His eyes were open but all was darkness. Cold, watery, darkness. The crushing, black oblivion surrounded him, strangling him and clutching at his very soul. With his back and ribs broken from Stinfy’s attack he could not draw breath, but Legin did not care. He did not care that was no way out, that he was doomed to drown. Even if he refused to die like this and try and swim to the surface he would fail. His body was broken and even if he wanted to move he knew he could not. The currents of the Gornl Sea were dragging him, further into the salty abyss, there would be no use trying to swim to the surface.
But Legin did not care. In fact he did not mind this gentle floating in the black waters. The pain of his broken bones was not as intense as he floated like this. He thought about simply exhaling all the air in his lunges and sucking deep the water so that the end might come quickly. But he did not mind this slow death, it was peaceful being surrounded by complete blackness and filled with the feeling of floating and drifting aimlessly in a void. Legin could hold his breath for quite a while but death would come soon enough. And he would be glad when the ultimate peace did come.
All his short life Legin had wondered where he was from and who he was, fighting his way through most situations. But to discover that he was some mutant spawn of a psychotic Magi who raped his mother, a mother who would have never wanted him, it was not worth it. He would have been happier to have never known. He would have been happier to have died before he was even born.
Legin blinked slowly, the salt stung his eyes slightly. But it was not like there was anything thing to see in the watery depths.
There was something though, a light snaking through the darkness. The rivers of Fog that existed in the Gornl Sea were circling around him, caressing him. Legin felt the currents shift and instead of dragging him deeper they began to pushing him towards the surface. He again felt strength in his limbs and his shattered back and ribs suddenly felt healed. The water around him grew lighter and all of a sudden he was lying on the surface gazing towards the sky as the steady rain fell from above. The Fog rippled around him and across the top of the still water and Legin slowly, drew in a deep breath. Somewhere in the distance lightning struck and sent a rumble of thunder across the heavens.
“Why?” Legin mumbled sadly, “Why won’t I just die?”
“Because you’re not done yet,” said a familiar voice and Pip causally walked across the water to stand above him.
“Pip?” a sense of excitement bubbled within Legin. “No, you’re not real. You’ve never been real.”
“Haven’t I?” Pip asked back as he squatted down, his eyes glowing a strange green, “I was real to you, why should anything else matter?”
“Because,” Legin sighed, “None of it happened. You never existed. All the conversations we had never took place.”
Pip laughed slightly, “But they did, didn’t they? Just because no one else heard our conversations, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Just because no one else ever saw me doesn’t mean I wasn’t your friend, and always will be your friend.”
Legin did not reply and closed his eyes against the rain.
“What does it matter if people think you are crazy?” Pip continued, “I am your friend, Legin. And I will always be with you, helping you, guiding your decisions, making you laugh when you are sad, talking with you when you are lonely, and above all being your friend when everyone else wants to fight you because of your tail.”
Still Legin did not reply and he floated on the surface of the sea.
“Remember that time in Port Na’brath when those two guys were making fun of you,” Pip said with a laugh, “He tried to pull your tail off so you pulled his arm out of its socket. Man that was funny.”
A slight smile came to Legin’s face.
“And you took on the one who was twice your size,” Legin said quietly, “Was he even real?”
“As real as me,” Pip replied simply.
“What of Lilly?” Legin asked suddenly and his eyes opened.
Pip shrugged, “I guess you thought I needed a girlfriend. But in truth I don’t think I am the marrying kind.”
Pip laughed and Legin’s smile widened.
“In truth she was a bit crazy,” Pip chuckled, “I am actually kind of relieved she’s not around anymore.”
That caused Legin to laugh aloud. But he stopped himself short and winced in anguish before he looked to his friend.
“Why are your eyes glowing green Pip?” Legin asked curiously.
“I’m not real remember,” Pip stated sadly, “Your view of me has dramatically chaged, so why shouldn’t I?”
Legin sighed heavily and looked away.
“So what now Pip?” Legin asked despondently, “Are you to disappear forever. Am I to be all alone again? Just me and my lucky seed. My lucky pip …”
Legin’s voice trailed away and a lump formed in his throat.
“That’s up to you,” Pip replied sadly before a yellow glow came to his eyes. “But first I think you should help Vhindr out. He’s probably in a bit of trouble.”
“What’s the point?” Legin asked back. “The Magi is stronger than me, I’ll just fail.”
“Since when has that stopped you?” Pip rebutted. “Tell me: do you understand what that man Stinfry did to you?”
Legin nodded slightly.
“Do you fully understand how he raped and tortured your mother?”
“A mother that never wanted me …”
“Your mother nonetheless,” Pip cut in forcefully, his eyes now glowing a fierce pink. “Do you understand that he has been doing the same thing to hundreds of woman over the past two decades?”
Legin nodded again and clenched his jaw as anger began to burn within him.
“Imagine what he will do to Vhindr. Imagine what he will continue to do to many more innocent women.”
Legin’s hands balled into fists and flames burned behind his eyes. The Fog around him began to swirl and the calm waters of the Gornl Sea rippled and rolled.
“Tell me Legin, how does that make you feel?”
Legin let out a growl as his muscles flexed and the Fog and water continued to swirl around him. The Fog then ran across his clothes, around his arms and legs, seeming to move into his body. Legin felt a strength surge deep within him and an unstoppable anger fill his thoughts.
“What are you going to do about it?”
A guttural scream erupted from Legin’s throat and the Fog rushed around him like a hurricane as the Gornl Sea spiralled inwards underneath him. Floating in the air the Fog continued rush into him, filling him with power and fuelling his unbridled rage at the Magi Siggr Stinfry.
Legin’s eyes snapped upon the shadow cliff top and the ancient Azarě Monastery. He could see a light piercing out a hole in the wall and he flew towards it. He did not even register his actions as he flew through the air and back through the broken wall.
“Stop. Stop it.” Vhindr begged as Legin burst in through the hole and stopped at the centre of the room. “Please you will kill her.”
Magi Stinfry let out a cackling laugh as he watched the woman on the bench top writhe in pain. Strange black discs were positioned near the woman’s stomach and Fog streamed between the rune etched ebonite stone plates.
“Arell no.” Vhindr growled and tried to get to the woman but the cabāl held him still. “Stop Stinfry, you have made your point.”
The Magi ignored the plea and continued to laugh.
“Stop it!” Legin yelled above the noise and all looked in surprise at him.
“Legin.” Vhindr gasped, his eyes wide.
A flash of lighting thundered outside the broken wall framing Legin and highlighting the wisps of Fog that drifted from his arms and shoulders.
“Well now, it seems you are stronger than I thought,” Stinfry smiled, “It is to be expected from a child of my loins I guess, but still well done boy. Now you can die again. You, ghoul, feel free to eat this one if you wish.”
The winged ghoul smiled evilly as it turned on Legin, its yellow eyes glowing maliciously. With a single flap of its leathery wings the demon was right in front of him, its single hand diving for his throat.
But somehow Legin was quicker. Lunging ahead Legin knocked the ghoul’s hand wide and countered with a finger jab to the creature’s eye. The ghoul did not even have time to scream in pain as Legin landed several heavy punches to the demon’s gut, breaking ribs and making it bend over. Wrapping his arm around the ghoul’s head Legin twisted over the beast’s shoulder, snapping its neck and cracking its skull.
As the ghoul let out a chilling scream and disappeared into black smoke Legin turned his fiery stare upon the Magi.
“Not bad,” Stinfry conceded before he gave a nod to the cabāl. “See if you can banish them both back to the Abyss to await me summoning them again.”
The cabāl grinned widely, it’s perfectly aligned, uniform teeth, covered with drool.
“I eat you tasty monkey.” Stated the cabāl as it dropped Vhindr and loped towards Legin, knocking aside a table in the process.
The oafish giant lumbered and Legin dived forwards with a heavy punch right into the creature’s gut, stopping its charge and blasting its air from its lunges. As quick as the lightning that was striking outside Legin jumped upwards with a twist and sent a powerful kick into the cabāl’s small head. The impact from the blow sent the demon flying across the room and blasting into another table.
But the creature was up quickly and pushing aside the splinters it squealed disturbingly before charging once again.
Legin had had enough of this game, especially with his main target only metres away. Summoning his strength within him Legin stepped ahead, his arm outstretched and his palm slapping flat onto the demon’s forehead. A shock wave thundered through the room as the cabāl stopped dead in its tracks. Furiously the demon tried to push onwards but its feet could not find traction. Snapping its jaws the beast tried to bite at Legin’s hand as it raised its arms to strike. The Fog rushed around Legin’s arm and flashed of light popped around his hand. Suddenly a torrent of Fog energy exploded out from Legin’s hand, ripping through the cabāl and blasting through the wall at the other side of the room.
The torrent stopped as quickly as it appeared and the demon’s two massive arms fell to the ground before they dissipated into black smoke.
Slowly Legin turned his glare towards Magi Stinfry who applauded him sarcastically.
“Not bad,” Stinfry congratulated, “Not bad at all. You have quite the unusual technique my son.”
Legin bared his teeth in anger and sprung towards the Magi.
“I’m not your son!” Legin screamed as he closed the distances between them in a single lunge.
He moved faster than the Magi could react and Legin launched a heavy punch right into the man’s face. Like last time there came a flash of blue as his fist bounced off the magickal buff that the Magi had cast upon himself. But Legin was ready for it and continued his assault undeterred. Stinfry staggered backwards under the blows, blocking some of them, but most landed heavily.
Suddenly Legin was sliding backwards as the Magi unleashed a wave of energy.
Again Legin tried to dive back in at the man he felt so much hated towards, but his feet would not move. Surprised, Legin tried to shift his feet, even move them with his hands, but they would not budge from the stone. A laugh drew his eyes to the Magi who was gathering Fog magicks into a single attack.
“So much yet to learn,” Stinfry remarked, “You have talent boy. A shame you will not live to reach its heights.”
Legin’s eyes widened and he mouth fell open in despair as he felt the power build within the Magi’s attack.
A stream of light blasted into Stinfry from the side, breaking the Magi’s concentration and disrupting his attack. Legin followed the line of magickal lights to Vhindr who stood confidently. The man had repositioned the ebonite discs to the side of the bench where Arell lay. The Fog still drifted between the plates and amid the stream of yellow, green and pink was Vhindr’s hand clenched in a fist with the other outstretched towards Stinfry.
“Very clever,” Magi Stinfry smirked, “But you are still too weak to try and compete with my power.”
Vhindr returned the smirk, “But Legin isn’t.”
“You dispelled …” Stinfry began, his eyes widening.
“Get him Legin.” Vhindr cut in as another stream of balls of light rushed from his hand and blasted into Stinfry.
Realising Vhindr’s plan Legin summoned all of his remaining strength and launched himself at the Magi. His feet moved this time and as Stinfry tried to knock away Vhindr’s attack Legin catapulted into the man, his shoulder leading the way.
The Magi flew backwards and into the stone wall, his magickal defences shattering around him in blue shards. Legin was there in a second, knocking the man into the wall again before throwing him to the floor.
Legin cried out as he jumped upon the Magi and grabbing him by the collar with one hand as his other began repeatedly punching him in the face. Legin continued to scream and his fist continued to pound the Magi’s face. Stinfry’s skin quickly turned red and purple as bone shattered and Legin continued to punch. Shutting his eyes Legin did not realise what he was doing as he continued smash in the Magi’s face and head. His second fist joined the first and he splattered Stinfry into the stone of the floor.
Finally he slowed his punches and stopped. Breathing heavily Legin opened his eyes to see his shaking hands, the white fabric of his gauntlets now red with blood. Seeing the mess of what was left of Magi Stinfry’s head Legin recoiled and fell away in disgust. The man’s body twitched strangely as Legin scrambled away, his eyes wide and fixed upon the red pulp where Stinfry’s head had been.
A cry from the side broke Legin’s trance and he looked to see Vhindr cradling Arell’s body on the ground. Tears marked Vhindr’s face as he looked down at the woman and Legin knew that she was dead.