Author’s Note: Part 2 took a turn that was a little bit…let’s just say different, than I had expected or planned. I did not end up using the supplemental cards I drew last week, therefore they will be used in next week’s Magic Wednesday story, which I will do my best to make NOT a two-parter which will get us back on a one draw-one story schedule.
Korin slid behind the thick trunk of an oak tree, concealing his pale, half-equine form from any Rakdos guards that had chosen to stay at the gate instead of pursuing the noise in the woods. Peering out from his hiding place, Korin saw the he was on the very edge of a small clearing. On the opposite side of the clearing, the red light of the guild gate pulsed from the crevice in the rock.
He sniffed the brisk night air. His ears twitched as slithery cries echoed from the woods behind him, followed by Wuump’s angry braying and stomping as he began to dispatch their enemies. Korin tried to ignore the noise and the concern for his friend that itched the back of his mind, instead pinning his gaze to the red light, watching for any sign of movement as he slid closer and closer to the door.
As he took a step into the clearing, Korin stopped in his tracks. In the dark he couldn’t be sure, but he thought he had seen a rock at the base of the gate shift. Rakdos minions were known for their dirty tricks… had they unlocked the secret of invisibility cloaking as well?
Korin closed his eyes. He could feel a surge of light power coarse through his forearms almost instantly. Warm blossoms of energy started to billow in his palms. A second later, Korin’s eyes snapped open and he pointed his palms in the direction of the jumping stone. A sizzling burst of white lightning sprung from his hands and hit its mark. A scream died in the wind as a short figure, scrawny and scorched black, crumpled to the ground with a clatter of cobbled armor.
Seeing his opportunity, Korin burst out from behind the brush and galloped across the clearing at full speed. “NOW!” he shouted behind him into the darkness.
A tremendous quaking erupted behind him, growing louder and stronger until Wuump burst through the foliage, his hooves cutting large trenches into the forest floor as he came to a sliding stop. He uttered a loud, war-hungry bellow, shaking loose half a dozen goblins and lesser demons from his shoulders and sending them crashing into the trees below. In the moonlight Korin could see another three or four guardsmen clinging to the beast for dear life, slicing at Wuump’s thick reptilian skin with swords that looked like toothpicks by comparison.
“It’s time!” Korin yelled up to his friend. Wuump paused, then groaned. “Uuuuuuuh.” A single, sorrowful tone.
Korin could feel a sting at the back of his eyes, but he would not let himself falter. From his saddlebag, he drew out the blue bottle that would avenge his kin. Avenge them all.
“It is the only way, my friend,” Korin said as he removed the stopper. “I know if you could, you would do the same.” With that, he brought the bottle to his mouth and tipped it back.
The liquid was thick and flowery, and left a burning sweet trail in his throat as he swallowed. His limbs felt full and heavy, and his mind turned to mud. From somewhere far away he could hear a rumbling in Wuump’s throat, either a growl or a sob he wasn’t sure.
With its contents drained, Korin tossed the bottle to the ground and turned on uncertain feet to face the red-lighted guild gate. The light seemed to pulsed and flow, as if it knew who he was and why he was there. Korin smiled as he felt himself filling from head to toe with a raging blue light.
“For Kasarna,” he whispered as he leapt into the crevice. His hooves touched the smooth red marble of the antechamber just as Wuump’s hooves came crashing down on the boulder, sealing up any escape route.
Korin’s vision had gone blurry. That was fine—he did not need vision anymore. He could sense he was in a big room, large and tall, with jagged black embellishments along the marble walkway that lead to a tall, thin black door, gated and locked.
Korin’s ears were ringing and rushing with the sound of his own blood, but he knew that beyond that gate were thousands upon thousands of Rakdos monsters; plotting, gorging, defiling, killing and destroying everything they could find. He could smell the blood, the gold, the lust of every twisted passion they preyed on. And somewhere, deep inside this circus of misery and despair sat the vilest creature of all, clothed in flesh and surrounded by fire and filled with such sadistic joy at his masterpiece, why would he ever stop of his own accord?
Korin clenched his fists, and the marble beneath his feet shattered into a million pieces. This could not stand. No matter the cost.
Wuump had just finished stomping out the last of the guardsmen when the ground around him began to shake. From the rock that previously held the crevice entrance to the Rakdos guildgate, shards of white-blue light pierced the darkness, slicing through trees and making leaves curl with its heat. Wuump uttered a surprised howl of pain as one lightshard gashed through the left side of his face and pierced his eye. He tried to flee but the ground tremors grew so violent he could only stumble, half blind and gushing blood as the light shards continued to stab at his leathery skin. From somewhere deep below him, there stirred up a horrible ripping boom of a scream that could be the sound of thousands of living souls crying out in pain, or could be the earth tearing itself in half.
A split second later, all was darkness and silence.
As a reminder, here are next week’s card: