“Ghyran, Realm of Life, home to the children of Alarielle, cries out in pain. Our once great glades wither under the march of the dead, a blight spreading outwards from the Ancient One’s host with each new moon. At the same time, life abundant seethes in the wake of the Foetid Fellows, the Bilespreader come again to his favourite playground. Our rangers rush to intercept both forces, prayers to the Goddess spilling from their lips even as they fall to the blades of their foes. Still they fight, dancing side-by-side with the dryads and the sylphs, their lives buying just enough time for the rest of the Emerald Eyrie to assemble. Soon, our clarion call will ring through the trees. The cycle of nature is broken. Balance must be restored.”
She emerged from between the trees and her light was like the coming of spring on a cold winter’s morning. Far below, the forest was a patchwork of withered glades and walking dead, but she had only eyes for the abomination sailing towards her on ragged wings and the entourage of monsters flapping in its wake. Here was the architect of the forest’s plight, the one for whom the puppets swarming below staggered and danced.
Its unnatural presence rolled across her, a shadow over her soul, and then it crashed into the Green Finger. Rock crumbled. The mountainside shook. The delicate weave of life magic in which she hung rippled, sending shivers down her arms, and for one dizzying moment, she felt the nature of the creature and its blasphemous mount like poison through her veins. The once noble wyrm swung its head to regard her through eyes like amethystine marbles. Staring into them, she saw nothing. Then she was amongst it, the winds become pale flames under her touch, a prayer to the Goddess on her lips as she cast back the fell bats and turned her hands on the soulless monster in the saddle.
Once more, the winds lurched. Though she couldn’t hear the creature over the gale, she could see its lips moving, and where her pale fire leapt, bolts of amethyst sprang forth to meet it. The monster’s gaze burned into her until she could not resist it. Her ears filled with the screams of the dying, her hair with the wordless roar of the wind. And the unblinking eyes that stared back at her from that long-dead face did so with the detached curiosity of a mortal about to pin and dissect a butterfly.