Chapter 33: Clouds and Lightning, Wraiths and Demons

I’m on time this week! This here is the second day of the battle, focusing more closely on the sheer power of magic- As you can imagine, these scenes were particularly fun to write. 

Neil

Sleep did not come easily to Rent, and it was with a spare hour of sleep that he rose with the next day. “Sir!” Garoque called out to Rent. “You need to see this!” Rent followed Garoque down the stairs to the entrance to the fortress. He gasped in shock. Before him stood an array of bears, whom he recognized from Utkar’s refuge.

“Sir!” one of the bears said. “I am Argas, and I have been appointed leader of the Teret and Caryl clans. These clans stand before you, ready to fight Lucio.”

“Where is Utkar?” Rent asked.

Argas replied, “He ran away after the rest of us bears deserted him.”

Rent nodded with satisfaction. “Thank you. You are just what we needed for today. Now here’s the battle plan.” He took Argas to the side and continued to speak.

An hour later, the sun rose along with the wretched carrion birds, gorged with the feast of carnage. Scrimm stood on the wall, and as the sun rose, he gasped. Before him, scarcely a mile away, a black tower stood still in midair, in defiance of all the natural laws. With a shock, he remembered an illustration drawn from an ancient elven text: A single bold black line bisecting the crimson sun.

Minutes passed and the armies got ready to fight again. Rent, his brown hair tousled from the lack of sleep, appeared at Scrimm’s side. “Lucio’s here. Probably the Director too. Maybe Elith and that Tamrune. They are all powerful enemies. Are your Librarians ready?” Rent asked. Scrimm nodded. “Good. Thank you for everything.” With that, Rent turned around and disappeared into the fortress again. Scrimm went into the fortress as well, and gathered his Librarians. He murmured something and they rolled out a large scroll.

Rent barreled through the fortress to meet the other commanders as the first battle horn sounded.

“What does it look like?” he asked.

“There are too many silver wolves!” an eagle cried. “Your humans have better be creating a miracle!”

The second horn sounded, and Rent rushed outside, sword in hand, ready to take the lead again.

The day began more with more difficulty for Kant Dragar. The horde he faced was full of silver wolves, and he confronted one after the other after the other. His new armor suffered numerous gashes and dents, but his hands and teeth were dyed red with the blood of the wolves. Fast and dangerous they would be, but he, chief sentinel of the Jevak Clan’s empire, would be killed only by worthier bears. With that thought, he bashed another silver wolf’s head in. A wet thud.

Everall thrust and thrust and fought off and conquered silver wolf after silver wolf, his lance and armor dyed scarlet. Easily he side stepped and avoided their attacks so that he seemed to be dancing to a song of death. But, he knew, he could not keep up this fighting for ever.

Jack’s voice was hoarse from the constant shouting and his neck tingled from the implant. He had been told to aim the cannons further, and with that in mind the cannons flew and blew away soldiers not even fighting. The task was surgical yet sickening, and Jack had had enough of destroying people who couldn’t fight back. The hapless screaming yanked on the skeleton of what personal honor Jack still had.

Raychel, meanwhile, was exulting in the carnage, as she darted and weaved through hordes of soldiers and silver wolves, cutting them down with near impunity. It was all she could do not to cut a half mile long path through the entire army. The shwiff as she hacked blades to pieces and cut men down made her grin. Her grin faltered as the bears beside her quickly fell back.

As Rent stabbed and hacked and fought off man after man, he thought of nothing, letting his instincts and training take over. Men quickly fell to him, but he was a mere mortal human and could not stand up to the silver wolves. He prayed for a miracle from Scrimm.

The group of Librarians, now outside, frenetically chanted, pouring out near all the energy they could muster, coalescing it into a single point. They released it into the sky and a flash of white light blinded everybody on the battlefield. A harsh screech cut their ears to pieces, replaced by the rumble of imminent thunder. The clouds in the sky began to fly and swirl around a single point, and more and more clouds grew until the entire sky was nothing but a fluid gray and purple hue. Rain fell, stinging man, elf, bear, monkey, bird, and silver wolf alike. Scrimm closed his eyes and his fists, and made a gesture. A flash of lightning darted toward the tower — and veered off. Scrimm groaned.

 

Tarrell stood on the bridge of the tower, panting.

“What just happened?” Lucio demanded.

“The storm is Scrimm’s creation. I have never seen anything like it– it took me quite some energy to deflect that lightning bolt.”

“Why not a counter-spell?”

Tarrell snapped. “If that had hit us, then we would all be in little pieces right now! I have never seen this before, and I can’t waste energy countering it. ”, he cried. “As it is, now that I’m prepared, I can aim my counter with more accuracy.” Another flash of lightning lit up the tower and Tarrell quickly deflected it.

The lightning bolt arced indecisively between the two fortresses, caught in the titanic struggle for control of the storm, until it suddenly veered off into the clouds. Scrimm flew back a meter, and the whispering of the storm increased in intensity and tone. Several lightning bolts bolted toward Scrimm, and he barely deflected them. Quickly on his feet, he started chanting.

The hell hound appeared beside Scrimm, demonic in fury, excited by the scent of blood, and absolutely fearless in the face of the storm. It roared,  a guttural sound so vicious it tore apart the air and overpowered even the rumble of thunder. The very earth shook so that waves of dirt and rock and mud coursed away into the distance. The waves coalesced into a single spot on both sides of the battlefield, and a fracture split the ground at both spots. Red orange fire from the very core of the earth spilled out slowly.

 

The battle stood stock still, and even Feragrim froze as he gazed at the waves. As the waves kept on crashing against each other, fire poured out. Earth and fire coursed and mixed together, and suddenly titanic figures emerged from the chaos, both reaching as high as the fortress. As the rain poured on them, it turned into hissing steam, until they resembled demons of the underworld shrouded in fog and fire.

In the tower, Eclipsius appeared next to Lucio. “You want my machines yet?” Lucio shook his head. Eclipsius vanished, and Lucio watched the drama in the sky and ground. He knew Tarrell Ward could not deflect the storm forever. “Stop that, Ward! Set up a barrier, and begin attacking the giants!”

Scrimm forced a bolt of thunder to the tower, and growled as he saw it dissipate mere yards from the tower. “They’ve put up a barrier!” he cried. “Attack their cannons!” His Librarians complied, and the lightning bolts arced toward the cannons, quickly blasting them to smithereens. Curtains of rain fell, yet the pattering of the rain did not mask the screams of pain and bloodlust, nor the sickening thuds and metallic clanging of the battle before. The sky, the clouds, the very ground was gray, and Scrimm could not tell whether it was day or night. The sun seemed to have left the world, sickened by its violence.

The giants spat at the opposing army, large meteors of broiling rock that exploded as they hit the ground. Each step they took made the ground tremble. But suddenly terrifying shapes emerged from the clouds, and hideous winged creatures made entirely from clouds and ice swarmed and screeched, covering the giants in a frenzy of biting and death. The masses of demonic creatures became writhing mist and with the groan of growing mountains, the giants collapsed into rock, while the cloud-creatures vanished into nothingness. Besides Scrimm, the hell-hound whimpered, exhausted, and Scrimm quickly expelled him back into the Half-World. He cursed Tarrell Ward’s skill.

 

Hours passed in this tortuous day, where neither the enemies nor the bears gained any ground. Such useless fighting, Jack thought, as he peered down at the carnage. One might even fall for Lucio’s cries for peace after witnessing such a bloody war. Only, it was Lucio who had started this. No one, Jack concluded, would want a peace gorged with blood. The entire scene was not meant for mortals, he decided, as he had in one day seen the ground and the clouds embroiled in this battle. The piercing blast of a horn interrupted his ruminations, and he saw the mass of soldiers retreating behind their own fortifications half a mile away, away from the battlefield scarred with corpses and fractures and dust.

Today’s battle was over.

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About Neil Viswanathan

A college student that loves knowledge, music, and writing.
This entry was posted in Bridge over the Abyss and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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