The village was destroyed, thete was no doubt about that. There was no building that didn’t sustain some kind of damage. Some were reduced to unrecognizable piles of rubble, some were missing a roof, or a wall. Bodies, furniture and farming equipment were lying all over the streets, some undamaged, some reduced to nothing but dust.
A group of 7 people slowly walked towards the village. The one at the front was a demidragon. He was around 1.7 meters tall and muscular. He wore trousers made from furs, a necklace made from a large dragon claw. He had a large sword on his back. His naked chest and arms was covered in green scales. He had a pair of two large wings in the same color growing from his back.
The other six were human. They all wore black armors, their helmets had chatacteristic ridges on top of them. Four were equiped with spears and shields. They also had swords tied to their belts. The remaining two carried large crossbows and quivers full of arrows.
“This is the village that I told you about.” Said the demidragon. “What do you think it might have been? Bandits? A dragon maybe?”
“No, the damage is too irregular. That building was burned, that one has a dissolved wall, that one over there just collapsed. And that one lost a roof because of snow accumulation.” One of the soldiers said while pointing to different buildings. “There is no way bandits or a dragon managed to throw a bunch of snow onto a building in september. This was some thing else. A demon.”
The hunting party was following the trail of destroyed villages for about a week now. Actually, it was more of an army. It comprised of 200 Order Guardians, all dressed in bkack armors with ridges on their helmets, carying either spears and shields or crossbows. There were also around 50 local demidragon dragon hunters, serving mostly as trackers and recon. The wore armor made of dragon scales, some without it, as their grew their own scales, in various colors. Some also had wings, those ones flying above the marching expedition. They were equiped with greatswords, battleaxes or heavy crossbows. At the fron there were 20 Order Knights, all on horseback. They were wearing silver plate armor with coats of arms displayed on their chestplates. They carried longswords and shields, which similarly displayed coats of arms.
At the front there was another figure on horseback. It was a demidragon, with silver scales on his naked, muscular chest. His eyes were in the color of deep turquise,with vertical pupils and no whites. The rest of his face was covered by a helmet. He wore trousers made of expensive furs with armor pieces made of silver scales on his knees and calfs. He also wore gauntlets and a helmet with a ridge made of the same materials. He carried a battleaxe at his belt. It was Lord Ivan, Count of Tannenbörg. He was one of the very few demidragons in the Order.
A one of the demidragon scouts flew to him and bowed on one knee. “My lord, I spotted another destroyed village, just behind that hill. It was destroyed about an hour ago. The survivors spotted the demon heading sout-west.”
“Very well, you may rest now. Bring this man some food and water!” He turned his horse in the direction pointed by the scout. “We are very close! Soon, the beast will be at our mercy!”
The party stopped at the entrence to the forest. It was very dense and dark. Large amounts of mist were slowly drifting between the trees, but never venturing outside their barrier. It was very old, untouched nearly for centuries, with something even more ancient and powerful inside. Ivan could sense it.
“Split up and start searching through the forest. Leave your horses here.”
Ivan ventured alone. He could feel the demons presence, but he couldn’t determine its location. It was everywhere. Like that dammed fog.
That’s when it started. The previously quite forest exploded with sound. Screams of soldiers, roars of lightning and fire. Ivan could see flashes of light through the mist, but nothing more.
But where and what was the attacker?
The mist seemed to get denser and denser around Ivan, who was trying to sense the attacker. But the magical presence was everywhere. Eventually the mist hot do dense to see anything.
That’s when he felt it. A concentration of magic behind him. He managed to turn around just in time to seethr lightning hit his scales, throwing him a couple of meters back onto a tree. Fortunately, his natural armor held up.
He shot a fireball onto the direction from which the lightning came. The mist moved aside to make space for the ball of fire. The mist moved aside. The mist… Was the source of magic.