The blade of the greatsword cut through the skin like a hot knife through butter. The creature yelped and tried to back off, yet another swing from the sword made the creature aware that its life was fading. Blood gushed like a fountain out of the wounds, and most likely had hit a vital artery in its system. With a pulsing rate, it tried to fly up, flapping its wings in high speed to gain altitude, but it was in vain, as it was too weak to prepare for launch.
"Flock to me!" it screamed, in hope its sisters and brothers would hear it, but it came out horsey and as a whisper. It's brothers and sisters were not to be seen, and it feared for its life. A final reach out, merely a scratch, was the only thing it it could deliver in the general direction of its attacker, but its claws were only touching the mithril alloy of a heavy armor plating.
It knew its fate was sealed, and it couldn't deliver what the nest had requested. The only thing it could do now was undergo its destiny and closed its eyes. It felt becoming numb and it saw it's history: Its first lessons, the life lessons it had learned from elders and other images that it held dearly.
Then darkness claimed the creature, with the last strike of the blade, that pierced through its feathers, leathery skin and vital organs.
The harpy collapsed and fell dead on the ground. Blood sipped slowly into the soil and discolored the sandy earth from yellow to brown, as blood and sand mingled together. It was an interesting play of colors that was evolving in front of the eyes of the Sylvari female.
She looked from the corpse of her former attacker and then around her. The forest seemed quiet further. She met the eyes of a boar that was standing on the edge of a plateau somewhat meters above her. It growled, but didn't made any action. It had witnessed the execution of one of its natural enemies, and didn't want to undergo the same fate. Next to that, it seemed to apply the human proverb: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"
The boar turned finally around and walked away, while blood trickled from the sharp edge of the greatsword the Sylvari female was wearing. It fell into the puddle that now was under and next to the harpy. She crouched and checked the blood of the puddle with a device that looked like a box with two antenna's on top of it. It did met the standards she was looking for and she retrieved from her pouch an empty vial, filling it with the potent blood the corpse.
She looked up from her work and spotted a man working his way passed the bushes and trees that separate him from her. It was a Norn, as it was way taller than her. Dressed also in a heavy armor set, made from mithril alloy but instead wielding a large hammer. She recognized him as Forgal Kernsson, warmaster of the Vigil and her old mentor.
Lasseemaa was promoted from recruit to crusader just a few days ago. After receiving her promotion from Almorra Soulkeeper, leader of the Vigil, she had made her way out of the safe area around Vigil Keep and traveled through Genderran Fields towards Lion's Arch. The city, located to the vast sea that was separating Tyria from Ohr, had brought her some knowledge about the Human, the Norn, the Asura and the Charr species.
She had left the Grove not too long ago and wasn't familiar at all with the different races that habited this world. At mystic forge, she had sat down and had observed day and day out the several kinds of beings moving past her, performing their professions in meticulous ways.
The Pale Tree had instructed her, as she had left the Grove a few months ago, to learn as much as possible, so it could map the world. The Sylvari were a young species, not born but grown from the Pale Tree. Everything was new for them. The firstborns that ventured out came always back with tales and stories about huge cities, daunting ruins and vast waters. Information that was gathered was wisely stored with the Pale Tree, who could feed and nourish this information towards the newborns, the Sylvari that yet to awaken.
After her days in Lion's Arch, she concluded that the residents cared little for the upcoming war. Knowing Zaithan had awakened five years ago, they cared little about the ruins of Ohr, where the dragon now had taken residence with his army of undead, nor that legions of undead were gaining ground and passed the Straits of Devistation. She learned that the residents of Lion's Arch were selfish, except for the travelers she talked too. According to them, the world was full of wonders that she should explore. The walls of Divinity's Reach, the ruins of Ascalon and Maelstrom Mountain were just one of the highlights they mentioned to the Sylvari female.
She decided to venture out, since there was no mission for her with the Vigil at this time, and moved southwards, trying to avoid the cold snowy mountains that would have let her ultimately to Hoelbrak, the capital of the Norns. Instead, attracted by the thought of Maelstrom Mountain, she made her way through Bloodtide Coast and was now venturing into an area called Sparkfly Fenn. By doing so, she had wandered into territory of a large local harpy community, who didn't like visitors or trespasser through their breeding grounds.
The harpy on the floor was the seventh she was forced to kill today. She had been randomly attacked in the last few days by the birdlike creatures, with no attempt to be reasoning with her. She thought they weren't socially towards travelers, having found near the path she was moving over a few corpses of slain travelers. Materials looted from them, the bodies had been dumped in shallow pits, but not been covered, as a warning to those who would move through the area.
Lasseemaa had still walked further into territory, hoping she would be soon out of it. Still she could recall her kill count towards the local harpies. The seven that died by her sword today made her total twenty-eight.
"Warmaster, what a pleasant surprise!" She yelled towards him, and waved.
The wind was playing gently with the twigs and leafs on her head, and her light gray skin with pink tones reflected in the sun, that fell through the trees. She moved towards him, leaving the dead harpy for what it was.
"I have just followed the trail of dead harpies, to find you!" he grunted when he reached her. "You are making a lot of enemies this way."
"As I recall, "she started in her defense, "they attacked me, and didn't want to reason with me …"
"Nor with me." Forgal replied, showing the hammer on his belt. It was covered in blood and feathers. "But nothing in this area can beat good ol' Forgal on any giving ..…"
His voice trailed off when he heard the birds stop sing, and the wind picked up. He looked around, and so did Laseemaa, not sure what to expect. Nor did Forgal, who drew his mighty hammer in reflex. Laseemaa, still holding her greatsword, brought up her hands, falling automaticly into a fighting stance. Her guard up again, she spied the around.
The wind now argued with the twigs and leafs on her head as in the trees. Birds flew away, and covered the sky, while animals disappeared from sight. It was commonly known that animals could feel the presence of darkness and evil closing in.
Slowly darkness seeped in and the shadows became less clear. Forgal looked up for a split second, and that was when he saw it.
"By the Spirit of the Wild!" he yelled, and Laseemaa was forced to look up, following his hand as he was pointing at it.
High in the air, right above them, a large dragon moved towards the north, in the general direction of Lion's Arch. If it hadn't for the forest, they had most likely been spotted by the giant ancient, and they would have now been either vaporized by its breath, corrupted by its influence or killed by its giant wings. Instead, the dragon flew on, not spotting them due to the trees, hiding them from certain death.
"What in the name of the Pale Tree was that?" Laseemaa finally could ask Forgal when the dragon was not to be seen anymore.
"That, " Forgal answered after a moment of painful silence, "was one of the minions of Zaithan. And it's on its way to Lion's Arch!"
Laseemaa lingered on her thoughts, not knowing what to do. It seemed Forgal did the same. Returning to Lions Arch would take too much time to be of any effect, if there even would be a city left standing. Moving towards the Strait of Devastation, in particular Fort Trinity would be a solution, but it wasn't guaranteed the portal would be able to be used, due to technical difficulties. The magical stream there from Zaithan was interfering with the technology from the Asura.
Forgal looked again up, and seemed to toss a mental coin. They were most likely needed, but it was a long walk. It would take a week at least by foot to get back to Lions Arch, if not longer.
Laseemaa looked questioning to her former instructor, and wondered if he would decide for both of them. He technically outranked her, but she was wise enough to make up her own mind. She threw a look at her former tutor. Forgal seemed to have decided, nudged her and started to tread in the general direction of Fort Trinity in the south. It would most likely take a day or 3 to get there, but it seems he had taken that into account. Laseemaa fell in pace and walked behind him without saying a word, not knowing what would happen in the north of them….