Bonds of the Outsiders (DustBunny and Peregrine)

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  1. @Peregrine

    The sun was falling in the west over the country of Genenheim. In the capital city of Arnsried, the late, orange-red glow of the sun filled the streets as people rushed along to get home, close their businesses, or finish the last activities of the day before they went home for the night. Soon, the city that bustled with more life than any other city in the country was as quiet as a church, as the sun shone its last rays across the grand city.

    The city itself was relatively circular in make and management. Most of the residential areas were nestled in neat little patterns along the outskirts of the city, with the houses becoming more and more expensive and extravagant as the common residential areas merged into the expensive houses of those high in the hierarchy of Genenheim. At the center of the city was the palace where the current dictator resided.

    Near the center of the city stood the research center of Genenheim. As one of the few countries to properly house an ain, the research center in Arnsried was one of the most renowned in the world. Currently, there was one final ritual about to take place before all of the researchers turned in for the night.

    The preparations for the ritual had all but been completed by one of the top researchers in the country. The magic was all in place and he made sure the traps, in the unlikely case the Outsider didn't become bonded with the summoner, were set. The Outsiders were forces of work and recreation in the common lives of the outer ring of the city, but were used as forces of war and protection when used by the army.

    Aadelbert had finished with his scribbling on a clipboard all of the requirements for the ritual. His obvious annoyance with what was going on was practically palpable in the room. Why was he the one stuck doing this? Was it because of his skill? Was it because of his years of experience? No. It was because he was the only one in the room at the time, so he was forced to set up the ritual, with the incentive of great pay. The money was the only reason he agreed to do this. Of course he was happy; it's not every day that he gets to research what he loves, but he just wasn't too keen on working with Ammolf.

    He stood against the wall as he waited for the one who was going to come activate the ritual with the name that Aadelbert had made up as a sort of way to have fun. The only fun he was going to have with this. The one who was going to call the Outsider was sort of arrogant since he had properly controlled an ain, so he wanted to have fun to get back at him.

    Ammolf strolled leisurely into the room only a few minutes after Aadelbert had finished setting everything up. He was as neatly clothed as ever, with not a strand of hair out of place, and an abstract, almost disinterested smile flickering across his lips. With bland indifference he surveyed the summoning setup as an outsider slipped into the room behind him.

    Had Aadelbert not been familiar with the sight of Ammolf's ain, it likely would have scared Aadelbert to the point of utter terror. The Outsider easily came up to even Ammolf's tall shoulders, with paws as large as most men's heads and claws that could pierce all the way through a leg, the ain was built for combat. It had a heavy body, dark, scaly hide, and seemed to glow from within with a light like fire, which came out most penetratingly through its four pinprick eyes.

    But Aadelbert was familiar with the outsider, and turned away from it just in time to see Ammolf fiddle slightly with one of the candles that had been set up around the outside of the summoning ring.

    With slight hurry in his step, Aadelbert walked over to where Ammolf stood and removed his hands from the candle.

    "Obviously you know how delicate the ritual for summoning is, so I'd appreciate it if you found it within your personal capabilities to refrain from messing with any piece of necessary equipment. Thank you."

    Without another word, or listening to any more than the "Of course I..." from Ammolf, Aadelbert scurried the other man away towards the center of the ritual circle. Sure, he was being blunt, but the ritual was already set up how he had it planned in his head and notes.

    "May we get this under way? I'm sure you'd like to do this and I'd like to get to my research."

    Ammolf brushed off his shirt where Aadelbert had grabbed him, before turning to frown at the other man. "As I was trying to say, had you been honorable enough to actually listen, if you are going to use the candles with the square base, you should make sure the bases lie parallel to the outline of the runes within the circle."

    Rolling his eyes and adjusting the candles once more, Aadelbert spoke up again. "And, as I would have assumed, you would know it to be honorable not to mess with the set-up of the ritual. I've actually had conclusive research pertaining to that which supports my hypothesis of having more results, a.k.a. Outsiders, show that have not previously been recorded when square candles are placed perpendicular to the outline of the runes. Forgive my rudeness, but I get a little edgy with the ritual set up. If, perchance you have doubts to my claims, perhaps you'd like to take a look at my extensive research notes on the matter."

    "I'm sure that will be quite unnecessary," was Ammolf's reply, but he still sounded somewhat mollified. "All the same, it's been proven just as well, probably mo..." he bit off his words, before continuing. "That having the bases parallel increases the strength of the bond."

    "I don't see the issue. You should be more than capable of controlling any ain." The annoyance from Aadelbert's voice was practically palpable as he readjusted the rest of the candles perfectly back to their perpendicular positions, but his tone quickly morphed back to one of genuine kindness and eagerness to get the ritual underway. After his small task was finished, he cleared his throat and stepped back.

    "Now, if you'd be so kind, please commence with the ritual as soon as you are ready." The tone in his voice was very reassuring, as it took on its previous kind and gentle tone while he spoke softly to Ammolf. "I've already taken the liberty of inscribing the name you will be using for this ritual into the sigil itself, so all you need to do is commence."

    Ammolf nodded, before carefully stepping into the circle, scanning the lines with a critical eye. His focus was broken a moment later when he let out an unexpected snort, a noise that could have been either amusement or frustration. "Zynu... Zynuasavilefrinechsandrevaer... varenechaterisian? You must be joking?"

    "Do I look like I'm joking? This was the name that was chosen for this ritual. Isn't it your job to initiate the summoning and leave all of the technicalities to me?"

    His exasperation was clear as he sat at his work table and spread out all he'd need for the notes on the summon, if it even came up with anything new. He cleared his throat and sighed a bit.

    "Forgive me, that was unnecessarily rude towards you." With that, he fell silent.

    In reality, he had no idea what the name was he chose. Really, he just wrote random letters together to make a 'name' for the Outsider. If he was being forced to be here, he felt like he was entitled to have fun, and that attitude was only increased as his interaction with Ammolf increased.

    Ammolf, who had been only moments away from snapping back some similar retort, calmed somewhat. "It's forgiven. And I suppose it doesn't matter to me. This is your ritual. If you want to... use," it sounded like he wanted to use a more intense word than that, "It on this gibberish, so be it."

    Ammolf took a deep breath, carefully re-positioning himself so that his feet were perfectly positioned on either side of the exact center of the circle. He once more carefully scanned the lines, muttering to himself so quietly it was impossible for Aadelbert to make out exactly what he was saying. However, he was able to pick up Ammolf struggling with the caustic syllables of the “name” he had chosen and he felt bemused slightly at the struggle portrayed from Ammolf, but kept quiet.

    Finally, after having repeated the name several more times, and somehow managing to get it to the point where the incongruous syllables somehow managed to flow fluidly and naturally off his tongue, Ammolf's eyes fluttered closed. His breathing became slow and rhythmic, and it was just possible for Aadelbert to make out his fingers unconsciously twitching as he concentrated. Outside the circle, the ain stirred restlessly, before going to settle in a large mound at the far wall. This wasn't the first time it had been brought to a research summoning, and the only results it had ever seen was one of these. Aadelbert wondered if it was intelligent enough to get bored, or perhaps feel uncomfortable or nervous during summonings.

    The lines of the circle began to glow faintly, sparks of light appearing at the center of the circle, over which Ammolf stood, before racing out to dance along the lines of the summoning circle. Every half second or so another light would appear, and it soon went from a faint glow to a bright shine, specks of light twining and twirling together to form a hypnotizing dance.

    Rather like the ain, had Aadelbert not been accustomed to seeing Ammolf's summonings, it would have been remarkably impressive. The lights, or the Photoluminescent Whisps, as they were properly known to researchers, were a physical representation of the strength of a summoner's bond. The more Whisps, the greater ability a summoner would have to compel an outsider to accept a bond. Whatever Aadelbert might have thought, or did think of Ammolf, there was no denying he was an unparalleled genius. Even after having bound an ain, a bet, and who knew how many other high-leveled outsiders, he still had this kind of presence.

    But Aadelbert was accustomed to seeing this sight, and despite how much it might astonish others, to him it had practically become rote. He turned away, quickly jotting down a couple of notes in a pad that he had set on a table near the circle. He might not want to be here right now, but this was still his job, and the data would help him further refine his technique for later attempts.

    “ Zynuasavilefrinechsandrevarenechaterisian.” If Aadelbert hadn't known he'd just made it up hours ago, he might have almost guessed it was a proper summoning name, so cleanly did Ammolf say it. At least he would be able to guarantee that the name's failure didn't originate from some mispronunciation.

    The Whisps flared brightly, as a few winked out, traveling, as far as the best minds of the age could guess, to the otherworld. A moment later the brilliance began to dim, and Aadelbert turned away, preparing to complete his notes and file this away. Only, suddenly and utterly unexpectedly, the lights returned, swirling in befuddling patterns in the secondary circle where successfully summoned creatures were supposed to appear.

    Aadelbert's jaw dropped in astonishment, and he was so wrapped up in gaping at the unexpected arrival that he didn't even notice the beads of sweat beginning to appear on Ammolf's brow, or the rapidly growing tremors that were working their way across his body as the strain of the summoning grew. All he could feel was excitement.

    Somehow, impossibly, his name had worked.​
  2. Zynu had seen many of the landswalkers vanish. He, like all the others here, did not know where they went. All he knew was that the lights would start materializing from nowhere, and once the first one appeared there was no escaping their grasp. No matter how fast or how far you ran they would follow you, pacing your every movement, on land or in the sky, above ground or below it. And, once there were enough lights, they would swarm the landswalker they were following, and they would vanish.

    Zynu knew it the same as everyone else. To vanish was to die. It didn't matter how long it took for the landswalker to come back, or how strong they were when they left. All that mattered was that once the lights took them, they would not be returning to the lands with their memories still intact. When they returned they remembered nothing, same as if they had been killed by a stronger landswalker. Therefore, no one knew what the lights entailed, or where they took those who were drawn away by them. They were a source of fear to all, an enemy that could be neither challenged nor escaped, and a source of curiosity to those landswalkers with the wisdom to realize that if the lights could be understood, then maybe they could also be controlled.

    Of course, the little ones hardly cared about such things. They'd run from the lights in panic the same way they'd run from the hunt of a superior landswalker, the conclusion of their flight just as inevitable. They didn't have the intelligence to understand that running would do them no good, nor the strength to last long enough in the lands to see others vanish, and infer what it meant.

    Zyno was not bothered with such things either. He was the king of the lands, and all the landswalkers that dwelt within it. There were none that could challenge him, and few strong enough to injure him. Even the strongest, who hunted the other landswalkers for no purpose other than sport, would cower at his coming. With such strength, he had not dreamed that the lights would ever dare come for him. There were many who were never taken away by it. He had believed the selection purposeful. Logical. No logical creature, however strong, would risk drawing him into their home world. He had believed himself safe, and had reigned confident in that knowledge.

    Of course, he had been wrong.

    When the lights did finally come for Zynu, when he felt them tugging at something far more important than his body and he knew he would not be able to resist their pull, he didn't panic. He knew there was no point in running. No one had ever escaped their pursuit. Instead, he took what little time remained to him to prepare for the worst. His body squirmed, growing larger, taller, and stronger. His eyes sharpened, hearing increased, even as claws grew from his fingers, his legs lengthened further to allow him to reach even greater speeds, and a protective mask of bone grew to cradle his head. Fire flamed at his feet where they touched green plant life, and swirls of semi-opaque air curled around the antlers that grew from his head. His skin hardened, turning as solid and impenetrable as the oldest stone. He would not be taken unaware. He would not die. His memories were too ancient and too filled with intricacy to be cast away as though he was some common imp. Whatever was waiting for him on this plane, whatever it was that had the strength to rip the landswalkers out of their home and not return them alive, he would fight it. He would conquer wherever he was being drawn as he had conquered the lands. And then he would return.

    The first thing Zynu noticed after the brightness of the lights began to fade from his vision and he was able to gather a sense of the world around him again was a pressure. It wasn't strong, and it certianly wasn't physical, but he felt it slipping in closer to whatever it was the lights had grabbed to draw him here. It was as though the pressure wanted to wrap around that important, intangible thing, to bind it permanently now that it had been used to draw Zynu away. Indeed, with every moment that passed, he felt it draw a little closer, wind a little tighter. Right now there were still gaps in it, but soon those would be gone and he would be completely sealed.

    For the first time in a very, very long time, Zynu felt a trace of urgency. No. He would not allow that to happen. He would not. He was the king of the lands, the strongest of the landwalkers, unmatched and unchallengeable. He would not be bound. Not by anyone, ever.

    Zynu pushed back, straining the intangible manifestation of his strength that he had never even known existed before. Immediately, all of his urgency disappeared. That was because the bonds, which had seemed perfectly solid only a moment before, crumpled like a dry leaf as soon as he pushed against them. Had he been aware of how to do that before it probably would have been possible for him to break out of the lights before he had even been taken away. But that moment was passed.

    A split instant after the bonds crumpled, there was the sound of a deep, pain-filled scream. It echoed around, as though trapped in a small space, and the lights vanished as abruptly and without warning as they had first appeared. Now Zynu was able to make out a small, square confines, with two creatures Zynu had never seen before, and one other landswalker. Zynu took a casual step forward, long legs gracefully and unknowingly stepping him out of the runes of the circle that had been used to draw him here in the first place.

    “Garthugarenshiel!” cried the voice from a moment before, the voice strained with pain. With a small measure of surprise, Zynu recognized it as a name. A name he had not heard in a long time, but one that had once actually meant something to him. A name that had once briefly piqued Zynu's enmity towards the lights, when a landswalker he had considered his own property had been stolen out from under him, and had never returned.

    Of course, Zynu had no way of knowing that the landswalker that sat in front of him did not posses the memories of the landswalker he had known. After all, every time Garthug died or was killed in battle, forced to fight for whatever person had possessed the strength and skill to summon and bind him, he was immediately resummoned by someone else before he had time to do more than stretch and grow into a general awareness of his “new” existence.

    Garthug rose to his feet suddenly, massive body lumbering as he walked towards Zynu with a heavy, purposeful, confident stride. Irritation briefly sparked through Zynu, and the flame at his feet flickered accordingly. Daring to turn against him, was he? One long hand stretched forward, before one finger snapped down, pointing to the floor.

    Memory might be gone, but instinct beyond memory remained. Garthug's legs seemed to collapse from under him, so quickly did he drop obediently to the floor. A faint growl of pain slipped from between his lips at the motion, finally bringing Zynu to a realization. Garthug was bound, just as someone had tried to do to him. Zynu slowly turned around, void black eyes hidden behind a mask of bone drifting across the room to the two other creatures that remained in the room. One of them? Had one of them taken Garthug from him?

    With something halfway between a snarl and a screech of pure anguish, Garthug hurled himself up from the floor, leaping onto Zynu's back. Massive claws raked at his spine, while jaws that had been strong enough to crush anything they met before this point latched onto the back of his neck, crushing with devastating strength.

    For a moment, it seemed as though time froze, as nothing in the room moved, and there was no sound other than faint whimpers of pain coming from Garthug, who was still trying to bite through Zynu's neck. Finally, one of Zynu's hands moved, latching onto the back of Garthug's neck as though he was a naughty puppy and dragging him away from his body. He flung the hulking body casually across the space, where it smashed heavily into one wall, creating a dent in it. Not impossible to escape then.

    “..Surrender.” The gasping, gurgling sound came from Garthug, and with another pleasant burst of surprise Zynu realized he understood what it meant. Language had never been a part of the lands, not when strength was the only thing needed to communicate, but somewhere in between the time the lights had grabbed him and he had shattered the bond language had been imbued into him. Zynu turned back to look at the crumpled landswalker, a flicker of alarm briefly passing through him again. Garthug was advising him to surrender? Even after he had been so soundly thrashed? Were these creatures that strong?

    But, no. If Garthug had wanted him to surrender, he would not have used this foreign language. He would have told Zynu in the language of the landswalkers. This message was directed to the two cowering on the other side of the room.

    “Surrender, and he may yet spare you.”

    Zynu took another step towards Garthug, before his long, thin, almost delicate looking hand closed around the behemoth's throat. It tightened briefly, relaying a clear message. You may have lost your memories, but that does not make you any less mine. I will have you again soon. Then, with a sudden motion, a vicious crack sounded through the room. Zynu dropped Garthug's limp body, before it melted away into smoke and vanished. Zynu turned around once more.

    Time to deal with these two.
  3. It.. It worked? How? How had the name he made up possibly work? His complete and utter random concoction of letters to create a 'name' for the ritual that was meant for a quick failure so he could leave actually worked in calling something. The Photoluminescent Whisps danced around the air above the sigil as they always did when a summoning was underway. After a brief moment of thinking the ritual was over with the disappearance of all of the lights, they all returned and danced more wildly than Aadelbert had ever seen. Absentmindedly, he put his hand on his notebook and wrote a short note about the disappearance and reappearance of the Whisps as he kept his eyes locked on Ammolf and what was going on around him.

    Brighter, brighter and brighter the Whisps began to shine, their diameter increasing by the millisecond. Soon enough, some of the small balls of light disappeared while the other half danced in the circle, indicating the capturing of a new Outsider. What was going on? Something definitely wasn't right here, but far be it from Aadelbert to question this.

    The energy coursing through Aadelbert's veins was unlike anything he had felt before. He came into this ritual wanting to leave as quickly as possible, but that feeling was quickly replaced with excitement and wonder. Something was off about this ritual, but it was it was obvious that Aadelbert thought it was a positive happening rather than anything that should have called for worry or for terror. Th-This is great! Boy, am I a genius or what? Even putting together random letters, I'm still able to make a reliable ritual! Words of happiness kept running on through his head like a mantra of self pride and confidence.

    After just a few more moments, the Whisps that had disappeared not much longer ago began to come back. As they came back, all of the Whisps began to draw close together as they do when the Outsider has almost formed in their world. More of the lights came back and joined the others in their 'dance' that swirled round and round while expanding and shrinking in a spherical shape before making somewhat of a cylindrical shape as the silhouette of the acclaimed Outsider began to form. It's here, it's here, it's here!!! Aadelbert was on the edge of his seat as the last length of the ritual was underway.

    There seemed to be some kind of trouble beginning, however, as Aadelbert finally noticed Ammolf's sweat and slight shaking. This was normal, for the most part, during summonings, but this was different. Ammolf's brow seemed to sweat more profusely and his body shook more violently than most other summoners. The fact that this was happening to Ammolf was even more odd. Ammolf, who had successfully bound more Outsiders than anyone in their entire research facility, seemed to be straining to keep this up. Although, this shouldn't be too much of a problem with all of the incredibly advanced traps set up to keep the Outsider under control that just happened to all activate at the same time, seeming to bind the Outsider completely.

    Then it happened.

    Suddenly, with a sharp sound that gave out a ring like nails on a chalk board, all of the traps that had automatically activated with the strain of the ritual broke and shattered, and the entire ritual with them. The sudden destruction of the ritual caused Ammolf to let out a sharp cry of pain, as if something inside of his soul was torn apart as the Photoluminescent Whisps exploded with intense light before disappearing completely. Standing where the Whisps were previously dancing was an incredibly large being. Wait, what? How? The ritual failed... didn't it? The large creature stepped forward as if it owned the place.

    The next couple of minutes passed quickly to the flabbergasted Aadelbert. He heard Ammolf shout his Ain's name and, before he knew what was going on, the new Outsider had flung Ammolf's ain against the wall and was walking over to it with not so polite intent. Aadelbert shook his head to clear his mind as he stood and began backing up against the wall, hearing the wounded ain say 'surrender' before his throat was broken by the new Outsider, with the ain instantly beginning to dissolve back to the plain from which he originated. After that, the Outsider then turned his attention to Ammolf and Aadelbert himself.

    The previous excitement that had been filling Aadelbert was replaced with utter terror. What was going to happen? Was this creature going to kill him and Ammolf? What then? Would it go on to destroy the rest of the research center; what if it got loose in the city? It was obvious this creature was far far more powerful than anything that had ever been summoned in the history of summoning. Sweat poured down his face and his heart beat so hard that he felt as if the sound of it reverberated throughout the small room. He seemed to be utterly petrified as he stared at the Outsider with eyes as wide as saucers, too scared to run or do anything else. All he could do was watch and wait for the creature to do whatever it was to do. He was sure it was mad for having been taken from his home. This was it. This had to be the last day of Aadelbert's life. Never before in his life had he felt so much fear of an Outsider, or of anything for that matter. Aadelbert's fear made him slowly slide down the wall and drop to the floor as his breath quickened even more and he tried to back away even farther.
  4. For a long minute which was filled to the brim with tense silence, it seemed as though Zynu might never move, and the two creatures pinned down on the far side of the room by his deadly aura might simply stay frozen there forever. However, that wasn’t quite accurate. Right now, Zynu was thinking. He was putting to use all of the knowledge and experience that his uncountably long lifetime in the lands had granted him, and trying to come up with a plan. Only once he was set on his path would he finally move, and then nothing would be able to stop him from taking action.

    But first, what did he already know? Perhaps the most important information he already possessed was the trace details he had been able to gather about the creatures on the far side of the room during his few minutes in this new world. It seemed safe to conclude that these creatures did not possess much of their own strength, but instead relied on the summoning and binding of the landswalkers to enact their will. How exactly creatures without any of their own innate power were capable of binding a landswalker like Garthug, Zynu could not begin to guess, but such matters were not of much importance right at this moment.

    What was most important was figuring out where he was, and learning what was waiting for him outside this small, enclosed space. Beyond that miniscule piece of information Zynu possessed about these creatures, he knew almost nothing. There were far too many unknowns at the moment. Perhaps most significantly, he did not currently possess any way to find out what was waiting for him on the other side of this physical barrier. Normally Zynu would have been completely confident that he was physically strong enough to defeat any threat, but he did not know if the summoning, or this world in general, had changed something about his physicality. As much as it strained his sense of pride, he was going to have to do his best to conceal his tracks, and take precautions until he knew more about where he was, how he had been brought here, and what had changed about his own nature now that he was here. This wasn’t just due to his uncertainty about his physical strength, but was also due to another potential danger for which he had never had to account before this point. That was the matter of the appearance, or perhaps simply his recognition of, that strange, intangible thing within his own being that had allowed these strange creatures to drag him out of the lands and into this new world.

    He had been able to defeat the attempted bonding that had occurred only moments before, but who knew if there were other, more powerful individuals out there who might be able to complete the entrapment. Zynu instinctively knew that if he ever allowed that bonding energy to fully close around him he would not be able to escape, no matter how strong he was. He would, instead, become subject to the whims of whoever had successfully ensnared him. That was not something that he could allow.

    Since he could not take the risk that he might run across such an individual, Zynu could not explore this world on his own. He was going to need a guide, at least for the time being. His dark eyes suddenly turned back towards the two creatures pinned to the wall in front of him, new interest appearing within his gaze. He was going to need one of these two to give him the information he currently lacked.

    Finally set on a course of action, Zynu moved forwards. Both creatures twitched, and one of them pushed themselves even further back against the wall, but neither of them moved beyond that. The alpha landswalker only took a couple steps before crouching down on the ground in front of the two of them to drop his eyes closer to their faces. His pose was almost human, toes balanced on the ground, ankles bent, knees out to the side, hands casually draped in between as his elbows rested on his thighs. Unfortunately, any illusion of familiarity was shattered as the flames dancing around his hooves suddenly leaped up higher, licking at the bottom of his legs, and a similar orange glow began to emanate from the empty sockets of the skull that protected his face. The familiarity was completely unintentional. Zynu’s goal was to be intimidating.

    “Tell me.” The language was coarse and harsh on his tongue, raspy and grating across vocal cords that were meant only for primal shrieks and grunts. Zynu promptly prepared to fix that, but when he saw the way the words caused another flinch across the faces of the two in front of him he decided to keep it for a little while longer. “Between you two.” His vacant, fiery eyes drifted between the two figures. “Who can better tell me about what just happened, and what this place is?”

    The question was almost completely perfunctory. Zynu had already made his decision on which of the two creatures he was going to use and which was going to lose their memories of him, no matter what they might answer. And it certainly wasn’t going to be the one who had bound Garthug, and tried to bind Zynu. Pride lurked in his eyes. Pride, and a self-confidence that had not been completely shattered along with the failed summoning spell. Zynu would never be able to fully relax with this individual around. He would never be able to trust that the creature was completely cowed. Zynu did not yet know enough about these creatures to know how to command their respect and loyalty. For the moment, he would have to rely upon fear to control the creature he would take along, and pride was the perfect thing to get in the way of fear. Pride demanded a certain level of self-respect, which sometimes got in the way of self-preservation. Even if the summoner would be a font of potential information while the other creature would be able to provide nothing but the most basic of information about this world, it would still be better for Zynu. Right now, his primary goal was minimizing risk.

    Zynu’s concerns were confirmed a moment later, when the summoner was finally able to control his tongue once more. “Outsider.” The creature licked its lips in concern; he had tasted the full might of Zynu’s strength, and was not eager to provoke him again. But there was that pride at work, demanding he gain some measure of authority over a situation of which he had completely lost control. Perhaps he intended to rely on Zynu’s intelligence; maybe he thought that he could provide some reason to keep Zynu from killing him. He was wrong.

    “This situation. You cannot do this. There are people out there trained to desummon you. They are not like us; if you do not stop this...” Zynu cut him off before he could say any more. In a flash he was in front of the summoner, sharp hands wrapped around his neck in exact imitation of the hold he had just used to shatter Garthug’s neck, and partially lifting him up off the ground. This “people” had proved his worthlessness, and Zynu would use this situation to gain control over the one he had intended to keep from the beginning.

    “I only need one,” was Zynu’s casual words, before the fragile neck in his hands completely shattered. The neck moved oddly when Zynu dropped the body, bending in the wrong direction like a stalk of grass curving in the wind. Zynu watched the body for a moment, his head tilting to the side in a trace expression of confusion. The body remained, staring at him indignantly, long after it should have vanished and reformed back at some birthing point.

    Another thing Zynu didn’t understand, and another thing that would have to wait for later. He turned his attention to the one remaining creature. “And you?”
  5. Aadelbert was frozen. So many things were running through his mind. So many emotions that only one with exceptional linguistic skills would be able to properly utter. Had his tongue not seemingly been torn from his mouth from his silence, Aadelbert would have more than the necessary abilities to express the emotions running through his mind. The silence emanating from the Outsider was making this experience even worse. There had to be something, anything that he could do to get out of this unscathed. Think. Think. THINK.

    For some reason, his brain couldn't think properly. This hadn't ever happened before. There was nothing Aadelbert couldn't think through. He was a genius. Yet, there was nothing on his mind. Nothing. His mind was a blank slate. He couldn't think. Not at a time like this. Not when his life was on the line as it so obviously was. Then the Outsider moved. In a reflexive way of hoping to somehow get farther away, Aadelbert scooted closer to the wall, seeming to only be able to find solace against the cold stone. What could he do? Was this it? The Outsider was obviously angry and was more than likely going to kill the both of them before leaving to wreak havoc upon the rest of the kingdom. His gaze never strayed from the Outsider. Perhaps if he kept his gaze on this beast, his death wouldn't come as quickly as he anticipated. His eyes were wide and his mouth was shut.

    At this point, there wasn't anything Aadelbert was sure of other than two things that had overran his senses and captivated his body. One: Shaking. His entire body was shaking vigorously. Whether this was because of the second thing he was aware of or for some other reason, he didn't know. Two: Fear. He was terrified. There were immeasurable amounts of fear coursing through his veins; an amount of fear that he had never felt in his life. Nothing he had ever come across was this terrifying, this powerful, this immeasurable.

    Then the creature moved more. It moved to be in front of Aadelbert and Ammolf. The creature could have been considered to be human with how it stood. Well, it could be considered to appear human, if there weren't flames coming from the creature. It was obvious how the creature seemed to want to intimidate the both of them, and, at least in Aadelbert's case, it worked. His fear grew as the creature neared the both of them. Fearing his imminent demise, Aadelbert looked away from Ammolf and the Outsider, hoping his end would come swiftly and painlessly.

    The Outsider spoke. He asked about what happened and, what Aadelbert assumed, about the world he was in. Aadelbert refused to speak. This was for a couple of reasons. The fear was overpowering, and there was no way that Aadelbert could bring himself to form coherent words in any effort to appease such a monster. Even worse than the fear, Aadelbert couldn't think of anything to say. For the first time in his life, the words that would always come to him quickly and easily had left him, bereft of the ability to say anything to reflect his intelligence.

    Then Ammolf spoke. Not only did Ammolf speak, but Ammolf spoke. He spoke as if he was speaking to a normal Outsider that could be easily defeated. He spoke to this Outsider so casually with his pride, seeming to think that he was still the one in charge here, when obviously it was the Outsider was the one in power here. Aadelbert was quickly taken from his mental shunning of Ammolf's attitude towards the Outsider when his sentence was cut short. Aadelbert looked up just in time to hear the Outsider utter one simple statement.

    "I only need one."

    The sickening crack that followed caused Aadelbert to look away, refusing to look at the now lifeless body that was Ammolf. His eyes were glued to the floor until he heard the Outsider speak once again. This time, the Outsider seemed to be speaking to Aadelbert specifically. "And you?" And what about him? Aadelbert still wasn't sure what to say. He dared to look up at the Outsider once more, body still trembling as if he looked Death himself in the face. He stared, unblinking, for what seemed to be ever. He dared not move, seeming as if he hadn't heard what the Outsider said.

    Then, in a one final moment of something akin to bravery or stupidity, Aadelbert dared speak up.

    "Y-Yes! I can help you! I can tell you almost anything you need to know, more than anyone else could even hope to know! Just, please, don't kill me!" The words that had recently left him began flowing back in a seemingly unstoppable flood of pleas to the Outsider. "I can keep you hidden from the one's who would attempt to bind you and send you back to where you came from! I'm the only one with enough connections and knowledge to give you the answers you need, but I-I need to know you won't kill me."

    His eyes never left the Outsider as he spoke. The words were uttered quickly, in a seemingly feeble attempt at trying to barter for his life. It may have been a low and not-so-honorable thing to do, but Aadelbert didn't care at this point. He just wanted to be safe and if his safety came at the cost of bartering his intelligence and connections with an Outsider, he was more than willing to offer up anything he could to help.

    After the final word left his mouth, Aadelbert began breathing heavily, his fear more than evident to the Outsider. Aadelbert's eyes were still impossibly wide and his body had not gotten over it's terrible quivering under the intimidation from the Outsider. Please don't kill me, please don't kill me, please don't kill me.. The words ran through his head like a mantra with no seeming end.

    Aadelbert swallowed hard and cleared his throat which seemed to be unnecessarily dry at this moment. He shuddered and let out a shaky breath, but his gaze never left the Outsider. He hoped and prayed to whatever higher power that may exist that he would come out of this alive, even if that meant being indebted to this monster of an Outsider. While he may be terrified, his gaze never faltered on the Outsider as he waited and watched silently for any possible reaction that might come from the other.
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  6. The moment the first trembling word escaped from the remaining being's lips, something that almost resembled a smile crossed Zynu's face. Although 'snarl' might have been a more appropriate word for it, considering the obvious emotion behind it, even if the actual expression was hidden under the bone mask that covered his face.

    Fearsome pleasure. His plan had gone off without a hitch. One word was enough to prove that this little creature was completely cowed before the alpha landswalker. At least for now, there was no reason to fear him acting out in a way that would prove disadvantageous to Zynu. Once he was in a more reliable location, a place where he would be fully aware of his surroundings and therefore able to control any incoming dangers, he would take steps to make sure this creature's obedience to him was complete.

    His words beyond those first few that proved his temporary submission were unimportant, despite the seemingly thought-provoking temptation they might offer. The idea of being able to get back to the Lands without losing his memories was one that greatly intrigued him, but words spouted under threat to one's own life could never be trusted. At the moment, this creature would say anything if he thought it might preserve his memories a little bit longer.

    Of course, that meant for now its information could not be trusted unless the accurate conveyance of information had some immediate and direct impact on its ability to survive, but that was not an issue that concerned Zynu right now. Information like that would prove useful at a later date, but right now anything that didn't offer some relevance to his own survival was completely unnecessary. As Zynu's own survival was directly tied in to this creature's survival, it could be trusted to a certain extent right now.

    The first thing he had to do was figure out where he was, and make sure he had the ability to get somewhere he would be safe from external threat. That meant he had to get out of this place.

    "Good," Zynu replied simply to the creature's proclamation of usefulness. Of course, he had no intention of swearing he would not kill it at some point in the future. Right now, that fear was still useful. "Then it is time to leave this place. What waits outside?"
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