The beaming rays of the sun pierced her closed eyelids. It seemed only scant moments since she had laid her head down on her makeshift pile of semi-dried cracking leaves and brush that was her bed for the night. However, as she looked over at the rest of her scouting troop of ten who were already rustling themselves for the day she knew it was time to get moving. She mused to herself: How did I end up in charge of this group of trackers and scouts? It wasn’t so long ago I was mostly carefree and trying to make a new home with others from Hadron’s Well. My life changed when I heard the calling of the Ent Mother. Her call drove me to Her and then she sent me to the Everbreath Tower. At the Everbreath Tower, I was tasked with learning so much about fighting and tactics…
She grimaced as she stared across the desiccated fields at the luminescent glowing pylons rising to the sky and stretching for miles. The crackling alabaster-shaded infernal energy arced between the pylons frequently.. The surroundings were seared, singed and scorched – simply void of all life along the barrier. It hurt her very being to see things this way so close to the Groves of Everbreath.
Her terrible thoughts were interrupted and she brightened as she heard the cadence of marching feet which made her jump to her feet. The gleam and reflections of the bright glint of armor marched toward the Northern part of the barrier. Even from a distance she was able to identify the emblem of the Empire- the Templar contingent were here to offer much needed help. She started walking toward them. She mentally cheered them on in tangent with her heart singing with joy as they assaulted the barrier. With each sword they tore through pieces of the infernal barrier by dismantling and shearing through parts of one of the pylons, but that did not diminish the barrier. They shrugged their shoulders in frustration and she felt herself mimic that motion. It was one she well knew.
Her and her scouts have been here for weeks and the only maxim that applied was, “Try Anything and Everything.” The things which worked one time might not work the next.
She heard heavy steps behind her and turned to see the sandy haired, bearded tall man with a worn farmer’s hat on his head and in an urgent tone he said, “Topaz, you need to see what we have found.”
She quickly turned toward him and recognized one of the citizens from Rosado who had turned out to have a natural talent for scouting and leadership. He was one of the contingents she was responsible for in addition to her own scouts from the Everbreath Tower. She turned from her course to the North and followed him as he led her closer to one of the pylons past her scouts who were rousing for the day.
Several of them followed her, and she waved and smiled toward a tall entgrown, “ Cedar, can you follow me? I value your advice. ” She slowed her pace to stay with him and she began to query the bearded man, “Sam, what is it you have found?”
He pauses a moment and carefully adds, “ I do not really know, but it seems to my uneducated eye to be the color of evil.” Topaz arched her eyes and adjusted her mace at her side. She shot a quick glance behind her towards Cedar with a quizzical expression and a silent slightly imploring look.
He sighed and good naturedly shifted his hands and said, “Go ahead. I will catch up.” At those words, she moved much quicker and pushed Sam in front of her with an added intensity.
Sam stopped and pointed to a spot directly in front of him. The Elderkin immediately approached to inspect the area closer. As she inspected the area she saw what looked to be a cylinder; black as night with slight orange and white discolorations which seemed to be connected to the pylon in front of her. She grabbed her gloves from her pouch and tugged them on and touched the cylinder. She knew something just felt wrong about this object. Her innovation knowledge as a runemaster was of no avail. Whatever this thing was, it probably shouldn’t even work, and there was no doubt it was just simply wrong. Also, whatever this was it radiated power from it. This must be making the pylon work, but what to do? Maybe if they could somehow move them? She quickly called the others to her, and they all attempted to move the objects. The felt wrong, and weakened her greatly, but they were able to move them with great effort.
Sizzle! Hisss!… the Barrier crackled.
Brooding, lumbering metallic beings appeared with misshapen bolts and rivets on its form. It came out of the barrier claws bared and came immediately down on Topaz’s bent head. Sam in a flash stepped up and tried to block the Corrupted creature with his sharpened pike and the claws tore through the pike and dismembered him covering Topaz in his sacrifice. Immediately, Topaz drew her mace and shield. Cedar and her other scouts formed around her and they struck the enemy down with vicious and mighty blows. Hate fueling the rage within them at the needless sacrifice as they attacked the infernal. The blood and tears mingled on Topaz face as she drug Sam’s body to the side with scarcely a thought she called the magic of Everbreath to remanifest him. Even as she did so, she remembered just yesterday she had lost young Mariah because she did not have the ability.
Her eyes lit up as suddenly, she felt the magic in her. Weakening the barriers must limit the impact of the infernal on prime. That must have been what was tampering with so much Everbreath lately.
She felt the power of the Wind course through her as the familiar ability to remanifest returned to her.
She smiled wildly, now they would pay.