Kayel patiently waited behind the pile of rubble for the angry Thraki to take a breath. He wasn’t really sure what he had done to anger Vokulunax like this, but clearly the golden wyvern was not willing to sit down and talk things out.
Finally, Vokulunax paused for breath and Kayel managed to get some distance between himself and the Thraki. He hurled himself past more rubble and debris, making sure that Vokulunax had no clear line of sight. If Kayel wanted to get out of here alive, he needed to take advantage of the fact that Vokulunax was old and clumsy.
With a terrifying roar, Vokulunax took another deep breath, readying a blast of both fire and ice. His years of being an agile ruler of the skies were long gone, but his strength and ferocity hadn’t. A fireball left the Thraki’s jaw, spiralling through the air and landing not too far away from the little Rethan. He could almost feel the sudden burst of panic in the Rethan’s mind, realising that his hiding spot was not good enough.
Vokulunax paused and inhaled, waiting for Kayel to appear. He knew he hadn’t hit the Rethan, but he may have injured him. Somewhere off to his left, a voice could be heard.
“Why are you attacking me?”
The fool had revealed his location. Another ball of fire blasted through the air, only to disintegrate into nothing. Kayel had placed a particularly strong water ward, defending himself from the attack. A wall of steam disguised the Rethan’s next actions, as he seemingly faded away into nothing.
“Well, yes, of course!” Kayel joked. “You really think I’d let you choose the battle?” The voice seemed to come from everywhere. Vokulunax noted that, despite his affinity for necromancy, Kayel was also skilled with sound manipulation. Perhaps he had intentionally revealed his location, only for Vokulunax to unintentionally hide him again.
“You lied, Rethan.”
“About what?” Kayel’s voice was bouncing around. Vokulunax rose up above the battleground, flapping his huge wings in an attempt to disperse the steam. To his dismay, the more he tried to remove steam, the thicker it got. Kayel was replacing the steam with smoke, using it to hide his actions.
“You said you would not do anything that breaks the laws of nature.”
“Ah, now you’re actually talking!” the Rethan’s words echoed around. Vokulunax did not want to let go of his better position, but there was no way he would feasibly find Kayel from up there. He wanted to capture the Rethan, not kill him. “Also, I’ve done no such thing.”
“I KNOW what you are PLANNING!” Vokulunax roared. He flapped his wings one last time, before changing his tactics, swooping down and breathing small trails of flame into the smoke-filled landscape. The plan was to restrict Kayel’s movement and hopefully trap him.
Kayel though seemed unaffected. The Thraki would catch glimmers of what could have been his unique armour plating, but they may have just been embers or stray flames.
“Is this about our…ritual? Because I’ve checked with everyone I need to check and everyone else is fine.”
“EVERYONE BUT ME!”
“Yeah, but why should this bother you?”
Vokulunax paused, then closed his wings, dropping down into the smoke, only to fail to catch anything. But as he took off once more, he felt something on his wing. He had been close.
“You are trying to bring what was once dead and cold back to life. You are trying to bring back the Trehans. There is a good reason as to why they are gone!”
Kayel’s reply was blunt. “No there isn’t. They were brutally slaughtered by Deitics who feared them…” A small stumble rippled through Kayel’s voice. Was he scared? “That’s not what I’m even trying to do! Listen, Vokulunax, I know you’re angry. But please stop with this trying to kill me.”
“I am going to capture you and throw you in front of the other Elders. See what they say.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake…” The smoke got thicker and started to rise. A low, rumbling sound could be heard. “I’ve spoken to most of them. I explained this to them this morning and they were all fine, because I’m NOT bringing back the Trehans!”
Vokulunax growled, then abruptly roared. A sharp, electric pain tore its way through his wings and down his spine. Kayel had created a miniature storm within the smoke. And with his telekinetic powers, he was protecting himself from the bolts of lightning flashing around. More flickers of electricity shot upwards, forcing Vokulunax to back off and hover around the edges of the smoke cloud.
“Then what are you doing?”
“I’m using the specioallagon ritual to make the six of us into a new species. You can’t even use the ritual to bring an extinct species back to life!” Kayel was frustrated. At this angle, Vokulunax caught a glimpse of his glowing aura within the smoke.
“You know this is… wrong…”
“If it helps my friends, then I don’t care.”
“And what if it doesn’t?”
The clouds suddenly dispersed. Kayel stood in the middle of the ruins, lightning cracking around him.
“If this doesn’t work, then I’ll live with my mistakes. Just like every other mistake I’ve lived with.”
With a growl, Vokulunax landed awkwardly in front of the Rethan. He could see it in Kayel’s eyes. He was not going to back down. Kayel had made up his mind and there was no way Vokulunax would be able to persuade him otherwise.
“Very well,” the golden Thraki sighed. “But consider this a warning. We will not help you if the ritual goes wrong. You and your ilk will be able continue your studies, but our assistance ends here.”
Kayel tutted, then turned around and walked away. “Fine. All you’ve done is hold me back anyway…”