I've now read from chapter 5 up through chapter 13. I particularly enjoyed the first battle between Kaidara and the ninjas - well described.
I can picture Kaidara yelling, "This is Valhalla!" just like Leonidas yelling "This is Sparta!" - lol.
At first I thought Syvarris was a complete moron. I'm glad to see he's starting to show some 'normal' behavior finally, with Kitsuru not around.
Kaemon's transformation is a cool twist, as well.
Is Ikaru's personality becoming melded into the Sword's? Or do they remain two distinct personalities?
Ikaru is still a separate mind, but as you can see Suyomonji is very dominating, and Ikaru might not be the smartest guy in the world. At times Ikaru is a distinct voice and has his own things to contribute (batojutsu, for one), but mostly he just agrees with Suyomonji.
As for Syvarris, I remember reading in one of the biographies on Heroscape.com that he was regarded as rather arrogant, and I tried to portray him as such. I think the "Nearly Mindless, Over-Sophisticated Noble Who's Actually Quite Tolerable When There Isn't a Pretty Lady Around" personality fits.
Edit- I just got finished putting in white underscores. That's a bit easier to read. Yay.
__“No Not again!” shrieked Suyomonji.
__“Give me all your strength. I can throw them off.”
__“Give me your power, Suyomonji.”
__“You’ll die... die just like I did.”
__“If you let me die, you’ll end up as a toothpick for a stinky troll. Now help me throw these rats off.”
__“Let’s go, Suyomonji.”
__Suyomonji calmed down a bit as the deathreavers continued to pile on. “Okay. We haven’t much time left. Here it comes.”
__Soulborgs standing around the pile of deathreavers were blinded by the most intense light that Suyomonji had ever produced. Kaidara gave a three-pitched yell and shoved with all his might. A score of deathreavers were flung into the air, and Kaidara stood quickly. Spectators stood in shock, too dumbfounded to attack. This was the undoing of Deathwalker 8900 and the three deathstalkers that stood before him. As deathreavers began to rain from the sky, the other soulborgs were regaining their wits, trying to organize into some sort of battle formation to combat with this ferocious human warrior.
__“Today is the day all of you shall perish!” Kaidara sprinted at the largest group of his foes and began cutting at whatever appendages were easiest to reach.
__“Drop to the left knee.” Rockets fired from several directions soared over Kaidara’s head, causing explosions all around.
__“Move forward!” A deathreaver crashed into the ground behind him.
__“Deathstalker on the right.” Kaidara’s katana rushed out with godly speed and decapitated the soulborg.
__“How many left?”
__“About fifty. Some of them are fleeing.”
__“That won’t do.” Kaidara pursued the ten soulborgs that were fleeing, knowing that the others would follow him.
__“There’s a large oak up ahead.” Kaidara switched his swords in his hands. He brought back his right arm and slung the wakizashi with titanic strength, cutting the tree cleanly, causing it to crushing his prey.
__“The wakizashi is embedded in the ground.” Kaidara hurdled the fallen tree, retrieved his sword, and sat back against the massive log. The remaining enemies cleared the oak and kept running, thinking they were chasing the samurai warrior.
__“That’s all of them.” Kaidara stood up and began cutting at the backs of the ranks. The slow ones died easily.
__“All deathwalkers eliminated.”
__The quick were the ones to reach Kaidara next. Fifteen deathreavers fell to his blades. That left a score of zettians armed with machine guns.
__“Any ideas?” Kaidara heard nothing from his friends as he again used the tree for cover. “Anyone? Twenty angry and scared soulborgs with guns?”
__“The hill begins beyond this tree. I think if we can get it rolling-“ Kaidara was already heaving with every muscle in his body before Suyomonji could finish.
__“Move, you stupid hunk of wood.” The log did not.
__“They’re getting closer.”
__“Forgive me for cutting you down, noble tree. Please crush these soulborgs who would pervert your lands and cut down your brothers.” Still, the tree would not budge.
__“I hate you.”
__“Scurry over to the left and meet a fraction of their split force.” Kaidara ducked his head and ran as best as he could. He was nearly tackled by a zettian guard, but he was able to stab it’s core quickly enough. The samurai kicked the lifeless metal into its comrades behind it. With them pinned to the ground, Kaidara skillfully took their lives away with all haste.
__“Fifteen more. Duck.” Kaidara fell flat to the ground behind the dead zettians. “Crawl to the other side of the tree.” Kaidara did just that and saw a large rock.
__“So this is why the tree wouldn’t move.” He took it and tossed it aside. The tree moved slightly.
__“Let them come.”
__The zettians charged around and stood opposite of Kaidara.
__A series of beeps and unrecognizable syllables emanated from one of the soulborgs as some form of communication.
__“I think it just sentenced you to death.” All of the zettian executioners raised their rifles together. Just as they started to fire, Kaidara flipped backward over the tree and gave it a thunderous kick. It began to roll.
__“Almost done. I need whatever strength you have left.” Kaidara pushed the tree with everything left in his body.
__“We’re going to do it! Vengeance is mine!” said a gleeful Suyomonji.
__“Keep pushing!” The exhausted samurai ran with the tree for a few more feet before he passed out.
__“Tarnil’s headed this way, my lady,” advised Kaziriel.
__“Does he have that stupid smirk on his face?”
__“Let him in.”
__A knock came at the door. “Runa, open this door or I’ll smash it in.” The door was open before he could finish. “Oh, Kaziriel. I’d like to speak to Runa in private, so you can leave.” Tarnil gestured towards the door.
__“Yes, Lord Tarnil.” Kaziriel bowed politely and quickly left, closing the door behind him.
__“So, are you going to hand over the human, or shall I have to take your head?”
__“Hmmm...” Runa walked around looking thoughtful. “I wonder if Taelord would be mad.”
__“Ha! He doesn’t care if I kill you, wench.”
__“No, I mean I wonder if he would be angry with me for killing his only brother.”
__Without a second thought, Tarnil drew his axe and hacked at Runa. The nimble kyrie stepped out of the way and skillfully stabbed Tarnil in the arm three times with a dagger.
__Tarnil’s axe clattered on the stone floor, and he screamed in pain. “You’ll pay for this, woman!”
__“No she won’t.” Kaziriel reemerged into the room carrying chains and smiling deviously.
__“What is this?” Tarnil looked to Kaziriel and back to Runa.
__“It is your undoing.” Runa made a quick swipe at Tarnil’s face, slicing his left eye with her dagger. “Your slow and painful undoing.”
__Blood oozed between Tarnil’s fingers as he grasped at his now useless eye. “You vermin! My brother-“
__”Even if Taelord finds out, my dear Tarnil, I’m sure he’ll only congratulate me on getting rid of you before you tried to stab him in the back.” Runa strolled around behind Tarnil to put a booted foot on the back of his head and force him to the floor.
__“You know what to do, Kaziriel.”
__“Of course, my lady.” Kaziriel grinned wickedly and began bounding Tarnil with the chains.
__“Kaidara, wake up. You’re almost there.”
__The samurai stood and observed his victory.
__“So you’re finally awake,” observed Suyomonji.
__“Yes.” Kaidara squinted off into the distance. “It’s dark. How long was I out?”
__“Nearly half a day.”
__“No worries. There isn’t anyone around to mess with us!”
__Kaidara chuckled. “Apparently. So, Suyomonji?”
__“Y... yes, Kaidara?”
__“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened to you back there?”
__“Ah... yes. That.”
__“That was the group of soulborgs that killed him.”
__“Ikaru! You put it so crudely, really.”
__“Then how did it happen?”
__“I was on a scouting mission. I saw a few standing around and decided to attack. It turns out they were conducting an exploration of a cave there. Before I knew it, I was completely surrounded.”
__“Hahahaha, you rushed in without thinking,” teased Ikaru.
__“Remind me how you died again, Ikaru.”
__“As much as I hate to break it up between you to, we should really get going. I think Kitsuru is nearby.”
__“Why do you say that?”
__“I can hear her voice in my head. Full sentences this time, not just my own name. She says I’m getting close.”
__“And I suppose you still want to save her?”
__“Even after she called you crazy?”
__“Yes, and suppose you do find her? Then what? Whatever that thing you saw in your dreams was, it surely wiped out your comrades.”
__“You don’t know that.”
__“It’s likely. They were unprepared and wouldn’t listen to you.”
__“Will you just stop it?” Kaidara yelled. “Stop all this! Stop contradicting me! You’re a piece of metal. Act like it!”
__Kaidara began walking.
__“Where are we going?”
__“I’m going to find Kitsuru. You can come with me and fight, or I can leave you here for Vydar’s forces to melt down to make plating for soulborgs.”
__There were a few moments of silence as Suyomonji and Ikaru conversed with one another in private.
__“We will comply for now, Kaidara.”
__The fierce warrior said nothing, just continued walking.
Ugh, next week is finals week, so it's going to be really hard to update this. I'll try to put something in here on Wednesday or Thursday, but I can't make any promises. <-Tired Billtog.
With school out until mid-January, I can resume my writing. Kaidara's Blade is back.
__“There, Kaidara!” The trio had come upon a fortress in the forest.
__“Very well hidden…”
__“Kaidara, you’re very close. You need to find a way inside.”
__“It appears the gates are very well guarded.”
__“We need some sort of disguise.”
__Kaidara thought for a moment. “Perhaps we could convince some of the dumber creatures to sneak us in.”
__“Ninja approach from behind!”
__“They’re all around us!”
__“Kaidara of Einar, a message from Lady Runa,” yelled a ninja as he stepped out from his hiding place.
__“I will hear it.”
__“I have the lady Kitsuru. I do not intend to harm you or her. Please come speak with me. I guarantee you safe passage in and out of the fortress. That is all.”
__“Can we trust it?”
__“They have Kitsuru. We don’t have a choice.”
__“But it could be a trap.”
__“That doesn’t matter. They have Kitsuru, and we have to get in there one way or another. We might as well save some energy and enter the easy way.”
__“But if this Runa is lying, you will not live, Kaidara.”
__“I will not tell you again, my mission is to save Kitsuru. If I cannot do that, I do not deserve to live.”
__“She’s not worth it.”
__“What happens to us if you die?”
__“If you I die inside this fortress, only the strongest will claim you. That is not a concern. Things will work out.”
__“Are you quite ready to see her, Sir Kaidara?” asked the patient ninja.
__“Then follow me. I trust you will not try anything with enemies all around and with the lady in our hands.”
__“Of course not.”
__“As I suspected, Kaidara the Fierce.” The ninja dropped down from the tree. He fell nearly seven meters but landed gently on his feet. Kaidara knew this one was a master. He approached Kaidara and bowed curtly. “I am called the Night Stag. My given name is of no consequence.” After Kaidara bowed in return, the ninja continued, “now then, please come this way.”
__“Lady Runa!” A ninja equipped for climbing through trees entered Runa’s chambers. “Kaidara of Einar has arrived. Night Stag is speaking with him.”
__“Thank you. Kaziriel?”
__“Yes, my lady?”
__“Go wait with Kitsuru. Kaidara shall be here soon.”
__“As you wish.” Kaziriel bowed and left.
__“Sir Kaemon, things will once again escalate,” said Jandar.
__“I have received word from Lord Einar. His spies report that many of Utgar’s fortresses are preparing siege engines and are receiving kyrie from all over the lands. Vydar’s soulborgs grow staggering in numbers. It would seem they are planning a massive assault on us.”
__“Do you think they’re heading here?”
__“That is my guess. I have called in several of my regiments fighting in the Thaelenk Tundra as well as those fighting in the mountains to the east. The present battle must be won at all costs.”
__“I see. What does Lord Einar do?”
__“I have advised him to send all of his troops to this location. We will need the strict leadership and discipline of your fellow Einarians is we are to last. How fares the battle currently?”
__“Well enough. A large amount of ashigaru have arrived to take the load off the troops that have been fighting here from the beginning. The men are truly starting to tire. I hope Lord Einar heeds your words.”
__“As do I. I have one last thing to ask of you.”
__“I need you and the Imperium to solidify the towers. They are beginning to weaken.”
__“We can do that, Lord Jandar. If that is all, I shall be off.”
__“Fare well, Kaemon the Noble.”
__“And you, Jandar of the Azure Sky.”
__“This is it, Sir Kaidara. I would advise you to speak softly, kyrie can be quite arrogant creatures.” Night Stag opened the door for Kaidara and disappeared down a side hall.
__“Come in.” The samurai stepped in timidly.
__“We’re all alone! Strike her down!”
__“With batojutsu, you could hit her before she’d have time to even think, Kaidara. Do it now!” Kaidara’s hand trembled as it drifted slowly toward Suyomonji’s hilt.
__“NO,” he screamed in his head. “We’re definitely being watched, and they still have Kitsuru.”
__“Forget Kitsuru, we have a kyrie noble to kill!”
__“Welcome, Sir Kaidara.” Runa bowed gracefully.
__Kaidara bowed quickly, never taking his eyes of the kyrie. “You are Runa?”
__“I am,” said Runa in a sweet voice. “Won’t you have a seat?” She motioned to a chair next to Kaidara. He took it, and she seated across a table from him.
__“Don’t let her calm tone fool you.”
__“We can still cut her down easily, Kaidara! Don’t be a fool.”
__“Oh, right to the point? I had hope to chat with you, but if you are in a hurry, let’s get to business. Kitsuru is in the room behind me, guarded by my right hand man. She is safe.”
__“Let her go.”
__“I can’t just let her go, can I? Of course, I’d hate to have to face Kaidara the Fierce, but I went through the trouble of capturing her. I think I should get something in return.”
__“Out with it!” Kaidara was beginning to lose his patience.
__“You are a temperamental one. It’s a shame a man as handsome and strong as you couldn’t be more mellow.”
__Kaidara took a few deep breaths. “What is it you want?”
__“I want you to join me, Sir Kaidara. Join with Lord Utgar’s forces by my side.”
__“Listen to what she has to say, Kaidara!”
__“I’d very much like to hear this.”
__“Don’t be so hasty, my dear Kaidara. Allow me to explain. Lord Utgar is in a position to lay the killing stroke upon Jandar’s forces. All he needs is a powerful warrior with charisma like yours to lead his troops. Lord Taelord is a fine leader, but his skills in battle are lacking. Lord Utgar would like someone who could charge in side-by-side with his troops and earn his share. You stand to gain a lot of fame and fortune this way. And remember, the lady Kitsuru will be safe.”
__Kaidara sat in deep thought.
__“We can finally kill Kaemon and Einar!”
__“Take your time, Sir Kaidara.”
__“Your offer is very tempting, your ladyship. And although I am inclined to agree, I think I should consult with Kitsuru about this, don’t you? This is quite a big decision, after all.” Kaidara gave a slight smile.
__Runa was struck with Kaidara’s seeming compliance with her offer. “Of course, you may speak to her. Right this way.”
__They got up from the table and Runa opened the door behind her. Kitsuru sat tied to a chair with Kaziriel standing behind her, twirling his sword idly.
__“Kaidara!” Kitsuru’s face lit up and tears streamed down her face when she saw her lover at long last.
__“Unbound her, Kaziriel,” ordered Runa. Kaziriel used his sword to carefully cut the ropes holding Kitsuru. She sprang up immediately and threw her arms around Kaidara.
__“I knew you’d come.”
__“Look, I’m sorry for-“
__“That doesn’t matter. You came all the way here to save me, and that shows me that you truly care.”
__“So Kitsuru is yours again. Now then, Kaidara, what say you? You see that I’m very cooperative; I think we’d make a fine team.”
__“Like I said… never.”
__“What?” Runa nearly fell over with surprise.
__“Night Stag warned me that you were arrogant. I used that to my advantage.”
__“You… treacherous… Kaziriel! Do not let them escape!” Despite his tremendous size, Kaziriel proved swift in getting to the door and locking it, preventing Kaidara’s exit.
__“I had offered you not only glory but the safety of the lady… and you repay me like this?” Runa unsheathed a serrated katana from her belt. “You will buy your treachery with blood, Kaidara.”
__Kaziriel leapt up from behind and grabbed Kitsuru. Kaidara turned around and began to attack.
__“Wait!” shouted Kaziriel. “This is between you and Runa. I will not harm her.” Kaidara looked from Kaziriel to Runa, unsure. Runa stood, waiting for Kaidara to fight. When Kaidara’s eyes met with hers, she simply nodded. Kaidara turned his body towards Runa and drew his katana, absorbing the spirits of Suyomonji and Ikaru.
__“No one will stand between us and our goals, not even a kyrie noble.”
__“A sentient sword! I… I’ve never seen one before.”
__“And you’ll never see another one again.” Kaidara feinted to the right and came in diagonally from the left. Runa, able to keep up due to her superior kyrie physics, brought her blade back just in time to block the slash. As she skidded across the floor from the force of Kaidara’s attack, Runa heaved outwards to push him off balance. Her strength was enough to force the samurai to take a step backward, and in that opening, Runa attacked. Kaidara brought his left arm up and deflected the slash with his bracer. As Runa stumbled forward, Kaidara delivered a kick to her thigh. In her overbalance state, Runa used her own momentum to pound Kaidara in the kidney with her left fist. Before the kyrie collided with him, the nimble warrior jumped backward and slashed across at Runa’s throat, but she was able to drop to her knee and allow the sword to pass over her head. She then elected to leap from her crouch and tackle Kaidara onto the floor. She was able to give his face a few good punches before he threw her off. Runa flapped her wings to regain control in the air and threw her dagger at Kaidara, who was still lying on his back. He gladly accepted it in his right shoulder so that he could catch Runa off guard. Before his slash could cut her head clean in half, the kyrie moved her wings subtly, avoiding skin contact with the sword. As both warriors regained their footing and squared off, Runa’s mask fell off. Without her sword or dagger, and now without a helmet, Runa was at a large disadvantage. Kaidara wasted little time in charging her again.
__“STOP!” yelled Kitsuru. Kaidara managed to stop just before his blade tore through Runa’s throat. He looked back to his lover with a peeved look on his face. “Don’t kill her.”
__“Don’t kill her. Look.” Kitsuru pointed to Runa’s now revealed face. Though the skin had taken a red tone, it was unmistakably that of Kitsuru’s mother.
__“Lady Runa, why did you not tell me?”
__“Because it was none of your concern.”
__“Mother… why? Why are you fighting for Utgar?”
__“Because he is the strongest. I want to be strong, so I follow him.”
__Kaidara stood still, having no idea what he should do. Not even the powerful voices of Ikaru and Suyomonji could convince him to move his sword a few more inches and end her life.
__“My dear, won’t you join me? You and Sir Kaidara both.” She looked to Kaidara.
__“That cannot happen. If you fight for Utgar, then you are the enemy.”
__“Kaidara, don’t! Don’t hurt my mother.”
__“I’ll never forgive you if you kill her.”
__“If harm befalls Lady Runa, the girl will receive the same.”
__“Kaziriel, that is not honorable!”
__“I don’t care! He mustn’t harm you, my lady.”
__Kaidara slowly lowered his sword and flushed the foreign spirits out of his body. “So none of us can do anything.”
__“It would seem so,” confirmed Runa.
__“If we cannot reach a deal, then let Kitsuru and I leave.”
__“For the sword.”
__“Your life for the sword, Sir Kaidara. Though it would pain me to see my daughter in sadness, I cannot let you leave just like that. Give me the shiny sword that tells you to do terrible things, and I will let the both of you leave peacefully.”
__“I urge you to take her advice, human.”
__“Please do it, Kaidara. Let us leave this place.”
__“Don’t ask for my advice. You won’t take it.”
__“You’ve always been weak of heart Kaidara. Hand me over and take your silly woman!”
__After a long moment of silent reflection, Kaidara looked Runa in the eyes. “You have a deal, kyrie. Once we are in a safe place, you get the sword.”
__“Very well. My sword is behind you. Take it.” Kaidara took the wickedly decorated katana and received the sheath from Runa. “This way, if you will.” Runa led the way back out into the forest. Hundreds of bewildered onlookers included orcs, trolls, marro, soulborgs, and kyrie. When they reached the forest, Night Stag descended from the trees.
__“Your orders, my lady?”
__“Assure that they leave safely.”
__“And that is all?”
__“Yes.” Night Stag bowed and leapt back into his hiding. “Now then, Sir Kaidara.”
__“Here you are.” Kaidara easily handed over Suyomonji.
__“Goodbye, my dear daughter. And to you, Sir Kaidara, I’m sorry that we have to be enemies.” Runa bowed and walked off.
__Kitsuru started to speak before Kaidara stopped her. “Let’s just go. There’s nothing left to be said.” Their long-awaited reunion gone sour, the couple walked through the forest back towards their camp.
Attack of the killer plot twist of death!!!!
Nice writing, as ever Billtog. It was worth the extra wait to read it. I was more than somewhat surprised that Kaidara was able to give up Suyomonji so easily, but hey, that's life. Keep up the good work!
Your Devoted Fan,
I thought it was pretty reasonable. Kaidara has had numerous disagreements up to this point with Suyomonji and Ikaru, many of them involving great danger. Then they suggest leaving Kitsuru, which Kaidara can't do. Now, he has a way to make sure Suyomonji has a suitable owner and Kitsuru is safe. Of course, I'm going to defend my own writing. You're welcome to disagree since I'm willing to accept that my foreshadowing isn't as foreshadowy as I intended it to be.
The next chapter should be up within 6 hours or so, barring a sudden attack or writer's block or distraction.
Let the squeamish be advised: Suyomonji amplifies Runa's savagery.
This one's a little short. I got distracted.
PART THREE: War of the Four Friends, Suyomonji’s Scherzo
__“Lord Kaemon, the enemy is breaking through Sir Denrick’s line!” shouted a Roman soldier.
__“Hairon, Zikitake, come with me!” Kaemon and his two kyrie partners flew over to help seal up the hole.
__“Do you think we have adequate force, Lord Kaemon?” asked Zikitake.
__“We can’t spare anymore than this. Make quick and clean kills. Nothing fancy. Got it?”
__Kaemon had nothing but confidence until he saw that a score of trolls had broken through. He swooped in from behind and began lopping off their heads as quickly as he could. He had taken out four trolls before the others noticed.
__“Manbirds make hurts!” alerted one of the creatures. Kaemon was able to decapitate it before being brought down by the club of another. He regained control on the ground and rolled back up to his feet. He tried to take flight, but his wings had been damaged, forcing him to fold them up and dodge a flurry of attacks from trolls above. The nimble kyrie, quite used to ground combat, slid beneath one of the trolls to avoid being surrounded. A quick look around him told Kaemon that his comrades were also pinned down and unable to fly. Kaemon turned his head back just in time to duck an incoming swipe from a troll with a large sword. Despite his best efforts, Kaemon became encircled once again, this time by six of the angry trolls.
__“Squisy smashy,” said a hammer-wielding troll with a big grin on his face. Kaemon focused on him, prepared to dodge the inevitable attack, but he was hit from behind by a giant fist. As he was rolling across the ground, he caught glimpses of the hammer coming down on him.
__Suddenly, there was a ring of metal-on-metal and the hammer stopped. Kaemon looked up and saw Kaidara holding off the troll with a demonic-looking katana.
__“Hello, Kaemon,” he said in a mellow tone.
__“Nice wings,” Kaidara noted musingly. He heaved upward and threw the troll off-balance before slicing through its throat. “How did that happen?”
__“I drank water from a wellspring,” explained Kaemon as he got back to his feet.
__“Interesting.” Kaidara then leaped into the air and slashed at another trolls eyes.
__“Did you find Kitsuru?”
__“Behind you!” Kaemon spun around to see a troll about to cleave him in half. An arrow struck it in the eye and he fell backward, knocking down another troll with him.
__“I’m right here, Kaemon.” Kitsuru lowered her bow and waved cheerfully.
__“Is Syvarris around?”
__“Yes, he’s in a tower.”
__“Arrogant elves. Why do they always have to hide behind us if they’re so great?” An arrow thudded into the ground in front of Kaidara.
__“With my superior elven hearing, I can hear you from here!” yelled Syvarris.
__“I know you can!” retorted Kaidara with a mocking smile on his face.
__“Well it’s great that we’re all back together again,” said Kaemon with a plethora of sarcasm.
__“Yes, I noticed. That is an odd sword you have.”
__“I traded with someone, I’ll tell you about it later.” The two samurai split up to take down the remaining trolls.
__“So, Suyomonji, you would like to taste kyrie flesh?”
__“That would be superb, Lady Runa.” Runa somehow could feel the sentient blade smiling. She opened the door in front of her. Sprawled across the floor was Tarnil.
__“We’ve been torturing this one. I’m getting tired of him though.”
__“Allow me to rid you of him then.”
__“Who’s there?” called Tarnil and in scared and broken voice.
__“Death, my dear Tarnil. Only Death. Here.” She tossed Tarnil his axe. He reached for it hesitantly with his left hand, his only hand. “Take it. I wish to test out my new… companion.” Runa smiled and unsheathed Suyomonji.
__“You filth… I’ll kill you!” Tarnil rose to his feet and quickly hobbled across the room.
__“Now,” Runa said quietly. She opened up and the spirits of Suyomonji and Ikaru flowed into her. As Tarnil began to attack, Runa lashed out with the katana and cut through the head of Tarnil’s axe. Unfazed, the battered kyrie charged forward, prepared to tackle Runa. She moved at an impossibly fast speed and ended up behind Tarnil.
__Runa sheathed the katana and plunged her hand straight through Tarnil. He howled out in pain -the highest-pitched sound Runa had ever heard- as she squeezed his heart. After a few seconds of sadistic pleasure, she withdrew her hand and allowed Tarnil’s lifeless body to fall to the floor. Ikaru and Suyomonji retreated back into the sword.
__“Excellent. Now to put you to true use.” Runa smiled wickedly and left the room. “Kaziriel? Could you get someone to clean up in there?”
Well when you put it that way, I guess it makes more sense. I tend to be relatively narrow-minded when I read something I really like. Speaking of which, am I the only one reading, or am I just the only one responding?
Nice work Billtog! You know how to entertain!
Sorry for the delay. I've been a bit busy.
Here's the next chapter. Enjoy!
__“So then she left you with this,” concluded Kaemon.
__“Right. It’s not sentient like Suyomonji, but there’s definitely something… unholy… about it.”
__“What is it’s name?”
__“I believe it is called Kaimera.”
__“Does it ever speak to you in pictures or feelings?”
__“In the short time I’ve had it, I don’t think so. But, like I said, there’s something there.”
__“Only time will tell, I suppose.”
__“So what’s the plan here?”
__“Reinforcements have arrived for our side, and I believe the enemy will get a large force of kyrie in around 5 days. The plan is to go at it hard for 3 days to weaken them as much as we can. After that, we rest. It would be unfortunate if the kyrie arrived and we were too tired to fight them.”
__“But, we can’t let them have an overwhelming force.” Kaidara nodded. “So a subtle press of the attack using the Imperium, ashigaru, and the restored bodies of our dragon friends-“
__“And the domineering spirit of Kaidara the Fierce.”
__Kaidara grinned. “Ah, yes. How fares our old unit?”
__“They are doing very well. The reduced numbers brings out their potential, especially without them being able to rely on your strength.”
__Kaidara paused. “I see.”
__“Was that modesty or regret?”
__“I think… both.”
__“I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to return there after what happened. I know it wasn’t your fault-“
__“No, it’s all right.”
__“You’ll be fighting from the towers until you get used to that new sword of yours. I’m sorry to do this, my friend.”
__“It’s for the best.”
__“You’ll be fighting in Larathiel’s unit… with Kitsuru.” Kaidara stuttered. “Maybe she can teach you a thing or two about archery.” Kaidara was at a loss for words, not sure if Kaemon was serious or teasing him. The kyrie’s laugh told him it was both.
__Kaidara chuckled. “Very well then, Kaemon.”
__“Excuse me, fellas.” The two samurai looked at the entrance of the tent to see a tall man dressed in green uniform with a metallic arm attachment standing there. “Would this happen to be the war tent?”
__“It is.” Kaemon rose and approached the man.
__“Aren’t you that sam-oo-rai they call Kay-mon?”
__“It’s Kaemon.” Kaemon reached out to shake the man’s hand. “And you’re... Sergeant-”
__“Drake Alexander.” Drake took Kaemon’s hand and shook it heartily. “Jandar ordered me and my army to come here and help out. Can you tell me exactly what’s going on?”
__Kaemon explained to him the situation and the future plans.
__“I see, so you’ve been thinking this over for a while.”
__“We have,” said Kaemon, with emphasis on the first word.
__“Oh, I’m sorry. You’re?” Drake addressed Kaidara. The samurai stood and bowed. “I am known as Kaidara, friend and subordinate of Kaemon Awa.”
__“Oh yeah, Kaidara the Fierce. I’ve heard plenty of stories about you!” Drake slapped Kaidara on the shoulder. “Is it true that you punched straight through a soulborg?”
__“Don’t be shy, now.”
__Kaemon cleared his throat to get their attention. “I’d like to being discussing the specifics of our battle plan now. Sergeant Drake, with your force joining us, I think this will be a great deal easier. If you’ll sit down with me, we can talk numbers.”
__“All right,” said Drake,” let’s get to business.”
__“Are you ready, my lady?”
__“We are, Kaziriel.” Runa nodded confidently. She had been given orders by Taelord to take a small contingent north and set up an ambush for a group of Ullar’s giants moving south to aid the main force .
__“I received this report from a bladehawk scouter.” Kaziriel held up a scroll of paper. “Night Stag’s group is in place, and they are tracking the movements of the enemy. The giants shall arrive in three days.”
__“The flight to the target point is two days, correct?”
__“Yes, my lady.”
__“And how many giants do we face?”
__“Night Stag estimates their numbers to be in the fifties. He assures that this number will not be a problem with the plan you have created.”
__“Perfect. Are my kyrie assembled?”
__“The Rippers are ready to go, my lady.” The Rippers was an elite group of ten kyrie known for their fearlessness in battle and their serrated weapons, which would rip the flesh from anything they struck. They are rumored to have been dragon hunters on Icaria before their death, and are supposedly the offspring of Utgar himself.
__“Then let us be off.” Runa donned her new helmet, one with horns like a ram and a hole in the top for her hair to flow through. Kaziriel had picked it out for her because it accentuated her fierce features and hid her beautiful ones. With Suyomonji at her hip, there truly wasn’t a more fearsome warrior in all of Valhalla.
__“Quickly, aim for the marro gunmen!” shouted Larathiel. Kaidara focused his attacks on the approaching horde of stingers, firing two arrows at a time. Kitsuru stood next to him, firing only one arrow at a time, but at a much faster pace. Kaidara momentarily diverted his attention as Mimring, body completely restored, soared in on a crowd of knights.
__“Dragon!” he shouted and fired off a single arrow, striking Mimring just below the eye.
__“Cursed human!” Mimring blew a stream of fire towards Kaidara’s tower. Just before Kaidara, Kitsuru, and all their elven friends were incinerated, a storm of ice rained down in front of the tower, leaving only steam.
__“Mimring, you wretch, always picking on those smaller than you,” roared a deep and robust voice. “Ice shall bring you justice.”
__“I thought it was enough to banish you from my kingdom, Mimring, now we shall have to destroy you.”
__Kaidara looked toward the sky to see both King Nilfheim and King Charos circling above, preparing to strike Mimring.
__“Two on one, then? Hardly a challenge with my new power granted by Lord Utgar. I shall dispose of you two and then burn all of your puny friends.” Fire shot out at an incredible speed, singeing Nilfheim’s right wing. Nilfheim retaliated by launching ice shards at Mimring. The fire dragon easily dodged, but it was only a ruse. Charos struck him at full force from the side. The two dragons plummeted a hundred meters to the ground, obliterating scores of marro in the crash. When Charos had regained his control and taken to the air, more ice came down onto Mimring’s earthbound body.
__A resonate laugh rumbled throughout the battlefield. “Do you think that is enough to take down the mighty Mimring?” The fire dragon walked out of the crater, completely unscathed. “You’ll have to do a lot better than that. Lord Utgar has seen to it that I am much tougher than before!”
__“Aim for the dragon!” commanded Larathiel.
__“Kaidara! Over here!” Kaidara looked down behind the tower where Kaemon was standing with the mage Gattstyn. “We have a plan. Come quickly.” Kaidara quickly descended the ladder to the ground. Gattstyn began chanting immediately. “He’s going to cast a few spells on you. You’ll be able to fly temporarily, and you’ll be fireproof. You and I are going to take down Mimring.”
__Gattstyn finished the final word of a spell and Kaidara felt a strange sensation. “Accustom yourself to flying as quickly as possible, but stay close to me so I can finish the other spell.” Kaidara willed himself to rise and quickly rose 3 meters in the air. He experimented with moving side to side, up and down, and spinning in the air.
__“I’ll show you how to fight in the air,” said Kaemon as he flapped his wings. Kaemon taught Kaidara the basics of how to adjust ground-based fighting to aerial fighting. Once he became acclimated to it, both warriors sat on the ground and meditated. A few minutes later, Gattstyn’s second spell was ready.
__“If Mimring hits you with fire, you will not feel heat or pain, and you will not be hit backwards by the force of it. Now, quickly, before many more are slain!”
__“I thank you, Sir Gattstyn.” Kaidara bowed and then floated into the air.
__The two samurai took a few moments to observe Mimring’s movements.
__“It’s going to be hard to hurt him without Suyomonji,” warned Kaemon.
__“Kaimera should be able to handle it,” Kaidara said confidently.
__“There goes King Charos. He took them both out in less than ten minutes.” Kaidara heard uncertainty in Kaemon’s voice.
__“But they’re not immune to fire.” Kaemon nodded. “You fly in from the left. I’ll attack afterwards. I have an idea.”
__“Oh, Kaemon? This may hurt quite a bit.”
__Kaemon smiled in understanding. “I can handle it.”
__The kyrie warrior swooped in on Mimring and braced himself at the last moment. Mimring’s claws raked across, not aiming at any particular spot. Kaemon managed to block most of the damage with his sword, but was still thrown back and slammed into the ground. Then, Kaidara dived in, picking up as much speed as he could.
__“Mimring! Your fire can’t reach me here!”
__“Pathetic human!” scoffed the dragon before launching a line of fire towards the sky with the intention of scorching Kaidara. The clever samurai rode the stream of fire straight down Mimring’s throat, furiously slashing at the dragon’s insides in order to find a way out. He was finally able to exit through a gaping how in Mimring’s chest and flew over to check on Kaemon.
__“Did it work?”
__“Can’t you hear him howling in pain?”
__“Good work. It’s a good thing you were able to pick up enough speed or you wouldn’t have made it all the way down before he closed his mouth.”
__“Exactly. Are you all right?”
__“I’ve had better days, but I’ll survive.”
__“This isn’t over, Kaidara! Next time will be your death!” Mimring crawled off towards his camp. A second wave of marro surged in to cover his retreat.
__“Will that pest ever die?”
__“Kaidara, return to your tower before the flying spell expires. I’m going to go get aid to escort King Nilfheim and King Charos to safety.”
__“We can finish him now!” objected Kaidara.
__“No! Our dragon allies are easy targets for the incoming marro. We cannot have them killed.”
__“Get to your tower and ready your bow.”
__“Of course, Lord Kaemon.”
__“This is bad, Lord Kaemon,” spoke Nilfheim in a soft voice, suitable for talking to smaller creatures. “Mimring grows unbelievably stronger. If this continues, nothing will be able to stop him.”
__“I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do at the moment. Utgar’s force of kyrie advances, and we can’t afford to lose this position.”
__“We could try to break through and-“
__“Killing Mimring is not our mission. We can’t go out of our way to do it.”
__The ice dragon sighed. “How long until I am ready to see battle again?”
__“Kelda tells me you won’t be completely healed for seven days, but we’ll need you sooner than that. There is hope, however. Sergeant Alexander has brought with him the elven archmage Sonlen. He is said to have a dragon companion that can heal any wound. Perhaps since he is a dragon…”
__“Since he’s a dragon, he should be able to heal me more quickly then?”
__“Right. Sonlen is busy fighting, but I’ll see if I can get Sergeant Alexander to send him this way.”
__“My thanks, Lord Kaemon.”
__“It is not for you, but for all of us, King Nilfheim.” Kaemon bowed and left.
__“What is it, Vinelle?” spoke the giant.
__“It seems there is a roaming band of orcs up ahead.”
__“It should be no problem for the likes of us, right?”
__“True, true… however, I wish to practice my new skills before we reach the battlefield, and I think this would be a prime opportunity.”
__“If you say so. Do you need a few giants to assist you?”
__“I don’t think that will be necessary. My comrades will watch over me.”
__“Very well. Be careful, and come back here when you’re done.”
__On his home world of Feylund, the elf Vinelle had been a ranger and a guardian of Selethia Forest. Ullar had summoned him to Valhalla to fight the hordes of Utgar. The elf, like many of his kind, had made friends with the Japanese warriors summoned by Einar. Normally, elves were arrogant and believed their culture to be superior in every way to any race. Vinelle, however had been intrigued by the art of ninjutsu, and had begged some of Einar’s men to teach him the way of the ninja. Before being sent to join the main battle, Vinelle had time to not only learn these arts, but develop his own fighting style based off elven swordplay and Japanese swordplay. Armed with his odd weapon, two kodachi joined by a length of Mithril chain, he went ahead with his small group of elven rangers and human ninja.
__“Remember, don’t aid me unless I’m about to die,” Vinelle said along the way. “I need the practice.”
__When they reached the target point, all of Vinelle’s men perched in trees and waited, watching the elf carefully.
__“Let’s see…” Vinelle whispered to himself. “Two swog riders, eight sword-wielders, and ten archers. I suppose this will be enough.”
__Vinelle silently hopped across tree branches into position above an unsuspecting swog rider. He quickly prepared his rope and hook, anchoring himself to the tree. He measured the distance with his eyes, making sure the rope wasn’t too long.
__“Hup hup, here we go.” Vinelle dropped behind the swog rider, quickly broke the orc’s neck, dismounted the rope, and stood atop the swog.
__None of the other orcs noticed until the mount howled out. All eyes were quickly fixed on Vinelle and arrows began to soar his way. As the swog started to run, Vinelle leaped toward the tree and grabbed his rope, dodging a slew of projectiles. When the blade gruts began charging him, the skilled elf kicked off of the tree and swung towards them. He let go and flipped over the orcs, drawing his swords in mid-air. Vinelle ignored the orcs behind him and charged the archers, swinging his swords about to attack speed. He slashed through the throats of two orcs standing side-by-side, using the chained swords as a flail, holding one in his right hand and striking with the other. When his left sword came about, he grabbed the handle and flung the other blade to block incoming arrows. He whirled his right sword around, taking out the rest of the archers while also holding off the blade gruts.
__Vinelle caught his sword and turned to face the rest of his foes. They stood still, hesitant to charge this mighty warrior. Instead, the elf was the one to advance. He grasped the chain with both hands, spinning and attacking with both swords. So skilled was the elf in his many years of practice, that he was able to control each blade separately, as distinct as two different warriors holding one kodachi each.
__When all the blade gruts lay dead, the warrior mounted on the swog decided it would be best to flee. In all his years protecting nature, Vinelle had gained a substantial understanding of various poisonous chemicals. Valhalla’s own toxins proved to be very similar. It took the elf less than a month to analyze what he found and utilize them each as weapons. Vinelle sheathed his swords, throwing the chain over his back, and pulled out a small blowgun and a bag of darts. He selected a dart with a red feather on the end, signifying that it was the most deadly of the poisons. The dart was loaded into the blowgun and shot with incredible accuracy into the torso of the swog. When his mount suddenly stopped moving, the orc found himself tumbling across the forest floor. Having dropped his weapons in the fall, the orc warrior had very little hope of defending against this formidable elf and his hunting knife.
__Kaemon, Kaidara, and Kitsuru sat silently in the command tent, overlooking the battle plans when an unexpected intrusion occurred.
__“Sir Kaidara, I challenge you!” yelled Syvarris.
__The look on Kaidara’s face told that he was preparing to have the same argument again. He stood slowly, eyeing the elf with a hand on his sword.
__“Both of you stop it,” warned Kaemon.
__“I challenge you… to a game of chess.”
__“Chess?” asked Kaidara.
__“Yes. The winner gets the lady’s love,” proclaimed the elf.
__“It’s going to take a lot more than a game of chess to impress me,” said Kitsuru dryly.
__“You will have no choice when you see the utter defeat of this savage, for I have devised a master plan.”
__“We don’t have time for this, Syvarris. We have a large battle ahead of us,” said Kaemon.
__“But isn’t it important to relax our bodies whilst exercising our minds?”
__“You know, Kaemon, I think it would do him some good. Maybe he’ll lose some of that arrogance and get used to the idea of losing,” mused Kaidara.
__“Not now. We don’t have time for your childish squabbles,” said Kaemon with a hint of venom in his voice.
__“Very well,” began the elf, “then we shall have a contest on the battlefield. We will see which of us can take down more foes tomorrow.”
__“I’m listening,” said Kaidara.
__“Here are the rules: orc and marro foot soldiers are one point. Smaller soulborgs and mounted orcs or marro are three points. Large soulborgs and trolls are seven points. Kyrie are ten points. I trust you’ll be honorable enough to keep score correctly?”
__Kaidara nodded. “Of course.”
__“The winner gets the lady’s love?”
__“No!” said an annoyed Kitsuru.
__“Hmm… we’ll see then,” said Syvarris. He offered a wave and left.
__“Stupid elf,” he heard Kitsuru mumble.
__Syvarris could only smile, for everything had turned out as he had planned. He knew Kaemon wouldn’t let them waste time on a game of chess, but that Kaidara would get in a competitive mood if it were offered. Syvarris was confident that the human couldn’t beat his skills with a bow.
__“Tomorrow is our day, my lady.”
__“My Lord Einar!” gasped a kyrie messenger, tired from a frantic flight.
__“What is it, my friend?” spoke the valkyrie general from his elaborate golden and purple throne.
__“A message from Lord Jandar, he wishes you to relocate your troops to the Fields of Lyrius to stop the advancing hordes of Utgar and Vydar.”
__“I see.” Einar pondered momentarily. “Hand me the letter. I shall think it over.”
__The kyrie messenger approached his lord respectfully, bowing his head and dropping to one knee when handing over the parchment.
__“You may leave.”
__“May the wind be strong beneath your wings, and may your blades be forever sharp, my Lord Einar.” The messenger walked backwards ten steps, bowed again, then left quickly.
__“Oh, Jandar. Are you overreacting again?” Einar began reading the letter, his brow furrowed. “I see…” The valkyrie picked up a heavy staff and banged it on the floor three times, the sound resonating through the great chamber. A kyrie ran in and bowed. “Bring me a quill and parchment, my friend.”
__“As you wish, Lord Einar.” The messenger ran off with all haste.
__“We shall see what Ullar thinks of this.”