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 Chapter 28: Part 2: Heat of Battle

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 28: Part 2: Heat of Battle   Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:32 pm

Author: Red Blizzard

“From the ashes man arose, and into the ashes man goes.”

The first mouthful of fire shriveled Priest’s lungs and left the taste of ashes on what was left of his tongue. Priest tried hard to ignore the pain, scraping the magic thin where his skin was burned. He remember too late to close his mouth, at least preventing the damage from spreading any further. But that was the least of his worries. Keep moving! Keep moving through the flames! Don’t stop, you’ll burn up! He ran until his feet turned to bone, then regrew those. When one arm burned to crisp and couldn’t function, he healed it with the one he had left. But the edge of the inferno seemed to take an eternity to reach. Every step of the way, something was falling apart. An arm, a leg, his face, he was constantly healing. Up ahead, beyond two tongues of fire, a gap! He ran towards the darkness on nothing more than blackened bone and sheer will. Ten feet. Five feet. Two feet. His lungs would have burst had he still had any, his heart threatened to break a hole in his ribcage, then it threatened to stop beating. He healed that too, and made the last leap, tumbling out of the fire and onto the cold, stone pavement.

The pain! Just the raw agony reminded him that he was still alive, that the battle wasn’t finished yet. But he couldn’t even twitch with every available nerve still on fire. Priest knew better than the regenerate the nerves that had burned away, those he could save for later. Now, he healed anything he was going to need to move with and took off, dashing down the road and into a side alleyway. Surprisingly, his pants had only blackened a little, without burning away. The skin under them was raw and red, but untouched. The same could not be said for everywhere else. He stretched muscle across his bones so that he could complete every motion he would need in battle, made sure his lungs were inflating properly. He grew one or two internal organs just to lessen the pain, then regrew the features across his face for the second time. He wondered what he must’ve looked like, running around like the grim reaper himself, with nothing but a few strands of muscle and a heart beating in his hollow ribcage to remind himself that he was still alive. That, and his brain. Thank god that hadn’t been heated long enough to cook, or he wouldn’t still be moving. That’s right, keep moving. He wove a pattern through the streets that would take War a while to unravel, though the trail of ash he was leaving behind was a tell-tale sign enough. He finally paused for breath outside a boarded-up shop in a section of Wa-Kia that had yet to be fully demolished by the wrath of war. He looked across his body for any spots he missed, the places where his nerves hadn’t regrown. He considered just leaving his nerves in their tattered state so that he wouldn’t feel the pain in battle. But then he thought better of it. He would need to know exactly where War was hitting him so that he could keep himself from bleeding to death without knowing it. With a melancholy sigh, he proceeded to regenerate his nerves.

The first few synapses crackled to life with a jolt of pain, and he leapt back from repairing the nervous system in his leg. He had bitten his tongue to keep from crying out, and even then, he could swear a muffled yelp had escaped. He listened quietly for any sound while he patched up his bleeding tongue. No sound. That generally didn’t mean well. Either War was off destroying something somewhere else or he was right behind him, holding his breath. Either way didn’t bode well. Just to be sure, Priest turned around while adding the finishing touches to his ill-used nerves. Nobody there. He heaved a sigh of relief, and War came bursting in through the wall of the boarded-up shop. Priest was sent flying with the first attack as War flared up, his fiery aura growing around him. His arm shaken from deflecting the attack, he remembered just in time to slam his starsword into the ground, halting his flight only a couple feet from the wall of another building. War started forward, then blinked.

“I knew you could heal yourself, but you look like you’ve hardly been scratched!” Priest stared, War grinned. “You’re like the ultimate training dummy! No matter how many times I kill you, you keep coming back!” Priest resisted the urge to groan. If only that were true, he would have a better chance of winning. Looking around at the constrictions of the narrow street, he realized the terrible position he was in. War could merely torch both sides of the street and have the buildings crumble down upon him, and that would be the end of it. With this in mind, Priest flooded War’s eyes with light, then made his getaway. He wove through the passageways, completely clueless as to where he was going, only looking for a good place to make a final stand. He found what he was looking for in a fairly large, private courtyard that had been left relatively untouched by War’s rampage. A small fountain in the center was still working, and Priest took solace in its innocent trickling, almost falling oblivious to the heavy footfalls behind him. He barely had time to prepare before War arrived, louder than ever. Red flames immediately leapt from his body onto the nearby rooftops, scorching the edges of the courtyard. War’s smile was so wide it was beginning to unnerve Priest.

“You smile too much for your own good.” War rushed him, slashing with abandon, his scimitar sending out shockwaves of flame that Priest was forced to deflect or dodge.

“What’s wrong with a little smile now and then?” War stretched the smile beyond human proportions, churning the insides of Priest’s stomach. Coming from Dye’s face, the smile looked unnatural as it was, let alone the fact that it stretched literally from ear-to-ear, revealing every single tooth in his mouth. Priest faked War with a few jabs low, then slashed upwards at his face. The tip of his starsword caught the edge of War’s mouth, drawing a crimson line as he instinctively pulled away. His smile lessened by several inches, and the grip on his sword tightened. Priest pressed the advantage with a mixed bag of slashing and stabbing, driving War back towards the courtyard’s edge. But Priest made the mistake of pressing the advantage too far. War glanced backwards at the courtyard wall, flashed Priest a grin of a different kind, and slammed his scimitar into the wall. Cracks spiderwebbed across its entire length as the wall crumbled and collapsed. Priest pulled back momentarily, and that was enough. War swung his blade at chunks of falling rubble, setting them on fire and batting them straight at Priest. Peppered with flaming masonry, Priest was driven back to the center of the courtyard, eyes averted to avoid being blinded. Consequentially, he didn’t look up in time to see a massive chunk of the wall kicked high into the air by War, hurtling upwards with a trail of fiery red, tracing a flaming parabola in the sky as it arced back over, dragged by gravity down on top of Priest. There was a crunch. War smiled with satisfaction as he recognized the snapping of bone and the popping of ligaments. There was no way a human could survive that.

Then, the starsword was at his throat. War blinked. Priest was standing right in front of him, the tip of his blade pressed against his neck. He hadn’t even seen him move! One moment he was looking down, several tons of burning masonry threatening to flatten him, the next moment he was here, before him, looking very much alive and dangerous. In reality, Priest looked much better than he felt. The chunks of rubble had left internal bruises where they collided, and battle fatigue was catching up to him. Still, he didn’t have time to deal with either of those things, and his magical energy was waning. He knew that in order to win, he had to change plan and use what resources he had left on other abilities. Including the one he had just used.

“Light is the fastest moving thing in the world.” Priest answered the questioning look in War’s eyes. “So is it not logical that a wielder of light should be able to move with light? Though I cannot move quite as fast as light, I can manage quite well for a human.” War’s aura roared to life as a massive orb of red flame erupted around him. Priest was forced to leap back as the flaming aura, larger than ever, consumed the very air around War. The gamble had better work. He was sacrificing defense for a quick victory, something that usually didn’t work. Maybe he would get lucky this time. Then War charged. Maybe not. Priest danced backwards and around War, but the fiery aura provided an impenetrable defense. War rounded on him, scimitar an extension of his flaming body, coming dangerously close as Priest dashed out of the way again and again. But while he kept his eyes focused on War’s aura, other dangers lurked in the courtyard. Priest dashed out of the way of another charge, he stepped on a puddle of fire. In an instant, his entire body erupted into flames. As he writhed, War laughed.

“Speed won’t save you now! I left a little magic in my footsteps, just on the off chance you happened to step on one of them! There’s one of my other abilities for you!” Priest leapt into the fountain pool, ducking underwater. Instead of the flames going out, the water evaporated. War laughed even harder. “Those flames won’t go out! Given enough time, they can evaporate an ocean!” Priest stepped out of the pool, blue eyes glinting. Left behind in the pool was a dried-up shell of charred skin. There went one of his abilities that could only be used practically once per battle. He had no lifelines left now. Judging the distance and calculating the time until War stopped laughing and realized what was happening, He threw his starsword with all his might and dashed. The starsword sliced through the air, cutting just under the handguard of War’s scimitar. It shaved through the weakened metal holding the handle together, taking off the blade and leaving behind in War’s hand the stump of a handle. Priest zipped around the rim of War’s aura, arriving on the other side just in time to catch his weapon by the handle. The severed blade of War’s scimitar clattered to the ground before his feet, still smoking. Just to make sure, Priest stabbed downwards with his starsword, shattering the blade into glittering fragments. It was in this instant War realized what happened.

Swearing, he tossed the now-useless handle aside and whirled around to confront Priest…who disappeared. A white blur formed around the edge of his aura, too fast for him to see or react to. When Priest finally appeared, alighting on top of the fountain’s statuette, War could only stare with eyes brimming with confusion. Then shock. War’s Guardian armor fell to pieces, crumbling under the aftershock of many well-thrown attacks. Armguards came off, shoulder plates cracked, and blood spurted from various wounds. Three slashes across the chest ripped off a section of armor, exposing bare skin and gaping cuts. The starsword sang past War once more where Priest had thrown it, cutting into his neck and missing his vitals by a hairsbreadth. War collapsed to his knees with this last wound, holding one hand to his neck to stop the bleeding. Priest caught the starsword, then leapt off the statue, diving downwards as War’s flame flickered, then went out.

Darkness. Priest paused as black flames leapt up everywhere, billowing thick, dark smoke that stung his sinuses and blanketed the sky, cutting out all light. In the artificial night, Priest’s starsword wavered, its light streaming out unevenly. Priest held it aloft, looking about, trying to increase its light as he threaded his way through the black flames. A crash, and the tinkling of glass nearby. Priest followed the trail of fire out of the courtyard and down a road back onto the main street. There, he found shards of glass scattered before a broken shop window, noises coming from within. He stepped carefully over the glass, sandals burnt off his feet long ago. Suddenly, the sound of breaking wood was everywhere as the second story of the shop came crashing down. Priest leapt backwards and made for the other side of the street, ducking as a signboard sailed overhead. Glancing over, he read the sign briefly. “Weapon Shoppe”. War was rearming himself then. Spinning around, Priest looked up to see a black shadow glaring at him out of the ruins of the shop’s second story. A pair of embers focused their gaze upon Priest, as War stepped out onto the edge of the wrecked shop. His wounds had rapidly scabbed over with dried blood, though the fighting had finally taken its toll upon him. Chunks of armor had been thrown away where the damage had been the worst, as not to hamper his movements. In one hand, crackling fiery blue and black, was a strange, curved sword. It took Priest only a moment to recognize it for what it was. He gritted his teeth in anticipation as War lunged off the second-story ledge towards him, becoming a red and black blur. His magic was waning, his ability to heal severely hampered. And he had precious few other abilities left in his arsenal. Raising his wavering starsword, his eyes glinting white, he leapt upwards, becoming a beam of light rushing head-on to meet his foe. He had only one shot.


Time seemed to slow down to a crawl, as Priest and War met in mid-air, blades clashing. For once, Priest’s arm came out stronger, and he could see his enemy’s starsword breaker spin out of his hand, arm flailing about as if broken. The beginnings of a satisfied smile formed on his face, then froze in place. His opponent’s sword was a starsword breaker. Glancing over at his own weapon, he could see the white gem powering the weapon radiating light at a furious rate, cracked on one side. The blade, once a tempered beam of light, was now spraying energy at an unchecked rate as the star used up the last of its energy. A white flash. As Priest’s eyes struggled to readjust to the ensuing darkness, he could barely make out a single wisp of light soaring upwards to join the heavens. Looking down, he saw only the handle of his weapon left, worn and useless. It seemed to shudder, as if trying to reclaim some of its lost power. Then, it broke.

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Chapter 28: Part 2: Heat of Battle
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