Killion first spotted the creature out of the corner of his eye, a brief flash of life in the harsh desolation of the Umbruk. While most of the lands he had traversed in his sojourn across Solis were covered in layers of snow and ice so thick that he could not find the earth beneath them, here a strange warmth seemed to rise from the ground itself. There were not just patches of bare earth, but wide expanses of strange glassy black rock that shined almost like the mirror-pools of the Oracles back in Anvillon.
It was in this reflective rock that Killion spotted something moving behind him, but when he spun to face it, there was nothing there but the vast stretch of rocky terrain he had passed through already. He turned back to his path on alert, his senses heightened by imminent danger.
Even more than the presence of something he could not see, the environment around Killion made him uneasy. The warmth of the earth. The melting of the ice. The glassy black rocks. All of it felt wrong to him, and not simply because it was so alien to his youth in Anvillion. Something deep within him – the same something that brought him out to this wasteland in the first place – gnawed at him that this was not as things ought to be.
Killion’s thoughts were interrupted again by a flickering against the rocks to his right. The creature was back. He spun about, but saw nothing. Another flickering – this time to the left. He turned, but again his eyes found only the wasteland before him.
And then he felt another strange warmth, this time not from the earth beneath him, but from something breathing on the back of his neck. Killion dove forward and spun to face the creature.
Or, more accurately, the creatures. His predator was not alone.