The Stalwart ShieldMature

 The sun had dipped well below the stretched glass structures as they walked up onto the street, its orange glow bathing the whole street in a warm, almost beautiful, glow that shone off the buildings in great golden beams. Atlas clutched his arm tightly as they turned down and started heading away from the safe house, few people were on the streets, but those that were barely lingered a glance to them. Even in such silence, Elseron still kept his senses sharp. 'This place does have a strange beauty to it.' Atlas whispered to him as she looked up to the roofs of the large buildings that lined their path.

'I agree the sunlight...is beautiful.' he said softly.

'I had never seen the sun, I had only heard about it in your stories you used to tell me as a little girl.' The memory made him smile. The nights when huge storms would roll through the ocean causing colossal currents of water to smash into the Shield sending deep reverberating dongs through the entire city. Atlas would jump at the noise before either throwing her covers over her head or bolting out of it all together and charging over to him wrapping her tiny arms around his legs for comfort. 

'I remember those nights.' he nodded.

'You always told the best stories.' She looked up to him. 'You used to tell me that the sounds were Poseidon battling the ocean in order to keep us safe.'

'And you used to tell me that you had done your homework and wouldn't try to sneak out of your bedroom.' he said faking anger; Atlas laughed lifting her hand to her mouth trying to conserve some of her dignity.

'You were the one that believed me!' she scolded with a large grin. 

'That's the truth.' he nodded laughing along with her. 'My princess,' he said after a time of comfortable silence, the sun had set completely now leaving nothing but the strange luminescent street lights to guide their path. 'I know what you intend to do up here,' she looked at him, her face full of kindness...but something else as well. Something akin to worry, or fear. 'But I must ask you...how?'

'Elseron my Guardian,' she said with a sigh. 'I'm not sure. Ancient Atlantis before the decent was a civilisation like no other, more advanced; we had powers the others could only dream to possess. But now...I don't know. But I know it must be done or else the greatest civilisation the world has ever known will be lost to the ocean forever and no one will ever know its existence.'

'I agree. But what you planning...this idea of yours...' he fought with himself for a moment. 'My Princess may I speak freely.'

'Always with me Elseron, you know that.' she smiled.

'Atlas my Little Princess...it's madness.'

'They say the there is little difference between genius and madness.'

'Only to those who don't know the difference my Princess.' she looked him in the eyes, honey brown meeting ice cold blue. She had her mother’s eyes thank the spirits, her fathers were dark and foreboding, but hers were a pool of amber gold. 'Do not mistake my concerns for cowardice. If you think this the correct course of action I will follow you, but...is there no other way?'

'None that I can see,' she said shaking her head gently from side to side. 'The Nameless Monk is dying, his powers die with him...no people in our city with replace him to keep the Shield strong...I can see no other course of action but to...' stopping dead her eyes focused straight ahead of them, he followed his gaze then froze alongside her. A huge gang of men were walking towards them, hoods raised, heads lowered to hide their faces. Ears pricking Elseron turned to see more approaching them from behind. 'Atlas whatever happens do exactly as I tell you am I clear?' she froze, breath caught in her chest. 'Atlas!'

'Yes, I understand.' she whispered. Nodding he took her by the arm tightly and crossed the street, avoiding the strange mechanical machines that crawled along the road surface.

'Where you goin' beautiful?' cried one of them as they followed them across the street. Atlas shook in fear as they ran to keep up with his great powerful strides.

'In here my Princess.' he said pointing down a dark alleyway. Without question she did as she was told. The alley was dark with just enough light to see where they were going, as they neared the middle of the group more men appeared around the corner of the walls. Four there...seven behind us. He said stopping  in the middle of the alleyway. 'Atlas put your back to the wall and stay behind me.' once again she did as was bid and pressed her back against the wall as he tried to cover her with the vast bulk of his body.

'Well well well,' said one of them as they slowly encircled them. Elseron slipped a hand to his axe, he wasn't going to kill them unless absolutely necessary. 'What is it we av' 'ere!' the leader was tall and thin with a shallow face and watery yellow eyes. Smelling the air Elseron only smelt human scent, at least he had that to be thankful for.

'We don't want any trouble.' he said strongly.

'I'm sure you don't matey! But you see...when two Atlanteans walk in your neighbourhood...it's Christmas!' he said with a sick smile as Elseron's stomach dropped. 'Da' boss is gonna' reward us big time when we take you two to him.' Sniffing again Elseron caught another, softer scent to their clothing. Lycans!

'This is your final warning...walk away now and that'll be the end of it. Try to take my daughter, and I'll kill you all.' A taught silence cut through the alley before the leader laughed loudly soon followed by his other lackeys.

'I like you matey, but not enough to keep you alive. Charlie...get the girl. Kill this old fart.' A young man stepped from the half moon circle and pulled a large blade from a hidden sheath up his sleeve.

'Don't do this boy.' Elseron warned as Atlas squeaked in fear. The boy called Charlie smiled before lunging clumsily. Dodging the blade easily Elseron grabbed him by the wrist with one hand before punching him in the jaw with the other. Beneath his knuckles he felt bones and teeth shatter as the young man dropped like a stone, landing in a tangled mess of unconscious limbs and blood. Taking stance Elseron stared hard into the eyes of the leader of this rag tag bunch of Lycan underlings.

'Huh...' said the leader with a raised eyebrow. 'Got some quickness in you aint' ya'.' Clicking his fingers the nine remaining members revealed their weapons. A chain dropped from the arm of one, a hammer appeared behind ones back. The others used blades or strange metal attachments around their fingers. 'Kill him.' drawing his pole-axe from his side Elseron held the weapon out in front of him, taking stance as the handle grew in size until it was nearly as tall as he was. 'Nice blade. I'll have that when your a corpse.' I tried to reason with them...He told his axe as he waited for the next attack. Screaming his warning the one with the chain lashed out swinging his metal weapon like a crazed animal. Blocking the chain with the handle of his beloved weapon it wrapped around the staff several times. With a hard Yank Elseron pulled hard. Ripping the chain from his attacker’s hands before swinging the axe in a huge arc and cutting downward through his shoulder.

The human coughed up blood as the gleaming silver blade stuck into his ribs, splitting his shoulder from the collar bone with a sickening crack. Blood pouring from his mouth like some sickly fountain the man fell backwards, his axe blade dripping with blood Elseron once again took stance. But this time...no attack came. 'What you waiting for you idiots! He's one old man! Get him! Or Fenrir will hear about how shit you all are! GET HIM!' As one the humans charged, swinging their weapons with as little skill as they had grace. Ducking the blow from the two handed hammer its metal head flew over his head and smashed into the face of one of the charging thugs, breaking his face into a mush of broken skin and bones. Before his body had a chance to hit the floor Elseron dodged a second slash of a knife. Kicking the attacker’s knee he buckled onto the floor with a yelp before Elseron silenced him with a sharp smack to the head with the flat of his axe.

Red hot pain fired through his shoulder as the knife blade pierced through flesh and muscle before striking his shoulder blade. Roaring the pain away he swung his axe around his head, slicing through the human’s skull as if it were nothing but fruit. The blade still in his shoulder slowed him, but not enough to stop him killing each one off steadily. Soon only three were left and the leader slowly making his way away from the fight. 'ELSERON!' bellowed Atlas causing him to spin just in time to a see a blow from a strange bat heading towards him. Grabbing the closest thug with by the collar he pulled him into the path of the bat. Wood hit skull with a crack as the bat snapped and his skull cracked in two. Back fisting the one with the bat in the face he grunted in pain as his nose snapped beneath his fist. Tears streaming from his eyes the boy tried to blink them away but Elseron was too fast as he wrapped his arm around his neck and twisted firmly. With a loud snap his body fell limp.

Looking to the final attacker Elseron dropped the boys dead body and moved into stance, his axe blade more red than silver now. The boy juggled his knife in his hands whispering things to himself under his breath. Elseron just stared. Stood ready. With surprising speed for a human he lunged. Blocking the blade away with the handle of his pole-axe Elseron stepped through and elbowed him in the side of the head before stepping back and slicing his hand from wrist. Screaming as his hand dropped to the floor all colour drained from the young man's face before he fell to the ground staring at the stump where his hand had once been. Breathing deep Elseron reached around to his back and pulled out the small knife, the pain was instantaneous and he touched the smooth handle and pulled. Rolling his shoulder he dropped the tiny blade. His eyes found the terrified brown pools of the only surviving thug, stepping closer the boy tried to crawl away on his back with only one hand. 'I'm sorry! I didn't want to! No please, NO!'

Swinging his axe in a massive arc the gleaming metal blade found the boys skull. Cutting through to the jawbone his eyes rolled back and he fell, Elseron's axe still imbedded in his head. Breathing heavily Elseron felt a soft pair of arms fall around him, Atlas cupped his face in her hands, her amber eyes swimming with worry. 'Elseron...'

'Atlas are you OK? Are you hurt?' he asked quickly regaining his train of thought. She began to talk before a gut wrenching scream pierced the alley. Spinning Elseron pushed Atlas behind him protectively. The leader of the gang was being held in the air by some shadowy figure, legs kicking outwards as he tried to breathe. With a smooth wrench of his body the figure cracked the leaders neck. His body fell to the floor with a thwump. Then the figure looked towards them, Elseron couldn't make out who it was, what they looked like, but they were broad in the shoulder. Waiting to see if they would attack Elseron prepared for another fight...but the figure just turned. And walked away.

The End

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