The Worldeater Saga, Part XVIII: Pride Cometh

Without much delay, the Tree of Creation sought to swat its assailants out of the sky. In a feat of rapid genesis, the tree’s boughs shot forward, making swipes and near miss assaults upon Drakkenmont’s armada. With speed belying their size, the Dreikathi narrowly managed to avoid massive damage in this first attack. Before they could muster another response, however, commanding officers took note of an unseen but impending threat.

Steel-grey clouds wheeled into view overhead, conjured by the squalling rage of a freshly born storm. Driving rain erupted from the firmament like unto the angry tears of the Gods, battering the ground below in a merciless downpour. In and through and around this unnatural coalescence of wroth cirrocumulus, forks of azurine lightning wasted no time in making known the radiant ire of their commander.

Cyclonic phenomena manifest in the north and ebbed swiftly southwards through the embattled skies, their march in tune with a tremulous chorus of sonic booms threatening to tear the very sky asunder. As the air quavered, the lightning burst forth in a fulminant explosion of arcs to lambaste all the far and distant reaches of the heavens.

The storm’s eye at last opened, revealing draconic wings unfurling within the cold reaches of the frozen north. Tanixalthas, Star of Midwinter, Queen of the Skies, Pride Incarnate roared, and the last of the storm’s scant restraint faltered.

Set loose by the First Dragon, thunder and lightning conspired along a catastrophic collision course, scorching the skies with fulminant rage. A web of brilliantine incandescence unfurled all across the firmament, converging with murderous intent upon the armada yet bombarding the Varyanic tree. Each beat of the Sun Drinker’s massive wings drove the storm further forward, igniting the sky in a panoply of electric-blue brilliance which ruthlessly assailed its imperial quarry without mercy or remorse. Yet as the azurine sparks made contact and released their explosive potential, they dissipated to naught, unmade and rendered neutral by a force beyond Sapient Air’s grasp.

Pride’s enraged roar split the sky with incandescent fury even as cyclone, tornado, and typhoon found themselves turned back whence they came, reverberating through heavenspace before effervescing into harmless non-being. Cursing the Dreikathi as filth and referring to them as the misbegotten get of lust, Tanixalthas demanded that these hunters of Her kind turn back and depart from Her empyreal domain.

Cloud and storm and rain and lightning fled from the manifest ire of the Sun Drinker, Her winged flight held aloft by all the power and majesty of Sky Dreaming. Where once lightning struck and tempests squalled, now only the First Dragon soared amidst the reaches of Her domain, the air yielding to Her passage with the characteristically turbulent, thunderous, terror-striking sonic boom. Like a whip of sinuous muscle and tail and wings, Tanixalthas dove with murderous intent. Screams from the scattered crew rang out from the nearest airship as Her massive bulk collided with its hull, Her teeth and claws working as one to shred the invasive craft with Her raw, brutalising strength.

Shouting crewmembers emerged upon the decks of the armada, carrying anti-draconic munitions in their burly arms. Hurriedly, they loaded these into the muzzles of each turret and gestured for their comrades to fire upon the First Dragon. Silvery harpoons soared outward, carrying with them wide, shimmering nets of ylembound energy that unfurled upon the firmament. This entangling mass made collision with the Star of Midwinter’s colossal bulk, snaring Tanixalthas’ wings and the sinuous length of Her massive body.

Her flight hampered sufficiently, Pride Incarnate began to spiral off the stage She claims as Her domain. The armada wheeled around for another strike upon their newly acquired target, their bristling arsenal at the ready. Before they could make good upon their lethal intent, however, the Varyanic tree made another move in defence of Sapience’s skies. A gnarled spear of ancient timber surged forward, battering the side of several ships in a display of wooden wrath. The Tree of Creation’s follow-up strike sprouted into existence like a flower captured in the throes of a hastened lifespan, more and more protruding boughs springing out to hammer away at the armada.

Vines snaked forward, entangling the propellers of some of Drakkenmont’s lethal vessels. Ingenuic industry met the untrammelled might of the wilds as Varyan’s tree yanked and pulled, threatening to tear one captured airship asunder. Soldiers rushed forward with sabres and lances alight with ylemnic radiance and hack away at the growth holding their ship captive, their wicked edges slashing through this weaker manifestation of the Tree’s grasp. Rotund drupes fell free from the crown of the awakened tree, their burning bulk rolling along the decks of nearby vessels. A series of concussive bursts heralded their terminus, consuming the deck in roaring flames as their Divine calesence came to fruition. Screams from engineers and lower ranked personnel rang out as they scrambled to extinguish these new hazards.

Other airships within the armada turned their fire upon the boughs, wounding Pride’s ego further with the sudden redirection of their militant wrath. Acerbic exhaust fumes filled the air as the fleet opted to take off and bank away from the Tree’s reach, abandoning their operation in favour of conserving their troops. As they made their retreat, Drakkenmont deployed five messenger drones in a clandestine attempt to communicate with the Sanguine Fist’s leadership.

In the wake of arboreal wrath and magitechnical destruction, nightmarish Omei emerged beside the entrapped First Dragon. After a brief moment of consideration, Immortal Instinct opted to free the colossal Goddess of Air before assuring Tanixalthas that She expected recompense for Her act of kindness. Though the prospect stoked the already roaring furnace of Her rage, the Star of Midwinter assented to this point, once more proving the strange honour indicative of Her kind.

Some short weeks following their explosive arrival into Sapience, Drakkenmont’s delegation concluded repairs of their injured vessel and promptly invited themselves into Bloodloch, fulfilling an earlier promise – and in the process, responding to a much earlier outreach made by Bloodlochian leadership during the crisis with the Eld’akathi some years prior – to meet with the Sanguine Fist’s leadership to discuss terms of a possible mutually beneficial arrangement.

Though the details of said meeting are scarce, known only to those present, – and, by serendipity, the Manipulator Who, in the absence of resistance from Ivoln and Chakrasul, easily bypassed Abhorash’s will to invite Himself into the meeting – the Thronekeepers left the proceedings with newly provided wyrms as steeds, and hastily began preparing for some unknown endeavour involving the Varyanic Tree.

Then, upon the one-hundred-and-seventy-fifth day of the Creators’ Monomachy, the Port City of Delve mobilised its security forces to quell the unrest in the streets. After a long series of peacekeeping missions, diplomatic negotiations, and community efforts, Lord-Provost Wahelei saw to the end of the Free City’s troubling riots. Before departing back to the Pious Ward, the Lord-Provost assured Sapience that the city would see to the election of a replacement for the late Councilor Veran, as well as providing written gratitude for the Eschatonic Collective’s efforts.

With a season of democracy approaching, the ambitious, the powerful, the deluded, and the hopeful have already begun to plan their would-be ascension ito Delve’s ruling councila

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