We’d escaped with our lives and not much else. As the battle raged (and I was locked in combat with the most… resilient… tyrannosaurus rex I’ve ever fought), I saw my nemesis enter the fray. I swore I would kill him. I swore I would claim bloody vengeance.
No, not Ydersius. Not even Vyr-Azul.
Oh, I saw him. Though he didn’t see me.
As my duel with the tyrannosaurus went on… and on… and on… and so forth, my compatriots managed to behead Ydersius, steal his head, and… teleport out. I could see my nemesis so close! But no, I was forced off field. Forced off field to save Lena-Karik’s mother, and Varya, and save Kyras’ corpse. Forced off field without killing Cuddles.
As my rage boiled within, I did the only thing I could, prior to teleporting. I knew he felt my stare, I knew he felt my hot rage. As he turned, and our eyes met…
I veiled as Brea once more and smiled.
As I teleported away, I saw the dawning comprehension in his eyes, heard the beginnings of his scream, felt the deliciousness of his impotent hatred. I left him there, deep in serpentfolk territory. With hostile serpentfolk surrounding him. I left him there, and it felt right.
Years later, after the fighting (I won’t say it was in Iomadae’s name, but I felt I owed her a debt… I’m not one to leave debts to gods unpaid), I finally opened that little bar I’d been talking about. My taxidermy skills had improved by leaps and bounds, and I now had quite the collection (properly mounted for display, of course). I’d even managed to track down a second camulatz, an endeavour that took the better part of a month, and the most terrifying aerial battle I’d ever engaged in.
It’s a bitter winter evening, and as it grew late, the fire in the hearth grows low, and I see the last few tipsy regulars out the door, I close up shop for the night. As I wipe my rag over the counter and clear the last few flagons into the dish tray, I hear the door open, then shut. The driving snow and brutal wind sounded just terrible, and I’m thankful they have little chance to intrude on my cozy, quiet evening. And, though I hated to turn a customer away…
“We’re closed” I say, barely glancing up from my cleaning.
When there is no response, I look up. The four figures silently step forward into the waning firelight. The two serpentfolk drop their veils, and start to circle around the counter to the left. The wood golem circlee to the right.
But the menace of their movements was of little concern to me. Instead, I grinned at the short figure in front of me. He was older, wearier, and sporting as many ugly scars as I had, and wielding a vicious-looking war axe. But it was him. It was him.
“Brea,” he hissed. “I… hate… you…”
I reach under the counter and pull out a large peacock feather
“Cuddles. I’d hoped this day would come.”
I spread my wings and vault the counter, swinging the sword with both hands, every last ounce of hatred behind the swing. With a snarl, Cuddles leaps towards me, his axe coming around in an equally fast, equally purposeful blur.