In Realm Year 73, Harreth Bloodprayer came to the city of Hazelburn. He passed freely through the wards that guarded the valley, for he came with no hatred of its people â€“ although he did come to challenge.
Harreth passed through the town like a phantom in the afternoon light, pausing to wonder silently at the easy peace with which the townsfolk went about their lives. Though he held his human form, he kept to the edges of the streets, and none saw him pass; his silver tattoos covered his dark skin like a shroud, drawing and shifting the light, and his deep green hair went as unseen as though it had been spun from the air itself. Even his skin, its many lines creating a pattern reminiscent of a lizardâ€™s scales, went unremarked by a people that would have reacted, for none saw him pass, though he hovered in the shadows within a foot of them and watched them work. Then, swiftly, he approached the great hill leading up to the gossamer castle that overlooked the valley, ready for anything.
No sooner had he set one foot on the hill than a small creature formed from the wind before him. â€œGreetings, silver-clad warrior. What brings you to the God Alakazarâ€™s domain?â€
Harreth snorted. The smell of the Wyld filled his nose, and he wrinkled it unconsciously as he examined his surroundings. His great silver spear he left sheathed on his back, for the moment, as he returned his attention to the being. â€œHe is no god, creature of Chaos.â€ He smiled slightly. â€œI have come for the Lunar that your lord thinks to enslave. I will take her with me, to be trained properly in the ways of the Exalted, and so that chaos cannot infect her body and soul. If your lord gives her up, I will have no quarrel with him.â€
The sylph considered this, and then its face changed, becoming more imperious and refined. â€œCome and take her, if you can.â€ With that, it faded away to nothingness, leaving Harreth cursing quietly. By all reports, this Fair Folk was a powerful foe, and one he had hoped not to be forced into battle with. With a muffled growl, he started up the hill.
Almost immediately, he encountered resistance. The ground beneath his feet shifted and faded, revealing pits and snares deep below. Harrethâ€™s legs flexed and changed, gaining the power of a pouncing cat, and he began leaping forwards, shifting position at a momentâ€™s notice and spinning and diving around the holes. Moments later, the ground itself began to heave, sending flights of earth lobbing about. Harrethâ€™s progress became an acrobatic nightmare, as he cartwheeled over hunks of earth, balancing for moments on clumps of dirt hovering in the air as he continued his great forwards leaps. He spared a moment to note that this lord was not yet taking him seriously; although the dirt and holes could injure him if he slipped, he would be shocked if they could do so seriously. Such a trap might function against mere mortals, but it was nothing compared to his own capabilities.
Finally, as he dove forwards, the barrage of dirt ceased, and the earth grew still. Looking up, Harreth saw a flare of silver light from the top of the tower, and quickly paced towards the gate. He stopped, then, surprised, for it seemed to be made of the same stone as the palace, and did not budge when he tried to force it, even with his Charms. For a few moments, he stood thoughtfully at the gate, and then looked upwards. With a slim smile, he let Essence flow through himself, and his body shifted and changed, until a hawk leapt from the air where he had stood and flew upwards.
Moments later, a great gust of wind caught the hawk, slamming it forcefully into the wall at the side of the tower. As he tumbled, Harreth instinctively transformed back into himself, landing on his hands and flipping to his feet. He glared up at the wall, and growled again. More Essence flowed, and a great lizard-man stood in his place. Claws flicked outwards, prying into the perfect seams in the wall, and Harreth began to climb. Soon, great gusts of wind were buffeting him, trying to shake him from his perch, but he held to his resolution and continued climbing. No damned creature of the Wyld would shake him away so easily!
Climbing the guard tower took Harreth over three minutes, due to the time he was forced to spend fighting against the increasingly brutal winds. Finally, however, he climbed over the rimâ€¦ to find what could only be the Fair Folk lord locked in an embrace with a mortal woman. As he reached the top, he heard the lord speak.
â€œThe skies will rain my tears for every day that you are gone.â€
â€œAww, thatâ€™s sweet.â€ The mortal reached up to stroke his cheek. â€œBut mind you donâ€™t wash out the town. Rain stays.â€
â€œMm, yes.â€ The Fair Folk turned to look down the hill. â€œI will need to put in a moat.â€ His attention shifted to Harreth. â€œAh, the silver warrior. You took your fair time.â€
Harreth growled more deeply, stepping forwards, but the mortal swiftly stepped between the two. â€œI thought we had to leave?â€ She smiled, and a silver moon, shifting between phases, flickered to life on her forehead. Harreth paused, suddenly confused. He directed his attention to the Lord.
â€œYou are allowing her to depart?â€
â€œWell, of course.â€ The lord sniffed haughtily. â€œHer shape is so fetching as it is. I would hate for it to change without her willing it. Besides, what is a yearâ€™s training to one such as us?â€
The other Lunar paused, and his mouth opened twice before he found the words. â€œThen why did you try to stop me?!â€
â€œOh, you mortals are always so concerned with the immediately.â€ The lord waved dismissively. â€œShe needed time to pack.â€ He snapped his fingers, and a pair of wind creatures flew up with two small cases. A calico cat paced in their wake.
Harrethâ€™s eye twitched.
Quickly, Serafin spoke. â€œWell, Master Lunar. Lead the way.â€
Harreth tried to regain control of the situation. â€œYou can fly?â€ Serafin nodded, and he nodded back. â€œExcellent. The cat canâ€™t come.â€
â€œTry and stop him.â€ With an impish smile, Serafin tucked the cases under her arms. Harreth raised an eyebrow, but then shrugged and stepped up to the gate towerâ€™s railing. He stretched his arms, taking hawk shape. Serafin did the same, and became a small sparrow, her belongings fading away into Elsewhere. Glancing back, Harreth saw that the cat had shrunk to a fraction if its former sizeâ€¦ and grown wings. He opened his beak to question Serafin, then sighed to himself. Plenty of time for that later. For now, he was just as happy to leave this mad place.
Two birds and a flying cat winged their way into the afternoon sun. Alakazar watched them go with a sad smile. â€œCome back soon, beloved.â€