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 Ch. 15: A Time to Fight, A Time to Die

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Ch. 15: A Time to Fight, A Time to Die Empty
PostSubject: Ch. 15: A Time to Fight, A Time to Die   Ch. 15: A Time to Fight, A Time to Die I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 29, 2010 6:35 pm

The first council member was in two pieces before the others had time to react. One down, Dye thought to himself, nine councilors plus one leader left. As the flaming halves of the dead council member, some old geezer with no weapon, fell to the ground, everyone drew their weapon. All except Elitis, who jumped upon the table and pointed at Dye, yelling “Guards! Seize him! I want him alive!”

Alive? That was not very comforting. Dye was not about to let himself be taken alive. He casually sidestepped the slow attack of a fat old councilor with a mallet, then knocked his head of with a quick slash to the neck. Then, the door on the far side of the room exploded open. Out poured ten Elite ShadowStorm Reavers, wearing special spiked armor and carrying flails. Dye eyed their ball-and-chain maces with concern. Although they weren’t enough to do anything to his scimitar, their fast attacks and heavy blows were probably enough to do something nasty to his Guardian armor if he wasn’t careful. Things were about to get messy. Dye took a stance against a side wall of the conference room. This kept his back safe while giving him a wide view of the room. Two councilors charged him at once. One of them was not much more than a chunk of blubber, carrying an unwieldy mace. However, the other one was more professional, twirling a broad-bladed spear like a baton. They both came at him, crying in unison, “DIIIEEE!!!”

“Stop saying my name!” Dye shouted, slashing open the fat man’s stomach. A mixture of bloated guts and lard came pouring out of the opening. The councilor went down, blood streaming from his lips and his belly. The other one dodged Dye’s next swipe, then tried to go for Dye’s head with his spear. Dye did a backflip, careful to avoid the fat councilor’s intestines as he landed. He settled back into a fighting stance. The other councilor waited, spear ready. Then Dye, performing a complex series of slashes, moved forward, trying to surprise his opponent and get under his guard. The councilor easily sidestepped the attack, kicking the blade against the iron conference table. Sparks flew everywhere. The councilor counter-attacked, forcing Dye to shoulder the incoming spear. His Guardian armor barely turned the blade, but threw Dye off-balance. His blade barely came up in time to block the next attack. His scimitar was too big for the dimensions of the room, and he was having a hard time keeping up with his opponent’s faster spear. Dye could feel all eyes in the room focused on him, enjoying the fight, hoping for his demise.

“What’s the matter?” his opponent taunted. “Is this really all you got? You Requiem people really have no power at all.”

“Power? I’ll show you true power.” Dye closed his eyes. He could feel the familiar rush of adrenaline, felt the blood rising to his head, the pressure igniting the rage that he always relied upon in battle. He let a small trickle of magic mix in with his emotion, then let loose. He opened his eyes. In their depths, orange embers glowed. In all battles, there was a time to fight, and there was a time to die. Now was the time to fight. With a roar, Dye erupted into flames. His armor tinged with the color of fire and heat, his giant scimitar flashing with bright tongues of flame. The councilor jumped backwards in surprise. The ShadowStorm did not specialize in magic, preferring sheer number and strength. Besides, he had never heard of a magic like this. Dye’s scimitar interrupted the councilor’s thoughts with an orange flash. The councilor tried to block with his spear, but to no avail. The wooden handle splintered and burst into flames, the councilor had no time left to think as he quickly collapsed into a pile of ash.

The other six councilors backed up behind the table. Better to let the Reavers deal with this warrior than to risk their bodies and souls. Dye didn’t let the table stand between him and his prey. With a flash of fire, he cut the table neatly in two, the halves collapsing into heaps of molten iron that slowly cooled into black lumps. Before they touched the ground, Dye was through them, carving up his enemies. One tried to block with a fancy, filigreed sword. The delicate designs on the sword fused together as Dye’s fiery rage alone melted the sword. Then the giant, flaming scimitar came slashing down. Five councilors left. Dye turned, eyes on fire. Two more slashes. The first councilor made a feeble attempt to parry the attack, but crumpled under the strength of Dye’s blow, then turned to ashes. The other one decided to attack rather than be attacked, but his giant steel axe never touched Dye, melting before his eyes as the heat of Dye’s armor consumed the weapon. The councilor went down with the shocked expression on his face.

Dye had almost cleared the room. He turned to the remaining three councilors, then heard the light clinking of a chain. He rolled out of the way as a spiked flail pulverized the ground where he had last stood. He turned to stare into the frightened but determined eyes of an Elite Reaver. Icy runes on the Reaver’s mace told Dye all he needed to know. Powerful though he was, rune magic was something else. It was more permanent, and did not need any incantations or energy from the soul to run on. These flails were probably made by some skilled rune crafter, then sold to the ShadowStorm. His fire would do no good against it. Three more maces swung at Dye, forcing him to dodge-roll backwards. He settled back into fighting stance, then charged again. His scimitar melted through the heavy armor of the first two reavers, but a wild flail attack bit into his side. Dye felt an icy pain go through his side. His fire went out. Dropping his weapon, he sank down onto his knees. Dye felt woozy, the whole scene swimming before him. The Reaver raised his weapon for the finishing blow, then dropped his flail. Elitis wanted Dye alive.

The remaining councilors gathered around the captured warrior, with Elitis bringing up the rear, imperiously striding forward to examine his captive. Then, from behind him, Elitis heard a small, thin cry. “NO! DYE! DON’T DIE!” Amused, Elitis turned. A young man came running down the stairs, wielding a giant fish. He knocked down the nearest councilor in his rush to get to Dye, pummeling anyone who got in his way with his weapon. He reached Dye, looked down in disbelief. Dye looked up, his arms held behind his back by two Reavers.

“You idiot,” Dye muttered, coughing up blood. “You’re supposed to run.”

“But Dye, I can’t leave you.” Jacob said, feeling small. A shadow fell across Jacob’s back. He didn’t even have time to turn around. Jacob was lifted off his feet, left dangling in mid-air. A sword through his heart. Behind him, Elitis grinned triumphantly, watching Jake’s limp hand drop his cold, wet fish to the ground. It landed with a loud slap, water dripping from its open mouth, mingling with the blood dripping from Elitis’s blade. Jake’s blood.

Dye looked with disbelief into Jake’s sky blue eyes. Glazed and lifeless. They had come so far, risked so much, and it had all ended with this. Of all people to die…Dye heard someone screaming, felt his own mouth moving, couldn’t tell if the screaming voice was his. Then everything went silent. Jacob looked up, staring back into Dye’s face. His eyes were red.
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Ch. 15: A Time to Fight, A Time to Die
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