Zatch wrote:They say that just before you die your life flashes before your eyes. I never believed that, after all no one who died could have varified that in this world. I don't know, maybe it's true. But if it is then is the display a rush of images or is the final seond of life streatched to infinity. I wonder what I would see, the mistakes I've made and the stupid things I've said. All the times I've turned left when I should have turned right, zigged when I should have zagged, killed when I should have preserved.
I can't go back and right my wrongs, but maybe I can at least make peace with myself and those I've hurt while there's still time. I asked Kai how I could possibly apologize for putting a hole in someone's chest and betraying the trust of the woman I love. He said "The same way you apologize for sleeping with your best friends wife, say you sorry and go from there." Maybe I'll be forgiven and maybe I won't, maybe I'll be trusted agian and maybe I won't, who knows?
I really have to stop over analyzing.
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Zatch wrote:Two days after our decision to depart, my brother and I are on our way to Raiden, my second home. It was decided that we could make better time if we took a ship directly to the port of the free city. First we had to take a ship to Kannon and then find a vessle going our way. It was difficult convincing the captain of the fishing boat to allow two who have just come from the Dark Isle to take passage, but after Kai allowed him a swift glance of his handful of gold the captain soon forgot his convictions.
Little did I know however that had our journey been delayed but a few more hours we might have encountered same familiar faces.
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Zatch wrote:Four days out to sea. Kai continues to train me in the way of the sword, even though I never once asked him to. Although I have to admit that he has amazing skill and certainly isn't the worst teacher on Lodoss. I've talked to some of the sailors on board about the ongoing war, it seems that no one really knows why the dead are rising or how this Cray person fits in to any of it. At first I thought he was responsible for all of it, yet another maniac trying to bend existence into his own image. But now I have no idea who is responsible for....
* * *
In the lower deck of the cargo ship, Kai sat on the floor with his sword across his lap. The cargo room was filled with the scraping sound of rock agienst metal as he honed the ancient blade beyond razor sharpness. For Kai, a single and simple such as task such as sharpening was always unbarably tedious and boring. So he tended to slip away from reality. It's funny, most solders try to escape when they're in danger, it isn't uncommon for a knight to daydream about a perfect life during any free moment. But Kai daydreamed when there was no danger, often it was strategy or trying to figure out ways around techniques he had trouble with. But sometimes it would be something alot deeper than that.
"Why do you fight?" said a voice on the back of Kai's mind.
For this he simply didn't have an answer. He could easily say that he fights for the peace of Lodoss, and the safety of those he loves, and he does fight for those reasons. But the true heart of his ambition, and the drive to perfect his skill eluded him. As well as ate at him.
"I don't know," he said to himself lower than a whisper. "I just do."
No sooner had he completed his thought did a huge jolt run though the ship, a violent tremor as though they slammed into a huge rock. Kai raced to the top deck as he was greeted by shouting and panick from the sailors.
As Kai reached the top deck he saw in the corner of his eye a smudge of green but it was gone when turned his head. A rancid stench filled his nostrels which could be nothing other than decay. Kai grabbed the arm of one of the sailors running by. "What's going on!?" Kai demanded.
"It's a serpent, maybe a dragon!" he replied in panick then yanked his arm free to run for cover. Just then the monster emerged agian with a fierce growl.
Definatly too big for a sea serpent! Kai thought to himself. The monster opened it's massive jaws and deep within it's throat was a faint glow wich was steadily growing.
"HELMSMAN! HARD RIGHT!!!" Kai shouted to the nearly petrified sailor at the helm, these were seamen, not solders. The helmsman snapped out of if just in time to comply, using all his strength he spun the wheel as fast as he could. A brilliant bolt of energy shot from the dragon's mouth, but thanks to the quick menouvering it only took out a chunk of the top deck and two crewmen before hitting the sea.
The dragon submerged again as Zatch climbed up.
"Crassus, we're under attack!" Kai said
"I know, I saw. I think it's Abram!" Zatch replied
"Abram? I thought he was dead."
So did I. Zatch thought to himself.
Abram, Zatch thought to himself regarding the ancient dragon. Zatch had met the Lord Ashuram once a long time ago, he knew that it was the black knight who slayed the dragon all those years ago. But now it was brought back into existence to serve whatever force had done so.
By now archers had finaly set up along the deck in wait for the monster to emerge, even though he could easily gut the ship from below and that would be the end of it. But when a cat hunts a mouse or an insect it won't kill it's prey immediately, instead the cat will immobilize it and then begin a slow and painful death. Surely a mighty dragon sees humans in a no more higher regard.
Abram arose once more, this time deciding to use someething no one could dodge. The petrifying roar capable of destroying an enemy's moral, leaving them with little will to fight. Both Zatch and Kai realized this from stories told by bored solders as well as old documents.
"EVERYONE, COVER YOUR EARS NOW!!!" Kai shouted, but the order was either ignored or unheard when dozens of arrows were released, most bounced harmlessly off thick scales while only a few managed to wedge themselves into the natural defence. None of which seemed to have any effect.
Zatch knew that the beast would unleash a mighty howl, but he also knew that trying to block it out would do little good without magic aid.
"Wretched animal, let's see how well you scream without a larynx!"
"Great shadow of oblivion I call unto thee, Lend me thy wings of razor" Three small blades of dark energy shot from Zatch's hands as he silently hoped that A) the blades would penetrate Abram's scales, and B) Human-Dragon anatomy was close enough for Zatch to correctly guess exactly where it's larynx was!
Two of the blades were angled enough to hit the scales and dissapate leaving nothing more than nicks on Abram's hide. The third however made it underneath the scales and managed to severe the dragon's voice box. Unfortunatly the blade was neither large enough or strong enough to even come close to seperating Abram's head from his neck. Black blood poured fourth from the wound as the ancient dragon chocked with shock and pain.
Zatch felt triumphant but soon realized that it was no longer a game of cat and mouse. Abram now considered the ship and it's crew a threat, and would no longer hesitate to treat it as such.
Abram became enraged with the attack which should have left him to bleed to death if not for the fact that he was already dead. Having lost the ability to roar his eyes betrayed the contempt he held for the humans before him. Luckily for Zatch the dragon didn't care to distinguish one human from another.
As another volly of arrows was unleashed, Abram swooped downward toward the deck and snatched one of the crewmen, violently shaking the poor sailor and then tossing him at least fifty yards into the ocean. Three more crewmen were lost in this manner and it was then Kai decided to take a chance.
"Crassus, draw his attention." Kai shouted to his brother.
"What!" he replied, eyes wide with fear.
"Just keep him busy for a few seconds, I'll handle it from there." Swiftly Kai ran the the base of the crow's nest and began climbing. Meanwhile Abram began to notice the strange action.
"Shadow of darkness strike down my enemy with thy war cry!" A screamer bolt raced from Zatch's poised hands and whizzed pastAbram's nose, breaking his attention from Kai. Abram then dived towards Zatch.
In a panick Zatch cast the first spell which came to mind, the Shadow Slay, barely put up in time. A sphere of dark energy engulfed Zatch as well a foot of Abram's snout. Abram backed away in suprise, far too quickly to have actually felt much. The spell wore off and Zatch was once agian without defence as well as the target of a living behemoth.
"Dammit Kai" Zatch said under his breath "Whatever you're going to do, do it quick. I can't keep this up much longer."
Atop the crow's nest Kai Looked down on the dragon in wait for the right moment. He saw that Zatch wouldn't be able to hold Abram off for long, but if he didn't time his action correctly he would be a broken heap on the deck below. "C'mon Cassie, I need him back up just a little more." he said to himself.
Just then Zatch released another screamer bolt, not nearly as strong as he tried to make it but it still did considerable damage. The bolt slammed into Abram's right cheek, vaporizing skin and muscle as it burned off one of his face tendrils, leaving an impressive display of bone and singed flesh on the side of his face. The attack also made the dragon jerk it's head back, giving Kai the perfect chance to come in.
With Gilgamesh in hand Kia puffed and leaped from the crow's nest in an incredible display of insanity, letting out mighty battle cry along the way.
"Ohh shiiiiiiiiiiii-!!!!" Kai plunged his sword into Abram's left eye and rode on his snout like a wild horse. The dragon swung it's head around franticly as Kai held on to both Gilgamesh--still implaled in Abram's eye--and the dragon's snout for dear life. Abram gave one final swing which made Kai let go of it's nose, but he still held on to the sword, causing the blade to slice into the side of Abram's face as it left.
Luckily Kai landed in the ocean, while Abram wasn't so fortunate having wounds on his throat.
Black blood spilled fourth from Abram's many wounds. Being half-blind in one eye and completly blind in the other, the dragon saw little choice but to make a strategic withdrawl. Dozens of crewmen cheered at the sight of the retreating beast, the captain however wasn't so quick to celebrate.
"Full sails! Get us as far from that thing as possible, I don't care if it's already leaving!"
One of the sailors caught sight of Kai, still alive but having trouble staying afloat with his heavy armor.
"Man (gurgle) overboard!" Kai shouted trying to keep his head above water.
"And throw a line to the knight!" the captain barked.