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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/302033
Rated: 13+ · Novella · Action/Adventure · #302033
Rashad and Bethany confront their enemy.


         " Rashad! " Bethany's voice beckoned from the endless night.
         " Wha-? " Rashad groaned, slitting his eyes open a hair.
         The wagons interior was dim, but bright enough that he could tell that it was well into the day. Rashad sat up and gathered the armor he had removed last night along with the longbow and a quiver of regular iron-tipped arrows. He squinted against the light of the noon-day sun and wondered why he had slept so long when he hadn't even been tired until he'd lain next to Bethany. The Wraith-Knight turned to Bethany as he strapped on his knee- and shoulderpads. Rashad began to suspect where all of his strength had fled to last night. Bethany didn't look half as frail and pale as she had the day before. Her eyes seemed to shine brighter than before though not with that otherwordly glow.
         " Look," she said, pointing down the slight slope they were riding on.
          Rashad turned and saw a city that he felt as though he should have known but couldn't remember a thing about. It looked to be a small city, with low, squat buildings on the outer perimeter, the buildings getting taller the more inward one went, until they converged on what looked to be the local Lords Manor or some such place. Surrounding it all was a stone wall that had to be at least two stories in height. The only place it didn't seem to cover the city was a relatively small area where the city sat against a wide river. The road they were on, which meandered all the way down the high hill they had crested, led right up to a pair of tall gates.
         " Do you recognize it, Rashad? " Bethany asked him, but the Wraith-Knight could only shake his head.
         " I don't remember a thing about it," he told her.
         " Here, Ahs'er gave me some rations," she said, handing him a cloth-wrapped package of hard bread, a lump of cured meat, and a flask of water.
         Rashad was surprised when his belly grumbled loudly," I'm hungry. "
         Bethany laughed," You still have a physical body, Rashad, and it does have needs in order for it to remain alive. The first blood you drank was to give you permanent flesh. You'll live now regardless if you ever drink blood again. But you'll need blood if you want to be powerful enough to defeat our enemy. "
         The Wraith-Knight nodded slowly," I feel different this morning. Slower, weaker, less alert. And I suddenly got tired last night after I lay beside you. Why was that? "
         Bethany was silent for some time after that," That would explain why I feel so much better this morning. And my powers seem to be almost fully recovered. There was no mention of this in the lessons I received on raising Blood Companions. "
         " Well, I don't mind," he told her, surprising himself when he realized it was the truth.
         Rashad went back to scanning their surroundings as the team of yar'rill pulled them ever closer to Tyj. The attentive warrior noticed a large wagon train with bright pennants flying high. It looked as though someone important was coming to Tyj.

         The small caravan made their way quickly to the gates of the city. The gates were tall and wide enough to admit at least a dozen horsemen abreast. There wasn't much traffic through the gates so early in the morning, but the wagons were still expected to proceed in a single file nearest the left gate. Bethany pulled up her hood, masking her hair, and held her head so that the robe hid the brightness of her eyes.
         Bethany stopped the team of yar'rill and Rashad waited anxiously as Ahs'er talked with the half dozen guards barring his way into the city. After a few moments, with the sergeant in command casting strange glances at Rashad, Ahs'er was waved through.
         Bethany urged the yar'rill forward and Rashad tried not to meet the eyes of the suspicious sergeant as he passed into the city.
         Rashad looked around at all the people and winced at the loud noise of the city. Rashad briefly wondered if he had this aversion to the feel of a city in his previous life. It didn't matter now though, this was the first step to getting vengeance, and the Wraith-Knight would gladly endure several cities to do so.
         The wide avenue the merchant was leading Rashad and Bethany down was lined by crawling lines of citydwellers. Several ran up to Ahs'er, all wearing the garb of mercenaries, and excitedly pointed towards the west. Ahs'er waved them all away and Yan'dai continued toward their destination.
         After turning down several side streets Yan'dai stopped in front of a single home of respectable size. The portly merchant hopped from the wagon seat and clanged on the bell mounted beside the left gate. At least half a dozen servants swarmed behind the gates as they ponderously open. Bethany guided the yar'rill into the large courtyard. Rashad gathered up his weapons and dismounted from the wagon while it was still on the move. When Bethany reined the yar'rill to a stop, and gathered up her things, Rashad lifted her from the seat and set her in front of him.
         Yan'dai walked up to him with a big smile on his face and one of his servants carried a large satchel that jingled.
         " My fine warrior! " he exclaimed, embracing Rashad," We would not have made it without you, Rashad. I'm going to reward you well for your service. "
         Yan'dai reached into the satchel his servant held open for him and removed a handful of silver coins. Yan'dai carefully counted out a handful of coins and held them out with a smile. Rashad nodded at Bethany and Yan'dai handed them to her.
         Rashad didn't take his eyes from Yan'dai as he asked," Is that enough for our services, Bethany? "
         Yan'dai's smile faded under his stare, but returned when Bethany answered," Yes. "
         Rashad nodded and bowed to Yan'dai," We thank you for your generousity. "
         Yan'dai bowed back and quickly went over to where Ly'nel and Ahs'er were waiting patiently. Tai'sher came up to them then with almost a forlorn expression on his face.
         " What was that man saying to your brother, Tai'sher? " Rashad asked the young mercenary.
         Tai'sher's face lit up," The rumor is that the King himself is coming to Tyj in preparation for an upcoming campaign. They say he's hiring all the mercenaries in the region. There could be much profit to be made. "
         Rashad heard none of the rest of his words after the mention of King Griystal. The Wraith-Knight looked at Bethany and she nodded at him. Rashad smiled slightly and nodded at Bethany in kind.
         Either the King would die tonight....or they would.
         Tai'sher sighed loudly and Rashad turned back to him," I think my brother is going to ask you to join the Marauders, Rashad. Do you think you'll accept? "
         Rashad looked at the young warrior and saw the fear and hope in his eyes," You two seem pretty capable and if you're any indication of what the Marauders are capable of- "
         " There are only four of us left, Rashad," Tai'sher said, looking startled that he so freely admitted that," The other two are long passed being suitable fighters and are our quartermaster and cook. The slaughter that we escaped reduced our combative numbers to two. "
         Ahs'er's voice made Tai'sher jump in startlement," He speaks the truth, Rashad. My brother is wounded and I have not been on a solo contract in years. I fear my reputation in that area has suffered and I will not be able to get lucrative contracts. You are a skilled warrior Rashad, maybe the best I've ever seen, we need someone like you. "
         " I'm sorry, Ahs'er, but Bethany and I have a vow we must fulfill. If we survive it, and after I escort Bethany home, I will gladly accept your offer. "
         Ahs'er nodded, his face puzzled, and Tai'sher fairly beamed. Ahs'er gave them directions to their small headquarters while Tai'sher still beamed at Rashad.
         " We'll hold you to that promise, Rashad," Tai'sher said as they were about to part ways outside of the gates of Yan'dai's manor.
         " Are you so sure I'll survive this mission? " the Wraith-Knight asked the excited young man.
         Tai'sher nodded," I've seen you fight. I'm almost positive you can survive anything. "
         Ahs'er shook his head and led his brother away by the arm. Tai'sher waved to Bethany and Rashad until he was pulled out of sight.
         Rashad turned to Bethany," We will need better armor and a few supplies. I can't remember. Do we have enough for decent armor and supplies? "
         Bethany nodded," This will do. "
         Rashad spoke to Bethany as they walked," First we need better armor and supplies. Agreed? "
         " Yes," she agreed," Hopefully there is a Herbalist that sells exotics. "
         Rashad nodded at her," Hopefully," he said as he spotted a mercenary sporting a light chainmail shirt under a leather vest with heavy mail links covering it," G'day, sir! "
         " G'day," the tall, muscular man stopped when Rashad extended his arm. The mercenary gripped his forearm with a steely grimace," What can I do for ya? "
         " I was just wondering which armorer you got that vest and chainmail from? "
         The man quickly gave Rashad and Bethany directions to a small, well-stocked armorer.
         Rashad could see, upon entering the small building on a rather tiny street, that the mercenary's description had been correct. The armorer was fairly small, but the merchandise looked well-maintained and was organized rather neatly. A small, fine-boned woman walked up to the two companions as they entered.
         " May I help you? " she asked, her blue eyes wide and innocent.
         " Yes, I can find my way around but you may assist my friend. I think what would suit her best are longcoats with chainmail sewn in the lining. "
         " Preferably with many pockets," Bethany added.
         The young woman bowed her head slightly with a smile," Follow me, my lady, I know just the attire you seek. "
         Rashad turned to his own shopping as the woman led Bethany away. Several minutes later he had a sizable selection of chainmail shirts, scaled pants, and hard leather bracers on a small bench beside one of the two fitting rooms. Rashad was about to enter the small cubicle when something that glistened almost wetly turned his attention to the left. Resting on a torso mannequin was a chainmail shirt and scaled vest the color of ebony. A pair of leather bracers of the same hue rested beneath the mannequin. The price seemed fairly reasonable and if the armor fit then his choice was made.

         A short time later the two avengers left with heavier loads and lighter pockets. The armorer had been kind enough to give them directions to a Herbalist that dealt in exotic items, an Outfitter, and a small, inexpensive inn. Rashad noted the position of the sun and nodded to himself. The assault would be best carried out at night. No matter how powerful he was, or had been yesterday, a frontal assault in daylight was suicide. The Wraith-Knight's throat constricted at the thought of what he might have to do to become strong enough to survive an infiltration attempt. But he had to wonder if even that would be enough.
         Rashad knew it would have to be.

****

         Rashad sat before the small heating vent in the wall of he and Bethany's relatively large room. Laying on a table before him were his weapons. All gleamed slightly from fresh polishings as he studied them. Bethany sat beside him at her own table, which was covered in small vials and other items he didn't want to examine very closely. Bethany's hair glistened wetly in the lantern light as she was fresh from her bath. Both of them were wearing the armor they had bought earlier. Rashad in the ebony chainmail, vest, scaled pants, and bracers. Bethany looked very wise and very deadly in her dark longcoat and black, fingerless leather gloves.
         Rashad turned back to his weapons and began the process of selecting. The bow and javelins were out of the question. The mission would be one where close combat was the order of the day. Any ranged fighting could be taken care of by the small assortment of throwing knives he'd procured for the vest. The battle-axe would be too large and unwieldy in the close confines of the local lord's manor. Talking to several of the servants of said lord had given him enough details to sketch a rough mental map of the place. Rashad stood and buckled the shortsword around his thigh. The yhiz, the proper name of the lizard-man's knife, went opposite that. Finally the Wraith-Sword went across his back. It's newfound brilliance would be a hindrance if it were drawn but Rashad thought it might be needed to defeat Griystal if everything that Bethany had said was true. He made sure that the weapons were secure enough to not make much noise with sharp movements. The chainmail had already been prepared for stealthy movement.
         Rashad turned and was brought up short by Bethany. She had snuck up on him with the slightest of whispers. A glance at her table told Rashad that she was ready as well.
         " Give me your hand, Rashad," she commanded, holding her hand out.
         Rashad placed his hand palm up in Bethany's hand with only slight reluctance. She smiled softly at him. A sharp pain slashed across his palm just as he returned the smile. Rashad looked down as Bethany crammed what felt like a small seed into his hand.
         " Why-?! " he screamed as sickening pain blossomed in his palm.
         The pain raced its way up his wrist and seemed to go right to his heart. Rashad went to one knee as his heart beat wildly. Finally the pain relented and he stood with betrayed eyes. Rashad found Bethany with tears streaking down her face as she watched him.
         " Why? " he asked, rubbing a sore spot on the offended palm.
         " I-I-I know how much you hate drinking blood, Rashad. I remembered a way so that you wouldn't have to do that. "
         " You could have asked," Rashad said, hating the way his voice sounded so soft and hurt.
         " I'm sorry," she cried, sounding anguished," I promise. Never again will I do something like that without discussing it with you first. "
         Rashad suddenly smiled at her," Don't cry. It didn't kill me right. Now tell me what you did, ok? "
         Bethany nodded and sat back down in her chair as if boneless," I put a creature inside of you. It's a magical, mutualistic symbiote, meaning it will benefit you as you benefit it. It feeds on blood, not only yours, but any blood you feed it. Turn your palm over. "
         Rashad did and saw a nearly invisible puckered scar on his hand.
         " Think of the blood of that lizard-man, Rashad, remember how it tasted, how it felt. "
         The memories come back quick and fierce. A ravenous hunger awakened inside of him and the puckered scar opened wide into a round mouth filled with small tubules that writhed about as if they searched for something.
         " Your bloodworm can't smell or sense blood, Rashad. You have to think about it. That is how it knows to begin feeding," the mouth in the center of his palm closed.
         " Well, I guess that it will come in handy," Rashad chuckled at his own wit and Bethany joined him after a moment.
         " Alright," he said after regaining his composure," How are we going to go about this? "
         Bethany sat facing him as she thought," I've got several vials of stealth potion. I can augment that with Necromatic energy. That should render us effectively invisible unless we come under intense light. It won't stop the lizard-men from smelling us though and we have to figure on them being part of his personal guard, along with at least a pair of lesser WereLords. "
         Rashad thought for a moment and then inspiration struck," How good are you at climbing? "
         The Wraith-Knight smiled as Bethany's eyebrows rose into her scalp.

***

         " Almost there," Rashad whispered to Bethany.
         Hauling himself onto the parapet of the inner sanctum of the lords manor, Rashad hastily scanned his surroundings before turning back to the edge of the parapet. A pair of climbing pitons were wedged firmly in tiny cracks in the granite wall. Bethany was suspended in a tiny harness nearly three stories above the ground. Rashad grabbed ahold of the thick rope attached to one of the pitons and begin quickly hauling Bethany the two remaining stories.
         The two vengeful assassin's scrabbled quickly at Bethany's harness as soon as the Necromancer's feet touch the top of the wall. Bethany unbuckled herself out of the strap while he gathered up the ropes and pitons. Rashad shoved the gear into a satchel and handed it to Bethany. The small Necromancer bundled the harness into there as well. The walls of the inner sanctum, like the walls of the outer wall, were nearly pitch black. Lizard-men apparently couldn't stand bright light and preferred to hunt in the darkness. Luckily the two had managed to bypass the outer wall by climbing up from the river.
         Rashad pointed in the direction of a small balcony suspended near the parapet. According to what the servants had told the Wraith-Knight that would be where Griystal was staying. It would be a simple matter to climb up onto that balcony.
         The shuffling sound of dry scaly feet on stone was his only warning. Rashad twisted, avoiding the downward slash of a wickedly curved sword, and plowed his shoulder into the lizard-man. Thankfully the lizard-man retained his grip on his sword as Rashad drew his yhiz. Rashad spun around him as the lizard-man recovered from the surprising strength of Rashad's blow, wrapping his arms around the scaly warriors neck, and lifted his chin up with the back of his fist. In one smooth motion the Wraith-Knight slit the lizard-man's throat.
         Quietly laying him on the ground, hoping that the sounds of the struggle hadn't been overheard. Rashad motioned Bethany to squatted down next to him. She did as Rashad clutched the lizard-man's sword and wrenched it from his weakening fist. Placing his newly acquired symbiote-hand over the slit in the dying warrior's throat, Rashad thought about the blood, how its smell made his stomach churn. Rashad could feel the bloodworm open its mouth for the meal.
         Rashad fixed his palm over the wound and frowned as nothing happened. Then his heart seemed to try to beat its way out of his chest. The feeling was exhilirating. Rashad could feel the new blood being drawn up his arm and down the length of the bloodworms body until it reached his heart. The powerful organ pumped the vitalizing liquid throughout his body to be absorbed quickly. Within seconds the corpse of the lizard-man began to markedly shrivel as the blood was drained from him. Within thirty seconds the warrior's body was a dried-up husk.
         Rashad stood and gloried in his new strength of limb. The night seemed to be bathed in silvery light and Rashad could see much more clearly.
         Rashad grabbed the corpse's weapon," We must hurry! "
         The Wraith-Knight quickly hid the body in the darkest corner he could find and hoped that no one would check on the lizard-man for awhile. Gauging the distance upto the balcony, Rashad bounced slightly to test the strength of his legs. Rashad was pleasantly surprised when the slight movement propelled him nearly a foot off the ground. The Wraith-Knight looked at Bethany and turned her around to grab one of the climbing ropes. Tying it around his wrist, Rashad nodded once at Bethany, before crouching low on the ground.
         Rashad launched himself into the air with all of his might and his high jump carried him almost two stories up so that he could grab the edge of the balcony. Hoisting himself up so that he could crouch on the small ledge outside the railing, Rashad flicked the rope once, and smiled when an answering tug came back almost immediately. Rashad braced himself on the ledge and hauled Bethany up by main strength alone. Less than a half a minute went by before Bethany was crouching beside the Wraith-Knight, her breath coming short and fast. Holding a finger up to his lips in warning Rashad carefully peaked over the balcony. A set of double doors of some kind of translucent crystal. The inside was well lit thus he was able to see several figures engaged in conversation.
         Rashad ducked back down and leaned close to whisper in Bethany's ear," We go over quickly. You go to the right, I'll go to the left. On three," he waited until she nodded," One...two...three! "
         Rashad waited until Bethany had scrambled over the railing before moving to his own position. The Wraith-Knight crouched beside the door and nodded at Bethany. He sat and listened.
         Their efforts were almost instantly rewarded as an officious voice whined," But my Lord, my armsmen are not well-trained enough to survive long in your war. Better if we act as rearguard- "
         " Silence, worm," a thick, heavily accented voice spoke," Say another word and Tyral will have your tongue for a trophy. You will give me every able-bodied man you have and the lists of every mercenary you've ever hired for work. "
         " Can we trust this fool, WereLord Griystal..."
         Rashad clutched the hilt of his shortsword as Bethany nodded at him from across the doors. Rashad stood up and quietly drew both his shortsword and his yhiz. Bethany's eyes began to glow as she held tiny vials in both hands.
         Rashad nudged her companionably as the two turned to face the doors together.
         Rashad kicked the doors as hard as he could and was shocked when the blow utterly shattered both doors. Without hesistation he and Bethany charged into the room. Instincts took over as the Wraith-Knight scanned the room. The geography of the battlefield was memorized. Threats were identified and catalogued in seconds.
         It looked to be a huge bedroom/office. A large, four-posted bed rested in the center of the stone wall on the left. Across from that was a wide desk with several chairs arranged around it. On the opposite wall was a large portrait of someone that had been thoroughly destroyed with angry slashes of a blade. Beneath the ruined painting lay a roaring fireplace. The floor was covered in a luxurious red carpet. A fainting chair sat in the corner to his left. A full-length mirror rested on the far wall to the left of the fire. All other furniture seemed to have been removed.
         There were a total of six bodies in the room. The least threat came from an older man, fiftyish, with balding gray hair and a potbelly, dressed in the attire of a noblemen. Next was a woman lounging languidly in the plush bed. The woman was semi-nude in her translucent gown of silk. Her powdered face, luscious body, and feigned look of arousal spoke loudly of the fact that she was a skilled courtesan. The first real threat was from a lizard-man. This one was not like the others Rashad had defeated. This lizard-man was much more bulkier than the others and yet his movements were more graceful. The broadsword on his back and large, round shield were in his scaly hands before the last shards of the shattered doors hit the floor. A greater threat came from a wrinkled man with greyish skin who wore the robes of an Enchanter, those with the gift to enchant objects... and people... with unnatural abilities. A still greater sense of menace radiated from a tall, rakishly thin, grey-skinned man with a shaven head covered in runish looking tattoos. He was dressed in well-used looking half-armor. A longsword rested at his waist and a wicked looking mace across his back. He smiled wolfishly at Rashad's entrance.
         Finally the Wraith-Knights penetrating gaze fell upon the one who's evil presence almost swamped the others. This man was tall, almost as tall as the lizard-man, and his skin looked as hard as granite. He was bald like the other, but his head wasn't covered in runes. He was dressed in silken nightclothing, yet he wore an oddly familiar weapon at his waist. It looked like a bastard sword, but it's hilt was a tad too short, it's pommel was a shiny metallic metal, and the sheathe was covered in white runes. The man looked at him with shrewd blue-grey eyes and grinned evilly.
         " What do we have here? " Griystal asked, sitting next to the lounging courtesan," Another assassin? "
         " Seems so, WereLord," the warrior, a tribesmen if his use of Griystal's title was any indication," How many is that this past Muryll? "
         The Enchanter frowned," Twelve I think. "
         " Enough talk," the lizard-man bellowed, charging at Rashad.
         Bethany hurled both vials at the Enchanter and shouted a word. The vials burst in mid-air and shards of...something streaked at the Enchanter. Quite calmly the Enchanter batted the shards aside with a wave of an enchanted gauntlet. Bethany grinned as the Enchanter's hand was coated in a slimy green ooze.
         Rashad focused his attention as the lizard-man closed with his. The inhuman warrior swept downward with his broadsword in a diagonal cut. Rashad sidestepped the blow and barely skipped back in time to avoid being shieldbashed against the wall. The lizard-man was moving astonishingly quickly and with amazing precision. It was quite unlike everything he remembered or had been told about the lizard-men. Then the shapes of runes briefly flared in white-hot relief against the gauntlets and greaves the scaly bastard wore. Of course his armor and weaponry was enchanted since they had access to their own Enchanter.
         Something exploded in the direction of Bethany's fight with the Enchanter and the lizard-man took that moment to shield his eyes. Rashad made his move then and quickly darted into his foe's guard. Rashad stabbed the lizard-man low in the gut with his yhiz, then ducked the wild swing of a densely muscled arm, and rammed the shortsword into his opponent's kidneys when the lizard-man's back was turned. The Wraith-Knight stood quickly as the lizard-man stumbled forward from the force of his attack and brought both piercing weapons down into the junctures between shoulder and neck. Hot blood spurted into the air and Rashad resisted the urge to let his symbiote drink all it wanted.
         He didn't have the time.
         With a roar of rage the tribesman leaped from his position and attacked. A sweeping cut with his longsword was parried by Rashad's shortsword. Rashad tried for a quick slash at his foe's sword arm, but had to jump backwards to avoid a kick that would have shattered his kneecap. Rashad charged forward even as he was landing and brought his shortsword down in an overhand arc of blinding speed. The tribesman easily blocked it with his longsword and the mace was sweeping toward the Wraith-Knight's face a moment later.
         The tribesman was definitely a lesser WereLord.
         Rashad ducked beneath the blow, wishing that he could have brought a shield, and lashed out with his foot as he rolled backwards. The WereLord let loose a cry of pain and enflamed anger as something in his knee cracked under Rashad's boot. The Wraith-Knight came to his feet as a horrific scream boomed from the other side of the room. Rashad glanced over quickly in that direction.
         Bethany and the Enchanter were burnt and smoking piles of humanity near the fire. Bethany groaned and shakily got to her feet. She kicked the corpse of the Enchanter once before reaching into her pouch of magic dust and beginning a chant.
         Rashad turned back to the tribesman and smiled. The tribesman smiled back and raised his longsword while keeping the mace against his ruined knee. Using all of his newly won speed Rashad raced behind the tribesman's range of attack. The tribesman tried to step back but a foot and a half of shortsword in his sternum wouldn't let him. He clubbed Rashad's back futilely with his mace one time as he gurgled out something to the Wraith-Knight. The tribesman eyes went wide with shock as Rashad plunged the blade in deeper. The vengeful Wraith-Knight withdrew the blade and watched stoicly as the tribesman turned to his lord. He took two steps and fell to his knees. The defeated warrior held his weapons out to his WereLord in a beseeching manner....and then fell lifeless to the ground.
         Griystal, WereLord, Conqueror, Tyrant, applauded as he stood from his position on his bed," Well done. You must be a Wraith-Knight. Yes, that would make sense, but I never expected any Necromancer to find someone as powerful as you seem to be. You are most certainly not the King. Who are you? "
         Rashad answered stoicly," Just a soldier. "
         Griystal laughed," Very well then," the WereLord was suddenly surrounded by a sickly greyish-black aura," Prepare to die, soldier. "
         Bethany let loose a cry of vengeful fury and Rashad covered his eyes as the light from the forest burst from Bethany again. The courtesan screamed in agony once before suddenly being silenced. The light faded and Rashad gasped in horror as he saw the WereLord holding Bethany above the floor by her collar. The WereLord seemed unharmed but the aura had disappeared.
         " That was my favorite courtesan, bitch!! " he roared, shaking Bethany like a boneless doll.
         The sounds of armsmen and lizard-men hammering at the door reached Rashad's sensitive ears. Bethany's magical barricade of the door wouldn't last forever.
         Rashad rushed towards the WereLord and ducked beneath a barely sensed backhand. The Wraith-Knight didn't manage to avoid the sidekick that smashed into his face. Rashad slid across the floor, choking on the blood from his ruined nose, and losing his hold on the shortsword. The battered warrior stood, mentally shrugging off the pain while wondering how he could do it so easily, and charged at the WereLord again. Rashad danced around an elbow this time, ducking a high backkick, and sliced Griystal's calf with his yhiz. The WereLord hissed and threw a nearly unconscious Bethany into a wall with bone-crushing force. Rashad stood and slashed at his throat. The WereLord dipped back almost contemptously and a blur smashed into the side of Rashad's face.
         The room spun as the Wraith-Knight hurtled through the air to land backfirst against an unyielding stonewall. Bright lights swam before Rashad as he shook his head to try to regain focus. The shape of the WereLord walked slowly up to him as if the man savored every moment of Rashad's crushing defeat.
         Rashad thought in bitter bemusement that while Bethany may have been right about him being stronger and faster than an ordinary WereLord, Griystal was definitely not ordinary.
         Rashad stood shakily on his feet as Griystal approached. Drawing his Wraith-Sword, the Wraith-Knight bathed in it's otherworldly light, the ache of his body diminished slightly.
         Griystal stopped in shock and quickly drew the blade at his waist," Where did you get that? What IS it?! "
         Rashad smiled at him and went in for the attack. The Wraith-Sword almost moved with a mind of its own. Rashad slashed, parried, blocked, and thrust in a smooth, almost rhymthic pattern that clearly shocked the WereLord with it's speed.
         But it was not enough.
         With a brutal riposte the WereLord tore the Wraith-Sword from Rashad's grasp and sliced him from shoulder to hip. The pain was incredible as the warrior fell to his knees. Rashad looked over to the fallen Wraith-Sword as the WereLord raised his weapon to behead the fallen Wraith-Knight.
         Come to me, the mental command came to his mind unbidden....and Rashad was too numb with shock to be amazed when the blade responded with blinding speed.
         The blade was in his hand and being driven through the WereLord's enchanted breastplate before Griystal could react. The WereLord let loose a titanic bellow and clutched one of Rashad's shoulder's in a viselike grip as he dropped his bastard sword from the stunning force of the blow. The WereLord drew a wicked looking dagger from his belt and tried to drive it into Rashad's eye. The gravely injured Wraith-Knight grabbed Griystal's wrist and struggled against his still overpowering strength. It could not be but it seemed as though the WereLord was getting slightly better instead of dying. The Wraith-Sword's glow was dimming the longer it stayed in the WereLord's chest.
         The dagger inched closer.
         A slim trickle of blood from behind Griystal's boot gave Rashad a last desperate hope. Summoning the taste of blood the weakened Wraith-Knight could feel the symbiote coming to life. With a desperate lunge he wrapped his hand around the shallow wound in the WereLord's flesh. This time the symbiote began leeching the lifeblood almost immediately.
         A look of stunned horror came over the WereLord's as he rapidly began to lose strength and Rashad started to gain it. Griystal bellowed in rage as Rashad rose to his feet. Rashad could feel the power growing within him as he maintained his grip on the WereLord and flipped him onto his back. The terrible wound in Rashad's chest began to heal supernaturally rapidly and within seconds it was gone. The WereLord struggled weakly for a few moments before being reduced to helpless twitches. Rashad let his leg go and stood over him. Ripping the Wraith-Sword from his chest, Rashad lofted it up high. The once mighty WereLord raised his hand up weakly to fend off the blow, but mercy was not within the Wraith-Knight as he cleaved the King's head almost in two.
         King Griystal was destroyed in an orgiastic explosion of gore.
         Rashad turned to Bethany and was relieved when she coughed and raised her head. She looked at Rashad with fervent eyes," Is he dead? "
         " Yes," Rashad helped her to her feet and all his muscled tensed as one when a rippling red light passed down his arm and into Bethany's.
         Bethany moaned in almost orgiastic pleasure as the light spread it's glow throughout her body. When it faded there was not a scratch on her and Rashad felt slightly drained. Rashad felt that he would never again be merely normal. The power transfer from Griystal seemed to have permanently enhanced his abilities.
         Rashad quickly went to gather his weapons. He slammed them all home in their scabbards, casting glances at the door, and then chuckled at the sounds emanating from them.
         " What do we do now? " Bethany asked, sounding tired and oddly fulfilled.
         Rashad smiled at her," Simple. We escape. "
© Copyright 2001 S-Styles (salord at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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