Nocte Cor, 3rd person
A small stream flowed out of the crack of a rock.
A shadow of a birdlike creature and the flapping of leathery wings told Equinox Nocte Cor was nearby.
"Nocte Cor!" he called to her.
Nocte Cor swooped down and sat down on a rock beside him. "About time we should find them, Equinox. Mira is sicker than ever in the prison cell she's stuck in back at the phantom fortress."
Equinox lashed his tail (if eagles DID have tails they could lash). "Then why don't you get her out?" Nocte Cor sighed. "The phantoms have put a spell on the lock. All I can do is sneak her some old berries and some stale water.." "That's another thing," Equinox snapped. "All resources of food and water are scarce! The phantoms need to be stopped." Nocte Cor growled. "All the better reason to find the deities." Equinox sighed. "Then it's settled. You will go find them, and we will meet back in Shiveer's caverns. Good Luck..."
Delilah, 3rd person
The sun rose over the snow-peaked mountains as Delilah opened her bright, seafoam-green eyes and stretched. She shook her white fur and sat up to look around the cave she was in. Suddenly, she felt strong paws barrel into her. Hissing, she flipped onto her back and began pummeling the stomach of her attacker with her hind legs, and gazed up and saw who it was. "Feather!" she cried out at her younger but surprisingly strong sister. Delilah scrambled to her paws as Feather's eyes shone with pride. "Was I good enough, Delilah? Was I?" Delilah purred. "Enough for me."
She playfully cuffed her sister around the ear, and soon the two were play-wrestling around the cave. Soon, other snow leopards began to wake up. Delilah and Feather's mother and father, Orchid and Pike, were padding towards them as Delilah broke away from her and Feather's play-fighting. "Up bright and early, are you?" Pike purred. Delilah sat down and began grooming herself. "Not as early as Quill. When's he coming back anyway?"
Last night at an organizing meeting at the back of the cave, Quill, a smaller and unusually cream-colored snow leopard, had been assigned the role of doing a single-leopard dawn hunting patrol. Just as Orchid opened her mouth to say something about the matter, Quill burst in.
His fur was matted and slicked with blood, and his breath came in ragged gasps. His mate, Ambrosia, cried out as other waking snow leopards let out gasps of horror, and she immediately bounded over to him. "There's a storm coming..." he rasped. "Phantoms... Phantoms everywhere..." Quill fainted. The leader of Delilah's tribe, Delphinia, came rushing towards them. "What happened? She demanded as she looked at another snow leopard named Mint. "Get Talia!"
Talia was a stranger resident of Delilah's tribe, she was not a rare colored snow leopard, nor an albino snow leopard, nor a snow leopard at all. She was a rather strange elderly cheetah, and she was gifted with the talent of a knowledge of varied medicines. Delilah ran towards her den at the back of the cave, and shoved her head inside it, guarded by hanging ivy vines."Talia!" She cried. The old cheetah looked up. "What's the matter, Delilah? Thorn in your pad again?" "Quill... He's hurt! Come quick!"
Talia rushed to the scene. Feather stood by Delilah in worry. Then she gazed out of the cave and suddenly froze in pure terror. Delilah anxiously nudged her."Oh, Feather, what's the matter now?" "The storm...." Feather whispered. "It's coming..." Only then did Delilah look out of the cave and see the huge mass of dark clouds, coming straight towards the cave. She also saw several smaller masses of black, tentacle-clad things.
"Look outside!!!! Seal the entrance!" Delilah screeched to the other snow leopards. The snow leopards looked up in confusion, and saw what she was talking about. The strongest snow leopards began rushing towards the boulder that sealed the entrance in emergencies, and pushing it to the entrance. Among these cats were Pike, Delphinia, Mint, Dune, Tide and Orchid (who was pretty buff herself compared to Pike).
By the time they had nearly sealed it up, a flurry of phantoms had managed to squeeze inside. "Protect the kits and elderly cats!" Delphinia screeched. "GET TO DA CHOPPA!" A random snow leopard shouted, but it was sadly evident the leopards had no chopper. The stronger leopards formed a circle around the weaker and began fighting off the phantoms. Delilah screeched and dove onto one of them, tearing its skull. A few phantoms suddenly began mobbing around her, and she began to feel overwhelmed. Suddenly a screech split the air. Both Delilah and the phantoms looked up. She saw Tangerine, her aunt, wailing over two motionless bodies, and the phantoms scattered. Then she realized the bodies were none other than her parents, Pike and Orchid.
Her head whipped around to see Feather, being carried off by phantoms. She was wailing in terror. "Delilah!!!"
"NOOOOOO!!!!!!" Delilah screeched and bounded after her terrified sister. Images in her mind were whirling. Her parents were obviously dead, and she loved her sister so much. She couldn't lose her, not in a million years! She was her final puzzle piece to her life, her everything, she was her shelter, her meat on her vole...Only to be eaten by phantoms!
She was shoved back by the phantoms, and she soon lost sight of them as a weird thing happened: they merged into the great stormcloud in the sky.
Delilah stared. Then she knew what she had to do.
Saying her final goodbyes to her friends and Talia, she set off on the sheer mountain path, and over a snowy boulder Nocte Cor just happened to be sitting on.
Delilah, 3rd person
Nocte Cor saw Delilah set out on her quest. She seemed worthy enough to be the snow leopard's protector-in-training. She swooped down in front of her.
"Auuughhh!!!!!!" Delilah screamed at the strange- ( to her)looking beast. "Delilah," Nocte Cor said. "Who are you?" Delilah cried. Nocte Cor spread her leathery wings. "I am Nocte Cor, the bringer and banisher of evil."
"Nocte Cor?" Delilah snorted in disbelief. "That's just an old cub's tale to get them to shut up and stop being naughty!" Nocte Cor growled testily. "Look. You're destiny's calling. Take it or leave it?"
Delilah stared. "What do you mean?" "We're talking you being Jade's successor. Think about it: You ruling over and protecting each and every snow leopard!" Nocte Cor said. "Actually, that might be pretty stressful." Delilah replied, thinking it over. Nocte Cor flicked her short tail. "Follow me. Maybe if being a deity means saving and having your sister always at your side, you'd help me. C'mon."
Reluctantly Delilah followed Nocte Cor down the snowy slope. Soon they found a vast meadow.
Nocte Cor began padding towards it, when a wolf in strange looking armor emerged.
"QUID INFERNUM???!" Nocte Cor shouted.
Delilah, 3rd person
The wolf stared at them. Nocte Cor snarled and from the ground, ice formed around her claws, her secret weapon: Her ice gauntlets called Malice (very coinkedink on the Malice Armor and Malice. Malice was always the name of Nocte Cor's ice gauntlets, even before I read Malice Armor). The wolf in the armor suddenly lashed forward, and a huge chunk of earth came hurling towards Delilah and Nocte Cor. Nocte Cor jumped back, grabbing Delilah in her cold talons and nimbly leaping to the side. She then pounced onto the wolf, attempting to claw her chest. Delilah ran to the back of the wolf, shoving her forward when she fell back. Then Nocte Cor snarled at her, "We....Won't...Hurt...You... If you don't hurt us."
The wolf relaxed, pressing herself against the ground. "What are you doing here?" Nocte Cor asked. "I am Master Grandleopard," the wolf announced offhandedly.
"You have Malice Armor," Nocte Cor said blankly. They stared at each other for a while.
"I take that as a yes," Nocte Cor growled suddenly. Delilah looked at them. "Mind Communication," Master Grandleopard told her. "So I'm traveling with you two to the Tower now."
They had made a pretty good distance when a terrible wailing from up ahead on the meadow made all of them jump. Nocte Cor streamed over to where a fox was laying on the ground. Before Nocte Cor could ask the fox what happened, the fox let out another agonizing shriek. It then went limp.
Something from up above came down. It appreared to be an oversized snake with wings.
A giraffe and a lynx came crashing down from above on the back of the snake. It let out a loud hiss and dive-bombed the spot where the dead fox was. It crumpled to the ground.
The lynx leaped off the back of the winged snake. "You... You're Nocte Cor?" she panted. Nocte Cor stared straight ahead. "Look, your first fan!" Master Grandleopard said eagerly. Nocte Cor snorted. Delilah noticed the lynx still had a bit of kitten fluff on her neck. "What's your name?" She asked the lynx. It sat up proudly. "Kestrel!" She flicked her little stub of a tail and continued. "Twig said that I was destined to succeed Felicity, but I'm still not too sure...." Nocte Cor stuck her snout right up to Kestrel's face. The little cat flinched away. "You're just what we need - we have found the lynx Deity!"
The giraffe ran off.
The large snake pulled itself up. Nocte Cor looked at it. "Who-"
"Salvinikron." The snake said wearily. "Angel of Death...."
The party had grown in size by the time the animals finally reached the tower. There was Nocte Cor, Delilah, Master Grandleopard and Salvinikron, but a few more had joined. Tench, a guitar-playing giraffe (the same one that had ran away earlier), Justice, an eagle that used fireworks for weapons, and Jangler, a crocodile who liked eating coins for some reason all accompanied each other now. Kestrel had also agreed to join the quest. They emerged from the trees and brush, which overlooked a small bridge arching across a calm stream. Ahead was a huge, looming black tower, its entrance blocked with a gate and gnarled with dark purple brambles. Delilah looked over and saw Nocte Cor staring at a jewel heart of amethyst. It had a carving of a bird on it.
"Leva!" said Nocte Cor. The stone trembled seven times, then the bird emblem on it lowered away from the rest of the crystal, which blossomed into petal-like shapes. "Ascendit." The stone drifted towards her. "How is she doing that?" Tench muttered to Delilah. "It's Latin," said Kestrel, overhearing them. "It's the language that the humans speak."
"What's a human?"
Nocte Cor carefully raised her paw and slowly lowered it closer to the tower. "Delilah, come over here." Delilah padded forward.
"Now we wait for the other one," said Nocte Cor. "Other one? What other--?" Delilah began, but broke off, suddenly realizing what she meant.
Delilah, 3rd person
A grey and white snow leopard slunk out of the shadows. Her icy blue eyes pierced the animals before her, searching them in desperation. "So you came," she said. The snow leopard had a calm, unhurried voice. Delilah was strongly reminded of someone she could not remember.
The leopard wore a black ninja mask, a clover amulet, some black tail armor and mystical gauntlets. She also wore a black cloak. By squinting, Delilah realized the cloak's seams were held together by a phantom charm. "Jade is dead," Nocte Cor whispered.
The snow leopard made a strange jerking motion with her head. "All right then," said the snow leopard abruptly. She looked around at the animals. "I'm Seraphina. Seraphina, servant of the phantoms." The leopard ended the sentence with a horrible sneer.
She looked about at them again, eyes finally resting on Delilah. "Perhaps this will make me free?" Seraphina padded forward, looking down at the blossomed stone. She glanced at Delilah once with what looked oddly like disdain and said, "I'll do the outer. Put your paws down on the amethyst, and press." Delilah did what she was told. Seraphina gently grabbed the outer edges and pulled.
At once the stone exploded. Delilah heard Jangler scream horribly from the back. The charm holding Seraphina's cloak together fell away, revealing light blue spartan armor. The beautiful sword on the armor looked extremely sharp, but it was sheathed so Delilah didn't know for sure. Seraphina noticed what Delilah was admiring. "Zirconia blade," she grunted. "Obliviae Zirconia, to be precise. One of the sharpest in the land."
A gasping noise made Delilah return her attention back to the exploded stone. To her utmost surprise, a smallish bird was perched in the sizzling remains of what Delilah later learned was called a heartstone.
The handsome bird wore a revolving spirit helmet. On his body there was a knight's suit of armor, on his end feathers tail armor similar to Seraphina's. To top it all, there was a shining yellow glove studded with rubies in place of his right foot.
He stared around at them all. His brilliant blue gaze rested on Seraphina and Delilah. "You two saved my life." His voice miraculously reminded Delilah of liquid silver, somehow. "My name is Arbiter," said the bird. "I'm a falcon. I was imprisoned by those phantoms a while back, left to rot.."
Nocte Cor stepped forward. "You'll make a brilliant first falcon alpha. Now let's get into the tower."
Kestrel, 1st Person
Upon inspection, we discovered the tower's gates were firmly barred. Seraphina only cared to pass on this info the minute after Justice got his wing stuck in the bars and twisted it badly trying to open the gate. I wondered if perhaps movement might get the phantom's attention, and then they would supposedly take us prisoner. I told my plan to Nocte Cor, who said I was maybe even more clever than Felicity and told everyone else.
"I'll have to pretend I'm weak, because the phantoms are really freaked out by me," Nocte Cor said. We all began to hop. Freedom and Jangler started dancing, whereas Tench bent over and stood on his head until he fell down.
A very loud blaring noise erupted, and phantoms spawned all around us. "Pretend to fight, but act weak!" I did so, snarling at the phantoms and clawing feebly as their tentacles wrapped around me, sending shocking jolts of electricity through my body (no pun intended).
And then the world was ebbing away into darkness...
I woke up a short while later in a damp cell, on the cold floor. I had been laying on a filthy, worn rag but it was in such terrible condition I barely noticed.
At once I realized Nocte Cor and Seraphina were gone. Arbiter looked almost as bad as the rag.
I crawled over to a barred window, and heard a voice.
"Hello? Is there another prisoner there? My name's Phillip... My friend used to stay in your cell. He said there was a secret passage around somewhere.."
I thanked the animal in the other cell and crawled around the cold floor, pressing my paws hard on each stone tile in case there would be a passage to open up. Eventually I came to the back of the wall, and noticed something. There was a wooden decoration on the wall. It was a short stick with a circle attached. I decided to try this out too. Using all my strength, I jumped up and my jaws closed around the wooden circle.
There was a click and I fell to the ground. I looked up and saw that an entryway had opened, a secret passageway! I managed to arouse the others. Justice's wing was still too injured for him to fly, so he rested on Tench's back as we all went through the passageway. New determination and strength surged through us.
We found that there were mirror puzzles all around, which I quickly solved. We came out from the passageway to find slimy, cold stone floors and cells. There were monkeys imprisoned in the cells. We also found a glaring beam of harsh purple light, which we quickly learned to avoid. Arbiter found some keys and we all set to work freeing the monkeys. There was a Mira emblem up a flight of stairs, which the monkeys hopped on.
I went to free the last monkey and saw a room next to his cell, filled with fox hats and top hats and eyeball hats and so on. "They're so mean!" The monkey wailed. "They took away all our rares and they threw the key away!" I freed this monkey and kept staring at the items. Staring, staring, I couldn't keep my eyes off of them..
Suddenly, with a burst of bright blue light, the items flew upwards and through the cell bars, where they streamed out the hall towards the staircase, where their owners hopped. I gasped in astonishment. "Yes, I think you are definitely a deity." Salvinikron's voice was suddenly near. "That was power. Deity power."
We both hurried to the emblem, where happy, thankful monkeys covered in their valuables still jumped up and down. We joined them (Salvinikron flew over us and watched, because he was unable to hop). The gate blocking the entrance to the next room lowered itself in an instant. There were many puzzles and phantoms awaiting us.
There were seven floors with watchers, phantoms, and mirror puzzles, so we worked together. I did most of the mirror puzzles, which Jangler also contributed to occasionally. Arbiter blew up phantoms with boomseeds while we did this and Delilah helped, extremely eager to destroy them for an unknown reason.
We reached the seventh floor. I heard muffled, distorted voices. Delilah dashed forward into the room, and we made to follow. Arbiter put a wing in front of the staircase to block us. "No," he said softly. I could almost feel his concentration.
Arbiter, 3rd person
Arbiter felt a strength inside him, and suddenly the walls flashed open, and he was zooming in, and there was Nocte Cor, in front of Seraphina and Delilah, shielding them.
There was also a peculiar phantom.
This phantom was larger than a normal one, and he had a bone tail, the kind some jammers use on the Night Of The Phantoms.
As he looked at this phantom a small voice inside his head whispered, The Sentinel. And the name, it fit the phantom. He could not think of any other name for it. As he looked at the other three, the voice spoke their names as well. It was rather strange.
The Sentinel spoke.
"I see you and your little friends have discovered our hideout... You see, you were the only important one.. All the rest were useless.. Maybe I'll feed them to the Srepmo.."
He had a soft, drawling tone, that fascinated but also frightened Arbiter.
"And you," he sneered to Seraphina, who bristled and raised herself higher, but was instantly rebuffed by Nocte Cor, who pushed her back down. "You are filthy traitor scum. You deserve to die. I will feed you, most certainly, to the Srepmo."
"What do you expect, Sentinel, trying to enslave one of your enemies?" Nocte Cor snapped. Excitement rushed through Arbiter. This phantom was called The Sentinel!
The Sentinel's tail whipped back and forth, and he spoke again, faster. "You need to be taught a lesson.. All of you. It is pointless to hide your little friends, Twinkle--"
At this Nocte Cor suddenly shot a paw forward and smacked The Sentinel.
"DON'T--CALL--ME--TWINKLE!" She screamed, her face horribly unrecognizable, a fury almost unreal lit in her eyes.
All the animals heard this. Alarms sounded and swarms of phantoms swept through the corridors, and the Deities ran to the 7th floor.
They put up a magnificent fight. Salvinikron took out about 30 phantoms in total, and Delilah 15. But they were overwhelmed. There was simply too many.
A volcano rumbled in the distance, and purple fire spewed from its top.
"Run!" Nocte Cor cried to Arbiter. "Run... Find... The Volcano.." Swarms of phantoms took her down. But it did not matter; she would spring up any moment now, overwhelming the phantoms, defeating them, winning...
But it never happened. And Arbiter had no choice but to follow her orders, to run. To fly. And he did, leaving the castle far behind, travelling towards the volcano.