The Worldeater Saga, Part XVII: An Unwelcome Return

Upon the one-hundred-and-fifty-first day of the Creators’ Monomachy, a curious clamour swept across Sapience’s eastern shores. Set to turbulence by some distant force, the oceans tossed and turned, their weight crashing against Esterport and the surrounding beaches. A low, droning buzz spread out throughout the realm as some unknown terror approached, instilling panic within adventurers and common folk alike.

As the sound intensified, its source became clear: a Dreikathi armada approached the continent, a contingent of airships bound for some unknown location upon Sapient soil.

Swooping in over Esterport, the armada of deadly vessels set a course for the twin trees growing beside ruined Yggdrasil. Assembling in a crescent shape around Varian’s Tree of Creation, the crew swiftly prepared for combat operations. Gunners streamed out from the holds of each flying ship, the din of their preparation cutting through the mechanical roar of machinery operation. Each unit operated as one, putting Drakkenmont’s rigid military protocol on full display as they laid the groundwork for an impending assault.

With weaponry aligned and energy allocated, the gunners began their grim work. With a tug of the trigger, each turret opened fire with indiscriminate hostility. Prismatic rays surged forth from each barrel, carving a cruel swathe across the sky amidst blinding flashes and acrid smoke. Bold onlookers at the foot of the tree found themselves vaporised by ylemnic radiation, their flesh reduced to dust upon an errant propeller breeze.

Where glimmering rays made contact with the gnarled, essence-infused bark of the Tree of Creation, smoking splinters of pulpy detritus misted the air. The screech of overheated ordnance mingled with the thrum of suspended airships and the sudden sundering of cracked wood, each passing second of relentless assault increasing the intensity of destruction’s symphony.

And yet, when the smoke cleared and Drakkenmont’s advanced armada paused to survey their work, Varian’s tree stood as tall and unbowed as His Favoured Son. Before the eyes of countless onlookers across the realm, the Tree rapidly regenerated the meagre damage it had sustained, ylemfire singed and myriad-hued smoke banished by a ripple of restorative argent energies.

The sounds of a newly formulated and authorised operation echoed from the decks of the Draekathi airships as the imperial armada prepared for a second salvo, mustering yet more mechanical might in the face of this Divine target. Mechanical clicks and whirrs resounded throughout the airspace surrounding the twin trees of Creation as each Draekathi vessel’s hull unfolded to reveal clockwork appendages laden missiles tipped with deadly, magitechnical payloads.

Soon, technical workers burst out from the decks of each airship and reconfigured the turret cannons for their brethren. Each engineer installed a differently aspected ylemcore within their mechanical charge, ensuring that the next salvo of ylemnic destruction would possess new, dangerous properties. Soon, the gunners stepped back up to take the place of their crafty compatriots and settled their hands upon either end of the suspension bar meant to provide stability during fire. After recalibrating their aim, they awaited the signal to open fire once more.

A siren’s blaring cry signalled the start of the second assault.

Crackling cascades of electricity surged forth from some turrets, joined by elemental energy from the others. Volatile munitions exploded forward to join this onrushing display of destructive might, the triplicate assault a three-prong violation upon the Celestine’s creation. Smoky calescence, umbral spirals, and coruscating illumination scoured bark from trunk and peeled wood from arborean flesh. Each concussive impact sheared burgeoning foliage from the tree’s blessed boughs and shook the tree’s very foundation with the weaponry’s catastrophic landing.

On the heels of this bedazzling, horrifying assault, the intricate mechanisms within the hullbound arms clanked and groaned as they shifted gears. Each protrusion jerked backward and then launched forward faster than an eye-blink, releasing the slender missiles clutched in their collective grasp. In a slightly staggered series of discordant, imperfectly aligned collisions, the secondary barrage made cataclysmic impact. Spellbound catastrophe formed wheresoever these enchanted projectiles shattered, its obliterating potency wreaking devastation with finesse and acuity to dwarf even the Naldareth’s legendary prowess. Those at the foot of the tree found themselves caught up in this horrific display, the air replaced by poison, their remains soon scorched to naught but ashes within the conflagrant firestorm of terrifying ylemtech.

When the smoke cleared, however, the Tree of Creation stood unblemished. Whatever harm it had suffered at the hands of this heavily armed fleet vanished in a blink, dumbfounding Drakkenmont’s aerial army. Regeneration’s rigours imposed no sign of strain upon their target’s colossal trunk, its boughs soughing defiantly in the face of the insufficient force it had been subjected to.

Not to be undone, the armada’s officers convened to rethink their assault and immediately set into motion a third assault. A brassy swarm of clockwork contraptions soared out from the open undersides of each airship, one and all setting a course towards the tree. Some diverged at certain degrees or points, suspending themselves in the air as if built into the sky itself. Where these miniature automatons ceased their movement, they split their power betwixt maintenance of altitude and the emittance of refined ylem as if they were a mystical beacon. Thin threads of energy soon emerged to interlink each point of shimmering light, weaving an effulgent matrix of magitechnical wonder.

Once the last filament settled into place, a dangerous dome of sorcerous energy soon emerged around the arboreal masterwork planted in support of Varyan Celestine’s claim. Every airship gunner swivelled their aim towards these disparate knots within the magical net, the barrels of their ylemnic artillery glimmering with gathering might, and opened fire one last time in a display of Drakkenmont’s boundless, tyrannical power.

Ylemnic discharge slammed into the coppery contraptions with a jarring screech, igniting them all in a chain reaction of catastrophic military magic. Catalysed by elemental influence, the excess energy surged inward in an impending implosion of enchanted terror. The dome acted as temporary containment to safeguard the airborne crew unleashing this obliterating marvel, turning the space within its perimeter into a blinding column of light. Arcane tempests and lethal waves of unaspected energy rampaged across the face of Varyan’s titan, eliciting a cry from the local ley.

Fire and ice, light and shadow, life and death – all entwined in a cataclysmic wardance of blinding brilliance. As the ley’s ceaseless cries intensified, so too did the whirling ruination trapped within the matrix’s glimmering confines. Poison gas, wasting disease, and raw, concussive force conspired for the purposes of imperial conquest, turning rock to sand to perfect glass by way of the incomparable heat of ylemnic devastation. The lifeblood of Creation seethed within the magical prison, scouring everything in its path with all-consuming violence brought about by highly advanced military equipment.

Showcasing the abhorrent horror of technology and magic’s unholy union, Drakkenmont’s dreaded assault set forth to rival the savage Monomachy on high for a brief, chilling moment. Where these omnipotent Creators scattered empires with but a breath, the armada showcased equally terrifying force by way of supremacy of arms amongst mortalkind… and yet, somehow, their insignificance in the face of two embattled Makers became abundantly clear. As the magitechnical matrix dissipated upon destructive radiance’s abatement, the silver titan swayed in utter defiance. Whole, rooted deep into Sapience’s sacred soil, it loomed over the gathered aerial might of the Draekathi.

Then, Varian’s tree began its counterassault.

Penned by my hand on Quensday, the 25th of Niuran, in the year 511 MA.