There was no horizon. The bright white light stretched impossibly into the infinite distance, and the deafening ringing filled his ears. Whenever he looked up five coloured orbs seemed to coalesce, but always out of focus as if something was caught in his eye. He looked to where his hand should be, and saw nothing. He turned, and saw a mirror. Although he could not see his own body, his image formed perfectly in the mirror.
He was tall, and well built. His armour was of cloth, a deep red colour with diamond patterns so loved by the kodan. Bright scales of metal were woven into the cloth and it shimmered in the blinding light. His fur was stark white with only a few grey.
He turned and saw another mirror. His image again but very different. Gone was the look of peace and love in his eyes, replaced by fury and rage. His eyes were bloodshot, his fur blood-soaked. The red cloth was ragged, and floated in a non-existent breeze. The edges of this image frayed, glowing a deep red.
The figures began to climb out of their mirrors. The first image strode towards him, and stood between him and the second. The first image spoke.
“Darkness shall not enter here. Madness festers in the dark. You cannot defeat me!”
“You are foolish. I am the stronger! I shall destroy them!” The second image’s voice was deep and full of righteousness.
“They are not servants of Jormag!”
“They are not us. All others are His servants! We are not His. They are His!” The second image lunged at the first. The fought with tooth and claw, biting, scratching and punching. He suddenly could not move. He felt each brutal injury the two images inflicted upon each other.
In the distance, he heard talking.
“So, if I recalibrate the static fields used to hold the crystals in place, the ice shard should function the same as a power crystal would” A squeaky voice echoed around the white void.
“All I need to do is—ah! Now, lets see if it can take increased power”
“It won’t work Alepe. You haven’t adjusted for water crystalline structure.”
“Yes I did Oilli, when I adjusted the elemental output-recharge actuator.”
“When did you do that?” The female voice asked.
As if the world collapsed into place, the whitewashed walls were replaced by a small lab. Before him were two small goblin-like beings, with large eyes and big ears. The male had spiky hair, and the female wore an assortment of mismatched necklaces. He looked down at his hands. Instead of claws, stone blocks floated in the space that would have been his fingers. Purple energy crackled around them, holding the pieces in place.
“Where am I?” He asked.
“The Durmand Priory” the female answered.
“What are you?” He shook his head of the fog.
“I am Alepe, and this is Oilli. We are Asura.”
“Where—where is Ko?” He turned his head.
“I am here, Wrath.” Koda’s Breath’s voice was calm, but tentative. “Is it really you?”
“It’s me, Ko.” Serene Wrath answered. “Where are my hands?”
“Your mind is held within a golem of my design, Serene Wrath” Alepe answered. “Can you try and create a mesmer clone and you will appear in bodily form before us?”
Serene Wrath concentrated, and he created a clone before him. He concentrated again and his consciousness swapped into it. He looked down, rotated his hands, and flexed his fingers.
“Feels like mine” He said, and looked up at Koda’s Breath, who was grinning from ear to ear. He grinned back, and walked over to the smaller kodan, taking him in his arms and delivering a deep kiss. They were interrupted when Ulfridda burst through the door.
“We are under attack! A tar elemental has gotten loose in the basement! It’s all hands on deck if we want to survive this.” She turned, before shouting over her shoulder. “And get that kodan some clothes!”
Serene Wrath Blushed, concentrated, and his cloth robes appeared again. He looked at Koda’s Breath and smiled.
Ulfridda was pleased the golem experiment had worked. She however had no time to dwell on the significance of this, and instead headed to the Special Collections with some of the Priory’s top fighters. Gixx had not slept since the elemental had broken confinement and his face bore the mark of weariness.
“My shift, Gixx.” Ulfirdda dismissed him.
“They have it cornered in the experimental wing. It’s feeding energy from somewhere, and multiplying.” Gixx stood slowly, cracking his knees audibly.
“Everything in there is magical Gixx. Have you met it head-on?”
“With little success.” Gix nodded. “It splits into hundreds of pieces, and if we don’t find all the pieces in time, it reforms and kills more of my Scholars.”
“And what of Ogden?” Ulfirdda asked quietly.
“He is fine. Old cement block will take more than a tar elemental to kill him. He is resting in the infirmary. I’m tired of cremating whats left of my scholars Ulfridda. I called you down because I need your team.”
“My pardon?” Ulfridda looked at him stunned.
“Like it or not Ulfridda, you’ve got an adventuring team on your hands. I need your team down here with us.”
“Gixx, in all seriousness, Koda’s Breath is inexperienced, his Claw has only just woken up after nearly four months inside a shard of ice, and the giant wants to hug enemies to death!”
Gixx ignored her. “Use the Asura too. I’ve seen his cache of alchemy, some of those phials will be of great use to you.” Gixx smiled at her and left. “Consider this their first test!”
Koda’s Breath, Serene Wrath, Alepe and Korr caught the last comment and walked over to her quickly.
“What did he mean by first test?” Koda’s Breath asked.
“He wants us to act as an adventuring team and slay the Tar elemental.” Ulfridda looked solemn. They were silent for a few moments.
Korr spoke first. “Has the Tar elemental hurt anyone?”
Ulfridda looked up at him.
“It has killed sixteen Scholars.”
Korr shook his head, balled his hand into a fist and cracked his knuckles. “Lets stop it hurting people then.”
Ulfridda smiled, looking at Serene Wrath.
“Serene Wrath I take it?” She bowed.
Serene Wrath and his golem bowed as well. “I greet you like the sky greets the morning”.
“You are a mesmer?” Ulfridda asked.
“Good. All my children were mesmers, so I know a little about how they fight. My husband was a guardian, so Koda’s Breath, listen and do exactly as I say. Alepe, what can you do?”
“Well…I have a box of elixirs upstairs. Could be useful in a fight. And two pistols my mentor gave me.”
“Use those, and bring the elixirs to throw on us during battle. Korr—“ Ulfridda stopped.
“Ounce and I can fight.” Korr assured.
“The elemental cannot harm you Korr, but ounce will be susceptible to it. Keep moving, and don’t let it stop you in once place. Koda’s Breath, I want you to reflect any of the tar it spits at me or Serene Wrath. Slow it as much as you can. Serene Wrath, you’ve got the most important job.”
“Yes?” Serene Wrath asked.
“The elemental will split into many pieces. I will focus fire on the main body, but you must find every piece or we won’t destroy this thing. Can you do that?”
The four of them nodded, and ounce mewled loudly.
“Let’s put a stop to this.” Ulfridda reached into her robe and checked her sceptre and dagger. “Meet back here in five minutes. Alepe, go get your things.”
Koda’s Breath turned to Serene Wrath.
“Wrath, I don’t want to lose you again.”
“You won’t Ko. Is Ulfridda good?”
“She served three tours of the mists, and is powerful. But this thing killed sixteen—“
“And Drakkar killed thousands. I survived him.” Serene Wrath had a sparkle in his eye.
“You had an army at your side Wrath. And our people…” Koda’s Breath wiped a tear from his eye.
“You did the right thing, Ko. We shall rescue them. All of them. Jormag is not invincible.” He embraced Koda’s Breath again, holding him for a long time.
Neither are we. Koda’s Breath thought to himself.