The great moon of Chukwu hung ominously in the sky, blotting out the sun in an eclipse, heralding the month of darkness. It was as if the iris of god was staring down upon the planet Ifrita, always watching, always knowing and observing in wait for the time of judgement. Or perhaps that’s just how Mezule felt as he sprinted across the white dunes, desperate to escape the sensation of being pursued.
He’s been running nonstop for what feels like days now. His chest burned as if heart had become a hot coal, and his legs felt like shattered wood. But he could not stop. The days of darkness only last for so long and he had a great distance to cover, and even less time to find shelter among the desert.
He continued on as if his body was in a trance; never stopping, never resting, never yielding, focusing on nothing but putting the next foot forward. The only thing dragging him down was his hunger. Then something broke his trance, a glaring red light in the distance which glowed like an illuminated ruby. Mezule pondered as his pace slowed: should he ignore the light and save what precious time he has? Or investigate and possibly find something to feed on, which he’s in desperate need of. His hunger got the best of him, thus proceeded towards the light.
As he got closer the glow revealed itself to be crimson flames sprayed across a desolate campsite. It also revealed a grotesque scenery of bodies and limbs littered across the campsite as if a storm had picked them up and scattered them like leaves. The site was without a sign of any life left; the very ground was soaked red. Particularly a pile of clothes so stained in blood one would think they were tailored in the hue. Beside it was a sleeping figure against a tree wearing a garb of mixed styles and pieces that didn’t match. Some parts were slightly tainted in scarlet drops while the rest where fairly clean.
Mezule’s appearance was no more flattering: He hid his tattered purple robes underneath a cape of black feathers and hid his face behind a yellow steel mask that covered his eyes.
Across from the stranger was a large pouch bulging with supplies from his victims. Mezule starred at the sight and slowly turned away. "If a man could challenge a large group on his own, he is not a man to be trifled with." Mezule thought to himself. But as he walked the figure spoke;
“Brother you're either really cunning or really cowardly.”
And at the command of a snap, a large desert snake slithered out of the bag and wrapped itself around the stranger’s arm and up his sleeve.
“The name’s Zehak! What's yours?”
Mezule responded with silence, his back still facing Zehak.
“Oh, come on brother! Don’t be like that! What’s a guy like you wandering the desert for?
Especially NOW on the night of nights!”
Since it was clear this guy likely wasn’t going to let him go, Mezule decided to respond.
“The days of darkness are the only period I can make time.”
“Seriously? What you in a rush for?”
“I’m trying to find a cure for my ill-ness.”
Zehak simply chuckled to himself.
“Seriously? Is the local alchemist too convenient for ya? If you have to cross this wasteland to find it, then it might be a bit out of your reach! Besides, if your well enough to walk this far, ya’ may not even be that sick! In fact, ya’ might be stuck with it your whole life. Why not think of it as a… gift instead?”
“I thought that once, but now things have changed. I no longer wish to live with it.”
Mezule said with a tint of sadness in his voice.
“Why not? You got these amazing’ powers that put ya far higher than any mortal!”
It was at that moment Mezule's suspicions were confirmed. Zehak lifted his head up to reveal his face was a dark gray color and his eyes pierced the darkness with their toxic green glow. This man was a Adzé, just like him.
“Can’t ya see? We're superior to the mortals, more evolved! And you just wanna throw it away!”
“It’s no longer about grandeur my friend, it’s about survival. All the clans are gone, our brother-hoods severed, and what few of us remain, if any, are hunted like dogs. The times have changed, and so must we.”
Zehak gets up with an exasperated sigh.
“All these years alone, and the first one of our kind I finally find, is a coward and a traitor. Damn shame too, I almost liked ya. Key word being ‘almost’.”
As if by command, two snakes busted out from underneath the shoulders of Zehak’s clothes. One of them lunges themselves at Mezule, fangs wide open. Mezule grabs it from the air, the snake continues to lash out as he struggles to keep a distance between his hand and face. The wind starts to pick up and Zehak dashes toward him with daggers in hand, but Mezule’s cape opens up to reveal that it is actually a pair of black wings that that kick up a thick wall of sand obscuring the bandit, and from beyond the veil his snake is launched back at him, along with the piercing light of a curved sword. The two figures were engulfed in a whirlwind of sand that twisted and danced with the fighters to a choir of their clashing steel.
When the dust storm subsided Mezule had already disappeared into the darkness.
Zehak did nothing but laugh.
“AHAHAHAHAHAHah! Fine, run all ya want ya whelp!
But ya proven there’s more out there that survived!
We’ll find ya, and you will pay for ya treason!”