Thursday, July 29, 2010

queen of insects

I squinted from the expanse of crimson radiance simmering over the surface of the great portal.

"The portal only opens towards this world," I told Xavael. I noticed the shadow of another Vesprium airship from inside it, growing to the full size of the vessel just before its metal bow and honeycombed airbag pierced through the membrane of the hellgate. "If only we could send through something as bait for the queen..."

We darted as another liquid nitrogen projectile hurtled towards us to explode in a bloom of ice crystals.

"They loaded the cannon before they passed through! They could see us from the other side!" the angel replied as I quickly dispatched the ship with a firebolt to the airbag. "No matter can enter it from here" the Fallen One continued, "but light certainly can!"

I looked to Xavael and felt my hairs stand on end. "Let me hover behind you."

"And close your eyes, betrothed."

I turned my back to the angel, floating a distances away. I pressed my palms to my eyes.

"Proceed, Xavael!"

The flare was so bright that even with my back turned and my eyes closed shut I could see the light. I could feel the sting of the celestial light. A long, horrific screech rose to such a pitch that I considered sacrificing my eyes to cover my ears. That is, until the brilliance blinked out as quickly as it came.

Xavael's hand clenched mine, and I opened my eyes. Stormy eyes gazed back in alarm as the angel tugged at me. I turned my head to see what put terror in the eyes of one as ancient as Bloodwing.

The head of the Wasp Queen barely fit through the portal. Antennae the size of Tesla towers bent angrily in our direction. Huge mandibles scraped against each other furiously like damaged airship propellors ready to shatter and explode. Six colossal legs gripped around the circumference of the portal as it drew itself out.

She's larger that Steam Sky City, I thought to myself. And she was only halfway through.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

the shriek of the thornbird

As I would discover later, that was the name of the spell Xavael invoked upon unleashing a wail of agony caused from the very wounds inflicted by my armor. The swarm of wasp demons closing from above fell silently around us, droplets of blood trailing behind them. It would seem that the one directly harming the caster is not affected by the spell. Celestial magic is curious indeed.

The wounds I had accidentally inflicted upon the angel were being transferred to our enemies. I moved my arm away from the angel's shoulder and the laceration sealed instantly. Where once there was a wound, there was only the sheen of blood behind that stained blonde tresses writhing around Xavael's head like the halo...lost eons ago.

The angel could not keep this enchantment going forever. I absorbed the rage back into me, dissolving the armor, and slipped from my Bloodwing's lover's arms, dropping for a second before opening my wings to soar beside my rescuer. The angel fell silent, eyes of steel grey with hints of blue like morning thunderclouds regarded me for a moment before our gazes both turned towards the rapid cracks of thunder to the east. Flashes from the turrets of the massive ironclad floating in the distance followed with the barrage of explosions above us.

"The mighty ship of metal smites our foes!" exclaimed Xavael.

"That is Hassanov's ship," I replied. "Our ally assails the swarm's ranks as they appear, but the enemy still advances."

"Then we must close the hellgate before we are overrun!" I felt the angel's hand clasp mine as we assessed the battlefield from below.

"That is true, Beloved." I abruptly pulled my hand away to point at the radius of crimson, visible like an eclipse even through the thick clouds.

"It is their queen we must destroy," I added. "How do we not know she cannot open another gate as quickly as we close the first?"

"We must assure she does not..." I looked back nervously and nodded.

"She does not fully undertand the workings of this world. Otherwise she would have chosen a different fuel for her ships." A blossom of flames erupted nearby as another hydrogen-filled warship disintegrated from a Hassanov weapon. "Certainly not enough to open a portal in the reverse direction. We must draw her out...and close the gate behind her."

In unison, white feathers and red wings snapped from hovering to full speed as vanished into the cloud in the direction where the image of the portal was burning through.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Enter: Xavael

Just as abruptly as I spun into a fatal dive towards the ocean, my fall was cut short. A much less violent impact and a grunt from someone else as well as myself. Someone caught me? Just below cloud level? I could not make out my bearings from the radiance that enveloped me.

"Bloodwing," the soft voice danced in my ears. "My sweet Husband..."

This creature was...WHAT? I opened my mouth to ask a barrage of questions, but the Founder had a more urgent matter.

"XAVAEL! My armor!"

The joy in the angel's crystal eyes dissolved into horror. Bloodwing had summoned his Armor of Rage. Xavael was impaled with a dozen wounds from the vicious spikes, and the celestial's blood was already spreading across my breastplate.

My gaze shifted from her anguish to the squadrons of the wasp demons diving through the clouds towards us. Xavael gazed upwards at the coming onslaught, fighting the growing wave a numbness from blood loss and drew in a deep breath...