Up to this point, Ana and I have only ever engaged in small talk, and I had no idea where to begin. I started out by asking her about the Navori over breakfast, and she’s dismissed them as being a fictional cult to spook people. As a result, I only told her the half-truth of why I left home all those years ago over dinner, leaving out the part of the Navori death threat.
As I finish telling her my story, I’m greeted with silence. She looks at me with a mixture of sadness and utter disbelief, then shakes her head and walks away. I try to get up and go after her, but she’s too fast and out the door, striding on to the front deck. My splitting migraine hits me again and I’m paralyzed due to sheer pain, unable to get off the canteen stool and go after her. When I recovered three minutes later, Ana was still not back, and so I trudged back to our cabin and went to bed.
Four hours later and she’s not back. If memory serves, Ana gives the silent treatment when she’s angry. I don’t blame her. She had every right to be upset, considering that Dina was a mage and that we all could have faced that threat together as a family. Well, maybe she’s pieced two and two together and thinks that I’m a complete idiot, or deadbeat; the irony of being a scientist and spooked by a fictional cult to abandon my family. Godammit, that was the lowest I have ever felt in 8 years time.
I didn’t feel like going after her, not in my current condition. My head still hurts a little ever since I woke up, and I want to do some tests on myself using the samplnfFyfKYdkh,
A sudden impact sends the ship rocking portside.
Belongings, notes and clothes lie scattered round the room, like a storm just tore through it. Heimler gets up on his elbows, only to notice that the floor is slanted at an angle.
Outside, screams could be heard from the occupants of the ship as the increasing gradient pushes the ship towards the starboard side. Heimler looks out the open door on the opposite side of the room, only to see people losing their balance and sliding downwards towards the water. Grabbing onto the open window next to the table, he hangs on, only to see the crystal sample fall off and slide down the room, joining his journal and notes.
The screaming intensifies outside just as Ana leaps into the room, short sword in hand. Driving the blade into the floorboards, she uses the newly created handhold to swing herself onto the bed right next to her father.
Are you alright?
What’s going on?!
We’re under attack.
Don’t know, but we need to get off now.
The terrified screams on the front deck died out, replaced by a series of bloodcurdling shrieks. A one eyed construct the size of an arm floated out in view of the window, shining a harsh orange light on Heimler, immobilizing him. Three appendages shot out towards his forehead, each of them glowing with purple energy at the tips, only to be cut off by a glowing kama as Ana leapt towards her father. Shrieking, the creature backs off, releasing Heimler from its trance, and he falls towards the other side of the room. Ana throws her kama into the wall nearby, and grabs her father’s hand while hanging on to the window. It seems to break his trance.
Wake up!! We got to leave now.
Save it for later. I’m gonna swing you to the door. We’re gonna run for the smallest lifeboats on the aft side and-
The wall near the door explodes as another creature crashes into the room. Four limbs barely hanging from a sundered torso revealed a molten orb at its open center, a horrible amalgamation of crystalline and organic matter, save for the core. A crystal shard protruded from what used to be a human head, eyes glowing an unearthly orange as crystal spikes grew out of the man’s face. Leveling its gaze at the duo, a left arm digs into the floorboards as the abomination grows spikes from its right arm. The right arm detaches from the abomination-
-and shoots towards Ana as the abomination leaps towards Heimler.
Heimler lets go of Ana’s hand, and falls towards the wall behind him, one thing on his mind.
Letting go of the window, Ana kicked against the wall, dodging the arm-missile and launches herself at the abomination. Runic tatoos glowed emerald as a translucent shield projects from her outstretched left hand. Shaped from hundreds of hexagons, the mana shield as tough as surtnarian maculite, yet weightless and twice as effective produces a resounding crack as Ana collides into the abomination, sending it crashing into the back of the room four yards from where Heimler was, and hangs on to the shortsword she planted earlier.
What was that for?!
Before Heimler could reply, the right arm missile retracts towards its owner as the abomination clawed upright, if that was even possible given how slanted the ship was. Without even waiting for the detached limb to reattach, an unmistakable snap came from the abomination as its head breaks off and floats towards Ana’s right flank, firing a concentrated eye beam at her. Ana propels herself towards her glowing kama by the window, parrying blows with her gauntlets as the abomination leaps into melee range. Trapping a right hook from the abomination, Ana slices off its spiked arm with her magic kama, the blade glowing brighter as it drank in its victim’s mana. Too late to block the incoming retaliatory slash from her left, Ana dodges back, but a searing pain across her cheek meant that she took a hit. Noticing the severed right arm in her hand trying to slash at her, and the floating head re-positioning to get a better shot at her, Ana throws the arm at the floating head, sending it spinning away. A back thrust kick sends the rest of the abomination flying across the room, away from her father. That gave her time to recover, grabbing her travel cloak off the floor, and sheathing her short sword and kama.
A shriek. The abomination’s parts start reassembling while firing eye beams, but Ana tanks it with the brunt of her mana shield, and raising both hands, she yells:
Pyro-blasts erupt from both of Ana’s hands as she fires at the abomination and at the wall behind her father. Two holes the size of a bed tear open in the room as the abomination is blasted outwards. Taking advantage of the chaos, Heimler scrambles for his journal and a precious few notes. Tucking them in his shirt, he runs over his important things mentally, and is missing one particular crystal. He crawls back into the wreckage of the room, frantically searching for the crystal sample.
What are you doing, dad?!
A loud crack pierces the room as the abomination leaps back into the wreckage of the room, its organic components still on fire, revealing a misshapen crystal endo-skeleton beneath. The shriek dies down as Ana’s fire burnt away the abomination’s throat, but the creature carried forward, apparently incapable of feeling pain.
There! In the rubble of the drawer, a soft glow shrouds a crystal, the sight unmistakable. Heimler grabs the crystal as the abomination leaps towards him, only to receive another pyroblast from Ana, staggering it but not taking it out.
Heimler barely manages to shove the crystal sample into his jacket before Ana grabs him by his left arm. With what little strength had left, she pulls him clear of the wreckage and tosses him out the opening in the wall onto the slanted deck. All the while, the tilting of the ship only worsened, and incapable of balancing, Heimler slides down the deck, followed swiftly by Ana. The creature tries to follow, and is hindered by the table in the room crashing into it.
As they slid down the deck, the scene that beheld them was something out of a nightmare.