Nothing moved on the streets of Relos. Nothing human feet at least. There were many crows, ravens and vultures and other wild animals feeding on the dead all over town. Many of the housed had also been torn apart as Antilles raged through town. Relos looked like a tornado had gone through hitting this house and missing that one. Most of the people that lived through the attack had made it away escaping early in the attack. But not everyone had escaped. Hidden in the debris of a shop, Will, a seventeen year old boy and his sister Beth hid from the horrors stalking the street. It had been just yesterday when something came into town and destroyed there peaceful life.
Relos was a walled in city. It had taken the people many years to build. They had to move lumber from the forest and into the lumber mill they build to to make their homes, shops and the wall. The wall was built to protect them from raiders that plagued the area. These raiders had been living in the forest like savages for years preying on all the villages in the area. Once the wall was built their fears of the raiding were over. The only problem left was traveling on the road out of town. That they solves with the help of a mage they paid in Winterhaven who enchanted the road.
The wall surrounded all the farms and ranches in Relos. The only other access to Relos was by the river and Relos's port. Ships infrequently came down the river bringing in supplies the city needed and giving passage to people coming and going.
But that was over now that the beast had arrived.
It was later in the afternoon and Will was on his way back from his fathers fields when Beth ran up to him laughing. She jumped in to his arms as they fell to the ground.
" Whoa!!" He laughed as she wrestled him on the ground. " Your in so kind of mood. whats going on?"
" He asked me." She said.
" Who else Goofy? Tagger!!" She said. " He asked me to the festival."
" Oh him." Will frowned as the got up.
" What do you mean by that?" Beth had that look on her face that had when he had done something she thought was stupid.
" You know father doesn't like Tagger." Will said brushing off his shirt. " Not since that day he caught you two in the loft."
" But we weren't doing anything wrong!" she complained. " Just kissing."
" And you think that would be ok with father?" Will turned to her. She thought he looked just like father when he was trying to be stern with her. It made her smile knowing both of them cared so much.
" What are you smiling at?" He folded his arms.
" You silly." Beth took his arm in hers and they began to walk.
" You know soon both of you are going to have to see I'm not that little girl that followed you and your friends all around all the time. I'm marrying age now. You cant protect me anymore.
Will stopped and looked at his younger sister.
" I'll always protect you." He said. " I don't care who you marry. Your my little sister. That's my job."
" I love you to." She smiled and hugged him. " We better get home. I have to tell mother so she can help me convince father."
It wasn't far to there home from the fields. They had to past through the corn and the wheat fields before they got home. They talked as they walked. Beth told her brother about Tagger wrestling with the other boys then taking her down by the river where hew asked her to the festival. How she had said yes and then fall into his arms. That was where he stopped her. He didn't want to hear anymore details. Then they heard the screaming coming from town. It was horrible. it sounded like someone was being ripped apart. Will told Beth to go home, he was going to see what was going om.
" No, I'm going with you." She said. " Someone may need help."
Together they ran past their house. In a few minutes the rounded the corner if the tanners shop and saw something that almost scared them to death. There was a monster in town battling the towns men. Batting them aside, grabbing them and tearing them apart. Beth saw Tagger and his father with swords. She held her breath as she saw them attack the thing. With a mighty blow she saw Tagger struck down and she screamed. He was covered with blood and she knew he was dead. Will grabbed his sister and dragged her away screaming. He started for home when suddenly the thing had leaped in front of them. Will took her hand and backed away. Like solders the men of Relos charged in to fight the monster. Then a strong hand grabbed Will by his shoulder, it was their father.
" Get Beth out of here. " He said. " Take her home once we clear the way."
" I'll fight with you father." Will pleaded. " At your side."
" No, you have to take care of your sister and your mother." He bent and hugged them both. " Promise me you will get them away from Relos as soon as you can."
" I will father." Will didn't want to go. But he always obeyed his fathers wishes. Will looked back it the fight and saw it wasn't going good. He looked at his father and knew this would be the last time he would see him alive. As he watched, the monster through back its head and howled. It was a blood curdling howl. Will didn't understand. It wasn't hurt. None of the men had landed a blow on it, so why was it howling?
Unknown to all, a call had been sent out. All through the forest, wild things heard the call. Wolves, bears, lions, all savage creatures heads turned and began to come from the forest and into Relos. From house to house they went attacking and killing the people. Antilles battled the men and his wild animals attacked their homes. No house or farm was safe. In his rage Antilles began tearing down the homes and shops. In one of these Will and his sister hid. They never made it back home to their mothers side so she died in their home. Father like the rest of the men of Relos was killed by Antilles, his body ripped and beaten in the streets. Will and his sister Beth were the last two surviving people in Relos, hiding in the ruins of Relos praying for someone to save them from what lurked in the streets.
High over Relos three figures rode the winds toward the town watching smoke rise from the ruins. Shayn had told Jayce about his dream and Cutter had confirmed it by sensing the towns fear. In there minds, Cutter had shown them what exactly that town had to fear. The monstrous terror that had come to Relos had also been in two other small village with no survives. With his magic, Kalin had shown them what Antilles was. Antilles was an animal elemental that had been cursed into being. His magic couldn't tell them where he had come from. But, he could tell it hadn't been long age and the magic used was very powerful.
So off Shayn and Ono sent them to Relos. There mission was to find this Antilles and to stop it from destroying anybody else.
" There's Relos." Pelic pointed.
In the afternoon sun they saw the town surrounded by the broken wall. From up high they could see the burning buildings.
" The fires must have been set by oven and cooked fires." Graym told them.
" Yeah." Jayce said. " I doubt the beast set them."
" No. But it caused them." Pelic focused on the fields and looked for trouble. " I see bodies, and there being eatten."
" I see." Jayce said. " Any sign of what did this?"
" Not yet." Graym said flying in closer the them. " You think one's dead?"
" No." Jayce said concentrating on the burning town. " I can feel someone down there."
" Where?" Pelic asked. " I only see scavengers."
" I don't know." The blond angel said. " But there's somebody alive down there."
" What do you want to do?" Graym asked.
" We have to search this town. Building by building if we have to." Jayce said. " Hows the shadow beast with fire?"
" Not good." Pelic called. " They won't burn, but they don't like the light thrown off by the fire. I can send them into the other ruins."
" Ok." Jayce said. " We go in. Both of you be careful. This thing is suppose to be savage. We have no idea how smart it is. Lets go."
Spiraling down they landed in the center of town. Fire blazed all around them and smoke filled the sky. Pulling their blades they moved on together.
" Send in the shadows." Jayce said.
Pelic nodded then opened his cloak. From his cloak emerged his shadow beast. They stopped and looked at Pelic. He sent them orders and they quickly took off running into town in different directions avoiding the fires.
" They'll be back when they find something." He said.
Cautiously they moved through the town. As the searched they had the feeling that something was watching them. They knew there were predators in town. They had to be careful of attacks.
" Maybe we should have brought Toric along." Graym said. " He could take care of these animal."
Suddenly from the side of a ruined house, something lunged out at them. It looked like a bear, but it was different. Bigger, more monstrous. It was at least eight feet tall with long curved claws that could rip through a man in a single swipe. As they backed away weapons in hand the bear thing roared at them.
" What the hell is this thing?" Graym asked.
" I don't know." Jayce said spreading his wings and taking to the air. " Don't let it touch you."
As Graym spread his wings he sent a row of his wing darts flying at the creature then took off. They struck it in the chest and it howled at them in pain and charged. Pelic was the only one left on the ground. As the bear thing came at him, he made himself intangible and it passed right through him. As it past, Pelic sent an magical charge through the beast knocking it to the ground. It scrambled around until it could get back to its feet. As the beast stood, Pelic rose up to join the other two Shadows in the air.
" Well." He said. " What now? How do we kill this thing."
" With this." Jayce held out Retribution. Narrowing his wings he went into a dive. As he passed over the beast, it swung at him. Turning to the side, it missed. Jayce stabbed down and pierced its chest.The bear grabbed at its wound and howled in pain. As Jayce rose back up into the air, Graym came in from behind it and slashed low cutting its legs out from under it. Down to the ground it fell again still trying to grab at Graym as it fell. Now the bear had only its front paws left to fight with. As it rolled on the ground, Jayce dropped back down in front of it. It roared and reached for him. Jayce raised Retribution one more time and with a mighty blow decapitated it
Suddenly an ear splitting scream was heard from somewhere in the forest. Jayce and the shadows looked at each other. A strange feeling swept through them. From the forest it sounded like everything had screamed at once
" What was that?" Graym asked.
" I think we may need some help."
Deep in the root cellar of Cyrus the pot seller, Will and Beth huddle in fear. There world had come to an end. Everything and everyone they knew was now dead. Beth couldn't get the picture of her beau Taggers death out of her mind. No matter what Will did, he couldn't get her to respond. Her eyes just stared forward at the wall as her brother held and rocked her.
" We're going to be ok Beth." he whispered. " It's going to go away soon and we can get out of here."
From over in the corner, Will heard water running. All around them were scattered pottery. Will picked up a cup that was at his feet and tried to get up and go for water. Beth's eyes became frantic. She grabbed for him and pulled him back.
" NO, NO, No!" She sobbed.
" Shhhhh!! " He hugged her. " I'm only going over there for water. Your thirsty right? You want something to drink, right?"
She nodded and let him go.
" You can see me all the time." He said. Will got up with the cup and headed for where he heard the sound of water coming from. He never took his eyes off her and never let himself get out of her sight. He had the look of fear in her eyes. But he was glad to hear her voice again. As he stooped to filled the cup, he saw something move in the shadow. He tried to focus into the corner to see what it was. It looked like a dog. He rubbed his eyes and looked harder. It was a dog. But more like a shadow. It paddled slowly out to Will. He backed away into the wall and fell on his butt. The shadow came out to stand in front of him. Its red eyes staring at him. Will was petrified for a minute. Then it tilted its head and sniffed him and he could see it wagging its tail. This wasn't one if the monsters that invaded Relos. It was something different. It didn't seem to mean them any harm. He reached out and it nuzzled his hand.
" Help us." Will said. He felt it lick his hand then turned and ran into the darkness. Will watched as it disappeared then picked up the cup of water and went back to Beth. He wasn't sure what the dog was, but if it wanted to hurt him, he'd be dead already. Maybe it was help of some kind. Maybe someone had sent it to look for them. He hoped so, cause that thing was still out there, and it could find them at any second.
In the dark forest high above Relos, lay the monster that tore Relos asunder. He watched through the eyes of all his creatures everything Jayce and the shadows did with hate in his heart. Yes hate, for he hated the winged men and their friends the dragons with all that he was. For one of them was responsible for him being in the form he was in. And that was Jandar Tyr, the werewolf mage. For two years ago Jandar, Ono and Jayce had met the beast in his original form. His human form, the form of Pelis Norstin the Collector. He once was a handsome mage with a black heart and a family. As the Collector, he captured many different beings and animals for his own use. Mostly to steal their magic then to use their bodies in his vile experiments. One day he captured a young centaur and the brothers of Jandar. Unfortunately that young centaur died at the hands of the Collector. For this, and the fact that he almost killed his brother Tof, Jandar sought revenge on the Collector. He beat him in a magical dual and changed him into the monster he is now than put him in a cage in a zoo for all to see.
For two years he lived in that zoo like some kind of freak. And that was what he was, his body changing everyday. One day he had parts of a elephant then the next a goat. All the people staring at him laughing as he lay there sometimes like fish out of water. How he hated them for what they did to him.
One night a beautiful tall fiery haired woman appeared in front of his cage. She stared at him without laughing.
" Pelis, the Collector." She said. " Look at you. A exhibit in a zoo. How pathetic. Look at what they've done to you."
[ If only she could hear me,] Pelis thought as he moved towards the back of his caged enclosure.
" I can hear you." She said.
He stopped and looked back at her. His body that of part gator, part mule. He turned and lurched back to where she stood.
[ Who are you?] He asked her.
" Someone that can change your whole life." She said. " Someone that can get you out of here so you can get back at them."
[ Like this?] He sent to her. [ Do i drag myself around after them? Throwing my shit at them?]
" No." She said. " Like this!!"
She waved her hand at him and he began to change. His legs lost the equine features and grew longer and massively stronger and clawed with dark fur. His torso became beast like, more of a bear with long reaching arms ending in great claws. He had a long snout with fangs and glowing red eyes. He stood up and bellowed his frustration.
[ Make me human again!!}
[ I don't need a human." She said. " I need Antilles the beast master. That's who you will be. I give you power to strike back at them for me and for yourself. You can use your magic again. Do you accept?"
Antilles stretched out his arms and looked at his great muscles. He flexed his arms then felt his long bipedal legs.
[ Will you make me human after I finish them?] He asked.
" I'll give you the gift you deserve." She smiled.
" I am yours my lady.]
Muerte laughed, then spoke Gannon's spell and added him to the others she held in her control. She knew he would come in very useful later.