Hi everyone. Here's chapter 16. Please e-mail me your comments!! Also feel free to view my webpage at http://spiffy_psycho.tripod.com. They really let me know whether or not this work is worth the effort. Oh yes, there's naughty words and some sex scenes, so if you're under 18.. Well, you know the rules. It's your butt, not mine. ;-) Thanks for reading!



The Dark One

by David M. Roduner

Chapter 16

The battle was heavy. Mwezi had joined his villagers to lead them against the brutes. The Dark One's army snapped and bit and snarled. Roger the White produced a torandi spell that blew a group of brutes forcefully against trees, knocking them unconscious. Some crafty villagers rushed forward to quickly slice the throats of servants of the Dark One.

The Serlatùnian Woodmages were pulling the earth up to trap the brutes. The creatures ran quickly to avoid their muddy prisons. Some the brutes that contained a slight amount of intelligence had knocked arrows into their bows and aimed for the Serlatùnian Woodmages. Several fell before the remaining mages turned and enclosed their attackers in muddy graves.

Another regiment of brutes had trapped John and Cornelius. The two lovers were blasting shots of magical death at the creatures, for for every brute destroyed, it seemed as though there were two replacements. The two chosen by the Goddess herself were being cornered and pressed back towards an oak tree. John looked to his boy in worry. With the moments' distraction, a brute slashed at Cor's arm.

Cor yelled in surprise, for not only had he bee attacked, but a brilliant yellow light had momentarily blinded him as well. As the light faded, John's eyes grew large as saucers as he whispered, "Steven."

Venes noted his situation and swiftly issued icy blasts at several brutes. His attention was quickly distracted, however, by a distant voice yelling, "Bloody stupid tree! Just take me to where he..." Another blinding light ensued as Roland completed his sentence with, "went!" Following Venes' example, upon seeing the brutes, Roland quickly pulled out a shortsword and began to hack away at them.

"That's my dad!" Cor proudly exclaimed as he joined his father by magically blasting the Dark One's servants.

Venes glared at Roland in anger as threw icy blasts at the brutes. "I told you," he growled, "to stay where you are!"

Roland grunted a reply between thrusts, "I was not going to stay out there in the bitter cold all alone!"

"It was safer," Venes retorted, "and we cannot have our Center damaged! You are needed to ground us, representing the Spirit, fifth element of life!" Roland pouted as felled another brute.

While the others were busy attacking the brutes, John was staring in disbelief at Venes. His mouth was opened in shock. His murdered lover, Steven, stood before him, alive. But this could not be! Why had the Goddess done-- "John, a little help!" bellowed Mwezi Wimbo. John snapped out of his reverie, blushing, and attacked a brute behind him, trying to sneak up and attack John from behind.

Emboldened by Mwezi's example, the villagers began to fight more forcefully. Their simple housewares became deadly weapons. A simple mallet became a weapon to crack open the skull. Think not that the brutes were easy targets. They were armed with razor-sharp daggers and swords. Their thirst for blood made them better killers. A few loved manflesh too much, which gave them a quick death sentence. But those that did not thirst too strongly were worthy adversaries each.

Among the brutes were the Kopäl, self-appointed leaders. They wore stench-ridden jackets of human skin. They were not bothered with fair play. If the villagers had brought their children, the tender, juicy limbs of their offspring would have been devoured first. While hiding behind the lesser brutes, the Kopäl had a seemingly ingenious idea: kill the wizards. With the wizards gone, the villagers would prove to be easy, tasty subjects.

In their demented voices, the brutes were commanded to gang up on the wizards. Roger the White was chosen first, as he seemed to be the most feeble. The Kopäl were saddened when they realized that they could not feast upon his flesh, as it was probably dried up and without flavor. It was reasoned that the old man would prove an easy target. This assumption, however, was being proved quite inaccurate. Roger was ready. "I was waiting for you," he said calmly. Roger centered his candlepower and -

"John, look at Roger!" Cor cried. Brutes were ripped ripped up and knocked to the ground like bowling pins. Cornelius ran to Roger's assistance as the brutes screamed in pain. Several yards away, several brutes seemed to be on fire. John noticed Mwezi smiling coyly. Venes soon joined him.

"Ready?" he asked. Mwezi nodded, and the two equaled their candlepower. John had never heard such horrid cries, yet his empathy felt nothing. And why had he so easily destroyed these brutes? Fire and water combined, which produced a steam so powerful and deadly that it melted away the brutes' very skin. Once exposed, the contents left in their bodies was naught but dust, which poured to the ground like rain. It's almost like mixing bleach and ammonia, mused John.

Roger saw Mwezi and ran to him. "My turn," he said coyly to Venes. Mwezi Wimbo and Roger the White equaled their candlepower and blew a ten food flame to the brutes. More servants perished.

Retaliation was imminent. A brutish archer shot his arrow true, right into the back of Venes. The wound was severe. John ran to his side and dislodged the shaft. Venes screamed in pain, but John joined him, screaming louder. His empathy had taken over once again. I must... stop it! John focused and drew out the wound. But with the healing came memories, flashes of moments in a tortured life. A boyhood friend. Why, it looked like.. "Nejz," Venes muttered weakly. No, that can't be me. A quiet midsummer eve on a damp hill of wild iris. A slightly hairy chest moving up to your lips. Sweet, gentle yet strong lips kissing. Young arms clasping, Caught - by father! Thrown out. Disowned. A pack of wolves. "NEJZ!" John and Venes screamed together.

The Woodmages, led by Mahou Ichida ran to help. The remaining brutes were fighting to the death. It was either the Warriors of the Goddess or the Servants of the Dark One who would triumph. The mages equaled their candlepower and pulled the earth up again, trapping brutes in a deep hole. Mwezi emitted another flame which caused more screams. The Woodmages quickly covered the brutes with the earth. 'Buried alive,' Mahou thought. But they were never alive to begin with, just sad parodies of existence.

Roland turned after goring another brute, widening his eyes. My son! Cornelius! Before Roland could run to meet his son, the Kopäl emerged from their hiding places. One of the Kopäl grabbed Cor and held a knife to his throat. "The boy dies," it cried. Another Kopäl had Roland trapped as well. Cornelius' eyes wandered wildly. Where are you, John? Help me!

John did not know that his lover was in mortal peril. He attention was completely focused on Venes. But surely he will notice... You must defend yourself now. You must defend yourself instead of relying exclusively on others. Lifeshield had spoken to Cornelius. Cor closed his eyes, centered his candlepower..

The Kopäl growled and snarled in anger as an invisible force pulled its arm away from Cornelius. Roland had a slightly different solution. He slashed at the abductor's arm, which made it drop its weapon. Roland ducked out of its clutching arms and bellowed, "Face me like a man, ye scurvy beastie!" Roland lifted his shortsword, which gleamed in the sunlight.

More Kopäl appeared out of the forest, armed and ready. All but John and Venes raced to clash with the remaining brutes. Drawing power from their amulets, swords appeared in the wizards' arms, representing each element they used. The Woodmages also joined the wizards. Mwezi Wimbo stood with a double-edged sword of crackling flame. Roger the White held a vaguely opaque blade that was almost invisible, yet had a force of its own, with the power of the wind. Mahou Ichida grasped a wooden staff with ivy that seemed alive, creeping up and down the length of the staff at will. Mahou's woodmages help similar weapons of lesser strength.

A flash appears in the eyes of the Kopäl as they pulled deadly stars from the inside of their vests of human flesh. It happened so fast that no one could have prepared for it. The Kopäl flung their weapons of death at the Serlatùnians, all direct hits. Razor-sharp weapons of glinting steel were embedded in the hearts, eyes, throats and skulls of the woodmages. Their young bodies fell into pools of their own blood.

The remaining villagers, realizing their use in battle was over, had returned to their wives and children. This made the Kopäl grin: forty of them against four wizards were much better odds! But four quickly became five. John had felt the mages' deaths and he raced to Cor's side. Venes then made six, as he walked to John's right hand side. Cornelius shot John a furious look: how dare John ignore him when John was needed most? But John did not notice, for his mind was reeling over the audacity of the senseless deaths. All this was because of him! And he was lost and confused. He loved Cornelius, but Steven was back! What to do and where to go? There were only questions, with no answers.

Now was not the time for answers, though. Now was the time to fight! With a horrid battle cry, the Kopäl raced forward to meet their challengers. With the loud clash of steel, the final stage of the battle for the people of Sior Geimhreadth.

Eight to one. The ratio was astounding, John mused. But the others were not concerned. Venes now held a blade of water, but John could not see it as useful against steel. The Kopäl happily attacked Cornelius. He did not have a blade. But his wits were quicker: he ducked a slash made at him. John squeezed Venes' hand and shot a burst of energy at the one who attacked Cornelius. But the human vest seemed to stop the beam of magickal power. John glared and decided upon another tactic. He lifted up Demonsdeath and batted it into the Kopäl. That did the trick! The object had left a painful bruise in the brute's side. Cornelius grinned and followed suit.

Venes whirled his blade in a 360 degree rotation and with a mad grin, lunged at the brutes. Ince appeared where the blade struck, which angered the blade's victims. A Kopäl slashed at Venes' arm, which made him wince.

Most Kopäl appeared to be avoiding Mwezi Wimbo's blade. They knew that he was a master in the element of fire, and were loathe to fight it. Mwezi noticed a figure racing through the trees, careful to avoid the battle. "Oi, Cardinal!" Roland cried. With a flash, the figure was had escaped to live another day. A Kopäl shocked the distracted Roland with a violent punch in the jaw. Spitting out blood, Roland lunched his shortsword into where his attacker's heart should have been.

Having lost four already, the Kopäl retreated. Cornelius and Roland cheered in joy, but the others remained silent. They waited a few moments as Roland and Cor began to look around nervously. As quickly as they had escaped, the Kopäl returned, encircling the high mages, the wizards of thier respective lands. With wild hacking and slashing, the six were roughly shoved into a tight, clautrophobic circle. Venes squeezed John's hand in fear. John looked at Venes and smiled. Our time is over, Cornelius thought. He looked over and winced his eyes in pain as he saw John and Venes kissing deeply, a kiss of hope or farewell. In more ways than one, Cornelius concluded.

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