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Fire and Darkness

Posted on Thu Apr 27th, 2017 @ 9:54pm by Mikhael Stormdanovich

Chapter: The Feast of Samhain
Location: Felonwood Hold, Harkania March, Cymeria
Timeline: Night, 31 October 3550, Samhain

A man held his arms high above his head, his hands gripping a clear globe filled with a murky liquid. Even as Mikhael began to stride toward him, the man pressed his hands together shattering the globe.

"Your souls are condemned to dwell in the Abyss!"

Steel struck flint and sparks ignited the man's robes. As flames engulfed him, he staggered toward a knot of people who were too startled to flee. All around the Gathering were the sounds of glass breaking as more and more men followed the first, igniting themselves into a fiery death squad.

More globes of warfire rained down on the panicking crowd as unseen archers fired them from the treeline. Flame-tipped arrows followed, igniting the liquid. Some of the outbuildings also burst into flames, but it seemed that the fury of the attackers was focused on living targets, making no distinction between the revelers, attacking the smallest of children as well as adults.

Horror filled Mikhael, and he bellowed, "Guard!" Gesturing toward the man, he increased his pace to a run, knowing he would be too late. Striding into the midst of the chaos as Guardsmen and Morrighan swarmed toward him, Mikhael drew Taranau from the scabbard resting on his back. The soft roll of thunder that answered the drawing of the sword was lost amidst the screams of the attackers and victims.

Mikhael's focus was divided. He knew that calling up a full rainstorm to douse the area would exasperate the effects of the warfire. Fresh water was only effective at preventing the oily substance from adhering to anything if the surface was wet first. Dousing warfire flames with fresh water caused small explosions, spreading the fire further and faster than the warfire would on its own, hence the tales that insisted warfire could not be quelled, it had to burn itself out. That was not true. Brine solutions and saltwater would put out the flames and break apart the warfire liquid itself.

Time seemed to stand still as he fended off attack after attack while trying to channel rain showers to where they would do good and not harm. Fortunately, not everyone had followed the traditional disarming that was usually done at such Gatherings. Horror and fear were being replaced by anger and determination as those gathered for the feast began fighting back. Mikhael recognized one of the Morrighan that was fighting at his side, guarding his back with a ferocity that was hard to match. It was Lynx Cearrach, a woman with flame-colored hair and a personality to match. He snagged her arm with his free hand, "Spread the word. I want living and breathing prisoners." Lynx nodded her understanding.

By now, the Cymry were rallying and putting their powers to good use. Those that commanded the earth had found that the natural salts in the soil combined with water to effectively put out the warfire. Others focused on directing rain toward buildings and gusts of wind to drive the fire in harmless directions.

Through the rain and fire, Mikhael spotted a lone figure standing where the land sloped up to form a low rise. He seemed to be directing the attack, screaming invective and orders with equal venom. Mikhael's ice colored eyes narrowed. He yelled to those closest to him, "Guard me!"

Bringing Taranau up, he leveled the tip of the sword toward the insanely cavorting and robed figure on the mound. In an instant, Mikhael connected with the waiting storm. He felt the surge of power rock his powerful body as lightning leaped from the tip of the sword to strike the black-robed figure. The immense power that was unleashed lifted the apostate several feet into the air and slammed him to the earth, extinguishing his life in an instant. Mikhael realized that if he were indeed the leader of the attack, he might have destroyed a source of information, but it had to be done.

Without their leader, the attackers began losing cohesion and focus. Mikhael swung around, bringing his sword up to fend off another attack and nearly recoiled. The light of a nearby moonglobe gave him his first look at the face of one of the robed fighters. The man's facial muscles were slack, his eyes dark and lifeless. There was a nothingness about him that almost made Mikhael recoil. Without thought beyond the need to destroy the abomination he faced, the High Lord brought his sword around in a powerful two-handed stroke that nearly severed the man's head from his shoulders. As the body dropped, Mikhael grimaced in distaste. He knelt and scrubbed Taranau's blade in the wet, clean grass, seeking to erase the taint he felt.


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