The sound was crisp, sharp, and regular.
Stab. Stab. Stab.
The crunching of ice, the wet squelching and snapping, the cracking of stone, the soft humming of metal that sang with each impact… all of it, harmonizing with his rabid grunts.
There was no point in doing what he was doing. None. The charr was dead, had been for several minutes. And even if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to get back up. Moreover, he had felt his life force dissipate. That charr was gone.
So why was Fiel so hell-bent on turning the chest of the glassy-eyed corpse between his feet into frosty red paste?
Well… maybe for catharsis.
The golem next to him watched with blank, soulless eyes. Venom was dripping off its lipless maw, making the snow at its feet sizzle and steam.
A true work of art, that one. Fashioned in the shape of a skyscale, animated for the sole purpose of carrying him around this frigid hellscape. No way he was going to drag Mer into this. This was…
“Personal” couldn’t begin to describe it.
Fiel wasn’t there for the good of Tyria. Or the safety of his friends. Or even for the future of his infant sister.
He was doing this for himself.
If anyone asked, he wouldn’t be able to explain. “Saving Tyria” felt more like an excuse to him at this point.
Truth was, he felt trapped.
Fiel wasn’t a fighter. Nor a warrior. He was a hedonist. He wanted to live, and let live. Sure, he could defend himself and throw a punch when needed, but when War crept up, he would be among the first to flee. Get on a boat, and find a spot with clearer skies, and sweeter winds.
But War would always find him, in the end.
He would have been more than happy to fly as far South as possible, and let the real heroes defeat the evil dragon. But Jormag wouldn’t let him.
Fiel didn’t fear the dragon anymore. At least, not in a way that mattered. He knew, deep down, that the voice in his head, whether it was Jormag’s or his own, the one that kept reminding him of his failures, his cowardice, his mistakes… it didn’t matter anymore.
He was done.
He was tired.
He wanted it all to end, one way or the other.
He knew, deep down, that he was safe from the dragon’s pernicious influence now. Because he hated it so much. He was immune to the guilt-tripping, the gaslighting, the deception.
Because all he had in his heart now, was Hate.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
Hate that he channeled at every stab of his sword. Every swing. Every spell he cast.
He wanted to live, to love, and let live and let love. But he was running out of places to run off to.
He was backed up against a wall. Trapped. A mouse facing a giant lion made of ice and pain, and its cohort of frozen cats and dogs.
Yeah well he’d had enough.
Something had snapped in him, at some point. He felt cold. Colder than the biting winds of the Shiverpeaks. Colder than the crimson slush coating his boots.
It was going to end with either him getting killed, or him killing Jormag, aided by Tyria’s army.
His arm was starting to get sore. He paused, and exhaled, hot steam leaving his aching lungs.
The norn looked down at the mess he’d created.
The icebrood charr’s chest was almost completely caved in. Ribs chopped into bits, spine severed in multiple spots. The heart –or what was left of it– was mush. So were the lungs. Blood was staining is legs. At one point a chunk of its esophagus had landed on his foot.
Fiel kicked it off, and turned to his golem.
It had been an invaluable tool on this warpath of his. Capable of shrugging off most of the attacks of the lone snipers and small patrols he had been targeting. And even when it did get damaged, the necromancer would use his prey to patch it up. His best work yet. Better than–
Best not think about the other golem. Not right now.
It was funny, in a way.
Thinking about it used to throw him in such a fit of guilt and anxiety. Now, it was almost like it didn’t matter. Like he had bigger shit to deal with.
Still… he didn’t want to think about it, and risk getting distracted.
This was an issue that would be dealt with in due time.
He exorcised the thought from his mind and slapped his sword against a nearby tree to shake off the red frost that had crept up the blade.
It was time to saddle up.
As he trudged towards his mount with heavy steps, he came across another body he had felled.
This one was a svanir. A shaman in his raven form.
This could have been him.
This could be him still, if he let himself get charmed by the dragon’s influence.
The necromancer chuckled coldly.
That would never happen.
The dragon had nothing he wanted. Nothing he could fear.
He didn’t want power. And he already knew he was a coward, a piece of shit that was the reason why so many of the people he loved died, or got maimed. He didn’t even want safety, not anymore.
He wanted peace. Either through the wyrm’s annihilation… or his own.
Fiel turned to step closer to the corpse.
He knew that this would be pointless as well. He knew that the dragon’s minions would have had their minds so warped by this point it wouldn’t rattle them.
….But he wasn’t doing it for them now, was he?
* * *
Fiel jumped back on his saddle and flew off at double speed.
It didn’t take too long to pull the heads off the bodies. But it did take longer to stick them all, Dominion’s charr and Jormag’s svanir alike, in a row of pikes overlooking one of the most traveled paths, and each minute spent on his little installation was a minute closer to getting spotted, and shot at.
He left confident that the message was clear.
Come get me.