As Serafin and the Perfect engaged with the Lion, Essence sparks flying as their Charms clashed with one another, four Solars ran for the wall of the Lap. In the lead, Tepet Fokuf gauged distances and glanced behind him. His companions had their weapons drawn and were watching intently, ready for the second phase of the Lionâ€™s ambush.
Even so, they nearly missed it. The first hint of trouble was the ripple of shadows above the wall, as a young woman dressed from head to toe in black leather flipped away from her hiding place, a black disc forming on her forehead, and drew a powerbow that moaned in anticipation as she notched an arrow and took aim. Two more Deathknights stepped from buildings on the left and right of the street â€“ each was clad in heavy soulsteel armour, one wielding a massive axe and the other with a spear and shield. They charged to cut the group off from behind. In the same instant, a shadow appeared above, as a whip-thin man with ragged black hair, a grey tattered cloak fluttering in the wind behind him, leapt from the back of a bird much larger than the raitons it had been hiding above, landing smoothly on the ground and drawing a pair of short black swords. He smiled nastily, looking at the approaching Solars. â€œWelcome, children of the Sun. You have made a dreadful error if you believe that â€“â€
Without breaking his stride, Fokuf delivered a brutal kick to the Abyssalâ€™s crotch. His eyes bulging, the deathknight started to double over, as Fokuf continued past him. Immediately behind, Tenrek grabbed the deathknight by the shoulders, pivoting in a single arc and releasing, and sending him flying backwards into the pursuing axeman, whose advance ground to a halt as he braced himself against the throw. The thrown Abyssal fell to the ground with a strangled moan.
Alina leveled her chakram, sending flights of Essence towards the bow-wielding Abyssal, who began backflipping away with an annoyed-sounding sigh. She let off a pair of arrows, which hissed across the space where Alina had stood a moment before.
Behind them, Serafin risked a glance back to check their progress â€“ a glance which almost ended her life, as the Lion took advantage of her fractional distraction to level a storm of blows that filled the air with a hundred shining shadows of his blade. Serafin let her body go vague, twisting and pivoting in impossible shapes, and the blows fluttered harmlessly aside. As she did, she focused on a single thrust, twisting and pushing, and in a flash of silver light it reversed its course to slam against the Lionâ€™s armour â€“ sadly, without leaving a mark. She cursed under her breath. â€œWhere were you when Adorjan wanted through?â€
â€œI do not care about Adorjanâ€™s goals. The death of the Maker only increases our chances. But there is a chance, however faint, that you might reverse his death.â€ The Lionâ€™s voice was grim, but matter-of-fact. Reversing the grip on his sword, he sliced backwards, shattering the storm of emerald flame that the Perfect was raising against him, and then spun and struck. But the Perfect was already dancing aside, green light flickering on his brow. â€œStill, it is hardly necessary. You know that the Maker will not waken.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll see.â€ Serafin smiled mysteriously, then flipped back away from another overwhelming blow. â€œSuch a shame that itâ€™s come to this, though. The Deathlords reduced to being the errand-boys of the Yozi.â€
â€œPah!â€ The Lion spat with rage, unleashing a wall of necrotic Essence that crumbled the stone of the street as it rushed forwards. Serafin moved in a blur, silver light spreading from her hands to block its advance and prevent it from passing her. â€œYou have no idea of the power we retain! Creation will yet fall into the Void!â€
â€œWhy donâ€™t you just give up?â€ Serafin kicked out, and the Lion leapt over her foot, then twisted in midair to avoid its sudden shifting position. The Perfect took advantage of the attack from below to bring his staff around, and the Lion was forced to block it with his blade even as he dove backwards from Serafinâ€™s assault. â€œYou know that, even for you, there is the chance at redemption.â€
â€œThere will be no redemption!â€ The Lion roared with anger, bringing his sword around again, and Serafin felt the blow send her backwards through a wall, even as she let it dissipate harmlessly against her claws. As she stood, she glanced back towards the wall, just in time to see Kieran passing through the stone as though it were air. A charging deathknight attempted to pursue, only to find his way blocked. Serafin grinned, and looked to the Perfect.
He smiled back, and nodded. As the Lion approached Serafin, bringing his sword around for another swing, the Perfect raised his hands in supplication and brought a thread of his coat out. Twisting and shifting, he shielded his eyes from the massive surge of Essence that filled the street with pale light.
The Lion roared again, leaping towards the Perfect with a deadly swing. But his blade connected with only air, and when the light passed, both Serafin and the Perfect were gone. The Lion looked balefully at his Deathknights, and then at the wall, and sighed heavily. â€œSo, they have won through. You have failed.â€
â€œWell, uh, master, they caught us off-guardâ€¦â€ The wiry man spoke through a cough as he stood.
â€œClearly.â€ The word promised a legion of punishment, as the Lion pondered. The first round in the war for Autocthon had been won by Creation. He could only hope that future rounds would go to Adorjan, as his own ability to interfere was now lost.
Still, it hardly mattered. If his growing suspicions about the fourth surviving Deathlord were correct, even the Maker would not save Creation from its fall into nothingness.