The words were crisp and chilled, like icy thunder crackling through the stormy night. It rose high, above the layer of wind pressing down the tops of trees, spreading outward and piercing the thoughts of the man clinging frantically to a flapping, bending palm tree. Interrupting his prayers for an ounce of luck that night, the words drone on, reverberating without losing volume. He paid no heed; indeed, his shocked, boyish features did not abandon the vestment of panic they so suddenly adorned, nor did he breathe, even, as his straw hat succumbed to the raging wrath of wind bearing down on it, departing it unexpectedly from his balding head.
"Ohh, man!" His head, shaking uncontrollably, now also offered no resistance to the wind, along with his tense athletic body as it fell down the tree's trunk to collapse lifelessly on the jungle floor below.
A few hundred yards away, perched atop a rocky ridge, a beautiful woman in flowing violet robe lowered her second and third finger from above the thin bridge of her nose. A small batch of blood, smearing quickly in the turbulent winds, streaked above her left eyebrow. Her face was cool, but her smooth betrayed a look, as a child caught unawares. Without visibly recovering herself, she furrowed her brows and squinted, her right eye steadily sweeping but her left making precise, articulate rotations without changing depth.
"Come on out… you… little..!" Obscening through a heavy grunt, she half-raised her fingers to her face, gaze steady, before halting suddenly. Mumbling, she swept her right arm in wavy, loose motions, snapping back and forth, but in a way that revealed a practiced steadiness to this otherwise seemingly random act.
Perhaps it was coincidence, but the trees appeared to bend a ways out in the distance- just a few tucked together- leaning apart from one another to the point that their trunks ruptured the earth by pulling rooted soil, compact and clinging, obtusely from the ground. The scene was silent to the woman from her perch so far away; between her and the occurrence, the tireless wind continued to tumble tyrannically over the dominated canopy, unnatural in its intensity and unfoundedly isolated to the tree line of this jungle region alone.
If he wasn't sure of the reality of the events unfolding in the glove-shaped basin below him, Dant would have thought himself experiencing a nightmare. That makes three… three dead in one minute… not bad for a maverick… He lowered a finger, rotating the sphere to maneuver between the woman, still scanning coldly, and the last point of contact with her spell- the uprooted grove of trees. So far, a maximum distance of two hundred fifty yards…His other hand stroked his chin with a practiced glowering; a few days into a growing beard, and it was feeling good, all softly prickling his fingers so. He thought this as he arranged calculations in his head, determining the best course of action from his direction.
He had it narrowed down- the robed woman struck her forehead again, this time disabling a man almost three hundred yards away; still not enough to alter this new plan, however- he could walk calmly from his own position in the log cabin, proceed directly to the target, and then… He paused amidst his stride to the door. What would he do when he got there? Maim, torture, then slaughter? Hmm, should I maim her mercilessly, or pause occasionally to let her scream a- damn, I guess I'll think of it on the way over there…Sighing at his indecision, he opened the door and, closing it behind him, stepped out and continued walking, unconcerned.
Above him, on the ridge she held behind the cabin itself, the violet-haired woman glanced just once at Dant as he left his shack before squinting again in another direction, all focus now. She had her own objectives too, and they would not be accomplished watching Dant fend off whatever brigands she herself didn't cut down. Because she needed a few seconds to gather strength for another blast, anyways, though, she peered down at him.
"So," she chuckled to herself, all thought now, "He means to go through with it after all." Her eyebrows arched just slightly in true deference- the kind she would never let anyone see otherwise. She had not counted on him pulling through, making them wait as long as he did. He usually just did things on-the-fly; even life-or-death matters such as the one now at hand. The only unanticipated dilemma so far had simply been the lingering effects of the Pool of Seeing; among others, a simmering indifference accompanying loss of willpower. She grinned- perhaps the one cancelled the other in this man.
Scouting out now ahead of him, she reached through the trees as if her eye was simply extending over a distance. Although very much accustomed to the fierce control of the pupil this required, her teeth gritted in agitation. It was not a good time of her life, the last time she combined the 'blast' and 'scope', indeed, she had almost forgotten the possible combination. But this mission required it of her- Dant and Fidora required it of her. And there was no way she would be letting them take all the glory in this mission, now, anyways.
Untouched by the raging wind howling monotonously above him, Dant scuttled forward beneath swaying, creaking boughs. The tall grass rose above his knees and flapped to and fro, splashing across his shins like a tide pulling razors. Between him and the target were four hundred or so yards of intermittent jungle and grassland. He wasn't sure what it would like when he got there, but he knew that no matter what happened, he must succeed- they were a team, and they were relying on him the most to fell their target. Alluna, with her powerful symmetry jumbomabob, could clear the way for him, and Fidora was busy holding the rest of the force at bay behind them, but in the end, he alone would be the one to confront the Lieutenant. In any case, he would have gone ahead without their help, but they hurriedly conscribed this simple plan, anyways. What use was it to do anything but your best, in any case? He grinned wickedly- he worked best without direction, especially if it was to kill his daughter's murderer.
His thoughts became vacant as the jungle intensified. Driven now by will alone, he dissected his way deeper into the thicket, driving closer to the infectious element that he could feel casting its wicked emanations outward in pulses. Her evil was all around him, betraying her hidden presence as if tainted by the memory of the blood of hundreds she had spilt.
Already he knew what must happen. Automatically his hands and legs pushed him forward, his intention weaving a path through quivering plant life. The events unfolded smoothly up to this point, it seemed, and his iron determination to do this one task did not waver once yet. Brown, long ponytail flapping across his shoulders set the rhythm of his pace, pressing him onward, the tone of his thoughts growing ever more deep and anxious with each quickened step.