Air.

No matter the cool dampness in the wind of the shore, it still felt uncomfortably warm and dry upon her skin. It was sucking the moisture out of her like a greedy vampiric void. Still, she endured. She would have endured the sun of Elona itself of it meant she would fight a decent prey.

But she was not stupid either. A desert would be a little too extreme, even for her. The coastline of Orr, however, was a good start.

Or at least, it would have been, had she come there a few years earlier.

She watched from afar how the plant creatures bustled and toiled further up inland. The new race, only a few decades old. Humanoid in shape but with the skin and core of a plant from the surface. She had heard tales of them, but it was the first time she’d seen some with her own eyes. They were scratching at the ground, pushing rubble aside and turning the soil to shove seeds into it. Making greener, livelier flora sprout from the dead ground.

Gardeners.

Plebs.

She wouldn’t dishonor her blades on such weak, helpless blood.

A few of them were standing guards. Wardens, they called themselves. Those carried weapons, armors. But they were lax, inattentive. Too easily distracted by the smell of the budding flowers and the hypnotic hush of the waves.

When the undead dragon fell, its minions fell with it. Separated from their master, they roamed aimlessly, a shadow of the shadow of their former selves. Still dangerous, but not quite as vicious. She could say she missed them, missed the challenge they used to be. Now they could be easily dispatched, even by the gardeners and their Wardens.

Over time she saw other types disembarking on the salt-soaked shores. Humans. Asura. Norn. A few came to help get rid of the remnants of the dragon lich –mostly the norn. Others came to observe, unearth, catalog. Scholars, the lot of them. Coming in to shake tales of the fallen nation off the old stones and their ghosts.

Meanwhile, she was steadily growing more and more frustrated. Behind her cold, steady posture, she was seething.

Nothing here seemed worthy of a fight. The Pact had defeated Zhaitan, and now they were gone. They were gone and took the fight with them, somewhere deeper into the continent.

She had spent many years in the abyss, training, dreaming of proving her skills against challenging creatures from the surface. Now she would have to follow. The ocean and the dead shores of Orr had nothing left to offer her.

She came to that conclusion when she noticed something new: a recent arrival, coming in with the latest shipment of farmers and tools.

Two norn, both males, one older than the other. They were not clad in armor like the other guards, nor did they wear the robes of scholars –not exactly. They did not mingle with the rest of those scratching at the ground or brushing dust off the statues. Instead, they headed straight towards the mountains, towards the still unclaimed parts of Orr. Adventurers, it seemed.

One –the youngest one– did not seem much of a threat. By his clothes and the staff he carried, she recognized in him a mage. One that clearly lost a good percentage of his body mass sitting around flipping old books instead of using his muscles. A sight that still amazed her: she thought the norn race tended to produce warriors. The other one, however… She could see that underneath his fur-lined coat of flashy whites and blues he had the body of a soldier, and scars that the younger one clearly lacked.

Intriguing.

She considered. The necessity of her braving the elements and diving deeper into dry land to find a proper challenge had already been established in her mind. Following those two up the cliffs would be excellent practice.

Besides, they just might surprise her and turn out to be an interesting warm-up.

Author BluJ
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