Amulet of the Elements Chosen of the Stone

In Evernia, the planet of sinful creation, it is said that no creature is created equal. The reign of dragons has come to spread over the many lands, while the hatred for humanity and those of Drathellian blood grows. Even still, the wealthiest of monarchs have come to be humbled by the might and danger of a noxious and plague spreading cloud known as the Raxionian Bane. According to legend, only the Keeper of the Elements can restore balance to the doomed planet, he or she that is the Chosen of the Stone. Prophecy states that the era of the dragon and the hell hound shall rise together as one to lead the masses of the lost, but will it stand true when two enemies face each other after centuries of war.
The Embryonic Era left the planet in a state of barren waste, rebuilt on the backs of those know as Tyliquin witches as well as the Wyvern dragons that now rest in extinction. It is unknown whether or not the gods have condemned the planet, or if the Bane has been created by the scor

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5. Chapter Four

It had been nearly a fortnight since the Bloodclaw clan had disowned their birthplace. The travel had been long and tedious, and the absence of prey was slowly growing. They had managed to get by, by hunting small herbivores and drinking from the occasional spring along the way. The lands of the west were far different than Baeruqkana. Grass covered its fields, birds took flight in the sky, and the mountains were made of soft gray stone. It was only when Zacura took the sight of the waterfalls and pine trees into her gaze, that she realized they had at last crossed into Skyline territory. The further they walked, the stronger their scent became. The smell of old urine mixing with the musk of nature alerted them that their foes were not far away. The land was untouched to the death behind them. Zacura had been correct. All that was left now was to brawl with the leader of the land and overthrow him. Nothing would stop her.

The clan had grown tired; their bodies ached from the journey; all they wanted was sleep. Some had been lost along the way; pups fell ill, others died from pure exhaustion and hunger. The elders had managed to reach the lands of reassurance; their bodies conditioned from the years of war. But many had finally come to reach their breaking point; they could travel no further.

Onselas, son of Canavis, came to stand beside the will of Zacura. He was a shining black with copper-toned eyes, with a round rump bearing no tail. Small red horns came to spring from his forehead, curling backward around his short and sharp ears. He was one of the clan's best fighters and had been chosen to accompany his leader into the grasp of the Skylines. He held many questions, several ideas he wished to voice but to do so was not his place. So instead he simply took his orders and carried them out as quickly as possible.

They stood in the open gap of a forest clearing. The trees surrounded them in a circular form, the tops of each shaded with auburn and green. "They are approaching." Spoke Canavis. Zacura took the time to look around, to listen and observe. She wondered how many would come to greet them. How many would she have to kill, to be given a chance to battle the leader who stood in her way of survival?

"Gather the remaining pups and see the elders moved to a safer location. I do not wish their lives in the crossfire of my wrath." Spoke the alpha, as her eyes scanned the surrounding area. "And what of the others? Shall they too be led away?" Onselas questioned. "No," she replied. "They shall remain here to witness the will of their commander."

She could hear the weak and slowing steps of her kin moving outward. They ran for the cover of the trees, in hopes of remaining unseen. But the efforts were of little need. The scouts of the Skyline pack had already taken their count and now brought their alpha with them. They were a legendary breed, wolves of purebred bloodlines. They were known to be the favored of the gods due to their beauty and loyalty to the ways of old. Each bore fur so gleaming white that it reflected the rays of the sun. Their bodies were large yet agile, with golden symbols carved into the joints of their bodies. The languages of the gods were placed upon them, and each wore them as a badge of honor. They had claimed this land for hundreds of years remaining to themselves in their acts of inbreeding and tactics of battle. The wolves of the Skyline were pigheaded and believed in only their ways and those of their forefather, Xanezances.

They surrounded the Bloodclaws as if hunting; each one locked onto a target. They did not speak unless given order from their leader. They moved as one finally coming to be seen by the shocked eyes of the hounds. They were blinding in their entirety. Zacura came to stand before her family, the young Onselas standing with her. Fangs had come to bare from both sides, the tension within those few silent moments sharp enough to slice the air around them. The breeze swirled and mingled their scents, the musk of fire mixing with that of grass and living soil. "I see the cowards of the land have come to greet their honored guests," Zacura spoke taking a step before Onselas her tail coming to rise over her back.

"We cower before none, half-breed." A voice spoke from within the trees. Its body came to surface in radiance and pride. Elder Creasglowe Skyline had come forth. His body ridden with the scars of the wars of origin, his eyes a piercing blue staring onto the disgrace stepping foot within his markings. He stood as tall as Zacura did with a slightly thicker frame, his fur double-coated and gleaming upon his pink flesh. His snout of steel gray came to sniff the air, and a growl came to form within his chest.

"You are no honored guest hound, nor are you welcome here. You and your kind were banished from the safety of these mountains long ago. Return to the slums of your sin-ridden lands, and perhaps you shall escape with your miserable lives." He held a voice of deep and unforgiving scorn, one that did not fit his godlike appearance.

"This shall be my home. I shall lay my head with the likes of your pack. The young within my clan shall frolic with those in yours. The days of segregation between our races has come to an end. It is why our ancestors have sent forth the death that steadily consumes our world. To bring us together as we once stood long ago before the gods of men drove us to turn upon each other. Shall you show the wisdom you claim to hold and allow us to enter gracefully, or shall we see you and your followers into the hands of those you now worship? If I must slay you within your lands to ensure my race survives, I shall do so with no remorse." Zacura replied coming to line her body parallel to Creasglowe.

"Your words carry no weight here. If our creators had wished us to mix our blood, would we stand here before you? You shall not slay me, nor any who stand so strong among me. You are the most unholy of beings; a demon sent to torment our world for the punishment of sin. You shall never be welcome here, nor shall your clan of historical fragments. If the spilling of blood is what your heart desires, I shall provide your mutts with a show they shall never forget." He dropped his head low; his eyes locked on Zacura's every move. His ears came to rest on the sides of his head, his flews moving to curl over his salmon-colored gums. The hair upon his scruff rose to spike, and his paws found themselves planted firmly.

"You stand before me speaking of gods and sin, yet you commit the worst sin known to any being. You turn against your own for the sake of preserving the admiration you are given for your simple-minded hatred. I assure you, Wolf, you are no better than we. You are but a tool, a breed created by the same hands that forged demons like me." Zacura bared her fangs each now sitting encased within swirling fire.

"If after all these years you still view your kind as the highest of our breed, I say for the sake of the future, let blood be shed! But if it is my hide you wish to claim and my life you want to take, you must do so alone. Surely, a creature as fabled as you should need no aid, or do you hide behind the might of numbers? I fight for a greater cause— one driven by madness and the sheer will to survive. What is it that you fight for? Remembrance, perhaps the security of your rank, which you have so desperately clung to since Abizean defeated you? Speak! Let your voice be heard by all those who follow you in fool's courage. Do they know of your past, or do they suckle from the same teat of desolation and distortion that you have fed upon for the last three hundred fifty years? If I emerge victoriously, I will be granted the leadership of not only those who stand with you now but all those who hide in the shadows of this land. So I say to you, old brother, what shall it be?"

Creasglowe snarled at her words, the fact that they held truth igniting him with fury. "As those who gave you life chose so long ago, I vow to shed blood and end your reign of turmoil." "Then let us fight so that I may defame your legacy before I replace it with my own." She replied, moving forth as the two began to circle each other. Onselas moved backward as the clan watched on ready to spring into action if need be. Canavis stood before them; his eyes watchful, his heart and mind willing Zacura to do well. The scouts and warriors of the rival pack stared at them with a deadly gaze. It seemed as each fiber of their being had been trained to hate them, to kill them if given a chance.

The dance and courting of a territorial clash began; each fighter now assessing their opponent for weakness and wounds. Zacura could feel the lust for blood rising in her heart and knew that this would either be a step towards progress or her final stand. If this wolf were the touched and beloved of the gods, surely she would have to use her best skills to defeat him. Their circling came to a close as they charged each other, the sound of bone and flesh clashing upon soil radiating into the air. Fangs found flesh; claws found fur throwing it upward in a show of will and determination. Creasglowe had managed to take hold of her neck thrashing and snarling as he tried to break her down towards the ground. He felt much heavier than he looked, his strength causing her to fall side first into the dirt. His assault continued as he straddled her burying his claws deep into the ground. He was a warrior, and though he had been bested by her forefathers, he now stood as strong as he once had.

Zacura could feel her paw pads pressing upon his underbelly, and with all her might, she threw him from her and broke his grasp. She instantly found her footing charging forward latching onto his muzzle. Her fangs sank deep, and as she bit down further, she could feel bone collapsing within her hold. She released him for a split moment to apply a rapid bite to his cheek, forcing him backward with her chest. The fires that burned around her teeth came to find way under his flesh, burning his fur from his body. With every bite she gave him, he returned the same until they had come to stand upon their hind limbs in combat. All eyes were locked upon the pair with intense concentration. The melody of yelps and growls mingled with that of the clashing of bodies against trees. Neither Zacura or Creasglowe would yield the trails of blood left in their wake proved so.

Managing to rake his claws across the left side of her face, the Skyliner took a few limping steps backward. Zacura was giving as good as she got, perhaps he had underestimated her. The two took a moment to stare each other down. The ruby stains upon his white fur gave Zacura hope. She had begun to tire, the loss of blood crawling down her neck and front limbs weakening her. He stood before her a menace, a mountain to be scaled and forgotten. She would erase him from time itself and claim sanctuary within his territory, even if it killed her. She bared her fangs and rushed forward once more, this time leaping to take hold of his back. They both fell and began to roll down a nearby hill, the bouncing of their bodies breaking them apart. The ground met them both with a loud and bone-snapping thud. For several long moments, neither moved, each now welcoming new injuries. Both packs rushed to view what had come of their fallen leaders. But to everyone's surprise, Zacura was the first to rise. She could feel a deep ripping pain within her leg, a burning much different than that which frequently adorned her. Her ankle was broken, the bone shattered into small pieces that now pooled within the blood running free from her veins. She curled her right foot closer to her chest finding balance upon the remaining three. Still, she growled, Creasglowe did not rise he simply laid there.

"The pet of the gods does not stand!" She bellowed inching closer to his seemingly lifeless body. She came to hover over him. The fall had knocked him from consciousness. She moved his head with her snout and watched as it fell limp once more to the ground. His chest did not expand, the sound of his heart slowly fading from her ears. He was nothing more than a heap of stained white fur, embellished with the golden markings of Halotia. She had risen victorious, and now the eyes of both the forgotten and the favored fell to her for guidance. Slowly the injured hound made her way up the hill, the fires of inner flame working overtime in attempts to repair her mangled body. Canavis rushed to her side using his body to help hold her up. He watched as small puffs of flame came to burst from her wounds, the flesh slowly beginning to pull together as one. Her coat had started to dry filthy with the badges of brawling.

She faced her new clan members; she could see the pure hatred upon their faces. The looks of ignorance and the fear of the unknown covered every single one of their profiles. She found a quivering voice and began her speech.

"You stand staring upon your new leader—the alpha to whom will guide and protect you. By the laws of old, you are mine to command by right, and by blood. I have left your leader slain in a puddle of his own. By might, I have conquered him, and yet still stand to speak these words to you. It is time you release your grasp upon the past and run toward the future we will come to share. There is something much greater than we out there seeking to consume us all. With me and this joining, you will find true wisdom, and perhaps together we can overcome the grand destroyer. We were never stronger than we were so many years ago. Let us see that strength restored. Let us ensure the future generations and the lives of our offspring. We were the first placed to be the last, and now it is time to see unity balanced and our strength as one breed restored!"

Those bearing the marks of the Skyline clan turned to face each other then came to bow their heads before their alpha. As one, they moved forward joining their bodies with that of the hellhounds. "See us home," Zacura ordered, her gaze falling back over the hill where Creasglowe remained unmoving. "My apologies, brother. You left me no choice." She whispered her head dropping in respect to his life.

"Come, Zacura. We must see you rested. Your body cannot rejuvenate while you are awake." Spoke Canavis his tongue rolling over the gashes on her cheekbone. "Yes, I believe a day's rest would do me well. I will need you to gather our numbers, report them to me when I wake." She spoke her stride moving to rejoin her clan.

 

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