Aterius threw himself to the side. He rose and looked at the creature which had attacked him. The scorpion-like creature was already over him again. He screamed of pain when a claw crushed his right arm, then everything turned black.
When Aterius woke up, the sun was already on it's way down. He looked around himself, and saw that he was in the middle of a flat, wide, snow-covered area. As he tried to rise, he felt that his fingers were so cold, he could hardly move them. Then, a thought hit him: Wait, a flat, wide area in these lands? That can only mean one thing; I'm in the middle of a frozen lake. The second after, he heard a low crash, and felt that the ice started cracking.
He started running towards what he thought was the shore, but the ice was slippery, and he fell several times. The pain in the already hurt right arm was more than unbearable, and he only hoped that the other would still be on it's place when he reached the shore. After a while, he reached the shore. He had just sat down on a stone to rest, when a Thornax Fruit came against him in high speed. He ducked just in time, but felt how one of the sharp spikes scratched cheek. The moment after, the fruit exploded on a rock only a few meters behind Aterius. He rose up, and looked for the one who had shout the Thornax. Suddenly, something, moved behind some rocks near. "Hey, who's there?!" He he said. The moment after, a Bone Hunter sprang from the rocks and ran against Aterius. Then, one more did so, then several more. Suddenly, what had seemed like a barren uninhabited land, was in fact a land controlled by the feared Bone Hunters, and Aterius was in the middle of it.
Suddenly, the Bone Hunters stopped. This was not what they had expected. The warrior in front of them was nearly in the size of a Vorox, not a usual Agori. But he was still not a Vorox. He had no tail. Suddenly, the being charged. He was armed with only a sword, but had soon defeated several Bone Hunters. "Retreat" The Bone Hunters had had enough. What had started as a simple ambush had turned into a failure.
Aterius sat down again. The Bone Hunters had retreated, but they would not be gone for long. They had obviously expected a usual Agori. Not a warrior like him. But now he had to get away from there. The pain in his arms was now worse than ever, but he had to stand it.
Aterius was surrounded. The Ice Wolves creatures were too many. After escaping the Bone Hunters, he had traveled farther north, on his journey the the Great Sea, which was now on its end, it seemed.
Suddenly, a blue-armored Agori appeared. Aterius couldn't see what happened the next. The leader of the Ice Wolves creatures fell, and with him several other of the creatures. "Let's get out of here!" The Blue-Armored Agori said. Aterius didn't need any more persuading. They both ran the the south. After a while, the Blue-Armored Agori stopped and said: "Who are you? What are you doing here?"
"You ask that? I was just going to ask you!"
"OK, then. I'm Aterius. I was journeying to the Great Sea."
"I can't tell you that! I don't even know who you are!"
"So? Will you talk?"
"Then I'll send you back to the wolves."
"No! OK. I was sent there to fetch a very rare substance known as Energized Protodermis."
"Why do you need that?"
"Well I don't know."
"Do you even know what it is?"
"It's a powerful substance, that's all I know."
"Where do you think you can find it?"
"Near the Great Sea"
"Then I'll have to ask you to turn back. You won't get there."
"Who are you?"
"You already know. I'm Betak."
"But, what are you doing here? And where do you come from?"
Aterius waited a few moments, sighed and said:"You've still not answered my question."
"The Water Tribe."
"How did you get here?"
"How did you get here from Spherus Magna?"
"I was in this area during the Shattering."
"Then why didn't you seek out the other Agori here?"
Aterius stood silent, waiting for an answer, but none came. At last, he said: "Oh, you're hopeless. What did you mean with "You won't get there"?"
"Just what I said. You won't get there."
Betak smiled. "You won't find out until it's too late to turn back."
"Then how can you know what it is?"
"Then how can you know that there is anything?!" Aterius was annoyed. Why wouldn't this Agori talk? "But, I can't fail the other! I must get the Energized Protodermis!"
"The Vorox failed you."
"What? How can you know?"
"I saw it. One moment they were alive and in good health, the next they were dead."
"You convinced me." Aterius was now angry. Not only had he been forced to fail his friends, but he had also traveled this long and had all this pain only to be stopped by an annoying Water Agori.
The Water Agori smiled. "Now, turn back."
Aterius thought for a few seconds. "No."
"What? You said I convinced you to turn back."
"No, you convinced me that I can't do this alone. You'll go with me."
"No way!" Betak was angry. How could this Ice Agori think she would risk her life for something she didn't care about?
"You were sent here to get the Energized Protodermis too. Before the wars with the Bone Hunters, a Water Agori was sent here to see if it was true that some Energizes Protodermis had leaked up to the surface here too. That Agori was called Betak. You failed us. If you had fetched the Energizes Protodermis, we could have won the war against the Bone Hunters without as many causalities. When you didn't return, we assumed that it was too dangerous."
"No! The substance was too powerful, It would have destroyed us all!"
"We had found a way to control it, and you were only meant to bring back a small amount of it. You failed us."
"What! Why didn't anyone tell me?" Betak was furious. Why had they kept it a secret from her?
"We didn't want a new war."
"It doesn't matter anyw-"
The next moment, a Thornax fruit exploded lees than a meter from them.
Aterius was walking on a green field. The sun was shining. He was an Agori again. A usual Agori, without any kind of mechanical implants. He couldn't remember how he had come here. All memories ended about an hour ago.
Suddenly, he felt pain in his right arm. The next moment, he was back in the Bone Hunter camp. "Move!" A Bone Hunter stood at his side. He hit Aterius again, this time even harder. "MOVE, I said!"
Aterius rose up from the ground. He just couldn't believe it, he was taking order from a Bone Hunter! "MOVE!" The Bone Hunter hit Aterius yet again, this time in his back. Aterius fell to the ground. The last thing he knew, a Bone Hunter put a rope around his arms and dragged him away. Then everything turned black.
Betak ran for her life. The second Thornax had hit Aterius in his head, and he had fallen to the ground. Dead, she supposed. It was only with incredibly luck she had been able to escape. She just couldn't believe it; She had left him to in the hands of the Bone Hunter! But, on the other hand, he was most likely dead. But what if he wasn't? She had failed him. And the other Agori. And he would have had it much better in the hands of the wolves than in the hands of the Bone Hunters. But he was dead! He couldn't have survived a direct hit on his head! "You have not failed anyone!" She said to herself. But one part of her mind screamed: "He's alive! Turn back and help him!" She stopped, thinking. At last, she had decided, and started running again.
Aterius woke up before the dawn. Every corner of his body hurt. Everything was black. First, he thought it was night, but then he couldn't see any stars. Nor could he see any fires or anything else which suggested that intelligent life had ever existed. Then, the thought struck him like an axe hits an unarmored body. I'm blind! No, it just couldn't be true. But then again, he had heard that the Bone Hunters sometimes could remove the hands, and other vital body parts from their prisoners, and then release them just for the fun. No, it just couldn't be true, he, Aterius, just couldn't have lost the ability to see.
Betak was getting tired. She had followed the Bone Hunters for several days, but had yet to see the shadow of them. However, they were leaving clear footprints, so it was relatively easy not to loose them. They were obviously not aware of that they were being followed. But it could also be a trap, maybe they wanted her to follow them? But she knew she had to keep on. She couldn't leave Aterius alone in the hand of the Bone Hunters. But the again, why should she care? She hardly new him! But something was telling her she couldn't let him die.
"Don't move." The voice was right behind her. She tried to turn her head.
"I said don't move. That means don't move. And keep quiet." The voice was talking low, and Betak could hear that the one who spoke wanted to avoid being heard by anyone other than her. She couldn't determine if the voice belonged to a male or female.
Dekru took a step forwards. At last he had succeeded in his mission! He had been following that blue Agori for more that one hundred years, and he would capture her in less than a minute! It was too good to be true. It had all started the day when that Agori had escaped an ambush from the Bone Hunters. Dekru and his best friend, if Bone Hunters can have friends, had followed her. When they had nearly captured her, she had managed to run away. She had run right into the den of some wolf-like creatures. After leading the Bone Hunters into the den, she had just disappeared. Dekru and his friend, on the other hand, had not been so lucky. It was only with great luck he had managed to escape. His friend didn't. That day, he had sworn to kill the blue Agori at any cost. And today, he would succeed. Everything had gone as he had planned. He looked again, and nearly screamed out of anger. She was gone! But soon he saw her again. But, what was that tan Agori doing there? It didn't matter, they both would be dead in less than a minute.
Aterius took a step forwards, only to throw himself back the moment after. The steps was getting closer fast. Suddenly, the flame from a torch appeared in front of him. At first, he didn't react. Then, the thought hit him: I can see! I'm not blind! The moment after, he realized this wasn't good - if he could see, he could be seen too. The Bone Hunter in front of him fell him in a matter of seconds. It was obvious that this was not a usual Bone Hunter - rather a leader.
The Scarabax Beetle looked up. The dawn was getting closer. Soon, the horizon got lit up, bit by bit. Soon, a brightly shining circle had appeared, lighting up the endless jungle. The Beetle turned around. He had to find something to eat. At the same time, long away from there, the sound of metal against metal scared away any wild life near. The noise disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. One single being stood as the winner.
Betak stood as still as a Sand Bat waiting for a prey. She did not like the look of the Agori behind her. His armor was tan, with extra armor on the upper legs and arms. He had two strange-looking weapons, the only things which looked new on the Agori. His helmet didn't look very friendly, either. And she couldn't understand exactly what had happened the last few moments. Had she and this strange Agori on their own defeated a Bone Hunter? No, that couldn't have happened. But then again, what else? Or had she been knocked out that fast, that she had not noticed any of the fight, and dreamed all of this. That seemed more likely.
Aterius screamed in pain. It felt like every bone in his body was broken. After being caught by the Bone Hunter trying to escape, they threw him into a small cave room. The floor was covered with scorpions. Not dangerous ones, though, their poison only made the target feel pain. Lots of pain. His last hours had been the worst in his life. Suddenly, he heard steps outside. The door was opened, and a Bone Hunter entered.
Aterius stood up.
"Come with me. Any sudden moves and you're dead, understood?"
In a matter of seconds, a Thornax Launcher was aimed at Aterius' head.
In return Aterius said:"Go the the Great Volcano and burn there for an eternity" The next second, he felt like if his head was separated from his body. Then everything turned black.
The little Ice Wolf cub took a little step forwards. The blue being in front of him was afraid. He could feel that. The being was a female, and was asleep. Suddenly, she moved her head. The wolf cub jumped backwards, surprised of the sudden movement.
The rain broke out in a matter of seconds. Centimeter-wide raindrops fell with a very small interval. Then the raindrops was changed into snow. In just a few minutes, a decimeter-thick layer of snow covered the mountains. Any footprints disappeared. The little wolf cub nosed on the seemingly lifeless blue Agori.
Betak could feel the cold in every corner of her body. It was snowing. The layer of snow was at least three decimeters thick. A Ice Wolf-cub was at her side. It gave a feeling of safety. As long as it stayed there, no danger was close. Betak was glad she was not alone. She didn't know exactly what had happened. She had waked up alone, covered in snow. Then she had discovered the wolf cub at her side. Her helmet was cracked, and so was some of her armor. She already liked it, and was thinking about keeping it. Suddenly, the cub arose, and was out of sight in a moment. The several seconds later, Betak heard steps.
When Aterius woke up, he could barely move. His fingers were so cold he couldn't move them. After several minutes, he stood up. He could now move his fingers, though not very much. After a few moment, he could conclude that he didn't know were he were. Suddenly, a wolf howled. Probably one of those Ice Wolves, Aterius thought. But after a while, he understood that this was not a grown up wolf, but a little cub. He had learned to recognize them after hundreds of freezing cold nights on his earlier adventures. Soon after, he could feel the ground trembling, as if the earth under him was moving. Oh, not good, he though, that either means an earthquake or a swarm or Giant Scarabax. In case of an earthquake, an avalanche would be caused for sure, and in case of a swarm of Giant Scarabax, he would be either eaten or killed by their feet. Either way, he was dead.
Dekru was getting angry. Why wouldn't the guard let him in? Had they already forgotten him? No, that couldn't be the case. But then what was the matter?
"Just move! Take a step to the side! Is it that hard? Just let me in!"
"Sorry, I can't."
"I DON'T CARE! JUST LET ME IN!" Dekru drew his blade. The guard fell to the ground with his head separated from his body. Dekru walked into the cave. He needed to talk to the leader of the Bone Hunters, Ferisius. Suddenly, it started snow. Dekru cursed himself. Now he wouldn't find the way back to that blue Agori, who he hadn't killed yet.
Betak rose up, looking around. The footprints revealed that the person had passed her at just a few meters away. She decided to follow them, curious of who they belonged to. Suddenly, she felt the ground trembling. Then, the white Agori appeared out of nothing in the fog.
"It's me, Betak!" Betak could hear from Aterius' voice that he was afraid.
"What? What are you doing here? Get away!"
"No! Not if you stay!"
"No, I'd only slow you down. Escape yourself! Forget that you have ever met me!"
"NO!" Betak would not change her mind.
"Oh, your hopeless! I knew that since the first time I saw you. But if you now want to die under the feet of a swarm of Giant Scarabax, then that's you choice."
"Hopeless? Hopeless? You must be joking. You're the hopeless one. Anyway, let's get out of here."
"Easier said than done! I'm frozen to the bone! If you want me to get out of here, then do it without my help!"
"Oh, please! You must be able to help! Then, the ground started shaking so much, neither of the Agori could stand up. Suddenly, a Giant Scarabax appeared at the top of a hill, followed by hundreds more, getting neared quickly. Soon, Betak was on Aterius' side, helping him up. The Giant Scarabax was getting closer, and would soon have passed. When they were just about ten meters away, a wolf howled, followed by many more. The Giant Scarabax Beetles stopped. They would not fight against a pack of Ice Wolves if it could be avoided.
"Quickly! Now is our only chance!" The two Agori started running. The Ice Wolves would soon have been driven away by the Giant Scarabax, leaving Betak and Aterius in danger again.
"Take Fima with you and search for that Agori, then. And don't bother coming back if you don't find her! You've taken enough of my time already", the leader of the Bone Hunters, Ferisius, said.
"Yes", said Dekru. "But don't worry, I'll find her."
"Where do I find Fima?"
"Ask one of the guards. Now just get away!" Ferisius was getting angry. Why wouldn't this irritating little creep just go away?
A few minutes later...
"Tell me again", said Fima. "You want me to follow you out in the mountains to search for some blue Agori you lost?"
"I won't go. I prefer "raiding" Ice Wolves."
"AND YOU WANT TO SAY THAT IN FRONT OF FERSISIUS!?"
"Heh, Sorry, I was only joking."
"Best for you... We leave in a minute."
"Come on!"Betak grabbed Aterius' arm and dragged him away from the open area. Then, the ground started trembling again. The Ice Wolves had left. "At this speed we'll never do it!"
"I'm running as fast as I can!"
Suddenly, the rescue appeared in front of them. A big pile of snow.
"We could hide inside that!" Aterius pointed towards the pile of snow.
"For once, you say something which sounds good." The two Agori jumped into the pile, disappearing into the snow. Soon, Aterius' head came out, shortly followed by Betak's. A few minutes later the Giant Scarabax had passed, leaving the Agori alone.
"We need warmth, food and shelter for the night. Maybe we could find a good cave over there?" Betek pointed at a mountainside not far away.
"Seems good. Let's go."
Takboyr fell to the ground. He couldn't survive any longer without food. He needed something to eat. But what? Suddenly, he saw a bush. And there were berries on it! It looked so tasty! Sure, the leaves were frozen, and nearly blue. And the berries had a strange lime green color. But it was berries! Something one could eat! Takboyr threw himself at the bush. Moments later, all of the berries were out of sight. Then, Takboyr felt he needed a throw-up. The berries must have been poisonous! A minute later, he lay seemingly dead in the snow.
Icus walked along the little footpath.
"Takboyr?! Where are you!" Then, she saw the tan body in the snow.
"Quiet now! Any sound could cause an avalanche." Aterius whispered.
"Don't teach me the ways of nature. I know it too well." Betak snapped as a reply. They were walking on a steep mountainside. Suddenly, the worst thing that could ever happen happened. An avalanche. The force of the snow was more that any tree or plant could stop. The two Agori helplessly fell with the avalanche. However, Aterius managed to get his hand over the snow, hoping that someone would see it, and help them.
"Hurry up! At this rate, they'll be half way to the Great Swamp before we reach them!" Dekru shouted to Fima.
"Hey! I'm not an Ice Wolf, OK?" Fima replied, but ran a little faster. His plan was to smash Dekru to pieces with his mace, and tell Fersisius that they had encountered a Skopio. But this wasn't the time.
"Wake up! Wake up!" Suddenly, Takboyr waked up. He looked at Icus, who had awoken him.
"What happened?" he asked her.
"You had eaten poisonous berried. You were nearly dead when I found you. And you seem to have been in a fight?" Icus replied. Takboyr quickly got up.
"Thanks for the help, but I have to go now." Takboyr started to walk towards the opening in the cave.
Takboyr took a step forwards. He had to find the Agori before the Bone Hunters did. He had found footprints belonging to two Agori, which he was now following. Suddenly, the footprints ended. One single tree lay broken in the snow. He recognized the whole thing as the result of an avalanche. It didn't take long before he noticed the white hand coming out of the snow. He immediately started digging Aterius out.
"Betak... *cough* ...Help her..." Aterius whispered with his last powers before he lost his consciousness.
"Aterius! Wake up! We can't carry you! Wake up or we'll leave you here!" Betak said. Slowly, Aterius opened his eyes. He recognized Betak, but not the tan Agori and the white warrior.
"That's Takboyr," she said, and pointed at the tan Agori, "and that's Icus." She pointed at the white warrior.
"So, this is what happened," Aterius said, "shortly after we were buried in an avalanche, Takboyr spotted my hand, which was above the snow. He dug me out, but I fell unconscious right after I told him to help Betak, too. He quickly told you, Icus, and you two together dug out Betak. And now we're here?"
"Yes, that's right," Icus said, "but you'll have to leave soon. Two Bone Hunters have been spotted, one of them being Dekru."
"Right, but where should we go? The Bone Hunters have camps everywhere," Aterius said.
"There was once a little village near the coast of the Great Sea. It was abandoned shortly after the Shattering. It's only ruins left now. The Bone Hunters almost never go there," Takboyr said. I'll follow you there."
"And Icus?" Betak quickly said, "Will she come too?"
"I will follow you to a river a little north of here," Icus said.
"So, when do we leave?" Aterius asked.
"As soon as you're ready. Immediately, if possible," Takboyr said.
"Good. Let's go." Betak stood up.
"So, is that the river you mentioned before?" Betak said.
"Yes," Icus said, "I'll turn back when you're safely over the river." A few minutes later, Aterius, Takboyr and Betak stood on the north side of the river.
"OK, I go back now," Icus said, turning even as she spoke. She was soon out of sight for the three Agori at the north side of the river.
"Stop! And be quiet!" Dekru whispered, "you see that white warrior? I'm sure she knows something about our Agori. So don't kill her. Understand?"
"Yes," answered Fima.
"Go back a few meters, and stop her right after she passes me. Then, I'll come from behind, and knock her unconscious. Understood?"
"Yes, understood..." Fima walked a few meters back, keeping to the side of the way. Soon, the white warrior passed Dekru. Fima immediately stepped out in her way, his mace ready to crush her if she made any resistance. At the same time, Dekru sneaked up behind her and struck with the flat side of his blade.
"I said, WHERE ARE THEY?!" Dekru shouted at Icus. There was no answer.
"Answer me, or I'll make your last moments the worst in your life!"
"You'll never get them! They're miles from here already!" Icus said, "and even if I tell you, you'll kill me anyways."
"Really? Well, at least I'll have to keep my promise," Dekru said, "I'll start with cutting your feet off, you won't need them when you're dead..."
"No! Wait! I'll tell you if you let me go!"
"Hm... OK then. Where are they?"
"They... they went north..."
"Oh, that help us much. You'll need to be more specific! Fima, kill her. At least she tried to help us."
"OK! You remember the ruined village near the Great Sea? They're heading there," she said.
"Great," Dekru said, "Fima, tie her to that tree over there," he pointed at an old, dead tree, "we're leaving as soon as possible."
"Dekru! Slow down! If you won't wait for me, I might as well turn back!" Fima shouted.
"You're not going back! Don't even think about it," Dekru said. They had been running without a stop for 20 hours, and Fima was exhausted. They passed a narrow valley, and some dead bushes. Soon, the ground was getting lower, and they soon reached a river. Here, they stopped.
"So this is that river she mentioned? Then they passed here not long ago," Fima said, "Let's take a break!"
"The sooner we kill them, the sooner can you return to your little home! Move!" Dekru said. They crossed the river. Fima sneaked up behind Dekru, his mace ready to end the life of that pest. Just before he struck, there was a loud noise from behind, making both of the Bone Hunters to turn around. A Skopio! It must have heard the them coming, and prepared an ambush.
"Fima! Get behind it and try to strike it's legs!" Dekru shouted. Fima obeyed immediately. This was no time for argues.
Betak fastened her steps a little. She was getting behind. They had been marching the whole day, and she was getting tired.
"Hey wait for me!" she shouted. Aterius stopped.
"Takboyr, wait," he said, "We've been going without a stop the whole day, and I too am getting tired. Can't we rest here for the night?"
"Hm... No. There will be a storm tonight," Takboyr answered.
"Can you go ahead and look for a good place where the wind won't bother us too much, while I and Betak rest?"
"OK, expect me back in ten minutes."
Eight minutes later...'
"OK, there is a good, sheltered place not far away," Takboyr said, "we should be there before it gets dark."
"Good. Let's go," Betak answered. She and Aterius rose up, and they started walking. Aterius was amazed of Takboyr's endurance. They had been walking the whole day without a stop, and he seemed like he would be happy to continue the whole night, too. Nevertheless, he and Betak had to rest. Soon, they reached the place that Takboyr had found. Takboyr immediately started looking for fuel for a fire. Aterius picked up a handful of nuts from his backpack, and ate them. Takboyr was trying to light a fire, but failed.
"Aterius, could you look for some leaves? I need them for the fire," he said.
"I've not seen a leaf since we crossed the river," Aterius replied, "Let me help you with the fire..." A few minutes later, the fire was lighting up their camp.
"When did you last see Betak?" asked Aterius. He couldn't remember seeing her since after their last stop.
"No idea. I think she was still with us when we come here."
"That was two hours ago! Where could she be?"
Icus tried to reach the stone, but for no good. She had been sitting here for three hours now, and was getting cold. Then she got an idea. What if she could reach the stone with her foot, and bring it within range for her hand? Maybe, just maybe... Yes! She had the stone! Now, it would take some time to cut through the ropes. The stone was sharp, but the ropes were strong. It worked! Just a few minutes more, and she would be free... One arm free! Now for the second arm... Done! She bent over, and had soon freed her feet as well. She stood up, but felt unsure. She had not moved in a long time, and she couldn't hope to reach the Agori before the Bone Hunters...
Betak ran. Must... Reach it... Before they... See me... She had left the camp ten minutes ago. Soon after they had stopped, she had noticed something which looked like a torch, not very long away. As she was convinced that Aterius and Takboyr would never even think of trying to find out what it was, she had decided to sneak away. The light was moving away from her, but she was taking in on it. But soon, she had heard Aterius and Takboyr. If they would find her, they would take her back to the camp, and convince her to forget about it. But she had a feeling of that it was important.
Atral sat down. Every corner of his body was freezing cold, even with the little fire in fron of him. Icicles had formed on the back of his Helmet. The little food he still had left would only last for a few days. He could not hope to catch any fish in the sea; the last one had disappeared a few days ago. Winter quickly was approaching. Too quick.
"I should have known," Atral said to himself, "if this place is not good enough for Agori, it's not a place for a Skrall." He had settled in one of the houses of the village after the last Agori had left. Or so he thought, at least.
Fima quickly dodged the Skopio's foot. As soon as the foot was on the ground, he took the chance and charged towards the Skopio. Bad idea. Suddenly, he was hit in the side, falling to the ground. The Skopio roared, turning to Fima. Fima closed his eyes, waiting for the giant jaws to crush him. He felt his armor cracking as the sharp jaws went into his body. He felt how he left the ground. Suddenly, the grip loosened, and he fell to the ground. He heard the terrible roar of pain from the Skopio, and then everything turned black.
Icus stopped for a few seconds, but then continued running again. She had been running for several hours, and she could now hear her own heart. She was not used to travel so long distances in such a short time, and thought she would fall to the ground unconscious any second. But she knew she had to continue. If any of the three Agori would die, she could never forgive herself.
Fima opened his eyes. The pain was still unbearable. Dekru stood in front of him, packing food in a little sack.
"Good. You're awake," Dekru said, "I can't wait any longer. I'll leave some food for you, but I go now." He dropped the sack beside Fima, and left the little cave. Fima closed his eyes again, trying to remember what had happened. Nothing. The was a big, black hole in his memory. The last thing he remembered, was crossing a frozen river with Dekru. But his injuries told him that something powerful had attacked him.
Icus reached the frozen river where she had left the Agori. She stopped to take breath, but her eyes were caught by the body of a Skopio. First, she took a quick step backwards, but then realized that it was dead. But it was killed not long ago. She walked up to it, and noticed a few minor injuries on the back legs. Then she saw the open wound on it's back. The armor had been smashed open, revealing the still warm inner parts. Icus looked away, and instead looked for the one who could have killed the beast.
"Aterius! There you are," Betak said.
"Where have you been?" Aterius said. He and Takboyr had been looking for her for a few hours now.
"Where did you go?" Takboyr said, "Why didn't you tell us?"
"Nothing. I... I just wanted to be alone," Betak said, "OK?"
"I believe that when Scarabax Beetles start talking!" Takboyr said.
"Just forget it! It's nothing," Betak said.
"Oh, just get over it," Aterius said, "Come on! We have to go!" Aterius turned around, and started walking back. Betak quickly followed, and they were soon followed by Takboyr.
After a few hours rest, they continued. The sun was still down, but they went on. At about midday, they stopped a short time. A few minutes later, they were going again. It was getting dark again, but their journey continued.
"There! At last! That's the village over there!" Takboyr pointed towards the ruins. They had just reached the top of a hill, a few hours after the sun had went down. They quickly reached the village, where Takboyr lead them to a small ruin. The walls were not as ruined as on the other houses, giving them more shelter.
Atral quickly turned out his fire, and hid in the corner of the ruin. He had heard voices. For the first time in centuries, had had heard voices. The voices belonged to three Agori: Two male, one female.
Icus quickly hid behind a rock, as Dekru turned around. The Bone Hunter scanned the area for a few minutes, but then decided to go on. It was a few hours before dawn, and he knew the Agori had passed not many hour ago.
Last time he had been in these parts of the mountains, was when ha and a few other Bone Hunters had come up here to raid a village, not lfar from where he was now.
"So, that's where they're going!" he said to himself, "But then I have an advantage. I know the short cuts, they don't!" He continued, never noticing the white warrior following.
Aterius woke up as he hit the ground. He quickly stood up, his weapon at the ready. Nothing. Not a sound. He was meant watch for any dangers, but had obviously fallen asleep. He was just about to sit down again, when he thought he heard steps. He stood still and listened, but heard nothing.
"I'm just too tired," he said to himself. Betak had awakened him at midnight, and quickly fallen asleep. That was about two hours ago. Takboyr was supposed to take over in one more hour.
Aterius looked around. There was no light. At all. They had no fire, in order to avoid being seen by anyone or anything. Instead, it turned out Takboyr had brought thick furs. No one bothered asking what animal they came from. But at least they could keep warm.
Now and then, Aterius would hear sounds from outside, but rejected it as some sort of wild animal. It never came across his mind that any creature would have gone south long ago.
Atral carefully approached the house. Not a sign of life. But he knew that it housed three Agori. He couldn't see anything in the dark, but he knew the village better than he knew his own hand. Actually, he barely felt his hand in the cold.
The dawn slowly approached, while Atral moved around the house. Then, he heard voices from insde the house. Two voices. Then it was silent.
Icus stayed a few meters behind Dekru, her biggest concern being not to make any noises. She was not afraid of being seen; even if the Bone Hunter would turn around, he wouldn't see her in the dark. Neither could she see him, but he wasn't trying to be silent.
At least, the dawn came. At first, it was a faint light in the horizon. The light grew stronger, and at last the sun itself could be seen.
Icus quickly increased the distance betwen her and the Bone Hunter to about ten meters. Then twenty meters.
The environment got more open. The big stones, which had covered the landscape, got more rare. The sea could be seen in the distance. They were east of the village now.
Dekru quickly turned, pointing his Thornax Launcher at Icus, who was completely surprised.
"Give it up! I noticed you hours ago! Lay down your weapons, and go that way, then I'll maybe let you go," he said.
"And since when could I trust a Bone Hunter?" She talked completely calm, but her brain worked as even before.
"Since when did you have a choice?" Dekru took a step forwards.
"So, what's next?" Betak asked, looking at Aterius. The Sun had risen less than an hour ago, and the three Agori were eager to leave.
"The village leaders gave me this." Aterius picked up a small metal plate, made from a metal which none of them recognized. On the plate were small letters inscribed, though not the kind of letters used by Agori.
"That's all? Didn't you think of what to do when you arrived here?" Takboyr said, a little upset by the information.
"What? you mean tha-" before Betak could complete the work, she was interrupted by a Thornax bursting through one of the walls in the ruin. Takboyr quickly got his weapons, but another Thornax hit his legs, throwing him back.
Dekru loaded another Thornax into his launcher, and this time, he aimed at the long white Agori. However, Aterius took cover in time, just avoiding the fruit by a decimeter. Didn't matter. Dekru had enough ammunition to turn the ruin into dust. At least if he used the explosive ones. Both Betak and Aterius had hidden now. Dekru turned to where the tan Agori had been seconds ago, but nothing was to be seen.
"You asked for it," Dekru said to himself, as he loaded an explosive Thornax into the launcher.
Bad idea. Just as he was going to trigger the launcher, someone tackled him to the side, making the Thornax miss completely. It exploded as it hit the water surface.
Dekru was up in moments, but threw himself to the side to avoid being split in halves by by the newcomer. After a quick look on the warrior, it was clear that he was a Skrall, former warrior of the Rock Tribe.
Atral attacked again. It was a miss again. It was long ago that he had used his sword, and he had lost much of his former skill.
"Who are you?" asked the Bone Hunter, "And in what way is this your business?"
"Atral. Who are you?"
"Dekru. No one has attacked me and got away with it."
Then it's time to change that, isn't it?" Atral said, as he swung his sword again.
"You bet it!" Aterius suddenly appeared, followed by Betak.
"Grr... Well, a Bone Hunter knows when he can win another day," Dekru said, as he hit Atral, making him drop his sword, and at the same time he got Aterius to the ground with a quick blow from his hand. Then he turned, leaving the site. He was out of range in moments.
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- Bone Hunters
- Ice Wolves
- Giant Scarabax Beetles
|Lands of Peril (v|e)|
|Stories||Mysteries of Terra Magna | Chronicles of Takboyr|