As the sun starts to bring light everyone is awakend by Fay who was the lat person who was on watch. The fire had already been put out it wasn’t even smoldering anymore.

“We need to leave and find this mage’s hideout to destroy his work,” Fay stated. “We should eat first,” she pulled a small breaded food that I didn’t recognize out of her bag and begun to eat.

Everyone except myself followed suit with their own trail snacks and meals. I would be fine until the evening then I should find something for myself to drink. I should really drink blood once a day. I had gone days without eating before, but it wasn’t good for me. There was a time when I refused to eat. My father had been so angry with me eventually he was able to get threw to me that starving myself wasn’t helping anyone. He made me promise I would never do that again. I decided letting someone I cared about watch me wither was something I didn’t want to inflict on them again. I tore myself out of my thoughts and realized Tarja had been staring at me. When I looked at her she let her eyes dart away.

Everyone finished eating and we set out with Zrith leading the way tracking the Mage’s previous steps. We walked for some time, and the forest seemed more lively than before. Birds flew overhead freely and bugs buzzed around in their usual hurried manner. We ended up finding a path which was strange since Paw Forest shouldn’t be a path as it was supposed to be in habited but creatures only.

“Think he made this?” Tarja said.

“No this path is old, but it has been used recently. Still it would be stupid for him to have made a path to his front door,” Zrith responded actually not sounding too irritated.

Something felt strange and wrong about this path and I just wanted to get off of it. Lucky we turned off of it and the oppressive feeling disapated.

I turned to Fay, “Did you feel that…on the path?”

She stared at me with a surprised look on her face, “Yes I thought I was just my nerves. If not though I think we shouldn’t step on that path again.”

Zrith looked back at her his first angry look of the day. He kept leading us way into a darker par of the forest. “We are in the heart of the forest now. We need to find this mage’s den and get out as quickly as we can. Something is keeping me from finding more of the mage’s trail though,” He looked at Fay and myself. “Either of you have any ideas of finding it?”

“I can try,” we both spoke at the same time then looked at each other awkwardly.

“You try first,” She nodded toward me her wide brimmed hat bobbing comicly in the process.

I knelt down and touched the earth closing my eyes. Darkness flooded to my mind and everything that was within the shadows was mine. I sunk my hands into the earth feeling my awareness spread out from this point and radiating outward. There was something polluting this forest something spawned from evil…was this of the mage’s doing? I could feel magic wards around a cave… this was where the mage had been. This was an entirly diffrent direction from that other terrible feeling.

The mage had set up wards that would magicly make the area he resided in seem nonexistent I knew where to go. This was not enough though. What was that feeling of evil? No not evil. I searched out for it that feeling was terror, but not from whatever it was.

The animals ran form it fleeing it’s wrath. It was mad insane, but a creature of power. I caught it’s gaze in my own mind and it knew I was there. It looked at me and roared in rage. The creature was tall about as tall as me and it had antlers its long hands came down into claws. No its hands were claws it had the face of a once hansom being of light. It’s elf like torso came down to what seemed like a panther’s body. The flesh had paled while it’s fur had darkened to almost pitch black. Veins like red fire rand threw it’s body. This had been the forest’s protector, but soemthing had corrupted it beyond belief. Now it was angry, mad, and had a new focus for that anger…me.

I opened my eyes and took my hand out of the ground apparently the group had been trying to communicate with me. I looked slightly paler than I had and was sweating slightly.

“Chaos what happened? Did you hear that scream?” It was Tarja she was standing in front of me I could smell the fear on her.

“I found the mage’s cave…and the forest’s guardian.”

“What?!” Zrith hissed. “Tell me that is not what that sound was,” I could tell by his willingness to accept this that he knew about it and hadn’t shared any information.

“That is indeed what it was…he saw me. I believe it is coming here to attempt to kill us. Something is wrong with him he has been corrupted somehow. He’s even been killing the forest creatures.”

Anger blazed across Zrith’s face. He walked over to and smacked me across the face, “Idiot! If you really were half Dark Elf you should have been able to sense something was dreadfully wrong with this forest when we got close to the heart.”

I was furious he insulted me and questioned my heritage. I picked him up with strength I didn’t know I possessed and threw him away from me like he’d been nothing more than a rag-doll. I was angry I had never known my mother and the Dark elves didn’t accept me enough to really teach me their ways, but I did feel something was wrong I just had no idea what. This was why I had been drawn to investigate.

“I can take us up to the cave and we can hope the magic works on him; unless we want to stay here and fight. Honestly I don’t think it will work though.” I growled.

Drog walked in between us wordlessly saying ‘this isn’t helping’ with his body language and glare. Zrith got up he was dazed, but unharmed.

He dusted himself off, “Fine lead the way lets not enter the cave in-case the guardian attacks then we won’t be cornered.”

I led us in the direction we had been headed before we lost their trail. I felt a push in my mind as the magic tried to turn me back, but I knew it was there so that weakened it greatly. There were many bushes with thorns in front of a large rising in the earth. The entrance to the cave in the middle of the hill. A strange stench of magic mixed with death and something grotesque emanated from the cave. Tarja’s legs gave out and she started quivering where she sat. Fay rushed toward the entrance and peered in. She backed out and slid down the side of the entrance till she sat on the ground he eyes looking hollow.

Drog stood a good deal away from the cave, “I’m not going in.”

I’d been only a few steps behind Fay; mainly because I didn’t want to see what was in there I knew it was going to be bad. Zrith was right behind me. We walked up to the cave and peered in. There were books on tables and alchemy equipment. The real sight in the room though was the dead creature on the floor. In a active magic circle lay a dead female I knew what she was when I looked at her. It was a truly horrific sight because she was a pure being desecrated, brutalized, and killed. And for what? Power? It sickened me and I understood why the forest guardian was on a rampage; this was his mate. This once lovely creature had been a unicorn who had shifted her form slightly to be more similar to his. Her upper-half looked mostly elven except her single horn protruding from her forehead, but the rest of her looked like a unicorn. You could have mistaken her for a centaur if you hadn’t seen a unicorn before and couldn’t feel their magic, but most could. Her wide blue eyes were lifeless and her long silver hair draped over her lifeless form distracting from the bruises on her arms and the stakes threw her hands. She was in the center of the circle her silver blood spilled in it and some of it used to embellish the circle. I noticed various pieces of what looked like ice stuck in parts of her body.

As I saw the ice at the base of her skull and in her legs I wondered what was the point. I could hear Zrith momentarily stop breathing. I guess the sight startled him as much as anyone else. He walked in and upended a table with a scream of fury. There were so few unicorns left in the world; this was truly a tragedy.

A howling scream came from not far away shattering threw the magic and sorrow that was going on threw everyone in the area.

Zrith stared at me and it felt as if the mask he usually wore had been ripped away from him and his true self appeared. “Can you dispel all the magic here?” He actually looked sad, upset, and scared; they were the first strong emotions I had sensed from him other than anger.

“I don’t know, but I can try.”

He took out two whips he carried at each side and ran out to the others, “Get ready for battle. Try not to kill him.”

I walked over to the magic circle and noticed it was some kind of summoning and channeling circle. I knelled down next to it and placed my hand on it; I suddenly felt the intention of this magic. It was meant to break the Forest guardian by the death of his mate making him weak for what the Mage was planning. He summoned something from another realm and stuck it in the Guardian so it would drive him mad and cause him to kill endlessly. The power of the unicorn binding the creature here and it’s power to the mage. He would have gained her power, the guardians, and whatever it was he summoned.

I felt like I should take the ice out first. I griped on to them and pulled them out of her they each sizzled at my touch making my hands too cold for comfort and numb by the time I pulled the lat one out. I felt like her life essence was going to drift away, but something was still holding it. This was strange since I thought she was already gone before I had touched the crystals. I put my hand on the circle I needed to dispel it. It felt like her blood shimmered under my hand licking my palm trying to tell me to follow.

I followed and suddenly I was in a shadow realm. Everything was the same, but different. Everything was in hues of purple and black just like my magic. I looked down at the circle again and saw to distinct parts. One glowing red and one glowing silver; they both looked out of place here. I touched them and realized I could easily manipulate each of them. I grabbed the red one and broke it which instantly dissolved to dust. The silver one then melted turning back into blood. Suddenly a ghost of the unicorn was there staring at me she looked beautiful again.

When she spoke her voice was hollowed and echoed slightly. “You can move between these two realms at will dark one you just need to practice you gifts.”

She touched my head and I was back where I had been before wondering what just happened. The magic circle was gone. I heard another scream that turned into a wail. It was very pained and didn’t stop right away. I ran outside to see the Guardian collapsed on the ground looking more normal and a mighty black steed next to him. It’s eyes were red like burning coals, its mane and tail were fire, it’s red hot hooves were also ablaze. This creature was called a Nightmare and they usually didn’t exist on this plane. It was very rare when they did but that was usually only in volcanoes and was exceedingly rare naturally. This must have been what the Mage summoned and placed in the Guardian.

It reared up trying to hit Drog who was nearest it with a killing blow. Drog blocked with his axe and I heard flesh sizzling as his axe headed up from the intense flames, but he didn’t drop it. Suddenly I noticed it stopped rampaging and was staring at Fay.

In a hissing dark ethereal almost otherworldly voice it spoke. “Fire spirit! I shall eat your power.”

I knew it was speaking in another language and I shouldn’t be able to understand it, but a familiarity washed over me and I knew this language as if I had spoke it since the day I could speak. I had no idea what it was but I knew I could understand and speak it. The Nightmare charged at Fay; she seemed aware of what it’s words meant even though it was clear she didn’t understand it’s language.

She shrieked and fell back casting a fireball and hitting its face, “No!”

The Nightmare just pulled it’s lips back in a snarl as it charged at her; the fireball only seeming to strengthen it. Fay fell backwards eyes wide in horror which paralyzed her in fright. She must know something about Nightmares. I cast a spell and sent dark ribbons around the steed to snare it, but it just charged threw them as if they were air. It launched itself at her pinning her to the ground by her arms. Oddly I heard no bones snapping and it’s flaming hooves didn’t set her on fire.

Drog and Zrith were already running toward the fast beast weapons in hand ready to attack it when they got in reach. The Nightmare opened it’s mouth revealing fangs, but it didn’t use them yet. Instead a stream of red orange light shot out of it mouth hitting Fay in the chest. It engulfed her in flames which shot back into it’s mouth. Fay screamed and writhed under the Nightmare, but she wasn’t burning. Tarja had run up and smacked the Nightmare in the face with her mace which seemed to do nothing to it. It’s flames seemed to burn brighter.

I wasn’t sure this would work but I had to try something, and I wasn’t sure why my magic wasn’t working on it. “Stop!” I said in a commanding voice in the language the beast had spoken. I could feel a change in myself as I spoke; although I wasn’t sure what it was.

It closed it’s mouth and jerked it’s head toward me. “What did you say?” It growled threw clenched teeth. The Nightmare got off Fay and slowly walked toward me in an almost jerky movement.

“I said stop,” I hissed at it.

Tarja had knelt by Fay and started trying to heal her since she hadn’t moved and looked incredibly weak. Drog and Zrith circled around the Nightmare’s flank waiting to see how this played out, but ready to strike at any moment.

The Nightmare tilted it’s head in confusion. “What are you? You are not any creature of Darkness I have seen so you should not know our language. Your word holds weight over me as that of a higher being would. You look Darklin though it is obvious to me you are not.” His nostrils flared out as he tried to sniff me hoping it would cause some revelation.

He spoke of Darkness the God of Tricks, hidden knowledge, the dark, and blood among other things. There were many Gods and Goddesses who sculpted our world and other realms. Many had hands in creating the beings on the world Darkness was one of them.

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully. I had no idea who my real father was and Veshnar certainly wasn’t telling me all he knew. “Half Dark Elf at least.”

The Nightmare crooked his head the other way and snorted small harmless flames out his nostrils then chuckled if you could call it that. “I think I shall stay with you and see this threw…I have an idea who you might be. I shall be you mighty steed!” He turned slightly standing up on his hing legs pointing one flaming hoof to the sky in a dramatic pose. “I Vinzahk lead stud of the Fireclan Nightmares pledge my loyalty to you to be the best Warsteed on this plane.” He lowered himself then looked at me, “What is your name Master?”

I glanced over at Fay she was looking a little better but not much, Tarja had her back to me as she tried to help Fay, Drog looked as he did earlier; ready to strike if the need occurred. Zrith also looked read to strike but slightly frightened at the uncertainty of what was transpiring since none of them could understand what we were saying. The Guardian of the forest seemed to be stirring a bit. “My name is Chaos. If you really expect me to accept this then I need to to fix what you did to my friend,” I motioned to the barely moving Fay.

Vinzahk snorted, “Fine have the Gnoll move away from her and the other two stand down. I don’t want their blood anymore,” I assume that was his way of saying he didn’t want to fight them since they were my companions.

“Drog Zrith stand down the Nightmare won’t hurt us anymore. Tarja I need you to move away from Fay. He’s going to fix whatever he did to her,” I said as I motioned to Vinzahk.

Everyone reluctantly did what I said. Vinzahk trotted over to Fay who stared up at him in wide eyed horror. Flames shot out of his mouth surrounding her, and yet not burning her just as last time. She seemed to relax and started looking better. The fire stopped and Vinzahk came and stood next to me again.

Fay stood up, “Why did it help me?” She kept her eyes locked on the Nightmare as if it would attack if she took her eyes off it.

“He pledged his loyalty to me and by proxy won’t hurt my friends,” I said as a crossed my arms.

“They have never helped my kind before they see us as nothing more than a power boost,” Fay said shaking slightly.

“It seems we have a lot to talk about,” Zrith said. “Like why your eyes have turned black again.”

I briefly touched my face as if I would be able t tell the color of my eyes just my touching my skin.

A pained scream shout out to the side of us. The Forest Guardian was awake and he ran to the cave. “Nooo!” He shrieked and fell to the ground sobbing. He stood back up and padded inside. It was silent for a moment then there were many loud crashes and slams and I assume the Forest Guardian destroyed the Mage’s lab. He came back out carrying his dead mate tears streaming down his eyes and seemed to just now notice us.

“I thank you for taking care of the basted who did this to us,” he said and then walked off.

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