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          “We Texeli… are immortal in many ways…” the hydra said with a strained voice, as if the resurrection had taken a toll on them momentarily. “Not many know of this because there has been no reason for any Texeli to crumble into dots. Even the in-fighting that ensues does not grow violent enough to warrant breaking apart, as far as I know.” Zar, the hydra, and the knight looked at the two Hemi when the hydra finished talking. No one can blame them; to them, Hemi were just savages that fought with each other day and night.

          “It almost never happens,” the centaur said softly, knowing very well why they were looking at him but acknowledging that their stereotyping had some semblance of truth.

          “Damn it, we have the numbers, but not the prowess!” interrupted the knight, gritting his teeth.

          “Hm, there’s an easy fix for that, from what I’ve heard,” the fairy said with a smug face.

          “Of what do you speak?”

          “What, nobody had the talk with you?”

          “She jests, but I too know the old way. We must fuse,” the hydra, clearly the oldest of them all, stated. The old way. The hand was amazed at all the new concepts he was being introduced to in such a short amount of time. He thought of himself as wise from all his traveling, but it seemed as though there was an entire world he had no idea even existed waiting to be discovered! Dots coming together all by themselves, as if by some invisible force, and now fusion, whatever that was. All he knew of was leveling, which was whenever people “fused” with the power fodders from the forest, but he had never heard of anyone call leveling “fusion.” The old way. The hydra could not possibly be one of the Old Ones, so this fusion was not one of the ancient techniques lost to time, but then why had he not witnessed such a thing until now? Was it so rare? “The question is where we’re going to find other copies of this knight. No one has built in so long. There has been no need,” the hydra continued.

          “The war has been ongoing for a while. There must be some defenders that have built him. We must find them.”

          “No need,” the defender stated, pointing at five knights standing amidst the trees. “What the hell is this world. Those copies materialized before my eyes!”

          “The iris…” the warriors uttered to themselves. It seemed as though the iris was not only busy teleporting defenders into Texel, but also giving a helping hand no matter how small. The poor iris could probably only manage to do so much for them… thus far.

          “No time to dawdle! We must continue with the ritual,” the hydra commanded.

          “Alright, all of you knights, make a circle and see yourselves not as individuals but as one. It may be disconcerting at first, but deep inside you, in your very core, you must feel that it was fate who brought you all together. You were meant to one day join hand-in-hand and surpass your limitations,” the fairy said, entirely unnecessarily.

          “‘Tis more complicated than ‘bunch of the’-” the knights began to grumble before being interrupted by the fairy.

          “No time for philosophy, let’s do this thing! Watch!” The knights had formed a circle and were standing still, facing each other with closed eyes from anticipation. They began glowing, faint at first but becoming brighter and brighter, and then the knights began to lose form. Their dots began separating from each other and swirling in circles above them as if in a vortex. Soon, all the knights had become nothing but dots clumping together mid-air until finally, after a couple magical seconds, the mighty roar of a dragon resonated across the forest. His wings and head erupted from the bright yellow light, and on his back rode the knight far more powerful than before. The dragon descended and roared a final time, and the knight smirked content with himself.

          “Behold, EVOLUTION!” the centaur shouted.

          “Fancy right? All one has to do is fuse six copies of oneself,” said the fairy pleased with the result.

          “I have not seen this in centuries… He is reborn in name and aspect,” the hydra said in awe.

          “Is that your roundabout way of saying he LOOKS loads better?”

          “A Gallant cares not for his aspect! As for whether I am stronger…” he said pensively, looking at the horizon, “only one way to find out. Charge!”

          A few moments later, the defender kicked over a piece of metal that had flown toward him, almost decapitating him in the process. The band had caught up to the Exo, whose ego had rose to such extreme heights that he had been moseying toward the city at an extremely low speed, basking on the destruction and suffering he was inflicting upon the poor people. Once they had reached him, the knight had slashed at the Exo a couple times in coordination with his newly-found friend’s flaming breath, causing the Exo to explode into countless metal pieces in no time. The encounter had been so short it was not worth elaborating on, and all of them were now rummaging around for any interesting loot the Exo may have confiscated. Among all the gears and wires, only one object of value was found.

          “Look at this, a Texite!” the knight shouted, dismounting from his dragon and picking up a sparkling, blueish crystal. “My great-grandmere used this to build folk!”

          “Texel, Texeli, Texi, Texite! My lord, you all have a very constrained vocabulary, do you not?” the annoyed defender exclaimed. “No matter, I shall get accustomed to these new terms sooner or later. Now, what is this build you speak of?”

          “We can use it to build more fighters!” the fairy stated, taking the Texite and lifting it into the air. The defender, in such a small amount of time, had witnessed a plethora of new things, but nothing could have prepared him for what happened next. The hand snickered as he saw the utterly baffled expression stamped on the defender’s face as he stared at the dots coming from seemingly nowhere and materializing before their very eyes a golden structure resembling a hollow, round tank with the front sliced off -- a shrine just big enough to fit a fighter in. On top of the structure was a figure resembling a large cube with a prominent “T” shape; a simple face, but an intimidating face symbolizing one of the many wonders of Texel nonetheless.

          “Let the defender do the honors, fairy,” commanded the knight. The fairy, surprised at the sudden order, relinquished the Texite to the defender. The defender, at a loss of what to do, decided to toss the Texite into the structure. As the divine totem began to break apart the Texite mid-air and build up energy, the sky darkened and lightning began to strike it more and more frequently until finally, after the overdramatic build up, a flash of light erupted from within it and enveloped the spectators. By the time the light died out, someone was flying out of the structure. He was a blur of purple as he zoomed from place to place before landing on a rock a couple meters away. A small purple dragon was he with fierce red eyes and intimidating fangs.

          “What say you of a short break from destroying Exos in order to introduce ourselves? To be frank, I am growing tired of calling you knight or fairy or hydra,” said the defender, sitting down on a stone. The others followed suit. “Let us begin with the fierce dragon we just built.”

          After extending his wings and letting out a roar, the dragon proudly said “Ekurzakir,” to which the defender responded “Eku it is” with a faint smile. He was a Lightning-signed Guru from the Theri tribe. Next up was the fairy, who began to show off her flying skills by doing loops and dives and spins. Jadewing was her name. “I am a Guru from the Hemi tribe whose sign is Air, and I shall try my best to heal you all every chance I get.” The hydra, a Water-signed Warlock from the Theri tribe, called himself Amata, and the centaur, a Water-signed Champ from the Hemi tribe, called himself Witherclay. The knight’s turn finally came, and he stood up to put a hand on his dragon. “I used to be Khorvash, but thanks to evolution, I have cast aside my old Self. We are known as Gulbahar, a Water-wielding Champ from the Xana tribe.”

          For a second the hand thought the defender was going to forget about him, but the defender picked him up and presented him to everyone. “And you, my very first friend, what is your name?” the defender asked; a simple question under simple circumstances, but ‘twas no simple circumstance. He had not evolved, but he had changed –- and drastically at that. No longer did he see himself as the seaman he used to be, no longer did he have hopes of becoming the hero he had so fleetingly expected himself to become, no longer did he feel the title Captain suited him. After being quiet, he simply stated “well met! Alas, those Exos left me broken, but I shall be your scout. You’d best call me Zar, an abbreviated name for an abbreviated man.” He tried to sound happy and ecstatic, but he was afraid his sadness may have slipped through the cracks of his decimated dots. Everyone remained silent for a while as the defender began to analyze the situation and attempted to memorize everyone’s names. Zar looked at the defender for a while. Someone who had previously complained about how “constrained” Texeli vocabulary was could not possibly expect to memorize so many names and even comprehend what anyone meant when they said their sign, class, and tribe, or perhaps he was underestimating the defender’s intelligence because of his own annoyance at such a rude statement. “Say… defender… what shall we call you?” Everyone else began nodding in agreement. Just as he was not comfortable calling them by what they were, so were they about calling him defender. The defender thought for a while, but shrugged.

          “I used to have a name, but that name has long gone from my memory. I do not wish to be addressed as such anymore. This new world warrants having a new name, but I am unsure of what new name to decide upon. It could be anything I want!” He thought for a long time, and Zar could tell the Hemi were growing impatient from waiting. Before either one of those savages could blurt out their rude nonsense, however, the defender finally decided upon a name. “Just call me Defender.”