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May 31

Chapter Fifteen: Heartless (Part 2)

Chapter Fifteen: Heartless (Part 1)
Chapter Fifteen: Heartless (Part 3)

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“Why are you all dark and shadowy?” asked Garfas as he shoved his blade into the chest of a flame legion charr, picked up his body and threw him to another enemy.

“Its the death shroud!” I exclaimed back as I parried a blade and shoved an orb of energy into a grunt’s face, killing him instantly. “Is now really a good time for me to explain magic to you?!”

“Just wanted an clarification is all!” snapped Garfas as he knocked out a charging enemy with a swift punch and took his axe. “You never care to explain things!”

“Well,” I evaded a charr leaping at me with daggers and countered by collecting energy into a blade and impaling the enemy with a spike of magic that disappeared soon after. “I can explain the nuances of combining emotional control and intellectual endeavors that are required to cast spells, and how the situation placed me in the right mindset to be able to conjure up the death shroud, do I really have to explain all of this now?!” I backed away to avoid another blow, this time I reciprocated by shoving my knee to the charr’s face and using him as a shield for the next attack. That’s when I saw the volley of arrows headed straight for me. I used the body to block the shots and continued fighting.

“Well you haven’t talked to me since last night,” Garfas began hacking away at the wave of charr in front of him, blood was splattering everywhere.

“Are you honestly pinning me down verbally while we’re pinned down physically?!” I said while shoving off a charr I engaged in a guard lock.

“It’s not like you’re having trouble or anything,” said Garfas as he seized a charr by the neck and silenced him by twisting it swiftly. I swore at that moment, that if we both survived this that I would kill Garfas myself.

“What is there to talk about?” I snapped as I pivoted past Garfas to avoid an attack. I ducked in front of the massive white charr so he could swing his axe above me to strike a foe. I brought my sword upward to finish them off. I was pulled back to my feet and spinned aside to strike another foe, then brought back so I could flick a ball of necrotic energy to another. Garfas brought me in close to an embrace and covered both of us to block a volley of arrows. I brandished the sword I took and readied another orb of energy once I was released. Garfas and I stood against each other, back to back. The flame legion hesitant to advance after seeing what became of their first wave.

“You can start with why you ran off suddenly,” said Garfas breathing heavily, his fatigue was showing. Despite how good be believed ourselves to be, we knew we could not defeat a small army. I wasn’t doing so well either, I could feel my power waning, despite how many deaths were fueling me, It could not keep up with my output.

“You’re feelings towards me were clear that night,” I said. “I’m a freak, I’ve known that for a while now. It’s not like I’m not used to it by now.”

“I don’t feel that way!” Garfas feinted an attack to get the slowly approaching flame legion to back off slightly. “You’re important to me, Anavari, don’t you get that?!”

“You’re eyes were all I needed to see,” I said as I pointed my magic downward, tracing a line around Garfas and I. The flame legion froze, now they would definitely not advance. I took this opportunity to face Garfas. “Its the look I get whenever someone thinks I’m weird or freakish. And after what you found out, who wouldn’t think that?”

“That wasn’t it!” said Garfas, realizing that I wasn’t paying much attention to the flame legion grunts. He looked at the situation with a bit of disbelief. He faced me with uncertainty of the magic around his feet and weather or not we would get attacked. “Look, I was just surprised about something, and I was trying to cope okay?”

“I can imagine,” I scoffed. “my condition would repel most people. That’s why I ran.”

“Well I wouldn’t call it a condition,” shrugged Garfas. “I mean we can’t help it when we feel a certain way.” I tilted my head, now I was confused. What was he talking about?

“Wait,” I said. “What do you mean ‘feel a certain way’?”

“…Now I’m confused,” said Garfas. “Are we talking about the same thing?”

“I don’t know anymore!” I exclaimed. “You’re throwing me off as usual, with your lack of knowledge on our conversation, and I can’t elaborate because if you don’t know what I’m talking about I shouldn’t mention it now.” Garfas was a mixture of frustrated, confused and enraged.

“Well I can’t say either because it should be obvious!” Garfas threw his arms up at me. “But again when it comes to what other people are thinking you have no clue because you’re so damn DENSE!”

“Oh, so I’m dense now?” I crossed my arms. “Well I can’t help it that I’m socially inept, when I was a cub I was bullied you see, and that made it quite difficult to develop socially.”

“That’s a low blow, cub,” said Garfas pointing at me. “You already know I regret that. Plus we were cubs back then.” By this point the Flame grunts were just staring at the entire situation in confusion. Uncertain if they should attack or if they should continue listening. I could feel that they expressed a partial interest in what we were talking about. It was growing awkward however.

“Well then stop calling me dense and tell me what it was you were talking about already!” I snapped.

“Bu— I— I can’t say it now!” roared Garfas. “Not in front of…others” At that moment I realized that we were still in the middle of a fight, I began to notice all the eyes gawking at us. If there was anything I couldn’t stand it was hundreds of eyes gawking at me. I sighed a bit embarrassed and returned to facing the enemy.

“Okay I promise to talk with you once we get out of this,” I said. “In private.”

“R—Right,” said Garfas as he returned to his previous stance, a bit awkwardly. “Lets kill them then clear everything up.”

“How many did you count  when they first appeared?” I asked.

“Too many to count,” said Garfas in a whisper. “maybe a hundred, maybe more.”

“I’ve lost count of how many we’ve taken out,” I said gazing at the sea of eyes before us.

“Same,” said Garfas. “I would guess maybe thirty with the ones I killed before you came.”

“Backup is on its way,” I whispered. “We just have to last long enough for them to arrive.”

“Roger,” said Garfas. “Deal a surprise attack while they’re too distracted to realize we’re back to fighting.”

“Understood,” I said as I hurled a series of streams of energy at my enemies. They latched on to them and they began to collapse as I began to siphon the life force out of their bodies. I could feel my reserves filling up again, not enough to fully replenish it but enough to remain in my shroud for longer. The charr came at us once again, forgetting about the trap I had placed and took down another three as they approached. How many flame legion had we taken out? How many more would follow? What chance did we really have of surviving?

I was determined to talk with Garfas however, to continue hearing him and his insufferable voice. Talk about things he didn’t understand and he would sit and listen anyway. I wasn’t going to let that stop now, I wasn’t going to let the flame legion end it. I was going to fight until the end, I was going to survive and bash Garfas over the head with my staff, he would call me cub just to spite me and we train with each other once again. I wanted to fight for him, that much was clear to me now.

These flame legion would suffer, and they would feel the full force of my new found power. I began to trace ribbons of energy to the blade I held in my hand. It tensed and creaked as the vice grip of my magic threatened to bend it. I built up my power, feeling it swell within me. I leaped into the fray. I released all the power I built up in my chest, and released it all into a bone chilling roar, I wanted them to tremble with fear. To become frozen as they would realize that nothing would save them. The air around me was coated in a light red mist as I cleaved through the onslaught, shattering blades and slicing through armor. Rampaging through the grunts, drinking in their life force, doing my best to maintain my form. Meanwhile Garfas was steamrolling through a wave of his own as he went berserk. We both continued to make their numbers less and less.

I had lost track of time, lost track of exactly how many flame legion I had cut down, and even lost track at what point my death shroud had collapse. Once it had ended I simply returned to casting spells and traps by Garfas’ side. soon, there were too few charr to even oppose us, at least in the chamber we were located in. We knew there were more charr above, but either they thought that the lower squads had either subdued or killed us by now. Eventually the charr retreated, leaving us in a room full of carnage. Garfas and I stood alone, covered in blood that wasn’t ours, panting from exhaustion, in disbelief of the fact that we were still alive. My eyes locked with his, we stared at eachother, expecting the illusion to fade at any second. But it was not an illusion, he was before me and I before him. A bit battered, a bit tired, but very much alive.

We both smiled, a laugh of realization escaped both of us. Suddenly I found myself embraced by the charr, wrapping his arms around me he buried his head into my chest as he continued to laugh.

“We did it!” he cheered as he squeezed me tightly. “I can’t believe we made it!”

“Easy!” I said trying to contain my own laughter. “You’ll end up crushing me then all that fighting would have been for naught!” I returned the embrace, holding Garfas close to me, resting my head on his shoulder. We remained as such for a while longer.

“I suppose now is a good as time as any to talk,” I said with a chuckle.

“I guess so,” Said Garfas as he released me and stepped back.

“You can start with what you mean by…” I trailed off as I saw something off the corner of my eye. I peered around Garfas, noticing a new squad of charr appearing, knocking a series of arrows into their bows. I acted quickly, gathering what little power I had left and conjuring it into the form of thin coiling mists around my body. I shoved Garfas aside and stood in front of him as the mist solidified and turned into translucent plating around my body. I charged in as I enveloped myself in what little life force I had left. The volley came at me. A stream of arrows targeted towards me, flying through the sky at incredible speeds.

 

The arrows stabbed into my armor, my deathshroud was quickly lost and it was up to the spectral energies around me to protect what was vital. I raised my arms in front of my face as I gathered small ethereal blades into my palms. The arrows continued coming at me, stopping or simply bouncing off as they struck my armor. Some went in almost deep enough to prod at my skin. Once I was close enough I released the blades in my hands and they raced towards my enemies, cutting them apart. A few were still alive after the attack, so I came in, gathering emerald energies around my fingertips, like the charr in my dreams. I began to use my own claws to assault the remaining few. They released many more arrows but I either evaded them or allowed my armor to handle it. As I charged towards the last one, Garfas appeared before me and silenced him before I could.

There was a moment of relaxation before that, Garfas pointed out all the arrows that were on me but not inside me because of my armor. I chuckled at how ridiculous I looked and allowed my armor to collapse. All the arrows fell off…all except one. Garfas’ eyes widened in shock, which was what signaled to me that something was wrong. I looked at my own body to find an arrow shaft poking out of my chest. At the very center. My knees felt weak, as the blood began to pool underneath me.

“A—Anavari?” Garfas’ voice was cracking, he drew closer to me and held me close as my legs could no longer hold my weight. I was feeling cold, my body was shaking. “No…you’re alright. You’ll be alright won’t you?” The shock was settling in, but I had to fight it, I had to instruct Garfas carefully. Then I heard a loud commotion from above, reinforcements must have arrived. I could hear more flame legion approaching many of them shouting “retreat to the lower area!” They were coming, and Garfas and I would have no chance against them. I needed to act quick.

“Garfas,” I wheezed out, The flow of blood was collapsing. I only had a few seconds. “Pull the arrow out, then wait thirty seconds.”

“What are you—”

“Exactly thirty seconds!” I said. “Then slam your hand against my chest. I’ll be fine, don’t worry.” I was fading into darkness, hearing a hollow, constant noise. Like air blowing through mountains. It was a sound I knew too well, it was what I had instead of a heartbeat. Then the arrow was pulled out, and the flow stopped. I lost conciousness shortly after.

Chapter Fifteen: Heartless (Part 1)
Chapter Fifteen: Heartless (Part 3)
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