The Secret Life of Dionne P Nash: Part 2

Illustration by Caio Corsini Filho

More than a few hours passed before Dionne woke up in a cage, surrounded by six other people. All survivors of the city of Mosterik, who like Dionne had fled into the woods and been captured by these monsters.

Outside the cage meanwhile was a huge campsite where the mangled bodies of several Dinosaurs and people lay gathered together in different piles.

In the distance however, there was one living Brontosaurus that was being restrained by several Vasta using ropes. Now and again the Vasta would capture the odd Dinosaur and use magics to place it under their will, though this only lasted a short while. The Vastas as Dionne would later discover had been having some trouble in their hunting grounds and hoped to use this creature to try and clear the area.

All of the prisoners, were thumping on the gates and causing as much of a disturbance as they could. They knew there was nothing they could do, but at the very least they were going to give these monsters as much trouble as they could. The Vasta however sadly were used to screams and didn’t seem phased as they dragged in more bodies and parts of bodies from their latest hunts.

Hours passed, before the Vasta lit up a huge fire in the middle of the forest which caused the Brontosaurus to become more agitated. Those in the cage including Dionne were intended to suffer a far worse fate than those the monsters simply hunted. The Vasta, being magical creatures, could sense when a life form had special and distinct magical patterns. All life forms possessed magic in their bodies, though only certain people and beings with enough skill could harness their magic and in turn use that to control other forms of magic in the world through specific enchantments and rituals. Those who had fully mastered this process would become witches and warlocks, whilst those who had altered their magic to such an extent that they were now magical creatures, were known wizards.

Certain people meanwhile possessed distinct magical patterns for various reasons which could potentially allow them even greater power. In Dionne’s case she would later discover that her unique pattern was due to her time in the vortex. With the others from Mosterik it was most likely due to the strange magics the city itself utilised. The Vasta meanwhile would extract these magical patterns from a living creature, by placing them in their special flame, itself created through the black arts. The flame literally burned everything but the magic in a persons soul away. However even then the process had to be slowed, as the power that created the flames was so hostile to natural organisms that it was in danger of burning their bodies up too quickly and destroying their souls completely, including the magics with them. As a result of the process being slowed however, the flame would keep its victims alive for in some cases days, in a state of constant agony as it slowly burned them away. Even once their bodies were burned to nothing, the soul would still suffer even greater pain. Despite their savagery, the Vasta still knew how to use magics, and were not above even trading the magics they extracted with the vampires, bandits and other renegades if they needed too.

The other prisoners fell deathly silent as soon as they saw the flame being lit. They had all heard horrific stories about the flame, but had hoped they were nothing more than propaganda from the Vasta. Soon some of the prisoners started to genuinely panic and try to push against the cage, and this time the Vasta began to react, by laughing in that repulsive, hyena like cackle of theirs.

Luckily for the prisoners however, before the Vasta could place their first victim in the flame, the Brontosaurus broke free and started to attack them. The Vasta for once genuinely looked terrified and struggled against the giant reptile that provoked even further by the sight of the flames, was almost determined to crush every one of the vile creatures around it. Before the long necked giant could reach the cage however it was suddenly opened by a young man, who one of the prisoners, another young man instantly hugged. Their rescuer had also been the one to release the Brontosaurus when the Vasta were distracted with the flame.

“Brother, I thought those vampires had torn you apart.” The prisoners who had hugged their rescuer said.

“I escaped, but I’m afraid I am the only one. I checked in our city this morning and there was nothing. Not even the wail of a ghost. We are truly all that is left” their rescuer said with despair.

None of the survivors had any time to take it in however, as most of the Vasta’s had either been squashed or scattered by the Brontosaurus and if they didn’t move they would be next.

Along with the rest of the prisoners, Dionne fled deeper into the forest, until they all eventually reached a long and wide river. With no other way forward, the prisoners cobbled together a small raft made from bits and pieces of trees and logs which they tied together with vines from the forest.

None of the crew had even talked to Dionne, never mind recognise her, as they were too busy just trying to stay alive.

As the raft drifted down the stream, the former prisoners realised that the Vasta were no longer following them, for some reason. Dionne thought they had just lost the creatures, or that they cared more about the Brontosaurus. Sadly however she couldn’t have been more wrong. The Vasta always placed a greater importance on harvesting unique magics, and indeed with the collapse of an entire city, this had marked potentially their largest harvest in a long while.

Little did the prisoners know they were drifting into an area that even these monsters were terrified of. They soon caught the first glimpse of what they were in for with the sight of numerous remains of other Dinosaurs, including a Hadrosaur, a few Triceratops and even a large sauropod all scattered throughout the woods and even along the river bank. At first Dionne was terrified that they had stumbled into another Vasta camp, but it soon became obvious that this was something else. A large Triceratops soon emerged from the forest ahead of the raft and began drinking along the river bank. Triceratops were among the strongest, and most aggressive herbivores, but only if provoked. Even the Vasta were wary around them, hence why none had been hunted in the ambush that had captured Dionne.

The prisoners were very quiet as they drifted by the giant reptile, but after they got about ten or so feet away, they suddenly noticed the trees behind the animal moving. Something was actually about to pounce on the horned Dinosaur from behind. It was a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the most famous and ferocious of all Dinosaurs. It looked somewhat different to how Dionne had always been used to seeing it in media growing up however, though the overall shape was instantly recognisable at least. The Tyrannosaurs body was a lot thicker, and bulkier than it was normally depicted as, whilst lips covered its infamous set of teeth. Despite the Tyrant Lizard King’s size of over ten tons, it was almost completely silent as it crept through the woods. Dionne told me that she was conflicted, as on the one hand she didn’t want to let the Triceratops fall victim to the Tyrannosaur, but on the other if she alerted the Triceratops and it fled rather than fought, the Tyrannosaur would then turn its attention to them. As hard as it was, she and evidently the other prisoners felt it was better to let nature take its course, though not that anything in these woods could be called natural.

Little did the former prisoners know however, they were also being stalked by another Tyrannosaur from the other side of the stream, that similarly moved silently through the forest. Whilst the Tyrannosaurs weren’t the fastest runners among the meat eating Dinosaurs, they were still capable of short bursts of speed, and the animal was only on the river bank for a seconds before it leaped out, and scooped up one of the prisoners, a young woman closest to the edge of the raft.

All of the prisoners except for the brother who had released them from the cage, let out a scream at the gruesome sight of the second Tyrannosaur crushing the prisoner to a pulp in its jaws. Dionne told me that even after all these years, she never forgot the sound of the prisoners bones crunching in the jaws of the Tyrannosaur. At the very least though her death was over in an instant.

The prisoners former rescuer meanwhile tried to pull one of the logs free from the raft to use as some kind of deterrent for all the good it would do. Unfortunately however another one of the prisoners who had been standing near the woman who had been devoured, was knocked over board by the Tyrant reptile when it originally attacked. As he struggled in the water the T. rex then emerged again and stood over him in the stream. The others tried desperately to row the raft upwards to help, but it was no use.

The Tyrannosaur attempted to scoop the prisoner up like a falcon grabbing a fish in its beak, and though the prisoner at first dodged the reptiles jaws and attempted to swim to safety under the water, the second time the Tyrannosaur grabbed him by the leg from under the water and lifted its prey high into the air. As it tried to shake him around however, the strength of the Tyrannosaurs jaws actually caused the prisoners leg to rip off in its mouth, with the prisoner then falling head first onto the river bank, where he was knocked unconscious.

The others could only look away as the Tyrannosaur literally ripped its victim to pieces on the bank, though Dionne did see his blood ripple down stream to their raft.

The prisoners screams meanwhile had alerted the Triceratops who began to panic at the sight of the Tyrannosaurus in the stream, and the second Tyrannosaur in response forgot its more stealthy approach and tried to attack the horned Dinosaur before it could notice. Sadly for this king of the Dinosaurs, the gamble didn’t pay off, and the Triceratops was alerted by the noise of the predator now running from behind.

The Triceratops impaled the Tyrannosaurus that tried to creep up on it, just as the predator lunged towards its intended victim. The herbivores left horn cut straight through the T. rex’s side and the Triceratops would then bring its horn down, cutting straight through the Tyrannosaurs entire stomach. Killing it almost instantly.

The other Tyrannosaur meanwhile, being alerted by its kin’s cries soon turned its attention to the Triceratops and engaged the three horned giant in a brutal fight. This time it would be the carnivore that won out. The Triceratops did manage to knock the Tyrannosaur off its feet when the T. rex tried to bite down on its frill, but before it could impale the Rex, the meat eater, grabbed onto one of the Triceratops’ horns with its three clawed foot and then scratched it down the side with the other. Whilst the Triceratops screamed from its wounds and briefly retreated, the Tyrannosaurus, with help from its small but surprisingly strong arms, hoisted itself up and delivered a bite to the Triceratops’ backbone.

The bite force of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was so great that it could not only pierce the strongest hides, but crush bone too. Absolutely no animal, apart from those with literal supernatural powers could survive a Tyrannosaurus bite, and even then most supernatural creatures were still not strong enough to withstand that force.

The Triceratops let out a bird like screech after being bitten that echoed through the entire forest, as it stumbled into the stream.

Despite the grievous wound however, the animal still attempted to stand its ground for a few seconds, but eventually even standing became difficult for this giant animal, and the Tyrannosaur, having still been careful of those horns, delivered a second and final bite to the Triceratops neck behind its frill.

As revolting as the sight was, with Dionne almost being sick at the Tyrannosaur ripping the Triceratops guts out afterwards. At the very least for a few minutes, she felt somewhat safe that the ferocious predator at least had no reason to pursue them anymore.

Deeper down the river however, the prisoners would soon have to deal with another threat. Three smaller meat eating Dinosaurs who seemed to be drawn by the prisoners themselves, and would prove to be even more persistent than the larger carnivores.

These were actually juvenile Tyrannosaurus. They looked remarkably different to the adults however, to the point where Dionne at first assumed they had to be different animals. The juvenile’s in contrast had very slender bodies, small heads, and longer forearms. They were clearly built for speed and were evidently excellent swimmers as well. The prisoners former rescuer, who had clearly taken over as the leader, tried to bat them away as best he could with his log when they dived into the water. Fortunately the animals weren’t working together and two at the back even started fighting each other. However one of the juveniles soon swam under the raft and burst out through it from below, managing to bite the leader of the teams brother by the leg in the process. Luckily for him, juvenile Tyrannosaurs teeth were better suited to slicing, unlike the bone crunching chompers of the adults, and the others including even Dionne were able to drive the little Dinosaur away with a series of kicks and punches. It still left a nasty wound however.

The raft then drifted into a large very dark cave, where it was difficult to see much of anything ahead, but a horrific stench still pierced the darkness and it was soon followed by another screeching, bird like noise.

This entire area was a nesting ground for the Tyrannosaurus, who could actually be very social creatures, though they still hunted alone, even as juveniles. The Dinosaurs had only moved into the area a few months ago, and had even driven the Vasta out. This was why the Vasta had captured the Brontosaurus, hoping that the larger Dinosaur could help them drive at least some of the Tyrannosaurs back. Despite being skilled at hunting Dinosaurs, even the Vasta were terrified of the Tyrannosaurs, who just as they had done 66 million years ago, dominated any area they occupied.

The Vasta would ultimately never succeed in driving the Tyrannosaurs out and in the decade Dionne would spend in Tairos, this area would actually become one of the largest and most prosperous Tyrannosaur nests in all of Tairos, with many powers from all over Tairos attempting to try and capture and control the Dinosaurs in it for their war efforts, and almost all failing.

This cave meanwhile belonged to the alpha of the group, who soon made his presence known to the terrified prisoners. Whilst they could barely make him out in the darkness, Dionne could still see that this Tyrannosaur was gigantic, even by their standards. In fact he was almost twice as big as the others outside. Once again however despite its tremendous size, the Dinosaur proved fast enough to scoop one of the prisoners up in its mouth, though this time however the animals jaws also smashed the raft to bits in the process too and sent all of the survivors tumbling into the water.

They quickly headed to the shore, with Dionne seeing very faintly that the stream ended at the very back of the cave. Unfortunately that was the only way to go as the alpha Tyrannosaurus was blocking the way back. The survivors all fled, not bothering to check and see if their comrades were okay, they were so scared.

As Dionne ran through the darkness, she heard the Dinosaurs bird like screeches, followed by the screams of another two of the prisoners, a young woman and their bones subsequently crunching. The Tyrannosaur could see perfectly in the darkness unlike the humans. Their species possessed the sharpest sense of vision and smell in arguably the entire animal kingdom. (This had been how the adults outside had been able to pinpoint the exact location of the prisoners in the jungle by picking up their scent from possibly miles away.)

Dionne soon hit the end of the cave, and with no choice she was forced to climb up the wet, slimy rocks. When she got higher however she not only heard the Dinosaurs screech, but felt it too. To her horror she turned around and saw that she had come face to face with the alpha Tyrannosaur. Dionne was literally frozen with fear, in fact she told me she almost went catatonic as the Dinosaur opened its jaws. Even describing it all these years later she still froze for a few seconds.

“I should be waking up any moment now. Any moment, any moment, any moment.” She kept saying to herself as she faced certain death.

Just then however the Tyrannosaur closed its mouth and looked up. Before it could do anything a hand reached down from above to Dionne. It was her former rescuer, who along with his brother had managed to climb up ahead and reach a ledge which led to the outside.

Dionne instantly snapped out of her petrified state and with his help pulled herself up to the ledge, that was just above the Tyrannosaurs height, whilst her rescuers brother kept the Tyrant Lizard King distracted by throwing rocks on its head.

Once it saw its prey was out of sight the Dinosaur let out a final screech before retreating back into the darkness of its cave. From this point, Dionne could see a bit more of the cave including the corpses and remains of the Tyrannosaurs many other victims.

The three survivors followed the ledge which led to outside. Thankfully they had escaped the Tyrannosaur territory for now, but on the other side of the cave was arguably something worse.

It was a pit designed by the vampires both to torture and enslave their victims, made up of the darkest forces from Tairos that they had harnessed. The pit would twist its victims into hideous monstrosities whilst also putting them through the most unspeakable agony. Only the very strongest would be able to crawl out of the pit. Even then however they could only escape it permanently if the vampires wished, after which they would then be brainwashed to be loyal foot soldiers to the vampires.

These monsters, who were simply known as Abominations, were among the most deadly of the vampires servants as they could not be threatened, or scared or feel any pain due to their experiences in the pit.

Over two centuries ago however, the founders of Mosterik were able to drive the vampires from this area, which was a large part of why the bloodsuckers had not only be so determined to reclaim it, but also make the people of Mosterilk pay (other than for the usual vampiric sadism.)

Despite many attempts however the people of Mosterik had ultimately been unsuccessful in eliminating this stain on Tairos, or in even freeing many of the damned souls still trapped within. The vampires meanwhile had thankfully been unable to reclaim it due to the Tyrannosaurs moving in.

The two brothers knew exactly what this place was, but unfortunately there was no way forward but to go around the pit. During the daylight, of which there was still a little left, the pit looked like nothing more than an empty chasm. Much like the vampires themselves it was inactive, and in fact it didn’t even exist during the day. The brothers were desperate to get across the wide chasm as fast as they possibly could before nightfall. There was an exit of sorts on the other side that had been made by the vampires years ago. The other sides of the chasm meanwhile were all surrounded by large walls that were too steep to climb. The brothers warned Dionne that if she held them up, this time they would leave her.

Fortunately Dionne had done some rock climbing as a girl, so she wasn’t completely useless. Ironically the wounded brother ended up being more of a liability as the injury got worse, the more he walked on it.

At one point he had to rest, and whilst both the brothers in all fairness told Dionne not to wait on them, she decided to stay. She later admitted it was more out of fear of being alone in this horrible place, but either way for the first time in this ordeal it earned her genuine trust among the survivors.

For one thing the brothers both finally revealed their names to Dionne. The wounded brother was named Moska, whilst the other was named Trian.

Moska thought he knew Dionne from somewhere, but she quickly played it down, being scared they might see her as dead wood if they thought she was just a spoiled 21st century celeb who didn’t know what she was doing.

After a few minutes rest, the three travellers pressed on once again, but unfortunately despite their best efforts, by the time they had almost reached the end of the chasm, it was night fall. The bottom of the pit suddenly turned into a green, swirling ocean in resoponse. Moans and screams started to emit from it as did some clawed and mangled hands.

As they almost reached the exit on the other side however, Moska suddenly felt a hand grabbing onto his wounded leg. He and his two companions looked down to see a horrible slime drenched monstrosity. The monster had begun as nothing but a large puddle of slime crawling its way up from the lake, but as soon as it got near Dionne and the brothers however, the upper torso of a man emerged from the puddle. The upper torso was completely white, had no features, other than a mouth with no teeth, with both the bottom and upper lips being connected at certain points via strips of slime.

When Moska tried to kick it in the face, the slime started to crawl its way up his leg and pull him down the cliff edge. By this point dozens of even more disgusting and horrific creatures began to emerge from the green lake, and slowly crawled and squelched and scuttled their way up the cliff towards the three prisoners. Trian of course stayed to help his brother, whilst Dionne though once again having the option to flee, nevertheless also stayed to help. She always played it up to me as just being because she was scared of being alone, but honestly I don’t think that is why she helped the brothers. Knowing the kind of person she is, I think it was a genuine desire to help them. Remember as far as she knew there was no way she could fight off the monsters from the pit. If she was really just scared, well a safer option would still be to take your chances in the jungle up ahead.

Still whatever the case, Dionne and Trian both tried to pull Moska to safety, but the slime monster was much too strong and began to drag all three of them down the cliff, yet neither let go and continued to pull as hard as they could.

Just as all hope seemed lost, then suddenly several of the monsters emerging from the lake were struck down by what appeared to be bright lights, in reality magical blasts.

Dionne looked round to see several soldiers dressed in strange armour coming from the exit. Their weapons did not kill the vampires former servants, but they helped to repel them long enough for Dionne and both of the brothers to escape. The three former prisoners of the Vasta were then taken by these mysterious soldiers to outside of the exit of the pit, where they could see several glowing, circular crafts, each one no bigger than a lorry. They were all instantly hurried into one. Dionne at first was scared, but that faded when she saw that the brothers were relieved the soldiers had shown up. In fact Trian was angry that it had taken them this long. The soldiers all then fled into their crafts not just to escape the monsters who were coming in droves out of the pit, but the Tyrannosaurs who were emerging out of the jungle ahead, having been drawn by the lights.

One of the crafts wasn’t able to take off in time however and fell victim to a Tyrannosaurs that grabbed hold of it in its jaws by rearing up. Not only did the Dinosaur bite through the hull easily, but the animal then threw the craft to the ground, killing the pilot instantly. Finally the Tyrannosaurus then tore the craft open with its jaws and devoured three of the men inside, with the last only barely managing to escape. However another of the Tyrannosaurs then chased him into the direction of the monsters, some of whom then tried to attack the Tyrannosaur itself. These monsters unlike everything else in Tairos did not fear the Tyrannosaurs, though that didn’t give them any more of a chance against them. The Tyrannosaurus crushed all of the attacking monsters under its feet rather than eat them, as it could smell that they were too toxic to eat. Even the slime monster couldn’t stand against the Dinosaurs, as whilst it could wrap itself around one’s foot, it wasn’t big enough to consume it completely or strong enough to even attempt to pull it away and had to retreat. Escaping alive however at least meant it had done better against the Dinosaurs than the others.

The ship that had rescued Dionne meanwhile did its best to try and rescue the other soldier who was being swamped by the monsters, but as soon as it got near another one of the Tyrannosaurs grabbed onto the vehicle with its jaws. Fortunately for Dionne and the others however, the Tyrant Lizard had only managed to bite the tip of the vehicle which it still broke off, but not enough to make it crash. However the Tyrannosaur still not giving up then rammed the vehicle when it was close enough, sending it hurling through the air and almost into the green lake ahead, with the pilot only just managing to pull it out in time. As he flew back out however, the pilot saw the soldier they had tried to rescue being dragged down by the same slime monster that had attempted to consume Moska and knowing there was nothing he could do, with regret the pilot flew to safety with the other soldiers.

Dionne and the brothers were taken to a literal city in the sky, that appeared to rest on several clouds, though as Dionne would later discover, the clouds were naturally made of magic, as was the city itself.

The soldiers of the city had been too preoccupied with their own battle against the vampires to help Mosterik and had only actually been drawn to Mosterik after the slaughter when they detected a major magical upheaval, in reality Dionne arriving via time travel. They were able to trace Dionne from the portal she arrived in from the vortex, straight through the jungle, due to the unique magical pattern caused from her time in the vortex, though even they did not quite understand what it meant at first, having never seen a pattern like it. Still they eventually traced her to the vampires pit. Sadly they lost 15 men in total going through the Tyrannosaur territory.

As soon as she arrived, Dionne was placed into their prison, much to the protests of the two brothers. Several of the guards (including one who had been to her concert with Freddie Mercury.) Knew who she was and after their leaders realised that she was behind the magical upheaval placed her in the cell to ensure that the timeline couldn’t be changed.

Sadly however the secrets of time travel were lost with the destruction of Mosterik, and for the time being, Dionne had to be kept in isolation.

The brothers constantly put pressure on those in command to free her, but it was no use. The leaders didn’t even want to investigate the unique magical pattern she had out of fear it would change history. Dionne herself later told me that she started to go temporarily mad during her time in prison after everything she had been through, and even started to attack the guards when they arrived to feed her every day. A few weeks after her imprisonment however, they would be forced to release Dionne when the city fell under attack from the vampire horde.

Riding on the backs of their tame Triceratops, the vampires slaughtered their way through the cities armies, but Dionne proved to be surprisingly useful during the fight when she discovered she was immune to the vampires mind control thanks to her unique magical pattern. This particular breed could place anyone they bit under their control completely, and even the strongest magics were unable to reverse the process. This had been how the vampires were able to attack the sky city in the first place by biting one of their soldiers on the ground and then using him as a secret agent. Dionne however was able to turn the tables on the invading vampires, by pretending to be under their control after being bitten and then using one of their explosive weapons to slaughter a large number of their forces, including their leader. She told me that she had no problem with murdering the vampires. After seeing what they had done in both Mosterik and the sky city, she didn’t see them as remotely human. She did however also say that prior to the weeks in Tairos she doesn’t think she would have been able to. That world brought out the worst in absolutely everyone.

Dionne was hailed as the saviour of the city afterwards, and the question of locking her up again became impossible among the public. In fact the previous leaders who had ordered it were forced to resign in part due to this and the vampire attack. Dionne meanwhile was also able to demand that the city work on a way to try and send her home, not wanting to be part of their war. Sadly however the new leaders would insist on her taking part, not just because of the propaganda that could be drummed up around her now, but also because of her unique powers, which she had only just begun to explore.

Again the reason for Dionne’s strange magical pattern, was because in the vortex, her body had become fused with many ancient forms of primal magic from throughout history. Normally exposure to these kinds of magics in the real world would have either killed, or twisted a life form beyond all recognition, but as Dionne was outside of the vortex and therefore outside of the natural laws themselves. They had fused to her body over time in a unique way. When she arrived in Tairos, most of these unique magics had remained trapped in the vortex, but a few scant traces remained in her body, not enough to mutate her, but enough to make Dionne immune to numerous, though not all forms of magic in Tairos. There would be no way to extract the ancient magic from her body however, at least not yet. Not only would it have most likely killed Dionne, but if unleashed from her, these alien, prehistoric forms of magic could end up creating more mutants or having unintended side effects. They also advised Dionne not to try and harness them for her own ends, though they didn’t have to worry about that as Dionne wasn’t a witch.

Still they hoped that her unique magical constitution could be used as a weapon, though they did not force her as doing so would make them guilty of changing the timeline. Dionne completely refused to be drawn into their conflict, until Trian was captured by the vampires on a later mission.

In contrast to Dionne, Trian despite his dislike of the sky city, (even more so for them seemingly abandoning Mosterik until they thought they could exploit Dionne) was eager to take part in the war against the vampires and make them suffer. Moska wasn’t his only sibling. Friaj, Trian’s little sister of only ten years hadn’t made it out of the city, along with his parents and even his pregnant fiance. Whilst he may have seemed brave and loyal to Dionne, sadly the only reason Trian had survived was because he fled. The vampires had terrified him so much, that he ran in the middle of the chaos, and didn’t even notice that his fiance was not behind him until it was too late and one of the bloodsuckers had her in its grasp. There was nothing he could have done as the vampires instantly tore her throat out before he could attempt to run back, though he always doubted that he would have. He also did not go back for any of his family either, fleeing until he reached the forest, only returning several weeks later. It was only through being forced to survive for weeks in that hell of a forest, that Trian was finally able to work up any kind of courage, but it was too little too late. Worse the presence of the vandals meant that he now knew that he would never be reunited with his loved ones, even in death either.

In many ways all Trian had left was his hatred and his guilt.

Still Dionne felt she had seen a different side to him and after he rescued her twice she wanted to return the favour. She took part in a secret mission to save him from a vampires castle where they were torturing him for information about the sky city. The castle was guarded by Allosaurs. Dionne’s unique magical constitution didn’t prove to be any use in this mission and at times her anger at the vampires very nearly put the team in danger, but they were nevertheless successful in rescuing Trian, though the team still suffered one casualty at the jaws of one of the Allosaurs.

Following this experience, Dionne would vow to help battle the vampires, both to help her new friend and also because she had come to realise after six months that there was no way the sky city could return her home. Not only did they not have the know how, but despite what they said, they weren’t really devoting any time to it. All of their resources now had to go into fighting the vampire horde who were stronger than ever.

Over the next year Dionne would spend all of her time training, as well as testing through small samples, which magics were and weren’t effective on her. She became a very skilled and powerful warrior, able to hold her own in one on one fights with vampires, demons and other creatures. She and Trian would also develop a very close relationship over this time, with Dionne being the only person he would eventually share the truth with about what had happened with his family. Even his own brother didn’t know that he had just fled. Dionne however did not judge Trian too harshly, as she understood what it was like being in that forest, with no way of defending yourself, death lurking around every corner. She understood that sometimes instinct just kicks in. Very few of the others in the city had been in the helpless position they had endured. The sky city, which was actually known as Carresa, was ironically originally established to escape the chaos of Tairos. It had been formed in the days before the vampire horde emerged, in response to the civil war brought about by the resurrected animals. It was now the oldest surviving city in Tairos as a result. As the vampire horde grew in power however, eventually even Carresa realised that it couldn’t hide any longer. These monsters were a threat to all sentient life on Tairos.

Still in spite of that, whilst they had certainly taken a more active role in the war, even then most of the cities inhabitants had been shielded from the horror of the forest below. Even the soldiers would only dare venture down into that hellish jungle for short periods and missions. Very few could understand what Dionne and Trian had been through.

Their bond as well as their skills would be further strengthened on many important and dangerous missions together as Caressa would be pulled into more and more conflicts, just to survive. The unprecedented vampire attack on the sky city had taken its toll, and now Caressa was forced to rely on other more powerful cities for protection, which soon dragged it into their other petty conflicts beyond the vampires themselves.

Dionne and Trian meanwhile were always eager to go on any mission they could, and over the course of 7 years, they would arguably become the cities most skilled and respected warriors.

Among the missions they would embark on together included a journey to ape island, which as its name suggests was dominated by nothing but various species of apes. Among its native species included the gigantic Megaprimatus Kong, the prehistoric Gigantopethicus, the mythical Yeti, the ape men known as the Harvia, Neanderthal men, the flesh eating Monkeys called the Harkissen, the scaly Baboon known as Leannax (which was a crude attempt via magic to create a Dinosaur primate hybrid), the winged feathered Gorilla’s who looked more like harpies known as the Tyrak and finally the Gorra, a hairless aquatic ape, so immense in size it dwarfed the mighty Kongs.

Dionne and Trian’s mission to ape island was largely a disaster with the entire crew of 20 all being brutally killed except for Dionne and Trian. They had originally been sent there to steal a new form of black magic that the Harvia had developed, but these seemingly primitive ape men proved to be a greater challenge than they had predicted. In the end however Dionne and Trian were able to convince the leader of the Harvia, known as Corlax to part with some of the magic for the greater good of stopping the vampire horde. The Harvia and other primates of the island generally tended to shun the world of humanity and its petty problems. The vampires however had launched several devastating attacks on their shores recently, and now much like the sky city, ape island knew it couldn’t hide for much longer and really more for its sake than anything else, the Harvia allowed Carresa and other cities to use their new magic formula which increased the strength of several soldiers to greater than that of the average vampire, though it could not do so indefinitely.

The apes would prove useful allies in other respects for the next few years against the vampire horde and Corlax would also end up becoming a close ally of Dionne as well.

The alliance with the apes however would eventually collapse, though no one was really sure why at first. For some reason the apes appeared to lose all trust in humanity and once again resigned themselves to live on their island, cut off from the rest of the world.

Still whilst it was short lived the ape alliance did help push back the vampires significantly and for that alone Dionne was celebrated.

Aside from Trian, Dionne’s other closest companion during this time would be a creature known as a Gorgonopsid. These reptiles existed from before the time of the Dinosaurs. They belonged to a group known as the Synapsids who came in many shapes and sizes and ruled the earth for millions of years in a period of earth’s history, called the Permian era. Sadly the Synapsids would be killed off by a disaster, which allowed the Dinosaurs to become dominant in the first place. One group of Synapsids however, the Cynodonts would later evolve into the first mammals, whose descendants would ironically take over after the death of the Dinosaurs.

From our perspective the Gorgonopsid resembled something of a cross between a reptile and a mammal. It measured over 20 feet long, was covered in a light fur coat (except for its legs and feet, which were still scaly.) It also had sabre teeth and stood on all fours like a mammal. Its skull however was more akin to that of a meat eating Dinosaur, whilst its tail was also thicker, longer and more muscular like a Dinosaurs too.

Dionne would acquire her Gorgonopsid within her second year on a mission to stop a mutated Tyrannosaurus Rex, that was to their kind what the Vasta were to our kind. These mutant Tyrannosaurus grew up to sixty feet long, had no lips, and much like the Vasta they had no muscles, only skin covering their bones. Once again however, much like the Vasta they were not only stronger than any natural Tyrannosaurus, but possessed significantly greater strength, durability, and were also unstable too, hunting for seemingly no reason other than sadistic cruelty.

These monsters were among the most feared in Tairos and even just one of them was capable of decimating several settlements. This Tyrannosaur had slaughtered a small city and almost all the life forms in the surrounding area, including the Gorgonopsid’s family. Dionne personally slew the monster with a special sword that only she could wield due to her unique magical constitution. This was the first time that it had been used, and it would become her signature weapon from this point on, helping Dionne slay many other powerful beasts and monsters. The Gorgonopsid meanwhile would be taken in by Dionne because she always was one to take in stray animals. Prior to arriving to Tairos she had almost never been without a pet of some kind since she was about 8. Granted she told me that at first she thought the Gorgonopsid was just a cute little animal the size of a puppy, but when it grew to full size in just a few years, she found it a little harder to cope with. Still she loved it as much as any of her pets, and when she told me about it decades on, she spoke with such affection that at times it felt like she was talking about another child instead!

Another important mission for Dionne and Trian however would be their journey into the Dragon graveyard. Centuries ago in the early days of Tairos, the Dragons gave their lives against a great evil that had been created from the magic used to restore the earth and create Tairos itself. Magic of that scale often comes with a price, and in this case, the price was a creature named Vaskalia, made of concentrated dark magic which laid waste to many areas of Tairos and transformed others inhabitants into monsters. The Dragons nobly sacrificed themselves as part of a huge spell to destroy the monster once and for all. The sight of their and Vaskalia deaths would remain untouched for generations afterwards out of fear of disturbing the spirit of the creature.

One Demon however, named Dakeria would dare to venture to the Dragons graveyard, in the hopes of harnessing their spirits. Dakeria was one of the oldest Demons in all of Tairos, being among the first to be revived when Tairos itself was born. Like most Demons he desired power and after failing to get it for so long, he finally became desperate enough to tamper with the Dragon graveyard. Most of the Dragon spirits had long since vanished, but a few scant traces remained and through those, Dakeria was able to revive them. At first he was only able to bring the Dragons spirits back at the sight of the graveyard which at least allowed him to secure it, but eventually he was able to stabilise them to the point where he could send certain spirits beyond the graveyard, still completely under his control to ravage certain towns, cities and settlements belonging to both the vampires and the allies.

Dionne’s unique magical constitution however when mixed with certain magics belonging to the sky city, was able slip past Dakeria’s defences and battle the Demon directly. Though his control over them was vanquished by Dionne, the Dragon spirits soon went rogue. Crazed and feral, Dionne and Dakeria were both trapped in the graveyard. Worse the unpredictable spiritual energy and magic from the ghosts was also allowing Vaskalia’s spirit to rebuild itself. The sky city was forced to destroy the entire area to sever the spirits link with the world, but Trian bravely fought his way through the Dragon ghosts, who without the demons control were more feral, and rescued Dionne, whilst Dakeria was left to die. The Dragons however, though feral in their last moments were able to help Dionne and Trian keep Vaskalia’s spirit trapped in the graveyard until the entire area was destroyed by the Sky city.

This mission more than any other showed Trian the extent at which he cared for Dionne as more than any other he genuinely thought he was going to lose her in this mission, and it very neatly tore his entire world apart, as much as the death of his fiance had done years earlier. By this stage they had been working together for three years, and Trian had clearly begun to develop feelings for Dionne. Indeed most believed that they were involved anyway, given the amount of time they spent together. It wasn’t just all of the life and death situations that had brought them together however. Trian was fascinated by the era Dionne came from, when things were so secure that they could delude themselves into thinking that vampires were nothing more than myths. He also loved her singing, which even in these circumstances Dionne appreciated. Arguably even more so considering that Dionne’s music hadn’t exactly reached the sky city due to its bad relationship with Mosterik other than a few exceptions (though even the guard who had gone to her concert was more of a Queen fan, than a fan of hers.)

With encouragement from Trian who always told her to never stop singing, Dionne rediscovered her love for music in Tairos and the new songs she would make even became quite popular in the sky city. She even wrote an anthem to inspire the allies against the vampire horde that would endure for many years to come, and eventually be adopted by other cities. She sang it for me one night actually, though she assured me it wasn’t as good as it sounded in the future. Apparently through their use of magic, the people of Tairos had created all new kinds of sounds that she didn’t even think were possible, though I often wondered if that was just an excuse. She could be so self conscious about her voice, amazingly enough.

Whilst the Dragons graveyard made Trian realise that he loved Dionne, he wouldn’t tell her until their journey into the black woods, the most feared area of Tairos a few months later.

The black woods was the one area on earth where the restorative powers of Tairos had not worked, at least not completely. They had restored some life to the area, enough that it was a forest, rather than just a waste land, but the life forms that were restored were transformed into hideous creatures. No one knows quite why the land was twisted in such a way, but it is believed that it was because it was the area the Hylexans missiles containing black magic had struck the earth and therefore was the most concentrated.

Whatever the case, the black wood was somewhere that even the vampires were terrified of. Dionne and Trian meanwhile were sent into the most dangerous area of the wood, the lair of the Terrible One. This horror had once been arguably the most feared creature within the wood, but it was finally slain several decades prior to Dionne arriving in Tairos by Mr Diassa, one of the original wizards who had helped to create Tairos itself.

The monsters lair, which on the outside resembled nothing more than a small cave still remained and nothing even within the black woods itself had dared venture in there. Dionne however once again proved immune to the lairs magics, and was sent on a mission to try and retrieve further samples of the Terrible One’s black arts to use as a weapon. It was a huge risk even for her, but Dionne agreed that it was too golden an opportunity to waste.

Trian meanwhile despite having grown up terrified of stories of the black wood like everyone else in Tairos, absolutely would not let Dionne go into those woods alone.

At first the mission went well, with Dionne managing to retrieve samples from the Terrible One’s cave, but unfortunately the spirit of one of the creatures of the cave was able to hitch a ride with one of Dionne’s samples and soon escaped into the black woods. This creature was made from the magics the Hylexans had used to destroy the earth itself made flesh. The Terrible One’s cave were where the magics of the wood that even he was scared had been sealed off.

Dionne and Trian were forced to work with other monsters of the black wood to try and contain the beast, as well as return the samples that she had stolen, with Dionne realising that they should never have been released, not even to try and stop the vampires.

Over the course of their adventure however, Dionne would very nearly succumb to the creature she had released’s poison, and thinking she was going to die, Trian finally confessed that he was in love with her and had been for almost as long as he had known her. Dionne however would be cured by the other creatures of the forest who still needed her to enter the Terrible One’s cave. Fortunately for Trian however Dionne felt exactly the same way and the two would soon begin a relationship.

Sadly however it wasn’t to last. Whilst Trian did love Dionne, he still couldn’t get past the guilt of what had happened with his family, and would suffer nightmares of leaving Dionne behind in a vampire attack too. Furthermore Dionne and other higher ups also felt that she and Trian’s feelings for each other were affecting their ability to do their missions properly. Something she later regretfully said she might have agreed with

After just a year together the two separated, though they tried to remain friends, they eventually drifted apart. Furthermore Dionne’s position within the sky city had also fallen considerably after the black woods mission. She had ultimately returned all of the samples back to the Terrible One’s cave, as well as the creature she released. Even in her old age, she never regretted it for a second, but others in the city, particularly as the vampires began to recover their losses and score more victories, came to hate Dionne.

For the next three years, Dionne and Trian would keep a low profile, though Dionne would still be sent on some important missions due to her unique magical constitution. She would ultimately be less celebrated, which she was actually quite happy with.

Eventually however after 7 years in Tairos, Trian and Dionne would be brought together once again to combat their greatest enemy. The vampire king known as Jakarian.

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