Beginning Act 2
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LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, Central Badlands
In the blasted desert wasteland, a lone figure treads. That lone figure would happen to be I, Takadox - Former ruler, former conqueror, former Barraki. There are many things I once was and can no longer claim to be, but there are a few things I am at the present time: Famished. Parched. Forced to ignore the stab wounds in my legs. It is indeed a fortunate thing that Chawla Nui's small brand of Nui Jaga are not venomous, merely incredibly irritating and impossible to cook in any way that is palatable to a decent being. Then again, I am hardly decent - And they do go so very well with tart, bitter cactus fruits, washed down with a bit of water that has been stale for months.
As for how and why I am here, well, it would appear that the blame for Carapar's death has been placed on my head. For once, I am not entirely at fault in the cascade of disasters that lead to this happening, but I hardly can even hope that they would listen to me when I make my case clear to them. So, I now find myself wandering the baking hot sand, looking for any place where I can find refuge from the arid wind and searing heat. It does not seem that I will be quite so lucky - The flat expanse of sand extends for as far as I can see in every direction. My mechanical body has been weatherbeaten and ravaged nearly as much as it can possibly take, and my biological body is direly in need of proper sustenance and rest. Yet as I finally think that perhaps, just maybe, it wouldn't hurt to lie down and rest my weary gears...The world descends into tumbling pandemonium all around me. Sand is tossed through the air and a jarringly solid surface bashes into my face.
Eyes blinded by flashes of pain, I fall flat onto my back, the daggers I prized from a dead body's fingers back on the shoreline tumbling to the sand. I find a clawed foot pressed down onto my torso with harsh force, and a sharpened javelin leveled with my brow. Stood above me is a dull tan Skakdi, eyes surrounded by thin, whirling lines of pale red light. As the Skakdi moves slightly to get a look at me, allowing me to see that on its other arm is a disc of a shield about the size of a kanoka, I take a closer inspection in return. It's always hard to tell with these savages, but yes, this is indeed a female. That hardly eases my worries, as I am still defenseless, and she has now stepped off of me, only to lift me by one hand and stare me in the eyes. Oh. Oh dear. She is quite a bit taller than I could first tell.
"I am going to ask you one question," she begins in a harsh, snarling voice, "And I want you to think very, very carefully before you answer." I give an almost imperceptible nod. "Why are you in a territory that has very clearly been marked as forbidden to outsiders?" Well, now I'm in a pickle. It would be very reasonable for a being hunted by exceedingly deadly enemies, forced to skirt the fringes of society, to not know of such circumstances, but then...Well, I'm effectively already captured, so I guess there's no helping it.
"My name is Takadox," I say in the most even voice I can manage, with her javelin now poised to skewer my windpipe. "I am rarely so honest, I'll admit, but I have betrayed the Barraki. I was once one of them, as a matter of fact. They have hounded me so in seeking my demise that I am unable to keep up with borders and laws. I am terribly sorry for intruding, I assure you I will escort myself off the premises posthaste if you'll - " I close my mouth with an audible clank.
We're sinking. On land.
I look down to see that the sand is indeed swirling around in a vortex, out from under our feet, and slowly rising into the air. I glance up at her, to see her eyes have returned to normal and that a most cruel grin has unfurled on her face. "My name is Iazdhi. And I have been waiting for you for ten-thousand years."
I try to tell her that I appreciate the sentiment, I really do make an honest attempt. Yet before the comment can even begin to articulate, we abruptly plunge downward with such speed my head whips back.
My last sight before all fades to black is myself and Iazdhi falling into a cavern.
Then, I know no more.