Nilak saw himself standing on a rocky platform high above the ground. He looked around and realized immediately that he wasn't in Amn, at least he thought he wasn't. The sky was red and the world itself was nothing but black mountains everywhere. Oddly a single source of light escaped from the red sky, it looked like a magnifying glass. Suddenly a figure appeared in front of him. At first it looked like a demon with red eyes filled with rage, but eventually it formed into his youngest student: Kinrai. Kinrai had his 10th blade in hand, Wrath, which meant he wasn't fully himself. He started walking towards Nilak, his intentions were quite clear.
”NILAK! There's nowhere else to run! You single-handedly destroyed Amn.. just look at it!!”
Kinrai pointed out the bleak world around them. Nilak backed down a few steps, he couldn't believe that this world was actually Amn.
”Now face your punishment!”
Kinrai was like an angel of vengeance rushing right at Nilak. Nilak couldn't do anything and soon Kinrai's blade pierced through his stomach. That's also when the whole world shook suddenly. Then it happened again but it felt like it came from a different direction. Then again, and once more. Nilak noticed how both his cheeks started hurting, as if he was being slapped at. The last shook snapped him out of his nightmare.
~ … ~
Nilak's eyes jumped open and he saw Balthazar holding him. That's also when Balthazar let go of Nilak and turned around in order to give Falteer a beating. Nilak held his jaw for a moment before laughing a bit though his laughter didn't feel quite as jolly as it usually was. His mind was still clouded right now by the nightmare. Did he saw into the future? Or was it just his subconscience trying to show him the error of his ways? He had no time to think of such things now. No matter what would happen, he was determinated to defeat Valham. He stood up and faced the gallant dragon again.
Nilak noticed there was sand here and there, and he also saw Karmac lying on the ground. He knew Karmac was one of Balthazar's more powerful summons and was amazed just how powerful Valham actually was. It was always nigh impossible to locate Karmac in a sandstorm but apparently Valham managed to do it with ease. Before their fight against Valham continued, Nilak was faced with yet another problem: a new witness, a hostile one at that.
The words the witness shouted at Nilak hurt him, involving Kinrai into this was indeed something that Nilak didn't want to happen. He turned around only to meet a blade coming right at him. He managed to block the strike however. The attacker was fueled with hate so predicting his attacks was rather easy for Nilak. What he also noticed was that the attacker kept attacking in quick intervals, as if trying to prevent Nilak from using magic. Rather smart since if Nilak could access his magic, he'd have a great advantage.
Suddenly the attacker backed down, only to quickly lunge at Nilak again. It was a surprise attack meant to catch the opponent off guard and land a deadly hit. That was when Falteer intervened by shooting a small spark from his finger into the attacker's side. The spark was powerful enough to cause the attacker to halt his movements for a moment, and it was all Nilak needed to rush right next to the attacker. He held his hand over the attacker's chest, forming a powerful wind inside his hand.
Nilak: ”I am sorry.”
Immediately after that Nilak launched the attacker with a huge surge of wind into a tree nearby Kinrai's location. He was hoping the blow would knock the attacker out or at least render him immobile. Now he turned to face the opponent he had come to defeat in the first place. Balthazar had been busy distracting Valham and now Nilak and Falteer would join him.
Issat finally reached Nayru and rushed towards the palace. The horrifying situation Kinrai was in kept flashing in her mind constantly. Once she reached the palace, she flew right inside and finally caught up with Minathiel who was sitting on her throne in the main hall. Minathiel noticed Issat almost instantly and stood up in order to catch her. Issat landed on Minathiel's hand and dropped down on her knees, panting heavily. She had used all her strength to fly here so she had difficulty speaking coherently.
Minathiel: ”What is it, fairy?”
Issat: ”V-Valham.. is in danger.. !! Help.. please!”
Issat fell on her stomach on Minathiel's hand, still breathing but barely conscious.
Minathiel didn't hesitate in calling out the guards of the palace. If Valham was indeed under attack, the palace and Nayru itself could be in danger. She ordered the guards to seal the city entrance, or rather change it so that the staircase to Nayru was never-ending.
The rest of the guards were commanded by guard captain Cirno to guard the trail that lead to Valham's nest. Liana, Kinrai's mother, soon arrived to the main hall due to the sudden commotion. She rushed to Minathiel's side and almost immediately noticed Issat on her hand.
Liana: ”Issat.. !! Are you alright? Where's Kinrai?!”
Issat raised her head slightly in order to speak.
Issat: ”Kinrai's in danger.. ! Nilak.. Nilak betrayed us.. He attacked Valham.. !!”
Liana: ”My god..”
Minathiel: ”.. We don't have any time to waste. Liana, please project me into the nightsky so that every citizen of Nayru can see me. We must alert everyone of the situation.”
Liana: ”Understood, your Highness.”
Liana placed her hand on Minathiel's shoulder and formed a watery silhouette of her which she sent high up into the sky. Once the 'copy' Minathiel reached the sky, it grew in size so much that it was impossible to miss her if you still were in Nayru.
Minathiel: ”Citizens of Nayru! Our guardian, Valham the wind dragon is under attack! He has protected us for centuries, now it's our time to protect him! Those of you who wish to protect Nayru, assemble in front of the palace! From there we shall march to Valham's nest and vanquish this evil that threatens our protector! That is all for now. Let us pray we aren't too late..”
The silhouette vanished soon after and the warriors of Nayru started slowly moving towards the palace entrance.
Liana: ”Why.. didn't you tell them that Nilak is the attacker?”
Minathiel: ”I apologize, but I don't trust that fairy saw what she claims to have seen.”
Liana: ”But she has no reason to lie, your Highness.”
Minathiel: ”There is also no reason why Nilak would attack Valham. Please, take care of her.”
Minathiel handed Issat over to Liana.
Liana: ”Wait! Where are you.. Please don't tell me..”
Minathiel: ”I must see this with my own eyes.”
Liana: ”Then I must come with you! As your advisor, I can't simply stay ba-”
Minathiel: ”Hold. You must take my place for the time being. Someone needs to stay here and maintain control. Guard captain Cirno will assist you, I'm sure he's already on his way here. Don't worry, I'm not about to fight anyone.”
Liana: ”But.. what if someone attacks you.. ?”
Minathiel: ”I am not helpless in battle, you know that. Besides I will take two guards with me, just in case.”
Liana: ”Yes bu-”
Minathiel: ”Enough, Liana. Regain your composure, you have a city to protect!”
Liana: ”Y-Yes, your Highness!”
With that, Minathiel head off towards the stable where her palla was waiting.
Nilak finally managed to form a plan of sorts, it was time to move on to the final phase of this fight.
Nilak: ”We have to take this battle to the sky! I know it's risky, but only there we have a chance to pull Valham's soul crystal out. Also.. ”
Nilak glanced towards the woods where Kinrai was and saw him being carried away by a female moon elf. Nilak was more than certain there were more people somewhere in the forest, people who were in danger of getting caught up in the battle.
Nilak: ”.. that way no innocents come to harm.
Since you're the agile one, I entrust you to pull the crystal out Falteer. Meanwhile me and Balthazar will do our best to distract Valham. I will use my wind and ice magic to halt Valham's movements while Balthazar deals damage, thus creating an opening for you Falteer. Expect plenty of magic, Valham is undoubtedly going to use everything he has against us while in the sky. Now then.. Let's move out!”
Once the plan was set, the trio launched up into the sky. Valham soon followed them, slowly calling the winds to his side again at the same time. Once all the combatants were on the same level, Valham spoke.
Valham: ”I commend your courage. Not many would willingly take a battle against a dragon to the sky.”
Nilak: ”Guess I like to test my limits.”
Nilak said and summoned Aeolus to his side.
Valham: ”That may summon forth your own demise.”
Nilak: ”Enough with the speeches. Let's finish this.”
Valham: ”Very well. You shall experience the limitless power of the winds. Come forth winds of the world, let us do battle once again!”
Valham yelled and suddenly the whole area became much more windy than usual.
Nilak: ”Attack! Give it all you've got!!”
Nilak ascended a bit before summoning a whirlwind which surrounded Valham. He was about to use the same tactic he had used against the Tainted bandits. However before Nilak was able to proceed, the whirlwind suddenly dispersed completely. Valham roared once before using one of his wings to produce a powerful gust which hit Nilak. Instead of normally just pushing Nilak, the gust of wind enveloped him inside a sturdy ball of wind. Nilak tried to get out but the wind sphere wouldn't break apart, instead it started cutting him randomly. It was like being whipped except the whip was invisible.
Meanwhile Falteer circled around Valham while remaining hidden as best as he could. Thankfully Valham was busy with both Balthazar and Nilak so Falteer was successful in getting very close to Valham's tail where his soul crystal was located. The soul crystal was not in the tip of the tail, instead it was etched into the larger side of the tail.
Simply cutting the tail wouldn't do, the soul crystal had to be carved out. As soon as Valham unleashed another powerful gust of wind, Falteer dashed and sinked his blade into the side of the soul crystal. Valham roared in pain and also in fear since Falteer had gotten so close to his source of power. Valham immediately summoned Pathnak, a wind wyvern, to his side in order to deal with Falteer.
Pathnak rammed right into Falteer's side who was desperately trying to carve the soul crystal out. Falteer was sent flying backwards and Pathnak continued his attack by chomping on Falteer's right arm. Falteer started hammering Pathnak's head with his other arm in order to fend him off but Pathnak persisted. The pain caused by Pathnak's razor sharp teeth was unbearable, at this rate Falteer would lose his right arm completely. Nilak saw this and finally managed to release himself from the wind prison.
Nilak: ”Not good.. Hold on Falteer.. !!”
In Monark, Kinos was pacing around his office with a perplexed look on his face. You could actually notice sweatdrops forming on his forehead. The lack of information from Valham's battle was seriously driving Kinos on the edge. It was crucial that Nilak succeeds and escapes, he was the golden thread holding the operation together. Finally Kinos took out a beacon and summoned Reed, something had to be done. He had to know what was going on and Reed was the ideal scout. Reed arrived shortly after, bearing the same dark robe as last time.
Kinos: ”Reed! I need information! How is the battle faring against Valham? Go! Return to me as soon as you can. Also.. assist him if you deem it necessary.”
Reed: ”As you wish, elder.”
Reed vanished and used the beacon in Nilak's possession to transport himself to Auburn. Unfortunately the welcoming party for Reed was one very angry dragon and a wyvern, however fortunately both of them were occupied with Nilak and his companions. That's finally when Reed realized he was in mid-air, and that he did not possess the ability to fly.
Reed: ”Oh my, I clearly chose the wrong time to crash the party. Little help, please?”
Reed said with a rather calm voice before starting to drop down. Nilak turned around and couldn't believe just how wrong everything was going for them right now.
Nilak: ”What the.. ?! Reed! What are you doing here?!”
Reed: ”You know, I'd love to chat more but right now I'm falling to my deaaAAAA-- !!”
Nilak: ”Hold the fort Balthazar and Falteer! I'll return shortly!”
Nilak swooped down and caught Reed before descending all the way down to the ground.
Reed: ”Such a heroic feat, Nilak! Bravo!”
Nilak: ”Uh.. Yes, thank you. Now what in Valham's name are you doing here?!”
Reed pointed up before speaking.
Reed: ”I believe we should chat once you've dealt with the angry green dragon over there. Agree?”
Nilak: ”.. Yeah. Well since you're here, scout the area and make sure we won't be bothered. And please.. don't let any innocents get in harm's way.”
Reed: ”You handle the big bad dragon, hero. I'll take care of things here.”
Nilak nodded and launched himself back into the sky in order to face Valham. Reed on the other hand turned to scout the area. Thanks to his special kind of vision, one that can sense magic, scouting for him was easier than most since he could locate people who possessed magical talent.
It didn't take long for Reed to notice several magic spots in the nearby vicinity. Three large gatherings were close, two of them were mobile. The immobile one was clearly trying to remain hidden, from the looks of it a summoned creature was being used. Reed swept off a bit of sand from the ground and looked at the direction of the immobile magic spot.
Reed: ”In order to 'keep the innocents out of harm's way' you need subtlety. Such a shame I just SUCK at being subtle.. Well, at least right now I suck at it.”
Reed sinked his fingers into the ground and pulled out an earth golem, twice the size of a normal elf. The golem was a mix of roots, soil and rocks, if looked from afar you'd think the golem was just an odd formation created by earth. The golem was not an ordinary summoned creature since it didn't possess a soul, it was just an animated piece of earth with no mind of its own. Reed repeated the procedure two times, totaling three earth golems standing in a neat row right next to him. Reed clapped his hands twice before announcing orders.
Reed: ”Off you go then my earthly.. things! Kill everything on your path, especially that one particular gathering of magic. So sorry Nilak, but you're just too soft at times like these. How fortunate I'm here to correct that!”
Reed clapped his hands once again before turning his attention to the two mobile magic spots. One of them was still some distance away, it would take longer for them to reach this area than the other spot. Thus Reed turned his attention to the second mobile magic spot and started moving towards it. Unlike a moment ago, this time around Reed was going to find out who were coming before initiating his attack.
He brought his right hand in front of him and soon a yellow eye emerged inside it. Reed then literally removed his arm from his shoulder and threw the arm towards the direction of the magic spot. The arm became alive and slithered its way towards its destination. He did the same thing to his other arm, he just sent it towards the gathering of magic which was the furthest distance away.
Reed: ”Oh, I do so hope there are only honorable warriors here. It would be quite dishonorable to attack a, literally, unarmed man after all.
.. Ah, what an excellent joke! They should really hire me into one of those comedy shows back in Monark. I'd just KILL the audience! .. Oops, I did it again! Ah-hah! I'm just too good at this.”