During the times known only as…
It was, as ever, raining.
Both water, and the mistspawn.
The sound of the torrent was broken now and again by the scream of the mistspawn falling from the sky, dropping out from the Mistmelt that covered Sunder’s sky. Then, the rain was broken again by the thud of the mistspawn’s impact.
There was one other thing that broke through the rain. It was the hum of an engine. Floating amid the rain, casting its shadow over a shattered city, was a ship. This ship was like a sword, the horn of a leviathan. It was made from watery metal that had a mirror like quality to it. Glowing blue light spilled out from lines upon the ship, and along the keel and rear the crystal engines were what shined most.
Number twenty seven, Nautkybo.
One of the thirty three ships of hope that the people of Sunder made, the union of the minds of the humanoids, demihumans and even the gazed. The product of desperation. A siren rang out from the Nautkybo, and greeting it from below were cries of joy and hope from the people hiding in the city ruins.
The cries of those people were not the only cries. The mistspawn knew of the ship too. One of them rose from the city, letting out a cry that was chillingly mournful, as if it had lost everything dear to it.
This mistspawn was a pale red, with seven leathery wings of blue. The seventh wing hid the face of the mistspawn. This one had a body that was like many plated, yet eyes would appear and vanish on that egg-like body. It was a third of the size of the Nautkybo
Like all the mistspawn, parts of its body would flicker, and others grow fuzzy and indistinct, as if it was having trouble existing.
Mourner of Flame, that is what the people of Sunder called it. For those fighting it? Type one fire-rain flyer, class: Striker.
-Ah, Hello, hello? Is this thing on? *Yes Captain* Ah right? Ok, you fortunate survivors, this is Captain Lemryu speaking, if you don’t want to die to the mistspawn, get your sorry sacks over to where we are, we’ll pick you up-
Another cry from the mourner, and the rain around it turned to flame, a flap of its wings and this fire-rain shot out at the Nautkybo. The lines on the ship pulsed and a barrier of three rings appeared in front of the ship, each ring was made up of glowing words. The fire-rain shattered the first ring quickly as it passed through, it slowed through the second ring, destroying that too. The attack vanished before even passing through the third ring.
Another pulse from Nautkybo, like the beat of a heart. The third ring passed back over the ship, before sinking into it and then passing through to the front, forming an orb at the prow. Another pulse.
The ship shone blue and a beam shot out from the orb, like a bladed whip it passed through the mourner and several other mistspawn. Then the ship and its lines dimmed.
-Hahahaha! How do you like that you…-
The torrent of rain was overpowered by a torrent of mistspawn falling from the sky, but one mistspawn arose from the city itself. It was a green egg with a pair of purple wings. The egg was covered with sleeping woman-like faces. It was the size of one of the buildings one of the shattered skyscrapers.
-A doom-widow! Survivors, you better speed up! *This is why we tell you not to fire the hopelash at the start Captain* We’ll release our hazcarps to cover you, but that widow will call a mistmonarch when we pop it, so we’ll not be sticking around long after that, and you know we can’t just let a widow run wild!-
The mouths of the doom-widow’s faces opened. It was one of the more dangerous kinds of mistspawn. A spawner summoner. Eggs fell out of the mouths, swelling in size as they fell before hatching into more mistspawn.
Hatches opened across the Nautkybo, and squads of metal giants flew out.
The first hazcarps early in Sunder’s history were merely made as environmental suits for exploration. They were quickly adapted for war, becoming more mobile machine than suit, most becoming far larger than their pilots.
The majority of the hazcarps were made in the image of stout armed and legged fish, made from the same metal as the Nautkybo, and possessing the same lines across their bodies. There was a motley collection of other hazcarps, some old, some new. None were rejected.
Even as these descended from the Nautkybo, hazcarps of the survivors rose from the city to join them. They began their assault.
There were two Hazcarps that were quite similar to each other, both were green as seaweed. Both were made in the shape of beasts. Their shapes were quite different, one being like a large cat and the other a lizard, but the stylings were the same. Both had the same shoulder mounted cannons and an orb in their mouths, and the claws of both were identical. Lining the sides of the hazcarps were slots filled with missiles.
The cannons pumped as they ran through the mistspawn, covering each others backs.
-That makes fifteen for me bro-Akag!- A crazed voice crackled into the lizard’s cockpit.
-Do take this seriously, Gyn we are here to save people, not to kill mistspawn- Akag replied.
-Yeah, yeah, but if I kill a lot of mistspawn, then more people will be saved right bro-Akag?- Gyn explained.
The beast hazcarps bounded about as the mistspawn charged and the survivors fled. The brothers bickered as they fought. It was something they did when they first got into their hazcarps. It helped keep them sane as they fought horrors.
-From the com-chatter, looks like they’re going to pop the widow, we’ll have to retreat- Akag said.
There were still masses of survivors streaming behind them, but it was now the weak and infirm who were not fortunate enough to have someone bring them to the ship. That they had survived in the city at all was amazing. Weak only in comparison perhaps.
-There’s a lot still here- Gyn mused.
-We can’t help it, you want to see another ship get lost to a mismonarch? We need at least three ships or the mothership to take one of those freaks down. Then there is the swell of spawning that happens from a widow’s corpse!-
Gyn did not reply, but after a moment, his hazcarp bounced away… in the direction the doom-widow was.
-What are you doing Gyn! You can’t save anyone if you die!- Akag shouted through coms.
-Yeah, well, what kind of future will we have if we don’t save more? You know our hazcarps are reaching the limits of what repairs can do, I can’t save anyone when I’m dead, but how I die, I can save them with that bro!-
“Mistblast it. Better contact HQ” Akag muttered.
-Hey, Nautkybo, this is Akag of the Madjade brothers, me and my brother we’ll tank the deathspawning for you, so make sure you pick up as many of the last survivors as you can-
There was no reply for a while, and Akag chased after his brother.
-This is Captain Lemryu. We appreciate your sacrifice, we’ll delay as long as we can. Give them one for me. I’ll be sure to tell the survivors who they owe their lives to-
The brothers burst out to where the other hazcarps were fighting the Doom-widow. Just in time to see them pierce the mistspawn. The outer shell crumbled apart revealing a pile of eggs that tumbled out. Each one rapidly swelling and hatching. The other hazcarps beat a fighting retreat, while the brothers remained.
Legion. A writhing mass, a knot of tails and claws and wings before them.
-Madjade brothers. We’ll not forget you- One of the Nautkybo hazcarps communicated.
-Haha, don’t worry about us, we’re immortal aren’t we bro-Akag!- Gyn laughed.
-Yeah, immortal. I guess I always did want to know what it would be like to push this hazcarp into overdrive-
The lizard and cat began to shine as the mass of mistspawn charged.
-Any regrets bro?-
-Ha, that’s an old one-
They drowned in battle. Twin beasts devouring the mistspawn, missiles long spent, nothing less than pure power bursting out from the sides of the hazcarps, burning up their lives to spread wings of angels.
-Yeah. Hey, Gyn, do you remember? Weren’t we saved like this?-
-Huh, fancy that. I’d forgo-
-Gyn? Gyn!!? *sigh* you always were like that. Going on ahead of me. This time, I’ll catch u-
The Nautkybo pulled away after it picked up the last of the survivors who made it to the ship. As the rain stopped, it sped away.
The descent of a mistmonarch.
The fall of a massive shadow.
The ruined city was crushed.<< For all this, the Spear Remains a Spear The Carrot and The Stick Part 1 >>