Ever since the Behemoths of the Shattered Isles stole away the love of her life with brutal finality, Dr. Priyani had always kept her guard up. Even in Ramsgate, she watched for signs of Behemoth threats every time she stepped out beneath the open sky.
For if recent events were any indication, nowhere was truly safe.
Now, out in the field, battered by the turbulent winds of Cape Fury, Priyani was especially on edge. She forged her path carefully, eager to avoid surges in aether and areas of conflux. Gnarled trees and screaming storm-winds were her only company here. She skirted a particularly enormous pile of ram skulls as she pressed onward, aetherometer in hand.
The doctor had dialled in her readings and, thanks to Ramsgate’s more talented Slayers, she had all the data on recent shock aether currents she needed. Now, all she had to do was compare the original findings against the strange fluctuations that stood out like Honest Ozz at an Ostian funeral. The needle on her meter jumped, tantalizing her with a nearby hit.
Priyani knelt to examine a series of distinctive compressions running across the hard earth: Behemoth tracks.
“Sorrel, come in. I think I’ve found something of interest.”
“I’m listening,” said Kat, the static of the lantern radio covering her voice with a warm blanket of fuzz. “Make it quick, though. That Mother Storm could ramp up at any minute, and I don’t want to be in these skies when it happens.”
“It’s definitely a species of Drask, but if these readings are right, it’s bigger than any I’ve ever seen. I’m seeing drastic morphological differences, and the aether readings are much stronger here.” Priyani shifted, uncomfortable with what her instruments were telling her. “Kat,” the doctor whispered, addressing the Master Slayer with an unconscious familiarity she would usually avoid, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Meaning…?” Kat prompted.
“I’m unsure,” interrupted Priyani. “I need more data. More readings.” She straightened her back, eyes rising to the azure horizon and its shifting hues. “I’m going to see where they lead.”
“Bad idea, doc,” replied Kat. “You’re the one who wanted to handle this quickly, remember?”
Priyani bristled. “We need to know what we’re dealing with. I need to know if it’s back.”
“Just hold tight. We’ll get you some backup in a moment. Don’t go anywhere.”
Priyani waited, doing her best to exercise patience, but she couldn’t swallow her growing curiosity. It raged inside her skull like a storm. Her research was of paramount importance. The more she discovered, the more the Slayers would know about their enemy—and maybe that would mean one less family destroyed by the Behemoths’ grasp.
Somewhere in the distance, an alien growl broke through the wailing gale. Lightning crackled within the deep, guttural rumble of the storm: a challenge to all invaders from a tempest made flesh.
Priyani turned toward the sound, bracing herself to face the coming storm. With cautious determination, the dean of Behemothologists started towards the horizon.