The Sun Door Part 32
by Joe Solmo
Drejnin and Lukka closed the distance between them slowly, as if purposely adding tension to the already tense moment. They looked like a pair of giants about to square off in an epic battle. My eyes scanned my companions, also frozen in bastard’s magic. The looks of fear on their faces probably mirrored my own. I felt as useless as I normally feel when not frozen.
The fight started out slow. The two gladiators circling each other, sizing each other up. It took almost a full minute before Drejnin swung the first swing. It was a half-hearted swing, more exploratory than dangerous. The evil anti-paladin blocked it easy with his sword. Dark energy grew out of the blade, like an aura, crawling out towards the sharp tip of the blade. The dark purple reflected off Drejnin’s pale skin.
The blows started to come faster now, and I still haven’t heard from the magical runt in the book. What the hell was the kid up to anyway? I’d smack him if I could move my arm…and he was here…and he couldn’t turn me into a lizard or something. I guess what I am trying to say is I would do nothing but bitch about it. That sounds more like me. I should just stick to what I know.
Drejnin’s lightning fast strikes seemed to make no difference. The anti-paladin was also a skilled swordsman and seemed to be enjoying the exchange of blows. He met each strike from the Dreymorian with a measured counterstrike. It was beautiful to watch. All eyes were on them as they exhibited the pinnacle of swordplay. Boy, who said that? It sure didn’t sound like me. Maybe I should have Hall take a look at my head for a bump.
“Marsh? Why do you have that stupid look on your face?” Skrat asked through the magical tome. Perfect, now the kid is gunning for my job. I am the sarcastic one, damnit.
“Yeah. What’s going on. Turn the book around so I can see,” the young mage said.
“I can’t do that right now, I am kind of frozen in place. That bastard cast a spell on us, which wasn’t very nice,” I explained.
“One second. Let me check on something on the map,” Skrat said and disappeared again.
The fight worked its way towards me. I could feel the energy given off by Lukka’s blade and it chilled me to the bone. If I wasn’t frozen I probably would have piddled down my leg. Thank the gods for small miracles, I guess. I am sure I will make up for it another time.
“Ok Marsh get ready, I got a plan,” Skrat said as he returned to view.
“Care to fill me in?” I asked wishing I could raise my eyebrows.
“No time, but if it works be prepared to grab the book, it might move,” the mage explained. I did what I could, even though I couldn’t move a muscle, I tried to prepare myself for when I could. The fighting grew closer to me, I could feel the breeze off of some of their strikes.
“You guys want to watch it? I just got a haircut, I don’t need another,” I said. I could hear Skrat chanting some words through the book. I couldn’t make them out so I’m guessing they were in a different language. Magic always uses different languages. You never hear a Magi say fireball and cast a fireball it’s always some crap like Flama daru Sphora, or something. Part of the showmanship I guess.
Lukka struck Drejnin, the first blood was being shed right before my eyes. In fact, some of that first blood hit my face. A cut had opened on the large man’s forearm from that wicked blade. Drejnin cried out in pain. I didn’t think it was possible! Sensing the Dreymorian’s pain, Lukka advanced and attacked some more. Ferocious strikes that meant business. Meanwhile, the mage had stopped chanting. I looked down at the kid in the tome.
The book began to shake in my hand, slowly at first, then more violent. I still couldn’t move a damn muscle. I strained against the magic that was holding me in place but it didn’t seem to make a damn bit of difference, but at least I could say I was trying something.
I saw some kind of fog, or smoke coming from the book and it started to wrap around me. I could feel the magic hold on me beginning to loosen. “Don’t waste your time on me, kid. Get the others free so they could help fight,” I said.
“It went to you first, it is more about proximity than usefulness. It should reach everyone,” the young mage said.
“Thanks a lot kid,” I retorted.
I felt the book begin to drop and much to my astonishment I grabbed it before it hit the stone floor. I was more surprised that I caught something falling, then that I was free. I am a natural born athlete. I saw the smoke flowing now towards Weebly, who was the next closest affected. He started to move his fingers.
I dodged a wild swing from Lukka, that Drejnin had deflected. I am not sure I would be able to retell this tale if I had still been frozen at the time. I took a deep breath before moving to a safer vantage point. That was too close for comfort.
The fight continued on, with Lukka know on the attack, every third or fourth swing getting bast the dreymorian’s defenses. Drejnin looked bad. He had about a dozen cuts on him, blood covered him like a monsoon rain, giving his skin a pinkish red hue. Lukka didn’t look injured, at least not from where I was. I turned the book towards the fighting so the mage could get an idea on what was going on in the battle.
A moment later we were all free. Our fighter types moved in to surround the bad guy while the rest of us hung back. Hall was checking over everyone to make sure there was no lasting effects from the magical paralysis. Serius went after the anti-paladin with such ferocity. I guess being pinned down while someone whacks on the person you are sworn to protect will do that to you. I wouldn’t know. Even if charged with protecting someone, I would never put that much effort into it. Into anything, really.
The dontu grew blades from his arms and blocked Lukka’s attacks, giving Drejnin the opportunity to go on the offensive. The dontu and dreymorian worked well as a team. Neither seemed to get in each other’s way. They must have practiced a lot back in their home dimension. I watched the violent ballet of their attacks on Lukka.
Now the tide was starting to turn, cuts began to appear on the anti-paladin. I could see the anger cross his face. He held out his hand and a pulse of magical energy forced everyone back about ten feet, giving him a quick breather. That cheating bastard!
Jarris was the first to recover. He charged the anti-paladin with his own powers, the two started to square off. The old guy was holding his own against the evil bastard, I had to give him that. Drejnin and Serius even held back to see what the paladin could do.
“You can not defeat me. No one has ever passed here. Relying on a god is a sign of weakness,” Lukka said between clenched teeth.
“My faith gives me strength,” Jarris said as he circled his adversary. Suddenly a crossbow bolt was sticking out of Lukka’s forehead. He fell over without another word.
“My crossbow makes loudmouth’s dead,” Dead-Eye said and winked at me. The son-of-a-bitch actually hit a target he was aiming for! He tossed the crossbow into the air with a twirl and tried to catch it on the way down. He missed and it landed on his foot. With a howl he hopped around for a few seconds.
We were about to congratulate him, but we heard the bad guy stirring. All eyes turned towards him. “It will take more than a toothpick to take me out,” he said with a sneer and snapped the bolt like a twig. Drejnin pushed his blade through Lukka’s face and didn’t stop pushing until the hilt made contact with the anti-paladin’s face. No one had a sarcastic comment this time. Maybe that was the source of his power. If we just kept quiet he would stay dead.
“That should do it,” Sreg said, and we all held our breaths for a few seconds. We all agreed it was over, but even though we all thought the same way, we waited, we gave the bad guy about half an hour, to see if he was going to get back up. In that time, Drejnin’s wounds healed, albeit slower than before. I didn’t know if the big guy was weakening or if the anti-paladin had done some special kind of damage. Either way it looked like we were good to go once again.
“That was fast. We are getting pretty good at these,” I said.
“We have the gods on our side,” Jarris said.
“Don’t ruin it, asshole” I replied.
“Let us continue. The need to go home grows as we get closer,” Drejnin said. We all nodded that we were ready to go and headed towards the door. I stopped and looked down. The book was sitting there on the ground, I had almost forgotten it after having a conversation with a real person. Even if it was only long enough to insult him.
I grabbed the book and looked into it. The mage was missing again, it looked like his book had also moved. I didn’t see the same background. I saw a pile of books stacked on one of the large tables we rested at when we were there. Was he doing some independent study while he was there?
The group yanked open the door to the next passage. Maybe we were growing to confident with all these wins. They didn’t even wait for Skrat this time. Which was good, because I didn’t see the kid anyway. I followed the group into the hall. It seemed to be empty, nothing moved there but us. About 30 yards down a lone torch was lit, then nothing beyond that. Easily the longest hall we have seen so far. What did that mean? I had no fucking clue. By my calculations we should only have one more bastard to take down before we reach the Moon Door and all this will be over.
Wonder what I will do when this is all over, retire? Can’t go back to the army Dead-Eye and I deserted from. We made quite a few enemies there. Maybe we can start our own merc group. We can hire others to do the fighting for us, we were getting to old for this shit anyway. As we made our way down the hallway I swore I could smell brimstone. I wondered about the nature of our next challenge, and why was it getting so gods damned hot all of a sudden?
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