After a long moment of staring at the glimmering essences a strange compulsion shuddered through his fluid body and to his terrified disbelief he felt himself start to absorb the collected essences of his family and ‘friends’ in the pile before him. They flowed in to him swiftly and violently and he spasmed each time one settled as it changed the whole structure of his body again and again. As the 11th essence settled in him a new sense of power flowed through his body. He was no longer limited to the confining shape of an air essling, he could take any!
With a deep breath Nat reached inside himself and summoned forth the essences of Nature, Body and Water. Stepping on to the mist platform he observed in a detached manner as his body dissolved and was transported onto another island. Shaking himself he resumed his natural form and glanced around. All the humans had frozen in shock as the bewildering sight which gave Nat the time to run away from the crowd. Once out of sight he transformed into an Earth essling, what he felt he should have been born if not a Nathound. The humans who were in hot pursuit ignored him and focused instead on an innocent air essling who was wandering about. Within moments they had ripped her to pieces.
One of the Humans spoke in that strange way of theirs which suggests supreme confidence, blasting their business out for all to see, but also cunning, it is a silent way off communicating so that they could sneak up on unsuspecting prey. ‘Not that the prey here even cares’ Nat thought bitterly. Nat hadn’t previously been fluent in Human but his Astral essence rose to the fore and he understood that they were upset that ‘he’ didn’t put up more of a challenge. That clinched it for Nat, the Humans were essence-thirsty beasts whose only pleasure was in slaughter and Middle Floor Runespan was a dark, gloomy and above all dead world.
He needed to get out.
Suddenly he felt a pleasurable warmth start in his stomach and he automatically turned to face a human with green skin and a spotty tail which started at the shoulders. Dimly he wondered why humans came in so many species, no two even remotely the same colours, and why some had odd tails and some didn’t, maybe it was rank? The warmth was building in his throat and he yawned to release it. Then he started in astonishment and horror and a globule of his own glittering essence was sucked towards the human. Instantly he felt substantially weaker. Already he felt another ball beginning to form in the pit of his stomach. This time he refused to let it out, much to the irritation of the human who had started to show strange symbols above his head ‘Asterix’ the Astral in his mind informed him, rather pointlessly as he didn’t really care.
Abruptly he turned and pulled away from the human’s pull, understanding why his brethren did not run from it, it felt really nice. If he were feeling more charitable Nat may have felt some surprise and relief that the humans weren’t hurting them at least but instead he just felt anger. In a flash he tried to reach inside himself to become a Nathound as it was obvious that these humans did not have the strength of mind, will or power to absorb from them. To his dismay he did not transform fully into a Nathound, his structure changed but he stayed in the rat-like form of an essling. The formerly furious human gave a ‘w00t’ of startled joy as Nat was forced to relinquish the warmth in his throat, apparently she managed to syphon nature runes off his essence.
Nat’s ruse had turned against him as the human population of the whole island started after him, hopeful of the bounty. He ran. Leaping from platform to platform, expending his own essence to power them and he was followed at every turn. Nat despaired of ever escaping and thought about turning to fight, something that no essbeing had ever felt before. Just as he was about to make a stand, something unexpected happened. He fell down a hole with a weird earthen spike sicking up it. The humans would recognise it as the level vine but Nat had never even heard tell of such a thing.