Wren scurried up the desolate hillside, his Nephilim companion disappearing from sight. Wren stumbled, tripping on a bramble, smashing his face into the cold sediment. His chest ached with exhaustion. Phlegm forced its way up his throat as he clutched the opaline pendant. Though his brother’s parting gift kept him alive, the cancer that was the Sick still devoured his insides. He screamed as his arms strained against the ground, but his body would not rise. This was as far as he could go.
Wren’s body lifted from the ground, hauled up by the Nephilim viceroy. Back on his feet, Wren and the viceroy struggled up the rest of the hill, collapsing below a hollow tree as they turned to the never-setting sun on the dominion’s horizon. Wren’s breath came to a halt as he watched the star continue to swell. Stars aren’t supposed to swell.
The normally cerulean skyline caught fire, burning a cinder red as waves of jealous heat crackled and lashed out. Scorching gusts howled as they careened at breakneck speeds, ripping through trees, clouds—life itself—without discrimination. Ederic pulled Wren close and held him, the two huddling low at the base of the tree while God-loathing explosions rent much of the castle and surrounding livery to ruins. Screeching echoed out from too many directions, though whether it was death wails, the cataclysm itself, or perhaps some ghoulish hybrid of the two, no one could say.
Wren watched as Ederic released him, the viceroy jumping to his feet to see the fate of the Sticks. The wretched sound dying in the viceroy’s throat left Wren with little hope. The tree Wren leaned against was ripped from the ground by a wicked, vicious torrent, the heat scorching Wren’s face as it tossed his paperweight body like a boring dolly. He didn’t even feel himself land. Only noticed moments later that he was no longer moving, or breathing.
Fire whirls consumed the countryside, as though existence was a hitherto unknown offense that must immediately be rectified. Ederic knelt beside Wren, pulling the farmer onto the viceroy’s lap. The pair knew Wren was too mangled to be moved much further. They watched on as the Cliffs became the shoreline for the great sea, a monsoon ushering in a massive tsunami. Wren pondered for a moment whether sinners were finally being punished for all the misery they wrought, or if the greatest forces of nature had simply decided to have a pissing contest.
The great seas waves crashed, tearing through the new coastline, slamming against the forests below. Whether from the impact of the waves, or something else altogether, the ground rumbled as the fire whirls were extinguished in the wake of the monstrous waves. The tremors grew stronger as, even from atop the large hill, the ground all around ruptured. Ederic fell back as a fissure opened to swallow him. He narrowly pulled himself and Wren from the newly emerging valley. The growing canyon groaned, making a terrible slurping sound as it drank the excess sea swells.
The pair watched on, the sun’s fury seemingly abated. The raging heat waves had calmed, the tremors subsided and guzzled the remaining torrent from the tsunami. The world darkened, the cinder sky cooling to a dark ash. Before long, flecks and specks gloated on down, exploring the new scenery. They drifted and danced as they fell, eager to see what lived in the world below them. One landed upon Wren’s cheek, dissolving not long after. Not unlike warm snow.
Wren realized he wasn’t breathing. Whether it had been seconds or hours he had no idea, but he knew it wasn’t right. He tried to move, but nothing happened. He could no longer tell if there was a him to move. All that remained was a rough hand stroking his face, and calming voice making sounds he couldn’t understand. It must’ve been the viceroy, but couldn’t it have been Amir? Just this once? It didn’t matter.
As the warm snow continued to fall, the dark clouds gathered darker, as if offended to have been left out of the earlier party. Crackles cackled among them, like devious children snickering as they plotted their next trespass. The few hairs Wren could feel stood on end. He stuck out his tongue, catching a snow flake. It dissolved warmly, just like they did when he and Amir were kids. He smiled. A thunderclap slammed out, so loud Wren’s ears rang as they seeped blood. At some point the sky flashed white, and he and Ederic were no longer together.
~ Act II: Fin ~