They stood beside each other, gazing at the scene before them. The destruction had clawed is way down the valley. Very little of the place remained, of the place they remembered. Trees had been decimated, grasses and orchards no longer flourished upon the mountainside. Houses, once well kept and impressive, now stood in ruin. Their roofs caved in, Windows broken, interiors streaked with grime.
"what happened here, Essa?" Lupa queried to her friend. No explanation in her head being reason enough for this.
"I don't know" Essa replied, carefully picking her way down the slope to their village.
"We have only been gone two hours, what the hell could have gone, that, wrong?"
"At least it wasn't us this time." Essa shrugged the damage was great, but they had recovered from worse.
"where is everyone do you think?" Lupa asked. she scanned the deserted area looking for any sign of life.
"maybe they fled to the mountains." suggested Essa, neither wanted to think about the most likely answer.
"the network has been extending since the dwarves gave their support. hey may have taken refuge with them."
"possibly I suppose." Essa distanced, staring towards the mountain.
"do you want me to scout." Lupa offered.
"if you wouldn't mind"
"I will send Pasta, he needs some exercise, you can do the ground on foot."
Closing her eyes, Lupa summoned Pasta, her falcon spirit flew to meet him, once possessed he once again too to the wind soaring across the sky towards the mountain.
Essa continued picking her way amongst the debris scattering the ground. she examined the houses carefully, looking for the cause of the destruction. There where notches in the walls that looked like blade marks and the blackened ceiling denoted the presence of fire.
A screech from the air, turned her head to the sky. A plummeting dot shadowed by a glimmering spirit flustered against the quickening air.
Lupa was returning, hopefully with news of their peoples whereabouts. Essa climbed back up the valley side and lupa came into sight. Just as the group on the other side did. Their movement and arms that came into focus caused her speed to quicken. Just before she could reach Lupa an arrow pierced through Pasta blackening the area between his wings. The falcons shriek made Essa move faster still. Seeing movement behind Lupa she launched herself forward just in time to catch there leaders arm as he brought his sword down in a shining arc towards Lupa.
Distracting him, she drew him away from her still unmoving friend. His companions were still too far from reaching them, allowing Essa to only worry about the single opponent. He lunged at her as she darted aside, slamming her elbow into his shoulder. He crashed to his knees but found his hand close to the hilt of his dropped sword. Rising to his feet with a roar, he attacked again, fiercer than before. His companions getting worryingly close.
She momentarily glanced back towards Lupa. She was still blank. The distraction was enough to act as an invitation to her opponent. A swift punch left her reeling and as she struggled to recover the sword was held to her throat.
"cease your struggles and you shall not be harmed, you have no quarrels with me."
She didn't believe him, his kind were rarely merciful. Essa reached up and grasped the blade, focusing her anger through the sword as best as she could. Suddenly the metal glowed and her opponent dropped his sword with a cry. His fingers blistering before his eyes. Stealing his fallen sword, she spun taking out her opponents legs. The sword returned to a throat, caressing his jugular.
"cease your struggling, and you wont be as damaged when I return you to your men." his hands raised, he relaxed underneath the touch of the blade, knowing any tension would be sliced by its point. His men with swords drawn ran towards Lupa. Rolling her eyes and sighing at the incapability of her friend, she switched her handle to the blade and smashed him over the side of the head, knocking him into bleary unconsciousness at her feet.
Leaping to the aid of her, still unconscious, friend, blades scratched her limbs as she parried the unwavering attacks from the new opponents. Miscalculating a blow to her abdomen, a knife caught her ankles, tripping her. Rolling to recover, one of their blades caught in the ground, narrowly missing her skull. Using this, she used his lowed hands as a spring board to fire her forward and become a colliding force on the back of his head into the hilt of his sword, shattering the frontal lobe of his skull. Before kicking one of his companions in the face breaking his nose.
A pause as she regained her balance was all the opponent needed to catch her face with the blade. Blood poured down her face blurring her eyes. Swinging her blade, the softened blow of metal meeting flesh draw, her around as another body feel at her feet. Momentarily blinded, a crack to her side crippled her leg causing her to collapse. The cool of a blade traced down the side of her face, warming pressure stuck to her hair, plastering it to the reddening ground. Blood cleared from her vision and her bitter grins stood over her, blades pointed towards her.
"wait." Their leader pushed through their band, he knelt beside her whispering into her ear before stepping back to let them finish. Touching her throat like an executioner, one raised his sword and brought it down.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Lupa had returned, her eyes green with the earth she controlled. Roots sent the band flying away from Essa. The executioner strangled by the entwining vines that crushed him apart. A briar wall grew between the friends and their foe, preventing further damage to Essa. Summoned creatures clawed from the earth and sky, gunning towards the enemy, with teeth and beaks.
Those who chose to fight back soon met a swift defeat. Metal and bone both cracked within the strength of roots. Thorns shot from black creepers, bullets towards the shrinking band, overwhelmed by this new force.
Easily over powering them, Lupa drew her powers away leaving the creatures to their own devises for the dwindling few.