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 Ch. 32: No Time to Play

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Ch. 32: No Time to Play Empty
PostSubject: Ch. 32: No Time to Play   Ch. 32: No Time to Play I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 29, 2010 6:51 pm

Ergent Seth was breathing heavily. He had been running for an hour on his assigned road, mist from his breath mingling with the darkness, the glow of will-o-wisps around him providing a cold, cheerless light. He paused, taking deep breaths as he tried to regain his energy. It had been months since he joined the clan, yet he still found himself as one of the weaker members. Cursing, he sat down on the roadside, sweating even though the night was chill. A slight wind blew past, ruffled his short silver hair, carrying with it the whispers of battle from the west. Someone was fighting. Seth looked up with silver eyes. When Tradewind Creed had joined the clan, people noted how Seth and Creed looked so much alike. Other than a few facial differences, Seth’s shorter hair, and Creed’s black wings, they looked near identical in black leather robes with the Requiem insignia emblazoned on their shoulders. Seth fingered the design on his left shoulder subconsciously.

“Oh, poor baby, all alone in the dark.” Seth sprang to his feet, looked around, felt a bead of sweat run down the back of his neck, mistook it for a pair of eyes prickling the silver hairs on his head. He couldn’t see anything unusual, though the shifting light of the will-o-wisps were enough to hide the movements of anyone nearby. Then the soft, lilting voice came again, cooing to him. “Wanna play with me for a bit? I’ll go easy on you.” Seth drew a silver sword from his side, its edge glinting in the low light. Stared into the darkness, knew he was looking the wrong way. He turned to glare at a tall, slender woman in a slinky red dress. Long black hair rippled over her bare shoulders. Dark eyes gleamed.

“Put that thing away. I just want to have a little fun with you, that’s all.” The woman took a step closer. Seth pointed the sword at her. “By the way, my name is Tess. Nice to meet you.” Seth held his sword with both hands, backing up slowly. “Aren’t you going to tell me you name?” Seth shook his head. “Alright then. Guess I’ll just have to deal with it.” Tess raised an empty hand, waved long, slender fingers. On each finger was a claw, tip steaming with a faint, green liquid. Seth’s eyes widened, knew what the liquid was.

A swipe at his face, too close for comfort. He hadn’t seen her move, only saw her go from standing ten feet away to balancing on the edge of his sword, two inches from his face. She looked at him, grinned, aimed a kick with a black stiletto boot that sent him spiraling backwards. Then she was up in the air above him, bare arms outstretched, claws gleaming on each hand, red dress rippling in the wind.. He panicked, rolled over to once side as she buried her claws into the ground where he lay a moment ago. Getting up, Seth settled into a fighting stance, sword in front of him. Tess yawned for a moment, then pounced on him again.

Her claws sang through the air in wide circles, forcing him backwards. Every time he slashed with his sword, she effortlessly dodged, then pressed forward. Seth took the time he had to analyze her fighting style, just like Saint had taught him. He started with her claws. They were three-inch long blades that extended from rings on each of her fingers, tipped with poison, or possibly acid. Her high-heeled boots should have limited her movements, but instead she moved easily, boots clicking, sliding in and out of the darkness, red dress rippling. And what a pretty red dress too…

He snapped back to reality as she aimed another swipe at him, coming uncomfortably close to his nose. Her face soft, eyes watching, expression cunning. Seth aimed a stab at her, she curved around it, leaping up and twisting in midair, arms extended, claws trailing a thin line of green. It had been a lousy attack, but she still dodged out of the way. So she didn’t have any armor underneath her dress. Seth tried not to think of what she did have underneath, instead focusing on keeping track of her movements. Tess aimed successive swipes at Seth’s face, forcing him to keep his silver shortsword up to parry her claws. Her constant aerial attacks, combined with the small nature of her weapons, meant that Seth was constantly fending off a barrage of swift attacks from all directions, the slightest touch of which could be deadly. Another kick. Seth aimed to chop off the leg, but it moved out of the way at the last second. Tess backflipped, landed ten feet away, black hair streaming about her.

Seth drew a throwing knife, hurled it at her with all his might. Tess reacted quickly, grabbing it out of the air with two fingers, brought it to her mouth. Seth watched with horror as she slowly began to lick the edge of the blade with a long, green tongue, her dark eyes staring at Seth all the while. The blade slowly began to hiss and bubble, coated in a green liquid. Then she hurled it right back at Seth. The knife came straight for his face full speed. Seth brought up his silver sword to parry it. Instead of the clang of the blade bouncing off, the knife smashed right through his shortsword, propelled by the force of his opponent’s arm. It kept going, leaving a small gash on his left hand. The wound began to bubble up, green pus oozing from it.

The poison in his hand got right to work. It would convert his blood and muscle into pus, eating away at the flesh, even rotting his bones. A single drop of poison was already enough to dissolve an arm, but the knife had been tipped with enough poison to turn seven men into a puddle of green pus. Seth raised the stump of a sword he had left, right arm shaking, and cut off the chunk of green flesh around the wound, letting his left hand slump to his side, bleeding, but safe. He cast away his useless weapon, watched as Tess approached him, high-heeled boots clicking. All traces of sarcasm were gone from her face.

“I think you know who I am now, don’t you? I’m Tess, eleventh best mercenary in the world. My poison isn’t a magic, but an ability I was born with. No magic can cure it once it gets to work on you. But you already know that. You cut off your left palm just to save yourself. But how much are you willing to cut off to save your face?” She sprang at him, claws bared. Seth had no weapons left. He tried to think. Nothing Saint had taught him had prepared him for this. What about Creed, and his scythe? No, he hadn’t taught Seth much more than the basics of using a scythe, and nothing at all about where to get one. But Blizzard did teach him one small, forbidden art…

Seth closed his eyes, knew he had seconds before Tess was upon him. He pressed two fingers to his chest, felt his heart beating, began to focus what magical energy he had. Then swiftly drawing his hand away, Seth cringed as he felt part of his soul leave his body, exposing itself to the dark energies of the world. Working quickly, he fashioned it into a crude scythe, opened his eyes, and swung. Tess stabbed one clawed hand into the ground, stopping herself just out of reach of Seth’s new scythe.

“What…is that?” Seth didn’t answer. It was a sin to rip one’s soul apart, but once it was done, there was no turning back. Blizzard had taught him the art of fashioning weapons by using the energy from the soul. Now, Seth wielded a crude soul scythe, whirling it around his head, letting the blue light from its edge spill out into the darkness. Tess backed up, eyes wide, betraying only a moment of fear. Seth grinned, sprang forward, scythe glowing in his right hand. A blue flash.

The head went spinning into the bog, green tongue lolling. The rest of the body collapsed, green poison spurting from the stump of a neck, eating away at everything it touched, leaving behind nothing. Seth cringed as the red dress burned up, revealing a rapidly decaying body. In moments, a green puddle was all that was left, slowly streaming off the road and into the swamp.

Seth allowed his soul scythe to dissipate. He had no weapons left, and his soul was in shambles as it fought an internal battle to fix itself. Still, he had a mission. Seth fingered the Requiem insignia on his shoulder, then kept moving.
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Ch. 32: No Time to Play
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