Chaos of Choice: Book Six - Chapter Eight


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Chapter Eight

With his friends on his heel Lieut led the way over the bridge and through the silver gates of the manor. A large garden greeted them with pleasant music and voices drifting through the decorated trees and shrubs. The winding path meandered through the gardens passing by flowering plants, fountains and decorated lamp posts. As they walked along Fairris, Vythe and Bārdin continued to talk and tell each other some of the adventures they had been on.

“I have had a great time with the Grey Company,” Fairris was saying, strangely sounding hesitant to Lieut’s ears. “I would be out with my two companions now patrolling the southern walls of the lower city. But I was injured when we fought The Black Rangers a couple of days ago, and have not yet fully recovered.”

The three of them continued to chat and Fairris asked more questions about Kreha and what had brought them here, making a point to express her disbelief that Kreha was the Goddess who would bring the apocalypse.

“That back stabbing two faced whench,” grumbled Bārdin, “I’d like to put me axe through her delicate neck. And I tell ya elf, I am glad you are here for that devil woman can sneak up on you from nowhere.”

“I missed you also Bārdin,” Fairris replied with a slight laugh.

“That’s not what I meant,” Bārdin was quick to snap and the others laughed.

Although to Lieut’s ears Fairris’s laugh seemed awkward and somewhat strained, as if she was uncomfortable being in the company of the friends she had not seen in years.

The trees then parted and the music and voices grew louder as Lieut came to the front of the huge manor. The wealth of pink silver mines and other precious gems and metals had built this building, and in fact the whole of the city, and as such its extravagance could not be compared.

Grand stairs swept up from the marble courtyard and to a massive black wood door with gold handles and hinges which was framed by two massive granite pillars that held up a small balcony on the second floor. To more floors were above that and gargoyles of Ebonite lined the high guttering, their scowling faces glaring down upon the courtyard where dozens of tables were lined. The tables where guests were not sitting were covered in plates of food and barrels of all manner of spirits, wines and ales. At the foot of the stairs a group of musicians played jolly tunes and hundreds of guests danced and drank and ate to their heart’s content.

It was not only nobles that were enjoying the celebrations there were many commoners who bribed their way past the guards were dancing and singing with the wealthy. The party continued up the stairs and into the entrance halls of the manor and all through the first two floors and into the back gardens. Spirits were high in the face of the world’s end at the Silver Stream manor and everyone’s inhibitions were released. On the seats about the tables and almost everywhere else couples were engaged passionately with their arms about the other. Their passions would soon move from the gathered and into the privacy of the gardens or a bedroom in the top rooms of the manor house.

As Lieut walked cautiously into the exuberant throng, his golden eyes moved about the crowd for the individual that Kreha had told him about. Bārdin was quick to help himself to the food and drink, and before Vythe could take several steps into the party half a dozen tipsy women approached him and began flirting. Several men also made some moves towards Fairris but she did her best to decline their advances. Vythe was enjoying the attention, but regretfully and tactfully refused the women’s flirtations and after a few kisses he told them he would seek them out later.

As Lieut made his way through the crowd and towards the manor a few girls even tried to flirt with him, but Lieut irritably pushed them aside and continued to look for the demi-god Grengur. As Kreha had said Antōre’s first servant was the embodiment of festivity and indulgence, and the lore suggested that he resembled an overweight man with a smiling face and a twinkle of enjoyment in his eyes. But Lieut could see that this would not be an easy search, for already he had past half a dozen fat men. Kreha had also said he would know the demi-god when he saw him, so it was only a matter of searching the party.

Growing annoyed with the thick crowd and continuous drunken women trying to kiss him Lieut moved quickly up the front stairs of the manor and into the building. Frustratingly there were more people inside the manor and the noise of voices and laughter grated on his nerves. Angrily Lieut pushed his way through the people, shoving noblemen and commoners alike out of his path. Surprisingly Lieut saw many Nevāranciens in the crowd, all enjoying themselves to excess and engaging eagerly with the other party goers.

The inside of the manor was no less intricate and extravagant, decorations hung from the staircases, bookshelves and off the second floor railing. Food and drink were flowing freely, of which Bārdin continued to help himself to.

Clenching his jaw Lieut growled in frustration at the annoyance of his search and at the throng of people he had to force his way through. Glancing over his shoulder he noticed that Fairris had kept close to him but Vythe and Bārdin seemingly had become distracted or lost within the crowd. With another growl Lieut pushed his way past many more people and towards the exit that led out into the gardens at the back of the house.

Pushing out onto the patio it seemed that this area was a more relaxed and mellow affair. Less people were out here and most of which were recovering from the amount of drink they had consumed or in the process of courting as they took a turn around the gardens or simply engaged themselves in a corner. Lieut took a sigh of relief and stretched the stiffness out of his neck, this endeavor to find the demi-god was proving more difficult than he thought.

Even though he had said to Vythe and the others that he had made a decision about this situation in truth he had not and although this hunt gave him more time to consider it, it frustrated him all the more.

Lieut looked behind again to still see only Fairris, who smiled slightly at him.

“We have lost the others,” Lieut remarked as he looked back the way they had come.

“They will catch up,” Fairris shrugged, her eyes still on him. “Lieut, I. . .”

Fairris voice trailed away and she looked towards the gardens as Lieut regarded her curiously.

“Yes?” prompted Lieut with a perplexed expression.

Fairris sighed and looked back to his golden eyes, “I’m glad you are not dead.”

Lieut narrowed his eyes slightly in confusion, “So am I.”

“And I am glad to be with you again. Travelling with you again, I mean,” Fairris said awkwardly, “I want you to know that whatever you decide with Kreha, I will support and aid you as best I can.”

Lieut nodded his head in thanks, and was going to reply but it seemed to him that there was something more Fairris was trying to say but he could not work out what.

“And. . .” Fairris continued after a tense pause but a call from Vythe interrupted her.

“There you two are,” Vythe called loudly as he walked from inside with Bārdin beside him. “My word that was hard to move through. There are so many people at this celebration.”

“If you didn’t stop to kiss every girl that came up to ya we would have gotten out quicker,” Bārdin huffed.

“Says the dwarf who stuffed his face at every chance he got,” Vythe replied with a smirk.

“No point letting good food and drink go to waste,” Bārdin replied with a chuckle.

“Sorry, I interrupted you Fairris,” Vythe apologised, “What were you saying?”

“Nothing very important,” Fairris shook her head and glanced quickly at Lieut.

“You were not making plans to take a turn about the garden were you?” Vythe asked with a smile.

“What? No,” Fairris was quick to reply and caused Vythe to smile wider.

Lieut would have also responded quickly in the negative to Vythe’s question, but his attention was suddenly captured by a man moving through the crowd. Quite a large man in fact, who wore a white robe that was draped over one shoulder and fastened around his fat belly with golden rope. Upon his head sat a golden laurel and in his hand he carried a full chalice of wine, which he drank liberally from as he talked to the other guests.

There was something about this man in particular that held Lieut’s attention where normally he would dismiss him. But this time there could be no doubt that this fat man was the demi-god he was looking for.

Ignoring the conversation between his friends and the few question asked of him Lieut cautiously followed the fat man back into the house and through the mass of people.

“Inside again,” Lieut heard Vythe grumble loudly.

Lieut ignored the exasperation of his friends and he golden eyes locked upon the back of the fat man’s head as he moved slowly through the house and back to the courtyard at the front of the manor. Outside the main doors and on the wide landing the fat man stopped and surveyed the party as he drank deep from his chalice.

Slowly Lieut approached, his fingers twitching in anticipation of a fight. Casually the large man turned to see Lieut approach and smiled widely.

“Greetings friend,” the obese gentleman smiled, “I hope you are enjoy the festivities.”

“Greetings, Grengur,” Lieut replied calmly.

The man’s smile vanished and his eyes widened for half a second, causing a crooked smile to come to Lieut’s face.

“What?” the man stammered and glanced about nervously.

Lieut quickly snapped his sword down from his shoulder and slicing across the demi-god. Grengur squealed and fell backwards and down the sloping stairs. Someone screamed above the din of the party and everyone seemed to stop what they were doing to see what was happening.

Grengur tumbled down the stairs and collapsed into a heap at its base as Lieut calmly walked down with his sword in one hand.

Grengur rolled onto his back and winced as he clutched his wounded arm. Blood ran freely between the demi-god’s fingers, turning his robe red and making a trail as he begun to crawl away from Lieut.

“Please, what are you doing?” Grengur wailed as Lieut calmly stalked him.

“Your denials only make you look foolish, Grengur,” Lieut remarked, “I can see who you really are, and you must die.”

“Are you mad?” Grengur blurted out angrily, “Do you realise what you are doing?”

“Yes,” Lieut replied simply, “But I still have to kill you.

Gregur’s breathing became heavy as the small stage where the musicians played stopped his retreat.

“My Antōre, is this really to be the end?” Grengur whimpered as he held his bleeding arm tightly.

But those whimpers soon turned into a slow laugh and the demi-god smiled up at Lieut.

“I have had a good and long life, my friend,” Grengur said to Lieut’s perplexed expression. “Do what you must, and let the consequences fall on your shoulder alone.”

Lieut hesitated and the tip of his sword lowered as he considered the demi-god’s words. Lieut gritted his teeth and stretched the stiffness out of his neck in frustration.

“I don’t have a choice,” Lieut growled and stepped forward, his sword tip diving into Grengur’s chest.

The demi-god looked in amusement at the blade plunged deeply through his body and then up at Lieut.

“Of course you have a choice,” Gregur replied quietly.

A perplexed expression came to Lieut’s face as he looked down at the demi-god. Suddenly he felt a building of power within his sword and his arm began to vibrate violently. Cracks of white light started appearing across Grengur’s smiling face and up his neck and body. The demi-god looked towards the clear morning sky as his eyes began to glow with the same brilliant light. The surge of energy grew and Lieut stepped back from the glowing man, drawing his sword out in a smooth motion. The hole where his sword was burned fiercely with pure light and a beam shot up into the sky as a blast of wind knocked everyone from their feet and shattered the windows of the manor.

Lieut got to his feet and readied himself for a grand entrance from Antōre in a similar fashion Anduěr had arrived on the Fields of Fallden. But nothing happened and Lieut looked about in confusion.

Just then a bright light flashed where Grengur had disappeared and a glowing figure appeared floating a few inches off the ground. Suddenly another figure appeared behind Antōre a glowing sword in her hand. The second figure was Kreha and she thrust her sword for Antōre’s back. But Antōre moved quickly to side and grabbed Kreha by the wrist before flinging her into the top floors of the manor. Stone and wood burst apart as Kreha crashed into the manor’s walls and out the top of the roof. People screamed and dived for cover as the rubble tumbled down and broke upon the ground.

Kreha flew back through the hole in the house in a flash of light and thundered into Antōre. The ground trembled as they crashed together into the wooden tables and chairs splintering them apart. Then Antōre was flying through the air and towards the city with Kreha close on his tail. 

Lieut sheathed his sword and was off at run away from the manor and in the direction Kreha and Antōre had gone. Fairris, Vythe and Bārdin were quickly behind him as were many of the party goers. Back across the bridge and through the rich section of the city Lieut ran, quickly darting between people walking on the street who quickly joined the mass that had come from the party. The two guards at the silver gate looked in horror as Lieut bore down upon them with a throng of people not far behind him.

Quickly Lieut and his friends out distanced the chasing crowd and he led the way into the city streets. Explosions in the distance and frequent flashes of light guided him in his pursuit of Kreha.

“You have done your part Lieut,” Vythe called out, “Let them fight it out and let us hope Antōre wins. You have done what Kreha has asked, you owe her no more allegiance.”

“It is not about that Vythe,” Lieut called over his shoulder without slowing his pace.

“Then what?” Vythe called back, but Lieut did not reply.

Lieut turned down another wide road and slipped between two stationary carriages. Everyone’s eyes were fixed to the south and the continuous explosions and screams of the people sounded. Suddenly there came an enormous flash of light in the sky and a beam of light scorched over Lieut’s head and into the Sect of Antōre that sat in a large square. The front half of the building collapsed with a loud crack and most of the people ran for cover, except for Lieut and his friends who ran across the plaza and to the broken building.

As Lieut neared, the rubble and debris broke apart with a bright flash and Antōre walked angrily from the mess. He walked out into the open and looked feverously about the skies all around him. Suddenly Kreha was upon him, her sword of white light piercing through Antōre’s chest and causing dust and debris to fly everywhere. Kreha was glaring down at Antōre as a slight smile came to his face.

“I am sorry I hurt you,” Antōre said sadly as he looked up at Kreha.

“No! Don’t you dare do that,” Kreha yelled back, “Don’t you take my revenge away from me!”

Cruelly Kreha twisted her sword and ripped it free as she took a few steps back. Antōre stood motionless, bent over backwards as blinding light grew within him. The wound where Kreha’s sword impaled him began to grow as Antōre’s body started to crumble into itself. The air around them began to vibrate as the white light grew brighter and Antōre quickly broke apart as he was sucked into a glowing ball inside his chest, which also began to shrink in size.

A high pitched sound began to hurt Lieut’s ears as the glowing ball became smaller, drawing in the wind and dirt around it. Then all of a sudden the piercing sound stopped and all sounds vanished as the ball of light burst outwards with a rush of wind and wall of brilliant light. Lieut and his companions were knocked from their feet and the closest building cracked and shuddered under the impact.

Then it was gone and the sounds of a quiet city returned to Lieut’s ears along with the trickling of Sparren’s waterways and the gentle rustle of the wind.

Getting to his feet Lieut saw Kreha still standing and looking where Antōre perished. Lieut quickly looked to the clear blue sky thinking it was about to rip apart like when Anduěr had died, but there was nothing, all was calm and clear.

Lieut was about to remark about it to his friends when suddenly a distant tremor began to shake the ground and began to grow. The sound of ripping fabric sounded above the rumbling of the earth and Lieut looked to the sky to see a giant greenish crack snake through the heavens towards the north east. A massive boom sounded and Lieut was forced to the ground by a heavy wave of air from above. The crack in the sky split apart to reveal the oily black depths beyond and more fiends and monsters flew from within.

The ground stopped trembling and Lieut got to his feet as another suddenly rippled through the ground and air causing the tips of the mountains to break away and drift into the sky towards the new rift.

Slowly Lieut made his way over to Kreha who had returned to form of a young woman.

“We thank you for your help Lieut, yes we do,” Kreha said softly as she continued to stare where Antōre once had been.

“Kreha, you cannot do this anymore,” Lieut said simply as he looked to the rift in the sky again.

Kreha turned a menacing glare upon him, “Do not think you can tell us what to do, silly mortal.”

“The world is being ripped apart,” Lieut said seriously, “I know you can see that.”

“We said we will fix it,” Kreha snapped, “And we will.”

“Then fix it,” Lieut was quick to reply and pointed the rift in the sky over the city.

“All in good time,” Kreha shrugged, “Once we have finished with The Five we will create a new world, a much more better world.”

“What do you mean?” Lieut asked suspiciously.

“This world has been tainted by the poison of The Five,” Kreha replied simply, “We will create a new one, free of sadness, pain and anger. Where it will always be peaceful and joyous.”

“What of this world?” Lieut asked slowly, his eyes narrowed.

“We cannot save it. Not now, not ever.” Kreha replied.

“And the people living here?” asked Lieut.

“All things end in death,” Kreha shrugged, “But do not worry, we will make a place for you and your friends, and brother, in our new and much more better world. You’ll see, lots more better. We knows, yes we do.”

Lieut narrowed his eyes and considered Kreha seriously.

“You know, my brother once said that there was nothing more boring than peace,” Lieut said slowly, “And I agree with him.”

“You don’t want to be in our new world, fine,” Kreha replied angrily, “Once we have finished with the remaining Gods you can stay in this world and perish with it, sillies.”

“We had a deal remember,” Lieut said, his own anger beginning to grow, “I help you with Antōre and you allow me to live out the rest of my natural life with your gift of the Fog in my head to keep me alive. That was our agreement. I will not be helping you with the other three of The Five.”

“Your natural life?” Kreha scoffed, “What part of you is natural Lieut? You were created in a laboratory in Nevārance. Built from the blood of a Wyner ancestor, and altered to be better than everyone else at fighting and war. You are a tool, a puppet, and you have always been as such, and so you are now mine.”

“No,” Lieut shook his head, “I will not be used any longer.”

“So what then?” Kreha scoffed, “I will not release you from your debt. You will have to kill me to be free. Can you do that, Lieut? Can you kill me, when The Five would not?”

Lieut’s eyes were cold as he stared hard at Kreha.

“I do not want to. But if I have to, yes,” Lieut replied and Kreha laughed.

Suddenly Kreha changed into the form of the regal Goddess and glared Lieut in the eyes. Pain erupted at the side of Lieut’s head and he fell to his knees in agony as wisps of Fog slowly seeped from the now bleeding wound across his scalp.

“You cannot kill me. I am a God and what are you? You are nothing but my puppet, weak and powerless.” Kreha said menacingly, “You would have been dead if it were not for me.”

Lieut heard his friends cry out and sound of weapons being drawn made his gut twist uncomfortably.

“He did what you asked, let him be,” Fairris yelled angrily.

 Through the crippling pain Lieut looked up at Kreha who smiled as a stream of magickal bullets from Fairris gunblades thundered harmlessly into her face. Kreha’s eyes flashed dangerously and Lieut heard Fairris cry out. Somehow Lieut managed to look over his shoulder to see Fairris bounce backwards across the ground, her gunblades falling from her hands.

Vythe called out and a spear of earth shot out of the ground beside Lieut and slammed into Kreha. Knocking her back a few steps and releasing Lieut from the pain. As Lieut shook away his disorientation Bārdin rushed by him and jumped from the half crumbled spear of stone that Vythe had cast. Bārdin shouted a dwarven war cry as he flew through the air, his axe leading the way. But his roars and flight was stopped short as Kreha’s hand shot out and grabbed Bārdin by the throat. Bārdin quickly dropped his axe and grabbed at Kreha’s forearm as he tried to stop himself from being choked. Dismissively the Goddess threw Bārdin aside like a rag doll, sending him bouncing across the stone.

Lieut’s hand moved like lightning as he brought his sword down from his shoulder ready for battle. But then Kreha’s eyes were back upon him and her hand reached out towards him causing Lieut to drop to his knees in pain once again.

Vythe tried to cast another spear of stone, but somehow the Goddess reflected the spell back on Vythe. Lieut looked through watery eyes as Vythe manage to defend himself as the stone spike ripped out of the ground and thundered into his chest.

All his friends were down and possibly dead, but there was little he could do as his own blood continued to drip from the gash along his head and the Fog continued to seep out. Angrily Lieut looked back to Kreha who was looking at him, her face devoid of emotion.

“I own you Lieut,” Kreha said unemotionally, “You will help me kill the remaining of The Five. You have no choice.”

“You are wrong,” Lieut replied through clenched teeth, “I do have a choice. You, and the Fog gave me that choice. I choose to not let this world and its people be destroyed by your obsession with revenge.”

Summoning all the strength he could muster Lieut clenched the handle of his sword tightly. The Fog he had absorbed from killing Gregur caused the Runes along the flat of the blade to shine brightly and the eyes of the lion head pommel flared dangerously. With great effort Lieut thrust his sword towards Kreha causing a ray of golden light to scorch forth and into the Goddess.  

The golden light burst apart with a wave of Kreha’s hand and she looked with a slight smile upon Lieut.

“Then you choose death, for us all,” Kreha smiled strangely. “If only The Five were as strong as you Lieut.”

Kreha’s words were peculiar in Lieut’s mind, but he did not get the chance to consider them. The pain at the side of Lieut’s head suddenly increased and more Fog steamed from his blood that was pooling on the ground. Weakness and lethargy gripped at his limbs and everything before his eyes blurred into silver glass.

Then all of a sudden the silver glass pulled back before him, and there was nothing. He always knew that could be nothing after death, so he was not afraid as the nothing took a hold of him.

But it was not so, for suddenly he was back in Sparren lying face down in the congealing pool of his own blood. Slowly his golden eyes focused on the silver lion’s head pommel and black leather handle of his sword.

The sound of battle suddenly echoed in his ears and he forced himself to get to his feet. Slowly his fingers gripped around the handle of his sword and Lieut pushed himself to his feet. Oblivious to him Kreha fought viciously with Vythe, Fairris and Bārdin as they worked well together in an attempt to kill her.

“How am I alive?” Lieut wondered quietly as he looked down at his hands and the pool of blood on the ground.

Lieut realised that it really did not matter how or why, he was and now his friends needed his help. Lieut flexed his fingers, feeling new strength within him, and turned his attention to the fight.

As Fairris launched a volley of magickal bullets into the Goddess’s face Bārdin darted for her legs, his axe cutting viciously. But Kreha vanished and sparks flew as his axe skipped off the stone ground. Suddenly the Goddess reappeared right behind the dwarf, her glowing sword poised to strike. Bārdin was saved by a series of magickal blasts thundering into Kreha’s chest and arms, bruising her pale skin and knocking her backwards.

Again Kreha vanished in a flash of light, this time rematerialising in front of Fairris, her sword slashing dangerously. Fairris managed to block the attack but she was thrown backwards and into the rubble of the Antōre Sect. Rolling amid the broken bricks Fairris cried out in pain and grabbed at the back of her thigh as a thin line of blood had appeared across her hamstring.

The Goddess lunged at Fairris, thinking to end one of them now, but she quickly retreated as the rocks and boulders around the area suddenly catapulted into her. Angrily Kreha cast aside the bricks and boulders with her sword and launched them at Vythe.

Diving to the side Vythe managed to avoid most of the missiles, but a large rock suddenly slammed into his face as he came from a roll. There was a bright blue flash and Vythe went tumbling back across the ground where he struggled to get back to his feet.

“Enough!” Lieut yelled loudly as he moved towards the battle ground, not bothering to wipe the blood which had become painted to half of his face.

Kreha calmly looked over to him a bemused expression on her face as the eyes of Lieut’s friends widened in surprise.

Lieut stretched his shoulders, suddenly feeling an overwhelming strength and power within him. Not bothering to consider where this new found power had come from Lieut locked his golden eyes upon Kreha. Somehow he knew he could match her for strength and his whole body tingled with anticipation.

“No more Kreha,” Lieut said simply, “You have had your revenge. It was Anduěr and Antōre who wronged you and now they are dead. Let it end, let it be over.”

The Goddess shook her head and looked at Lieut sadly, “It will never be over, Lieut. The man I loved is dead, and I can never have him back. Only in death will I find peace. Can you give me my peace Lieut?”

Lieut narrowed his eyes slightly, did Kreha want to die? Was that the reason for her bringing about the end of the world with her personal war with The Five Gods? Was peace only ever what she wanted, even before The Five imprisoned her in the crystal?

“Come on, give me peace,” Kreha said, her voice rising, “With your resurrections you have been granted Godly powers. But will they be enough? The Five in all their power together could not bring themselves to kill me, they were afraid. Can you rectify their mistakes?”

Lieut hesitated as he regarded Kreha’s words more closely, trying to understand what was driving her.

“Very well,” Kreha said, “Perhaps I should give you reason to kill me, bestow the revenge that has driven me for so many years upon you.”

Before Lieut realised what the Goddess was hinting at three beams of light shot forth from her finger tips and pierced the hearts of his friends.

“No!” Lieut yelled out in denial as he watched Fairris reach out to him, a crystal shard impaled through her chest.

Both Bārdin and Vythe also fell to the ground with identical wounds, Lieut watched in horror their blood pooled around each of their bodies and the light left their eyes.

Lieut’s breathing came in short sharp intakes and his lips and jaw went tight as he fixed his eyes upon Kreha. Fire burned within his golden orbs and he could feel an immense power build within him. Wisps of Fog danced along his arms and shoulders and seeped forth from the gash along the aide of his head. But it did not float off into the air, instead it seemed to drift around him, being absorbed by the Anther Crystals on his sword and receding back into his skin.

Kreha seemed to look at him sadly, but Lieut did not notice for he was filled with rage. Lieut clenched his fists and let out a loud roar before the muscles of his legs snapped tight and he flew towards Kreha with blinding speed, the tip of his sword leading the way.

The Goddess’s own sword of light was in her hands in a flash and their blades connected in a flurry of slashes and cuts. Lieut was so filed with anger and the desire for revenge he did not even notice that his fight with Kreha was lifting up high over the building of Sparren.

The edge of Lieut’s sword glowed golden as he continued to force Kreha to defend. The energy within him continued to build and he knew it was only a matter of time before his sword would slip through her defences. Then it happened, Lieut knocked her sword wide and like lightning cut back the other way, slashing her across the belly. Again Lieut cut back the other way drawing a line of blood just below her neck. Neither wound was deep but both turned her white flowing robe red.

Suddenly Lieut was flying backwards through the air and towards the ground. He could feel the impact of rocks as he thundered into the side of a mountain. A second wave of energy suddenly slammed into him again, blasting him right through the rocks and into the open air beyond. Lieut stopped himself from failing further and turned his angry glare towards Kreha. His eyes quickly widened in surprise as the Goddess appeared right above him in the air. Desperately Lieut just got his sword up in time to block the heavy blow from Kreha.

The impact from the strike sent him flying backwards and down into the lower city of Sparren. Stone cracked and timber splintered as he crashed through a building and into the ground. The very stone of the road blasted apart as Lieut slid across the ground, tearing a shallow divot into the ground.

Dozens of onlookers raced to get out the way of the crumbling building and away from Lieut as he quickly got to his feet, not feeling any pain from the impact.

“Go get her lad,” someone shouted from the crowd, but he did not take the second to register the cheer.

Lieut imagined appearing behind Kreha as she still floated hundreds of feet above the city, and in an instant it was real. But Kreha had expected such an attack and her sword met his solidly. Once again the Lieut went into a flurry of rage filled attacks that sent Kreha on the defensive right away.

Lieut’s sword slipped through the Goddess’s defences again and slashed her on the thigh. And again Kreha sent him tumbling backwards with a burst of energy. But Lieut somehow stopped his falling quickly and launched a blade of Fog magicks from his sword. Kreha knocked the attack aside with her sword and sent her own wave of energies towards him. Lieut easily slapped the ball of magicks aside and shot toward Kreha again.

Down amid the buildings they tumbled, sending frightened onlookers running for cover. But such sanctuaries from the battle were becoming less numerous as Lieut sent Kreha flying through several buildings with him close behind. An explosion of rock and dust erupted into the air as Lieut drove his sword home.

Kreha was quicker this time and she flew into the sky high above the lower city of Sparren. With a growl Lieut followed and as he shot out from the dust cloud Kreha met him with sword in hand.

For many minutes they fought with ferocity, neither of them tiring, and neither of them seeming to get the upper hand in the battle. But Lieut’s focus would not waver. He had seen his only friends die, killed by this Goddess, and in his mind the only way this battle would end was with her death.

Back over the upper city they fought, the energy from their fight causing the ground to tremble and all looking on to cower in fear. Higher into the skies they went becoming lost amid the grey clouds that had formed. Flashes of light reflected within the dark clouds and the sound of deafening thunder rolled across Sparren like a chorus of drums.

Suddenly Lieut and Kreha locked sword sending a sonic boom rippling through the heavens and blasting away the clouds in a wave of light.

Again Kreha tried to knock him backwards for some reprieve in the fight, but Lieut was waiting for it. As soon as the wave of energy burst forth from Kreha Lieut disappeared and reappeared right above her his sword blasting down upon her with a powerful chop. Kreha managed to bring her sword up above her to defend, but as Lieut’s sword connected her blade of light shattered and she catapulted towards the ground at a blistering speed.

Not about give her a chance Lieut followed after her just as quickly, his sword leading the way. They hit the ground together and the stone plaza in front of the Antōre Sect burst apart sending rock and dirt high into the air and creating a wide crater in the ground.

“Thank you,” Lieut heard Kreha whisper as his sword plunged for her neck.

At the last second Lieut stopped his sword from biting into Kreha’s flesh and his eye locked with hers.

“Finish it,” Kreha said softly, and she suddenly changed back into the demeanour of the young woman.

“You have wanted death from the beginning, to be with the one you love,” Lieut stated, his blade still poised to strike.

“The Five could not do it, so I believed the end of the world would,” Kreha replied honestly. “I did not want to see the world end, but it seemed necessary, until I saw the strength within you. Now finish it, take revenge for your murdered friends.”

Lieut gritted his teeth and almost drove his sword down then. But he steadied his breathing and looked up and over to the dead bodies of his dear friends.

“If you do not kill me, I will surely end this world,” Kreha said menacingly, drawing Lieut’s cold glare back to her dark eyes.

Still Lieut’s hand did not move and the tip of his sword was positioned barely a hairs breadth from the white skin of Kreha’s neck.

“Please Lieut, kill me,” Kreha implored, tears begging to well in her large eyes. “End my torment. Give me peace.”

Lieut wanted to ask Kreha what he was supposed to do with the torment he felt upon seeing his dead friends, but he did not.

“Please,” Kreha begged again as the tears ran down her face.

The tip of Lieut’s sword moved back from Kreha’s neck as he let out a deep breath before plunging his blade deep between the Goddess’s small breasts.

Kreha’s eyes widened and she breathed out, a smile came to her lips and the light left her eyes. The glowing white aura that surrounded Kreha faded and as Lieut slid his blade free and stood up, she seemed as a young woman as normal as the next one.

Slowly Lieut walked from the crater and towards the bodies of his friends which still lied in the pool of their blood. Despair gripped at his chest and Lieut slumped to his knees. He suddenly felt very weak, the side of his head began to hurt again and he could see the streams of Fog rush before his eyes and off into the sky. Above him the rift was still wide and ominous and the peaks of the mountains were still breaking away and being pulled towards its black depths. About the edges of the plaza some curious people began to creep in, their eyes wide and their faces marked with disbelief.

The Fog continued to drift from Lieut’s head and he could feel his blood once again flow from the wound.

“It was you, wasn’t it Kreha?” Lieut asked to the sky, “You gave me this power so I would kill you. And now that you have died, so too shall I.”

But death did not come to him, despite how he longed for it at the moment.

Kneeling and breathing shallowly Lieut began to feel the ground shake and those who had begun to walk into the square ran for cover as a blinding light came down from sky and touched down in front of Lieut.

Through weary eyes Lieut watched as the light dimmed and two figures stood before him. One was tall and beautiful, with flowing hair and resembled all the beauty of the elves in one being. The other was as short as dwarf and seemed as such, with a thick beard, broad shoulders and vivid eyes.

There came the sound of shattering glass and Lieut looked to the clears skies to see the rift slowly repair itself and finally seem as if nothing had ever happened. With a curious look Lieut turned his attention back to the two figures before him who were watching him with slight smiles upon their faces.

“Who are you?” Lieut breathed as they both walked over to him.

“We have never used names,” the elf like woman replied with a voice as sweat as the scent of flowers in Spring, “But we have been give names of Dhror and Melenduil. Names I am sure you have heard.”

“We have been gone from our world for too long,” Dhror said, his voice like the earth, “But your actions attracted our interest.”

“We had lost faith in the people of this world, but you have restored it,” Melenduil remarked with a smile. “Your heroism, valour, courage, your compassion and complete selflessness has warmed our hearts.”

Lieut scoffed at the remark, “For what?” Lieut asked bitterly, “In the end, my friends have died, and so shall I soon enough.”

Dhror and Melenduil smiled to each other and lifted Lieut up.

“Come, your friends are waiting for you,” Dhror said with a laugh.

Lieut did not understand what Dhror was meaning, but he did not resist as they helped towards the great pillar of light the once again shown down from the heavens.

Lieut closed his eyes as the brightness intensified and warmed every part for him. Then suddenly Dhror and Melenduil were no longer helping him and the light dimmed to reveal smiling faces of his friends as they hugged and welcomed him.

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