Reverie's End: Blades of Malice
Date: 6/9/991; Time: 15th hour
The evil man, his panther, and his gray army finally reached the Nekowood in the Nihil Alliance, home to more than half of all "non-humans" in Ethos. The territories of the Alliance housed approximately 2.5 million non-humans, most of which despised mankind greatly. Its location between Charon and Ramah made it a constant threat to both countries.
The alliance was built upon the ruins of an old kingdom; the humans didn't want it, so the Fang, Neko, Kali, and Elm took it for themselves. It was an alliance in name only since the four races did not spend much time communicating with each other. Everyone minded their own business. The red-haired man, along with his panther, Atma, came to the Nekowood in hopes of obtaining some new allies. If negotiations failed, then they could at least stir up some trouble. The man's favorite hobby was to create problems that had no peaceful resolution.
The evil duo approached the entrance of the Nekowood and were immediately greeted with hostilities; there were spears and bows, all pointed at them, ready to be used at a moment's notice.
"Woah… we don't want any trouble," said the sinister man, as he raised his hands and backed away. "Hey Atma, are these guys like your brothers? Speak to them," he continued to say, as he feigned fear.
Atma walked out on all four and approached the eight Neko holding spears in front of them. He eyed them intently from head to toe. A resemblance could be seen between Atma and the others, but they were still born of different worlds. The Neko from Ethos stood on two legs; they were humanoid panthers that wore armor. Atma possessed a more feral nature and was free from the trappings of humankind.
Atma began to speak in the Baal tongue of the Neko, "I am Atma, a Neko of the Shadow Realm. I wish to speak with your leader."
One of the Neko, presumably the leader, replied, "You are a most curious creature indeed; you look as if you were one of us. We can take you to our leader but your men will not enter our lands. Only you and that human with you may enter."
Atma and the red-haired man followed the Neko into the woods and walked for almost an hour before arriving at Aramis, their capital. The Neko lived in houses built into the trees. It was quite a sight to behold, but they were not there for sightseeing. They were led up many flights of stairs until they arrived in front of a large wooden door.
Inside was the lord of the Neko, Harkin, sitting and waiting for them. He was exceptionally tall, even by Neko standards and stared at the foreigners with his dark green eyes. There were 12 mighty warriors in the room as well, ready to strike if duty demanded it. They were not going to put up with any mischief from Atma and his companion.
One of the guards with them snarled and spoke, "This is Harkin, lord of the Neko. He will decide your fate. It would not be wise to waste his time."
The man chuckled and replied in Baal, "Don't worry. We have some exciting news for you cats."
The Neko snarled and looked on in amazement. They had never heard a human speak their language before. Atma spoke up before they had a chance to start asking questions: "I am Atma. Me and my acquaintance here come from the shadow realm, a world that sits beneath your Ethos. I feel that it is my responsibility to tell you the truth about what happened to our worlds in the past."
This revelation caused the Neko even more confusion. They did not know how to react. Finally, Harkin raised his voice and spoke, "Your words sound like those of a lunatic. But here you are, standing before me as one of us and yet not one of us, speaking our Baal tongue and this man speaks it too. Speak on. Perhaps your words are true indeed."
Atma nodded and continued, "The Neko and Fang are alien to this world. Our home is the shadow realm and Baal is our language. We were never meant to come here but a calamity in the past caused our worlds to be connected and brought your ancestors here. You are the descendants of these 'Ethorian Neko'."
Harkin and the others started to debate and talk amongst themselves. There were many opinions going around and it was not surprising that they would be skeptical. "And you, Atma, are you one of us? Why do you walk on all fours?"
"Yes. I am a true Neko. The light of Ethos has been sapping your energy ever since you got there and you are turning into the very humans that you despise. In the shadow realm, we Neko run free and are mighty. Your powers are merely a fraction of what they would be in the world below!" snarled Atma.
One of the 12 warriors almost hurled his javelin at Atma for that comment but was stopped by those near him. Harkin raised his arm and motioned him to settle down. He then glared at Atma and responded, "I would choose my words very carefully if I were you, some of us can be impulsive. I do not think you came here to commit suicide."
The man chuckled and looked over at Atma, "Anything else you want to tell them?"
Atma coughed and replied sternly, "Does it not bother you that your people must live here in these woods when there is an entire world out there that could be yours? Do not let the humans cage you. Break free and leave this world. The Light of Ethos grows dim and in the near future, it will all come to an end. You do not want your people to be here when that happens. There is nothing more for me to say."
Harkin and the others thought in silence for the space of a minute, before the lord of the Neko, replied, "We cannot make such hasty decisions based on what you have just told us. Our people have lived in these woods for over 400 years; many died to give us this land. This is now our home and not this "Shadow Realm" that you speak of. I beg of you to leave now before you anger our people any further."
"As you wish, we will leave promptly. I ask that you and your men consider the future welfare of your kind," said Atma, as he bowed his head.
The sinister man merely smirked as usual. He had considered causing a scene but fighting an entire village of panther warriors seemed like a lot of work, even for someone as overpowered as him.
The guards escorted them out of the village and gave them back their weapons once they got outside. The man and his army walked for a few minutes and then began formulating their next course of action.
"Well, that was a waste of time. I didn't take your kind for such pacifists. I guess Ethos made them soft. You sure have a lot of compassion for your own kind. It actually looked like you cared for them," said the cruel man, jesting.
Atma snarled, and replied, "I must ensure the survival of my race, even if they are adulterated half-breeds. Besides, it was not a waste. The seed has already been planted and in just a short while, we can begin our "Ethos renovation project"."
The man looked over at Atma with amazement. "Sometimes, I feel like you're more evil than me, you know that?" he said, showing admiration for Atma. "What's our next plan? I'm bored," he continued to say.
Atma replied, "It is too early to contact the Fang. Perhaps the Elm? They are truly mighty warriors."
The sinister red-haired man answered, "Nah… the Elm are pacifists. This bunch that we got from the south are the only Elm that actually like to punch things. Most Elm just sit, talk, read books or take really long walks that last for days. You don't want those losers. Trust me. They're a bunch of nerds."
"Then that only leaves the Kali… unless you want even more humans joining us right now," responded Atma.
"We can get the humans later, once things start to get interesting. Kali should work just fine for now. They are strong and aggressive people. But there might be a language barrier," said the man. He turned around and asked, shrugging his soldiers, "Anyone speaks Kali?" Everyone shook their head.
"We'll figure it out when we get there," replied the man, as if he didn't have a care in the world.