“General Tsiakk. I-I have been informed of an attack.”
The messenger is riddled with fury.
Nyra Tsiakk turns, to face the furious woman standing at the flap of her tent.
The General, though short in stature, stares at the messenger with piercing yellow eyes that stand out from her dark skin. Her antlers paired with huge dark feathered wings, mark her as a hybrid, just as the messenger’s antlers and large dark eyes mark her as Dae.
“Elaborate, Commander Jade.”
“One of my soldiers ran into two more-than-slightly inebriated Chaetes. She was overpowered a-and—”
The General moves before the sentence is complete, eyes ablaze, wings flared. Heading directly to the infirmary. The soldiers and various workers of the Tsiakk camp exchange worried looks, moving hurriedly out of the General’s way.
Once at the infirmary tent; one of the largest and biggest as Commander Vanserra had just returned from a battle, Nyra heads straight for the curtained bed in the far corner. The tent is bustling with Healers and their Assistants. There were no deaths, but a few serious injuries.
Nyra reaches for the curtain—
And pauses. She stands for a while, hand retreating, wings folding tightly. Uncertainty.
A Healer’s Assistant walks up to her after a moment. A young Nymph: light, gossamer wings— coloured green, patterened in black— flutter nervously. She has a round, kind face, complimented by wide blue eyes.
“She’s asleep, General— m-ma’am.”
Thank the lords of Hrea.
“How bad was it?”
The Assistant’s head lowers.
Nyra’s fist clenches.
“Who were they? Who commands them?”
A pause. Then: “She said they bore the seal of-of General Ares.”
Nyra gasps. Red, undiluted fury roars throughout her body.
General Ares Dire is a hybrid as well. He and Nyra grew up in the same village, experienced the same torture, flew away the same night. They parted, years ago, and both quickly amassed formidable armies just as the Great War was starting. The War of the Creatures, they will call it. The War wherein the hybrids finally fought back.
Now, Nyra matches with the Aerial quadrant to raid the desert Harpies and scare them into Orys, the closest city, and send it into chaos. Then, they attack with a message.
They fly for hours, each of them thanking their training to be able to fly in formation for so long. Camp Tsiakk is centered around Lake Thyri, near the Border forest where the Hadarac desert starts. Soon, the lake is far away, the sparse desert forest becoming closer and closer.
They land in front of the forest before nightfall, and walk to where there’s more cover. The Desert Nest is a spot in the distance, a distance Nyra estimates they could make by tomorrow around dusk. They’ll be fighting in the dark then.
In the morning, the soldiers, Commander Vilta, and General Tsiakk are awake before dawn, so Nyra decides to walk to find a stream.
The forest was once beautiful. Before a human village desecrated it. It’s grown back, but only partially. The trees aren’t very dense, but the branches grow wide, providing enough coverage to make it safe for the night.
Nyra stops abruptly. There are noises. Speech. Talking. She is instantly alert.
One person. A deep voice, angry, and Harpy; large wings rustle the surrounding plants.
Just a little closer…
The next few moments happen slowly. A red haze envelops her vision when the voice becomes clearer.
She steps through the bush. The person whips around. They stare, her gaze is pure fury.
And she attacks.
Her sword is drawn and she leaps, barely giving him a chance to draw his own blade before she’s on him, slashing, slicing, darting, jabbing, all the while screaming a violent slew of obscenities. All her fury, grief, regret, is thrown into killing him.
Ares is just as skilled, but having recognized her as a friend, he only defends himself, being pushed farther and farther into the desert behind him.
“Nyra! What are you—”
“ARES YOU FILTHY LYING—”
Move after move, swing after stab after slice, she carries on.
“YOUR BASTARDLY MEN ABUSED—”
Just like that, he knows. He’d already dealt with them; made them feel pain beyond anything they’d known,
With as few words as possible he explains, between blocking her thrusts, that the men were now dead, their souls being dragged through eternal fire below.
When he sees an opening, he twist her sword out of her hand, so she resorts to punching.
Her movements grow tired, her yells quieten, and they fall into the steady rythm of sparring.
A dance neither of the two had practiced for years, yet still execute every move perfectly.
It ends, with him holding her, wings completely wrapping around each other.
After standing in silence for a while, he follows her to her camp and a new alliance is forged.
The hybrids are united and at long last, the Great War will be be won.