Lighthouse Point had been reduced to rubble. Skycloud soldiers, their resplendent armor covered in gore and their weapons dripping blood, stalked the smoldering carnage. The sick smell of blood and rot filled the air. The soil was all stained red.
The massacre continued for a long time. When it was finished, there were nearly a thousand corpses lying in pools of blood. It was like a vision of the cruelty hell promised.
Although more than a thousand wastelanders were dead, the slaughter didn’t produce the expected result. The holy warriors had suspected there was little chance it would work, but they still performed the task with extreme prejudice. It didn’t matter that the cost was innumerable innocent lives.
Captain Brontes stared at the heinous scene. There was no pity in his eyes. He simply shook his head and muttered. “We’ve failed. Let’s go.”
The representatives of the gods left, leaving only flame and slaughter in their wake. The fires continued for hours, and then there was only ash.
Around midnight a sandstorm swept through. Wild winds brought an ocean of grit, enough to blot out the sky for most of the night. By the time the sun rose the next morning, most of Lighthouse Point was gone. The corpses of its unfortunate residents disappeared beneath the dunes and only the crumbling spire of its central lighthouse remained – the only indication that something that been there at all. No one would know what happened to the doomed outpost.
In this age, where balance had been shattered, power determined who led. Power determined who lived and who died. There were no rules, no obligations, for those only existed among classes of equal rank. When the scales of power tipped, there were no more rules to govern the masses. There were only sheep and lions. The sheep bleated for fair treatment, and the lions ignored them.
Those born in the realm of the gods were the chosen, a cut above the rest. Wastelanders were heathens fated to suffer. Killing them was no different than eradicating insects.
It was how they were taught. Even from a young age the idea was reinforced, so deeply ingrained it was impossible to separate from their identity.
A thousand miles away an intense battle raged.
Bodies of wasteland monsters rose like mountains, together with the mangled bodies of holy soldiers. A horde of snarling beasts gathered nearby, more than a thousand.
“Gods above! What sort of demons have these blasphemers released upon the world!”
The Skycloud general’s armor was broken in multiple spots. He stared at the host of enemies with hard eyes. He’d never seen so many creatures together, all different sorts, fighting together. They seemed to be controlled by several figures who stood in the center of the crowd, staring back at the hundreds of bloodied soldiers. In addition to their ferocity and power, these monstrous wasteland beasts were also no less clever than humans.
One of his commanders stumbled over, clearly having taken a beating himself. “General, it’s no use. The more of these creatures we kill, the more come to their aid. If we continue they’ll wipe us out. We should return home with this information!”
The Skycloud general looked over what remained of his troops, only about half of what they’d come with. He weighed his options for a few moments. Then, gritting his teeth against the bitter realization, he gave the order. “Withdraw!”
Skycloud’s forces began to retreat. When the wasteland creatures saw them falling back the earth shook with their triumphant roars. Like a victory cry. It made the humans’ hairs stand on end.
Hyena’s body slowly reverted to its human form. He watched the warriors go through narrowed eyes. They’d been discovered, the holy lands would know all about them soon enough. This time the elysians hadn’t been prepared for his people’s attack, but next time would be different. Their luck wouldn’t last.
Hyena bellowed a roar, a sign for them to fall back. The horde retreated like the tide.
They couldn’t remain here, Hyena realized. If his people were to survive they had to find somewhere safe that could accommodate them. Now that they were discovered these self-righteous killers and their almighty gods would not suffer their existence on this earth.
But where? They had no home. The roving horde stopped when night fell over the wastelands. Anxious and hungry the creatures collapsed upon the ground to rest. Amidst a chorus of whines and growls they weakly licked their wounds.
Hyena pondered their troubles, searching for any solution. His meditations were interrupted by a warning growl. Had the enemy returned? Where they being chased?
He sprang up, almost immediately in his beastly form once again. Charging toward the growls, he gathered a group of his intelligent shape-shifting kin. Wendigo, they called themselves.