As the dust devil made of sand and all sorts of deadly energy approached, Barrett pulled out his axe. Monsters suddenly appearing hadn’t been something he had expected and he preferred not to try touching the dust devil with his hand- no matter how tough his skin was. Chopping through something without physical form with an axe wasn’t an easy feat, but if it was just made of energy? His own berserk energy should be sufficient to counteract it. He hoped. Barrett hadn’t heard of anything exactly like these in his studies.
With a sweep of his axe Barrett slashed at the dust devil- to no effect. At most, there had been a brief parting of the winds and debris at its edge. It continued to come towards him as he moved away, but Barrett could sense many other unknown troubles in the sandstorm around him. He didn’t want to back into something more dangerous. As the dust devil came towards him, he stepped forward and into it, slicing at its center. It seemed to have more of a concentration of energy there.
The winds filled with sand and energy of various sorts stripped the berserk energy from his axe even as he swung, but Barrett channeled more berserk energy onto his axe as it neared the center, where he sliced through the mass of energy hopefully holding the thing together. As he did so, his arms and face were covered in tiny cuts- even through his armor. Even so, his axe cleaved it in two… and then it reformed a moment later. However, Barrett felt that it had taken longer than when he had cut the outside. He’d wanted to conserve berserk energy but it seemed he had to do more. He hadn’t been planning to fight anything incorporeal and weapons specifically made for that were prohibitively expensive.
The thing seemed to strongly resonate of the earth element as well, but Barrett’s training as a mage wasn’t enough to matter. Thus, more berserk energy became the right answer. He just hoped he could keep up for however long this whole event lasted.
After his previous attack, Barrett had retreated but he moved back in to finally strike it down. A good quarter of his berserk energy was being used in the attack, which wasn’t easy to control nor was it good for his axe… however as he sliced down into it the form of the dust devil shattered, leaving him with just the cuts all over him. None of them were serious, but the real issue with them was they had come after holes were torn in his armor. His breastplate was still solid, but it was covered in numerous deep scratches. As Barrett took a few breaths to steady himself, he felt the remaining berserk energy from the thing seek him out.
As it flowed into his body he had to wrestle it for control, but at least he was quite adept at controlling berserk energy. In the end, he came out with more energy… though of course he was not entirely back to full either. It wasn’t of much help with cultivation, but it seemed he could absorb the rampant energy in the atmosphere to sustain himself.
Barrett looked around for others- he couldn’t even feel the energy of Master Hykel with the various types of energy flowing through the air. Remaining still didn’t seem like the right move, so he planned to find someone else. He could barely hear the sound of voices through the howling of wind but he moved towards the nearest. Whenever he came across someone he didn’t recognize he left them alone if they didn’t seem to be in much trouble. He stumbled across a few people he knew, helping them out with various things they were fighting- but most of them weren’t as much trouble as the dust devils. More were fragile like the sandy maw, or occasionally there were some figures of hardened sand that were still easily defeated.
Between each battle, Barrett took short breaks to maintain himself. The divination had mentioned the next several days- was that important? He could fight for several days if necessary, but if that was the case he needed to pace himself from the very beginning.
After a couple hours, Barrett stumbled across more sand swirling about a definite center. At first he thought it was another dust devil… but it wasn’t formed of berserk energy and cutting type energy. Instead, it was wind energy and magic. Then he caught a glimpse of the figure in the center. “Aurelia!”
She turned to face him, then gestured him closer. As he stepped through her barrier of wind, the sounds from all around faded out. “Barrett. Good to see you. Everyone has been split up. I saw a few people trying to form a band, but then I saw one of them alone. It seems there’s something about all of this,” she gestured to the dust storm outside her little bubble, “That is causing people to be unable to stay together, probably on purpose. It’s possible people can remain in pairs. We can try.”
“Sounds reasonable. How long can you maintain this?” Barrett pointed to her swirling ‘barrier’. It didn’t seem like it would directly stop anything, but it did give her a bigger area of vision and perhaps some ability to attack anything that entered.
“Anywhere else? A couple hours with no interference. Here… there’s so much energy and mana pouring in. It doesn’t take that much to maintain as long as it’s not being attacked.”
“I guess I should have spent more time on magic…” Barrett shook his head, “Except of course I couldn’t know this was going to happen. There’s plenty of berserk energy around, but that needs to be wrestled under control. It can’t just constantly be used.”
“Too bad for you. Ah-” Aurelia pushed gently off the ground and floated up into the air- almost as if she had no weight. As she did so, a hand reached up from the sand… except it was also sand.
Barrett simply stomped down on the things reaching for himself, and they broke apart easily enough even without berserk energy. These were the most basic forms of enemy, and they could only reform parts once or twice before they lost shape entirely. The bigger annoyance was the sand that had gotten into Barrett’s wounds earlier, as he had to keep pushing it out of the healing wounds. At least Aurelia’s barrier was keeping most of the sand away from them- there was a large nearly flat circle on the ground for them to stand on, and the center of her barrier had no wind moving at all. Then a ball of fire flew out of the sandstorm around them, and they knew they had something new to deal with.