The Wraith's Lament - Chapter 1

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The Wraith's Lament

by Nightshadow

Libraries: Fantasy, OriginalFiction

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Chapter 1, Bickering (Chapter #1)

Prompt: The Wraith’s Lament Chapter #1

Featuring: Azeryth, Kira (rider), Ranaari

Wordcount: 1030

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Azeryth carefully stepped from claw to claw, spreading his four wings for stability. The world around seemed to be enclosed in flames; it took a while to find a safe space among the lava pools and dangerous streams of toxic air. Kira scrunched her nose at the sudden smell of rotten eggs emanating from the depth of the cavern near which they stood by and raised the cloth higher up her nose. The heat was something few could bear for long. Her face mimicked the exact expression on the muzzle of their unfortunate companion; the strange hybrid between a dragon and a big cat, who was not particularly pleased with the glamorous vacation she had been dragged to. At least the said niravar, Ranaari, kept on insisting that this world was supposed to be her ‘vacation’. However, she also mentioned that she had a habit of forgetting the favours that she owed to others; in this case, she was bound to help with one particularly tricky ordeal. Although, even if the three creatures on this barren fiery wasteland shared little in common, they had one shared feature: their unity in their absolute contempt of however had aided in their ultimate arrival into this hell. 

 

Ranaari, shifted, carefully placing her split tail between her legs. The feline did not want to risk burning that thing off. The entire trip was spent in proud silence between all parties (or at least that was Ranaari’s guess, although a little itch suggested that the stryx and his rider talked telepathically). However, the agreement that it was time for a break was mutual. 

 

Ranaari suddenly glanced up, squinting into the darkness of the cave. Was that?.. She almost jumped on the spot when the stryx made a step forward, lowering his neck and letting a low rumble as a warning. She still wasn’t used to just how large these birds were. Kira swivelled her head to the cave as well just in time to see two red orbs manifesting in the darkness. She hurriedly glanced at Azeryth, establishing a mental connection. “Do you think what I think?”

 

“I think I would hate to get my feathers ruined in chase…”

 

“Yeh, not happening. Do you think they had the time to set up the trap?”

 

Azeryth didn’t have time to reply as a shrill screech suddenly pierced the air. The creature stepped into the light. A spark of madness ignited in its eyes as red liquid dripped from its mouth. It scraped the rocky earth with its claw letting out a long hiss. 

 

So this was the corrupted creature they had to catch. Kira didn’t have enough time to study it as it suddenly leapt forward, rapidly closing the distance.

 

Ranaari found herself cursing everything in the world that led her to this moment. She made a step back before glancing at the bonded pair, snorting, “It would help if you would include me in your telepathic chitchat! I know that you, Kira, can do it.”

 

Kira hurriedly established the mental connection, weaving her psionic magic between the three of their minds. The process took less than a moment, but with the incoming threat, every second counted. Azeryth let out another dissatisfied grumble at the intrusion of the stranger in their mental space, but at this point, Kira barely cared; she still wasn’t on par with Azeryth’s plan to use Ranaari as bait, at least because the latter had already proven to be a powerful mage by nearly strangling that poor harpy with her shadows. 

 

“Well, now we run.”

 

This was all that Azeryth needed. He suddenly lept into the air, easily using the warm currents to raise himself into the sky. Ranaari was quick to follow, although at a slower pace. The creature behind them let out another roar, lunging after them. Even the lava streams barely bothered the monstrous stryx. 

 

Azeryth was about to rise higher but instead, he suddenly lowered his wings. At the silent question that Kira rather pointedly expressed by digging her heels in the stryx’s side, he pointed at the cloud of toxic gas. They would be forced to keep low, within reach of the corrupted creature which was hot on their heels. The world around them became a blur as they raced across the volcano-covered landscape. Ranaari was quick to catch up, easily assimilating to the telepathic connection.

 

“So, what’s the plan?”

 

“Didn’t you listen to the briefing?!” Kira turned around, as Azeryth let out a laughing rumble. To be fair, he had not the faintest idea what the plan was supposed to be either. 

 

“No, I don’t listen to any schemes that aren’t of my own making.” Ranaari glanced at the dino-like creature that was still behind them, making sure to not seem too worried. 

 

“That makes two of you!” shouted out Kira in exasperation, alluding to the four-winged stryx. Spurred by the adrenaline rush she couldn’t help but continue. “Really, the levels of arrogance in this party are through the roof!”

 

Azeryth suddenly lurched sideways, evading a cliff in a graceful spin that almost sent simmering Kira flying while simultaneously slapping Ranaari in the face with his tail. Once he levelled his flight, she couldn’t help but hiss through her teeth, “Fair enough.” She glanced back, quickly finding Ranaari with her eyes. The so-called niravar was furiously beating her wings, trying to keep up with the speedy stryx. 

 

“At least I don’t get tangled in my own wings,” grumbled Ranaari. Kira had not the faintest idea how the three of them managed to bicker mid-chase, but it seemed that even the corrupted monstrosity has noticed the lack of attention, starting to inch dangerously close to Ranaari’s tail. 

 

Kira shifted her eyes to the horizon, where she could already see the outline of the camp. Just a little bit more. “Alright, quit it, everyone, we need to lure that stryx into the pit. That is the plan.”

 

“This is an absurd plan,” chimed in Azeryth, but he was quickly silenced when he felt Kira’s glare on his back. Ranaari levelled her flight next to the stryx, giving a toothy grin to both of them. 

 

“Ready when you are.”

 
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