Chapter 19:

The Legacy of Nuri

The Melancholy of a Whimsical Half-Elph

It was well into the night when the rain fell. The treetop provided cover to the women observing from the shadows. Enne wasted little time after Mikail’s briefing. A few miles north was an Ethoxian outpost that had the medical supplies Enne had sought. The outpost was sprawling with activity, though it was at their least active. The rainfall provided some auditory cover as they approached. Enne lowered the binoculars after noting each destination. She passed it to Salem.

“I still don’t understand why you’re here,” Enne admitted. Salem found her blunt statement uncharacteristic.

“What am I gonna do in that damned cave?” she replied. “Kick rocks? Besides, Raquel wanted me to go with you.”

Salem handed her an earpiece. Enne squinted at it before looking at the seer. She wore one under her tied-back hair. The half-elf examined the tiny device’s sleek design and flashing blue light.

“What’s this?” Enne asked as she put it in her ear.

“What does it look like?” she replied coldly. Enne realized there wasn’t interference. “A way to keep contact, duh!”

Enne pondered the statement while Salem brandished a small tablet. The seer tapped away at the screen until it revealed a map with a single point. Enne recognized the terrain immediately.

“And what’s that?”

“A way to track you. Eh… Raquel said little. She just said it would ping your position and reveal your surroundings. I’m not sure what that means, but by its looks, it detects everything. Probably Elves too.”

“Hm. That’s pretty nifty. I’m surprised, though. This is for Allie’s sake.”

Salem shrugged and shook her head.

“I didn’t ask questions… But I have a few questions myself.”

“About… The Snallygaster?”

“Yeah. The fact that it’s more active isn’t a good thing.”

Enne didn’t question her take, despite being saved by the creature multiple times. She saw the silent convoys exit the well-lit outpost. The wind picked up as the downpour went adrift. A sea of trees defined the terrain below. The half-elf steeled herself before looking over her shoulder. She tugged the ragged backpack slung on her shoulder. The seer’s eyes took a few steps back for better coverage while fixating on the screen.

“I suppose now would’ve been a good time to have that floppy hat of yours,” Enne remarked. Salem rolled her eyes.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “It would be.”

Enne descended the slope, picking up the pace when she felt stable ground. She cut between trees as thunder rumbled. The distant spotlights flashed through the trees revealing glimpses of her fast maneuvering. Her ears perked to a disturbance in the earpiece. She’d gently press against a tree to collect herself.

“Hey, you,” Salem’s voice crackled through. “Can you hear me?”

“Salem?” she replied. “Missed me already?”

“Get over yourself. I wanted to see how this works out. Besides the little interference, it works fine.”

“Can they hear us?”

“Ah, I forgot to mention. There’s a built-in filter that suppresses your voice, but Raquel… Hasn’t field-tested it. So, eh, we’ll have to find that out.”

“That’s lovely.”

“Going forward, your codename is Snek.”


“Come on, just go with it. I’m going to be bored up here while you sneak around.”

“Is this your idea of roleplay?”

“How do you roleplay with Alejandro?”

Enne smirked but didn’t respond.

“No response? You know what, scratch that. Um, so you have a few soldiers along the perimeter.”

Enne acknowledged before dashing to the left, tightening her grip on the bag’s strap. The spotlight was to her far right. She could discern the soldiers’ movements and utterances of disruption with their communications. Enne immediately pulled one who walked too close to the brush. A hard strike to his ribs disarmed him before subduing him within seconds. She slung a small branch in the spotlight when it started to shift back to her position. The small object pierced through the thick glass. The bulb broke when the protrusion lodged into it, leaving the bulb intact. The guard complained.

Hey, what the hell are you doing? Salem growled. They still have night vision implants, y’know?

“That overwatch thinks the bulb just died,” Enne replied. Her eyes adjusted to the dark. “What do we know about the outpost?”

Hm? It’s not as advanced as you’d expect. The bandits built it during the Ethoxian’s temporary budget cuts.


Even those damned Elves didn’t think it was worth their time.

“But now?”

Times have changed.

Enne approached a pair of soldiers while hugging the tree line. Her eyes occasionally glanced at the guard tower, finding the guardsman was distracted by the downed spotlight. The soldiers came to a crawl for a break. Enne slough the light bag at the soldier by the fence; Though it was empty, it knocked him out. Enne snatched the other one once he noticed his fallen comrade. She muffled his scream while grabbing his arm. When he tried to slip out of her grasp, she head-butted him against his head before throttling him against the tree. A well-timed lightning strike masked the crushing impact. She then slid against the fence, observing the watch tower. The guard was fixated on trying to turn on the light.

The area is really sparse. That guard—Hasn’t noticed?

“Nope… But can’t have a loose end.”

The half-elf dashed against the tower, clearing a leap before digging her fingers into the side of the building. In two swift motions, she climbed the tower and swerved to the side when reaching the top. Enne flipped over the railing, catching the hapless guard with the twist of her thighs. The soldier was knocked unconscious after his head slammed into the platform.

Holy crap! I saw that!

“I’ve got some strong thigh muscles,” Enne smiled. She looked into the base from the railing. The lights had flickered as she expected.

Everyone is so far apart. I heard the outpost is pretty light, but something feels off.

“Even if that’s the case, we still have to carry out the task.”

Right. So… The supply depot is a few buildings over.

Enne sprung onto the first rooftop. Her landing was cat-like, with a lightly applied weight against the surface. The rain had come down. She found more guard towers at the base’s far corners and airships flying from the north. The half-elf ignored Salem’s repeated warnings. After leaping to the next roof, she slid over and slipped into the pathways next to the destined building. Enne’s feet slammed onto the head of a soldier that walked through. Enne fell onto her back but quickly recovered. The soldier was sprawled out but still breathing.

“I landed on someone,” Enne whispered.

After I told you to slow the hell down! Can you hide them or something?

Enne looked around the unobstructed path.

“No, but I’m by the building.”

Shit… You should have a few minutes based on the routes I’ve been observing. Just don’t fumble on this. The surveillance equipment isn’t pinging… Those could be down.


Enne went around to the entrance, discovering it was locked. Her ears honed in on the nearby soldiers’ position before driving her scale-covered hand pushed through the slit. She moved it to the side with little effort. Her shadow cast against the dark setting as she entered. Enne summoned a bright orb, covering the room in light green. The supply depot was organized and clean. Some boxes were half-opened or unmarked. Enne looked at her palm and sighed.

“Shit,” Enne said. “The writing got smudged!”

Good thing I input that info here. Salem replied. Let’s see… penicillin, adhesive gel… icy-cold wraps?

“My back is killing me.”

Good thing you’re not the only one who can use it.

The half-elf searched high and low before finding everything she needed. Her bag was full by the time a soldier walked in. The green orb disappeared with her finger snap. Enne quietly moved ahead while the soldier looked around. She tightened the bag against her back when gripping the strap. She moved in unison with them.

“You missed one,” Enne whispered.

You’re also out of range. We can still communicate, but the proximity needs… work?

“Well, it’s a clear path after this.”

A metallic screech filled the drenched ambiance. The soldier shuddered as he turned to the door. Mighty wings flapped overhead, kicking a violent gust nearly tearing off a nearby roof. The alarm went off soon after. Enne waited as the soldier ran outside.

Hell, that literally dropped out of the sky! Salem gasped. But the soldiers are distracted. There’s a lot of activity from the east of the outpost!

“That’s my cue,” Enne replied.

Before she could exit the door, her ears shifted to something oncoming. She dropped and pressed her body against the ground as something ripped through the warehouse. Enne rolled to her side, finding the twisted metal dangling from the side. An endless dark gray sky spanned the atmosphere with dashes of spotlights, trying to look for the culprit.

Does it know I’m here? Enne wondered.

She waited a few seconds before dashing away. Her nimble footsteps splashed upon the shallow puddles while the rain fell. Gunfire erupted while grinding gears began moving. Within seconds, a barrage of rockets flew into the sky to target one thing. Enne stopped at the corner of the last building and observed the creature’s graceful aerial evasion. Explosions filled the dark sky, rivaling the storm, but the Snallygaster survived.

“The way it moves feels familiar,” Enne whispered.

Like you? Aren’t you full of yourself?

“Give me a moment.”

Hey, where are you going?

Salem’s repeated pleas went unheard as Enne sought higher ground. She grabbed a long chain with a hook attached. The Ethoxian forces focused their artillery on the Snallygaster. It circled back, lowering its altitude as it approached. The tips of its wings unloaded protrusions and lit up the vicinity. The blinding light razed a part of the base in a violent quake that suppressed the fiery explosion. Enne wasn’t dissuaded as she motioned the hook’s trajectory. She threw it at the creature when it was low enough. The hook lodged into its thick hide and dragged Enne across the roof. Her footing couldn’t stop it as it dragged her into the air.

What did you expect to accomplish with that? Salem shouted.

“Shut up,” Enne replied.

Enne’s body twisted wildly while inching up the chain. The Snallygaster ascended rapidly. She gripped the chain as she swayed to the side. The clouds brought them out of sight from the diminished SAM presence. Enne quickly climbed when the chain straightened. When she got close enough, she jumped at the winged beast, digging her fingers into its flesh. A strange sensation overwhelmed her, freezing her in place.

Her mind went blank.

Within moments, Enne had found herself in a strange tundra. Her senses slowly returned as she adjusted to the unknown place. A figure stood at the edge of the plateau. Her wavy gray hair wafted in the cold breeze. A pair of black-tipped ears protruded. Her weathered red qipao contrasted the all-white setting and the crystallized storm in the distance. As Enne approached, the woman in red looked over. A smile came across her glossy lips. The half-elf froze when she felt something familiar about her. When she stopped, the woman in red made strides toward her. The woman’s face bore the black markings Enne had, and her right arm was completely covered in scales. Her pinkish-gray eyes exuded a motherly warmth.

“Who are you?” Enne asked. The woman stroked her chin as she continued.

“I am… Part of you,” she replied. Her voice was enchanting and personable. By her tone alone, she gave off an air of knowledge despite her sultry presentation.

“Like a future me?”

The woman chuckled before exchanging a discerning glance.

“Not quite. Perhaps you can say I’m the missing component of what you’ve been after this whole time. The truth, perhaps?”

Enne winced and looked at their surroundings.

“Where are we?” Enne asked.

“Where history began in the overarching narrative of destiny,” the woman replied when she gestured to the blinding expanse. “You are exactly where you need to be.”

“That doesn’t quite answer the question.”

“Have you—Come across one of my creations?”

“Creations? The Snallygaster?”

The woman raised an eyebrow, allowing Enne to explain.

“Tentacle-faced. Bird-like—”

“Ah! Definitely not a bird. That’s a dragon, my dear, but not any ol’ dragon. It’s classified as a Ktluvyrn, a bioweapon of sorts. It was created with my blood, the blood you also carry.”

“Explain,” Enne said after shaking her head.

“Some may call it blood magic, but it’s a breakthrough technique few can harness. Your father wasn’t able to use it… He thought it to be too… sacrilege. Which was unfortunate, considering he was no pushover. Through my experimentation, I could make advancements not even the Ethoxians could ever dream of.”

Enne’s lips parted with a weak gasp trailing into the cold air. The woman stood motionless, examining the young half-elph as she gathered her thoughts.

“You must be… Nuri?”

Nuri smiled at Enne’s realization.

“Yes… You and I are very alike.”

“You don’t know anything about me.”

“Your blood, remember? My genes run through you to great effect. You look much like me if I were more… human.”

“What are you saying?”

“Come on! You’re no fool,” Nuri replied. “Oh… And thus concludes today’s revelation!”

“Eh?” Enne winced.

“When you made contact with any of my creations, it induced a brief trans-dimensional coma. This allows us to meet for a few seconds on another plain.”

“But it’s been a few minutes.”

“Yeah—But you also let go.”

Before Enne could reply, her body fell back into a weightless sensation. Her surroundings changed as she fell through the clouds but stabilized before reaching the hillside. She slammed through the trees before the brush softened her landing. Enne rolled to her side, sitting against the tree. The outpost was set aflame by the beast’s attacks. Her trembling hands raised and revealed their scales beneath her fingers.

Snek, snek! A familiar voice crackled through her earpiece.

“Yeah?” she replied.

What the hell happened? You went silent.

Enne’s silence ensued.

And here I introduce the matriarch of Enne's lineage. The Snallygaster is a creation of Nuri that answers some questions but leaves us with a few more. Thanks for reading! Leave a like, and comment/feedback is always appreciated!