Chapter 2: OCL ROund 2 - "My Turn"
As Dalv arrived at a clearing in Ariridin's dense and humid jungle, he had already shed his outer coat due to the heat. Tiny beads of sweat lined his brow as he pulled out his letter from the Scholar Collective and reread his objective: plushies? 'A far cry from lady Eo's battle magic classes,' Dalv thought. 'Although this is something she would consider doing in class…. 'A true fighter must be ready for the unexpected and to be unexpected in turn….'
Dalv hummed in a perplexed tone – No canon sound to start yet as the Collective letter had laid out. He had given plenty of time to arrive. Looking up, he spotted three raised pedestals and on top of each-
"Lossar?" Dalv's eyes widened. Each pedestal had the same soft plush on it. A faithfully cruel recreation of a deer skull framed by pale orange 'fire' stared back at him. The feeling of something wet tingled Dalv's cheek. A tear.
"I miss you, freind", The vampire whispered as he gently picked up the plush and held it close to his chest. "Could really do with you being here right now…. Home… My restaurant… All of it. I wish they were here… Or I was there… Damn this tornamnet.” Dalv looked at his gauntlet. A shiver ran through his arm. "I know you're there. You're not Lossar..." The vampire muttered darkly…
'Oh. But I can be…' Dalv's own mind answered in a low, mirthful tone.
A long moment passed before he looked down at the facsimile of his familiar. "To work, then, eh?" Dalv set his coat on the pedestal like a coat rack. He began muttering to himself as his battle plan formed. "' Unexpected'… 'Unexpected'… Hmmm…” He stopped and looked at his coat draped lifelessly on the pedestal. An idea. Dalv snapped his fingers and made his preparations...
The sound of a distant cannon boomed through Ariridin's jungle and Dalv stood bolt-upright like a meerkat. Game time. A small crackling fire lay before him and another to his left and right. He turned his crimson gaze to his coat on the pedestal and turned to it. Dalv looked at his dirt-covered hands. Maybe he had time to-
Dalv just registered the sound of a twig when a horned monochrome figure dashed in a sickening green accent bounded out of the treeline and into the clearing. It moved with such ferocity across the space, Dalv couldn't get a good look at it. Then, before he could think of a reaction, the figure slammed into him. 'Icarus' Dalv's only successful thought before the wyfex slugged him across the jaw. Pain exploded through Dalv's jaw, his eyes rattling in their sockets. It almost rivalled one of Lady Eo's punches.
The vampire shot up in a moment, expecting another attack. None came.
Dalv's head snapped to his plushies. He saw the figure entirely, a tall bipedal- machine? Its form was slender and two claw marks of that sickly green across it's shoulders. The smell of the gas burned the inside of his nose and throat. But, whatever they were, no blood flowed through it. Instead, unusual lights danced across its helmet. This must be that electricity light thing he'd heard of in the guild hall…
"Let me out, Dalv…"
Dalv's eyes snapped to the plush in Icarus' teeth. A visage of Lossar or what was left of it, stuffing strewn all over in gruesome flufficide.
"Stop." Dalv's voice bearly broke a whisper.
RIIPPPPPP!!! Dalv froze again at his opponent, ripping a second plush into shreds. Again, the image of Lossar and the imagined scream of it rang in Dalv's mind.
"ENOUGH!" Dalv's hand shot out, flames left from the fire into a ball, exploding past the Wyfex. A sound of shattering glass cut through the clearing, as did the shards that ripped from where Icarus emerged. Several bolts of pain dug into Dalv's back as shards dug into his flesh. More glass flew past him, attaching to Icarus. His earlier blast of fire left no mark. Smouldering flames now sinking into the treeline beyond the pedestals and into the bushy foliage.
"Do something, Dalv" This time a low dark voice rang in Dalv's mind. "Or I will..."
Icarus let out an angry snarl, eyes fixed upon the vampire. Shards of glass swirled around the former as it took a slice at the pedestal with the coat on. Nothing. No fluff. No plush… Dalv wanted to smile but settled to ready his stance. "Expecting something, sir?"
The snarl grew louder. "Where is it, human?"
'Disgusting thing…' Dalv's mind chimed in the low tone and Dalv knew the voice aimed at Icarus.
"Vampire, sir." Dalv corrected. "Easy mistake to make..."
"I'm not your friend," Icarus growled. "Where is it?" The shards of glass began to cling to its body, coating Icarus' body. Pain exploded again through his back as the glass shards tugged towards Icarus, trying to dig right through the vampire's body, directly drawn to Icarus.
"My patience wears thin, Dalv…"
Mind clouded by the low voice, Dalv caught Icarus' movement too late. A gleaming blade of glass sliced through the air. Dalv felt a moment pass before pain exploded through his chest. Shock hit first, forcing a gasp to his chest. His knees gave out after, dropping him into a kneel only for Icarus to kick him across the jaw, sprawling him across the dirt. Another bout of searing agony tore through Dalv as he felt the glass shards in his back withdraw. Darkness slowly crept into his view.
"Fine, Vessel. My turn…"
Dalv felt every fibre of his being explode into action. Then, clarity returned to his vision. A sharp wave of energy overtook his arm and ripped through the rest of his body. The vampire felt his body move swiftly, pain vanishing instantly. Nothing in him responded as he tried to scream. His arms remained where they were. He saw everything – clarity from Icarus to the fire burning in the tree line. His earlier outburst against Icarus now caught the foliage of the trees.
Dalv's arm shot up. He caught the sight of his, his head locked in place on Icarus. His gauntlet was gone. All he saw was a black bone engulfed in bright blue flame. The fire roared in the trees, exploding and setting several trees aflame in baleful blue and white. Dalvs arms drew ahead of him, acting on their own.
"Pretty impressive, machine." Dalv felt the voice and foreign words leave his lips. Then, finally, Icarus drew back. With such clarity, he saw a reflection in the glass scythe. The visage of a black skull where his head should have been, wreathed in blue flame, its jaw detached from the crown. Three spiked horns towered above, and two pinpoint blue eyes bore into the reflection.
Icarus swung the scythe, but Dalv's body rocked back on it’s own. His arms swept apart by themselves, and blue fire surged around the clearing sending trees aflame. Dalv heard the wail and cry of wildlife. Animals fled or took to the sky in panic. Yet, in all the fear, he heard himself laugh.
"Your charge and rage betray your starting location, machine." Dalv watched as Icarus trembled with rage at being called a machine. Then, a roar broke out from Icarus. The wyfex charging forward, scythe swinging down. Dalv felt his body move to one side, lighter than ever.
Dalv's body spun on its heel, and the gauntlet pointed to where Icarus had emerged. In one instant, blue fire funnelled from around the clearing, focused into a bright, white-hot pinpoint and exploded outward. The surge of fire blasted through the trees, setting more of Arirdin aflame and more animals fleeing in all directions. The vampire watched in horror as the charred wood and ash clearing now connected two clearings. The pedestals in the distance blazed with.
A distant cannon boomed. Victory.
Dalv didn't see the attack but somehow knew it was coming. Fire exploded out from his body, and a THUMP followed the sound. He turned to see Icarus on the ground but otherwise unharmed. The figure pointed to a patch of disturbed dirt by Dalv's pedestals.
"Perception, machine. I will serve you better than blinding rage…"
With those alien words out of his mouth, Dalv felt his body return to his control. The pain returned in numbing waves, and every drop of energy emptied from him. He dropped to his knees for the second time in this tournament, and darkness took him.
"Sleep well, my Vessle..."
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Blue flamey skull said "move over, let me drive" and took over the controls 0.0 Really engaging descriptions and action scenes, this was a wonderful read