eyes burned while he strained to make out the silhouette of the carriage strewn across the sea floor. Limbs of drowned Macaran hung from the surface like willow branches while their shadowed corpses dampened the surrounding light. Amoran weaved through the maze as he inched closer to the hollowed outline.
He arrived to the scene short on air, but high on adrenaline. Amoran quickly scanned the wooden fragments and made out a wall, a seat cushion, and a broken axle…but no sign of Camille. A subtle twinkle of light caught his eye, but for the briefest of moments. He exhaled the last of his air and settled to the bottom, balancing on rocks slick with blackened algae.
Nestled among the boulders was a small, jewel-encrusted lockbox. The familiar ruby stones brought warmth to the cold man as he reached to return his possession from the sea. He cupped the small box in one hand while bracing against the rocks, the eerie shadows resuming their dance of death above.
As he dislodged the box from its resting place, a pale white hand shot from under the collapsed wagon and grabbed his wrist. Amoran kicked and screamed as the fist closed tight, sending the last precious bubbles of air to the surface; yet the grip locked tighter. He kicked at the rocks, at the arm, even at his lockbox, a panicked frenzy that weakened the grasp and sent the unnerved man hurling toward the surface.
Amoran’s head crested the waves as he choked and gasped for air. He wildly spun to see if anything, or anyone, surfaced with him. Several alabaster corpses floated nearby, but none were moving, and there was no blue dress in sight. The old man cursed his cowardice, drew a breath, and dove again.
Straight to the wreckage he swam, through the swirling cloud of ash. He braced his feet and cast the wreckage aside, only to see another pale creature float harmlessly to the surface. Amoran pushed the wreckage further, hoping for a miracle…but none would come. An intense blend of relief and frustration swept over his face, for all that remained on the sea floor was debris, rock, and the discarded waste of a fallen city.
Amoran’s heart sunk after several agonizing moments of searching, then grabbed his lockbox and kicked back to the shoreline.
The fight along the abandoned streets raged as ravenous creatures swarmed the remaining carriages. Anduin sliced through the Macaran as they encircled the caravan, clawing their way through to the decorative wagons. With every swing of his mighty sword, one more creature fell; but for each creature that fell, two more took its place. Screams of oxen and their handlers rang out as the creatures piled on, their jagged teeth sinking into the nearest flesh they could find.
The Cambrian Lieutenant screamed to his men, willing them to stand their ground. “Protect the wagons! Don’t let them throu….!” But his command fell short. Spinning through the alabaster horde, Anduin caught sight of the wagons…both of them. His look of concentration dispersed in an instant as he realized a wagon was missing, Camille’s wagon. “No,” he whispered as blue cloaks rushed to protect his flank.
Pale arms and legs clawed over one another, desperate to satiate their primal urge, but Anduin’s attentions were now far from the field of battle. “No, no, no!” His cries grew steadily louder as his mind wrestled with the unthinkable. Finally, his fears reached a crescendo, exploding from the strict, military man, “Camille!!!”
Anduin stared into the emptiness that was now the first wagon, eyes wide, lips quivering. Swords and claws clashed all around, screams of fear and terror ignited on all sides, yet his mind was fixed. The stalwart soldier inhaled, harnessed his anger, and let loose a bellowing roar. The ground shook beneath him, the chains rattled within his deep blue armor, his ears rang in agony. Anduin stood near the highway, mouth open, with a questioning look across his face. For the sound did not originate from him. He felt the emotion, his mind heaved with anger, but he could not lay claim to the guttural scream.
Shrill cries rang out as several pale creatures flew over Anduin’s head, falling limply upon the onyx boulders below. The sound of metal erupted behind him, followed by two blue-cloaked soldiers, flying through the air, destined for the far side of the caravan.
The Lieutenant clenched his teeth and focused as dull thumps reverberated off the city walls. His chained armor rattled in rhythm as he slowly turned to witness Macaran hunters cowering in fear. He continued to turn until the source of the horror presented itself before him. A towering, armored creature lumbered through Tindera Square, the trunk of a fallen tree firmly in its grasp. Its skin was the color of the dust beneath its feet and its eyes were deep, red, and fixed on the young soldier from Cambria.
With a mighty swing of the trunk, the path before them was cleared of all soldiers, Macaran and Cambrian alike. Screams erupted as they sailed through the air in a tangled web of alabaster and blue, slamming into the inner city walls.
While Anduin’s heart and armor beat to the same drum, the monstrous creature approached. A bead of sweat rolled down the Lieutenant’s forehead as the giant pounded his chest with his massive fist. It smashed the tree into the ground, sending a cloud of dust and rock high into the sky. Broken pieces of cobblestone rained from above as the beast let loose a thunderous roar…and charged.
The giant leapt toward Anduin, the tree trunk high over its head. Camille’s father braced his weight against his shield, then dove away just as the massive club smashed into the broken Square. Faded red brick fragments littered the streets while a huge hole ripped through the highway. Anduin rolled to his feet as the trunk flew through the air once more. A torrent of wind sucked the bricks out of their sockets, sailing over the kneeling Cambrian soldier.
Anduin jammed his shield into the broken cobblestone and planted his foot, vaulting on the hulking beast’s arm. Lt. Celaera lunged forward, driving his greatsword into the giant’s chest. With his other hand, he reached into his boot and withdrew a dagger, slicing across the massive face.
The giant Macaran staggered back, letting loose a mighty groan while the crowd of ravenous creatures gasped in harmony. Anduin stumbled away from the giant and fell to the broken street, staggering to a knee while he watched his quarry reel in pain. The beast steadied himself and dabbed at his eye, pulling away a wet, sickly green paw. He stepped toward the Lieutenant, defiantly grabbing the greatsword’s blade and twisting. A searing ring echoed across the streets as the blade snapped in two, the tip still wedged deep into the creature’s chest. A malicious curl stretched across its face as the creature unfurled its mighty paw and tossed the broken blade at his combatant's feet.
Anduin looked on in horror as the giant continued forward. Thick green goo was pouring from its eye and chest, but its path was unhindered. The Cambrian Lieutenant stepped back and grabbed his sword and shield, yanking it free from the old highway. “Back to the caravan!” he yelled to his men…the few that were still standing their ground. The blue cloaks retreated toward the colorful wagons as the hulking creature approached, its eyes venomous with rage.
The massive tree trunk fell again, splitting the Cambrian forces. With a swipe of his bloodied paw, the soldiers flew into the last wagon. Anduin landed on his back as the creature raised his mighty weapon. The Lieutenant lunged under the wagon for his shield and brought it up just as the tree trunk crashed through the carriage. Colored wooden splinters rained across the street as the wagon split in two. The merchants inside were crushed and the wounded oxen galloped forward, sensing freedom.
The middle wagon lurched forward as the explosion startled the oxen, sending what remained of the caravan deeper into the streets of Wyvern’s Rest. Anduin pushed his shield off his body and grimaced. He tried to roll to his feet, but could not. He steadied his hand against the street and lifted, but he could not budge. He looked down in horror as he caught sight of his leg, splintered and broken, just like the wagon around him. Pieces of brittle bone protruded from the skin while his knee bent at an awkward angle.
As he studied his mangled leg, Anduin heard the thumps, accompanied by the familiar jingle of his armor. He looked up to see the hulking creature standing over him, reaching down with his bloody green fist.
Camille’s father raised his shield in defense, but the huge hand simply swallowed them together. His back left the broken cobblestone streets as he was lifted high into the air. The giant chuckled as he studied his broken foe, then threw Anduin toward the Abyssal Sea. He tumbled end over end before crashing into a pile of boulders that sloped into the water. He raised his head to catch the Macaran horde gather at the top of the hill, then collapsed back onto the rocks.
Anduin found himself laying across several boulders. His leg was shattered, his command scattered. One carriage was missing, another broken upon the rocky slope, and the third limping toward the inner gates, piled high with a host of pale, lusting creatures.
He looked at his leg, and the awkward twist of his knee, then back to the highway and the carnage that had befallen them. “Seems it was not our day, my young friend,” came a gentle, familiar voice. Anduin spun in surprise, pointing his broken sword toward the voice. Recognition stayed his hand as the bruised body of Amoran Davilla climbed toward the fallen Lieutenant. His robes were ripped, and soaked to the core, as was the man that wore them. It was not his old friend’s condition that caused the young soldier to falter, however, but the grave, solemn expression that accompanied.
The old man's eyes met Anduin's, but not another word was spoken, just an apologetic, helpless shrug of his shoulders. “Camille?” Anduin questioned. But the response was just another heartfelt shrug. “Davilla…where is my daughter?” he continued. Amoran failed to respond, yet his body language was answer enough.
Amoran's lips shivered as he tried to find words that would find comfort. “I looked, my Lord,” he said after a long pause. “She fell into the sea,” he continued, pointing down toward the rocky ledge and the menagerie of floating pale corpses. He spoke again, as though seeking reassurance, “I looked.”
Davilla caught sight of Anduin's leg, and the splintered weapon in his hands, then looked up the slope at the gathering throng of creatures. “By the gods. How did this happen?”
“The gods had nothing to do with it,” Anduin scowled, climbing to his feet. “They would not have allowed this,” he continued. “And if they did…then they are no gods of mine.” He rested the tip of his broken sword against the rocks, his weapon now more useful as a crutch. The soldier hopped a few times to steady himself, and joined Amoran in staring up the slope.
The Macaran continued to gather, several taskmasters now joining their ranks. The pursuit of the broken wagons had ended, the caravan destroyed. The screams heard upon the highway were quickly snuffed out, just another meal for a hungry Macaran horde.
One by one, the creatures noticed the wounded soldier and his colorfully adorned companion. They shrieked in anticipation, their shrill cries echoing off the nearby rocks and the abandoned city walls. They yearned to race down the rocks, to fulfill their purpose; yet waited for their command.
A giant Macaran warrior stepped forward, the tip of Anduin's blade still lodged in his chest. He surveyed the wounded soldier and curled his lips into a sinister grin. His massive tooth was broken and bloodied, and his look was deadly. He let loose a small chuckle as he pointed down the rocks, followed by a guttural noise, heard only as ‘kill.”
The horde needed no further invitation, and galloped down the slope, each more desperate than the other to reach their prey first. Anduin grimaced as he raised his sword. He turned toward Amoran and offered a sincere nod. “Thank you, my friend,” he said, then spun back to the oncoming horde. “For Camille.”
Camille opened her eyes to a host of terrifying screams, yet her world remained black. A powerful stench consumed her as the smell of rancid meat and urine filled her senses. She attempted to roll, but could not, coating herself in warm vomit.
Flecks of light peaked through her darkness as the screams intensified. She reached out and felt the slimy, coarse texture of a lifeless creature. She pushed with all her might, and daylight filled her world. She squirmed and wriggled against the rocks, pushing the limp creature against a large oak tree.
Camille emerged back into the light, a fresh scar across her forehead and a steady stream of blood trickling from her scalp. She pulled herself up, but slipped back onto the onyx-stained boulders. Before her, hundreds of pale creatures lined the edge of the highway, their teeth focused on whatever lay near the shoreline.
She turned to look back to the square, now empty and quiet. With a grimace, the raven-haired young girl raised to her knees and crawled. Her dress ripped and her knees ached, but she made her way up the rocks, back into the old square. She looked up at the ancient dragon statue and back toward the inner gates, filled with ravenous albino creatures.
Camille stood and stumbled along the road, back into the shadow of the old statue. She walked in a broken line, bloody footprints marking her path with each painful step. She stumbled into a small alley, hiding from the eyes of the creatures.
As she emerged back into the light, the old city gates stood before her. She sighed, dabbed blood away from her forehead, and stepped forward.
“Hello Camille,” came a haunting voice from behind. The little girl spun around, collapsed, and gazed upon a sinister form. Hidden within the darkness was a sleek, black female figure, her skin armored, rigid, and imposing.
“Don’t be afraid, my dear,” she continued as her sick, yellow eyes pierced the shadows.
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Mists of Kel Doran