Angla was once a small port town that would not hold any more significance other than being a fishing town one of several places one could start their travel by sea. The routes were usually along the coast, going north and south, both of which served to help cut journey times and for accessibility. The train service ran through the northern Tragorian region and through out the region of Adaline, where it started its service. Tragoria lagged behind in term of train service, hence the importance of sea and river routes.
The town would stay in obscurity if it wasn’t for the Blackjack. The steamship was a technological marvel at the time it set sail. It also made history for being the first ship that ever crossed the Ocean and returned to tell the tales. Many adventurers of the past tried and failed to return, long before the era of steam and even during the time of a hybrid steam-sail configuration almost 50 years ago.
It would possibly join the rest of its predecessors if it wasn’t for the efforts of the crew and the help of one very unusual guide. She was Azureath, an azure-scaled dragon that ran from her land, convinced to return by a trio of young werewolves who risked their lives to continue their journey, which paid off. Her help, and the tenacity of Jamie Hines’ crew, were now recorded in Tragorian history and gave precedence to better appreciation of Lycans, long considered a second-rate citizen due to their non-human status.
The Blackjack returned with a new upgrade involving magic from the faraway land, which helped its return journey by making the voyage less dangerous and completely eliminated the need for a draconic guide. While it was a marvel, that upgrade became important for the next two years.
The Hellish Incursion, as it would later be known, decimated the Tragorian countryside into a hellish wasteland, populated by demons and hellhounds loyal to them. The whole region fell in just a year, with many who were left behind became unwilling servants of the demons. Those who fought back were often impaired by the demons’ powers. Even the hellhounds that opposed them could not help much. The only reason why the Incursion stayed in Tragoria was because of an internal strife that delayed the spread, even if there were sporadic Incursions in neighboring regions.
Yet, despite the internal strife, despite the continued opposition from the free regions, there would be one more player joining the fight against the army of hell. And that opposition…came from eight very special individuals. Nine, of course, if counting the Original Werewolf. These nine would show the demons that they did not survive the invasion of the light dragons out of pure luck, even if it had a major part to play.
Each of them had fought their own battles, and each had proved that they were prepared for anything. Now, they would test all that in a land beyond what they knew, even for the Ternorians.
Their test as warriors would happen in the Tragorian battlefield.
Angla had always been a hotbed for conflict between the free hellhounds and the anti-royalists who sold their souls to their demon lords by sacrificing their monarchs. Even on the day where everything changed, the town was still under siege. The free hellhounds tried to attack, only to be held back by the hellhounds and the flying creatures they employed in. Their guns were no match against the creatures, which promptly dispatched them. The hellhound defenders had a better position against the attackers due to the burned forest not giving enough cover, causing them to be open to attack.
The defenders had also anticipated an attack from the sea. There were many attempts to ambush them by boats, but all of them failed due to the flying creatures and the ever-vigilant watchers and defenders stationed at the port. They were always ready for anything. Angla was impenetrable, much like many other port towns, though its relative unimportance to the Incursion without the Blackjack made it an easy target for those who think otherwise.
And in one fateful night, the stalemate would be broken.
The Blackjack sailed with the eight adventurers of Main but stopped somewhere between Raptor Island and two small port towns, one of which was Angla. They sailed before the sun set and stopped at the designated position just as dusk settled. Jamie, following wartime protocol, kept the ship’s exterior lights off and reduce internal lights so as to not alert the enemies. He also kept the magical barrier up in case one of the hell dragons spotted them. They were known to patrol far out of the sea, much like the dragon riders of Main.
The adventurers, following what they had agreed upon, were briefed by Harold on their point of attack. Angla had always been under siege due to relentless attacks from the oppositions that were active deep within enemy territory. They were responsible for taking over another port town and several border towns used as forward bases.
“Thus, the port would be lightly defended compared to the major shipping stops,” said Harold. “While they are ready for an attack on two fronts, they will lose that tactical advantage if they don’t know what’s coming. Aerial assault will be your best bet.”
“Yet the hell dragons will know, so keep yer eyes and ears sharp,” said Jamie. “Those buggers don’t make any sound unless they’re ready to attack.”
“I don’t know what you are planning to do, but don’t take too many risks. Disengage if you are overwhelmed.”
“Will do,” said Adeline.
“Now, may lady luck blesses you all…and hope that I don’t see you as heads on pikes.”
The ominous and pessimistic attitude did not help, but each of them knew that he needed to believe that there was a chance. Good thing Richie came up with a plan, albeit some, like Fenrir and Keeshar, had their reservations regarding the approach.
Even so, Adeline was the one giving the idea. She was the one that wanted to help return hope to those who had suffered losses time and time again. While she knew it might be stupid, she believed her friends, especially Zenithia. She did not plan to die just yet.
But the plan Richie made…it did feel a bit too theatrical.
And that plan started with Azureath flying and landing on the water, forming ice while the others walked on it towards Angla. This already astonished Harold when he saw them simply walk instead of flying while ice slowly forming underneath them. The temperature also dropped, turning the not-so-chilly weather into freezing cold winter.
Walking was a good idea, considering that they would need all the strength they needed for Richie’s plan to work. He specifically asked the dragons to be the main starting point for their attacks. Zenithia completely understood his plan, but Azureath wasn’t so sure about it.
It wasn’t long before they saw the port. Fenrir, using his spirit walk, became their forward scout. Keeping himself in the spirit plane, he observed the port and determined the opposition. While there was a dragon-like flying creature perched on top of the lighthouse, there did not seem to be anything dangerous other than hellhounds with rifles and several cannons positioned towards the sea. The hellhounds were also awake.
Fenrir also noticed that most of the hellhounds were engaged elsewhere, just as Harold told them. This gave them a good opportunity for a surprise attack, but Richie had a different idea.
After Fenrir returned to them and relayed his findings, Richie nodded and said, “Well, the siege helps us, but we need to draw more attention to us. Azureath, I need you to make a roar loud enough to have their attention. Also, I hope I can trust the integrity of the ice. Even here I can feel the mana’s not good enough.”
“It will hold,” said Azureath confidently. “You’ll have my word, dragonborn.”
“Good. Now, Hans and Fenrir. You two ready?”
Hans nodded while also relaying Fenrir’s confirmation.
“Great. Zenithia, make it count. Even if your light’s not as powerful, I’m sure something as trivial as that is easy enough for you.”
“Just make sure you are not incapacitated, too,” said Zenithia. “I am still not used to my current existence yet.”
“We’ll manage. Ritik and Keeshar, you two understand your part?”
“Absolutely,” said Ritik while lifting his magic staff.
“I hope this will work, Richie,” said Keeshar, brandishing his macuahuitl.
“If it doesn’t, we’ll think of something on the fly. That’s what we’re good at, right? The point is trust, so trust yourself and trust your friends. And do everything with all your strength.”
Everyone nodded, acknowledging their roles. Richie also acknowledged his part and, with a deep breath and exhale, said, “Let’s do this.”
On the port of Angla, the hellhounds felt bored, knowing that the siege wasn’t going to change anything. Even their enemies had fallen back after being picked upon by the hell dragons flying around the sky. Five of them felt a bit like overkill but given that one of them managed to kill one, overkill was an understatement. They were just a bit uncomfortable with their shrill, high-pitched scream ‘roar’ that sounded like a banshee.
But all that annoyance would turn to fear when a true, more primal roar came from the shores of Angla. The roar was deep and so loud it made other beasts’ pale in comparison. It was so loud that the hellhounds were drawn to the shore, wondering what could give out such dominating, beastly roar. Even the flying creatures screeched, unable to comprehend such deafening roar.
The lighthouse operator turned its light towards the sea, where they noticed that the sea’s surface was frozen. Then, from the darkness, and only illuminated by the bright full moon, were eight individuals, all of whom were not human. Each of them looked too fantastical to even originate from the Underworld or even the surface world. Except for one, the rest of them did exist, but only on a different land.
The most striking of them, however, came from the two dragons that walked side by side. Their slender appearance almost hid the fact that they were three times the size of an adult horse. The azure dragon looked like it had more mass, while the white dragon was slender and built for speed. The azure dragon also had runes wrapped around its body, which were illuminated in a mystical blue color as it formed ice under its body, acting as a platform for the eight of them to slowly walking towards them, menacingly.
The surprise was something they were hoping for. While it wasn’t a sound infiltration strategy, it did serve its purpose as an intimidation. It could also pass as a distraction if it wasn’t for what they did next.
Both Azureath and Zenithia looked at each other and silently nodded, before Azureath stomped one of her front legs. Ice rapidly formed all around the group as temperature continued to drop, with the two dragons following it by running towards the port, further surprising the hellhounds as they scrambled towards their stations. Before they could do anything meaningful, however, Zenithia let out a bright flash while Azureath and the others shielded their eyes. The surprise attacked worked perfectly, with the defenders all momentarily blinded by the light dragon’s intense light. However, breaking off from the plan, Zenithia added her own spin to the attack by showing yet another ability: instant teleportation.
She disappeared and appeared almost instantly right above Angla, opening her translucent wings and let out several devastating light beams packed with energy that caused explosion upon contact. Her teammates were surprised by this, but they continued with the plan, which involved Hans jumping off Azureath’s back and quickly switching places with Fenrir. As he fell, he transformed into a giant dire wolf form that was as big as Azureath, running on all fours while Azureath continued forming ice to let him run.
Then, as planned by Richie, Azureath formed a ramp where Hans/Fenrir’s giant body jumped off, instantly reaching the port. His size would be enough to cause certain damage, but his nimble feral form landed with such a grace over several hellhounds that were crushed under him. He howled, further demoralizing the hellhounds.
The attack alerted several hell dragons that flew into the town and towards Zenithia. Several tried to get to Azureath and the rest of the team when she simply looked up and lowered the temperature to cause ice to start forming around the flying creatures. Richie followed it up by blowing a powerful wind towards two of them. This, coupled with the freezing air, almost instantly froze the two, causing them to fall and shatter along their demonic-looking riders.
“When she said she lost most of her powers, I thought she didn’t retain most of them!” exclaimed Richie as he saw the light dragon engaging two of the flying creatures.
“I think it is her attempt in humility,” said Azureath. “Though I agree. She should’ve just told us about it.”
“And it serves our purpose well,” said Adeline. “But I have a feeling she won’t be able to maintain that tenacity for long.”
Adeline’s concern proved true when Zenithia tried to shoot her light beams, only for them to fail and her being forced to the lighthouse. The flying creature looked draconic, but it did not resemble anything from Main or even a light dragon. It had a demonic visage and also had no visible eyes, with a head that was a mix of a dragon and an insect. It let out an ear-piercing screech that even forced Zenithia to look away.
“I don’t know if you have enough sentience to understand me,” said Zenithia. “But I bet you don’t.”
Back with Adeline, she saw her sword flickering, which was the signal that Zenithia was going to try something. She readied herself, while Zenithia opened her clawed fingers and made a swiping gesture. All of the sudden, Adeline was teleported right in front of the dragon-like creature. Before the flying creature could even react, she pulled out her sword hilt, which instantly formed a pure white light blade that rapidly extended outward. The light blade was sharp enough and thin enough that it effortlessly cut through the dragon’s neck, decapitating it. However, it did not know it was already dead before black-colored blood sprayed out of its neck as its head was severed slowly. It slid off its head in a gruesome fashion before its body fell to the ground, lifeless.
Adeline landed safely on Zenithia’s palm, turning to smile at her, before climbing on her back as the light dragon took flight.
“Were you trying to show off?” asked Adeline.
“I thought I know my limits,” she said with a sigh. “Now, I am certain.”
“Do not forget. Your light is bound to this reality’s rules.”
“Or rather, this world’s rules. I was hoping it would be pure cosmic energy.”
“A what, now?”
“Never mind. Let us make do with what we have.”
Back with Azureath, they continued their progress towards the port, and they finally did. Several of the hellhounds stood firm and shot them with machine guns and cannons, which they expertly dodge. It would be impossible to do so from the air, just as Richie predicted.
The next to start their attack were Elyse and Keeshar. They ran up the port, which was quickly filled with more hellhounds that tried to stop them. Without hesitating, both yelled, “Ritik!”, signaling the kobold to put an enhancement that made them stronger. Keeshar, who previously relied on momentum to swing his heavy saw club, now effortlessly swing it like a regular sword and a saw, cutting and maiming his enemies in gruesome and sloppy fashion that the sight of his victims, along with his menacing saurian appearance and the guttural noise he made, caused the hellhounds to fear him, giving Elyse a chance to kick some of them off the port and into the sea, while expertly grappling the rest and threw them aside, which was made even more jarring when done by a lithe satyr smaller than a hellhound or even a human.
Ritik stayed close to Azureath because of his support role, knowing that his role was to stay behind and kept giving the buffs and heals to his teammates as per Richie’s direction. The kobold was glad that it wasn’t that hard to switch to being a healer, considering his role as a researcher and not as a combat mage. Azureath and Richie did their best to keep him protected, which made the kobold felt safe and glad to have them as his friends.
The battle went on until the last flying creature was defeated and most of the hellhounds incapable of fighting back. Many of them, already demoralized, threw away their weapons and ran in fear of the eight, plus one spirit, that almost effortlessly broke the stalemate and easily dispatched the flying creatures, considered the most dangerous demonic unit due to being able to fly. Now that there were two dragons capable of flight, each made the bane of the skies like a joke.
The battle was won in a single night by the children of Tragoria and the allies they made in a faraway land. It was also the right time, too, as their help would be integral to help fight the demons back and gain a new knowledge of the world in the form of the hellhounds, the canine denizens of the Underworld that was the border between hell and the surface world.
And it started when the group, reveling on their first victory in the continent of Main, was called by a group of hellhounds, led by a hellhound with dark crimson fur and bright green eyes. It was an unusual fur for a dog, but like Caralas, the team knew they had unconventional fur color. His red was different from the red that Adeline had, which, while red, was actually more amber in tone than proper red or fiery red like the color of a red fox’s coat.
The crimson color and the lime green eyes, along with his vertical slit pupil, already showed that he was a hellhound, not to mention his stocky build and his head, which was shaped like a pit bull terrier, a dog breed native to Adaline. His fur was so short it almost looked non-existent in the darkness.
The pit bull hellhound also carried a rifle and was accompanied by several hellhounds, each looking different and clearly came from several different races. His eyes were wide, unable to comprehend what just happened.
“Did all of you…do that?” he asked. “Eight of you?”
“Well, I’m not one to brag, but…yeah. We did,” said Richie, rubbing his head.
“You killed those flying creatures almost effortlessly,” said one of his companions. “Just who the hell are you?”
“We’re adventurers from a faraway land,” said Elyse. “You must’ve heard about Main, right?”
“We know, but…we didn’t expect this sort of group.”
“What do you expect?”
“More like…long-eared, androgynous humans?”
“Elves? Seriously, of all the races of Main, the only one you ever know are elves?” said Richie, exasperated.
“We have been fighting against the demons for years in the Underworld and has just recently come up to the surface,” said another. “You can’t expect us to know about the other land.”
“Yeah, well…never mind that.”
“I’m glad you are not the enemy,” said Adeline. “I suppose you are the ones that has been putting this town under siege?”
“We have been trying to get to the town for months following an information,” said the pit bull hellhound. “The small port town is the original home port of the steamship Blackjack. If we can take this place and convince them to come, we might be able to levy some help from your land.”
“And good news, cavalry’s here,” said Richie. “And there is more to come. Right, Elle?”
“What? Why me?” asked the satyr.
“Who among us command the most respect? The stage is all yours, your majesty.”
Elyse felt slightly offended that Richie would use her status as a form of reinforcement, along with the laugh the others made. But as she learned how to be humble and a general apathy towards her own status, she laughed with them while also playfully elbowing Richie on the side.
“You seem to be on high spirits,” said a female hellhound with a smile. “Haven’t seen that kind of dynamic ever since we Crossed up here. It’s been long due.”
The other hellhounds agreed and stood down before going into the city to help clean up the mess, leaving the pit bull hellhound still astonished with the group. Hans noticed him just standing there and said, “Need something, mate?”
“No, uh, it’s just…she’s a princess, but you regard her as a friend. It’s…wow. I haven’t had that kind of treatment since…since…ah, never mind. I can’t turn back time. It’s all gone now.”
“Not unless you cherish what you gain. Come on, it’s not hard. I lost my village in Tragoria and my sister’s out there with an uncertain fate. I’m one step closer in finding her, to see how much she has grown.”
“Then you and I are on the same boat,” said the hellhound, holstering his rifle. “I have been searching for my brothers ever since we are separated. I know they are great fighters, so I don’t have any qualms or worry. You’re right. There are hounds who still believes an exiled king like me. All I can do is let them know I’m no the unprepared young king anymore.”
“King, eh? Well, it’s nice to meet you, your highness.”
“Oh, no. Don’t call me that. I am no longer a king and I don’t wish to be one. Let’s just know each other like other do, hmm?”
“We can start with names. I’m Hans Rezmirn. You?”
Hans offered his hand, with the pit bull hellhound accepting and shaking it, all while making a big, toothy smile with his wide mouth.
“Zagreus Kerberos,” he said. “It’s nice to meet you, Hans.”
“Likewise. Now, let just join the celebration as we wait for the ship you hope for to come. I can tell you badly need it.”
Zagreus smiled as Hans accompanied him to his own people, who all celebrated their first victory in a long time. Adeline and Zenithia then signaled the Blackjack with a long-range control of one of the electrical lamps, as they had earlier agreed upon. It sent out a code: WON.
The ship then turned on its exterior lamp, and everyone in Angla rejoice. The Battle for Angla ended sooner than everyone thought, and it was a resounding success.
Yet for the werewolves, Angla served as something more. It was the start of their journey to Main, and it was also the end of their journey. However, it also signified a new adventure and a new mission.
And that mission was a mission to liberate Tragoria, and end the Hellish Incursion.
Bio: I like to write stories, predominantly fantasy and science fiction stories. Many of them features non-human and feral characters as protagonists and antagonists. I strive to train myself to be a better writer every time I can. Some of the stories I write can be a bit unconventional and outright confusing, so don't be afraid to ask for context!