Table of Contents
As the fog lifted, Kieran found himself floating in a sea of clouds, the world hazy and gray, Elena and Khory beside him. He frowned, shaking his head.
â€œWhat is this?â€ Elena looked around, her expression concerned. â€œItâ€™s not real air; I canâ€™t hear the wind. Is thisâ€¦ Mokrelusâ€™s mind?â€
â€œI think so. At least, itâ€™s how we see it.â€ Kieran experimentally focused on Elena, and found himself drifting towards her. â€œWeâ€™re not here in person, only in thought. And we have to hurry, and find Niaaaah!â€ His measured words trailed into a shout of surprise as he abruptly shot forwards, parting the clouds like a meteor. Elena shot forwards at the same time, and Khory was only a moment behind them. Kieranâ€™s headlong advance began to twist and turn as he gasped, and he slowed himself down with force of effort, panting slightly.
â€œAlright, donâ€™t do that.â€ Khory caught up with the other two. â€œIâ€™m guessing that was you lookinâ€™ for Nia?â€
â€œDesire and thoughts are pretty strong here.â€ Kieran blushed faintly, looking downwards. â€œOn the bright side, that just might lead us to her.â€
Elena thought about that a moment, and then focused, looking down through the shifting clouds. After a few moments, she shook her head and sighed. â€œRight, Kieran â€“ you take the lead. Khory and I will just focus on following you.â€ When Kieran looked at her oddly, she shrugged. â€œI canâ€™t find her. Or at least, I canâ€™t move towards her. Seemed like you could.â€
â€œAh.â€ Kieran blushed again as Khory chuckled, and then nodded. â€œRight. Letâ€™s do this.â€ Closing his eyes for a moment, he focused on Nia, picturing her in battle with Mokrelus, and felt the world shifting around him. As he picked up speed, Elena and Khory struggled to keep pace, both focusing intently on their companion.
As they raced through the clouds, Kieran felt a pang of concern; it had been too long already. What if Nia wasâ€¦ he forced the thought away, knowing that it would only distract him from his goal, and focused on finding her. Moments later, as they broke through the swirling mists of Mokrelusâ€™s mind, he saw that he had.
Below them, a great crystal construct sat, a thousand tendrils of carved purple stone reaching upwards. Over a hundred of the spires were entwined with another, much smaller crystal, this one a luminescent white, shining like a beacon in the darkness of the mind. All of the smaller crystalâ€™s points were entangled, and a dozen more purple spires connected the two crystals, but the larger stone twisted even more fragments as the party approached, seeing them for the first time. As the three heroes raced towards the two structures, they felt an overwhelming presence all around them; the voice of Mokrelus.
â€œInsects! You dare strike me within my own soul? I will swallow you entirely, and feast on your knowledge!â€ With that simple statement, the tendrils struck, and Kieran found himself ducking and weaving, focusing on the overwhelming need to not be struck.
â€œKieran!â€ Niaâ€™s voice rang out from the pearl crystal. â€œYou have to shatter the parts of his being that I must replace; Mokrelus is trying to absorb my essence into himself before that can happen!â€ As Kieran watched, one of the white crystal tendrils shuddered, and the purple enwrapping it grew to consume it utterly. A moment later, only the purple tendril remained, tying the two constructs together.
â€œRight.â€ Kieran dove downwards, wishing he had his sword. But then, within the mind, what good would orichalcum do? Instead, he focused once again on his need, and held out his hand; a gleaming spear of golden light formed in his hands, and he swept down towards Mokrelus, slamming into one of the entwining tendrils and sending shards of purple stone flying. The white stone fought alongside him, and the purple exploded into hundred of shards, as the white stone bound itself to the surface of Mokrelusâ€™s self. The great being roared in anger, and a dozen spires slammed towards Kieran.
Khory interposed himself between Kieran and the shards, as one slammed through his chest and another wrapped around his neck. Wrestling with them, grabbing others with his hands, he yelled back to Kieran as he was dragged into the behemothâ€™s core. â€œHurry, Kieran! Stop that thing!â€
â€œKhory!â€ Kieran started to soar towards Khory, but the large manâ€™s roar stopped him.
â€œSave her! Iâ€™ll be fine!â€ The words were punctuated with a mighty punch, as Khory slammed his fist into a purple stone, which turned deep red in response, pulling away from the mortal. Kieran, sick at heart, spun and attacked another amethyst tendril as Khory was swallowed by the purple stone. Across from him, Elena darted and weaved, shattered purple stone and allowing another white tendril to grow.
The battle was far from over.