He could feel darkness reaching for him, calling him forward from his thoughts. But the thoughts were a warm comfort, imaginations of just how he would end his master, wipe him from the face of existence. He was done being afraid of the world, done being pushed around. With the knowledge he possessed now, Jakun would no longer be that meek little amurrun who did what he was told.
The dark was inexorable, wrapping around him, leeching into his mind until it finally, forcefully, pulled him from the cage he had built. It left the amurrun with a question. Had he built the cage to protect himself? Or to protect the world from him?
Jakun spat on the ground, wiping drool from his lips. He winced at the roar of Ivris, the icy ravener fighting with near reckless abandon.
"You're back. Finally."
Anya appeared beside the cat, a grimace on her face.
Amnor Sen stared at Anya, as though waiting for something. Jakun looked on in confusion, wondering exactly when the paladin had appeared.
His voice came out smoothly, no hitch to the words. The cat touched his throat, the curse lifted from him finally. He let out a relieved sigh, before turning to Anya.
"You summoned a dragon, the dragon kicked your tail, and now we're separated from Jeremy. Jeremy is alive, for now. He's awake and will try to make his way toward the north of the city," Anya said, looking at Amnor Sen. "Jakun, Ivris is destroying the city."
The neko paled, looking up at the sky. Snow was starting to fall, roads icing over in the frigid air. He could feel the burning bite of the dragon's presence, the thin clothing he wore little protection from such elements.
Amnor Sen grabbed the cat, pulling him out of earshot.
"Look, I know you summoned this beast. We will have words about it later. But right now, you are going to help me destroy it."
Jakun pulled away, his arm sore where the elf had grabbed it.
"I don't think we can. He is far too strong. All I wanted was to send him after-"
"Wants and desires have no place here. Not now," Amnor Sen interrupted.
"Finally, someone speaking sense!" Anya smirked. "Though I could do with a little less of the insinuation that you want us to kill an ancient, undead dragon, all on our own."
"That is exactly what we are going to do," Amnor Sen said tightly.
"Wonderful. I know you bought Jakun, and he's forced to do whatever you want. But you did not buy me-"
"Shut up Anya," Jakun said quietly.
The cat looked at Amnor Sen, ignoring Anya's scathing glare.
"Ivris is my responsibility. But I don't want to die before I can punish Loran. I know I'm undead and you can barely stand my presence, but I need you to help me. Starting with the book of my spells."
The elf frowned deeply, looking at his bag.
"Oh, don't worry your head off about the evil parts. I told you I destroyed the ritual. The last thing we need is to have that floating around," Anya said.
"Fine. But I will be keeping an eye on what you use the book for. I don't expect good things to follow your every action. But if you persist in the ways of evil, I will be forced to end you for the sake of the world," he warned.
The elf handed the spellbook to Jakun, followed by the bow he'd picked up from the day before.
"You may not know how to use it, but this should at least offer some kind of protection," he added.
The cat nodded gratefully, handing the book to Anya. The werewolf cast a spell, the book dissolving away into ash and bone meal.
"You destroyed it?!"
"Oh no, just stored it out of harm's way," Anya replied as Jakun worked the quiver of arrows around his waist.
Jakun pulled out an arrow, feeling a strange confidence rush into him. Amnor Sen helped him string the bow, and they moved through the city, Anya leading the way north.
All around them was frozen doom, bodies covered in frost, living people cowering in alleys. Jakun looked around himself, frowning almost painfully. He had caused this. He had killed these people, who had done nothing to him.
"Anya, can't we set some wood on fire to warm these people up a bit?"
"I wouldn't. The vampires would not appreciate it," the werewolf pointed out.
"She's right unfortunately. The best way to help is to end the dragon," Amnor Sen agreed.
Sighing, the cat continued onward, his body shivering in the chill air. Anya flowed into him, mentally giving him directions as she attempted to use her energy to warm him.
"How does she do that? Where does she go?" Amnor Sen asked.
"Anya's in my head. It's my will that allows her to have a physical form. But that form is painful, from what she's told me. So she doesn't often like being out."
"But she's been out for nearly thirty minutes…"
"Anya doesn't like to be out. That doesn't mean she can't be out."
He hadn't meant for the words to come out as rudely as they had. Amnor Sen glanced at the cat with a frown.
"Hm. I suppose not," he said.
Jakun sighed almost in relief. Wait, he was supposed to be more forceful now… shouldn't Amnor Sen be grateful he hadn't been harsher?
'It seems that force and cruelty are easily mixed up. You should work on that,' Anya whispered.
The sound of battle grew as they approached the northern wall of the city, arrows flying up to bounce harmlessly off a wall of ice that protected Ivris, spells bursting in the air around the dragon as he laughed.
"Ah, I have forgotten the joy of battle. Come, my little foes, get in my belly. Nourish my undeath," his voice nearly boomed.
Jakun couldn't help the fear that filled him at the dragon's voice. He knew what Ivris had done, what he was capable of. And yet, Jakun wouldn't, couldn't, allow the dragon to terrorize the city. Not any more.