Nash's sword flickered out, a thousand violet sparks flying from it as he leapt forwards. Diving backwards, Ukiel's hand twitched slightly as he pushd himself backwards, black and green lines trailing behind his impossibly quick dodge. He smiled grimly. â€œI have wanted to meet a Sidereal for some time. I hope you will not disappoint me.â€ Three arrows were slotted and fired, the Infernal's anima coiling around each one to lance outwards, nothing but spikes of darkness that tore paths through fate. Looking through the possibilities, Nash saw that it was impossible to block any of them.
So he did. His Serenity In Blood flickered, creating fate where none existed, and each of the dark lines winked out of existance as it touched the edge of his blade, diffusing into a small cloud that faded from existance. With each block, Nash's anima blazed higher, matching the sickly green with a soft, vibrant blue. â€œThat will depend. Is your death disappointing to you?â€ He stepped forwards, slashing towards his opponent's legs and then reversing his thrust to stab upwards. Both times, the darkness in Ukiel's anima coiled and twisted, pulling the Infernal to safety.
Ukiel chuckled. â€œAmusing. But I suspect I can fire more than you can afford those defenses.â€ Three more arrows were slotted and fired, and Nash found himself pulling into the familiar pattern of Serenity In Blood. But he knew he was in danger. Serenity in Blood was a Charm that drew heavily on the will, and he had no more to offer. His opponent's attacks must be similarly draining, but Ukiel showed little sign of fatigue. Two arrows were diffused, fading into nothing, and then there was no more force of will to draw on - the third sliced cleanly around the sword and struck Nash in the chest.
It was as though the darkness was crowding around him, pulling his Fate towards Oblivion. Nash staggered on his feet, and Ukiel grinned savagely. â€œYou see, Sidereal? Hundreds of years of skill, and you are still no match for the will of the Yozi.â€ His smile was cut short as a spear cut across his vision. Darkness coiled, and the Infernal barely pushed himself to one side. He reached up to touch the light cut across his cheek, and turned.
â€œHe does not fight alone.â€ Gwydion twisted his spear as Nash, recovering, leapt forwards again. â€œWe all fight together.â€
Across the tunnel, a storm of steel was the primary sign of the battle between Alakazar and Savriel. Twin swords met an array of daggers, each throwing sparks that were the only sign of the struggle. Savriel cursed under her breath. â€œHow are you so quick?â€
â€œThe prayers and dreams of my people have sustained me for centuries, and I have Defined the Parameters of this battle.â€ Alakazar smiled grimly, letting his swords sing the song of his victories in the past, and their guarantee for a future of conflict. In response, Savriel drew twin daggers from hidden slots in her armor, each one thrown outwards to deflect the swords, sending a discordant note echoing through them and continuing on towards the Fair Folk. Alakazar bent backwards, his face twisting back and forth, and each dagger sliced off a single strand of dark hair.
â€œThat will not matter soon, for Isidoros defines all things.â€ Savriel flicked outwards, a storm of knives that Alakazar turned aside with a wall of steel. â€œYou may have tied yourself loosely to the world, thing of Chaos, but you are still not meant to exist.â€
â€œThat is unfortunate.â€ Alakazar smiled calmly, letting his swords sing again. â€œIt seems that our philosophies cannot co-exist. I suspect this is an understandble situation for us both. Let us see whose reality proves the greater.â€
As her friends fought, Serafin found herself alone against the Conduit. Her claws slashed out, drawing blood from the pale skin of her enemy, but the Conduit merely chuckled. As his form shifted into that of a young woman, the wounds closed and changed, turning to nothing. â€œWhy do you persist in fruitless rebellion, my sister? Don't you understand that trying to oppose the will of the Yozi ultimately brings nothing but pain to Creation?â€
â€œCreation, even in its current state, is far better off than it was under the Yozi.â€ Serafin spoke with conviction, her blades flashing forwards. The Conduit ducked and weaved backwards, and then flicked her deck; the cards twisted and writhed, forming into a single narrow blade, and the Conduit slashed outwards with it. â€œBut I don't expect you to understand. The Yozi remade your soul long ago.â€
â€œIsidoros brought peace!â€ The Conduit slashed outwards again, and blood flecked the wall. â€œMy form was dissolving. My shape was lost. I was as Creation is now, fading away under a tide of my own failings. Isidoros saved me, gave me these tattoos.â€ The tattoos in question pulsed green in response. â€œAnd He found that my soul was aligned with His, and now his voice speaks to me. When I am in need, he brings enlightenment. I need never fear.â€
â€œYou are nothing but a puppet.â€ Serafin kicked out, and the Conduit shook her head sadly, ducking backwards away from the blow.
â€œYou are wrong. I am not a simple akuma, to do my Lord's will without understanding. I am a Conduit. My will and that of Isidoros were already in alignment; no change was required.â€ The Conduit glanced down, seeing blood on her robes, and frowned slightly. She looked to the left, where Ukiel was stumbling backwards, desperately avoiding spearthrusts and sword slashes, and to where Savriel was clutching a shoulder wound as she tried to land a serious blow against Alakazar. â€œI think this has gone on quite long enough, however. Isidoros! Show them your power!â€
As she spoke, the walls started to hum with power. Serafin felt a strange weight settling over her, and gasped with surprise. Across from her, Nash winced as though suffering from sudden headache. But the effect on Alakazar and Gwydion was far more pronounced. The two fae collapsed on the spot, writhing in silent pain. Serafin turned in shock, then spun back as the Conduit's sword swiped downwards. Her claws reached up, forming a net of steel to block each layer of the blade and twist it to one side - and it simply smashed through, cracking bone as it slammed into Serafin's chest. She fell to one knee with a gasp of pain, feeling numbness spreading through her body. â€œWhat...?â€
â€œIsidoros walks.â€ The Conduit's face was grim as she kicked outwards with one foot. Serafin started to somersault backwards, flipping away from the blow, but her hand caught awkwardly on the ground and the kick slammed into her chin, sending her falling downwards. â€œYou live your life in a world of stories, little Lunar, but Creation is not a story. It was never meant to be. It is a simple pattern, an unalterable progression that the gods tried to undo. Reality does not stand for your actions any longer. Romance and drama do not triumph over physical law. Isidoros has so willed it, and so it shall be, forever.â€ Her face grew still, and she raised the blade. Serafin tried to push herself to her feet, but the numb feeling of Isidoros surrounded her. â€œGoodbye, Lady Serafin. Someone, I'm sure, will miss your passing.â€
The sword dropped.
And the world froze. Everything went grey, and the pain vanished. And Serafin looked over as the tunnel was filled with silver light. â€œLuna?â€ Her voice was faint. â€œHave you come to help?â€
â€œI'm afraid not, my daughter.â€ Luna sighed heavily, her shifting features sorrowful. â€œI've only come to say goodbye.â€