A/N: This is likely to climb up to an M rating eventually, just so y'all know. I tend to get a bit graphic when it comes to descriptions of violence.

Ah, time to initiate Phase 17 of my "toss the readers into all the wackiness" scheme! *laughs maniacally*

Future chapters will be significantly longer.

Kaelan watches a humanoid Old One claw its way out of a rift, the black gash in the sky being pulled wider and wider before slamming shut when the monster squeezes through. She draws her swords and leaps off of her boulder, flying at the Old One full tilt.

This one creates shifting platforms made of the same rocky substance as most Old Ones below its feet as it walks, letting it move through the air as if it were on the ground. Oh, come on, that can't be stable. Then again, the small ones could pull off some odd things. This was only forty-or-so meters tall.

Power flows into Kaelan's blades, and their soft blue glow becomes angry, bright enough that it verges on being white. The Old One still hasn't registered her as a threat. Hell, it might not have noticed her at all.

She pulls up from a collision course with the Old One's chest and flies over its shoulder. She swings with her left blade, then stops flying. Just before she falls, she twists so she faces the Old One again. She drags her sword through its shoulder while she goes down, doing enough damage to at least temporarily take that arm out commission. The second it pops free, she turns again and slams her other sword between where she guessed the thing's ribs would be, if it even had them.

Kaelan pulls on the sword with enough force to catapult herself up to the Old One's head, barely managing to take it with her. She hovers in front of its face, pointing the sword in her right hand at it. Before she can turn the creature's brain, or whatever it has in there, into so much slag, it clips her leg with its left fist, sending her spinning away. She crashes into an outcropping on a small island with enough force to send grains of dirt and pebbles cascading from the bottom of the island into the endless sky.

She lies there until her mind clears. It feels like an eternity has passed by the time she shoves herself off the island, not bothering to get up. Judging by the pain in her leg, trying would have ended badly. She can't have been there long; the Old One hasn't gone far. Swords? Nope. No swords. Dropped 'em.

A few clouds and the occasional chunk of land got in her way, but this Old One doesn't seem capable of generating a Nullstorm, even after this long in the Shard. Still, it starting one was a very real danger at this point.

Another rift opens not thirty meters from Kaelan, a bit behind the Old One. From it emerges an eight-winged, sixteen legged, vaguely insectoid chunk of metal and rock with a stinger that rivaled the size of most houses. This one is bloody massive, at least 250 meters from head to tip. Aw, shit. The little guy still gets to burn first.

She dives below the larger Old One. It lets out an ear piercing screech and radiates a Nullstorm. Every thought in Kaelan's head is pushed out, replaced by uncountable voices. They're all screaming. Her vision starts to blur. Bad verybad nonono NO! Her own rift flares to life, wrenching her back to reality. The voices are still there, but they are drowned out by her rift's furious roaring. The storm wants to tear her apart, but she is the Alerion; storms are her home.

The jagged metal feathers of her wings cut their way through swirling colors and the ghosts of a god's dreams. They claw at her, pry at her mind, but they are nothing.

A form looms out of the cacophanous everything that surrounds her. An Old One, arm hanging limp at its side. It throws its will against hers. She crushes it, and Alerion laughs with joy even as her foe screams.

Shadows coalesce in her hands, and she ignites them. Flame the color of the sky is thrown from her outstretched arm and shatters the creature's head. She hovers before the Old One. More fire flies from her fingertips and into its torso. The Old One crumbles into the storm.

A buzzing noise gradually becomes audible. The insectoid Old One descends rapidly, and Alerion jerks to the side to avoid being crushed. The Old One stops its fall and swivels to face Alerion. Its dozens of mandibles chew endlessly, and from its mouth it issues a blinding light, carrying with it enough heat incinerate stone.

Alerion wreathes herself in shadow, and the light is halted. With a great flap of her wings, she soars above the Old One as it writhes toward her. Beneath the dark silver-grey of her helmet, Alerion is smiling.

She unleashes hell on the fiend below her. Bolts of flame and shadow rain down on the Old One and burst in spectacular explosions that leave huge rents in its flesh.

The Old One charges Alerion, spinning at the last moment it can to try to catch her with its stinger. She dodges by curling into a ball and dropping below the arc of the Old One's tail. She tries to blow a hole in its wings, but it twists and folds them in, falling toward her.

Alerion flies upward again and blasts the Old One's wings as they move past each other. There is a deep rumbling as a large chunk of one wing breaks off. The Old One goes into a spin for a few second before it can right itself, allowing Alerion to keep bombarding it.

Eventually the Old One manages to turn toward Alerion. It lets loose another wave of light, and Alerion barely manages to shield herself again. It feels as if the assault continues for hours, and cracks begin to open in Alerion's defenses. The Old One doesn't let up. Eventually, her shields shatter. The light hits her, pushes her back.

Alerion dashes forward through the light and hits the Old One's side with a blast that knocks off four of its limbs.

It screeches, and Alerion calls massive amounts of power from her rift. She whips her arm out and throws every scrap of the burning dark down its throat.

A god dies at Alerion's feet. The storm retreats; the rift quiets. Kaelan flies, once again surrounded by a star filled sky and the black smudges of land that float within it.