Table of Contents (Warning: Off-site)
Slightly shorter this time.
For a few moments, the clearing was silent. On one side, Kieran stood, his sword held in front of him, his anima rising over his head. On the other, Cathak Lodaris stood with his swords crossed in front of him, surrounded by the thin smoke trails of burning grass.
"You have spirit, Anathema, but you will soon succumb to the fury of Heshiah!" Leaping forwards, Lodaris swung his daiklaves in a cross arc, sweeping one high and the other low as he drove Kieran backwards. Raising his daiklave and twisting it, Kieran knocked the two blades aside, then pushed them backwards with a single devastating sweep, somersaulting over the blade to land behind Lodaris, spinning to strike at his back. As he did so, however, smoke and fire boiled up around the Dynast, and the blow swung wild. Kieran hopped backwards as Lodaris swung again, spinning to face his foe.
"Since my Exaltation, it's been nothing but battles! Monsters, gods, Exalts - everyone wants me dead. None of them have had any luck, and you're not about to break the trend." Kieran smiled grimly, and leapt forwards again, his sword sweeping up from the ground in an arc of sunlight, but flame wreathed outwards from Lodaris's anima, leaping out from his twin blades to sheathe Kieran's sword, and the blow slowed and swung wide again. Kieran frowned in concentration, his sword swinging around, and then suddenly curving downwards, and Lodaris shook his head sadly, his swords flickering outwards as he stepped to one side, smoke carrying the orichalcum blade wide away from him.
"You have never seen the Flame-Flicker Stance in operation, Anathema? I will be honoured to show you the true power of the Dragons." He raised his swords, and fire wrapped around them, smoke rising to blot out the sun. Advancing, Lodaris spun his swords in an arc in front of him, creating a wheel of fire that Kieran was forced to fall back from. Abruptly, both swords darted forwards, bringing the wheel with them, and slammed into Kieran, one slashing across his shoulder as the other dragged across his gut, trailing streamers of piercing flame. Kieran's anima blazed golden, sending shockwaves across his body as it drew away the force of the blow, and he staggered backwards, grimicing in agony at the firey pain racing across his body, settling deep into his bones. Prompty, flame gouted from the wounds, coiling like a caged beast, only to disperse harmlessly against the power of his anima.
"No!" Leaping across the clearing, Elena swung her sword with all her might, raised to strike. Shaking his head, Lodaris turned, flames drawing across his body as he stepped smoothly to one side. As Elena spun to attack again, Lodaris brought the hilt of his swords around, slamming them into her chest, and then kicked her squarely in the head, plumes of Essence passing into each wound as he invoked the Searing Fist against her. As she crumpled, gasping at the pain, he sighed. "This is an affair for those of a superior breed, mortal. You are not involved." Turning back to Kieran, he stepped forwards. "Now, where were we?"
Standing on the edge of the cliff, Kieran grimaced. "You won't defeat me that easily." He winced, holding his chest. "You think I'm afraid of a little fire?" His ribs aching from the pain of the Dynastâ€™s Charms, he nevertheless set his sword into a defensive position.
"In all honesty, I'm disappointed." Lodaris swung his swords again, slamming them with brutal force against Kieranâ€™s blade, and Kieran trembled, trying to block him. "This is the creature that tore Mirron apart? I was expected a battle for the ages, not a pathetic boy without sense enough to lay down and die." Another blow slammed down, knocking the daiklave wide and driving Kieran to his knees, and the next sent him sprawling. His left arm hung over the edge of the cliff, and the sky blurred as he tried to focus. He coughed, grasping his sword weakly in the right hand to swing it falteringly at Lodaris, who took a step backwards with a wry smile. "We need not delay this any further."
"I'm not... done yet... you won't hurt anyone else..." Kieran gasped as Lodaris's boot came down on his hand, bathing it in flame as he kicked the golden daiklave to one side, and his eyes rolled backwards. Lodaris sighed, shaking his head again.
"Even children fall into the grasp of the Tainted ones. I wish you better luck in your next liooof!" The sudden impact against his back was completely unexpected, and he staggered forwards two steps from the force of the impact before he realized what a distasterous idea that would be. For a fraction of a second, his foot scrabbled at the edge of the cliff, and then he plummeted downwards, slamming into the river far below in a gout of steam and flame.
Standing on the edge of the cliff, Khory rubbed at his injured shoulder from where he had hit the Dynast, wincing at the char marks. He spat over the cliff edge. "That for your superior breed."