Druids Abound

What a mess! The young woman walked through the open wrapped in thought. Well, at least the field was alomost open, save for the gallons of blood and body parts.

She had been wandering the woods for a couple of hours. No partcular reason. She did it most every day, just to get some fresh air and a little time alone. She would walk the now well trodden path to her favorite field, finally setting down and having some time to think. But this time, it was different.

She had never really seen anything dead before. Oh, sure, she's seen a few bird skulls here and there, and maybe the remains of some well-eaten squirrel left by some the more fiercesome creatures of the forest, but this was the first time she had seen the flesh still on the carcass. This obviously was not done the any of the animals she new that wandered the forest.

Humans? Or was it something else?

She bent down to the ground and stared at what resembled an arm. She shuddered as she stood back up. She didn't know who possibly could have done this, but the remains were most definately human. And, judging by how much carnage there was, there were at lot more than just one slaughtered person.

When she had first come to the clearing, she noticed that there was no pattern the the saved parts. Different body parts were strewn all over in one area, as if the destructive creatures which had done this found them revolting and unfit to eat, but then over here, those same body parts were missing, which implied that the animal, if it were truly an animal, devoured that part whole, bones and all, like it was the most delicious part of all.

Which, in turn, implied that the creatures were at least somewhat intelligent.

She now stood in the middle of the field. She turned around slowly, staring at the horrendous sight. She didn't know how she could stand it. The smell and the sight both wanted to make her vomit, and yet she stood there like a soldier at a battlefield, looking indifferently at the results of war.

Every blade of grass had been dyed red. Strings of body tissue were strewn among the flowers that littered the ground. Organs, limbs skin, veins, every part imaginable, and some she didn't want to imagine, were simply tossed aside like rotten vegetables.

She sat down cross legged on the bloodied ground. She felt the inky wetness seep through her thin spring dress, but she did not care. Her place had been desecrated, and she could not help but cry.

She shut her eyes, trying to block out the sight. The vision, however, kept coming back to her head. The constant smell of decaying flesh haunted her nose, and the feel of the blood seeping through her dress reminded her of the carnage she tried to temporarily shut out of her mind. She could even taste death in the air. She tried to consentrate on the one sense that didn't carry the tone of the dead: hearing.

And that's when she realized there was something truly wrong. There wasn't a single sound. No birds were chirping, yet it was well into spring, almost summer. No sound of the small pattering of the feet of squirrels finding food for their midday snack. No rusling of snakes in the grasses, or the rabbits they would be pursuing. Nothing except for a slow, steady breeze, rustling the leaves of the nearby trees.

"Aah. Nice to see you again, Krisiline."

Her eyes shot open at the sound of the voice. It seemed to echo in the perfect silence, but even that could not supress the strange gurgling sound that came through in the voice. It didn't sound very friendly, and yet, somehow, it new her by name.

The woods around her exploded in sound before she could even lift her head. Bushes and plants rustled as they were pushed hastily out of the way. A ring of disgusting creatures now appeared, surrounding the glade. Ugly, half-human figures, with heads of pigs and hooved feet, elbowed each other as they tried to get a look at their next potential victim. They licked their lips greedily as they waited on the command for a feasting. They could be nothing but orcs.

Krisiline, knowing that there was no talking her way out of this, decided to simply send for outside help.

Talking with both her mind and her mouth, she called to her only friends:

"Creatures of the forest," she whispered, "protectors of the woods, help me!"

The woods came alive once again. Howling echoed from close by, and gutteral roars resound around the forest. The orcs, although obviously expecting an attack, barely had time to compose themselves before the first wave of wolves pounced on the battle readied creatures.

Krisiline closed her eyes once again as she saw the arrival of the bears and falcons onto the battle scene. She was already sitting in the remains of a slaughtering already played through; she could not stand to watch one as it was commited.

She never moved from her seat. Weeping openly, she could no longer block out death: every sense was openned to eat. Even in her mind, even the part connected to the minds of her friends, was bent on killing and being killed. She tried in vain to block all of it out, to let her mind go complete blank while Death dealt with those around her.

Slowly, surely, it all came to a halt. The roars, the growls, the moans of the dying and the sighs of the dead, all the sounds stopped. Krisiline was once again very afraid. The terminal silence was back again. She was afraid to reach out to her friends, to find what the outcome was. She prayed that the quietness was a good sign.

"It's not," came the same strange voice that interrupted the silence only a short while ago. Krisiline's body slumped as she heard her worst fear confirmed. In a few moments, she would no longer live.

She stood up, trying to look resolute. She turned around, her eyes still squeezed tightly shut from the sight. Finally, not wanting to look cowardly in the face of her tormentor, she forced her eyes open.

Before her loomed the most hideous creature she had seen. It had an orcish face, but the resemblance ended there. Its blue eyes shone with intelligence that no orc should ever possess, less the end of the human race were to come. Its body was rippled with muscles, but was far from perfect. Its right hand was malformed, with only two fingers and a thumb, but they were massive, strong fingers which looked as if they could snap a tree. Its left arm was a good half foot shorter than the other, but no less massive, and its hand was replaced by a three foot blade that looked as if it were made out of bone. Its legs were strong enough to out run a horse, and its feet bared claws that would make a wolverine jealous. Its skin was as black as night, and bared only one blemish: its chest carried a large, circular scar, resembling a burn mark. Although black as well, it did not carry the nightmarish quality of the rest of its body.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time Krisiline had seen this monstrosity.

"You're getting on my nerves, druid," the monster spoke in the now familiar bubbling voice. "You have managed to kill most of my platoon, thanks to your little friends. Say something, or I'll simply torture till you do."

"It's an honor to see you again, your Highness," she said in the most mocking tone she could muster. She started to reach around her belt for the dagger she always kept hidden. She knew she couldn't kill him with such a plain weapon, but she might be able to distract him for long enough to run away.

The creature attempted to smile, but the look didn't fit his face. "It's good that you remember me, for I shall be the last face you see!"

Krisiline looked around as she gripped frantically for the dagger. His name finally returned to her mind. "You killed them all, Tamas. All of my friends..."

His pathetic smile appeared once again. "No, not all of them. A lot of them, sure, but a few managed to run away before they were completely dead. You, however, will not be that lucky."

Where is that damned dagger? "They'll be more druids. They will hunt you, find you, and kill you. Trust me."

Tamas laughed. It sounded like the squealing of a trapped boar. "Ah, but that's where you're wrong. You see, I have killed them all. You are the last, and once I kill you, I will live forever, and rule the world once my master returns."

Krisiline was struck with dread as her hand finally wrapped around her dagger. She ripped it out of her belt, almost tearing her dress. She stabbed Tamas in the shoulder. The deformed orc, yelped in pain and glanced at the dagger hilt protruding from his body.

In the moment of distraction, Krisiline ran.

She was sprinting faster than she had ever before. She close to edge, when a voice, the familiar voice of her friends from the forest, echoed in her head.


The voice was all too familiar, but yet unrecognizable. The voice of another of her kind. The mental voice of a druid.

She came to a quick stop as she saw an orc jump out of a bush, landing and gripping the air in the place she would have been if she had taken another step. She turned to run in another direction, but the orc recovered quicker than she had thought, and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck. She tried to worm her way free, but it didn't work.

"Foolish girl," Tamas spat as he approached the spot where the orc was holding Krisiline. "You think you can get away from me? Bah!" He snarled as he said: "You forget that I only said most!"

The black orc walked up to her until he was practically standing over her. His hot beath made Krisiline feel sick, so she turned her head.

Tamas looked down at his injured shoulder. He snorted decisively. Krisiline felt the moisture splash on her face.

He reached over and withdrew the dagger from his arm. Krisiline shot a look at the shoulder, where the dagger was just removed. There was no swollen tissue around the wound. In fact, there was no blood, no wound at all; just a small, straight piece of scar that Krisiline knew would disappear.

She started to turn her head, to face back to the ugly apparition, but she didn't make it. Searing hot pain was suddenly thrust into her stomach as she felt her own dagger pierce her skin. She felt it push into her gut, slowly, painfully wrenching her body as she trembled over the blade. She makes sure not to move; the slightest tensing of her muscles would only force the blade in more.

Finally, the shoving stopped, but the pain didn't go away. The blade was left in her body, and the orc holding her had her arms as well. Exhausted, she feigned weakness, and let her body limp. She bowed her head, and, making sure Tamas couldn't see her face, reached out one last time with her mind. This time, however, she wasn't looking for an animal. She was looking for a human.

"I will be a living legend." Tamas' voice pierced the silence of her min for only a brief second. The voice seemed definate, final. Krisiline didn't dwell on it. She was searching. Searching for the mark, the spark that showed one was--

A thin smile crossed her lips. Now truely weak from the wound, it took all of her strength to lift her head up. "You..." she said breathlessly, "are wrong..."

The black orc, his bladed left arm, the arm that any other creature would not be using because of a stab to the shoulder, was raised for a killing strike. Now, it was lowered slightly. Its too human eyes widened, in disbelief of what he just heard.

Slowly, surely, Krisiline felt power return to her. "I am not... the last..."

"No," the creature's anger seemed to grow. "No, you are wrong! I killed them all! I am immortal! I am Tamas!" He raised his arm to deliver the blow that would kill her. But yet, he couldn't.

As the creature became more and more furious, Krisiline felt more and more powerful. With the dagger still in her stomach, she began to laugh out loud. "You're wrong, pathetic Orc King. There are three, three of the strongest, and those three will kill you."

"Nooo!" He buried his bladed hand into the ground and fell onto his knees. He would be crying, Krisiline knew, had it not been for the fact that he was incapable.

With a last bit of rebellion, Krisiline wriggled free from the other orc's grasp. She fell to the ground with a sigh, and landed on her back.

Tamas looked up, saw her lying on the ground. His eyes were now bloodshot and dry, and were filled with rage. "Even if I don't kill them, which I shall, I assure you, I will kill you!" He withdrew his arm from the ground and, with a grunt, hefted stabbed downward onto the chest of the druid.

His blade swept through empty air and buried itself once again into the ground. The body of the druid was no longer there. A soft breeze russled the grass that waved mockingly to the creature that was merely an instant too late. The land had recieved her body and gown before the black orc had any chance. All that remained was a dagger, still untouched by blood, laying where the girl was, in the only part of the field which was no longer stained crimson.

Tamas howled with rage. It was completely intolerable. He could no longer resist. He had to hurt something, to kill something. Anything.

It was one of his own men that happened to be within range.

He reached out with his right hand, grasping the orc on its forearm. Bringing his bladed left arm down in an awesome arc, he sliced through the monster's shoulder and cut off the limb. The creature screamed and bright red blood gushed out of its side, pulsing with every heart beat. It stood rigid as it watched its life drain out of its side.

Tamas stood and watched until he grew bored. Still with the arm in hand, he swung it like a club at the dying orc's knee. He heard the bones crunch its leg as the orc's own bicep crashed through. Crippled, it fell, first landing on its side, then rolling onto its back.

Tamas then lifted one deftly clawed foot and laid its nails on the creatures chest. It slid its foot as one would slide a knife across skin, to torture another being. The orc's scream reached higher as Tamas continued to inflict pain after pain onto the monster's body.

Finally, he grew tired of the writhing, spasmodic twitching, and the high pitched squeals of the orc Tamas would not let die. He started to walk away when he stopped himself. With a feeling that was the closest thing to pity Tamas had ever felt, he slammed his fist into the creature's head, crushing it and killing the doomed creature instantly.

Finally, he turned away. He saw standing at the edge of the woods a pair of monsters: A young Cracabat named Cansrine walked in front of a demon called Lusfer. They both were only just recruited into Tamas' army, and, because of their speed, were quickly placed as the scouts, as well as what the army affectionately called "postmen." They quickly became two of the best.

Tamas looked at Cansrine. Cracabats always seemed to be own of the most interesting race of creatures, at least as far as Tamas was concerned. They were all slightly shorter than an average human, but they were very lithe. It wasn't overly strong, but there was no fat on the body, so it could move fairly quickly. Its skin, although its body was completely hairless, was ridged and tough like leather, but was of a pale yellow hue. The only covering on its body was a tight loin cloth and long, curly hair from its head. What bothered Tamas, however, was the surprising likeness of the face to a human.

Its most outstanding feature were its wings. They were heavily muscled and could lift the creature off the ground with a single beat, and keep it there for as long as the Cracabat wanted. Large and bat-like, they looked as if they were merely made of leather, which was far from the truth. They were actually made from some material only found only on the body of a Cracabat. It was flexible like leather, but was stronger than most anything Tamas had seen. He had seen people and monsters alike hack away at the armor-like wings to no avail. They could withstand a blow better than any shield, and tended to last much longer as well. Folded in front of them, the wings acted as the ultimate barrier to most any foe.

The other creature blended in well with the shadows around. Lusfer stood about seven feet high. His body naturally rippled with muscles. Its stong hands had massive claws that came close to matching those on Tamas' feet, and were sharpened to where they could break a sword. Its skin was hard and black, darker even that Tamas. If ever a spawn of Hell was born, this was it. Since its race had no true name, the other monsters affectionately called them Black Demons.

The two stared at the blood-stained ground in disbelief. Novices, they were not quite used to seeing the results of war, to see so much dead just strewn around the field. Dismembered body parts covered the field, and bloodied weapons, fangs and claws still remained near many of the corpses.

Tamas took a look around at his work. He saw the still clean area where the druid had disappeared. He kicked the body of the orc just recently killed by his own hand over the spot, smearing the perfect green with dark red.

Tamas heard the cracabat swallow hard. He looked up, and saw that Cansrine was about to address him, whether he was paying attention or not.

"The troops are in position, sir," the cracabat said in the coarse grunts that marked his native language. Tamas, having been around the monsters as much as he had been, understood most all of the languages spoken by his troops. This was no exception. "We are simply awaiting your arrival to attack Fictil."

Tamas growled. He couldn't go. Not now. Not with this news. There were druids still alive. If they lived to meet with Saila, it would mean the end of the Truth War, the end of all he worked for.

"Tell the troops I won't be coming," Tamas said firmly. The demon stepped foward to say something, but Tamas raised his three-fingered hand to stop him. "Lusfer, tell the General Hadys of the Black Demons that he is now in charge of the troops. Make sure that they attack immediately! The city must be destroyed before our friend, the King, returns."

"But Sir--"


The two bowed and went off, one by air and the other under the cover of the forest. Tamas growled once again, this time much louder. He killed so many druids, and yet they were still causing him troubles. How could there be more?

And three! There was three left over (A triangle of druids). The prophecy (with the strength of Saila) seemed to tease him in his mind (will bring the death). He could not force it out, before it finished (of the undying).

The undying. The immortal. In one word: Tamas. They must die. All of them. Saila. The druids. They all must die. Or else, Jennia would lose. Tamas would lose. Tamas would die, if his goddess decided he was worthy of death.

They all must die.

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