Chapter 313 Cycle of War
Ilea sighed as she returned the ash to mana itself, her health returning to the max as her mana recovered. She slowly flew towards the arena, corpses littering the streets again soon after. When her mana was back to two thirds, she sped up, seeing purple beams in the distance. Dozens of spells rushed towards Maro who was floating above the arena, his shield simply tanking the hits as the mages were returned to dust by what looked like instant and unlimited in range beams he sent out.
She landed on the ground, a Feynor looking at her before he turned and rushed at his brethren. Undead. She noted, a group of skeletons jumping on the defending warriors as they were slowly overwhelmed. Ilea joined in, finding the biggest groups of Feynor as they tried tried getting into the arena, blocked by walls of stone, ice and water, spells raining down on them from the dark ones inside. She cut through four groups before blinking inside.
Terok appeared close to her, “The wounded are in the center. We’ll hold them back.” He vanished again, the impacts of dozens of spells reverberating constantly. Blinking to the dozens if not hundreds of groaning or dead dark ones, Ilea spread her limbs, finding the maximum controllable number reached at sixteen, the range around ten meters. And then she meditated, stabilizing the creatures as her mana quickly drained. There were at least a dozen other healers but half of them were out of mana and more injured were brought by the minute, some bleeding out, losing arms or burnt so badly their features were barely recognizable.
Ilea fought against the smells, the cries and screams of unimaginable pain. A minute passed but the injured still numerous, few of them ready to go back to the fight. Most were stable at this point, would survive if no more attacks would land on them. Ilea opened her eyes when a skeleton tapped her head, her armor gone to allow for a tiny bit more mana to be focused on her healing. She nearly puked when she saw the scene around her with her own eyes but focused on the skeleton. It pointed at her with one of three fingers on its hand and then up to the necromancer in the air.
She nodded and blinked up, wings spreading before she reached him. “Most are stable, we need you fighting. They are breaking through my undead there.” He pointed towards the chaotic fighting below, “Ilea, we’ll need to intercept the reinforcements from the tunnel, there were still several hundreds of them in there.”
“I took care of them.” She said, making him pause for a moment before he nodded.
“Good. I saw several units move towards the trees, Dark Ones are hiding in the forest. Once…,” Several projectiles impacted his shield, making him sway to the side. Ilea reached an ashen limb towards him but found the man uninjured. “Once you’re done here go there, we have this under control.” Two beams of purple smashed into the Feynor mage two hundred meters away, standing on a building before he was quite literally evaporated.
Ilea didn’t wait any longer, blinking down before she sped up and landed hard on the ground, sending rubble flying to the side before her limbs lashed out, cutting through the dozens of Feynor and undead alike. She had no way to tell them apart but if all were dead, her enemies will have fallen.
Spearing through the last three warriors standing against her, she trusted Maro and sped up, her wings moving in the air and bringing her towards the trees in the distance. I’m flying faster. She noted, a change likely brought by her evolution too. Both her ashen magic as well as her ash itself had improved. The wings were awkward to use for blocking and her limbs were more versatile for attacking. Maybe I should still try, it’s a body enhancement and ashen magic skill after all.
Speeding up even more, Ilea reached the tree area half a minute later, landing near the corpse of a Feynore before she ran in. She heard the sound of spells a couple seconds later, turning towards them before she came upon a group of Feynor. Her sphere let her know they were terrified. Feeling the attack coming, Ilea blinked up, watching dozens of roots pierce the warriors and mages before they were ripped apart, blood and guts spraying on the ground as her armor freed her mouth. She puked, retching up whatever remained from the glorious feast she had earlier.
It hadn’t been the worst she had seen today but it simply pushed her to the limit. The blood managed to spray as far as the twenty meters she was in the sky. Something moved in the trees and she quickly rushed towards it. A Dark One was teleporting before something impacted it, sending it crashing into a tree. Ilea landed before she turned, seeing none other than Elder Lucas. Only he was covered in bark and two meters tall, roots extending out of his body and into the ground. Blood and guts were all over him.
A spear of wood rushed at the dark one before Ilea intercepted it. The being looked up in fear, “Are there more Feynor here?”
It shook its head, “He...h...he killed all…,”
“Run.” She said, turning back as her wings formed a cocoon in front of her, the roots and lances glancing off. Hey this is better than the ashen walls at least. She was being pushed back by the impacts alone but none managed to pierce.
“Hey asshole! It’s me, stop this!” She shouted and appeared before him, slamming her fist against his protected head without her mana intrusion skills.
“AaaaAaah… you…,” He lifted his hand, wood forming before another punch sent him stumbling. “Ah… Ilea. I’m sorry… I…,” A previously invisible Feynor suddenly appeared a meter behind the elder, thrusting a spear towards his back. Ilea just watched as wood suddenly extended from Lucas, piercing the creature and lifting it up before a beam of light burst his head like an overripe melon. Again, she retched as her wings protected her against the blood.
The man fell to his knees, “I’m… sorry… I…,” She just stepped next to him and put a hand on his shoulder, ignoring the roots that grew and tried to pierce her armor.
“It’s alright Lucas. You tried and they decided not to listen. It’s ok. Calm down for me alright?” She asked and pushed healing mana into him. She frowned when she saw a group of Feynor running towards them a hundred meters away. Three Dark Ones intercepted them a moment later, slaughtering the creatures as she sighed in relief. The wood around her slowly receded, even the elder’s armor going back.
“Come on, you can rest now.” Ilea said, grabbing the man when most of the roots had receded. She moved him towards a tree and set him down with his back resting on it.
“I didn’t mean to, they just didn’t listen…,” He kept talking to himself but Ilea just nodded.
“I’ll check on the others. Do me a favor and stay here alright? I’ll send a bunch of dark ones to look after you Lucas.” He seemed to understand but didn’t reply, Ilea quickly blinking and reaching the three that had killed the Feynor.
“The human wood mage is a hundred meter that way. Can you look over him?” She was pretty sure the man had made enough of a name for himself so that this would be enough of a description.
They looked at each other before one of them spoke, “We usually let him use up his mana before anybody approaches. It’s too dangerous.”
Ilea hesitated for a moment, “He has already calmed down, I talked to him. His armor is gone at least. Keep a distance if you think approaching is a bad idea.” Two of them nodded before her wings spread and she soared upwards. Flying back towards the arena, Ilea already spotted Maro flying in the distance. He wasn’t hovering above the circular structure anymore, instead going towards the gates leading out.
An army of skeletons and Feynor were running below her in unison, rushing through the houses and alleys to find any survivors of the enemy forces. “How are the injured?”
Maro turned his head and nodded, “Your healing isn’t needed, the arena and surroundings are clear. Terok as well as the elite dark ones are guarding the place. Most survivors have flocked to the location. Forest?”
“Lucas killed most of them, lost control… not like a berserker but… no idea, I could still talk to him but he did try to attack me. He… ripped them apart. I don’t think any Feynor survived there.”
The man snorted, “And here I thought so highly of him. Well I suppose it’s better than dying for his beliefs. It’s only a matter of time then. The Feynor will either look for easy targets, attack the arena or try to flee. I’ll move to towards the entrance, clear out whatever is left.”
Ilea nodded, “Send a beam upwards if you need help. I’ll check on the wounded.” She didn’t wait for his reply before flying off, landing in the arena less than a minute later. She noted that most of the injured were in fact already stable, the healers doing a great job as they moved around, some casting area of effect healing before nearly collapsing due to mana exhaustion.
Spreading her ashen limbs, she meditated and simply healed the worst injured. A couple minutes later, she moved on to the areas outside the arena, finding survivors under the rubble and corpses thanks to her sphere. The smell of blood and feces was nearly overwhelming, Ilea missing the ability to regulate her senses inside her sphere. The varying biology of the different beings didn’t help. Throwing a bunch of corpses to the side, she found a coughing warrior missing both arms, a gaping wound in his belly.
Immediately she went to her knees and started healing, focusing first on the wound and then on his arms, the immense blood loss making it a miracle that he had survived at all. She continued healing, making his arms regrow as he gasped and screamed, the sensation overwhelming. “You’re fine.” She said and slapped his cheek lightly before moving on, looking through the rubble. Many of the houses surrounding the arena had been destroyed or at least heavily damaged. There had been more Feynor than she realized, the chaos having been too great to make out individuals.
At least twice as many as in the tunnel. It was surprising the dark ones hadn’t been able to make a better stand. Most had broken rather quickly as soon as the Feynor entered the dungeon, even warriors and mages of level two hundred and above. If the elves had anywhere near the numbers and efficiency, no human city would stand a chance against them. Not even Virilya with its massive walls, completely ignored by the flying mages and warriors.
She heard screams coming from inside the arena but trusted the healers to take care of it, lifting a chunk of stone with her ashen limbs as well as hands. “You’re a lucky fucker.” She whispered, kneeling down to heal the furry dog like unconscious dark one. Most of its ribs had been crushed but it was still breathing. When the creature was stable, she moved on. A group of dark ones was looking as well, two of them coordinating the others as they pointed out trapped people.
Half an hour later she was reasonably sure no more survivors hid between the rubble. Not about to collect corpses, she made her way back into the arena, checking again on the injured. Few remained and the healers reassured her it was only because of their lacking mana. In general the dark ones in the area had thinned out again. Ilea watched a bunch of them drag a Feynor corpse out from a room before dumping him on a pile.
“Terrific smell eh?” Terok asked as he stepped next to her.
“They’ll need to be burned soon.” Ilea said, the dangers of infection and sicknesses likely small for the usually high leveled dark ones but still a reality.
Terok nodded, looking at the pile of corpses, “Another reason not to participate in any wars.” He said.
“What do you mean?” Ilea asked.
“Torture. Already brought in fifteen of the fuckers. At least they close the doors.”
Ilea raised her brows, walking over to the closing door before putting her handbetween the wood and stone. “What is it?” Someone asked before she pushed it open, a warrior struggling against her before he realized who she was.
The room was small, its initial color barely recognizable under the amounts of blood covering the floor and walls. She noticed how her boots stuck to the ground as she walked to the Feynor bound to a metal chair, dark ones around her confused as they waited, knifes, pliers, needles and more tools Ilea ignored in their hands as well as distributed on the heavy wooden table placed next to a wall.
Looking around, she slammed an ashen limb into the Feynor’s throat, ending his life with a single strike. “What…” A voice resounded.
“What are you doing?” Another asked.
“He was a prisoner! Information that could save the city!” One of them said, stepping closer to her and wrapping his hand around the handle of his blade.
Ilea spread out ash in the room, her limbs moving on their own as four of them each hovered in front of the same amount of dark ones. The aggressive one had stopped, looking at the others with an unsure expression on his goat like face. “I played a big part in saving the city. No torture, not here. Out.”
She watched as they at first didn’t move but nodded after looking at each other, stepping out of the room slowly. “You, wait.” She said to the one that had reached for his blade. He gulped, looking at the others with a pleading glance, meeting only their backs. “Close the door. I’m not going to hurt or kill you, come on.”
“Now.” Ilea said, sitting on the table, blood still covering the floor, running down the walls. “Tell me what you found out so far.”
The perplexed look didn’t surprise her, “But… you killed it…,”
“Him, a male Feynor. The penis… easy to see, even after you cut it off.”
The dark one gulped and nodded, going into what they had found out so far. Formations, numbers of attackers, future plans, expansions, names and possible levels and classes of high ranking officers in their tribes as well as unified military. “The attack today wasn’t isolated either. Several dark one strongholds would be attacked, as well as independent settlements.”
“Hallowfort?” Ilea interrupted and the dark one nodded.
“It was mentioned, yes.”
“Thanks.” Ilea said, getting up and patting him on his shoulder before exiting. A group of dark ones had gathered, all above two hundred. Terok stood to their side, arms crossed.
“Ashen healer.” One of them said, Ilea already preparing to defend herself in case her interference had caused this. “We thank you for the help in defending the town as well as healing those injured in the attack. We ask you to refrain from killing captives, they are a source of information. I don’t believe you want the Feynor to win more ground. Your kind would suffer as well.”
“I’m well aware of the uses of torture but if I see someone doing it I’ll stop it. No matter what.” She said and nodded to Terok, “Hallowfort was likely attacked too. We should go see if it’s still standing.” The dwarf immediately stepped forward.
“Fuck, I’ll get Maro and Lucas.”
“Leave Lucas. Ask Maro if he’s willing to help.” She said and he looked at her for a second before nodding.
“As you wish.” He vanished.
“After you have dealt with the Feynor, we suggest seeking an audience with the Dark Protector. I am sure your deeds here shall result in high favor. The enemy has to be defeated and we could use your prowess, noble healer.” The dark one spoke again, Ilea nodding to him.
“I won’t. Good luck in your war.” She said and spread her wings, following Terok towards the exit.
Maro was found looking through the corpses in the tunnel with a bunch of dark ones. “There she is.” Terok said as Ilea walked up to them.
“Good work here. Not a single one escaped.” The king said.
“I’m beaming with pride. Mass murderer number one.” Ilea smiled a bitter smile, “We’ll have to cut our vacation short I fear.”
Maro nodded, “I have heard. Elana is in Hallowfort too, I offer my help of course.” He stepped towards her and punched her lightly, “I think you’re number two at best for today.” A wink before his helmet appeared, the undead and skeletons in the tunnel rushing towards him before they collapsed and vanished into his ring.
“We’re just feeding the army of an unstoppable necromancer…,” Terok commented, the king laughing his best evil laugh.
“Seriously, I can’t control more than a hundred, not if I want them capable.” He said, “We’re not getting the elder? He survived right?”
Ilea nodded, “Yes but I don’t want to babysit an unstable pacifist attacking friendlies. I’m happy to visit once the situation has calmed down.”
“Didn’t sound like it will anytime soon. Favor for the Dark Protector and his army has grown after this attack. I hear the elders have unanimously decided to support him with whatever resources and people they can.” Terok supplied, having picked up more near the arena. “You two don’t want to join as well, do you?”
Ilea looked at Maro, “Not more than I already have.”
The king shrugged, “I’m with you on that.”
Terok clapped his metal hands together, “Good, then let’s go. Maybe the smith I owe money to has tragically lost his life.”