248 The Shadow Among the Flames*
It was a long journey. Rassa had journeyed two thirds of the way across Eldovia in under an hour before, but the Southern continent was much larger, and despite his access to the shadows, he honestly hadn't had enough to drink before he'd set off.
His wings burned from disuse, but it was a good kind of burn. The burn that told him he was in his elements. Even without using the shadows to jump ahead great distances, he was making great time. The wind had long blown his hood back, and his long hair had whipped around him. It was getting too long, he'd have to cut it soon.
He flew for several hours until the day dawned, then he landed to rest and hunt in an unknown city that spoke one of the southern languages. It didn't take him long to learn the basics just from observing from the shadows atop a tall building. After he did that, he scoured the streets for his prey. This time making sure he was nearly full before he left. He'd taken the bodies into his shadows, planning to dispose of them whilst he was over the ocean.
He'd stopped for perhaps two hours, but he was too restless to wait until it was dark again. In the light of day, despite his power nearly fully restored, he couldn't use the shadows as he could at night. It was frustrating, but after a quick check of his Tracking Charm he knew he was getting close.
He'd nearly reached the western coast when he saw the smoke.
The black and grey ash cloud dominated the sky, and Rassa could sense the panic and shock in the people on the mainland that watched the horror unfold.
A quick check of his tracking charm told Rassa all he needed to know. He shot towards the source of the smoke with a renewed sense of purpose. Aegin and Ebony were in that. He needed to get them out.
The smoke was so thick it chocked him. Rassa had to rip off the end of shirt and tie the long sash around his mouth and nose. It did little to help his eyes however, which burned from the acrid invasion.
He descended through the darkness, the heat growing more and more intense until a sharp burst of orange and yellow flame rose up to greet him. Rassa wrapped his body in his wings, the shadows practically nonexistent in such a brightly lit place. He hissed through the pain, knowing that the itch of his healing skin was soon fight it. Rassa hit the ground hard in what appeared to be a side street. There wasn't any smoke this low down, but the heat was enough to singe his hair. Perhaps he wouldn't have to cut it. Though he hoped it wouldn't burn off completely.
Rassa pulled in his wings, movement on the ground easier without them, and he rushed through the streets, his skin constantly burning and healing again and again. He ignored the pain, his eyes searching for the two he knew were still alive.
The Warrior's Arena. The horror that had filled the nightmares of children for generations, was lit up like a massive funeral pyre, wood and stone burning all the same.
The heat was so intense there that Rassa doubted anyone could survive it, he checked the charm again, and headed towards the docks.
The fire had consumed much of the Island, but it had yet to reach much of the docks. From the amount of ash that was falling, Rassa assumed it wouldn't long. There were a bunch of people there, leaving in the ships. Some all too willingly, and some being forced.
"Oi!" called a voice behind Rassa. He spun to find a guard holding a spear at him. Rassa took a step back as he caught the scent of the blade. It was putrid. Like death and decay. He'd never heard of a poison that could smell like that. Not unless it was touched by the Mist, and a dark version of it at that.
"Are you blind, get on the ship!" snapped the guard, jabbing the spear towards Rassa.
Rassa frowned, side stepped it, then extended his claws to sever the nerves in the man's wrist. He screamed, dropping the spear with a clang. He clasped as his hand, shocked as he looked at Rassa. The crowd before them spun to witness what was happening, only to reel back in shock at Rassa's bloody claws.
"I shall only ask once, so pray you breathe long enough to answer," Rassa spoke in an even tone as he squatted down to inspect the spear, "I am looking for a young man and woman by the name of Aegin and Ebony. They were likely brought here as slaves from what I have seen of the state of the people here. Do you know where they are?"
Rassa turned his eyes on the guard, and the guard stumbled back trying to get away from Rassa.
The guard had never seen eyes like those. Not even the Master had had such predatory and beastly eyes. Red they were, as red as blood.
The guard stuttered, "I-I-I don't know an Ebony-"
Rassa sighed picking up the spear and snapping the wooden shaft so that he held the sharp blade at the end.
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"B-B-But I-I think Aegin was the name of that Reaper. The Bloodthorn Reaper".
Rassa pointed the blade at the guard, "Do you know where they are, or not?"
The Guard recoiled from the spear's blade, "P-Please don't kill me!"
Rassa smirked, "Whether I kill you or not isn't up for debate, but how you die might be. If you give me the answer I want, I'll make it quick. If not...well I see that this poison here was made to cause quite a bit of suffering to people like you".
Rassa didn't even flinched when the spear impaled him from behind, he'd been expecting it, but he looked down at the blade that was covered in his blood with annoyance all the same.
"I just ate," said Rassa, before he stood, and swiped the blade of the spear across the other guard's neck before taking the spear out of his body and throwing it aside in disgust. The poison from the blade that had impaled him barely affected him. Once it invaded his body it was like it just recoiled before it was completely consumed by his own power. Rassa then turned back to the guard on the ground with the severed wrist, "Maybe the manner of your death isn't up for debate after all".
Rassa took out the Tracking Charm, checking it. They'd gotten off the Island. That was all that mattered. He hauled the man up and smiled at him as his fangs extended, "Thanks for the meal".