Dawn of the Aspects Part IV releases May 20, and we're happy to be able to share with you an exclusive first read of the second entry in this epic digital-pentalogy.
The animated corpse chose that moment to begin a new tirade. Why it had been stirred up was quickly apparent. Ysera had dared to undo the mouth. What she hoped to accomplish, neither Malygos nor Kalec could guess, but what she almost earned for her decision was a bite across her throat. Only her quick reflexes kept Ysera from a mortal wound.
A red rage overtook Malygos. He shoved past Ysera and attacked the undead. With its paws still bound, its remaining defenses were its slavering jaws and its horrific mist. Malygos shifted to the monster's right. The undead, unable to turn well, could not bring its head around far enough to reach him.
Malygos ripped into the dry neck, easily tearing through the rotting flesh and cracking bone. It was enough to cause the neck to collapse, taking the head with it.
With blackened blood slowly dripping from the savage wound, the torso continued to twitch. Still caught up in his fury, Malygos ripped open the chest. That appeared to be sufficient. The body quieted, then slumped.
Kalec's mind also swirled with rage, although to a lesser degree. He fought against the desire for blood and flesh, even as a voice tried to reach through the haze that Malygos's thoughts had become.
The icy-blue male turned on Ysera. She met Malygos's gaze squarely and began talking to him in a tone like the one she had used with the corpse. Malygos at first sneered, only interested in her life. He smelled its freshness, and his hunger grew. Kalec understood that his host had fallen prey to the bite from the earlier undead and doubted that Malygos would be able to shake himself out of it this time. Worse, Malygos towered over Ysera, who made no move to flee.
Then a quiet voice penetrated Malygos's thoughts. Like something out of a dream, it gently touched some remnant of sanity left in Kalec's host and urged it forward. Kalec felt Malygos's hunger begin to subside. His reason started to take dominance again.
We are your friends, Malygos. . . .
At first, Kalec believed the voice belonged to Tyr, for not only did it have an otherworldly quality to it, but who else would have the ability to draw reason back from madness? However, as the voice repeated itself, he caught its feminine facets.
It was Ysera's voice. With the subsiding of the blood rage, Malygos's vision cleared. Now both Kalec and his host could make out that Ysera was speaking. While that certainly made sense, it had been impossible for even Kalec to identify her under such circumstances.
"You do not want to do this. You are one who fights for us, not against us."
Listening through Malygos, Kalec noticed how much more succinctly Ysera spoke. She was more intelligent-if also more impulsive-than other proto-dragons. Kalec wondered if her small size and inability to fight as well as many normal proto-dragons had contributed to her need to hone her intellect even more than most of her kind.
Malygos finally nodded. "I am well."
But for the first time, Tyr was disturbed. Barging past Ysera, the two-legged being angrily peered at Malygos. "You've been bitten. The hunger is within you."
Alexstrasza joined her sister. The elder female appeared almost as dismayed as Tyr. Ysera, on the other hand, looked very interested and, at the same time, disappointed.
"Could have saved them," Ysera muttered. "Did not have to die in that cave. . . ."