Friday, January 29, 2016

The King's Challenge #190 and #191

TKC 190 and 191

Ignoring the panic behind us, ignoring even Lyra’s manipulation of the elements – which is not as easy to do – I face the oncoming ethereal horde with my own army of ghosts arrayed behind me.

The deactivated orb is still in my left hand. As I am about to shove it into a pocket, I feel vibrations overcome it and glance at it when I can barely afford to divide my attention.

The instant I look at it, it bursts into emerald brilliance.

Yes!

I throw it up, setting it free to act as it wills. It knows what to do.

Lyra abruptly screams, causing me to flinch, but she merely adds voice to an enchantment.

Focus, damn it, I tell myself.

Peripherally, I notice the panic behind us come to an end upon Lyra’s scream. I have not the time to give it attention, but sense how deliberation sets in there. Men and women find weapons and gradually approach the scene of battle.

Yes, Ilfin will always fight rather than surrender.

The enemy is upon us.

Raising my sword, I step into the first line and swipe the blade side to side. Heads roll. And then the entire horde is among us.

Soon all sense of time evaporates. All there is, is muscle memory and rage. My body moves as it knows how to do, while the fury of the Warrior assumes battle station. I slice, chop, swipe and stab. I run, brace, duck and dance. An ancient war cry erupts from my mouth, words I am unable to translate, they are that old. Alongside me, the ghostly Ilfin scream it also, and tear wispy heads from ethereal bodies. The orb dances and darts in, killing Glonu ghost after Glonu ghost. An eerie screech accompanies each killing, one that fills me with dread, yet I am glad of its terrible actions. The orb is, after all, an extension of my inner Warrior.

Shouts and grunts behind reveal the battle is now everywhere and all are in it.

Lyra is untouched. She stands with arms up in an island of calm, while chaos surrounds her. Glonu attempt her barrier only to disintegrate. Electric bolts seek targets and find them, leaving a smoking pillar in the stead of a light being. Hail smashes open faces. Gusts of icy wind cleave into torsos to rip the Glonu apart.

We are not untouched, however. Men have the heads wrenched from their necks. Women are disembowelled. Ever swifter, the defence behind us loses strength. My host dissipates as their souls are crushed into oblivion. I am covered in blood and gore, and some of it is mine.

Sunbeams highlight the horror. Dawn has arrived, and the battle is nowhere near an ending. It will end only when we are dead; this horde will not retreat until it is so.

I hear Damin utter a mighty cry to the left. Relief floods as I see him hurtle closer with his unit streaming alongside him. They tear into the melee. While not exactly fresh, given their night just passed, they have greater will at this point and that will make a difference.

The orb is rushing at me. I see its light grow ever closer. By the stars, the time has come. Stepping aside, I throw my arms wide. The orb smashes into my chest, a sharp agony that almost has me losing my stance. It burrows under my ribcage, a searing pain that attacks every nerve in my body. I scream, but I do not falter.

Then it is gone and the terrible wound on my chest closes as if it did not happen.

I straighten. No more fear. No doubt. No compassion either.

The Lord Enris Makar wades into battle with his muscles expanding, growing ever taller. He knows no mercy.


Horin is dead.


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