Elseron barged through the huge driftwood doors of the main hall. His massive bulk and the combined weight of himself and his armour smashing the thin dry wood to nothing but splinters in a matter of nano-seconds. Four guards in their crude green armour immediately rushed him, seemingly from thin air Pilot lunged out and took two down. Surprised the other two turned to look at what the vampire was doing to their friends, Elseron took the distraction. Ripping the helmet from the closest with his left hand he kept running and slammed his elbow into the side of the young man’s head with a bone shaking crack! Convulsing horribly the soldier dropped to the floor and before the last soldier knew what had happened Elseron had smacked him clean across the face with the helmet. Metal colliding with metal with a sharp ringing sound and with enough force as to knock out the young man instantly. 'Pilot me and you take point!' he shouted to the vampire whilst pulling his axe from its holster on his hip. Usually Elseron instincts would tell him to turn and fight, the Stalwart Shield didn't run! But this time, against so many, with such precious company...he had no choice.
Encantos warriors seemed to flood in from every open doorway. Every entrance to the Palace like wave after wave of living green seaweed. Their curved swords held high above their heads and a ferocious battle cry on their lips. 'RUN!' Bellowed Atlas with enough confidence and strength that everyone just ran. Straight down the open courtyard of the Palace to the main door. Weighed down slightly by his armour Elseron soon felt his legs burning, breathing became harder and harder with every step he took. Pilot however seemed not to notice the great weight he carried and moved so fast Elseron rarely saw anything but a silver dart flashing through his peripheral vision. The gate was close! But a platoon of soldiers rounded in on them from his left, ready to intercept them before they could reach the gate. Tapping into his magic Elseron felt the power that came with it pulse through his bones like a warm fire, blue light from his tattoos glowing brightly enough he could see their reflection in the Encantos's deep green armour. With a roar Elseron pushed out a hand. The way of the world changed.
Each of the fifteen men and women were lifted clean off their feet. Toppling through the air with wild screams before they were silenced, crashing into the palace walls above the gate with sickening series of fleshy crunches. Five knights with lances stood before the jade gate. Their armour trimmed with gold. These were not normal soldiers. These were Encantos knights. They wouldn’t buckle. Charging forward with axe in hand Elseron over took Pilot, his heavy armoured footsteps cracking the seastone tiles beneath him. Roaring like a wild animal towards the five men Elseron stared into the face of the youngest, his breathing was ragged; his eyes were becoming wide with fear. And then he lunged clumsily, just as Elseron had hoped! Blocking the fumbled attack with ease Elseron brought his axe down onto the back of his head. Parting it from the rest of his body. Before his head hit the floor Elseron swung his axe left and right felling the two closest to him. A white blur skidded beneath the right most’s gleaming lance. Melody sprang to her feet, her dagger slicing the man’s throat with a practiced swipe.
Searing pain fired up Elseron’s back, dropping him to one knee. Spinning he knocked the long weapon from the muscles in his back; the knight took stance and readied another thrust. But Melody was faster. Her dagger whipped through the air, plunging itself directly into the man's eye, slicing optic nerve and killing him almost instantly. 'Elseron!' she cried.
'I'm fine!' boomed the ancient warrior rising to his feet. Pilot in his strange, other worldly form with those black eyes sprinted at full speed towards the thick gates of jade. With a yell he shoulder barged into them. Deep green rock breaking into huge pieces that killed and knocked out several guards on the other side. 'GO GO GO!' shouted Elseron ferrying the three women through the gap. Blocking an arcing sword swipe the Atlantean knight watched the blade whistle inches away from his nose before stepping in, kneeing the man in the chest. Denting his armour and breaking several ribs. Arisa was the last through the door. Elseron followed her blocking swipe after swipe. Killing guards left and right, their dark green blood splashing across his face and armour as he severed limbs, sliced arteries and broke bones. When as many guards as possible were funnelled into the small gateway Elseron tapped into his magic yet again. Axe head igniting with crackling eldritch lightning. Smacking the weapon into the floor with a mighty yell! Huge cracks immediately spider webbed around the gateway. Huge cracks running along the floor and up the walls.
When the two cracks met in the middle of the palace wall above their heads Elseron dove out, just as several tones of seastone and sandstone dropped onto their heads. Springing to his feet he found the group a hundred metres or so in front of him, standing watching him. 'RUN YOU FOOLS!' he roared chasing after them. 'PILOT COVER THE REAR WITH ME!' he bellowed. Aenarion had made a critical error. He had been overconfident in his military power and it appeared he'd placed most of his soldiers and knights in the palace. The city, for the most part, seemed quiet. But soon it would be streaming with soldiers and knights all screaming for blood, Elseron's little road block wouldn't hold them for more than a few minutes. Thundering through the streets beside Pilot Elseron watched the adjoining walkways and roads. Cutting down or simply bulldozing any soldiers that remained in the streets to stop them. Eden, Melody, Atlas and Pilot ran with such ease and determination Elseron was struggling to keep up, and Arisa was dropping back further and further. 'Come on Lady Kayne! Keep up!' he said looking back to her.
She was running just as strongly as the others but it was simply her tiny gate that meant she was dropping back. Suddenly a consciousness that was not Atlas's touched his mind. I'll distract them! Was all he heard. The thundering of the approaching charge of armoured soldiers drowned out almost everything else. Suddenly a figure in white flew past them. Pilot faltered and slowed, Elseron looked back and saw Eden wearing Atlas's gown. 'Eden!' Roared Pilot but Elseron locked his arm around the vampire’s shoulders and pulled him along the street as Eden shot down a side alley. The vampire pulled against him, slowing him greatly but Elseron's shear strength kept him going. Until finally the gate was in sight. A scream pierced the thundering of armoured boots. Turning Elseron saw Arisa on the floor, scrambling away from a soldier he'd missed, his sword dancing in his hands as he played with the small vampire.
'Pilot protect Atlas!' Elseron ordered shoving him towards the city gate.
'I need to find Eden!' Pilot said it softly, but his words dripped with worry and desperation.
'I'll find Eden but I need someone protecting Atlas! Go Mr Gallo! I promise I'll find your wife.' Without another word Elseron spun, Arisa was gone and the soldier was dead on the floor. Cooked in his own armour. The approaching mass of the Encantos army sent shivers of fear up his spine. They were an unstoppable wave of green armour. 'ARISA!' Elseron boomed as he charged through the labyrinthine streets. 'ARISA!' Cutting down a soldier in a spray of sheared metal and blood Elseron dropped to his knees as a vast explosion blew apart several streets. Ears ringing without noise, nose bleeding and a new cut sprouting from his forehead where a block of seastone shrapnel had hit him Elseron focused to clear his thoughts. Arisa find Arisa! And Atlas...no...EDEN! Find Eden! Sound suddenly flooded back into his head as he rose. The thunder of the charging soldiers was nothing more than white noise of a thousand yelling men and women, buildings burned with deep red flames and several soldiers burned beyond recognition rolled around on the floor with blackened armour and bleeding wounds.
Jumping onto the nearest stable roof Elseron saw Arisa in the middle of a vast crater of blackened seastone, hundreds of Encantos soldiers surrounding her, scared to get too close in case she blew again. Jumping from roof to roof with a deep booming war cry on his lips several soldiers and knights turned to look at him, just in time to see him leap into the air high over their heads. Axe surrounded in crackling blue lightning, eyes glowing gems of blue. Landing right in front of the curled up Arisa Elseron took stance and levelled his axe. 'You want her...you come through me!' the sound of his voice was not of any world. The pitch and tempo dipping and rising with unnatural ease with the power that ran through his body. For several long moments no one moved. Until a senior officer shouted,
'The one that brings me his head gets a knight hood! And his title!' Eight charged from the large circle of warriors. Swinging his axe over his head Elseron sliced at the one attacking to his right. Slicing into the side of his body as if his armour were made from silk. The young Encantos roared as Elseron pulled his sacred weapon free from his body, twisting his body flat to avoid a deep slash of a curved sword. Arisa screamed. Thrusting his axe handle downwards the gleaming metal dug deep into the scorched seastone, covering Arisa and blocking the sword swipe dealt to her. With a sharp jolt Elseron thrust his axe into the belly of the soldier in front of him, winding him, while kicking backwards at the soldier that attacked Arisa. Smashing his face to dust with the sole of his armoured boot. Dodging another sword strike from the left Elseron pulled in the winded knight across his back just as an arrow flew from one of the rooftops. Piercing the Encantos's amour, the man barely had time to scream before another arrow followed the first. Severing his spine. A sword strike sliced the muscles of Elseron's enamoured calf in half!
Screaming in pain the old knight dipped before turning. Gripping the soldier with magic Elseron threw him back into the air. Limbs toppling and flailing as he flew. Fighting to remain on his feet he fought back several more soldiers. Cutting their inferior armour to pieces and their flesh beneath! Using blasts of crackling war lightning to kill as much as his axe Elseron fought on. Protecting Arisa. But for everyone he cut down two more would take their place. A severed calf, an arrow in his shoulder, sword cut across his face and a lance hole in his stomach eventually drove Elseron to his knees. Panting. Still slashing out at any that got close! The magic had taken its toll, he was exhausted. But they were surrounded by a circular pile of Encantos's dead that was at least knee deep. 'I'm sorry Lady Kayne.' he panted looking into the small girls terrified face. Her warm eyes looked into his crackling electric blue as traces of fire danced across her arms. She hadn't sat useless. She had fought. Burning dozens of Encantos alive. 'Kill them!' pulling Arisa into him as the soldiers surged forward Elseron closed his eyes.
'WAIT!' boomed a deep voice. The soldiers froze and parted for Aenarion. 'Take him, he's more use to us alive.' Knights rushed in and ripped his axe from his grip and hauling him to his feet. Picking up Arisa in his arms Elseron was escorted to a dungeon deep beneath the Palace, a hard boot kicked him into the dank cell before the barred door closed on them. Falling to the ground Elseron felt the cold of the seastone seep into his cheek, he was so tired...
'Elseron...' whispered Arisa with tears in her eyes. 'I'm scared.' Pulling himself upright Elseron leaned against the wall and spread his arms, Arisa fell into him, tiny arms wrapping around his dented broken armour.
'Me too Lady Kayne...me too.' he whispered holding her close. A silence fell over them. The silence of people who knew the end was close. Atlas my Little Princess where ever you are...please be safe! Please!