A creature as old as time fought to stay airborne in the storm. The darkness crept upon it from all sides. Above its head clouds reached into the skies like canyons. The air swelled and unexpected gusts threatened to tear the Fenrir from the sky. It worried that its wings might be ripped from its back. Even so, the ancient beast couldn't determine whether it would be safer in the madness of the storm or the depths of the sand. Below the desert was a sea of earth snapping at him.

Horrible distorted beasts stalked the lost Fenrir waiting for it to make a mistake. Their hunger reverberated in the deepest reaches of its consciousness, prodding, twisting and turning. Exhaustion was creeping in like a black mist.

Then the Fenrir saw it. A dark spot on the horizon, hidden between a sunken dune. A refuge of tree and stone. It just needed to reach it.

A wave sliced through the air and a blinding light engulfed its vision. With a desperate shriek, it realized that it was now upside down. It tried catching its breath, but the light was disappearing from its vision. An invisible fire crept over its skin. The Fenrir couldn't tell if it was still falling. It spread its wings, tried to angle its body, but it was too late to brace for impact.

A crack of lightning lit up the sky in triumph.

Muscles tore, bones popped - and this story begins..

-x0x-

The storm raged beyond the creaking building's borders.

Tiny streams of water poured into the rotten floorboards below. This was the only spot in the house they could find unaffected by the calamity outside. In the case of a cascade, it was likely also the safest. Not that the desert was safe in the slightest.

This fact was not something that put Cellt's mind at ease as she flipped through another page in her book. The Trembling Spear by Hall Valion. Albeit being a childish legend of the fall of angels, she had read it many times and knew the tale by heart. Right that moment, however, she was finding it difficult to stay on track. The blood on her parka was still drying.

Every scratch, creak, crackle or pop made her jolt expecting the dark to manifest into something else. Something vengeful and deadly. A crack of lightning shuddered the house and once again she found herself searching for where she left off. Her hands were cold, but reading under Yarrow's poncho proved difficult so she settled closer to the fire to keep herself warm.

Her mind was everywhere except where it was supposed to be. Of course, it was only logical that she wouldn't be able to focus now.

'Who would?' She wondered.

"Damn it," Yarrow cursed with a growl as a tool clattered to the floor. Cellt peeked from her spot under his poncho to see the lanky man in the corner of the room standing among some ancient motorized bicycles. He carelessly rubbed blotches of oil into his damp sandy brown hair.

"I think this one is missing a component," Yarrow grunted.

Vey appeared from a side room carrying a stack of debris.

"Will that be an issue?" Vey asked. He discarded the pile and joined Yarrow at the machine. Yarrow crossed his arms.

"Possibly. At least we already have two of those working..." He paused. "Things."

Vey blinked, opened his mouth to comment and decided against it. Instead, he readjusted his glasses and pointed to a red canister in the corner.

"What about that?" He asked.

"Fuel. Like food for these things, but I could only find a very limited amount. I can syphon off some from this one, but they probably won't get us very far."

"Well, it's better than walking." Vey remarked then noticed that he was near a window. He was careful not to get too close. The storm was hardly their only concern.

"Yeah. Let's just hope they start." Yarrow said.

"Will they?" Vey asked.

"Don't know." Yarrow bit his lip, then threw his tools aside. "Guess it's a tomorrow problem. Can't risk testing it now."

Vey glanced back outside. "Right,"

With a reassuring smile, Yarrow patted him on the shoulder which would have been reassuring if it didn't shake Vey where he stood, then sauntered over to Cellt, who had returned to her book. He plopped down on the rotting sofa next to her.

Cellt eyed it suspiciously as it creaked perilously under his weight. He leaned over her shoulder to check the page, decided that her face was more compelling and brushed a lock of grey hair behind her ear so he could see it better. A gentle smile tugged at her lips but she continued reading. The shadows didn't feel quite as dark as before.

Vey felt troubled. Not that he doubted that Yarrow wasn't concerned. The man had always been good in bad situations. A quality he found himself envy regularly these days.

Yarrow interrupted his thoughts. "I'm starving. Is it done yet?"

Yarrow was peering into the fire, picking at the food sizzling on a makeshift cooking rack. He plucked a morsel of fish-bread from the fire and gulped it down in one bite. He blanched then swallowed.

"This is disgusting," Yarrow complained.

"Hey! I did my best with that." Vey protested.

"Well your best is terrible." he retorted, picking his teeth.

"To be fair," Cellt interrupted them. "We're lucky that one of us knows how to cook." Vey readjusted his glasses with a smirk. She turned a page.

"Even if you really can't." she joked.

Vey slumped in defeat against his bag.

"This storm is odd," he muttered, hoping to change the subject.

"You think so?" Yarrow asked. He was picking at the fire now. God. That man can not sit still for a moment, can he?

"The storm must have blown in from the ocean. Maybe even the ice lands beyond it," Cellt said softly. She gently folded her book shut.

"If anything it's providing us with some much-needed cover. Not to mention water."

In the firelight her grey eyes, like the rest of her features, were catlike. Sharp, intelligent and serious. An enormous contrast to Yarrow, who despite his earlier protest was warily testing the rest of the meal Vey had prepared for them. Cellt's attention had turned back to him and in one look she wordlessly got him to either eat the food or put it away, of which he did the latter. Vey smiled.

They spent the next few hours in silence. Vey had set to work. Several scrolls were kept next to him in a protective pouch. Occasionally he switched one for another, then scribbled something down in a tiny book he kept on his lap. Best not to trust its safety to the leaking wreck they were held up in.

Yarrow was asleep, his back turned to the fire and snoring softly. His head was rested on Cellt's lap. His poncho was draped over him and she had since made herself more comfortable, resting her book on his shoulder. She had made significant headway, although her eyes were starting to strain against the low light. She stared into the fire. Noticing the embers fly into the air. For a brief moment, she wondered what it was like to be one. To ignite into life then shrivel up and turn to ash. She didn't notice herself drift into a restless sleep as the smoke consumed her vision.