Preface: This isn't technically an excerpt, more a scene I was interested in writing ahead of time. Regardless, hopefully this keeps some interest in this up while I finish up this semester and move onto more dedicated writing time.
"Run!" Oasis yelled over the wind, hoping his sand-ravaged lungs could carry his voice far enough to reach Entropy and the rest of his team. "Get back to the city!"
Daring to open his eyes for a split second, Oasis quickly gathered as much of the situation as he could. The sun had nearly gone down, which meant the danger level was about to spike upwards, but on the bright side - if it could be called that - he thought he saw the faint outline of Aurai's ears in the distance before the sandstorm forced his eyes closed again, threatening to blind him should he risk a second glance.
Relying solely on his hearing now, Oasis attempted to tune out the roar of the storm and the sound of the acidic sand it carried eating away at his armor, focusing solely on what little telepathy he could muster. He pinged outward with his message, hoping at least Equilibrium could find the compassion to say goodbye. It wouldn't be much comfort, but anything he could get would certainly be welcome in these final moments.
Silence. Either his weak call hadn't reached far enough, or nobody cared enough to send a response back to him. Neither would surprise him.
His fate inevitable, Oasis surrendered to the tempest, forcing him to the ground. No longer concerned with maintaining his sight, he opened his eyes, ignoring the sudden pain. The ground around him shifted, and a series of spines tore through the sand as if it were paper. A dune wolf must have split off from the pack to conquer the divided, and now it had found him.
As expected, the area around the submerged wolf exploded in a spray of tiny particles as the hunter shot upwards to claim its kill. Refusing to back down, Oasis stared into the jaws of terror as the creature unhinged its jaw, revealing hundreds of jagged shrapnel-like teeth, leaping straight at him.
He didn't have the storybook flashback through his life as the wolf neared him. No sudden returns to his childhood, no recollection of happier times. He'd destroyed them all, and now the only witness to his crimes would be wiped away in the desert, lost to the sand of the ages once again.
His final moments were rather rudely interrupted by a bright green bolt of energy from somewhere behind him, striking the dune wolf square in the head. He didn't need to look twice to know the creature was dead as it fell short of its execution dive, its eyes hollow and empty as it plowed through the ground before coming to a sudden halt against a heavy metallic boot. Straining his head against his rusting armor, Oasis turned to see Hunt's piercing blue eyes staring into the storm, presumably scanning for more dune wolves.
Before Oasis could turn around to see if anybody else had returned for him, the sandstorm suddenly calmed, the wind itself ceasing to blow in the area around them as a pale green globe of energy bubbled around them, forming a protective barrier. The green energy, as well as the magnitude of power it would take to create a mass barrier, could only mean one thing: Entropy had come back too.
His curiosity now piqued, Oasis stood up, then turned around to get an unrestricted view of his unexpected saviors. In that moment, his will to survive returned in full force.
Entropy stood in the center of his shield, his armor damaged but unbroken by the acidic torrent the bubble now held back. Hunt was to his right, obviously on watch duty for any threat to the shield's integrity. Mako huddled inside a heavy coat behind Hunt, staring intently at a half-intact map of the Outlands. Aurai stood to the rear of the shield, drumming her fingers on Solarium's hilt as gold energy sparked around her, accelerating individual movements at random. Equilibrium sat next to Entropy, doing her best to apply pressure to a wound on her right arm where distinct jawprints dripped with blood.
Oasis turned around to face the storm once again. This time, he had his team behind him.
This time, he could win.
No...this time, I WILL win.
Not entirely happy with it - a few parts seem a bit too heroic to be Oasis - but still, it's some of my better fiction.
Here's to more CotF in December.
See you later. Ek out.