This is the sequel to Story: The Children of Death.
One year ago...
With an enormous boom, the top of Deathbringer's citadel exploded, sending massive stone fragments flying outwards and a huge mushroom cloud blooming into the air. At its base the ground was rent apart with chasms created by Deathbringer's magic in his attempt to destroy the fertile realm of Emiria.
All around Emiria, Deathbringer's other citadels receded into the ground from where they had come, leaving only huge craters and similar chasms where they had once stood.
Thrown off the citadel by the massive blast, Green Death tumbled through the air, too badly wounded by the explosion to fly. He landed awkwardly and made a miniature crater in the ground, but he was grateful to have avoided landing in a chasm, and knew his accelerated healing process with restore him soon enough.
Unseen by all the humans and other creatures watching the blast in amazement, a huge, brick-red dragon emerged high above the mushroom cloud, a tiny human figure dangling helplessly from its claws. With slow, powerful wingbeats, it headed south, towards the only citadel still intact and standing - Deathbringer's original citadel, overshadowing Dread Forest and the remnants of House Styrke.
The Shadowling army that was laying siege to Storm's Eye stopped suddenly, freed from Deathbringer's overwhelming influence. They observed the burning castle below them, and the few Shadowling corpses lying outside its wall. They could see the castle was protected by useless humans, with no knowledge of the Shadowlings. Those killed were clearly just by luck.
Taking advantage of the way the Shadowlings were just hovering in the air, the humans attacked with renewed vigour, though it came to naught. Angrily, several Shadowlings attacked with blasts of dark fire, and then they took to the skies, heading away from Emiria once more to where they prefered to live, on the edges of civilisation.
Hasina grunted as she was kicked in the chest, but despite her entire body being wracked with pain, she made the effort to stand.
One year ago, she and her friends had destroyed Deathbringer's citadel, and with it his plans of destroying Emiria, forever. However, just as Taika cast the spell, Hasina had been grabbed by a huge dragon - she couldn't tell who - and carried into the air. The dragon shielded her from the blast, but not to save her life. Deathbringer's original citadel in the south had survived, and she was taken there, where she learnt the identity of the dragon.
For one year, she had been kept prisoner and tortured incessantly. Her cell was made of solid stone, and the only way out was through the stone door, which was kept bolted shut at all times except when she was wanted for further torture. Even if she could escape, she was still trapped within the massive citadel.
The citadel was now populated with a slave force of humans, taken from small nearby villas. They obeyed their master unquestioningly, as they were kept under his mental control.
Her skin was now covered in black and blue bruises, and numerous scars that had healed and been cut open time and time again carved their way across her body. She barely had the strength to stand up every day, but the torture continued. Every blow sent pain flaring through her entire body, and she didn't know how much longer she could stand it. Death would be blissful relief, but all her weapons and belongings had been taken away.
The human that had been sent for her showed no mercy. Her hands were clapped in heavy, metal rings, each attached to a separate chain, which then joined together. The human pulled on the chain, dragging her along even though she had barely the strength to move her legs.
She was taken into the main chamber, the location where she had first confronted Deathbringer. And sitting, right where he had sat the first time round, was his son, Red Death.
"Hm hm hm. A somewhat resilient human," Red Death observed, amused. "Still, all the more pleasurable for me."
"Why... are you... doing this?" Hasina croaked.
"Hrm? Did you say something?" Red Death teased, though his heightened hearing had detected every word with ease. "I am doing it in revenge! Revenge for what you did, to you and my father!"
"Where..." Hasina began, but her voice failed her.
"Enough!" he roared, stamping on the ground. The cavern was wracked with tremors, and though gentle, Hasina was knocked off her feet and landed heavily on her side, causing Red Death to chuckle. Telepathically, he called forward a second human, who held a shining, steel knife in their hand. Hasina closed her eyes, all too aware of what was going to happen next, and how much pain it was going to cause.
The human knelt down next to her, and in one sudden movement, thrust the knife into her chest. Hasina let out a strangled gasp, and wished for unconsciousness as the knife sliced horizontally across her chest. Fresh blood spilled out, soaking the blade, and Hasina passed out.
Green Death sighed.
One year ago, when he had aided Hasina and her allies in their quest to kill Deathbringer, their father, it had ended in a massive explosion, quite literally. He had been thrown of the citadel, badly wounded and unable to fly. He had fallen a kilometre to the ground and had to lie helpless for over a day while he waited to heal, even with his accelerated process. When he was able to fly again, the first thing he did was search the area for any other survivors. He could find no sign of Hasina, Huo, Taika or Deathbringer and his children.
However, he soon found Red Fury, Deathbringer's only daughter, and Nera, who was sheltering with her.
"Traitor," Green Death snarled. "Step away from the girl."
"Calm down. I'm still on your side. But I couldn't oppose Deathbringer back in the chamber - he'd have killed me! When you threw me out I managed to catch her before she hit the ground."
Green Death frowned, then turned to look at Nera. "Can I trust her?"
"Alright. We need to get out of here. There's no sign of Hasina, Huo or Taika, so I can only assume they are dead. I haven't seen Red Death, White Death or Red Plague, but that doesn't mean they're dead, and I haven't seen Deathbringer either, but I can't imagine such a magic spell would have succeeded in killing him."
They had created a hideout in Middlewood and remained there for the year, off the radar. Green Death and Red Fury had frequently soared the skies, searching for Hasina and her allies, to no avail. However, mere weeks after the blast, they also saw White Death and Red Plague patrolling the skies. They were not attacking settlements, and were therefore probably looking for Green Death and Red Fury, which led them to only one conclusion: Deathbringer must have survived, and was searching for them to finish them off.
So far, they had successfully avoided detection, but Green Death knew he couldn't hide forever.
Green Death returned again from one of his hunting trips. Red Fury could tell immediately from his attitude something was wrong.
"What is it?" she asked.
"As you both know, I have searched all year for Hasina, in the hope she has survived, not just by searching from the skies but also telepathically."
Nera frowned, and Red Fury explained. "Green Death has powerful magic. He can send out waves of telepathic signals and use them to picture places he couldn't see normally."
"Like a bat!" Nera exclaimed.
"Yes, like a bat," Green Death agreed, "And I believe I have located Hasina."
"And?" Red Fury asked eagerly. "Where is she?"
Green Death was silent for a second. "Inside Deathbringer's Citadel."
"B-but..." Red Fury stammered, "Th-that can only mean Deathbringer... he survived?"
"It is as I suspected," Green Death replied grimly. "I have no idea of what magic Deathbringer was born but its power is many times stronger than that of the magic Taika performed."
"So what do we do?" Nera asked.
"I do not know," Green Death replied sadly. "We cannot mount an assault; it would be suicide. There is no way to sneak within a mile of that place without being detected, especially for a creature my size. I can perhaps communicate with Hasina through telepathy, but that is risky in itself. In shock, she might give it away, and the magical shielding around the citadel is strong, so I may not be able to penetrate it and that would result in our detection."