Hello and welcome to the Eden of Gaming – Exos Heroes event, Eden: Civil War!

This will be the beginning of a series of narrative driven community events for the Exos Heroes community within Eden to promote active participation and provide entertainment for members who play the game. The narrative stories shall be posted on the Edenofgaming website while Event details shall be posted in the Events channel of the Exos section of our discord.

Below is the Part 1 of the Eden: Civil War story, enjoy!

Eden: Civil War

Part I – Dark Discovery

The wind howled across the frozen tundra and scree slopes of the North von Frosty like a chorus of banshees unleashing a cacophonous dirge. The kingdom of North von Frosty was cold and inhospitable, a perpetual winter clung to the land like a death grip where the promise of spring was almost a forgotten memory for its inhabitants. The last rays of the dying day settled behind the ominous fortress of Obliana, its soaring spires casting long shadows that stretched across the land like long, clawed fingers gripping the frozen earth and refusing to yield its hold.  A lone figure bearing the markings of a ranger stood a top a rocky outcropping looking over the broken and frost covered plains as the sun sank behind the mountains to the far west beyond the ruins of the holy dragon grounds ushering in the darkness of night.

The ranger threw back his dark green hood, the frigid wind tossed about his silver hair. The last few rays of the sun alighted his elven features as eyes the color of a clear winter sky scanned the landscape. As his eyes adjusted to the twilight, they found the quarry the ranger was after. A large herd of elk emerged from around a bend and began their trek across the frozen earth, occasionally stopping to feed on the lichen or scrub brush that managed to grow in this frozen wasteland. The ranger took a breath then released it as he raised his bow and in rapid motion loosed a black shafted arrow with raven fletching from his carved ironwood bow. The elk dropped silently as the arrow pierced its side and punctured the heart. The ranger began to reach for an arrow to down a second elk when his ears picked up a disturbance in the air behind him and the sound of something landing upon the earth. In one swift motion the ranger spun and loosed an arrow in the direction of the sound. The arrow sped through the air only to be deflected by solarian steel, the shattered black arrow shaft fell to the ground as the intended target chuckled dryly. 

“Damn it to the nine hells Serraphine, I almost killed you.” The elven ranger growled as he lowered his bow. “What were you thinking dropping in on me like that unannounced?”

Across from the ranger stood a tall, slender elven woman with great feathered wings sprouting from her back and a wickedly curved scythe emblazoned with runes in her grip. Even in the twilight, her honey-colored blond hair still shone with golden highlights. Serraphine lowered her scythe and arched an eyebrow “I was thinking what is Sylvos Tahl’Veras, the Ranger General of Eden, doing out here by himself in enemy territory without an escort?”

Sylvos turned back towards the elk and muttered, “I was hunting.”

“Hunting?” Serraphine laughed, “We have people to do that for you and you know that. What were you really doing out here?”

The ranger looked across the frozen tundra, “I was scouting the area. I don’t trust what our informant has been providing us as information about Shufraken’s forces.”

“You mean prisoner.” The winged elf sneered. “But I agree, his information seems to be vague and missing key details. I trust his words about as far as I can throw him.”

“Let us get down there and harvest the meat. The crew will appreciate fresh elk.” Sylvos remarked as he shouldered his longbow. “Care to give me a lift down there?”

Serraphine lifted herself off the ground with a flap of her wings and gracefully sailed into the night sky, “Your legs still work milord. Then she glided downed to the elk while Sylvos smirked and began his descent down the rocky slope.

* * *

The moon illuminated the landscape with a soft, white glow that stretched shadows, and colored everything with varying shades of darkness. Nighttime made the frigid, harsh land of North von Frosty no less welcoming or safe for visitors as the howling wind ripped across the plains sapping warmth from all who dared to venture within.  Sylvos crouched before the slain elk and expertly began to field dress the corpse. Serraphine turned her head from the scene but could still hear the squishing and tearing sounds as Sylvos gralloched his quarry. Despite being a veteran of countless battles, many of them extremely violent and bloody, the pulping sound of disembowelment still made her feel slightly ill at ease. She instead kept her gaze focused on the horizon, keeping a wary eye out for any movement. Almost an hour had passed, and the elk had been quartered and the meat salted then wrapped in cloth and placed into his now bulging pack. He was about to call to his companion when a faint howl echoed across the plains off in the distance. The two elves eyes met, both nodding to one another that they had heard the sound. Serraphine crouched down beside Sylvos, “Wolves?”

Sylvos shook his head, “That’s not any wolf howl that I’ve ever heard before. We should quit this place before whatever that was draws near. I think the smell of blood in the air might have attracted the attention of something in the area.” As the elf finished his statement, a chorus of howls erupted from all around the nearby area. Sylvos tensed, “That is our signal. Let us go.”

Serraphine stayed on the ground, keeping by Sylvos’s side as the ranger hastily climbed the rocky slope to rise above the frozen plains below. As the pair crested the top of the rocky outcropping, the pair looked back to see a score of humanoid shapes rushing across the landscape towards them. The moon provided enough illumination to reveal the emaciated, roughly human forms. The creatures had almost hairless, mottled grey skin stretched over distended bones with filthy, black claws and the sharp teeth like that of a carnivore. The creatures clawed hands tore great chunks of frozen turf into the air as they sped across the field, their sunken eyes burned like hot coals as the growls of insatiable hunger escaped their gaping mouths. Sylvos cursed and dropped his pack. He gripped his ironwood bow and sent arrow after arrow speeding into the incoming pack of creatures. One after another his black shafted arrows found their mark piercing eye, throat, or heart of the incoming wave of attackers. Almost two dozen of the creatures lay lifeless on the field, their black blood spilling across the ground. He reached up for another arrow to find his quiver spent, the ravenous creatures continued to pour from the darkness towards the two elves. Shouldering his longbow, Sylvos turned to Serraphine and said “Go, take flight and alert Eden of what is happening.”

Serraphine gripped her scythe angrily, “I’m not leaving you here to die Sylvos.”

Half a dozen of the creatures crested the rise and began clawing their way towards the pair. The ranger reached up and gripped the handles of the swords sheathed across his back. A metallic ring echoed in the air as two slender elven blades were drawn from their sheathes and the magic within them blazed to life. Magical frost enshrouded the blades as bright blue runes ignited along the length of each sword causing the temperature of the immediate area to plummet. Glowing woads of blue light appeared along the ranger’s forearms and a curved glyph alighted his face and curled alongside of his cheek and arched over his left eye. Sylvos’s cold, blue eyes blazed with power and he turned and kicked Serraphine off the cliff into the air. Instinctively her wings spread to catch her fall and as the wind pulled her away from the lip of the cliff the ranger grinned and said, “Who said anything about dying?” as he dove headlong into the surging mass of creatures.

Sylvos’s blades became a whirlwind of steel as they spun and wove their way through the mass of creatures. The enchanted blades cut through flesh and bone, sending arcs of black blood into the air as heads and limbs were severed in his vicious onslaught. Within seconds, the ranger stood among six lifeless corpses of the grey skinned creatures. Where the enchanted blades had cut his foes, the wounds encrusted with ice. The ranger looked down the ridge to see another group quickly ascending the rise and he once again took a battle stance. As the first two creatures climbed over the lip Sylvos lunged forward, one blade thrust into a creature’s gaping maw skewering its brain while the other creature was disemboweled by a sweeping cut with the ranger’s other blade. A third of the monsters leapt over the ridge and lunged forward, its filthy black talons slashed across the ranger’s thigh that sent crimson droplets splattering upon the ground. Immediately Sylvos felt a gripping paralysis seize his leg and it began to slowly spread across his body. He felt his movements begin to slow as he slashed the creature across its face, separating its jaw from its skull. Several more of the grey skinned beasts climbed over the ridge, their blackened claws scraping loudly over the stone and their eyes burning with insatiable hunger. Sylvos barely managed to parry another attack as his arms began to feel like lead, and the ranger gritted his teeth and forced his body to move through the motions of the Hinur`arth`Kerayth, the ancient elven blade song practiced by the weaponmasters of the Green Land for thousands of years. The exercise allowed him to fight the cold grip of paralysis seeping into his limbs as he ducked and danced around the attacking creatures, the eldritch blades in his hands carving a grisly harvest. Despite his training, the ranger knew it was only a matter of time before this poison or enchantment that these creatures possessed would overpower his constitution and he would be paralyzed.    

Flying above the lip of the ridge, Serraphine saw one of the creatures wound Sylvos and her eyes widened with alarm as she watched him stagger as the elf’s graceful movements became sluggish and slow. Serraphine growled in frustration and channeled mana into her scythe causing a line of burning flame to ignite along the blade’s edge. She swooped past the ranger and swung the scythe in a murderous arc cutting three of the creatures in half before she swung the weapon overhead and slammed the blade into the ground sending a column of flame to erupt amongst another group of the creatures scrambling up the side of the cliff. She flew back and landed next to Sylvos, the look of anger in her eyes clearly visible.

“I see you decided to disobey my order about alerting Eden.” Sylvos managed to slur as he formed a defensive stance alongside Serraphine.

“My insubordination is the least of your worries right now oh fearless leader. Look.” Serraphine gestured to the plains below where over four score of the creatures had appeared and were surging towards their position.

“That’s not good. Serraphine you need to get out of here. Their claws cause your limbs to stiffen. I’ll cover your retreat.”

“Yeah, about that, sheathe your blades quickly.” Serraphine extinguished her scythe and the enchanted weapon shrank to a-foot-long rod that she put in a sheath at her side. Sylvos nodded stiffly and the blazing blue light of his blades disappeared within their scabbards. Sliding her arms around the ranger, she pushed off into the air lifting her and Sylvos into the night sky. Moments later the rise swarmed with dozens of the grey skinned creatures as the two elves soared off towards their airship several miles away.

The two were quiet for a long time, Sylvos was dead weight in her arms. She flew for some time before landing near a clearing by the border of North Von Frosty. Sylvos had regained control over his limbs, the paralysis finally fading from his body. The ranger stood up stiffly, opening and closing his hands to test their movements. “Thank you Serraphine, I am afraid that without your intervention I might have been lost.” The winged elf nodded solemnly without saying anything and once again slid her arms around the ranger and lifted off into the sky.

They flew in silence for quite some time, both lost in thought from the recent battle. Serraphine was the first to break the silence, “It seems your hunting trip was in vain.”

The ranger looked back at the frozen landscape bathed in moonlight as the pair flew through the night sky,” Nay, I may have lost my kill but gained something far more important, knowledge.”

* * *

The pair landed by where Sylvos had stowed the skyrunner skiff. The ranger’s leather boots crunched loudly on the frozen, ice covered earth as he reached the ship and began to toss away the branches he had used to hide the craft. The freezing rain and winter snow gave the forest the illusion of being encased in glass with glittering icicles. When the wind blew through the trees, the ice encrusted limbs crinkled loudly as shards of ice rained down on the elves below.

Serraphine glanced down at the ground where Sylvos had tread, drops of blood littered the ice from the crimson-soaked bandage she had wrapped around his leg earlier. Both were exhausted from the fight and flight from the grey skinned creatures earlier and she knew that Sylvos was in no condition to pilot the craft back to the airship Eden. Knowing the ranger was too stubborn to admit that he was exhausted, Serraphine moved alongside him and gestured at his leg.

“That bandage needs to be changed out before we return to the Eden. You are bleeding all over the place.”

Sylvos nodded woodenly and sat down next to the skyrunner as Serraphine tore a strip of cloth from her cloak. She pulled away the blood-soaked remnants of the earlier bandage to see that the wound caused by the creature’s claws had not stopped bleeding. Alarmed, she quickly replaced the bandage and hastily pulled the thick leather belt from around her waist and wrapped it around the leg at the site of the wound. Serraphine pulled it tightly which elicited an exhausted grunt of pain from the ranger. Without asking permission, Serraphine heaved the ranger to his feet and dumped him into one of the skyrunner’s seats while she climbed into the pilot’s chair and powered up the skiff. The magic of the craft hummed to life and the sound of snapping ice filled the air as the skyrunner lifted off the frozen ground. Wasting no time, Serraphine glided the craft skyward towards their airship floating in the clouds nearby.

The skyrunner sped through the clouds, Serraphine’s sharp elven eyes scanned the cloud banks for the Eden. “What could have caused such a wound to lay him low so quickly?” Serraphine thought as she pushed the craft to its limits, the lightning powered engine began to hum loudly in protest. Sylvos had lost consciousness and Serraphine began to worry that he would bleed out before reaching the ship. As her concern began to push her toward recklessness, the clouds parted, and the full light of the moon illuminated the storied flagship of the Eden air squadron as it soared majestically in the night sky. The Eden was an ancient and extremely rare Dreadnaught class airship, built for war and aerial supremacy during the Baikal Empire before the Dragon Emperor Accor’s descent into madness. Not wishing to waste any time, Serraphine drew the rod from her waist and the enchanted solarian steel formed into her scythe. She channeled mana into the weapon and sent several columns of flame into the night sky to alert the Eden to their presence.  

Sounds of alarm echoed from the Eden as Serraphine piloted the skyrunner into one of the open flight bays. The craft slammed heavily onto the flight deck and the lone mast that had not been retracted, snapped against the bay doors. Serraphine gritted her teeth as the wooden frame of the craft creaked and groaned while it skid violently across the deck. The skyrunner smashed into a metal reinforced support column and stopped, smoke poured from the overtaxed lightning engine as it powered down. Several crew members of the Eden descended upon the craft as Serraphine jumped out and hissed “Fetch Irelialyssa now!” Some of the uniformed crew ran off to fetch the druidess while others assisted Serraphine to lift the unconscious Sylvos out of the skyrunner.

 When the crew lifted Sylvos from the craft the smell of putrefaction and rot was heavy in the air as Serraphine noted that black veins had crept up the ranger’s now pale flesh and his breathing had become labored. The bandaged leg oozed blood, thick and dark like a crimson sludge. They set Sylvos on a nearby workbench, the movement caused his eyes to flicker open momentarily and Serraphine saw with shock that his crystal blue eyes were cloudy and almost white. The eldritch blades the ranger wore on his back began to glow brightly in their scabbards as the sigil and woads on his flesh began to flash with a brilliant bright blue. Sylvos’s body began to encase itself in ice as the magic of the Blades of Winter sought to protect their wielder from this dark enchantment affecting his body. The crew backed away as the enchanted ice completely encased their leader.

“Move away from him quickly!” a female voice barked from behind them as a tall elven woman dressed in a dark green robe strode into the room. Irelialyssa’s eyes blazed with power as the druidess of Eden gripped her rune graven ironwood spear tightly as she lifted it into the air and struck the butt of the weapon onto the flight deck. A bright green circle of magic appeared around the ranger as a golden light encased his form. Irelialyssa’s face twisted with anger as she uttered through clenched teeth “This is forbidden magic, dark sorcery that perverts the natural flow of life. What did this to him?”

Serraphine looked at the druid, “Creatures of grey flesh and ravenous hunger that roamed the North von Frosty. They set upon us a few hours ago as Sylvos was doing reconnaissance.”

“We haven’t much time, even with the protective magic of his blades this curse is taking hold of his body. I must break the curse then heal him quickly if we are to save him. Here take these seeds and spread them around his leg while I begin the ritual.” Irelialyssa handed Serraphine a small bag of seeds from her belt and began to chant in a sonorous tone. The druidess tossed her long auburn hair back and drew upon the magic within her. A small silver, runed circle appeared before the druidess and the spectral form of a stag emerged from it a flash of golden light. The spirit stag, its form translucent and a soft greenish-blue color, reared up on its hind legs and charged headlong into the still form of the ranger. The stag disappeared in a silver flash and the sound of broken glass was heard as a small, oily wisp of black smoke rose into the air and dissipated from the ranger. The enchanted ice surrounding Sylvos immediately melted away and Irelialyssa gestured towards the ranger “Quickly, spread the seeds around his body. We haven’t a moment to waste.”

Serraphine opened the pouch and took a hand full of seeds and spread them around the still body of Sylvos as Irelialyssa once again began to chant. The druidess sent small green tendrils of power into the ranger’s body, and the seeds around him began to grow small vines that crept up and began to embed themselves into his flesh. The vines sprouted little white and blue flowers that gave off little motes of golden light that floated around Sylvos like fireflies. The vines began to glow with the same golden light as the flesh around the wound slowly began to knit and heal. The deathly pale pallor of the ranger’s skin took on a healthy glow as the wound in his leg healed leaving a small white scar. The vines disintegrated as the magic faded and Sylvos’s eyes opened, their color once again a crystal blue hue. Irelialyssa took a deep breath as she let the ritual fade, summoning an ancient forest spirit as well as channeling a renewal spell of that power had required an immense amount of magic. She steadied herself and hoped that Sylvos had been healed enough as she would not be able to channel anything stronger than a minor enchantment until she had time to recover herself. 

When the aura of magic faded completely, Sylvos sat up slowly and swung his legs over the edge of the workbench. He slowly rubbed his leg and looked up, his blue eyes fixed on Irelialyssa, “My thanks to you druidess, and to you as well Serraphine. I felt myself being drawn into an abyss of darkness, where there was no light only yawning hunger and rage. Without your help, I would have been lost.” Sylvos pushed himself off the workbench and steadied himself, the weight of exhaustion weighed heavily on his face. “Assemble the officers in the war room, we have much to discuss.”

“Shouldn’t you rest?” Serraphine held out a hand to help him.

Sylvos shook his head and waved away her assistance, “There is no time, I appreciate the concern, but we need to act and fast. Have the prisoner also brought in as well. I have many questions that need to be answered.” The ranger then slowly made his way to the war room with Serraphine and Irelialyssa in tow.

* * *

The first rays of dawn pierced the clouds to illuminate the war room of the Eden in a soft, golden glow. The war room was a large round chamber adorned with trophies, armor, weapons, and relics of the air squadron’s triumphs and reminders of past battles. Several magically reinforced windows granted visibility to the pink and orange skyline as the sun slowly rose from the horizon. At the back of the room opposite the twin double doors that granted entry hung the guild crest of Eden. The coat of arms caught the light of dawn and the large diamonds embedded within the crest sent scintillating rainbows dancing across the room.

Sylvos leaned over a map of Exos that had been laid out over the massive octagonal oak table in the center of the chamber. Small groups of hand carved and painted miniatures that represented soldiers, airships, and armies were laid out across the map in different formations. The ranger scrutinized the scene with critical detail as one by one the officers of the war council entered the chambers. When the last member entered Sylvos looked up and asked “Is the prisoner outside? Serraphine nodded, “Very well. I shall have him brought in shortly. Please sit, we have much to discuss.” Sylvos gestured to the chairs around the table.

“Last night Serraphine and I were attacked by creatures of dark magic while we were performing reconnaissance in North von Frosty.”

“While you were.” Serraphine quipped which drew an icy glare from Sylvos to which the winged elf quickly closed her mouth.

“Ahem, while we were scouting these creatures set upon us in great numbers, several score of them roamed in packs across the frozen earth.” Sylvos pointed to a spot on the map. “They attacked us here, where our prisoner informed us that Shufraken’s supply depots were located.”

“Could you describe these creatures?” asked one of the men in the room. The man was clad in a dark leather coat with the hood drawn back revealing his weathered features, bright green eyes, and a mop of unkempt short red hair. Around his neck he bore a medallion of the Magi of Marinos Island that his long-fingered hands fiddled with while he spoke.

“Yes Tiber, these creatures were grey skinned with sharp teeth, blackened talons, and their eyes burned with a ravenous hunger. Their bodies appeared emaciated, but they were unnaturally swift and strong. Wounds caused by their claws infected their prey with a dark curse that we believe would turn the victim into one of the beasts if they survived.” Sylvos pulled his cloak back to reveal his torn legging, “As you can see it was through the efforts of Serraphine and Irelialyssa that I did not succumb to this dark sorcery not an hour ago.”

“Necromancy” Irelialyssa hissed through clenched teeth. “We have some fool practicing necromancy in North von Frosty.”

Tiber fidgeted with his medallion a moment as his mind was lost in thought, “That sounds like a ghoul, more specifically an ur-ghoul. Those have not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms in centuries ever since the outlawing of the necromantic dark arts.” His green eyes flashed with concern, “This is a problem Sylvos, a real problem. Ur-ghouls can spread like a plague if not contained. The history books back on Marinos recorded that these creatures ravaged countless settlements before they were exterminated after the reign of Accor. They had been brought to life, or in this case un-life by the Lich King Malifas before heroes from the Seven Kingdoms armed with holy relics defeated the lich and eradicated his armies. Without those relics, our only saving grace is that they burn like kindling in the sun, their undead bodies unable to withstand the light of day.”

“I think it is no coincidence that the location we were given of where Shufraken’s supply depots were located just so happened to be a hunting ground for these ghouls.” Sylvos paced back and forth looking at the map and to his officers.

A large, green skinned orc with arms as thick as a man’s waist and a barrel-like chest pointed at the area on the map and asked, “Could we not take the air squadron and bombard the area during the day to flush these creatures out? Surely we have enough firepower aboard this ship to reduce that frozen tundra to a smoldering crater.”

 “The thought did cross my mind Sadurm, but I cannot help but feel that in doing so we would be entering into some type of trap.” Sylvos sat down at the table, “I think we should bring the prisoner in, many questions I have for him to answer.” Sylvos nodded at one of the guards and two of them opened the doors and disappeared into the hallway. Moments later the two guards drug a young man in his twenties with black hair wearing a bloodstained and tattered uniform of the King’s Guard of Lenombe. The prisoner’s hands were bound in dark grey metal braces that kept each finger bent and separated. Purple gems that swirled with a faint light were affixed to each knuckle and occasionally a small arc of purple lightning would pass between them. The guards pushed the young man into a chair and chained his feet together. The young man lifted his head with a haughty look of defiance and disdain.

Sylvos met the young man’s look and smiled, “I recall that when we captured you in exchange for not executing you on the spot that you begged, sorry I mean offered, to provide us valuable information regarding Shufraken’s forces and more importantly where you have hidden Exestruk. Do you recall the terms of that agreement, Ramge?”

The disgraced former King’s Guard glared openly at Sylvos, “Yes, and I have provided you with key information as to my father’s whereabouts and his forces as we agreed.”

The sound of a chair scraping across the floor echoed across the room as Sylvos slowly stood up. “You know Ramge, I have an intense dislike of being lied to.” The ranger’s eyes were like flint, “When did Shufraken begin to use necromancers to create an army of ghouls?”

Ramge’s eyes widened, “Necromancers? I don’t know what you mean?”

In a heartbeat Sylvos had crossed the room and despite the exhaustion that clung to his body like a wet cloak hoisted Ramge into the air and slammed him against the wall with a bone jarred thud. “DO NOT LIE TO ME” the ranger raged. “You gave us information about your father’s supply envoys and what we found was a horde of ghouls instead of a camp. Lie to me again and I will personally throw you off this ship and watch your body get pulped on the rocks below. Exestruk be damned. Are we understood?” Sylvos drew one of his enchanted blades and held it against the throat of the former King’s Guard. The blade’s magic flared to life instantly freezing the skin along the side of Ramge’s neck. Several officers started to rise to stop their leader but Sadurm held up a hand to stay their interference.

“I will ask you one more time. How long has Shufraken been using necromancers to create an army of undead.” Sylvos’s eyes bore into Ramge, the anger in his voice making his voice like iron.

Fear and panic were visible on Ramge’s face as he stood there paralyzed, “I… I… I do not know I swear! I did not know my father had gone down this path. Please believe me! I swear it to be true! The locations I spoke of were where my father had determined to be staging points for invasions into Brunn and Lenombe. I speak no falsehood! I swear on my life!” The prince of North von Frosty’s voice was thick with fear and Sylvos knew Ramge was being truthful.

“Guards” Sylvos sheathed his blade and allowed Ramge to slump to the ground, “Take him back to the brig. I have no further use for him right now.”

  As the two guards hauled the whimpering Ramge out of the room, the sound of alarms began to clang loudly across the Eden. A banga wearing the trappings of a minstrel scurried into the room, “Dragon! The bone dragon has been spotted heading our way!”

“Are you serious? Now? How many times must we slay this beast before it’s truly dead?” Sylvos groaned.

“Well technically it is the immortal bone dragon, you know curse of the Dragon Clan and all.” Tiber interjected which drew a withering glare from his leader.

Sylvos turned away from Tiber and said “Popo, get everyone to battle stations. Is Darksail at the helm?”

The banga Popo nodded and scurried out of the room quickly as Sylvos turned to his officers, “Dismissed, we will reconvene once this gods be damned dragon is slain once more.”

As the crew of the Eden scattered to their battle stations, Sylvos pulled up along next to Serraphine. “Care for a friendly wager?”

“A what?” Serraphine asked.

“A wager, we’ll say three months’ pay that my squad can down the dragon before your squad can.” Sylvos grinned.

Serraphine kept walking and then turned to enter the flight deck, “You should be on the command deck and not out here. You were practically dead an hour ago.”

Sylvos shrugged his shoulders, “You and Irelialyssa made sure I wasn’t. I am fine.”

Serraphine looked at the ranger knowing that any argument regarding his health would be ignored and then smiled, “Fine, six months and you are on. Also, winner has the loser do latrine duty for a month.”

“Deal!” the ranger then disappeared upstairs as Serraphine grinned. The winged elf flew up to where her squad was arming cannons and getting their weapons ready.

“Sylvos just bet me six months’ pay that his Iron Wolves will down the dragon before our Verdant Rage does. Let’s take out the dragon’s wings and drop it from the sky.”

Sadurm walked by the group holding a large rune graven battle axe. He looked over at Zefyre, an elven rogue standing next to Serraphine and said “Here hold this” as he tossed the weapon to the elf. Zefyre caught the battle axe and his knees immediately buckled under the weight of the weapon as the elf landed solidly on his backside. Sadurm grinned as Zefyre let out a string of curses and set the weapon on the ground nearby. The orc war chief then bent over and looped two ammo belts over his shoulders and strapped on a thick belt around his waist. As he lifted the steam powered minigun from its housing, his tattooed biceps bulged with the effort. Sadurm stretched his neck and shoulders before looking at Serraphine, “Take out the wings first eh?” Sadurm flicked a switch on the minigun, “That sounds like the best second place plan I’ve ever heard.” Sadurm smirked as he turned, the emblem of the Iron Wolves glinted on his shoulder epaulet.

As if in response, a monstrous roar echoed across the sky as a massive shape emerged from the clouds before the Eden. Scales like polished ebony gleamed in the rays of the morning sun as the dragon soared towards the airship. The creature’s wings flapped slowly, belying the incredible speed the dragon possessed as it closed the distance to the Edan in the span of a few heartbeats. Sadurm’s minigun barrels began to whirl emitting a high-pitched whine that filled the air as the dragon opened its fanged maw and let out a gout of roiling flame.

End of Part I.

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