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          No words could possibly describe how instantaneous the world was thrust into a state of utter pandemonium. Three turns had the iris held back the strengthening evil, but the fair flower’s strength reached its end. For a split second, the entire world stood still. The wind stopped whistling, the waves froze in place, the grass stopped dancing… there was no movement whatsoever. All of Texel, as if suddenly realizing the dreaded time had come at last, was reduced to a petrified world in the brink of destruction, a horror film paused right before a jump scare. If only the iris could have kept the world frozen in this state forever, but Time is a ruthless ferryman who forever drags the universe ever deeper across the river Styx.

          Quite frankly, they came from everywhere. Those vile beasts triumphantly screeching and whirring as loud as they could; those lethal creatures unrelentingly blasting through the irises spread across all of Texel, their stems bulging as those hungry demons forced themselves through; those mechanized nightmares indiscriminately clawing, slashing, and blasting their way through meadows, mountains, forests, deserts, and caves –- all of them, every single one of them, were unstoppable hordes waging war on all of Texel. The poor Texeli, having lived eons without the slightest ability to fathom what an all-out war would be like, stared awestruck at the spinning blades, flamethrowers, axes, and claws invading their relatively peaceful land.

          Texel, having realized the iris failed to protect it, had to resort to defending itself. The Silver Sea was a perfect example of this. The Silver Sea, named after its perilous currents from which not even the strongest of Theri could escape, was successfully able to stall for time by sucking in all of the robotic devils clawing their way out of the irises spread along its coast. As for Texeli, they all began to flee. Nothing much could those powerless creatures do against the ones flowing out of forests, beaches, and caves.

          As Texel caught on fire, the iris began pondering what to do. It had three turns prior planted a seed that was yet to bloom, and drastic times call for drastic measures. The iris decided to risk it all by pulling in Humans, creatures known for waging war on each other constantly. If any creature out in the cosmos knew anything about war, it would be them. One by one they began materializing, not knowing what to do at first but soon enough realizing they were in the middle of a warzone. Every creature has the instinct to survive, but the highly-adaptable and cunning Human mind knew how to survive best. At first, these Humans hid from the robots, but some were able to find Texeli folk and discover their hidden potentials. Not even hours had gone by before the first defender was born -- a Human who assembled a band of Texeli. This defender retaliated with a lackluster band of nine Texeli, setting the standard for all the other Humans. War had begun, and the poor Texeli knew of nothing to do but submit themselves to the commands of a creature they had only minutes prior never even fathomed.

          The initial days of the war were full to the brim with commotion as every Texeli and Human tried their best not to have inevitable mental breakdowns. Amongst all the destruction, however, stood an interesting Texeli. He was a courageous seaman, as all seaman ought to be. Strong both in mind and body, this Texeli had experience in not only taming bodies of water but also in communication. Everywhere he went, he would spread tales of his adventures. Not only had he made a name for himself in doing so but had also gained an incredible amount of knowledge and perspectives… and attire. He once met a young lad who wore blue armor at all times -- peculiar for many reasons other than the unusual fashion statement -- and happened to have had a spare armor and a spare sword to go along with it. Ever since then, the seaman had sailed donning that armor.

          For a Xana, this Texeli was open-minded, amiable, care-free, and always ready to throw out any random quip, pun, or comedic-relief he could muster from his creative mind. His adventures had led him to Sownfield, located at the foot of Dragonmount, an iconic mountain Gallants at Alabast Hold gazed upon in awe. He had only spent a few moments enjoying the beautiful sight before the hordes of demons erupted from every which way. Distraught, the terrified seaman began frantically running away.

          Soon enough, he began seeing something other than mechanical creatures materialize. These creatures resembled people from his own tribe yet had a different aura to them -– clearly, they were from another world. As he ran away, he acknowledged with great fascination and respect how fast these creatures were able to change from being scared little chickens to stern and commanding leaders. As if by instinct, these creatures began assembling groups of Texeli and ordering systematic attacks against the invaders. Seeing how other Texeli were fighting made this particular one stop dead in his tracks and calm down. He reflected on his cowardice with disgust and made up his mind. He was going to fight. He was strong, far stronger than anyone would first imagine by just looking at him. The turns upon turns spent out in the sea navigating through storms and harsh weather had turned him into a formidable foe even against those unknown attackers. No longer will his stories be about seafaring; a new chapter was to unfold -– a chapter of heroism, of valor, of insurmountable strength! He, Captain Zarathustra, shall be renown throughout all of Texel as one of the most influential fighters during the war; that he was sure of. Tightening his blue fists about the hilt of his sword and staring straight at one of the invaders, Zarathustra bent his knees in preparation for a massive offensive, charging up every one of his dots for the strongest skill attack he had ever mustered in his life. Power surged through his entire body; a tingling sensation that he would never forget enveloped him. This was it, the highlight of his life. This was it, the end of his life as a seaman and the beginning of his new life as a hero. Who would have thought that such a nomadic and eccentric individual would ever amount to something as grand as charging toward a sea of unknown monsters in the name of every community, of every animal, of every blade of grass in all of Texel? He was going to save them all!

          Right before he began running, however, he noticed that to his right had materialized an invader far taller than any of the other short, critter-like ones. This invader was far more intimidating, resembling a mutated man made of brown armor with what seemed like massive cups glowing blue from the inside instead of hands. All of the courage and energy he was just about to use against one of the small, relatively-cute invaders disappeared in the blink of an eye, and he stumbled backwards, tripping and landing on his behind. Not fair, these invaders could spawn right next to him! What would have happened if he had materialized in the same exact spot Zarathustra had been on? He quickly stood up and was just about to flee when he noticed one of those Xana-like creatures materialize and crash onto the ground a couple meters away from him. This creature slowly rose to his hands and knees and began breathing hard, all whilst the invader that had scared the dots out of Zarathustra began charging up an attack with his “hands.” Two others just like him had materialized and were standing off to the distance watching intently as if in anticipation for the damage the blue blast was about to do.

          Zarathustra knew exactly what those blue blasts could do. Just a few seconds prior, Zarathustra had witnessed a fellow Texeli blasted into nothing but dots by one of those blasts. If he did not do something, that blast would do the same to the new visitor, the one who may one day lead the largest legion into battle. At that moment, Zarathustra cared not about fame, about the new chapter in his life, about being a hero. He realized at that moment that these new Xana-like creatures were the true heroes and should be the ones protected by all means necessary. These were the Defenders of Texel, the future, the light. Without even thinking twice, he rushed toward the defender and pushed him to the ground, away from the blast that the invader had been charging up. When the dust had cleared, he grabbed hold of the defender’s hand and called for him to make sure he was alright. Then he was blasted into dots.

          He had always wanted to lose some weight, he truly did. Of course, the armor he donned every day added considerable weight to his person, but even without the armor, he acknowledged that he was rather heavy. Thick-boned, he used to describe himself, but heavy nonetheless. Now, as he was held up by the defender, he felt himself rather light, as if his dots had flown right into the air and had left only his hand behind. Wait, that is exactly what happened. “By iris!” exclaimed the hand, “where have I gone off to!” The defender stared at him, holding him tight. “Defender, we just met, yet you make me blush with such an intense stare.” The defender shook his head. There was no time to gawk at a speaking hand; there were machines charging up yet another blast. Hurriedly, the defender, still gripping him tightly, stood up from the ground and began running away. “Defender, you are-are choking me… please, no need to… grip me so.” The defender loosened his grip, allowing the hand to crawl its way up to the defender’s shoulder. Not long after, their path was obstructed by the most intimidating machine yet. Forget those brown-armored, laser-blasting children! The behemoth materializing before them resembled a bipedal horse with two flaming sawblades shredding the air instead of its forehooves. Huffing and whirring, this intricate tree cutter set its glowing, blue eyes on the two of them. “So, defender, now what? Seems the little pony wants some dots for his afternoon snack.” The defender stood still, not out of fear but out of pensiveness. His brows were furrowed, his eyes were staring intently at the abomination, and his fists were tightening more. All of a sudden, the defender snapped and shouted at a silver-armored fellow that ran past them to make a beeline for the horse and slash at it with his mighty sword. Taken aback by the booming, commanding voice, the poor man stopped running and stared, horrified, at him.

          “Go! Show that pile of rusting metal what you are made of, warrior!” The knight nodded his head and rushed at the monster. Three slashes were all it took for the behemoth to crumble into a heap of metal. The unknown hero raised his sword into the air victoriously, shouting “huzzah!” at the top of his lungs as three others rushed to their side. The first to speak was a centaur with flaming red hair and aquamarine armor protecting his body, horns, and scorpion tail. “Well met, defender, and much obliged.” The second was a two-headed hydra. It analyzed the defender from top to bottom before commenting “you are newly arrived? ‘Twas well-fought indeed for a first battle.” The last companion was an exotic fairy with violet wings and magical staff. Contrary to her appearance, however, she was no bearer of good news. With a frightful shout, she announced “no time to chat, Exos incoming!”