Phantom Host

Lynch: Death Dealing Marchers

The five turned with alarm and saw a man emerging out of a puddle of blackness from the ground. The man wore such camouflaging attire that he looked to be a part of the forest. The puddle of blackness beneath him dissipated like smoke, and the man immediately kneeled.

”My lord Damiyen, I carry an urgent message, ” the mans tone was grave.

”Lets hear your message, ” ordered Axinas father, Damiyen.

”Marcher activity was detected outside the Cirrus mountain region. ”

”How big of a band? ” Damiyen asked with a frown.

”Five thousand marchers, your grace. ”

”Who leads them? ”

The man paused looking down briefly before replying, ”Its marshal Vala, my lord. ”

Axina saw her fathers face grow vicious. He seemed to contemplate this news. Axina looked over her shoulder. The Krave was still there, still oblivious to their presence.

”That bitch, eh? ” Damiyen said finally, hatefully.

”Whats this about, lord Damiyen? ” the chief addressed his son-in-law formally in front of his man.

”A storm of shit is heading our way, ” Damiyen replied bitterly, then ordered the man, ”Rion, relay my order to all members of the Last Light in nearby regions to gather at the Amaryllis operations base at the earliest. This summon is priority maximum. ”

Once the man wearing forest camouflage sank back into the puddle of blackness he rose from, Damiyen turned to the chief and said, ”Father, childrens game is over. Its time to prepare for war! We make our final stand here- ”

”Get away! ” Brodins bellowing came from their left.

Axina flinched at the screaming and turned to see her uncle Brodin running at them through the trees at top speed, screaming his lungs out, ”Get away from there! Go! ”

”Whats wrong? ” Nathn yelled back. ”Whats going on? ”

The ground itself began shaking with the ferocity of a high-magnitude quake. Axina lost balance and crashed to the ground while others were grabbing nearby trees. For some reason, her eyes went from her uncles speeding figure toward them to the place where the Krave was grazing. The Krave had crouched down. It was utterly petrified, and it was trying to hug the Navarium with its life.

All of a sudden, the world beneath the Krave exploded, and something big slipped out like the lava of a volcanic eruption. The poor Krave was caught in its maw as the thing exited the ground, and it was already being munched up while the thing settled on the ground.

Axina experienced an all-consuming terror as she stared at the thing that burst out of the ground. It was the biggest centipede shed ever seen. It was as red as blood and its size was that of an anaconda, with long vibrating legs on its sides like the lined oars of a giant sailing ship. Its spikey face was so unsightly and creepy that seeing the beautiful Krave being chomped on in its ghastly jaws sent a chilled stream of liquid fear down her spine. And she screamed a long scream.

Someone came from behind and lifted her into their arms. It was uncle Johnath. He kept her in his arms in case they needed to quickly run away.

Her scream had drawn the attention of the malformation. Itd already gobbled up the Krave and now it was looking at them with its big black creepy eyes.

”Where were you, big brother? ” Nathn said.

Brodin and Nathn stood in front of the group with their weapons ready at hand and prepared to attack.

”I was trying to find this malformation, ” Brodin replied as he took his battle stance and began infusing the spear with his bright. ”I knew this thing was around us somewhere, thats why I told you to check the surroundings. But when you didn find anything, I went to investigate and realized that this thing had gone underground. So, I began following its movement through the ground and ended up here. ”

The malformation red centipede waved its head at the group, the huge antennas on its head quivered. Its mouth widened revealing spiraling sets of knife-like teeth. It let out a piercing cry. Everything about this monstrosity made Axina cringe and shiver with disgust and fright.

”Start burning bright, ” Brodin yelled to his brother. ”The malformation is preparing to attack! ”

”Understood, elder brother, ” Nathn yelled back as he fit the arrow against the bowstring and began infusing the bright making his bow and arrow glow a brilliant blue.

”Stand down, my brothers, ” Damiyen said from behind them.

There was something in her fathers voice that made Axina forget how to breathe. Something had shifted in the air of the jungle, and when Axina looked back at him, she understood what.

Pitch-black smoke had begun frothing out of Damiyens skin as if his insides had caught on fire, roasting him alive. Some of the smoke, the darkest, was clinging onto him, while lighter smoke spiraled away and fizzled out like the smoke of a lit torch. Shrouded in gaseous blackness, Axina could hardly recognize the loving father who had sung to her and read to her as she fell asleep, now nothing but death projected out of his scarlet glowing eyes.

Axnia noticed that she wasn the only one to be taken aback by her fathers gloom aura suddenly being put on display. The others, even the unruly uncle Brodin was looking at him with awe.

There was no hurry in Damiyens motions as he slipped through them and began walking towards the malformation that began coiling itself, readying to strike.

”The day of the Scarlet Ring is at our door, ” Damiyen said in an ominous tone. ”I have begun to feel the gloom awakening and storming inside me. ”

The malformation centipede shirked once more and shot at Damiyen. It was so large, yet its speed was blinding.

”Gloom Singularis: Butchering Threads! ” Damiyen roared as the monster charged at him.

Gloom burst out of him like a surge of energy and black smoke streamed out in all directions along with shockwaves that threatened to uproot the spectators and throw them back. The very air was charged with chaotic power.

Something had begun spinning around Damiyen at a blurring speed. A sphere of sorts formed around him, and as he stood inside it. Things around him began getting sliced, trees, shrubs, soil, or birds, whatever was caught up in the spinning sphere around Damiyen was being sliced up into thin pieces.

The charging centipede couldn stop itself in time and the number of its legs on the left side was reduced to ribbons. It let out a loud cry and jumped back.

”What in the name of Autaxium is that power? ” Nathn cried. ”How can his gloom be so powerful? ”

”Its lord Damiyens unique ability, ” the chief said. ”He is able to summon butcher threads that can cut through almost anything. Its so dangerous because of how violently he can manipulate it. And that is only his defensive move. He used it to halt his preys movements. ”

Axina looked in disbelief at her father as she remained in her uncles arms. The gloom had stopped spreading uncontrollably out of her father and was only clinging to him closely like a cloak made of dark vapor. The blurry spherical motion around him stopped all of a sudden, and his threads vanished.

”Don blink, ” the chief said. ”Or youll miss his offensive move. ”

The malformation grinned greedily seeing the puny navarian putting out its defenses. It hissed low, coiled itself, and shot forward at him again.

Axina had noticed the gloom gathering in her fathers extended right arm. It slowly became a small ball of blackness that hovered in front of fathers spread-out palm.

Damiyen shot the ball at the charging centipede. The ball hit it on the face and uncoiled like a loose spool. In the blink of an eye, threads came out of the black ball, formed a sphere around the centipede, and began to spin at a blurring speed. In the next blink of an eye, the spinning sphere shrunk back to its previous size of a little dark ball. During that split second, the spinning circles of butchering threads had done their job and sliced and reduced the giant centipede to the size of an anaconda to a great pile of tiny ribbons. A downpour of its blood started filling up the small pond nearby.

Damiyen shut off his gloom immediately and walked back to his family. Johnath had put Axina down now that the danger was gone and she was staring at her father. Damiyen got caught up in the downpour and was covered in the centipedes blood from head to toe. He understood how he appeared, but didn know what to say to his daughter to reduce the fear in her eyes at the bloody sight of him.

There were bigger problems at hand, so he suppressed a sigh, and looked at Brodin.

”Brodin, brother listen to me, the emperor has sent his marchers to attack our city, ” Damiyen said. ”Theyll be upon us in no time. We must prepare to defend ourselves. ”

”How much time do we have? ” Brodin said with deep creases on his forehead.

”Just enough to strategize our moves and alert the general populace of this city, ” Damieyn replied. ”From here on out, if you and father would give me your blessings, Id like to assume command of the defense of Amaryllis. ”

The chief nodded. ”I believe youve proven yourself worthy for that role. I will place my faith in you. ”

Brodin nodded as well. ”I have no qualms. Its only fitting as you are the commander of the Last Light. ”

”Good, but we will need to divide the responsibilities for maximum efficiency, ” Damieyn said. ”Ive called in reinforcements from the neighboring regions. Theyll arrive here shortly to strengthen our defense. I will come up with a strategy with them and plan out the defensive structure of the city. ”

”I see, what do you want us to do then? ” Brodin asked.

”I want you, Nathn and Johnath, and father to summon every able-bodied male and female adult in the city and gather them at the square. Tell them to arm themselves with whatever they have available. Prepare them mentally for the ordeal to come. ”

”What about the children? ” the chief asked. ”Whatll we do with them? ”

”Well send them away, ” Damiyen said. ”Our children are the real Last Light of the high navari. We must ensure their survival at all costs. ”

”Send them away? ” Axina said with disbelief. ”What did you mean, father? Are you going to make me leave you and momma? ”

”Yes, Axina, ” Damiyen said harshly. ”You and every other child will leave Amaryllis. ”

”But I don wanna leave! ” Axina cried.

”Axina, its for your own good- ”

”I won leave! ”

”I won have your disobedience! Not now! ” Damiyen snapped. ”We are at war, Axina! Lives are at stake! And you think Ill prioritize your want and desires? ”

Axina burst into tears. She clutched Johnaths clothes. He lifted her into his arms again. Axina hid her face in her uncles neck and began sobbing.

Damiyen closed his eyes and exhaled.

He opened his eyes after a moment and looked at Brodin and said, ”Please brother, go. There is no more time left to waste. ”

Brodin nodded and said, ”Understood, brother. Ill begin preparing the armed forces of our city and the citizens for war. ”

Brodin turned and dashed away at top speed into the woods.

”Ill go with him! ” Nathn said as he followed after Brodin.

”Damiyen, ” the chief said in a gloomy tone, ”will we win? ”

A stony coldness took over Damiyens features, and his eyes glowed a scarlet determination as he said, ”I can promise you things that are out of my control, father. But let me promise you this, I shall fight for the sake of all high navari to the last drop of my blood. ”

”What more could we possibly ask for? ” said the chief through a pained smile.

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