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 Ch. 50: We Are Family

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Dye
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PostSubject: Ch. 50: We Are Family   Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:26 pm

It is ironic how a single, silent figure can be more intimidating on the field of battle than hordes of enemies roaring at the top of their lungs. Yet the effect that was produced by the silent arrival of this last mage before the eyes of Priest, Dye, Nathan, and others sent a chill down each and every spine, rendering the entire main force of Requiem temporarily speechless.



“What, aren’t you guys going to say something?”



“Who…are you?”



“What, don’t tell me he never told you!”



"Who never told us?"



“The guy you call Blizzard. I’m his sister.”



“WHAT!?!?!?”



An explosion. Three soldiers were blasted off their feet as the mage took advantage of their momentary shock. Then someone reacted. Marcus erected a giant wall of golden energy, preventing her from doing any further damage.



“Hey look, a bird.”



Marcus didn’t bother to look up. “I’m not falling for that one.”



Someone else shouted out, “By the way, who exactly are you?”



“I’m known as Pixie, the second strongest mercenary in the world.” Pixie grinned wickedly, revealing perfectly white teeth beneath red lips.



“Second strongest?” Marcus was confused. “I thought Sera was the second strongest mage.”



“She was. I am.”



“Whaaa?”



Pixie saw the shield made by Marcus waver for just a second. That was good enough. She summoned an energy ball in each hand, combined them into one giant twilight blast, and blew the shield apart, sending Marcus careening backwards. His head struck a rock, rendering him unconscious. Edvin dove into action, cutting Pixie off from Marcus’s body to prevent her from finishing him off. He drew two icicles as weapons and swiped at the mage, forcing her to flutter into the air. Her wings beat faster than the eye could see as she hovered ten feet above him. He growled, summoning icicles from the sky. Pixie swerved to dodge them, landing back lightly on the ground and blasting the icicles out of the sky with raw magic. Their shards landed around her, glittering as they melted away.



“So tell me, what makes you second strongest mercenary all of a sudden?”



“That’s easy enough. You guys killed off almost all of the other top mercenaries out there, except for the number one guy, who just sits around all day guarding some fat old lord deep inside a fancy fortress somewhere. Sera stopped being a mercenary when the demon controlling her died, and Direbane quit for some strange reason. That just leaves me.”



“So it’s not that you got stronger, it’s that everyone else just died or quit.”



“Pretty much, yeah.”



“That’s a relief to hear.” Edvin snapped his fingers. Four clones of himself materialized out of thin air, surrounding Pixie and pointing ice swords at her head. She merely closed her eyes and waited. Suddenly, more copies of Edvin sprang out of nothing. Edvin took a step back, and his original clones pulled away from Pixie as more and more copies of Edvin appeared, swarming around and confounding him. As he tried to control these new copies, one turned around and slashed at him. He panicked, stumbling backwards and banishing his own clones. Then he focused on trying to take out the fake copies, which closed in on him. The members of Requiem watched in horror as a single, dreadful scream rent the air. Then Pixie snapped her fingers. The clones disappeared, and Edvin collapsed in a bloody heap.



“EDVIN!!!” Jake ran forward, ignoring warnings from his fellow soldiers. He didn’t realize his dreadful mistake until Pixie grabbed him by the neck and lifted him off his feet.



“What’s your name?”



“J-J-Jacob…”



“What’s the color of the sky?”



???



“Don’t make me repeat myself.”



“B-Blue…”



Pixie raised a finger into the air. “What direction am I pointing?”



“Up?”



“Guess what?”



“What?”



“You win the grand prize!” A loud bang. Jake flew backwards ten feet, landing in with a loud crash.



Dye covered his face in shame. “I’ve been doing that to him for five years, and he still falls for that same trick.”



Pixie looked at the members of Requiem, morose and mute. “Is that it? Is that all that my brother’s clan has to offer?” Megan stepped forward, but didn’t have a chance to lift her wand before a rock smashed into her forehead, knocking her out. “I don’t lose to the same person twice. I know your weaknesses now, remember?”



Heavy footsteps. Dye stepped forward, unsheathing his scimitar. “Well, looks like your opponent will be me now.” Pixie’s attack was fast, twilight energy attacking Dye from all sides in one of her strongest spells yet. But with a roar of flames, Dye brushed the attack off, looking a bit surprised but unscathed. Pixie took a small step backwards as the flames licked out in all directions. Dye, sensing her fear, took the initiative and charged.



The scimitar sizzled through the air as it came sweeping out. Pixie flipped backwards, feeling the intense heat miss her by inches. She fired three successive spells in mid-air, but to no avail. They were absorbed by Dye’s coat of flames, making them leap up with the infusion of energy. Dye began to land a barrage of blows around Pixie, burning the ground black, eventually driving her up into the air. Even then she could feel the heat from Dye’s flames reaching out towards her.



Pixie looked down on Dye as she hovered, his flames an unnecessary light in her twilight environment. He had to have a weakness; everyone did. But then again, he was a captain after all. Maybe that weakness was just a little bit harder to find than with the others. She looked carefully. There was a glint around his neck. She moved in a bit closer, trying to get a better view while staying away from Dye’s inferno. There it was, a blue sapphire star on a black chain, silver runes written across its surface. A pendant from a loved one? She looked more closely. It had a slight glow to it that did not come from Dye’s flames. A soul stone, containing the soul of a loved one who had passed on but wanted to remain with her lover for the rest of his life. As she read the runic name on the pendant’s surface, Pixie smiled and began to formulate a plan.



Dye turned around. Pixie had landed in front of him. He roared and aimed an uppercut, splitting her in half. The halves vanished into the twilight. Swearing, Dye turned around, trying to see into the dim light created by Pixie. Her ability to change the lighting of her environment into that of dusk made it hard for him to see, even with his flames lighting up the immediate area around him. Now she was twisting the shadows into shapes to fool him. He slammed the ground with his scimitar, sending flaming cobblestones flying everywhere. Then he heard something and turned around. A familiar figure was approaching him out of the twilight.



“Jane!” He couldn’t believe his eyes. He shouldn’t have. His fire flickered, then went out as he took a step forward. Then Jane’s warm smile turned into the cold grin of Pixie. Dye’s eyes widened, then closed as a bolt of twilight magic smashed into him. He staggered backwards, was hit by three more blasts, couldn’t summon any flames to protect himself as the image of Jane’s face turning into that of Pixie’s haunted his mind. Then an especially large twilight blast sent him flying.



Jake got up momentarily, rubbing his head, muttering, “The sky is blue…” Then, with a loud crunch, Dye landed on top of him.



Pixie laughed disdainfully. “That’s pitiful. Even a captain like you has a weakness that I can use to my advantage.”



“And so do you, Pixie.” The mage turned. A red shadow emerged from the darkness of the streets, entering the dim twilight of Pixie’s domain.“Another one? When will you people just give up and go home?”





“Give up? We don’t give up.”





“Whatever. Don’t blame me if I kill you.”





“I’d like to see you try.” Pixie looked again. Dawn was almost unrecognizable. Her empty shoulder sockets were now replaced with red arms that glowed with intense power. Around her neck were her former arms, one pure white set of bones on her right and one charred black on her left, entwined and embracing each other in a macabre necklace. On her face was a look of determination that would have sent lions scurrying for cover. Pixie could feel a small twinge of fear, which she quickly quashed. What was there to be afraid of? Just her little sister. Then Dawn darted forward, becoming a blur. Pixie couldn’t follow her movements, the twilight working against her as Dawn dodged left and right in a preemptive move to avoid any incoming spells. Pixie didn’t bother to fire any spells, instead rising up into the night sky, supported by the tiny wings on her back. It wasn’t enough.





Dawn leaped into the air, grabbing hold of Pixie’s ankle and dragging her down. They both slammed into the ground, Dawn on top, Pixie underneath. The mage winced. Her wings had been broken by the impact. Dawn didn’t waste time, picking her up and throwing her sideways, sending her skidding down an alleyway, where she slid into the darkness. Pixie picked herself up, couldn’t see a thing. Then she knew what was wrong. The familiar half-light that she usually conjured was gone. Something in Dawn had counteracted that magic. Then, the faint, rhythmic pad of footsteps snapped her into focus. She couldn’t afford to lose this battle. She would just have to fight without her twilight.





Dawn came, arms bright red in the dark alleyway. Pixie somersaulted backwards as her sister swiped at her, the air singing softly from the near miss. Then Pixie fired three twilight blasts in quick succession. The first two missed, but the third went true. Dawn grabbed the incoming attack and deflected it with her magical hands, sending it crashing harmlessly into the alley wall. Pixie paused for a moment. That was something new. Then Dawn swiped again. Pixie slid backwards to avoid the attack. Something scraped against her stomach, leaving three parallel gashes. She looked down. The fingernails on Dawn’s left arm had grown to an improbable length and sharpened themselves into claws. Three of them glowed brightly as they soaked up blood from Pixie’s stomach. Dawn looked grim as she aimed another attack with her right arm. This one had transformed into a giant hammer. Pixie dodged out of the way and covered her head as Dawn smashed downwards. Broken cobblestones flew everywhere, bouncing off alley walls and scattering into the darkness. When Pixie looked up again, Dawn was nowhere to be seen. She listened to the silence around her, trying to detect any movements. Nothing.





Pixie knew better than to relax, but she had to do something. She closed her eyes, summoning all her magical strength from within to create the twilight aura that usually followed her. Then she siphoned off some magic to fix her crushed wings, feeling them snap back into place. Just in time. Dawn came roaring out of the darkness and into the twilight. Her hands had transformed into enormous blades, and as she ran, she left deep gashes in the alley walls on both sides. Her swipes missed Pixie by inches as she lifted off into the air. Pixie carved an arc of twilight in the air and sent it spiraling down at Dawn. Unable to dodge, Dawn turned one arm into a shield, absorbing the impact, while the other became an arrow launcher. Pixie watched, stunned, as a hail of arrows rose up to meet her. She zoomed upwards as the first few arrows bit into her, trying to escape, alighting on the rooftop of a nearby building. Safe.





Or not. As Pixie began to remove an arrow from her shoulder, Dawn rose up above her. Arms had been transformed into gigantic eagle wings. She landed lightly in the middle of the roof, arms transforming back into their natural state. Pixie snapped, summoning five copies of herself that encircled Dawn. Arms transformed into twin arrow launchers. The Pixie clones fired blast after blast of magic, but the number of arrows overwhelmed their efforts and sent each one sliding off the roof and down into the streets below, riddled with arrows. Pixie glared, opened both of her palms, each one face-up. Ravens began forming out of the twilit air, silently closing in on Dawn. Each one opened its mouth, firing blasts of magic. Dawn fired again, arrows thick in the air. The ravens were cleared from the sky as if an eraser had wiped through them.





“Where did you get this new power of yours?”





“My leader gave me these arms using the energy left in my old ones.”





“Is that why you wear that disgusting necklace?”





“What, this? No, I wear it because it looks cool on me.”





“It doesn’t look ‘cool’, it makes me sick looking at it.”





“Good.”





“Why are you fighting so hard anyways? Aren’t I your sister?”





“A person who destroyed my family is no sister of mine.”





“Are you holding a grudge against me for that?”





“Yeah.”





“But we’re family!”





“No. My true family is my clan. We are family. An attack on my family is an attack on me. An enemy of my family is an enemy of me. I kill my enemies.”





Pixie was stunned by the defiance in these words. Her little sister was trying to stand up to her now, just as she had stood up to her brother and succeeded in chasing him out of the house for good. Things had gone too far now. Pixie looked up to the sky. The moon was now gone, and the stars were missing. In the distance, a low rumble. Storm was coming. Then a bright flash rent the sky, tearing away Pixie’s flimsy twilight enchantment. A single drop landed on Pixie’s face. Then another. Then rain was everywhere, soaking everything that had been dry only a moment ago. Dawn stepped forward, a fistful of arrows pointed at her sister. Pixie looked back at her sister, face level.





“You’re not ready to kill me. Not yet.”





An arrow whizzed by Pixie’s face. Too close.





“I’m telling you, you don’t have the guts to hit me.”





An arrow slammed into Pixie’s shoulder and kept going, leaving a nice hole that stained her green and purple dress red. Pixie raised her head up to the sky and screamed. Dawn’s eyes widened slightly as her unearthly screaming shook the air, bringing her to her knees and her fingers to her ears. When Dawn looked up again, a horrible change had overcome Pixie’s body. Her dress, soaked with rain, had been replaced by a black and white armor that shined in the darkness, blades and spines sticking out at regular intervals. Her wings had grown to full size, and had gained its own metal coating. They gleamed in the rain. A helmet covered her face, strange markings giving Pixie a perpetual, metallic grin. In each hand was a long, curved blade, hooks and jagged edges lining their entire lengths. Dawn had seen this form only once before, when they had both just begun to learn magic. It was Pixie’s final form, Insanity.





Pixie vanished. Dawn instinctively spun around and raised an arm, swiftly changing her forearms into long, crescent blades that extended down beyond her elbows. A clang, and Pixie was there. Then she was gone, circling around Dawn, probing her for weak points. Each time she struck, Dawn parried, their blades quivering as they pushed against each other. Dawn turned her other arm into a set of bear claws, and as Pixie struck again, she tried to wrench a blade out of her hand. Instead, Pixie shoved her blade forward, slashing off Dawn’s magical arm. Dawn winced, but quickly regrew the arm. She could feel her necklace burn for a second as it sapped away some of her life force in order to keep the arm there. She was running out of energy.





Pixie’s eyes gleamed from behind her steel mask. “Your necklace, it glowed.”

“So what?”





“So you lied. That necklace is important, because it helps you regrow your arms. Which means if I break the necklace…”





“I’d like to see you try.”





Pixie lunged, blades whirling in a complex pattern. Dawn parried with both of her arms, aiming a kick ad Pixie’s chest. A loud clang, Dawn’s foot bounced off hard armor. Pixie shrieked with laughter as she press forward with her attack, delivering a set of maniacal slashes that pushed Dawn to the edge of the roof. Dawn backflipped, spinning over the edge and out into the abyss. Thirty feet below was hard cobblestone pavement. Dawn closed her eyes as her arms transformed into wings. She rose up into the night sky, cooling off in the falling rain. The sound of thunder was much louder now, the flashes of lightning brighter. But at least she had a moment to calm down and think before… Pixie was there, laughing her head off, wings spread as she rose towards Dawn.





“You forgot that you can’t attack me while your arms are transformed into wings, didn’t you! You’re helpless out here!” Dawn thought of something brave to say, but her sister was right. There wasn’t much for her to do up here. Instead, she flew higher, soaring up until she could almost touch the clouds. Pixie followed her, laughing all the way. Then Dawn closed her eyes, gulped, and transformed. Wings became arms again, and Dawn was falling, gaining speed. She only had one shot at this. Both arms became arrow launchers, greeting Twilight with a torrent of arrows. It was like shooting a bird out of the sky with fifty archers, all you had to do was aim in the general direction of your target. Pixie jerked in all directions as the impact of the arrows knocked her askew. Wings faltered for a moment, then flapped to keep her airborne. None of the arrows had pierced her twilight armor.





Pixie watched her sister fall. She had sacrificed everything on this one gamble, which had failed to pay off. Now she was going to face the consequences. She laughed as her sister disappeared into the city, certain to meet her death there. Then a bright flash. Pixie hovered in mid-air for a moment, her mask and armor cracked by lightning. Then they shattered, leaving her with nothing. She fell, twilight clothing her in her original robes again. She tried to fly, but her wings failed to beat. As the ground rushed up to greet her, a single thought filled her mind. Why was no one was there to save her? Where were her friends? Where was her family?





Dawn turned to face the ground, watching it rush up towards her. It was coming up fast, too fast for her to summon wings in time. Instead, she turned her arrow launchers into gigantic fists and slammed into the ground. The explosion from the impact sent a cloud of dust into the sky that was quickly washed out of the air by the falling rain. A large crater marked Dawn’s landing spot. She stood up unhurt; her fists had protected her from harm. Then she looked about her. Five feet away was another crater, smaller than hers. In its epicenter was a body, looking small and frail. Dawn approached it slowly, knowing what it was. She bent down and looked into the familiar eyes of her sister; yellow, glazed, and lifeless. Without a word, she brought forward two fingers, closing her eyelids. Then she stood up and walked away.



Dawn rounded the corner of the alleyway. The rain fell slowly upon Pixie’s body. Then a spark of magic danced between the fingers of her hands. Wings twitched. Eyes flew open.
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Ch. 50: We Are Family
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