• Chapter 8
    Bloodshed in the Caves
    The company of humans exploring the caves happened to be a small detachment of the much larger party searching for Heirok. Among the company of men was an elf wearing full golden battle armor and long silver hair, pale skin and slanted ocean green eyes. That elf was the son of Heîrok, Granotos. Granotos was Heîrok’s first child and the next to inherit the kingdom and the sword of Azuruk the Great. No one knows what happened to the sword so Granotos was eager to find it before any of his three other brethren find it.
    Aster follows silently behind Granotos and his men while they boldly march onwards, deeper into the cave. Aster poises his blade arm high and quickly beheads the man in front of him, without a sound. He drags the corpse away to the side from the others who are unaware of the great peril that follows them. Aster is now using the four great ligaments on his back and hovers above them on the ceiling. A small pebble drops from ceiling and lands hard enough to make Granotos stop his men for a little while. Cackling wildly, Aster drops from the ceiling on top of one the men, causing the man to fall to the floor under Aster’s weight with a great ruckus; one of the great ligaments pierces the back of the fallen man’s neck, maiming him badly. Aster drags the man away as the others begin to give chase their assailant.
    “Get back here, coward!” Granotos roars after taking the lead of the group. Aster jumps into the hair and launches the man at the group, knocking over many of them. Aster reaches a dead end in the cavern and turns to become the attacker once again.
    “Three against one? That hardly seems fair! Let’s even the odds then!” spoke Aster as the remaining men rounded the corner. Granotos sends the other two men to dispatch Aster when he sees the way the Enemy looks. Aster quickly floors one man and gouges out the throat of the other. He then lifts the other man by his throat and bashes his head against the boulders.
    Aster looks about him with a coy smile, “Well, well, well whose next I wonder?” Granotos does not run towards Aster or from him, but instead draws his blade and waits for Aster to attack first. As usual, Aster sprints towards Granotos and smashes his hands in two quick hits. Granotos grunts when Aster’s knee makes contact with his ribs, knocking the wind out of him and overbalancing him. Aster repeatedly kicks Granotos in his sides, laughing at the Elves’ torment and pain. The kicking stops when Aster lifts one foot up and smashes it upon Granotos’ head, ending his torment and pain.
    Aster wipes the blood off and finds the maimed man still on the ground, moaning. Aster beheads him in one foul strike.

    Chapter 9
    Cannon Fodder
    Aster came out of the caves and teleported himself to the village that the Fear Tribe still had surrounded. Aster proceeds to the Fear Tribe encampment to speak with whoever is now in command. The warriors watch him walk, thinking that Aster is some new form of the hulking Behemoths. Aster throws aside the curtains to the general’s tent.
    “Behemoth, I have a plan that will guarantee the capture of this village.”

    Kasäsh, the only daughter of Heirok, jumped from tree to tree in the woods nearby to meet with the Fire Tribe leader, Marcius. Marcius is sitting on the beach when Kasäsh, dressed in a green vest with a darkgreen undershirt, finally lands from the trees and wipes the wet tree leaves from her black boots and jeans.
    “I’d give that landing about an eight,” Marcius, in his monkish rope and sandals, said as he stood up to greet Kasash.
    “Marcius, I am not here for games. I am here to ask for your help in finding my father, Heirok,” chided Kasash, looking at Marcius’ small, smiling face with an intense gaze.
    Marcius moved some of his long brown hair out of his eyes, “Oh I know that and the fact that the Grass Tribe and the Fire Tribe must put aside their differences to stop a great evil that has come apon us,” Marcius replies after allowing the smile to disappear from his face. Kasash sighs and allows a small smile.
    “Marcius, you have always had a way of being serious and comical at the same time,” Kasäsh replies with a slight smile of approval.
    “That may very well be why the Ghuloks* chose me to be their leader!” laughed Marcius. “Anyway, back to business. What can my Tribe do to help yours?”
    Kasash composes herself and replies, “I need the assistance of some of your best man hunters. Kreki, human, dragon, it does not matter whom helps for as long as the job gets done.”
    The ever wise Marcius nods knowingly, “You will get the assistance. Be warned though, Dragons aren’t too sure of elves, but neither are us humans, eh?”

    Ku’Drozen stood to his full height of seven feet and spoke the best he could in the tongues of humans, “What you want, lourük?”
    Aster looked over the Behemoth’s muscular body, noted it was not a hatchling he was dealing with due to the spikes on the eyeless, elongated head. What marked him as an elder Behemoth was the red orange tint of his skin and the length of the blades on his wrists. Wishing not to try the elder behemoth’s patience, Aster quickly told Ku’Drozen his plan.
    Aster planed mainly for Behemoths to be used in this operation but a small group of humans called the Elite offered to help with the demolitions. The Elite is a small squad of human demolitionists who specialize in quick operations who see the utter destruction of buildings to be a victory in and of itself. After each of the Behemoths has made a run, throwing torches onto the thatch roofs, Aster will take the Elite with him and slaughter the rest of the villagers while the Fear Tribe Army stands on the hills, surrounding the village and preventing the escape of any villagers.
    The first two Behemoths were to run into the village from the northern end and exit through the eastern side, lighting as many houses on fire as they can. After letting the flames rise higher, Aster enters with the Elite, slaying any and all resistance they meet. So far this attack has not caused any casualties for the Fear Tribe Army, due to the swiftness and ferocity of the attack.
    Aster commanded the Elite to return to base while he took quick look around for a certain someone. He kicked down the door on a building he told the Behemoths to leave him be so he could destroy it himself. The man inside the building swung a blade at Aster but Aster grabbed the blade with his bare hands and broke it. The man begins to crawl away from Aster but to no avail.
    “Chîko, your time to assist the Aster is nigh” Aster tells Chîko who is still crawling away from Aster. Chîko grabs a shard of glass from a broken window and holds it towards Heîrok Aster threateningly.
    “Stay away you beast! Enoch warned me that you would come and take me away someday, but today is not the day!” Chiko screamed at Heirok Aster.
    “Then so be it,” Aster coldly replied. His cold hand reached out towards Chîko and wrapped around his throat, lifting him off the ground, and snapping his neck. Throwing Chîko’s body aside, Aster blows a hole in the hut wall and exits through it. Outside the hut about twenty archers that have surrounded the hut with arrows notched and ready to fire. Upon seeing Aster, they release a barrage of arrows in which many pierce him. Aster gazes upon the archers raises both of his hands and slams them onto the ground. A great maw appears beneath the archers and brings them down to the lava below. The arrows that were still stuck in Aster’s body were rejected by his body’s fast regeneration rate. Aster closes the maw and advances on a trio of Behemoths that are dashing towards him with wrist blades exposed.
    Aster sends out an energy ball that rips the leading Behemoth apart, splattering the others with gore of their brethren. Aster leaps out of the two remaining Behemoth’s reach and summons his halberd. Two quick swings at one of the Behemoths send it tumbling to the ground in three separate pieces. The remaining Behemoth swings at Aster, whose back is turned, and loses both his arms. Aster disappears from in front of the Behemoth and appears behind him, smiling.
    “Just to think I’m barely tapping into my true potential,” laughed the victorious Aster as he walked away from the three corpses.
    In the skies, three winged fire dragons with riders looked down upon the burning village and went into a descent to obtain a better look at the carnage. Luckily the Fear Tribe had already left, leaving the small detachment to handle Aster, thinking that Aster could be dealt with swiftly. The dragons landed on the outskirts of the village to allow their riders to dismount and investigate the burning village. Luckily Aster saw them before they saw him so he took cover in one of the burning houses. The riders passed by Aster unknowingly and continued to look about. Aster slipping out from his cover, which soon collapsed, and he slowly advanced on the riders. Only one of the riders looked behind them and saw Aster approaching with his blade drawn.
    “Uhhh... Sir we got someone or something following us,” the rider worriedly whispered into his captain’s ear. The captain ordered them to stop and draw their swords to fight off their stalker.
    The captain spoke to the only female on the team, “Lady Kasäsh, please stay behind us while we fend off this… thing.” Kasäsh looked at the man with an intense stare that only the stubborn and determined can give.
    “You cannot tell what to do like you can your troops, Terasl, nor can you stop me.” And with that she dashed at Aster, blade drawn high. Aster smiles at what he thinks to be a futile attack and continues to walk forward. Their blades meet as soon as Kasäsh gets within striking distance. Surprisingly, Aster is knocked off balance by the blow thrown by the Elf. Her blade pierces his right shoulder and he grabs her leg. The wound in his shoulder has an odd burning pain in it.
    “Elf, what is this trickery you play upon me?” Aster groans as the wound quickly turns a quick shade of red. Kasäsh kicks herself free of Aster’s grip and stabs him through his black heart.
    Kasäsh turns away from Aster and replies, “Poison.”

    Chapter 10
    Aster is Dead
    Terasl was absolutely amazed at how Kasäsh quickly dispatched the thing following them. Kasäsh continues past them and leaves the town, and them, behind. Aster finally falls to the ground when the lethal poison works its way to his brain, smothering it in a murky haze.

    In the caves Gíroún scuttles into one of many small caves he made and feasts on a rat he found earlier. Behind him a faint sphere appears behind him. The remains of the rat are thrown aside by Gíroún, who turns about to see the sphere in the air behind him. The Shadow Beetle jumps in surprise and tries to scuttle away but the power within the sphere paralyzes him.
    “Gíroún, you must come to the village and retrieve my body or your last friend, Aster, will perish indefinitely,” commanded the sphere. Gíroún nervously wanders out of the small cave and ventures through the caverns to retrieve the body of Heîrok Aster as the sphere fades away.

    Kasäsh had flown back to the Fire Tribe’s capital to report to Marcius that she has given up on finding her father and that he should call in all of his search parties.

    The Grass Tribe mourned for their loss of a leader and Kasash soon became the ruler of the Grass Tribe.

    In the blackened remains of the village the body of Heîrok Aster had yet to decompose when Gíroún begins to take back to the caves.

    End Part 1 of the Enemy