Author's Note:  What follows is not Summoner Wars canon, but rather details the battle between dok and myself, playing the new Second Summoners for Cloaks and Jungle Elves.  Enjoy!

 

The mists wrap around the trees of the jungle lazily. An eery hush falls among the hidden animals, and Jexik's ears are painfully aware of the unnatural silence. He knows his foes are close, but cannot fathom where they are hiding in this supernatural fog. His men are strong and loyal, but their nerves are frayed at the unseen danger lurking nearby, cloaked in dew and shadow.

 

The attack, despite being expected, catches them completely off-guard when it does come. Jexik's best bodyguard, a big bruiser type of man, cries out in pain as a dart catches him in the chest and then waves of nausea wash over him. Nearby, his top gunman is ambushed by a feral hyena, but escapes the attack with his life.

 

Jexik springs into action, commanding his henchman forward to attack despite the newfound wooziness, and soon the hunter who shot him lies dead on the ground. His other troops set to work making hyena burgers with the prowess of short order chefs.

 

Jexik finally catches sight of his scantily clad counterpart when the witch doctor blasts one of his renegade fighters, and then the poor sot is devoured by an opportunistic hyena that took advantage of his victim's distraction.

 

Angry now, Jexik orders one of his other renegades into position to counterattack. While his other troops are still advancing on the enemy lines, the crafty fellow sneaks an attack in on the lumbering rhino that now threatens his large comrade.  The big enforcer tries to follow up and finish off the wounded rhino, but the toxins in his blood and the thickness of the rhino's hide make his attacks fall away without impact. Frustrated, his versatile comrade gets another attack in on the rhino, but is soon trampled to death by the rhino who has a hungry hyena for support.

One of Jexik's top marksmen manages to penetrate the elven formation, and unloads both barrels now that he's found his marked target. The witch doctor, annoyed at this upstart, grips his Stone and utters a an animalistic incantation. His skin begins to harden, and an armored pattern emerges across his skin as he easily dispatches his would-be assassin.

 

Jexik, seeing an opportunity, readies a spell of his own and feels a kernel of his knowledge disseminate into his various troops. A fresh hitman, using this knowledge, vanishes into thin air and appears close enough to shoot the aggressive shaman. Fair afield, Jexik's loyal lieutenant finally manages to slay that tough rhinoceros, and then vanishes into the mists to retreat behind the safety of a wall.

 

The witch doctor reacts quickly to the new threat, and takes cover behind his own wall. The new assassin, thinking himself safe on the far side, is alarmed to see a hazy miasma pouring through the cracks of the wall. Coughing and sputtering, he falls to the shrouded ground in a fit of tortured spasms amidst the poisonous cloud, never to rise again.

 

Jexik's lips peel back in a disdainful snarl. Upon seeing his nemesis use another incantation to regrow flesh and close his previous wounds, Jexik sets his face into a wrathful grimace and strategizes his next moves with a vengeful brilliance. He considers bringing forth the mysterious Spider and having him infiltrate the enemy lines to assault his foe directly. However, he recalls rumors of the elven warrior whose poisoned blades can fell even the mightiest champion, and opts to recalculate his strategy.

 

Deciding that he'd need some regeneration of his own troops, Jexik calls upon his faithful medic. The doc, while long suspected to be a fraud of some sort, wastes no time in curing Jexik's most loyal enforcer of the toxins in his bloodstream.  His wooziness gone for the first time in an agonizing eternity, the large lieutenant immediately looks for his next target.

 

He didn't have to wait long. The witch doctor, sensing an opening, again covers his skin in a patchwork armored shell, and simultaneously elongates his legs to enable him to sprint across the battlefield with a cheetah's speed and press the attack. One of the witch doctor's hunters manages to catch the medic with a poison-tipped dart, and the doc feels the waves of nausea and knows that none can save him from this slow-working poison.

 

Jexik determines that he must close off at least one flank of this enemy assault, and so initiates a clever diversion. One of his enforcers sprints up to an elven wall cloaked in fog, and then reappears behind enemy lines to quickly dispatch a startled hunter. Jexik's faithful lieutenant, still clinging to life after all of his travails, manages a pair of blows on the witch doctor, but one of his fists glances uselessly off of the armored shell. The enemy lines crushed, Jexik brilliantly orders his other lieutenant deeper into enemy territory.

 

The witch doctor finally manages to kill that most faithful lieutenant. Enraged, Jexik orders his new favorite lieutenant to pull off a daring heist, successfully stealing one of his foe's many tricks. The theft accomplished, the hulking bruiser rushes to join Jexik and his medic at their new position. Soon a pitched battle occurs, and Jexik groans as the witch doctor summons forth an imposing shapeshifter to aid him in the battle.

 

The medic bravely tries to fight off the witch doctor despite his toxin-induced vertigo. The wily shaman calls forth a hyena, and with the power of his Stone forces the hyena's teeth to extend into vicious, serpentlike fangs. The shapeshifter is quick to duplicate this feat and, together with their fearless leader, soon leave the medic crumpled on the ground while grievously wounding Jexik himself in the vicious maelstrom.

 

Retreating from the enemy lines, Jexik calls forth more of his troops to stem the fatal tide. Another would-be assassin finds his mark on the witch doctor, while the latest favorite lieutenant lands an intimidating blow upon the shapeshifter. It takes a convincing argument from his leader before the shapeshifter is willing to return fire upon the hulking bruiser, but soon Jexik's latest troops join the long list of casualties.  Jexik hunkers down, and summons forth his beloved Kyra to deal with these wretched elves once and for all.

 

Kyra manages to bring the shapeshifter to death's door, but is caught by surprise when a vicious ivory tiger appears that sees through her tricks and leaves her grievously wounded. The shapeshifter lunges forward with the opportunistic hunger of a ravenous hyena, and seeks to end her there. He catches a mere phantasm, but then sees the real Kyra thanks to the witch doctor's willingness to sacrifice his own troops.  The shapeshifter catches the illusionist with nowhere to run.  As Kyra falls to the mist-shrouded ground, a concealed weapon slips from under her cloak, and the witch doctor realizes how narrowly he'd avoided his own doom.

 

Running out of time and options, Jexik is forced to execute a daring plan. An assassin appears behind the blood-soaked shaman, rushes headlong to claim his marked target, fires upon him in a frenzied burst, and – fails to kill his target as the long pistol detonates in his own hand.

 

Bleeding heavily, the witch doctor realizes that he must end this conflict before his own doom befalls him. Calling his mighty tiger to his side, in a burst of energy he mounts upon its back and catches Jexik off-guard.

 

Face-to-face at last, the two Summoners gaze upon each other with cold hatred and, yet, a touch of understanding.  Jexik, brilliant strategist though he is, could not react in time. He looks down to see the handle of Kyra's dagger emerging from his belly. A puzzled look crosses his features as he slumps to the ground amid the mists.