Written by Chase I

This is madness, pure madness.

That’s what came through my mind while I sat at the top of a hill, staring over yonder, gazing at the creation that was crumbling into nothingness. Lion’s Arch was in flames now, the ashes were swept away by the wind giving the surrounding areas a blanket of black snow. Never had I expected a turn of events such as this. In all honesty I was glad to not be a part of the army that was attacking the city at this very moment. My job was simply to scout, and to watch in the cloak of the shadows. I rounded once I heard a large mass sliding through the patch of grass right next to me. I was met with the gaze of a serpent-like creature, its skin glowing with a vibrant green. It radiated with power, but at the same time it looked so… unnatural. Krait were never supposed to look like this. I could respect my partner's decision to become more powerful, but I couldn’t help but feel that the price was too great. Then again, it was not like I was better off at this point.

“See anything?” said the krait with a barely noticeable hiss.
“…It’s been the same for the past few hours,” I said. “They’ve just been getting as many survivors out as they can.” The Krait circled over to my other side and coiled up to get himself more comfortable.
“This assignment is such a bore,” he said as he rested his head on the ground. “Just have us watching from afar, not letting us enjoy the battle.” I grunted in response, hoping that it was taken as agreeing.

I never took a liking to this “Toxic Alliance”, it never sat well with me. The court was meant to act on its own, and for the longest time it did, until Scarlet came with her promises of victory and power. How could the Nightmare Court resist? I didn’t agree at all with their decision, but who was I to question my superiors?

After that everything changed. Groups now comprised at least one sylvari and one krait. It wasn’t all bad; my partner turned out to be pleasant company. We were both ambitious, dedicated to our cause, and simply wanted the best for our own factions. I had heard that other groups were not so lucky, there was this nearly palpable air of tension whenever one would bring up the status of their squad. So for now I was happy to be able to carry a decent conversation with Argyros.

I decided to sit down and take a break. We had been scouting the area all day and there was no change whatsoever. Mostly everyone was focused on watching the burned city in the distance and no one was paying attention to us. For a moment I thought about Lion's Arch, I used to go there on a regular basis, in disguise of course. That’s all a memory now, though, much like the city.

“What do you think is next?” I asked the krait that was resting next to me.
“Hm?” Argyros slightly raised his head and only opened one eye.
“After this, what do you think Scarlet will have us do?” My partner returned to resting as he gave a shrug.
“You’ve read the orders,” he said. “You know what nefarious plan we have in store for them.”
“Yeah, but what happens after that? And then after that? Surely something big is happening soon.” I was answered with another shrug.
“What can be bigger than leveling Lion’s Arch?”
“That’s what concerns me…”

That was when I saw a group of wandering citizens by the road that our hill overlooked. They had a worried expression about them; one of them seemed vigilant however. My mind immediately thought that it was a handful of survivors being guarded by one of the many adventurers that rushed into the city. My usual smile did not creep up my face, no usual necessity to feed my dagger blood, only that I knew what must be done.
“Time to go to work,” I said as I drew my dagger.

The fight was bittersweet to say the least; normally my heart would be pounding in my chest as my blade slid through flesh. A euphoric feeling would intoxicate me with every little bit of life force that I siphoned and would normally encourage me to take my time with such activities. This time, however, there was no excitement, no euphoria or sense of satisfaction once I pulled my knife out of the adventurer’s skull. All I received was praise from my partner for a job well done and a scenery of bodies around me. It was all very… stale.
“That was fun,” I did not share the krait’s joy from this slaughter, there were too many things weighing heavily in my mind at the moment.
“Argyros,” I said glancing at my partner. “I think it’s safe to say that the rest of the day won’t be very eventful. I’ll leave the rest of the watch to you.” I began to make my way down the road.

“Wait, Deus!” I heard his large serpent body slither towards me, his hand fell on my shoulder. “Where are you going?” I couldn’t give him the full truth, not like could even if I wanted to. Lying was in my nature - it was instinct at this point. Regardless, I couldn’t tell him that I had to mull through my thoughts because I was having doubts about everything. The Nightmare Court wasn’t the same force of beauty that I saw it as when I was a newborn. As much of a genius that Scarlet is, it was obvious (to me at least) that she did not have any love for the Court. She had her own priorities; it would be only a matter of time before the Court would suffer.

“…I just need to go for a walk,” I offered a smile to Argyros. “Don’t think too much about it, I just have some things I need to think about.” As the krait drew his hand back he gave me a puzzled look, but he knew to keep his distance. Turns out we know each other better than we thought.
This entire series of events was happening far too quickly, not a few months ago I was having a dinner with my brother in the same city that was now in ashes.
What is she playing at? I wondered. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it would only lead to one place for the Court…

Madness, pure madness.