Sally spotted one near her horizon and felt compelled to break the silence, “At twelve o’ clock, girls.”

The darkling was a strange existence, and its form would be miserable for a real animal. The grotesque humanoid appearance sharpened as it stood on its two legs, with shriveled forelimbs that each ended in large claws. Its mode of locomotion was also inadequate, heavy-looking legs with rear facing joints that ended with paws. The head was that of a canine, though it was more revolting than intimidating.

To a darkling, this failed existence instantly proved successful, and it grew, expanding but not evolving. If it did not have any unseen power, Ella and Luna both judged they could defeat it, and while it was no less terrible than what they saw before, they let Sally approach the slow moving creature.

It was some eldritch werewolf, and it howled lowly when Sally thrust her saber straight, but a frontal claw parried the attempt barely. Up close it was very different, and the small shock made her forget to breathe. She actually held an advantage in constitution; it was only five feet tall, hunchback, and lacked arm length.

A significant portion of its nonmatter was not in use in its core or extremities, and while it sickeningly sagged in lumpy sacs, it provided an uneasily easy fight. She sliced at its arms, and when the claws fell harmlessly (and disgustingly) at her boots, she had an open target; darklings do not retreat.

She expected some congratulations for her first victory. But also in the same direction, the other two notified her of several of the deformed werewolves. The either of them seemed very strong to Sally, but no one could move and fight infinitely, and those monsters moved in rank and file, which made it easy to see there were many of them.

Luckily, all it took for Luna to destroy them was to simply touch her sharp mercurial form into them, and neither her or Sally cared for injuries because of Ella’s presence. Instead, the nonmatter that was freed did not immediately disperse, and after they were done with the brainless things that came to them one at a time, they lost only the time to regroup. Luna’s form swelled and surged until she could not retract some of her tendrils, and Ella distracted them from their recent encounter by telling Sally it might help in the confusion to memorize exactly how it looked like. Luna said to her, “Among many things you are also not good at jokes,” though Sally didn’t know what she meant and didn’t find that very either.

When they did find the others, they were solemn and reduced critically in number, as Ella and Sally performed first aid. Just in case, additional knight squads were contacted.


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