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 Chapter 7: A Day at Work

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Red Blizzard

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

PostSubject: Chapter 7: A Day at Work   Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:41 am

“In your dreams!”

“So you refuse my offer?”

“Damn straight I do! I’d never sign any treaty with a clan as shady as yours! You and your kind, thinking you can go around telling everyone how they’re supposed to do stuff, I’m sick of you all! GUARDS!!!” Blizzard sighed. Another day, another clan. This one didn’t even have its name, or if it did the leader hadn’t bothered to tell anything to Blizzard. He had considered looking into the clan after seeing how one of them had managed to clobber three others at the local bar. He dearly hoped that fight had been won by pure luck, now that the same guy was just across the table from him with a ruddy complexion and a drawn sword. Blizzard eyed the sword for a moment; it was intricately crafted, with inlaid gold designs spiraling down its length and jewels inlaid into its pommel. But it was still a conventional design, not much different from those of an ordinary town guard. Probably was an ordinary sword from a town guard, only fancier. Well, at least the quality of the blade wasn’t the problem. The thumping of many boots behind him was. Blizzard half-rose, drawing a throwing dagger from one of his sleeves. He stopped, the golden blade poised carefully at his throat. Blizzard rolled his eyes behind his shades and cocked his head to one side, staring carefully at the leader as guards entered the room and surrounded him.

“Take this scum out of my sight! May he never see the light of day again!!!” Ah well, that left him no choice then. Blizzard tapped the golden blade to one side with two fingers, throwing the dagger with his other hand. He missed, and the leader made a powerful lunge forward that would have pinned Blizzard to the wall had the blade still been pointing at his neck. As it was, the sword chewed right through the wall and came out the other side, buried halfway in. Swords. What was with everyone and swords these days? It seemed as if every warrior who wanted to appear fashionable had one of some sort, even though they were flimsy weapons, prone to breaking or blocking. Not to mention they lacked the ability to smash through walls like hammers or poke people from long distances like spears. Oh well. Blizzard skipped over the incoming blades of the guards and drew a demon sword.

The table was the first to go, a kick sending it tumbling over to a corner of the room. Two more kicks sent the chairs following. Then, Blizzard went straight for the clan leader, pinning him to the wall by the throat while raising the blade to his face. The guards, still piling into the room, froze with what they were doing. “Drop your weapons and take a step back, or he dies.” Blizzard hated using death threats, but it was his ticket out of here. Or so he thought.

One of the guards took a deliberate step forward. “Kill him, what do we care? He hasn’t paid us our wages in weeks, and besides, once he’s dead, I’m next in line for clan leader.” The other guards grinned and readied their weapons, anticipating a good fight. Blizzard groaned. So much for loyalty. He aimed the demon blade at a frightened man’s face, then stabbed. The dull point went up the man’s nose and jammed halfway. Blizzard swore. He had forgotten to give the blade a coating of blood before fighting with it. He wrenched the blade out, trailing a line of green phlegm, breaking the man’s nose in the process. A dribble of blood splattered onto the demon blade, and Blizzard dove in for the kill, only to stop as he noticed the twenty or so guards surrounding him, swords pointing at his heart. Next to him, the clan leader had succeeded in tugging his sword out of the wall. He leaned over and whispered to Blizzard.

“Let me live, and I’ll help you fight your way out of here.”

Blizzard whispered back, pretending the guards couldn’t hear him in the dead silent room. “Deal.” The clan leader dove into the swarm of guards from the left, while Blizzard unsheathed his other demon sword and swiped at the closest guard with his already-blood-splattered blade. The sword cut clean through the guard’s sword as he tried to parry, and Blizzard left two symmetrical halves of guard spewing bodily fluids all over the richly-decorated floor. The other guards backed up in momentary surprise, giving Blizzard time to soak both of his blades in the fallen guard’s blood. When he rose again, his blades had turned a gleaming, lustrous black, red energy flaring from their edges. A wild grin spread across his face, revealing a gleaming set of white teeth backed up by an extra-large pair of canines. For a moment, the soldiers had the impression that this guy was going to eat them. Then they had no more impressions.

One clean slice had five guards on the ground, their torsos neatly split in half, their legs tottering where they last stood before collapsing on top of their owners’ bodies. The next slice had an entire half of the room cleared, as Blizzard dashed straight through the thicket of enemy swords, his blades shredding thick armor like tissue paper. On the other side of the room, the clan leader was having an equally easy time against his own incompetent guards, knowing all their nuances and weaknesses and exploiting them to great extent. In two heartbeats the room was cleared, the last guard collapsing in a pool of his comrades’ blood. Blizzard surveyed the massacre with grim satisfaction, taking in the pungent smell of blood. It felt good to be back in action again after being the peacemaker for so long. Blizzard turned to the clan leader and found a sword inches from his face.

“Really? After I just saved your life?”

“What are you talking about? I saved your life, and this is how you repay me? By killing off all my men? I will avenge their deaths by killing you! DIE!!!” Blizzard groaned and knocked the blade aside, diving in with both demon blades. The clan leader fell in quarters. What was with people these days? They had no honor, sticking at nothing to kill anyone they saw as a threat. Blizzard squared his shoulders and looked around. Now that the clan leader was dead, the building no longer served any purpose. He might as well have some fun then.

Blizzard walked out of the clan base into the sunlight. He sheathed his demon swords, pulled out a pair of chakrams, gave each one a little dose of blood, and threw them behind him. They sang through the air with a noise halfway between a ring and a buzz. When they returned to his hands, Blizzard wiped off splinters of wood and chunks of mortar, then put them away. Behind him, the clan base collapsed, completely sliced in half by the chakrams. The ruins caught fire from a running fireplace within, and the flames leaped into the air with a lusty roar, blackening the sky with smoke. Blizzard spared one glance back at the destroyed clan. Not bad for half a day’s work.

He got back to Requiem Castle quickly, in part due to his borrowing a local official’s carriage. “Come on Sysquella!” he had laughed at the official, who was in charge of cataloguing all the official clans in the area, Requiem being one of them. Sysquella had bit his lip before handing over the carriage, not sure if he could trust the diplomat. When Blizzard arrived at the clan base, he sent the carriage back without a driver, trusting the horses to know their own way back. They often did. Requiem Castle was a small fortress that had been built in the last three years as a response to the direct attack on the clan by several enemies, the 13 Lord of Chaos being only one of them. The same old clan quarters existed under the hill, with the entrance a stone door in the rocky face of a waterfall. A large lake had grown, flooding the area and leaving only a thin strip of rock leading towards this doorway. For practicality reasons, the new fortress had an entrance of its own, as it wasn’t easy sending out attacking armies from a door where everyone had to file through on tip-toe to avoid falling into the lake. The lake was sometimes referred to as Asterisk’s Grave, after the fallen Captain of Requiem who had been buried there. The Grave was often used as a burial for other members of Requiem as well, who were pushed off into the lake on leaking boats that slowly filled with water and dragged its cargo down to the bottom. On a clear day, skeletons could be seen on the lakebed.

Blizzard entered the Castle, finding nobody around. He hadn’t been in-town for Seth’s trial, and had missed Fire’s return as well. So he received an unpleasant surprise when he entered the meeting hall of Requiem to find Priest sitting at the head of a large congregation, a dark, defiant man standing before him. “Felkaranos. You are charged with treason for betraying clan secrets to the man Ogecrazil, sometimes known as Skete, former member and traitor of the Order. You are further charged with inciting the murder of Fire, member of this clan, and orchestrating the exile of Seth, captain of Requiem. Do you…”

“He’s still captain!?!?!?” Dye stood up in the court, drawing murmurs of unrest from the congregation. “I know of his past deeds and all, but lately he hasn’t been doing anything for the clan at all! He left for a longer time than his exile required, and his fight with Helios drew in members of Requiem. He’s become a liability to the clan, and I don’t see why he should retain his post as Captain!”

“Please Dye, we are here for the trial of Felkaranos, not Seth.” Priest raised his hands, but it was too late. Seth stood up, his white eyes flaring.

“Dye, if you have anything to say about me, say it to my face, instead of talking as if I’m not here.” More murmuring ensued from the crowd. Dye turned.

“Oh, alright, Captain, since you’re here. Ever since the Fire incident, I’ve been watching you. The only kind of person who would fight another captain is someone unworthy of being a captain themselves. You fought and banished Fire without permission, and you don’t deserve to just waltz back in here like nothing’s ever happened long after your exile was over and your clan needed you!” The trial on Felkaranos had been forgotten completely as members of Requiem rose all throughout the congregation. A hushed silence fell over the meeting hall.

“Dye, must I remind you that you were the first to lash out at a fellow clan member, kicking Uzamaki out of the clan? How can you decide who can or can’t be a captain of Requiem when you yourself are unfit to lead according to your own standards?” A moment of silence. Then a whoosh and a roar as Dye ignited himself, flames charring the ground where he stood.

“Does anyone here think I’m not worthy of being a captain!?!?!? Huh!?!?!? ANYONE!?!?!?” A moment’s pause. Then, right next to Dye, a small girl raised her hand. Megan. Dye turned on her, feeling his fury boiling over, not caring what happened next, knowing that he would have no regrets. Priest’s eyes went wide as he saw his sister look up at Dye, the faintest trace of fear in her eyes as they turned from purple to black, drying out and coating up with cinders, along with the rest of her body. Megan fell to the floor, lungs seared with flame, skin covered in ash, bones blackened and brittle.

The silence was broken, the entire clan rose in an uproar, frantic over the attack. Dye himself turned and stormed his way out of the meeting hall, leaving a trail of flames as he went. He was angry, he was mad, he was done, it was over. He didn’t care, he had no regrets, what he did was done in the name of his pride. At the doorway he ran into Blizzard, who had watched the entire incident without a word. Dye looked into Blizzard’s eyes, seeing nothing but the black walls of his shades. No response? Fine, he was leaving anyways. Dye brushed passed Blizzard, who quickly put out the fires spreading over his suit. Blizzard looked up in time to see a wave of clan members following Dye out the door. Many were loyal to him in different ways, and were willing to follow him and his strong-willed ways to the ends of the world. Nathan, Jacob, Aeon, Oblivion, others, and more. Felkaranos the traitor crept out of the meeting hall unnoticed, following his new god. But Blizzard snapped when he saw his own sisters, Dawn and Pixie, following Dye out the door. They had never been on the same side of an argument before.

“Where are you two going!?!?!?”

Dawn looked up insolently. “What? If you can’t control Dye, what makes you think you can control us?”

“I’m not trying to control him, I’m trying to get him to calm down!”

“Well, good luck with that. Let us know when you get that to work.” Pixie laughed derisively as the two filed out the door. Blizzard stood stock-still for a moment, drinking in the words. Then he shook his head. What was with people these days?

Dye made it all the way to the entrance of the clan base and outside onto the lakeshore before he encountered any resistance. A lone figure, dressed in black with green trimmings, waited for him. Green eyes glared long and hard into Dye’s dark orange ones, carefully noting the color of Dye’s flames, the hard, brutal anger in them. The determination there.

“Do you really think you can turn your back on Requiem?”

Dye spat. “Yeah, why? You got a problem with that?”

“Actually, I do. Your disloyalty concerns me, after hearing all that you’ve done for the clan. I thought you’d know better.”

“Well, I’m not going to stick around where I’m not wanted. Stay out of my way. If you got a problem with me, go ahead and fight me. I’ll kill you.”

Saint took a step forward, his black stealth suit making not a sound. “Was that an invitation to a fight?”

Oblivion darted forward, his thick suit of armor clanking with every twitch. “You won’t be able to touch him. He…”

“Get out of my way. I won’t ask a second time.” Oblivion backed up sheepishly along with everyone else, retreating into the forest and leaving Dye alone to stare at Saint, twenty feet apart, on the shore of the Grave.

Dye unsheathed a massive scimitar from his back, swinging it experimentally once through the air. He had been through a thousand fights with it over the years, yet it still looked as new as the day it had been made. Saint, on the other hand, drew a short sword crafted from several bladed pieces that fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle. The blades were delicate, and Saint had several swords broken over the years. Yet each new one was an improvement over the last one, with balance, sharpness, and utility increased with each model. Saint left on all the components of the sword, knowing he would need every last piece for the impending fight.

Dye initiated the battle with a lunge, swinging wide with his blade. Dark orange flames sizzled through the air, sucking the air out of Saint’s lungs as he backflipped over Dye. Saint spun around while Dye was still recovering from the momentum of his swing, and aimed a precise strike at the back of Dye’s head. The blade struck true, sending Dye reeling as pain exploded through his skull. The blade didn’t go deep, but the cut was bad enough. Yet the attack had come at great cost. Saint’s hand had been badly burned by the attack as he stretched his arms through Dye’s flaming aura to reach him. He now nursed the burning skin, momentarily dropping his blade. Dye turned around, driven to a frenzy, and drove at Saint with a barrage of slashes. Saint grabbed the short sword with his other hand and leapt backwards, using pulses of electricity to keep his muscles moving at inhuman speeds. Saint analyzed the situation as he dodged the incoming attacks. The flames around Dye had reached a temperature that could roast an entire boar in seconds. Melee attacks were useless then. Saint leapt off the ground as Dye aimed a particularly vicious slash that slammed into the earth, spraying loose rocks and compacted dirt everywhere. In mid-air, Saint drew twin reverse-curved daggers and hurled them at Dye. The inner-curve of each blade had been sharpened to a razor edge and tempered, able to slice through the thickest armor. Each dagger passed through Dye’s flames with great effort, their handles burning off and their outer edges congealing. But the sharp ends found their marks, one digging into Dye’s left leg while the other sliced its way into his chest and buried itself there.

Dye paused for a moment, as a trickle of pain fought its way through the madness to his brain. With one hand, Dye reached down and yanked out the dagger stuck in his leg. It came out easily and dissolved in his hand. Then, he reached into his chest, yanking out the half-melted blade there and throwing it aside, where it collapsed into a puddle. Dye’s armor resealed itself, bolstered in part by the flames that flared up around the breach in the metal, pooling the broken bits together. The chest wound was serious, but that didn’t matter any more. As long as he could wield a blade, he could fight. Saint watched this with disgust from a safe distance. He faintly heard echoes of another clan member referring to this man. “Dye is a God, occasionally. That is all.” Who had said that? It didn’t matter now. Saint raised a hand and fire a blast of lightning at Dye. It hit him squarely in the chest, paralyzing him as he began to charge once more. God or beast, Saint had no choice but to cut him down. Saint fired another blast of lightning, bringing Dye to his knees. The flames around him flickered, then went out. An opening. Saint saw it, and knew immediately how to exploit it. He raised his blade, aimed carefully, then gave his muscles a jolt of electricity. A green and black blur rushed by Dye, too fast for him to keep up with. A cut appeared along-side his neck, barely missing his vitals. Nevertheless, it left a line of blood that drove the pain in. Dye could feel his strength leaving as the weight of his wounds settled in. Saint turned around, preparing one more strike that would carry Dye’s head into the lake.

Dye roared, an inhuman sound that might have once come from some feral God of Fire of a forgotten age. Saint’s eyes went wide as flames exploded around Dye, wider than ever before. The radius of his fire stretched to the very edge of the lake and to the tips of the forest, setting anything and everything alight. Saint was caught in a whirlwind of flames and spiraled into the air, caught by thermals as the hot air around him began to rise. Dye stood up, a little wobbly on his feet, and aimed a single, downward slash. The blade slammed into Saint and brought him careening into the ground, crushed rather than cut. Only a few feet from Dye, Saint could feel his skin beginning to peel away from the sheer heat. Dye planted a foot on Saint’s chest, letting his weight sink in, crushing his rib cage. Then he brought his scimitar down in an ungainly stab, driving right through Saint’s gut and staining the earth with his blood. The sound of Dye wrenching his blade out of Saint made everyone witnessing the battle cringe.

Dye let his flames go out, leaving nothing behind but the fire eating away at Saint’s stealth suit. Dye sheathed his scimitar and turned to leave. Then, as an afterthought, he turned around and gave a mighty kick, sending Saint rolling head-over-heels into the lake, where he was slowly carried down into the depths to join his comrades. If the broken ribcage, the burnt skin, or the stomach wound didn’t kill him, Saint would die by drowning. Dye bowed his head for one short moment, fingering the sapphire star on the black chain around his neck. Then he turned to his followers. Nobody spoke. It was a solemn moment, everyone knowing that they had witnessed the end of an age. A glorious age. Some were sad to see it go. Not Dye.

“Any questions?” Nope.


Moments after Dye left, Blizzard was on the scene. He could tell from a patch of blood on the ground that he was too late. He looked around, trying to find out where…there, something black in the lake. Blizzard took of his shades and squinted, barely making out the faint outline of a human body. He kicked off his sandals and began to wade into the lake. One last breath, then he dove in, hoping he wouldn’t be dragging a corpse out of the water.

And far away, back at Requiem castle, Priest kneeled over his sister’s body, struggling not to cry. Angel had appointed him the task of keeping the clan together. The failure weighed down on his shoulders like a giant’s hand. Crushing, unbearable. He gazed down at Megan, remembering how her face used to look before Dye had peeled away the skin and flesh and burnt away the bone. Just because he had nothing better to do, Priest raised one hand over Megan and began chanting words. A single drop of water landed on Megan’s body as Priest began to sob as he chanted, hysteria wracking his body.

“Heal,” he said. “Please heal.”

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Chapter 7: A Day at Work
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