Town of Flora
Continent of Odin
Lana walked through the town desperately trying to find some money. She just lost a bet earlier and not a single coin was left on her wallet. Lana sighed, tousling her long blonde hair in irritation. The town of Flora is home for outlaws. Outlaws that are not just strong but also cunning. And for an elf like her who doesn't have much physical advantage except for her speed, dealing with them is similar to suicide. Her only hope is if she'll be able to find an outsider who happened to have just passed by to their town.
Suddenly, from the entrance gate of Flora, a tall man carrying a very tough presence paced slowly towards her. She can tell that he's an outsider because he'd never seen him before.
Dressed in a black cloak, his entire body is mostly covered in bandages and his head is concealed by a hood. Lana gulped. He is an intimidating guy. And what adds up more to that was the white casket that he carries on his back.
"Can I ask for help?" he asked in the deepest voice she'd ever heard.
"S-sure," she agreed immediately, defeated by his hypnotic voice. "What is it?"
"I'm looking for someone and I need information to find him."
Lana tried to reassemble her shattered composure. "There's a pub where you can gather information but they don't exchange information to outsiders."
"But you're not an outsider, I'm sure you can help me."
Lana mused. She might earn some money if he helps him. "I can. But of course it's not free."
"That won't be a problem."
Lana blinked on that. He must be loaded. "Really? How much will you pay?"
"Depends on how much you'll be willing to help." He tossed shiny object to her. Catching it, her eyes widened to realize that it's a gold coin. Lana grinned. She just hit jackpot. "Now, bring me to that pub."
The pub was crowded upon their arrival. Werewolves, demons, shape-shifters, etc. and all of them instantly went wary at the sight of Mysterious Guy, some even had their hands twitched on their weapons just in case something unexpected might happen. They probably felt that same intimidation that she felt from him earlier.
Bringing him to the bar where Alfos, the Goblin owner of the pub is, she spotted Hagar, a tall and hulking demon with his gang of thieves at a table near them. He is the strongest man in Flora and his gang is the most ruthless group of outlaws in their place. No one in Flora had dared to mess up with them except if they have death wishes.
Lana took her seat, while Mysterious Guy settled down the casket first beside him before acquiring his chair. The bang of the casket smashed the wooden floor, making Lana realize how heavy it was and he's carrying it around with ease. She also noticed that the casket is composed of fine ivory with a golden cross on its cover.
Lana glanced over Hagar and his gang. They have their eyes on the casket. Hagar winked to one of his subordinates, and they nodded back, they're surely up to something.
But her attention was diverted when the man peeled his hood off. Never in her life had she seen a man this good-looking, if "good-looking" is enough to implicate his beauty. In a single glance, every detail of his feature registered on her. He has a heavily layered jet black hair, a flawless face attached with a pair of striking silvery blue eyes, a straight nose and a set of full lips and a dragon tattoo across his left eye.
For the first time in her life, she got mesmerized to a man. She only snapped on the sound of Alfos' voice. "Lana," The goblin greeted. "What brought you here?"
"I need information," she said. Then she glanced to her right where her eerily mysterious and good looking friend is sitting. "My friend is looking for someone."
Alfos glanced at him, "You know that I don't give information to outsiders."
Her pointy ears twitched slightly. It's a sign if an elf is getting aggressive. "I'm not an outsider, goblin."
"You're not but he is."
A black pouch suddenly dropped on the bar table. Her eyes widened when she saw that it's filled with gold coins and the person who dropped it there is Mysterious Guy. "I'm looking for someone," he said, breaking his silence. "I need to find him before sunset. 100 pieces of gold as a payment, I think it's enough for you to tell me everything that I want to know."
Both she and the goblin eyed hungrily on the money. "Alright," Alfos surrendered, defeated by his greed. He took the gold and said, "What do you want to know?"
Mysterious Guy smiled in triumph, "I'm looking for
But before he could finish his sentence, someone yelled. "Fight!"
The Alfos' pub broke out in seconds. Beings began to change, eyes shifted colors, demeanors altering utterly, and weapons started appearing from nowhere.
Two thralls spotted them and launched their attacks to them. Mysterious Guy hid her on his back. Tearing a piece of cloth from his cloak, she watched in awe as he transformed it into a black sword.
They simultaneously smashed their weapons on him. Holding his sword by one hand, he blocked both attacks. The sound made by the collision of their weapons pierced to her ears like lightning, telling her of how strong those attacks are. Yet, Mysterious Guy don't appear to be pressured, he's not even exerting effort while blocking them.
Mysterious Guy slashed his sword against them, sending the head of the two thralls flying. Lana stared at the two dead bodies in disbelief. The simple counterattack killed them instantly. Unbelievable! But her amazement didn't end there. Mysterious Guy blasted a punch to the ground that created a massive quake, sending everybody down their knees, thus, ending the commotion with a punch.
She saw all the occupants of the pub that were fighting a minute ago, runs in fear out of the pub, greatly horrified by the strength of Mysterious Guy.
He turned to her and asked, "Are you okay?"
Stunned and overwhelmed by him, Lana can't do anything but nod. And once the pub was finally empty and the frenzy around them has ended, Mysterious Guy decided head back to the bar where Alfos is currently hiding.
But halfway to his destination, he ceased his advance. "Damn!"
Gaping to the place where it's once been, Garvin can't do anything but to curse. It can't be happening! Not now! It's only a few hours before twilight. And it's very dangerous if she wakes up unattended.
"What's wrong?" Lana asked.
"The casket is gone!"
Lana gazed to the now an empty space where Anna's casket was once placed. "They might have taken it during the commotion."
The only explanation he can think about. Damn! How can he be so careless to lose Anna? Now the number of his problems doubled. He needs to find Anna before she's unleashed from her hibernation. If he's not there at her side when she woke up, Anna will surely go berserk and the town of Flora will be erased from the face of Lumeria.
He then resumed his advance and grabbed Alfos who was hiding under the bar. "I'm looking for Lance," he said, glaring at him. "Tell me where I can find him."
"You're looking for Lance?" Lana said behind him.
Garvin turned to her. "Yes, I'm looking for Lance. I need him to get us across the Majestic Forest to reach the Port of Helios in three days."
"Why didn't you tell me earlier? We shouldn't have gone through all these troubles if you did."
"Why?" Garvin frowned. "Do you know where I can find him?"
"Yes," she answered. "I know. She's here, you're looking at HER."
Garvin dropped the goblin and faced Lana in disbelief, "You're Lance?"
"Yes. I'm Lana the Lance," she explained. "I'm the Scavenger who lived inside the Majestic Forest."
"But the merchant said that Lance is a guy."
"Outsiders usually think that way."
Unbelievable, the person that he was looking for was with him all along. He should have been more observant. Now, a new set of problems had piled up because of his carelessness. He isn't like this. He's more careful and responsible. Maybe this is the effect of Anna's three months of absent. Not seeing her for a long time put a fatal effect on his concentration. "Alright," he sighed. "If you're Lance, then you can get us through the Majestic Forest."
"Of course I can, I live there."
Garvin's expression softened a little. At least, one problem is solved. "Good. But right now we're facing a bigger crisis. So except of just commissioning you to get us through the forest, I also need you to do another job for me."
"But I'm warning you, this second job is far more dangerous. If you fail, you will die."
Swallowing a lump on her throat, she asked, "What's the job anyway?"
"Finding my stolen casket," he told her. "Do you have any idea who might have taken it?"
"Hagar and his gang," she said with great certainty. "I saw them looking on your casket, few minutes before the fight. I also think it's also them who started it in order to snatch your stuff."
"We only have until twilight to retrieve the casket back before the person inside it wakes up from her hibernation."
"Wait!" her eyes widened to him, shocked. "You mean there's actually someone inside that casket?"
"Of course, what else should I put inside a casket?"
Her jaws dropped, "Seriously! There's a living person inside that thing?"
"Yes and unfortunately a very dangerous one. If she opened her eyes and found me nowhere near her, she'll certainly go berserk. And in that state, she's more than capable of destroying this town in just a blink of an eye. That's why I'm telling you that if you fail, you will die. And not just you, but everyone in Flora will get slaughtered if we don't find her in time."
Garvin can tell that somehow, Lana had absorbed some understanding on the severity of the situation. Finding Anna requires their outmost attention, not just for his wife's sake but also for the sake of the lives of the people of Flora. They might be outlaws that were thrown by their own factions and Kingdoms. But nevertheless, they are still living beings that are all striving to survive. And he can't bear to let them die before him, especially in the hands of his wife.
"I know two places where they might go."
"Then we need to split up."
"Sounds like a plan.
"And piece of advice or more like a warning. If ever you'll be the first one to find her and then she wakes up before you, whatever happened never ever dare to look at her face."
"It's not important. Just take my warning if you want to live." It was the best explanation that he can provide to Lana.
Anna's beauty is her most dangerous weapon. In the past 20 years that they'd stay in Lumeria, He hasn't met anyone that is immune on her unearthly beauty. Even during her carnages, people whether men or women that saw her would rather face death in her hands than to take their eyes off her. Anna will be in a frenzied state when she wakes up and if Lana sees her face during that time where Anna is almost mindless with bloodlust and thirst, he's certain that she'll end up similarly to those who are dumbstruck to her unmatched beauty. She'll be defenseless and her death will be absolute.
"And if you're urged by your curiosity as well as your instinct to do so, close your eyes and run away from her. Run with everything that you got. Because once she got hold of you, you're as good as dead."
Garvin sprinted through the broadening and narrowing streets to reach the Clock Tower where the band of thieves that took the casket of his wife might be hiding.
His wife, Anna, is the last of the vicious Crimson Dragons, the most powerful faction of Lumeria. And on her state of maturity, Anna is the most dangerous being around. His wife's age might be thousand times greater compared to his, but deep inside, Anna is still a kid.
She was only 12 when she was put into slumber by her parents in order to protect her from the Great War that happened eons ago. And it was only 15 years ago when he found her. She might have aged and grown into a fine woman during those thousands of years of slumber, but her state of mind was still of a kid. And the 15 years that she'd have being an adult wasn't that enough for her to compensate on the times that she'd spent being a little girl. Until now, she still pouts, cries, get scared, and seek security like a kid, like a fragile little girl.
Her emotions are immature. She always seeks comfort and safety and that comfort and sanctuary is him. Moreover, she needed those securities the most during the ends of her hibernations, where she felt so fragile and vulnerable.
And when it's not met, all her negative emotions and being blasted through her hunger, and most of all, through her magic, her very devastating magic.
Reaching his destination, he prayed to God to let him end up in the right place. But upon entering the Clock Tower and searching the almost rundown place floor by floor until he made it on top, he found it empty.
Damn! Now, it's either Lana found the thieves or both of them had ended up empty-handed. The only way to find out is to set off to where she is. But as he was about to leave, his gaze was caught by the sky, turning indigo, and continuously darkening. And the ball of fire that was shining in heaven starts setting at the west.
What the hell is going on? It should be still a few more minutes before sunset. Damn! Why did the sun decided to set down earlier today?
But what truly ignited Garvin's alarm was when a beautiful voice, singing a melody emitting from the location where Lana was supposed to be. His eyes then went wide in sheer panic. The voice belongs to his wife, Anna, confirming that she'd finally awaken from her slumber and is now looking for him.
From the top of the tower, he witnessed how Flora entered into a state of chaos as Blue Flames starts igniting from random places all over the town. "The Song of the Moirae," Garvin mumbled.
The Song of the Moirae, one of Anna's Four Melodies of Destruction, the unique ability of the last Crimson Dragon. It is a technique that can summon the Four Flame Dragon Spirit of Hell through a song.
At first, the Flame Spirits were just mere magical attacks of Anna during battles. But Garvin had discovered in the latter part that the Dragon Spirits are also reacting on Anna's emotions. When she's calm, the Spirits are destructive but controllable. But when she's enraged, scared, or feeling any negative emotion, the Dragon Spirits turned crazed.
Anna sung the Song of the Moirae, the 3rd ranked among the four melodies, the Blue Flame of Purgatory, Bireo.
"Damn!" Garvin cursed. The situation was far more severe than what he'd thought. He didn't expect that Anna will end up using the 2nd Flame Dragon Spirit. Usually, she just used the 1st Spirit when she's having tantrums after her month of hibernation. But Garvin remembered that she'd been hibernating for three straight months, so her tantrums are threefold from the normal.
"Bireo!" he shouted, calling the name of the Blue Flame Dragon. "Bireo! Show yourself!"
A huge collection of blue flames gathered in front of Garvin taking the form of a Blue Dragon, "Greetings My Lord."
The flames that burn the town are mounting and the screams of people being incinerated alive are growing louder. "Bireo, stop this!"
"Forgive me, My Lord. But that is impossible. Lady Anna's emotions are overpowering my will. I cannot control myself."
Not good! Bireo's Blue Flames are inextinguishable by any means not unless the Dragon Spirit or the Summoner herself will be the one to terminate it. Bireo is powerless to extinguish his flames due to the unstable emotions being emitted by Anna. So the only option left for him is to find Anna and calmed her down fast before she incinerate the entire town of Flora to ashes.
A few minutes earlier before the fire
"Let me go!" Lana's eyes weren't focused on Hagar or on the blade pressed on her throat. Her attention is still on the setting sun and then to Mysterious Guy's casket. When she glanced at it on that very moment before her attention was diverted back to the pain on her head, she swears that she'd actually see the casket shook. Not a good sign.
"What is your business here, Scavenger?"
"The casket, its owner commissioned me to track it. He wants it back."
"Sorry, but it's ours now."
"You don't understand! There's a person inside that casket, a very dangerous person that will be soon unleashed."
"Is that so?" The tone of his voice tells her that he doesn't believe her.
"I'm serious Hagar! Return that casket back to its owner or we're all dead!"
He pressed his foot on her head even harder, Lana screamed in pain. "Listen Scavenger, whatever I took becomes mine." He then gestured his sword towards the casket, "That thing is mine now, and I'm not planning to return it to him."
The sky is turning indigo now, nightfall is only minutes ahead. She also heard that the sound from the shaking casket is growing stronger. "Then don't return it! But please, let's leave this place now!" The pounding become fiercer, Lana grows more panicked. She's waking up!
Hagar frowned, baffled. "What did you
But before he could finish his sentence, the sound of the shaking casket becomes evident to them and it took all their attentions. With all their gazes locked to it, they saw how it pounded with extreme intensity to the point that the thing inside it could have almost broke the container apart. The cover then slowly elevates and black smokes leaked from its inside.
"What the hell?" Some of them said.
Garvin? A soft voice of woman whispered. The shaking then stopped and the casket swung open, granting a dark humanoid being covered in a cloak made out of shadows and black mists to escape out of it. They all gazed up at the dark being that had floated freely above them. Wandering. Directionless. Lost. Searching.
Garvin? The feminine voice said again, and this time, Lana is certain that it came from the dark being that had just been released from the casket. Where are you?
"What the hell is that thing?" Hagar asked. His hold on her lightened, he was occupied to the unknown creature. But even so, Lana make no more. For she is too had his eyes focused on the dark being.
The sky then completely darkened, the sun finally settled at the west, nightfall had arrived, the dark being ceased moving and floated motionlessly above them. And from within her, a white blinding light glowed dispersing the dark mists that were enveloping her. From just a mere dark humanoid being, she'd shifted into a more distinct form and descended to them.
All of them stared at her in awe, captivated upon laying their first sight on her. Lana completely forgotten Mysterious Guy's warning about running and not looking at her face.
The woman possessed an unearthly beauty, incomparable by any means. And just like what she'd saw on Mysterious Guy, Lana had never seen anyone with a beauty like her. She's like an embodiment of a real Goddess with beauty of no equal. Dressed in all white, the woman had a long blonde hair that almost reaches her waist, porcelain like complexion, with a straight nose, and a pair perfectly curved plump and pinkish lips. She had her eyes closed, but Lana is certain that they are just as dashing and as perfect as her other features.
Goddess finally sets her bare feet on the ground. Opening her eyes, Lana confirmed her assumption. They are also as perfect and as beautiful as her other traits. Her eyes are bright silver in color, with radiance almost similar to the brightness of a full moon.
Goddess then roamed her eyes around. Her expression is vulnerable, frightened, seeking for sanctuary. "Garvin?" she groaned deeply. The sound of her voice was soft, serene. "Where are you?
Garvin?" Goddess covered her face with her palms and starts weeping. She curved her body down until her covered face touched her knees. "Garvin? Where are you?" she sniveled. "I'm scared."
All of them were motionless. They cannot do anything rather than to stare at her grace. Hagar was the first one who snapped. Completely ignoring Lana, he approached Goddess and kneeled down before her. "Milady?" Hagar tried to touch her. But before he could land his filthy hand to her, a white elongated piece of fabric originating from Goddess' dress wrapped around his neck, pulling Hagar towards her.
Goddess growled like a lion. And with an incredible speed, she jumped to Hagar, sinking her sharp teeth viciously on his shoulder. Hagar tried to push her away, but she held him immobile, easily overpowering him in terms of strength regardless the fact that he's a bulking demon with a size almost twice of her. Two more fabrics popped out from clothing, wrapping this time his upper extremities, tearing and pulling them off from his body.
The rest of them that were witnessing what's going on were alarmed, startled and shock, terrified, with nothing else in mind but to run away. But they can't find the urge to do so, they can't seem to move, their eyes are still locked on Goddess. They cannot find the will to look away. Lana then remembered Mysterious Guy's warning. Now she understands why. Her beauty is completely beyond captivating. If anybody sees her, they'll be completely mesmerized on her to the point that they can no longer look away, they'll be defenseless and powerless, and they'll all be left under her mercy.
As Hagar scream, staggering in utter horror, more elongated fabrics from Goddess shoot towards each one of them. And like tentacles, she'd grasped all of Hagar's men. Lana, with all the will left from her forced herself to close her eyes and run towards the exit before the fabric intended to cease her got a hold on her.
She staggered through the tunnel, she can clearly hear Hagar and his men's continuous screams from her behind, hearing how their fleshes, muscles and bones being ripped apart. She looked back and saw blood splashing on the ground. She tried to move faster, to run perhaps. But the beatings that she'd received from fighting Hagar earlier are slowing her down.
She shrieked when something grabbed her foot. Looking down to it, she saw one of Hagar's men, "Help me!" he screamed for her mercy. But before she can react whether to help him or not, he was then pulled back to the place where the rest of his comrades are currently being slaughtered, to where he'll also meet the fate similar to theirs.
When she was almost through the other end of the tunnel, the screams and the ripping sounds of carnage suddenly just stopped. For a moment, there was dead silence. And then it was followed by the sound of Goddess' soft voice singing a song she cannot understand. And at the beat of the first note of her melody, blue flames started igniting to almost everywhere. Her singing continuous, the flames begun to spread, increasing both in size and in numbers, and seconds later her surroundings become an embodiment of living hell on earth.
Still that didn't stop her on running away from the monster with the face on angel that wants to butcher her. She can hear the sound of her voice, and her footsteps inching closer from her back. Now that she's done feasting on Hagar and his men, she's on the move to take her next.
She glanced back through her shoulder to see if she's following her. Her entire face paled when she saw that she's actually coming after her. In the middle of the fiery blue flames that are incinerating her town, she'd witnessed her levitating in the air, flying her way towards her.
Lana fastened her pace. Even though wobbling, she strive her best to move away from her fast. Run! That's all she's thinking.
Fabrics wrapped her neck, ceasing her advance. Her reflexes were to pull them off her neck. The fabric pulled her back, lifting her off the ground. She was whirled around and for the first time, she saw Goddess face, up close.
Her hair, her face, her mouth, her dress, all stained with blood now. "Where is he?"
"What?" she chocked.
Goddess pulled her closer to her, meeting her cold gaze. The fabric on her neck constricted tighter, "I said, where is he?" she growled ferociously to her.
"I don't know what you're talking about!"
"You have his scent on you. Where is he? Where's Garvin?"
Lana could no longer think straight. She's too overwhelmed by fear and pain. "I-I-I d-don't know!" she trembled. "I don't know anyone with that name!" But a corner of her mind had thought that she could be referring to Mysterious Guy since he's the one who owns the casket that contains her. However, her mind had been too crumpled up to recognize that.
Elongated fabrics had wrapped her arms and legs. "No!" she screamed in utter pain as she slowly rips her extremities off her. Time seems to have run slower for her as she experienced the worst torture of her life. In a slow progression, she could feel her flesh being shred, going deeper towards her muscle, down to her bones.
But before Goddess could make the final pull to rip her to pieces, she heard a familiar voice shouting from afar. "Anna! Stop!"
From above, Mysterious Guy jumped to them. Using his bare hand, he slashed all the fabrics that held her. Mysterious Guy caught her and settled her to the ground. When Goddess saw him, her hard expression softened immediately and projects vulnerability again.
She then descended towards them. And at the moment that her bare feet touched the ground, Mysterious Guy wrapped his arms on her slender body. "Anna."
"Garvin?" she whimpered. "Is that you?"
"It's me, Anna." Mysterious Guy said, caressing her blonde hair with his palm. "It's me, I'm here now."
"Garvin!" Goddess also wrapped her arms to him, burying her face on his chest. "I was scared, Garvin!" she sobbed. "I opened my eyes, I didn't see you. It was scary. I didn't know what to do!"
"Ssshhh," he holds her tighter. "It's okay now, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."
Goddess stopped crying, and the moment that she did, the blue flames that had been burning the town slowly extinguish.
Seeing that Goddess had stopped crying, Mysterious Guy cupped her face and gave Goddess a deep, penetrating kiss on her bloodied lips. Goddess moaned on the sensation and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him tighter.
Confuse and exhausted, Lana let the two be for awhile. She closed her eyes and surrendered herself to slumber. She'll just try to absorb some logic after she woke up.