Editor’s Note : This chapter contains scenes of mild-gore. Readers discretion is advised.
There is nothing wrong with me.
Then why do your eyes look so sad?
“Yes,” I said into the black night, into the row of murderous eyes before me. “why?” Constant inquiries bombarded my mind as I charged in. It was nothing new, at this point I was used to it all, it was growing rather annoying to be honest. Never knowing what was the next step, yet having it thrusted upon you and being expected to act at a moments notice. That was what ran through my head as I hacked my way through the first wave of enemies. I had already started noticing patterns among them, so fighting the fringe started becoming much easier.
During the fight Krale just stood there, observing his subordinates. Our eyes locked as I spun to avoid a dark armored assassin lunging at me. One by one I was cutting them down, their recklessness being their downfall. Their fighting was so savage yet so calculated, however it carried a certain conviction behind it. As if they knew they were going to die, as if they were ready to do so. That was when I realized that they were sacrificing themselves, trying to tire me out for when I had to fight Krale. I needed to change tactics, if not they would cut me down, and they would have Daniel. I focused on the situation, on the goal at hand. Plans had changed, we would not be able to subdue Krale in this condition. Argus and Simon were probably making sure Serenity was safe, so I would have no backup. So now it was just me. I had to rescue Daniel, and kill Krale. As more and more assassins ran towards me I continued to bat them away. I would be forced to use magic I did not favor too much. Taking my sword I leaped back and swiped a line across the floor before me.
My magic acted and traced a thick line of emerald energy in front of me, acting as a barrier between the fringe and I. It would buy me but a second, but it was all I needed. I began to swipe my arms into the air as barbed tendrils began to wrap themselves around my hands. I splayed one hand towards my right and my fingertips shot out a spiked orb of shadow. The orb splattered all over the ground, leaving behind a sort of jagged spider-web pattern. From it something began to emerge. Tendrils of darkness began to take shape, as a mass of shadow spawned from the floor, several beady eyes sprouted from its seemingly insubstantial shape. Meanwhile I swiped my sword once again, opening a hole of darkness at my feet. This time the gateway had a different appearance. Ribbons of flesh and sinew began to sprout from a scarlet void. They formed into horrendous amalgamations with distorted bodies, sprouting bones from all areas, delivering wheezing sounds like and agonizing animal.
I released the barrier in front of me and pointed my sword at the enemy.
“Dig in,” I snarled, and my creations charged in. The shadowy orb of darkness floated towards one of the assassins, a large jaw emerged from it and it lunged. The two other flesh abominations sprinted like large rodents to their enemies. One managed to bite into the leg of their target, while the other was kicked away by theirs. Regardless, they were distracting the enemy.
Despite the turmoil, I was cautious to not be too loud, we were still just outside a mansion filled with nobility. The last thing this situation need was a random charr attacking a popular figure from their circle. The fringe was having no trouble being subtle, they barely made any noise. Their footsteps were barely audible, and when they were close I could barely hear their breathing. The action that could be considered as loud would be when I deflected one of their daggers.
I charged in, doing my best to get to Krale. More and more of his guards would get in the way however, it was difficult to tell exactly how many of them were in the darkness of this street. probably five or six from what I could sense. It mattered little to me, I was determined to cut down anyone in order to get to Daniel. That was the only thought that I had within me as I batted away a sword and buried one end of my forked blade into the head of an assassin. I ripped the lifeless corpse off of the blade and threw it at one of the enemies my minions were working on. The impact was enough to knock one of them down and for one of my abominations to sink their teeth into their throat. My minions were finishing off their targets as I moved in to the last one before Krale. My four minions and I leaped in, striking at once, the last assassin didn’t stand a chance. I allowed my undead creations to devour his body while I drew closer to Krale.
The human simply regarded me with a cold smile. “So thats why we’re being told to not underestimate you secros,” he said.
“And yet you still send in your peons,” I said as I traced my finger across my blade, a sheet of emerald magic began to manifest over it.
“Just wanted to see if the rumors were true,” said Krale. “I am pleased to see that they are. It’s been quite some time since I’ve faced someone with such savagery and grace.” The human threw off his cloak, he was still dressed in formal attire, but his coat was hiding a thin rapier. He drew it out and pointed it towards me. I could see a flicker of light escape the blade. That was when I realized that I was not the only one using magic here. I did not know what kind however, so I was on the defensive.
“So, charr, may I have this dance?” He leaped towards me with incredible speed.
I managed to dodge out of the way just in time, pivoting to avoid his blade. I had almost touched me, and I heard a gentle hum escape the needle thin blade. I realized that maybe I should not let it touch me. I leaped away trying to avoid Krale’s second swing and stab, his blade danced in the air as I did my best to avoid it.
“Light on your feet,” pointed out Krale. “not too common for a spell caster, especially charr.”
“I belong to the secros,” I said as I leaped back. “Don’t expect anything traditional.” I flicked my wrist to control my undead minions and they sprang into action. Once I directed my minions to where Krale was standing, however, he was gone. My eyes quickly scanned the area, but he was nowhere to be found. Then a flash of light appeared in front of me, and there was Krale stabbing his sword towards me. I didn’t have enough time to dodge, I had to block.
I swung my sword in front of me, and batted away the blade, I immediately felt a surge of pain creep up my arm and travel throughout my body. I restrained a scream of pain as I struggled to remain standing. In my stunned state, Krale delivered a kick to my stomach and I managed to use the momentum to once again leap backwards. This time I was able to get a good view of the magic on Krale’s blade. Sparks danced around the thin blade as the human traced the tip across the floor. Air magic.
I ordered my minions to attack him while I was recuperating, Krale was ready for it though. He immediately vanished again, except he appeared behind one of my abominations and impaled his sword into its head. After kicking the dead minion aside he teleported to the next one and killed it the same way. The shadowy figure stepped in but was simply repelled away by an orb of lightning that escaped Krale’s hand. This battle was going downhill, all I could do was evade Krale. If I attacked he could block and electrocute me, if I blocked he would do the same. I needed to think of something and soon.
Suddenly, I heard something that made me feel a pit in my stomach. I heard a shrill cry escape the wagon where Daniel was being held. Both Krale and I rounded towards the box as the screams continued, several loud bangs could be heard as the box was shifted slightly.
“I wonder what’s going on in there,” mused Krale. I shot a glare at him.
“What are you doing to him?” I hissed.
“I did nothing,” said the human with a crooked smile. I did not give into his lie, my rage began to boil as I found an idea. I placed my palm on the edge of my blade, tendrils of emerald magic began to envelop the hand, and I slid it across the blade. My blood began to pour onto the blade, instead of continuing and dripping onto the floor it coiled around the metal of the blade. Green magic became scarlet, and it took on a much more sinister look. Creeping through the blade like thorns on a rose. I swiped my blade above my head, drawing more blood that only continued to coil. The gash on my hand began to ooze out blood into the shape of an orb, it seethed and flowed with a volatile nature. Krale once again readied his blade, sparks dancing around the rapier as he manifested a ball of lightning on his other hand.
We both sprinted towards the other and our blades clashed. this time his magic collided with mine, as his lightning struck my necromancy, they both clashed and erupted violently. We were both thrown back as a blood red cloud was left behind. Krale finally seemed to take the fight seriously, the smirk he had on his face disappeared as he charged his weapon with even more electricity. I retorted by slapping my blade against the floor, releasing another two clouds. Krale leaped at me, and vanished. I released a deep breath and tried to predict where he would appear again.
I swung my sword behind me and it connected with Krale’s just as he appeared. Once again we were both thrown back and left behind another cloud. He repeated the process twice which resulted in the same outcome. I was noticing much more force behind Krale’s attacks now. He appeared once again, this time to get a word in, his visage slightly obscured by the red mist in the area getting thicker. His eyes were glowing brightly as static traveled across his body.
“I’ve wasted enough time with you, charr!” He said showing signs of fatigue. “Had we not been enemies I would commend your skill, but in these circumstances, you’re just annoying.”
“Really?” I said confidently. “I was finding this rather fun to be honest.” Krale roared as even more static traveled through his body. He vanished once again and appeared in the air above me, he brought down his sword, using it more like a cattle prod than a rapier. This time I was prepared, I batted his sword away and fought back to be thrown away by the force of the magics colliding. I maintained my footing while Krale was shot back flying, he vanished once again in a flash of light and appeared next to me swinging his sword again. I blocked, and sent him flying back once again.
He continued his onslaught, teleporting towards me and striking only to have me bat the sword away and send him back. Every time the mist that was left behind made it harder and harder to see. finally Krale grew tired or using his sword and teleported a distance away from me and stored his weapon, he gathered his hands together and began to charge a spell. I mirrored his action and readied the orb of crimson magic in my other hand.
He threw his steady stream of lightning at me and I was able to hurl my own projectile in time. A steady flow of red ribbons collided with the jagged sparks, both wrestling for the advantage. Krale’s focus was to overpower me, and he would eventually succeed. It was obvious that he had much more power, that much was obvious. However, he was unaware of my plan. After a few seconds I could see his power waning, his beam of electricity giving way. I could hear his breathing over the sound of the heavy amounts of magic being used. He was wheezing, fighting back the urge to cough. No matter how much he could ignore pain, there was no way anyone could resist this much poison that saturated the air.
I could see the realization in Krale’s eyes, he immediately stopped his attack and rolled out of the way to avoid my beam of magic. He could barely limp away, but I was not about to let him get away. I once again took out my sword as I became covered by a pitch black curtain.
“Deathshroud.” I splayed my free hand toward Krale, and jagged palm shot out towards him and once hit pinned him down by grasping his neck I teleported to him. My hand was now squeezing his thin and delicate neck. I raised my sword into the air and the red mist began rush towards it.
“Deep breaths, Krale.” I said as I stabbed my sword into his lungs. The mist exploded within his body, fumes escaped his mouth as his eyes fogged over. With his last toxic breath he cursed me.
“He…will kill you… charr scum!” And with that his body became limp. The fight was over, I stood up and ripped my sword out of Krale. I stored my sword back into my coat as I ran over to the large wooden box where they were keeping Daniel. Throughout the entire fight he had been screaming, pleading for someone to get him out. Now his banging against the wood was so feeble, I could hear him sobbing between breaths. My claws dug into the wood and began to tear the crate apart, plank by plank. Who ever was in there torturing him would regret ever existing. However, what was before me was not what I expected.
Once I opened the crate and the moonlight revealed what was inside, I only found Daniel. I quickly scanned the inside but found nothing significant. It looked like just any other crate. They were just using it to keep him in there. I quickly moved over to Daniel, who was huddled in fetal position, quivering and unable to move. I picked the human up in my arms.
“Daniel?” I asked trying to get a response from him. “Daniel, It’s me. Anavari.” After hearing my name his arms quickly reached around my neck and held on as if his life depended on it. He sobbed into my chest as I held him, as I did my best to console him. I dawned on me as soon as I drew Daniel away from the wagon. Claustrophobia… I held on to Daniel tightly, not wanting to let him go. There we sat, under the moon in this secluded street just outside the party. We were both too afraid to let the other one go, so we remained there for who knows how long.
I felt as if I had failed him, more than just failing the mission and being unable to get Krale alive, but failed Daniel. I began to realize all the danger that was in front of me all along. I was lucky tonight, I was very lucky. So quickly Daniel could have been ripped out of my life, then what would I have done? How would I have been able to move on knowing that the person who I held closest had died because of my incompetence?
The person who I held closest… I held on to Daniel tightly as I realized how much of an idiot I was. suddenly I noticed a tall figure approaching, with a much smaller mass trotting next to it.
“Anavari!” Called out Argus as he jogged over to me. He noticed me holding Daniel in my arms and Krale dead on the floor. I could tell that he had many questions, but he seemed hesitant to ask.
“Where is Serenity?” I asked. Argus snapped back to reality.
“She’s safe,” he said, I could notice in the very dim lighting that there were dry tears on his face. “The earl is taking care of her.”
“Alright,” I said. “The mission was a failure, I’ll take responsibility for it. Get some ravens out here to clean up the mess.” With that I began to walk away.
“W-Where are you going?” asked Argus.
“Home,” I said seriously. “There’s nothing else to do here. We’ll discuss the mission in the morning.” I continued walking into the dark streets. Throughout the entire trip Daniel remained in my arms, he would murmur something under his breath but other that that he would remain silent. The only words I could make out were “I’m sorry.” It did not feel like he was talking to me, then who was he apologizing to?
Fortunately we did not run into anyone this late at night. It was simply a silent walk home. By the time we arrived home I simply went into Daniel’s room and left him on his bed for a moment and made sure everything was locked. Once I was back with him I sat next to him, simply sitting with him, there to listen if he wanted to talk, there for company if he did not. In the end we both grew tired, Daniel ended up in my arms as we both drifted away to sleep. I wondered what tortured Daniel so much, perhaps there was a way that I could help, perhaps not. No matter what it was though, I wanted to know, and see if I could help. I just wanted him to smile again, to be his usual self. That was when I found the force that would drive me, that’s when I realized what I was fighting for.