He burst from the high double doors of the library, striking out with a mad fury, his scarlet hair matted black with blood. He screamed as he dispatched three more soldiers. The doors of the library was flooding over with soldiers and two magicians were clearly evident, all twirling robes and glowing hands. His black sword pulsing with crimson fire, his tattoo surged into life. Swirling blobs of light flew at him and fire leaped from his skin to engulf the gobs. He launched himself at a pillar, scaling his way up to the rood. He climbed the rear battlements and nearly fell into a chasm leagues deep. He caught himself and turned to find himself facing twelve crossbow-wielding soldiers with the two magicians.
Understandably, the soldiers were quaking in fear. Before them stood a boy no older than seventeen. Though he was shorter than most, his broad shoulders enhanced his apparent size. He wore a pair of black leather leggings and at his belt were two sheaths, the first, gold with rubies encrusted into the sides. The second was silver with jade embossed on the sides in the shape of a long vine. He wore no shirt but had instead, an iridescent tattoo of a Phoenix with flames rippling to his shoulders. Under the tattoo, angular joints and muscles were compact, like a runners. His right hand held a crimson sword with amethyst set in the pommel. On the back of his left hand was an azure blue knife attached by a silver-green bracelet in the shape of a viper.
His face showed only traces of a beard. Underneath a shock of black-crimson hair, his prominent cheek bones and drawn cheeks made his face appear triangular. This, as well as his deeply arched eyebrows, heavily accentuated his eyes. And his eyes were a terror to behold.
The irises glowed brightly with a scarlet malevolence that clearly communicated the desperation of his situation. Their edges were jagged and the pupils were a black only made darker by contrast the the red glow around them. A look into those eyes was a look into the heart of death. Those eyes were often the last thing that anyone looked into.
With a crack, a crossbow bolt hurtled towards him. He deflected it with the sword and within seconds had dispatched nine of the bowmen and one of the magicians. The other three bowmen fled and the magician called out to them, trying to maintain some of his soldiers. the magicians hands flew through several different motions and a vortex of fire opened up around the boy. With a scream, the boy fell in a heap and the magician sat with a sigh as he felt the toll of the magic on him. The smell of burned flesh filled his nostrils and he sat, depressed. He hated killing. And this boy was just a child. Misled. His musings were interrupted by a laugh.
With a creaking and crunching, the boy was getting up. As the magician watched, the boys skin was cracking off and in its place, a purplish-pink skin was rapidly covering his skin. Even as his jaw was healing, the laugh, a cold metallic chuckle ripped from his cracking lips. With a scream, crimson fire raced along his chest and as it receded, the tattoo, along with new, unbroken skin flexed and tensed.
Faster than the magicians enhanced eyes could see, the boy crossed the ten feet between them and had his left hand around the magicians throat. The boy winked his red eye at the magician as his hand glowed. The magician was looking directly into the boy's eyes when they changed. From the center, a wash of color flew through the eyes, a thousand colors, blue, orange, green, purple, magenta, fuchsia, burgundy, colors the magician could supply no name for. And as fast as the color had appeared, it was gone with a blink. Now the malevolent red eyes seemed a bit sharper, a little more distant.
I'm sorry. The boy transmitted the thought to the magician. The magician could see the compassion in his eyes. I don't want to kill you, but I need the map and I need you to not hunt me. Lifting the magician, the boy walked to the edge of the roof and dangled him over. A hundred soldiers were looking up at him with trepidation in their eyes. He called out to the soldiers shouting with his mind, this is the fate of all those who defy me! Releasing the power in his hand, flame engulfed the magician and swiftly incinerated him. Dropping the corpse to the ground, he took a step back to look at the crowd. The eyes of every soldier were on him. Leave me be or burn. He leaped to the top of the ledge over-looking the chasm.
With a mad look of defiance on his face, he stepped over the edge of the battlements over-looking the cliff face. Closing his eyes, he clasped his vambrace-clad arms to his chest and fell into nothing. As the wind rushed through his maroon-scarlet hair, he allowed himself to spin wildly for a second or two. Stabilizing, he tilted forward until he was nearly diving vertically. The boy shifted with a scream of exertion that the wind ripped from his mouth.
His features blurred as his shape was altered by the magics he was born with. He maintained the hair on his head, but his arms and shoulders were now covered in red, maroon, and black feathers. He gasped as his wings came in, the nub below his shoulder exploding from under his skin. With a snap, air filled his wings and he abruptly stopped falling. He glimpsed back at the length he had fallen. Thousands of feet above him, he saw archers loose arrow after arrow after him. He crowed in amusement as he caught one out of the air.
Looking down, he saw the Chasm of Dresh a league or so below him. The black eddies of the seeing pools bespoke death to any creature foolish enough to drink from them. On his left, the desolate wasteland, aptly named the Dread Plains, reflected the suns rays off of the white sand. He leaned right, his wings still too tender for flapping. His course set he locked his wings in a position the wind would sustain for hours. Shielding it under his shoulder, he unrolled the deerskin scroll. In his hands was a map detailing the locations of the God-Forged Soul-Armor. He had the Phoenix Blade and the Griffin Talon Vambrace. Remembering the list that Antumr made him memorize, he knew that he was missing the Eagle's Breast-plate, Boots of the Hummingbird, Raven's Helm, and the Roc's Cape.