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 Ch. 51: The Pale Horse

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Dye
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PostSubject: Ch. 51: The Pale Horse   Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:28 pm

"I looked and beheld a pale horse, and he that sat on him was named Death, and Hell followed him. And power was given unto them over a fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."

Thus, on the Day of Judgment, Death came into the world of men, riding upon a pale horse.



While Dawn was fighting Pixie, Priest was busy gathering up the remnants of his clan. Pixie’s brief rampage had done less damage than what Priest had originally feared, and most of his men were back on their feet in no time. However, Megan had suffered a concussion from the rock thrown at her, and Edvin was covered in sword wounds from the false clones of himself. However, just as Priest began to heal him, someone cried out in surprise.



“Who’s there!?!?!?”



“It’s me, Saint! Where’s Priest?”



“Right over here.”



“Tell him that we need him urgently. Blizzard is dying over here!”



Blizzard!?!?!?



Priest hurried over, leaving Megan to apply some first-aid to Edvin. “What happened?”



“He tried to go up against the Chaos Legion all by himself. He’s lost a lot of blood, and half of his organs as well.” Priest looked down at Blizzard. What was left of his shirt was completely soaked with blood. Gastric acid had eaten through the lower front of his shirt, and a giant, bloody hole in his upper left side was still streaming blood. By contrast, Blizzard’s face had gone deathly pale underneath a drying layer of blood. Red lines streamed from either side of his mouth where he had coughed up blood from his own lungs. Priest moved a hand across Blizzard’s face. His eyes did not follow his movements. Instead, they stared blankly, seeing nothing. Only an occasional rasping breath gave any hint that he was still alive. Priest began to apply magic to Blizzard’s wounds, muttering ancient chants under his breath. Then, in the distance, the sound of marching.



“Is that the Chaos Legion?”



“Yep. They were right behind us when we took off. We managed to put a little distance between us, but they’ll be here before long.”



“How many?”



“The first wave had roughly a hundred men. Blizzard and Uzamaki took care of most of them. But I saw a second wave coming as we retreated, with maybe a hundred fifty men. Uzamaki doesn’t have any more magic arrows to save us, and the rest of us are too tired or too hurt to fight effectively. Maybe Dye could…”



“Dye’s not in great shape right now…”



“Nathan then…”



“Nathan is great against spellcasters and other ranged units, but I doubt even he will be enough to hold back the armored ranks of the Chaos Legion.”



“How many people do we have that are still able to fight?”



“One.”



Priest stood up, having stopped Blizzard’s bleeding. The hole in his chest was still there. “He’ll live for the moment. Get him away and order the others to pull back. I’ll hold them off myself.”



“PRIEST!!!”



“Don’t worry about me, save the others and pull back to the western entrance. Call for more men from the Guardians, the two that he sent us left to cut off reinforcements from Kobi’s allies.”



“What about you?”



“I said don’t worry about me.”



“I can’t just leave you to fight this out by yourself.”



“Leave me. That’s an order.”



Priest turned around, picking up his staff. Saint gazed at him with sad eyes for a moment, knowing that he was watching a man go to his doom. Then he turned around, barking out orders to the members of Requiem. Wearily, they pulled away, trying to outpace the unstoppable force behind them.



When his men were out of sight, Priest spoke a single, clear word. White flames flared and ate away at the wood on his staff, revealing a bright light within. Beneath his white hood, Priest smiled grimly as his fingers found their place on the familiar handle of his white starsword. Overhead, the stars had gone out as storm clouds rumbled ominously overhead. In front of him, the deep, dim purple of the Chaos Legion made their way out of the inky darkness and into the light cast by Priest’s sword. One man alone.



The Chaos Legion saw a single man, cloaked and hooded in robes of the purest white, a sword in his right hand that blinded anyone that looked directly at it. The look in the man’s eyes was not one of confidence or anger. It was one of determination. It was a look that said ‘I will keep fighting even if my arms are cut off. I will keep fighting even if my head is cut off.’ The soldiers saw the look in this man’s eyes and kept marching. They were many. They were strong. They were the Chaos Legion, one of the deadliest forces to have ever walked the earth. They fed on warfare, earning their bread with battle cries and sword strokes. This man was nothing more than a flea in their eyes. Just another man who was willing to die in an attempt to oppose them. They weren’t just confident that they were going to win; they were deadly sure of victory. Then the flea moved.



A white blur. One moment the man was a hundred yards away, too far for them to angle their spears and take a defensive stance. The next moment he was too close, whirling among them in a sword dance that entranced and petrified them as he sliced through their thick armor with ease. The soldiers backed up and shifted their positions, enveloping the man into their mists and curling around him. Those behind the man lowered their spears, while those in front of him continued to back away. In half a minute, the man was completely surrounded.



Priest knew that he was surrounded, but didn’t care. This was how he expected to end up. As he glanced around, meeting spear tips wherever he turned, a slight smile formed on his lips. Then he ducked underneath the nearest spears, shredding them in the process with his starsword. Then he went for the soldiers themselves, now unarmed. The starsword cleaved through their shields like lightning, leaving terrible gashes on the bodies of the men behind them. Priest turned. Ten spears rushed towards him. He raised his starsword, parrying their thrusts with the flat of his blade. The spears were incinerated by the intensity of the magic within Priest’s blade, and splintered into dust. Priest flung the starsword about him in a wide circle, watching the starsword carve the men closest to him into tiny little chunks as it boomeranged around him. At the end of its deadly path, Priest caught it, then lopped off the heads of three soldiers nearby with one swipe.



But skilled though he was, Priest could not avoid the inevitable. Midway through a slash, Priest felt something jab him in the back, in between his ribs and his waist. He whirled around, shearing off the pointed tip of a spear with his starsword. Three more spears lunged at him from different directions. He avoided the first two, but was hit in the side by the third one. The soldiers had finally managed to surround him with spears, keeping their distance and striking whenever he turned his back on them. As he dodged to and fro, trying to keep the spears at bay, splotches of angry red began to blossom from his wounds, staining his pure white robes. He couldn’t last long at this rate. The dead were piled high around him, but he was slated to join them. He raised his starsword above his head for yet another parry. Then something made him pause.



It wasn’t a sound, he wouldn’t have been able to hear anything other than the clattering of spears and the clanging of shields. No, it was the lack of sound that prickled the hairs on the back of his neck and sent shivers running down his spine. He completely froze, lowering his blade, head turning from side to side as he looked at nothing in particular, eyes unfocused. At that moment, someone could have run him through with a spear, and he wouldn’t have noticed. Fortunately, the soldiers around him went motionless as well, their eyes focusing on something that seemed almost surreal as it appeared in the distance.



A black figure. Cloaked, its torn raiment fluttering in the darkness, no more visible than shreds of midnight. Hood covering its head, revealing no hint of what was inside. In its gloved hands was a giant scythe, its blade alone long enough to block the doorway of a church, the handle stretching out six feet in length. The figure itself would have stood nearly seven feet tall on foot, towering over everyone else. But it did not move by foot. No, this faceless apparition perched on the back of an enormous horse, mouth gaping, sharp teeth bared, eyes milky white and staring, its coat an unnatural, almost transparent color that glowed in the darkness. A pale horse.



And yet it made no sound as it approached the petrified Chaos Legion and its intended victim. Time slowed to a crawl. Even this newest apparition seemed to move in slow motion, the horse’s hooves barely touching the ground, the rider’s cloak waving to a macabre rhythm. It took a year for the figure to arrive, though it reached the chaos soldiers in less than a minute. As its scythe came within reach of the first soldiers, the horse reared up, close enough to see its hollow nostrils flare, its sharp hooves flailing, its rib bones poking through its deathly pale skin. The figure raised its scythe, and as it did so, its cloak was torn away by the wind, fluttering away to join the night. Underneath, clothed in black, tight-fitting armor, was not some figure of death, skulled and grinning. Nor was it some pale, ghastly figure from hell. The person underneath the raiment of night was a human, face chiseled from stone, forever carved into the memories of those that knew him from before. Long, dark strands of spiked hair flowed about his face, waving as if he were underwater. Then, from his back, a wing unfolded in an explosion of black feathers, expanding out on his right side. On his left, another stub stuck out, remnants of a wing that had been cut short near the base. Angel gazed into the eyes of the soldiers, blue eyes blazing with a cold energy. None of the soldiers could stand to gaze back. Then he looked up, giving Priest an impassive look. The scythe came swinging down.
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Ch. 51: The Pale Horse
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