Chapter 2: Round 1 - the raven and the tiger - 1181 words
Icarus stepped into the stadium's artificial light, imbued with magic that made his skin crawl. He was the first one to appear, and the audience cheered for him. The wyfex's ears pinned down. Just shut up.
The false eyes of the wyfex ran on the circular arena's walls. People of many shapes, sized, and races stared at Icarus, intrigued. A growl escaped his throat, accompanied by an electric hum. Their stares made his crux boil. They all were the same, eyes nailed to the freak in the middle of it all. They and their definition of normal, phah. The spotlights shifted, and the crowd howled again. It revealed something essential to Icarus - the lowest row of spectators were protected by a vertical layer of glass. Assumably, to avoid casualties and injuries.
Icarus shifted his gaze to the opposite side of the pit - and a half of a pair of emerald eyes stared back. That partial glare was sharp, and cold. Stinging, imbedding a needle of ice into the opponent's skin, one after the other. The wyfex's eyes ran on the other's figure erratically, inspecting it. The guy was some kind of... Dog? Wolf? Bipedal. Strange. An abomination. A well-armored abomination. Icarus' eyes shifted again, as a raven, pitch black as the darkest night, landed gracefully onto the gray-and-white creature's stretched out forearm.
Cheater. This was about constructs, not pets.
The announcer's voice, turned up way too loud, pulled the wyfex out of his anger-filled head. The competitors' names echoed around the stadium, introducing them both.
William. What a boring, ordinary, human name. Pathetic.
Snickering at his own so-called greatness, Icarus turned his eyes to the side. His vision sensor was met with a table filled to the brim with wine glasses, each one identical. The wyfex's gaze narrowed. How peculiar. Did the Collective actually know how he handled his powers? Icarus shrugged at himself. Well, it made sense - why else would they even let him participate?
On the other hand, it was possible it was just Karmen's doing. They made too many friends, for the Entities' sake.
The buzzer rang as an indication to begin. The folf acted instantly, pulling his dagger from its sheath. His raven familiar, Viggo, dashed into the air as fast as an arrow from a bow. To its melodic cawing, William joined with whistles. In the center of the arena, a magical construct erected itself around the corvid. Icarus watched as freezing wind built itself into the shape of a bird - the very raven in the middle of the humongous cyclone. Musical notes, glowing in brilliant blue, cycled within the breezes. The wyfex scoffed.
With a firm whisk of an arm to the side of the glass filled table, Icarus effortlessly imploded every single drinking vessel on it.
He threw the opposite arm outward, and a cacophony of screams and shattering glass filled the air. Spectators fleeing to find shelter sent shivers of pure pleasure up and down the wyfex's metal spine. His jointed tongue swept smugly across the teeth on his upper jaw. Icarus lifted both of his arms slowly, even exaggeratedly so. The shards of glass mimicked the movement by hovering upwards, following their master, naive and blind.
Icarus hurled his arms forward, and his stance changed. His medium of choice mirrored the motion, and rushed to the center to face the raven construct. The shards of glass crashed against each other, breaking into smaller and sharper pieces every time they collided. Icarus set his dominant foot forward, turning his side at the folf and his construct. The wyfex brought both of his arms to his sides, hands raised almost elegantly. His command was a hollow snap of his fingers, and the vague mass of glass shot itself up. Flying a full lap around the arena, from a messy line of shards, a creature birthed itself into existence. A short, box-like head emerged, fangs twisted and bent. Its distorted roar rattled the structures of the coliseum, unnerving the onlookers.
After the massive head came shoulders, front legs, giant paws, and the rest of the body close behind - but as it took its first step on the arena's surface, it made almost no sound. The stripeless tiger was silent, its roar's echo faded. The wailing winds were accompanied by only a soft jingle, as the glass chinked against itself, constantly shifting, while still keeping its animalistic shape. The crystal construct paced back and forth aggressively in front of the corvid, raised of tunes and tempest. The very air hummed thick with tension.
As it started to look like a battle of patience, Icarus got tired of waiting. The wyfex's translucent tiger repeated his own, electric, whir-like screech as a wry, rough scream.
And as the feline lunged at the raven, it was silent no more. Every turn of its imaginary joints was completed with the sound of a window breaking. The glass construct leapt upwards to reach the other one of its own kind, but its hasty decision was greeted with unwelcome resistance. Icarus saw William lifting the dagger in his hand, the runes on its blade radiant in azure. The wyfex's panicked gaze turned to the two constructs, as the winds only howled louder within the stadium.
This was supposed to be easy. He was unbeatable, damn it! He was the Vessel!
Viggo's enlarged image screeched in ear-piercing pitch. Ice started to form into every nook and cranny of the glass tiger - and those there were indeed many. The shards of glass begun to slow down, making the feline's movements stiff and sluggish.
"NO YOU FUCKING DON'T," Icarus screamed. He gestured widely with his arms, and suddenly, the crystal construct lost its shape, its shards flying into every possible direction. The air current corvid cawed, its tone surprised and suspicious. It was clear that the wyfex wasn't done just like that.
And he wasn't. Spreading his arms, the strict control over his instrument of destruction returned. Remnants of the stripeless beast built themselves again into shape, shaking off the burden of ice, as they rearranged and moved.
As if no command was given, the tiger dashed forward. Like an extension of Icarus' erratic mind, it dove into the center of the raven construct. The cold didn't bother it, as it tore through the plummeting temperatures, its weaponized hide grasping at its target.
In seconds, it reached the bird the maelstrom was shaped after. Its being engulfed the wind construct's core, like a hunter's claws sink into the flesh of its prey.
No wind or temperature was enough to stop it. Its serrated heart cut at Viggo's feathers - and finally, skin. William's whole figure flinched, as the screams of the pained bird washed over the arena. The cyclone around the raven died as quickly as it had risen. With a gentle thud, the corvid fell to the ground, its body limp and cold. The folf stared at his raven. It was still breathing. His single eye lifted to the wyfex. Icarus chuckled, as his tail whipped the ground. He sneered.
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All the glass and ice imagery, the little cracks in Icarus' construct and his own confidence - poor Viggo, happy to see that Icarus left the little raven alive ^v^