Between her teeth, the Red One’s blood attempted to tell her a falsehood of warmth. The symbol-face whispered noises, and cast great gouts of sealing at her through its lips, spreading ink in the water of the air, filling her spaces with solidity. As she fought her way out of the cloying solid air, the Red One resealed their tube of vital winds and disengaged, stepping kata through the layers of Erebus and floating back ana to surface at a physical distance from where she still struggled, chewing at the fibrous containment with the teeth within her hands.
She wrenched herself free, and unhinged the jaws of her wings along the ground in jagged cracks, stretching towards her adversary along shadows that bristled with new growth of gleaming ebon teeth. The Red One cut space in a great slash that disjoined her wingtips, dark enamel feathery teeth dissipating as they were isolated from their source in her, and confounded her progress towards them as the Real knit itself back together with Incandescent Law. By the time the air slammed back together on the vacuum that had separated it with a boom, the Red One was in motion. They raised the crimson crystalline shards of their Will and unleashed a shower of dark filaments that twisted around them, splitting and multiplying as they flew before spearing towards her, a gigantic shadowy cloud of stinging darkness, packed so tightly that she couldn’t see through.
She folded her wings before herself, grinning jaws opening wide to suck in the darkness and form something new of it. In response, the projectiles blazed, self-immolating in moments and burning her umbral wings to tatters, the shockwave from their detonation throwing her backwards, through a wall of mere stone and lumber which yielded, and into the outer wall of the Tower, which very much didn’t yield. The metallic awe that the Tower was shaped from rang like a tremendous bell as it arrested her momentum with all the gentle cushioning that a concrete floor provides to a cake dropped from several stories up, and it was a testament to how thoroughly she was violating the local laws of physics that she didn’t end up very much resembling said ill-fated cake in all aspects but the material. Instead, she was stunned momentarily, the multilayered and holy chime of the Tower ringing in her ears as she flopped away from the wall.
She growled out the first sacred syllable of the Song of Endings to quiet the din and stood, unsteadily, the teeth of her regrowing wings supporting her. Eyes, thousands of them, opened all over her flesh, her wings, across the floor and walls and in the air around her, hunting her quarry through the myriad forms and gestures of sight. There they were – a distance from her, communing with an Interloper – a verdant and glistening thing that peered through futures and thoughts as she watched.
The Interloper sensed her sight, and gestured in a language she didn’t understand but assumed to be insulting, alerting the Red One to her scrutiny. They raised the toothy claws of their mind-bearing Hand and fired off another dozen multiplying missiles of shadow, grabbed the Interloper by the scruff of the physicality and darted off, even as she roared towards them, swiping the threads aside and tearing them asunder with contemptuous ease. Tricks such as that wouldn’t work twice, she thought, just as a kinetic impulse hit her in the back, slamming her forwards with an acceleration of several kilogees.
Several separate internal warning messages went off as she tried to arrest her forward momentum – this was far more acceleration than the physical body she inhabited was built to handle by at least an order of magnitude – and forcing herself to maintain physical integrity was starting to garner the attention of the local Physikal Asura. Said Archangel, who oversaw the local laws of physical reality, was now sending her stern warnings through subspace layers to not try that again, especially the bit where she decelerated hard enough to emit a brief flash of Bremsstrahlung x-rays.
The warnings were complicated and technical, but could basically be understood as “Don’t make Me come over there.”
She growled, ignored the warning, turned and fired a tremendous burst of gravitics at the Red One and their Interloper friend, but they weren’t there. The next three strikes she made also missed, the Interloper foreseeing them as the Red One diverted or avoided them, and her missile-teeth gnashed fruitlessly on empty air and then on the impenetrable wall of the Tower, which rang with irritating holiness at every strike.
She reached forwards into their thoughts, hoping to pull their minds free of their moorings and attack them unavoidably, but all she caught was a snatch of words, “-outside!”And then something she didn’t perceive coming at all tapped her on the shoulder, and she was suddenly… elsewhere.
“So,” said the Walker. “What are you doing here?”
Red grimaced. “Not really the time. We can argue later, I promise.”
“Yeah, no. We settle this now, or-”
“HI RED! HI WALKERS™-BRAND POTATO CRISPS!”
Aidra emerged from the dust cloud and bounded up to them, towering over the pair and clapping a hand onto each of their shoulders hard enough to make them both stagger.
The Walker spoke first. “Hi, Aidra. Why’d you call me if-”
“Now, now, no time for fighting, gentlemen! Or, when Gyran turns up, she’ll give you both a talking-to. Where’d you put mAlice, then?”
“You know, Alice, but not-Alice, so you can put a lowercase ‘m’ at the beginning. Pay attention, Red.”
“You know what, fine,” he replied. “Where did this mAlice end up, then?”
“Oh,” said the Walker, “I kinda panicked, so I dropped her off in the Moment of Peace.”
“Huh,” Red responded, genuinely surprised.
She sat at the centre of a small grassy meadow, the wind playing with her hair, slightly singed and loosened from its tie.
Around her, the meadow was about the size of a football pitch, abruptly ending under a minuscule domed sky, with a single tiny sun floating at its apex, casting a warm, summery glow across everything.
The world was peaceful, and despite herself, so was she.
A creature that was neither Alice, nor a Wyrm, nor a Darkness sat in a flowery meadow, watching the clouds shift across the inner surface of the sky.