Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.
Shadows of Fate
Juliet A. Singleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Kirsty Singleton (email@example.com)
As the coast of Hyrule drew nearer into Link's view, he began to feel that something was very wrong. Apart from the small fact that Hyrule was about to come under attack un-warned and unprepared against perhaps one of the most military advanced nations in the Demiari. Link shielded his eyes against the sun, as he laid gaze onto Hyrule.
"Death Mountain," he murmured. He knew he should get back to North Castle, but he felt a strange pull coming from the former home of Ganondorf Dragmire. He touched down near the old not so secret entrance of the mountain and slid from the dragon's back. He turned to look at his ride, and he could have sworn he saw a grin on its face. He shook his head, walking away, throwing the Preceptor gauntlets to the ground, along with the cloak. He felt much better for discarding those items of doubtlessly evil design, but he knew the relief would not last for long. He was drawn into the mountain by a force he knew to be far from good, a force that he associated with none but his and Hyrule's old nemesis. Ganondorf.
Leigh paced towards the throne, glaring at the sword that held the spirit of her master. He had explained everything to her. The Guardian, the one who assumed he was her master, had taken her soul from her. Of course something was needed to fill its place and a former spirit cohort of Ganondorf's had employed itself. She was to obey his rule and no-one else's. She stopped at the throne and looked at the sword, the gem in the hilt glowing malevolently. She grasped the hilt with one hand and withdrew it.
"It is time," whispered Ganondorf.
"It is time," agreed Leigh. She withdrew the gem from the hilt and smiled into it. Then she threw it to the ground, the smashing of glass echoing through the cavern. "Welcome home...master," she greeted.
Purple smoke coughed from the smashed gem, swirling around trying to establish a form.
"I have no form," complained Ganondorf.
"No, thy spirit was trapped in the gem, but thy body has long since rotted," explained Leigh. A snort of anger split the cavern.
"Then what use am I?" he demanded, the smoky form floating towards the pedestal where the Triforce of power had once stood.
"Thou canst take on any form thou wouldst like, that is available of course. For example, thou could inhabit the body of one of thy worthless cohorts," suggested Leigh, smiling a little at the thought.
"WHAT!?" demanded Ganondorf.
"Thou didst hear my words," said Leigh, stalking off.
"But, then that means that I could take on your form..." began Ganondorf. Leigh turned to stare, but his form had shifted.
"I think not," she snorted. Ganondorf growled. He was loosing his grip on her, this defiance was not expected.
"You have no choice in the matter," he snarled.
"Thou wilt find that I do," she replied. She stepped back in shock as Ganondorf tried to invade her mind, but he had no success, well, maybe he did. She fell to her knees, shaking her head, all of her power draining from her. What was happening? She leaned forward as a wave of nausea crashed over her. Ganondorf cursed. He had only resulted in ridding her of the soul he had planted there. He slowly smiled as he suddenly registered the information he had just gathered as he had briefly invaded the Avatar's mind. He could take Link to the void, and battle him there.
"Aspete, Skoll!" he demanded, the two crawled out of their hiding.
"Er...yes master?" they asked in unison. Ganondorf looked at them carefully. What had ever possessed him to create an employ such fools, they were both incompetent idiots. He glanced back to Leigh. He had almost killed her in his attack. It was no sore loss to him. The destined hero would never stand a chance against him in the void. He began to laugh at the thought of the hero trying to harm him. It would be impossible. Aspete and Skoll stood staring at each other.
"Er..." they began. They began to slowly retreat. Leigh meanwhile, was trying to stand, but with limited success. She made her way to the throne, where the sword lay. She tried to get up, but she fell back down, slamming against the cold, stone throne and slipping into unconsciousness.
Link followed the corridors of Death Mountain to the very centre, amazed that he could still remember the exact route. As he drew nearer and nearer, he could feel the invisible, almost choking force of an evil presence. He began to wonder whether this had been a good idea, especially considering that Hyrule could be invaded any hour now. Suddenly, he heard an echoing laughter ring through the mountain, and deep in the pit of Link's stomach, an uneasy feeling stirred. Ganondorf. He swallowed and wiped a bead of sweat from his brow, his palms becoming damp. So his instinct had been right, but what puzzled Link was how he had escape, if that was indeed the case. Then he remembered Leigh, and her new attitude. If she had gone to the castle to retrieve the sword, she could have released him, but he couldn't fathom why she would do that in the first place. At the moment it was the only explanation he could think of, but he prayed to the Goddesses that it wasn't so. He gingerly stepped into the old throne room of the mountain, keeping to the shadows. He saw a figure slumped against the throne, and realised that it was Leigh. By her side was the Black sword, and scattered about her were the broken shards of the gem prison. Ganondorf was nowhere to be seen, and there were no other signs of life. Sword still in hand, he stepped forward out of the thick darkness and into the dull light provided by the many lit torches. He idly wondered if Skoll and Aspete were still around, he hadn't seen them in years. Still keeping an eye out for any signs of danger, he slowly reached the throne and leaned down to take a look at Leigh. She was out cold, but she had a pulse. Link stood up looking around.
"I know you're around here somewhere!" he yelled as loudly as his lungs would permit. There was a deep, booming laughter as a cloud of purple mist materialised around him. "What in the void?" asked Link, stepping back. He saw nothing but purple smoke.
"So we meet again hero! Really, nothing could pleasure me more. Of course, while you have aged into an elderly weakling, my powers have done nothing but grow in force. This time you will die," promised Ganondorf, or rather his voice. Link coughed at little as the smoke filled his lungs.
"I doubt it," was all he could say. Ganondorf laughed, amused.
"I see that you are as foolish as ever, Link," he observed.
"And I see that you still possess the exact pig-headed attitude," muttered Link, referring back to the form Ganondorf had once been.
"Well...it seems that I still have a link with the spirit world, so come hero, and fight me in my own dimension!" beckoned Ganondorf. Link had no opportunity to refuse, and he watched in a mixed feeling of confusion and horror as the smoke dissolved, leaving behind their new surrounding.
Aden let out a sigh as they four of them felt the ship crash against land, and they all broke their silence at once.
"Thank goodness we're back in Hyrule," commented Aden.
"What makes you think the situation is any better now that we've landed? They could release us and shoot us down as we left," said Brianna rather haughtily.
"That's if they do release us," murmured Rillar, eyeing Brianna in an annoyed fashion. Timothy was the only one not to say a word, and they all fell quiet again as they heard the sound of footsteps approaching the cabin. The door was flung open, and there stood the captain of the ship.
"We have landed, so now is the best time for you to leave, before the Preceptors arrive to signal our attack," he said in a lowered voice. Brianna looked slightly irate at this comment.
"Attack? What makes you think that your puny hoard of warships and amounts of men will even make a mark against Hyrule?" she asked.
"Perhaps because Hyrule has no notable army," said Rillar slyly. Brianna shot her a look of displeasure.
"Please, you must leave now. An attack may not even take place, but if it does...come, follow me," motioned Sentri. The four stood and followed Sentri through the cramped corridor of the ship until they reached a ladder that led up to main deck. "I hope all of thee can swim," he mentioned as he pushed open the hatch above him. He climbed out on deck, where he and the rest of them were met by a mix of rowdy cheers and whistles.
"Are they going to swim home sire?" demanded one sailor, brandishing a sword. Sentri gave the man a small smile and helped the rest on deck.
"Indeed they are. These waters are infested with creatures most foul, but I am sure they shall not be much of a problem for our four friends," said Sentri, whipping a small dagger from his belt.
"Can't we keep them lasses?" asked one voice from the crowd.
"You most certainly shall not. I would rather be eaten by the creatures of the deep than even spend another moment with any person on this damn ship!" proclaimed Brianna furiously. Sentri reached forward and pulled Timothy towards him, pulling back one sleeve on the young man's arm and pressing the blade against it.
"Do not take offence sir, this is the only way," whispered Sentri, before shoving Timothy away towards the edge of the ship. There were more cheers and grins from the other sailors aboard, and the sound of metal against metal could be heard as several drew their swords.
"Now dear sir, you can either walk home from hear, or perhaps thou wouldst like to test the mettle of mine crew," suggested Sentri loudly. He jabbed his sword into Timothy's back. "I think it very reasonable of mineself to give thee a choice," he added. Timothy took a deep breath and stepped forward over the rail of the ship and into the water. Sentri quickly turned as he heard as Timothy hit the water below, and held his sword up again.
"Wouldst any of thee like to join him?" he invited.
"I certainly will, I'm not spending another moment on this ship," said Rillar. There were a few laughs at this remark and Rillar dived overboard, leaving only Aden and Brianna behind.
"Erm...can't we come to a different kind of compromise, my swimming isn't all that good," asked Aden. Sentri grabbed Aden and swung him overboard. A faint yell of surprise could be heard as he fell over the side of the ship and into the water with a resounding splash. Sentri turned to Brianna, his eyebrows raised.
"And thou?" he questioned. Brianna looked over the edge of the ship tentatively. She turned back.
"As I have already mentioned, I would rather perish to the creatures of the deep than to any Sosarian ever!" she announced before walking off the ship. The last thing she heard before hitting the water were the jeers and calls of the crew of the ship, then she was submerged in freezing cold water.
It wasn't long after when Brianna found herself ashore, cold and shivering, Timothy kneeling over her. A look of relief passed his face as she came to, which soon turned into a smile.
"Come, we can't waste much time. The nearest place of shelter is Death Mountain, we've all agreed on it. We can stay there while one of us heads to North Castle to warn your parents," explained the young Triforce protector. Brianna managed a faint change of expression, but it was little more than a frown. Tim helped her up, Aden adn Rillar were already standing, both dripping wet and soaked to the bone. "It shouldn't take that long to reach the mountain, then you can rest," said Timothy kindly to Brianna, helping her along. Aden an Rillar began walking ahead, Rillar still astounded as to why such a nice, gentle man such as Tim had fallen for a woman such as Brianna.
Ewan marched through Death Mountain, hoping he wouldn't be too late, but he knew he could hope all he wanted, it had already happened.
"I can't believe Zelda, giving the sword to Leigh like that," muttered Sprite.
"She had to," reminded Felicity as the two faeries flew behind Ewan. He tried to ignore the two of them. Something had happened to Leigh, and he had done nothing. He could've stopped her, or he should have at least tried.
"Ewan, do you know where you're going?" asked Sprite suddenly. Ewan stopped. He had only been in Death Mountain once or twice, with Timothy and Aden as some immature prank. That had been well over five years before.
"Yes," he finally answered, even though his memory of the place was foggy.
"It's just, I can always remember going down that corridor," pointed out Sprite as they passed the opening.
"Well uh, so did I," said Ewan, retreating back a few steps and following the new branch. It turned out that Sprite had been right. Less than ten minutes later, they stood at the thresh-hold of the Throne room of Death Mountain. Ewan regarded the room with surprise as he saw there was a small group, standing in the middle of the cavern, talking heatedly. He recognised one of the voice's immediately, that of his sister. "Brianna!" he called, racing forward into the open. The group ceased conversation and turned to see the newcomer.
"Ewan, you're okay!" said Timothy, surprised, yet relieved at his appearance. If anyone could talk sense into Brianna, it would be him. Ewan stepped forward and nodded.
"No thanks to that bastard Gerudo," said Ewan angrily. Timothy nodded. So he had been right. Molasar had tried to kill his friend. Ewan turned to regard his sister.
"Thank goodness you're okay! I've been worried sick about you," said Ewan, hugging her. She pushed him away. "What is it?" asked Ewan. Rillar stepped forward.
"You are this girl's brother?" she questioned. Ewan turned his attention from Brianna, and nodded.
"Yes, and you might be?" he asked.
"Names do not matter. What matter's is, is that that foolish girl who stands by your side is infatuated with the very man who tried to kill you," stated Rillar. Ewan's gaze snapped back to his sister.
"What? I thought you'd been kidnapped by him or something!" exclaimed Ewan.
"Actually, I don't think that's the problem," murmured Aden, speaking for the first time since Ewan's arrival. They all stepped away to reveal Leigh, who was slumped on the floor, barely alive. Ewan rushed over to her, but she could not hear or see him.
"What happened?" he demanded.
"She came round a minute or so after we arrived. She said something about Ganondorf being released," said Rillar. Ewan felt her neck for a pulse. It was barely there. He stood up.
"Then where is he?" he asked loudly, drawing his sword.
"We haven't seen him," said Timothy. Felicity and Sprite appeared in the crowd, having already heard most of the conversation.
"This isn't good," said Sprite.
"If his spirit was released, he won't have any solid form, he could be anywhere, as anything," said Felicity.
"Where's Link when we need him?" asked Sprite, obviously distressed. Ewan turned to his friends.
"Aden, Tim, get my sister out of here," he ordered.
"We came here for shelter," said Aden.
"Shelter against what?" asked Ewan.
"Hyrule is being invaded by Sosaria," retorted Aden. It wasn't an answer. Ewan stared.
"Well then you must get back to North Castle at once and warn them!" he stated, wondering if this day could get any worse.
"Molasar is in Hyrule," added Timothy.
"Yes, he is," added a new voice. They turned. Molasar stood there, glaring directly at Ewan.
"Molasar!" cried Brianna, running forward. Rillar grabbed her arm, pulling her back.
"He will kill you," she warned. Brianna tried to struggle from Rillar's grip, but she wasn't as strong as the Gerudo hunter.
"She wants to be with me, so let her," said Molasar. Ewan leaned towards Timothy.
"Get her out of here," he said. Timothy nodded.
"Should I stay, I could help," asked the young fighter.
"No, I have to see this out alone, I need you to make sure Brianna gets home safe," said Ewan. Timothy nodded and walked over to Brianna, taking her by the arm. He spoke softly to her, then he, Aden and Rillar led her out of the cavern, despite her objection. Molasar watched her go, but he didn't move. He turned his attention back to Ewan.
"I thought I'd finished you off," he said. Ewan shrugged.
"Sorry to disappoint you," he apologised, but he didn't mean a word of it.
The feeling of this place very much reminded Link of his time in Nagul's tower, fifteen years ago when he had been there with Leigh. It was not real, he knew, but it felt so damn real he was fooled into thinking and feeling everything despite it being no more than an illusion. He suddenly realised that he no longer had the Master Sword in his grip. There was a deep, mocking laughter as Ganondorf saw Link's reaction, and he took a form before the hero's eyes, his own form.
"Are you ready to die?" questioned Ganondorf. 7ft tall, or so he seemed, Ganondorf towered over Link, dressed in the black leather Gerudo uniform of kings. His flaming red hair, his olive skin and his burning red eyes, they were all too familiar to Link, despite the fact he had not set eyes on Ganondorf in a long time except in dreams.
"Never!" said Link.
"Well it's a pity, because I do have the obvious advantage," sniffed Ganondorf as he glanced down. "It's hard to be a hero wrapped in chains, I think you'll agree," snickered Ganondorf gleefully as he paced about, looking down upon Link, who was bound to a stone altar with dagger-sharp chains, that cut across his wrists, legs and bare chest. Just to breath was enough to draw blood from Link. A rancid stench caught Link, burning his nostrils with the smell, making him almost want to wretch. It was a foul moxture of freshly cut meat, the sweet stink of blood and another scent was mixed in, one of decay. Ganondorf had drawn his trademark black, obsidian knife, which sharp lines glinted gleefully in the painfully bright light of the sulphur stinking fires that surrounded them. As the Gerudo Lord proceeded to run the knife across Link's bare skin, the hero tensed at the cool touch of the blade as if to escape its scathing kiss, but this resulted in far more pain for him as his slight movement caused every finely sharpened chain that lay over his skin to shift and bite into his flesh, like the thousands of razor sharp teeth Link had been subject to when he had fought dozens of hungry bagu-bagu's who held delight in the mere taste of human scent in the air, never mind the taste of human flesh on their skinless lips. "You really do disappoint me, Link. You have grown lax in your last few years, and you have failed to teach your son how to duel to the death," murmured Ganondorf, taking delight in seeing his old enemy suffer. Link gritted his teeth, dreading to think of his bed bound son, but remained wordless. "Of course I can hardly scold you for that. I suspect you didn't even know I had a son who would one day take on your own," continued the Gerudo. Link felt him twist the knife into his side and he arched in pain against the stone alter, the sharpened chains feasting at his flesh once more. Ganondorf sniggered, and leaned close to Link's face, eye to eye. Link met his challenge, holding his stare, the pain he was enduring served nothing but to spurn him on. Ganon's lips twisted into an amused smile. "The ever present hero, I have dealt with every generation of your family, I hoped you would be the last, but it was never you who was the weak link in the chain was it? It was your son Link, and you know it," said Ganondorf grinning. Link did not know how Ganondorf had got his form back, but he suspected they were not in Link's dimension any more, but another. How else had he come to be in such a position? If he had been knocked unconscious he certainly did not recall it.
"You are desperate Ganon. There will never be any weak link in any generation of my blood. You know that. While my line still lives you will never have this world," said Link sternly. Ganondorf laughed.
"So true, so true. But your son is the weak link. He will not continue your line," smirked the Gerudo. Link glared at him.
"You have no idea," he muttered, the chains still cutting into him. His pain was unique, excruciating even. He couldn't recall a time where he had physically suffered so much, but he was relieved in a way. Mental torment was so much more painful. Ganondorf again appeared amused by Link's words.
"I have no idea?" he asked, sounding quite surprised by Link's accusations. He continued. "Your son, so torn he will be at losing the love of his life, will vow never to love another woman in quite the way he loved his first." Link stared at Ganondorf, the words slowly taking sense in his own mind.
"Leigh...?" he half asked, his voice a scratch strained compared to his normal tone. Ganondorf smiled at Link, nodding.
"Despite your Kokirish blood, you still have some mind apparently," he observed.
"You're lying," muttered Link. Ganondorf laughed aloud, then took a step back along the altar, poising his knife over Link's heart.
"They say that the courage of the Triforce is harboured in your heart. I've always wanted to find out if it was true," mused Ganondorf, grinning evilly at Link. Link took a breath, the heat of the fires burning down his face.
"You can try Ganon, but you probably wouldn't be able to face raw courage," Link said sharply, his wrists beginning to strain against the chains. They cut his skin savagely, but he didn't care, if he could break the chains that held him... Ganondorf inhaled deeply, turning away from Link.
"It's a good job for me that you met that damned princess of yours before you did the Avatar. The children you could have had with that woman would have been far more of a handful."
Ganondorf sniggered at his words, or rather at what he was about to say, "Like father, like son I suppose. Good thing she did die I suppose, I would dread to imagine what the children of her and your son would have been like. Possessing the power of all three Triforces and the blood line of an Avatar, that would have made my ambitions in life rather hard indeed," mused the Gerudo King. Link let out a silent cheer as he tore the chains apart from his wrists. He pulled the rest off and stood, regardless of the sharp edges tearing his palms to pieces, and faced the back of Ganondorf. He clenched and unclenched his fists, blood pouring from hundreds of scratches inflicted by the chains. Ganondorf was still faced away, still unaware of the hero's escape. Link paused, wondering whether to attack now, or to wait, fight the man face to face with true courage. He smiled ruefully, then raised his bare foot and kicked Ganondorf squarely in the back, sending him hurtling forward and to the floor. He let out a roar of anger and leapt up, turning on Link.
"Foolish boy!" snarled Ganondorf, as a sword as tall as Link materialised in his hand, barbed like the snout of a swordfish. Link gulped a little, but still did not let his fear show. Ganondorf swung the weapon towards him, and Link side stepped, desperately grasping for some way to make this a fairer fight. "This is going to be so much fun, I think I shall play it out slowly, savour the moment," continued Ganondorf. Link gritted his teeth and stepped backwards again, curling smoke tendrils grasping at his boots. He glared at Ganondorf, wondering perhaps if he could bring forth his own weapons, as he nemesis had done. He stared at his hand, envisioning his Master Sword, pleading it to appear. Something flickered between his palm and fingers, and before anymore could occur, Ganondorf swiped down upon Link with his weapon. Link leapt back as a crack of electricity split the air, the weapon appearing in his hand. He looked up at the infuriated Ganondorf, smiling.
"You shall not harm me with that puny thing!" snapped Ganondorf, trying to cut Link in half. Link again nimbly evaded Ganondorf's attack, glad for the practice he had had in Sosaria.
"Why do you try Ganon? Every time you do, you fail! You've been trying for over a millennia now, but still, you are thwarted by some puny Hylian whose body is now worn by time!" taunted Link, slashing Ganondorf across the hand. There was a hiss as the blade glanced off him, but no mark was left. Ganondorf looked down at Link grinning.
"This time, it will be different," he promised. Link tried to strike him again, but the sword just glittered and faded, the hiss of steel against stone filling his ears. For some reason, it wouldn't penetrate the armour Ganondorf wore. Ganondorf just laughed, taking another clumsy shot towards Link, who fended off the blow with his sword.
"Only my rules apply here hero. I am invincible!" proclaimed Ganondorf. Link grunted and pushed Ganondorf's blade away with his own.
"Don't be too confident about that," he warned, delivering a crushing blow to Ganondorf's chest. The grin disappeared from the evil prince's face, and Link displayed one of his own as Ganondorf staggered back from the blow.
"I still that you still have strength in those bones I have yet to break," observed Ganondorf.
"More than you could know," promised Link, hitting him again. Ganondorf batted Link's sword away and cleaved down with his own sword, ripping through Link's shoulder. Link gasped in horror as he fell to the floor, the wound was closer to his neck than shoulder, but it still hurt like no other injury Link had ever endured. Perspiration began to break out, smarting at his back, his face, under his arms. Blood flowed freely, and Link began to feel faint. He staggered up to face Ganon, his sword now held by the hand of his undamaged arm.
"Does that hurt?" taunted Ganon. Link glanced at his arm. This wasn't real, none of it. He turned back to Ganondorf.
"Not as much as this is going to hurt you," threatened the King, before swinging his sword against Ganondorf's chest, against his arms, his legs, his shoulder. Ganondorf staggered back with each blow, but he still bore not one scratch. As Link stood, exhausted by his efforts, Ganondorf began to snigger, then laugh. He threw up his arm clutching his sword, then crashed it down against Link's weary body. Link gritted his teeth as metal bit bone, and blood spewed from the new wound, that stretched from his shoulder to his naval. He was lucky, the wound was only a scratch, not deep enough to send forth his vital organs spewing, but it still bled. Link fell forward on his knees, letting out a strangled cough, and plunging closer to the floor, he only stopped himself by pressing one hand against the ground. A shadow fell over him, and he raised his eyes upwards, to see Ganondorf standing over him, a smirk forming across his bitter lips. Maybe Ganondorf had meant it when he said he was going to savour the moment. Ganondorf was the only thing keeping him alive.
Ewan stared at Molasar hatefully.
"But how...?" began Molasar, staring at Ewan. Ewan frowned.
"You thought you'd finish me off that easily?" he asked. Molasar touched the tip of his blade thoughtfully.
"Yes, I suppose it was an easy fight," he mused. Leigh was stirring.
"You caught me off guard, besides, this time you won't find it so easy," growled Ewan in a low voice. He wanted to go and help Leigh, see that she was okay, but he got the feeling Molasar was not about to sympathise with his situation.
"We shall see," murmured Molasar, taking a step forward. Ewan followed suit. Their swords crashed together angrily, but it was Ewan who stepped back with the recoil. He stood there, smarting for a moment. He was out of practice, he hadn't realised how long he had been ill for. Molasar stepped closer wearing a smug grin on his lips. Ewan stepped back, shaking his head.
"Good always prevails," he reminded himself. Of course it did. In his father's time anyway. The grin upon Molasar's face grew wider.
"History doesn't always repeat, it is our time," contradicted Molasar proudly.
"I don't think so," muttered Ewan, lunging forward and striking towards Molasar, steel meeting steel. He parried furiously forward, forcing Molasar into retreat, but the evil son of Ganondorf Dragmire was a learned swordsman. Maybe even more so than Ewan. Just as Ewan tried to catch his breath, Molasar began to attack, Ewan stepping back, swinging his sword to the left and right, deflecting the fearsome blows of the Gerudo King.
"If you give up now, I would grant you a clean death," promised Molasar, his voice patronising as he attacked the prince of Hyrule once more.
"I would rather bleed to death on my own sword than ever surrender to you!" spat Ewan, deflecting another blow with his sword. It was time to turn the battle to his advantage. They fought diagonally across the floor, striking again and again their metal with one another. It was just a matter of who would make the first mistake. Their eyes blazed and they drew their breaths raggedly, but neither man was about to give up.
"Before I kill you, do you have any last requests?" asked Molasar snidely. Ewan glared at Molasar.
"That I kill you first," he grunted, before glancing his sword across Molasar's left wrist. Molasar snapped backwards just in time, stumbling backwards for a moment. Ewan advanced upon Molasar, no emotion but pure hate filling his heart. As he was about to bring a deciding blow to Molasar, he heard voices from above.
"Watch out Ewan!" they cried. Ewan turned, just in time to dodge a blow from Aspete, who up until now had been lurking, hidden in the shadows. Ewan turned and delivered a crushing jab to Aspete's ribs with his sword. The moblin tottered backwards, gasping for air, when Ewan sensed Molasar approaching. He dropped to the ground and rolled to his left, missing what could have been a deadly strike if it had been struck. He scrambled to his knees, and aimed a one handed smash towards Molasar's vulnerable self. Molasar cursed in pain as the sword tore through his flesh, and he stepped away, holding his side. At that moment, more company entered the great hall.
Leigh, who was sitting by the throne, feeling washed out and weak, raised her head to see who had arrived. Lord British. She clutched the Black Sword in her hand, sweating profusely. She felt nauseous, and confused. She didn't even recognise where she was. She couldn't even remember who she was. When she had released that daemon from the sword, something had left her along with that spirit. She screwed up her forehead in effort as she rose to her knees, using the sword to support her. It was a massive weight, barely even liftable. British looked around in interest, then headed straight towards Leigh. She let out a dry cough, surveying the scene. She didn't know where she was, how she had got there, but it did not matter. Faint images remained in her mind of the terrible acts she knew she had committed, though they seemed like the left over residue of a bad dream. She knew they were not images of some nightmare however, and that they were terribly real and they weighed down upon her, crippling her soul. Then she realised where she was. And who she was, and what she had done. She let out a short gasp in realisation.
"Oh God," she whispered. Lord British strode up to her.
"Ah, I see thou doth have the sword," he said, seemingly pleased. Leigh took a sharp breath.
"You're here?" she asked dumbly. She couldn't remember a thing at first, but it was all flooding back at an alarming rate.
"Indeed Avatar. Here to claim what is rightfully mine," said British smoothly. Leigh looked at his outstretched hand, and then to the sword.
"You want the sword?" she asked. He smiled at her in a patronising fashion.
"Yes, the sword Avatar, give it to me," he commanded. She looked at him again. She knew that he couldn't have the sword.
"Perhaps I don't think you should have it," stated Leigh bravely. British smiled.
"Is that so?" he asked, laughing, his eyebrows raised. Leigh nodded, although she wasn't feeling entirely confident about doing so. "You wish to have a duel?" he questioned.
"Richard, are you still there?" she asked hopefully, adopting the man's first name. He smiled and stepped close to her.
"Some part of thou dost vainly hope that thou shalt be able to reach him, truth is, he left a long time ago Avatar." A sly grin formed across her old leige's face. "Dost thou think thou can kill me with a clear conscience now?"
"Do I have a choice?" Leigh asked weakly. British gave out a loud laugh.
"No, I think thou dost not," he whispered, stepping close to her. Then he stepped back, as Leigh watched in horror as he transformed from the familiar Lord British to his true, original and horrific form.
Leigh glared at the Guardian, it was the first time she had laid her eyes on him, in full form. The facade of Lord British had melted away to reveal a great red brute, seven feet tall and nothing but muscle and skin. Leigh gripped her sword in both hands, steadying herself. She wondered where the strength had come from for her to be able to hold the thing. The Guardian sneered at her, his thin lips peeling back to reveal jagged rows of broken, yellowed teeth.
"Thou doth know that thou canst never defeat me Avatar, so why doth thou persist in wasting thy precious little time?" demanded the Guardian, his flame yellow eyes burning into her own. Leigh's lips formed a grim smile as she slid one hand past the hilt and onto the blade of the sword in a tender caress. The Guardian stared at her questioningly.
"And let it be known that the blood of the hero sent forth to vanquish the evil Protector is the only tool possible that should truly destroy him. Soaked upon the hand and the hilt of any item fashioned by the eternal hero, 'twill be the weapon to send the daemon to his final doom," spoke Leigh, her voice loud, clear and unwavering, as if read from a book. She split open the palm of her hand on the black blade, blood springing from the wound like a crimson river. She grasped the hilt of the sword once again with both hands, blood soaking the hilt.
"And unto the demon the fatal blow shall be dealt, burning away the sins of both the daemon and the hero, thus destroying them both," finished the Guardian smugly. Leigh swallowed, licking her dry lips, knowing if she went through with this, her life would be ended as would his.
"I have no sins to kill me," she stated, even though she knew the truth. She remembered things, things she knew she herself could have never done. So why had she done them?
"Dost thou not remember? Thy exploits whilst I had possession of thy soul?" sneered the Guardian. She blinked. So that's what happened. At the Shrine, he had taken her soul. That had not been her, someone else had done those things. Yet it did not excuse her, she, as the Avatar, should have been able to fight his grip. She had no choice but to make amends for what she, or her body had done, even if that meant death. She stepped bravely forward, eyeing the Guardian carefully. "You can not do it Avatar, it will mean my end as well as thine. Why not side with me, then we shalt both be immortal, threatened by none, rulers of all," tempted the Guardian. Leigh stared at him, her heart wrenched. She had thought she had foreseen her death a long time before, but what she had seen had not been death. Now she knew her life was going to slip away from her, and here the Guardian was, offering her a chance to live.
"I'll see you in the void," retorted Leigh, letting out a cry and leaping forward, preparing to strike with the weapon. The Guardian stepped back, producing a weapon of his own, and deflected the blow of the Avatar. She staggered away queasily, her heart pounding. Her first attack had failed, her first chance, perhaps her last. She didn't know if she had the strength to fend him off much longer, and if she died before killing him...it wasn't even worth thinking about.
"No Avatar, for I shall never return to the void, whereas thou, thou wilt spend thy eternity there!" stated the Guardian, lunging at Leigh. Despite her weakness, Leigh still had the strength to fight back, and fight she did, striking and clashing her sword against his repeatedly. He caught her side with his own weapon, tearing through her flesh, pain flashing through her causing her to fall back, clattering against the ground. She watched in desparation as the Black Sword flew from her hand and away from her, before she was distracted by the looming shadow of the Guardian.
Leigh turned her eyes upwards, her heart slowing as she glanced momentarily to the ugly wound across her side. The Guardian smiled down at her, his amber eyes glowing in anticipation.
"Thou couldst have had so much," he murmured, his voice in its usual thick tone, with the usual smugness in there too. Leigh's eyes dared to wander back to her weapon, which was sticky with her own blood. Her own hand was hurting, but it was nothing compared to the pain in her side. "It never was really fair was it, Avatar? Here I am, a daemon granted with many powers, and what did the gods pit me against? A human from another dimension who, granted, is better at sword play and magic than the average Sosarian, but what else? Thou art powerless compared to me and the gods expect you to lose your own life in order to kill me. But why shouldst thou do that when they have done so little for thee, Avatar? Join me, join me and live, experience powers thou never couldst have imagined!" beckoned the Guardian once more. Leigh cringed as a wave of pain overtook her. Why did he want her to join him so much? Perhaps he was afraid. Why hadn't he killed her dead that very moment? He certainly could have.
"Okay," she croaked in a thin voice, "okay." The Guardian looked surprised at her submission, but equally as pleased.
"Finally, I wilt be able to help thee realise powers thou never even knew thou had," he promised. He pointed his sword over her heart, then snickered throwing it away. Leigh watched, confused as he walked to the Black Sword and picked it up. Leigh tried to ease herself up, but the cut across her side wouldn't let her. The Guardian turned grinning at her.
"This is what I needed," he murmured, walking back over to her. He poised the black tipped blade over her heart, and Leigh stared.
"What..?" she began. The Guardian smiled.
"I don't want thee turning on me at the last minute," he explained. Leigh watched, frozen, as he cleaned her blood from the hilt of the sword, still grinning down at her. "Changed thy mind?" he questioned. She let out a shaky breath, wincing again as her side reminded her of the battle they had had minutes before. She closed her eyes, trying to collect her thoughts. "Avatar?" her thoughts were intrupted and she opened her eyes. The black blade of the sword was poised over her heart, the Guardian gleaming down at her. The sword was raised, and as it plunged towards Leigh, she let out a scream of protest, rolling away, the blade galncing off her arm as it did so. She bounded to her feet and turned to face the Guardian, weaponless, but also strangely fearless. Perhaps she had accepted she was going to die. "I doubted you woul ever see it through, it was just as well you escaped then, or had you come to the other side, you would have been a lot harder to deal with," murmured the Guardian darkly, throwing the sword to one side and striding up to her, seizing her by the neck and lifting her into the air.
"Where is thy strength, Avatar?" he mocked, his eyes staring into her own. Before she could even attempt to answer, he smashed her against the ground, a whimper of pain escaping her lips as every bone in her body shook on impact. The Guardian stood before her, one long-nailed index finger pointed at her, a bubble of electricity forming at the tip. "Such a disappointment. If thou wert going to fight me, thou shouldst have checked thou hadst the means, Avatar. But now, as all will, thou shalt pay for thine mistake," promised the daemon, before releasing the bolt of energy towards her at a frightening speed. Leigh tried to move, get out of the way, but it hit her too fast, in the chest, and all she saw was the eruption of the impact as it smashed into her. Gasping in pain, her hand flew to where the bolt had struck, and in utter disbelief, she realised she was still alive, despite a gaping wound left by something that surely should have killed her. Her eyes shot to the Guardian, who loomed over her, glaring insanely at her.
"What?!" he croaked, and in a fluid motion, the Avatar leapt to her feet, and laid her hands on the Black Sword which the Guardian had so carelessly neglected. She turned just in time to deflect one final blow from the Guardian who was still regarding her in utter amazement. "No mortal could have survived that!" he shrieked angrily. A thousand thoughts ran through Leigh's mind, but she couldn't find it in herself to pronounce a single world, and she plunged the sword, which hilt was still sticky with blood, into the awed daemon.
The Guardian staggered back, clutching at the wound as thick, black blood inked from it. He scrabbled at the blade, trying to remove it, but she held it fast. "No," he whispered, staggering back a few more steps. "No! Damn you Avatar! Damn youuuuuu!" he screamed, rays of light erupting from around the blade. Leigh kept a firm hold of the hilt, the skin on her hands beginning to burn. The daemon's eyes rolled over, focusing upon her own, the embers in his eyes burning into hers. "DAMN YOUUUUUUUU!" The ground beneath them began to shake, and the Guardian exploded, the blow sending Leigh flying across the cavern, slamming into the wall before falling to the ground on her back. The bitter taste of blood engulfed her, she had bitten her tongue. She tilted her head to one side, spewing the vile taste onto the cavern floor.
As the explosion shook through the cavern, Ewan turned to see Leigh on the floor of the cavern. His momentary distraction cost him as Molasar caught him across the shoulder. He winced and turned back to Molasar, slashing ferociously at him with his own weapon.
"Aren't you going to attend to your lady love?" jeered Molasar, parrying the prince's blows.
"Yes, but first, I have to deal with you," snarled Ewan, knocking Molasar's sword from his hand, and kicking him in the chest. He dropped his own sword, punching Molasar's face, and pushing him to the ground. He kicked him in the stomach, once, twice, before leaving him coughing and spluttering. He ran across to Leigh, falling to his knees by her side.
"Leigh!" he called. Her eyes were open, staring to the roof, and her chest was steadily rising and falling. Blood leaked freely from the flesh wound inflicted by the Guardian in her side, and the more horrific wound in her chest, but she could not even feel the pain of either wound. Blood and perspiration smeared her face, and she was shivering. A horrendous pain was creeping through her, every breath she took drew her nearer to her demise. Ewan grabbed her hand, shocked by the coolness of her skin. Leigh closed her eyes as she felt Ewan's warm skin against her own. She had killed the Guardian, but not without consequence. Her life was slipping away, and there was nothing she or anyone else could do. She began to breath slower, trying to delay the pain. She turned her face towards Ewan, her eyes half open. He stared at her, his handsome face cut with concern and grief. She gripped his hand, an indescribable pain ripping through her. Ewan felt her flinch, and he gently brought her hand to his lips, trying to coax some warmth back into her.
"Is he...dead?" Leigh finally asked, pausing as she spoke. Ewan dragged his gaze from hers and looked across to the spot where the Guardian had last remained, there was nothing there now but a pile of black, charred ash.
"He is," said Ewan hoarsely. He grabbed his cloak, draping it over her, trying to make her feel a little more comfortable.
"Ewan, this is the end for me," confided Leigh, her voice so painfully strained, raising her hand and tracing Ewan's jaw line tenderly.
"No, you can live through this," insisted Ewan, shaking his head, a painful lump forming in his throat.
"No, I deserve this, all those things I did - he had to pay, so did I," gulped Leigh, trying to lick her lips to bring a little moisture back to them. Each breath she consequently took began to cause her greater torture.
"It wasn't you," said Ewan in a low tone.
"Yet it was. I..." began Leigh, but her sentence was interrupted as another wave of agony crashed over her. She clutched at Ewan's hand. "Don't leave me," she begged, the last thing she ever wanted was to die alone.
"I will never leave you," promised Ewan. Leigh looked up at Ewan, smiling despite her pain.
"I never loved any man, save you," she whispered hoarsley. Her hand dropped from his face, but he caught it, grasping it to his heart.
"I'll never love any woman as I love you," he told her, leaning down and tenderly brushing his lips against her. As he drew back, Leigh gazed at him.
"I'm so sorry," she apologised, murmuring softly.
"No, don't be," said Ewan. He grasped around his neck, tearing away the ankh that Leigh had given him when they had last parted. Leigh gazed at him questioningly. She could feel that her end was near. "You said... you said that you didn't deserve to wear it. That you would return for it when you were worthy. To me you always were, but now, you know in yourself that you are," explained Ewan, he pressed it into her hand. Leigh looked at him.
"Keep it Ewan, keep it and remember me." Her grip on his hand loosened, and her eyes slid shut for the final time. Ewan felt the life bleed from her, he watched as her chest rose and fell slower and slower but before she finally passed on, away from all of her pain and misery, she managed to breath a handful of words.
"There is some good in this, you just don't know it yet..." she promised, before her own voice failed her, as did her heart.
"Leigh no," murmured Ewan, half choked with grief and tears. He leaned down, pressing his lips against hers for all too a brief, bittersweet second. He drew back from her, letting out a shaky breath. He clutched the ankh in his hand. "Somewhere there's a place where we can both be together, I'll meet you there," he vowed, stroking back her golden hair from her forehead with a tender hand.
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