IMAGINE YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE
“You won’t find your friend here,” a man said as he emerged from one of the bedrooms.
In that instant, Ilauria couldn’t move.
To anyone else, the being before her would look to be an ordinary man but to one of the Psyne, there was no doubt it was anything but human. Despite its resemblance to a human male, it was neither male nor female. It wore a gray wool coat and slacks, plain like a uniform, with buttons down the front and a short, stand-up collar. Soft flames licked yellow and white along the edges of its silhouette, simmering to a gas light blue.
All moisture evaporated from the room and the temperature began to climb. A sheer wall of oppressive air hit Ilauria and her skin felt tight and dry. She braced herself against the onslaught of desiccating heat rolling off its body and as she drew in a shaky breath, she couldn’t believe that she stood in the presence of a nemesis she’d only heard described in legends.
“The Fury,” she whispered.
“So you’ve heard of me,” the Fury said, its face ablaze with amusement.
Her body trembled and her limbs went stiff, petrified with fear. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the creature before her. It was like staring at death itself, like staring at her death: impending, certain, and inescapable.
The Fury lived to kill her kind and take their magic.
Her first reaction was to morph into her animal form, an instinct all Psyne carried from the days when their ancestors hid from the Fury on their home world.
But her body wouldn’t shape shift.
She tried again and then it dawned on her. The Fury had laid a trap, a dead zone, rendering her magic useless. She was powerless, as helpless as a human with all of her defenses neutralized and completely at its mercy.