The fight with the Old one.
| Lord Tuxley tapped his throne with his fingers as he stared at Rexword and Lord Schaefer. His eyes rested on the rail-thin and abused form of Idina. "Rexword, please leave us alone."
The sombrero bowed, and the goblin-like face uttered, "As you wish, my lord."
Lord Tuxley rose and softly stroked Idina's cheek. "Dearest Idina, how you have suffered at the hands of my friend. I was supposed to marry you and not Lord Schaefer, but Sophie's beauty called to me like a siren. It's my fault, and now I will correct my mistake."
Lord Schaefer went pale and raced to the audience chamber door. It slammed shut and refused to open. "I am sorry, my lord. I had no idea she meant so much to you."
"You knew Schaefer, and still you took. I am not going to decide your fate Idina is."
Lord Schaefer felt to his knees on the soft carpet. "You chased Sophie. I assumed you had renounced your claim..."
"They both belonged to me." Tuxley kissed Idina on the cheek. "How do you wish to punish your tormentor?"
"Please, Idina, spare me your wrath. I am but a wretched being beneath your notice. A stain on your life." Schaefer blubbered
Idina's eyes were alight with cruel and unending malice. "His death will only allow the smarmy bastard to absolve himself of earthly sins. He had two faces in life. One beautiful and beyond reproach, the other sick twisted, and violent. His appearance should reflect this. I want control of him as well."
"Who am I to deny a beauty such as yourself?" He turned his attention back to Lord Schaefer. "Close your eyes, Schaefer, and find something to bite on. You will experience a small taste of what you caused Idina."
The All Mothers Chapel had one visitor in the wee hours of the morning. The cushioned benches were empty of the faithful. The wax candles stood in their brass holders untouched by the flames of man. One man paces back and forth in front of the Statue of a cowled woman holding a large basin of water. Ornate jewelry carved into the bronze looked real enough for any thief looking for an easy score.
The Heartshaped mask with crossed lightning bolts in the middle stared at the bronze figure while he enjoyed the sweet scent in the air. It was funny every visit to the temple included the fragrance. No one else seemed to smell it but him.
"Hey weird lady, it's been a while. Sorry I haven't been around to talk lately. A friend of mine is having a rough go. Idina is missing, Sophie blames herself. I want to believe Idina went unwillingly, but the state of her room suggests she walked out on her feet. Clara is all twisted up by her family. She's the real victim in all this."
He held up the broken antler. "Anyway. People say they saw the Old One wandering hanging out on the edge of the woods. I know I give Constance a hard time, but if I don't survive, make her life a happy one."
A gauntlet massaged the back of Silverbolts neck. "I want to thank you. My old life was a series of one-second hellos and never-ending goodbyes. Now I say, maybe next time, or see you later, and we should hang out. I never realized how empty my life was. How could I? Anyway, The Old One waits for me, wish me luck."
Unseen motherly hands embraced him from behind while the water began to flow from the basin.
Constance stared at the gold band with a single diamond in the center. The old one accepted his challenge, and I can't bring myself to watch. Clara's mother is missing, and she still dragged herself out of bed.
A gentle knock at the door and Sophies muffled voice came from the other side. "Constance, may I come in?"
How does she always know when I need a good talk? "You are always welcome. Please come in."
The elder Reynard looked a little more careworn than usual. Her hair was up, and her chocolate eyes remained fixed on the crystal blues of her daughters. A long wooden box was under her arm. "How are you holding up?"
"I'm scared he's bitten off more than he can chew. The Old One has never lost a fight. From what I heard, most challengers never make it past the first blow, and many die after the second." She fell into Sophies embrace.
Sophie stroked her hair. "If it were anyone else, I'd be worried, but we are talking about Silverbolt. Which reminds me, this package arrived for you. It came with a note." She handed the slender box to Constance.
Constance picked unrolled the note and read it aloud. "I know it doesn't replace what you lost, but it's the best I can do. Madame Cuttle picked the colors, by the way. P.S. I added something extra to it. Be careful. Silverbolt."
Delicate hands opened the slender box and pulled back the gossamer protecting the object just beneath it. Constance opened it. A bright floral pattern greeted her eyes. A new parasol? She pressed the note to her breast and sighed. "Just when I think I have him figured out. He does this."
The color scheme on the accessory was much brighter and matched her eyes. Constance's hands touched the cloth. It was lighter than a whisper, smoother than any polished stone. It's so beautiful. He must've had it made after I broke the first one. The flowers on the canopy looked familiar. He had bits of the old parasol embroidered on to the new one, how thoughtful. She stared at the circular guard around the handle. What an odd decoration.
Sophie looked pleased. "Your father was thoughtful like that. I see the stem is metal. Hey, there are buttons on the side."
I wonder what they do. Constance pressed the first button. A short click and a small blade popped out of the tip. "Oh, he remembered."
"Remembered what, dear?" Sophie asked while she stared a the parasol with fascination.
"The night he rescued me, I was brandishing my parasol like a blade." She clicked the second button, and the handle gave way, and a short blade slid out of the stem. I see why Silverbolt wanted to teach me self defense now. It was something we could bond over. He was serious about getting to know me properly. "He better survive. I have plans for him, and none of them include Silverbolt being a corpse."
If size mattered in nature, the Old One was the undisputed king of everything. Electric blue hair was coarse and rough. The massive rack on the head was akin to a bulldozer blade and twice as sharp. The eyes glowed with an eerie aura. Anvil like hooves plodded along the path to the front door of Madame Cuttles. Curious markings adorned the front legs. The ancient beast pondered the coming conflict.
Another warrior seeks to earn my servitude, how boring. The Old One paused and watched people move out of his way and into the building. He remembered the day he met the Goddess. He refused to kneel in respect. She was an ant compared to him, hardly worth his attention. I sorely regret ignoring her now. She marked me and said: You won't kneel to your betters, but you will kneel before an equal. Should any warrior bearing my mark offer a challenge, you must respond. Should the challenger prove themselves victorious, you will serve them until their death. Once your servitude is over, you will be free to die on your terms. That was a thousand years ago.
The massive creature stopped to munch on the flowerbed. We don't have these delightful morsels out in the woods. It was worth coming here just for this sweet feast. Several younger humans stared at him. The Old One turned and sniffed at them. I've nothing to fear from the likes of these. What's that smell? A thunderstorm? On a clear day?
A masked human landed twenty feet away from the human. The heart-shaped mask with lightning bolts crossed over the eyes stared into the deep cerulean orbs. Not a trace of fear, just excitement, anticipation, perhaps this one will at least put up a fight. Where are the sword and shield? Warriors love that sort of thing.
"Please to meet you, old-timer. The name is Silverbolt, and I believe this belongs to you." A metal-clad hand held up the antler fragment. The silver armor had an unearthly shine to it. "Try not to kill me, okay?"
I know that glow anywhere. Silverbolt is Goddess marked. A weaponless human against my might, it is a joke and a waste of my time. Wait, what's that?"
A long chain with heavy weights on either end appeared in Silverbolts hands and spun lazy circles at his side. "Are we going to do this or what? I have other things to do today. I promise it will be the fight of your life."
Massive hooves left furrows in the earth. I'll end this quickly, its my mid-morning nap time. The sound of thunder accompanied the enormous creature, and the ground shook with violence while The Old One picked up speed. Look at the shiny idiot, holding his ground. He can't compete with my raw power.
Halfway to the ridiculously dressed warrior, something struck The Old One on the head and left a goose egg in its wake. The rattle of a chain touched The Old One's ears. Did he hit me? Is the shiny idiot binding himself up in the chain of his stupid weapon?
Silverbolt tried to dodge the charge, but the diamond-hard skull of the old one caught him and sent him five yards back. The hero landed in a heap. Honestly, what was he expecting to happen? The old one prodded the warrior with his antlers and breathed heavily on him, and then began to circle his foe. Stay down. am still the reigning champion around here. Stay down, fool. The Old one turned his back and started to walk away.
"Where are you going? Did I give up?" Silverbolt dusted himself off and stood at the ready once more. "I get it you're scared of me. I don't blame you. I am the lightning bringing the thunder." An electrified fist taunted the ancient beast.
He confuses fear with mercy. If he has chosen to throw his life away, so be it. He thinks he can win because he has power. Let's turn it off for him. A tree trunk of a foreleg raised, and the symbols lit up. The hoof struck the ground. A wave of light ripped and tore the earth as it sped towards the target. The smell of electricity filled the air as it hit the hero. Now to finish him off. No, it's impossible.
Much to the Old One's horror, the shiny idiot could still use his power. "Playlist two." A horrid and annoying noise came from the armored moron. This time he charged the Old One.
Oh no, you don't. The heavy foreleg raised, ready to squish the silver-clad insect. The ancient eyes lost sight. Where did the shiny one go? He's much faster than gack. The "gack" was from the chain weapon as it struck the titanic creature's throat.
The shiny one's voice came from beneath him. "You may be huge, but we both need oxygen."
The Old One felt the chain wrap around his neck and tighten while heavy feet trampled his back. The old one bellowed in frustration. Perhaps I underestimated the shiny one. Let's see him get out of this.
The Old One pushed his massive form forward straight at the side of the building. He stopped, and the heavy armor crashed against his skull. It's a waste to kill such a spirited fighter, but I promised the Goddess to fight until the last. Spots passed over the Old One's eyes as he drove the shiny hero against the building. He felt the chokehold from the chain loosen. Once more, the titanic form crushed the hero against the side of the building. The chain came loose, and the shiny one lay prone on the ground.
Well, that's that. Time to munch on some of those flowers, eh? The Old One turned to walk off into the sunset. He got four feet before the shiny one bellowed.
"Listen, you overgrown hatrack. I am far from finished. Or did you forget I was here? Senior citizens forget things sometimes. In case you have forgotten, the retirement home is that way." A gauntlet pointed to the city.
Overgrown hatrack? Senior citizen? This whelp needs to learn some respect for his elders. He opened his mouth and bellowed. Birds left the trees en masse, and other small animals ran into the forest. The hornlike call trailed off in a fit of hacks and chokes. He damaged my windpipe.
The massive creature stared at the armored figure and assessed his enemy. He's clutching his ribs, are they broken? More to the point, why won't he give up? I have fought countless battles, and they all fell like leaves in autumn. This one is like a willow. It will bend, but it won't break.
The shiny one limped up to his titanic foe and put up his fists. "Is that all you got? I may not be at full capacity, but I still have enough left in the tank to whoop your ass."
A foreleg took a swipe at the silver-clad warrior, and the odd weapon struck him on the joint. Ouch. I see it now. The weapon gains its power from velocity and range. The Old One moved in close and reared up on his hind legs. I will crush you, vermin.
The shiny fighter caught his gigantic hooves with the palms of his hands. "I want to thank you. No matter how this ends, I finally got to test the limits of my body. You were everything I expected and more."
Respect for his opponent? Did he not call me an overgrown hatrack not two minutes ago. Why won't you go down? I should be the winner. I refuse to be beaten by this insignificant speck. The Old one pressed down harder on the metal hands.
The shiny one heaved the gigantic moose-like creature off his hands. and rolled back. The odd weapon struck twice in rapid succession, and the antlers clattered to the ground. The Old One stared at his broken possessions. A tear fell his aged orbs. Time to finish this shiny bastard once and for all. Where did he go?
Something slammed into his side like a fellow bull and forced him to moves sideways. "I did some thinking Old Timer. You may be able to crush anything in your path, but you have problems moving side to side.
The Old One had to keep shifting his hooves while the young warrior kept shoving him back with his powerful body. The Shiny One has just as much strength as I do. Where is he leading me?
The Old One looked around and saw the fountain ten feet away. Fool, I practically live in the water when I'm hungry. Throw me in for all I care. Water sprayed everywhere in great columns when The Old One fell in. He went to rise only to find his legs jammed against the fountain's basin.
The Shiny one panted and limped to the fountain while he held his side. His breath was ragged and shallow. "When I talk about this day, I will refer to it as the best day ever. Once I recover, that is." The metal weight plopped in the water. "I suspect this will put us both out, but I swear you will fade into darkness before I do."
A massive electrical charge rushed down the chain and into the water. The Old One was powerless to escape. Every nerve, tendon, muscle spasmed and caused The Old One great pain. My entire body feels like it's on fire. He can't sustain this charge forever. I have to outlast him.
The shiny one shouted, "Fear the thunder and flash of Silverbolt." and the charge intensified. Darkness appeared on the edges of the Old One's Vision, and the blackness took him.
Constance finally found the courage to leave her room to watch the battle when Clara came up to her. The eyes looked down, and she fumbled over her words. "Silverbolt won, but he's severely injured. The old one crushed him against the building, twice. The physician seemed concerned with the state of his body."
He is not allowed to die. I will storm the gates of heaven and hell to get him back. "Take me to him."