With an ear splitting war cry Elseron dove at his enemy. Axe in hand. Men at his back. Chest bare to the elements with his hair rippling in a silver contrail behind him as he ran. 'FOR ATLANTIS!' he bellowed raising his axe high into the air. Five hundred knights cheered and whooped at his cry. The ringing of swords leaving sheathes and pole-axes being lifted echoing around the silent field. Snarling, barking wolves leapt towards them, their battle line twisted and broken where the Knights of Atlantis's was an ordered phalanx of sparkling aquamarine coloured steel. Twenty feet separated the two armies, ten feet, five feet. Time to end this.
The crash was earth shattering.
It displaced the very earth matted fur collided with polished steel. Men were swiped from their feet. Wolves were turned to nothing but snivelling pups as their jaws were broken by the shields of a dozen knights. Elseron brought his axe down on a leaping wolves skull. Splitting it in two with a clean crack and ugly spray of viscous brain matter. Another lunged at him. Ducking the gleaming claws he yanked his axe free from the dead dogs skull and was about to bring it to bare when a silver whip wrapped around the wolves throat. Its yellow eyes bulged horribly as it was momentarily starved of oxygen, but its discomfort was short lived as Melody pulled of her whip. The gleaming blades around its leather core aligning perfectly, decapitating the wolf in one smooth motion. Elseron barely saw her to say thank you before a fresh wave of wolves flew at him. Sinking into battle stance Elseron let his training take over, his instincts, his three century career of warfare. His knowledge combined with his newfound health and Atlas's psychic powers...there was not a wolf on this earth that could stop him. Slicing one clean in half he rolled to avoid the powerful bite of the second before springing up and firing out his palm. A bubble of psychic energy erupting from his palm.
Knocking seven of the vile creatures off their feet, sending them toppling through the air like discarded rag dolls. Time was lost in the heat of battle. Seconds became hours and hours became minutes. It meant nothing. You focussed only on the next kill and nothing else. So Elseron swiped, cut, kicked, punched, kneed, head butted, elbowed, decapitated, eviscerated, disembowelled and choked enemy after enemy. Nothing stopped him. He felt invincible. Wolf claws or teeth were harmless for they never got close enough to touch him, he was the Stalwart Shield of Atlantis, the Hero of the Palace Siege and Lord Commander of the Royal Knights. He wasn't going to be killed by some mongrel son of a whore! It was only after he'd cut down his fortieth Lycan that Elseron noticed the noise! It was hellish. Screams of dying me, the spine chilling screech of sheering metal, the unnatural guttural roar of the Lycans and the feral cries as they died painful deaths at the end of his knight’s weapons. 'FIGHT TO THE END MY BROTHERS!' Elseron roared slamming his axe down through the air. Silver blade glistening as it lodged itself into the fallen wolves spine, severing it. Killing the mutt instantly.
'Back!' a familiar voice cried. 'Back you dogs!' Disembowelling a wolf with a hard strike Elseron looked over the field to see Jory surrounded by a dozen or more of the filthy creatures, his pole-axe a silver blur as he tried to fight off the barking creatures. A savage protective instinct usually reserved only for Atlas welled up inside Elseron's chest, Jory was his squire, he'd trained him since he was fifteen years old...He was running before he even knew what he was going to do. Slicing limbs off charging Lycans as he ran Elseron saw Jory battle bravely against the wolves, but his stamina was waning. A wolf slashed out at him. Jet black claws gleaming in the moonlight. The sound of scratching metal sheared through Elseron as he watched Jory stagger from the blow. A second Lycan lunged, jaws wide. Yelling a deafening cry Elseron leapt into the air. Powers igniting. Eyes crackling and axe blade glowing. Landing onto of the Lycan about to close its jaws around Jory's neck the dog was crushed beneath his weight and the momentum of his attack. Its backbone breaking beneath Elseron's boots with a sharp series of cracks that could be heard even over the din of battle.
'DUCK BOY!' Elseron roared. Jory hit the deck. Armour clanking together as he landed. Swinging his axe around his head the blade held off the pack of wolves, the runes glowing brighter and brighter the more of his energy put into his attack. He could feel the lightning crackling across the chains around his forearms and feel its prickling heat around his eyes. Roaring with the effort Elseron felt every muscle burn as he brought his weapon down and sliced it through the air, spinning on the spot as he did. Panting and sweaty as he crouched besides Jory a small moment of silence seemed to fall over the two knights, looking up Jory's young brow furrowed in confusion. Opening his eyes Elseron felt suddenly exhausted, it crashed over him like a tonne of bricks and drove him to the ground.
'Ser!' Jory yelled. Firing to his feet and supporting the old knight.
'Are you alright?' Elseron asked between his ragged pants for breath. Somewhere in the back of his mind he heard a voice yell, 'Protect your fallen commander!' It was a female voice...was that Atlas? Or Eden?
'Fine Ser...what did you do to them?' looking up Elseron saw the Lycan's that had surrounded them stood completely still, their faces frozen into silent roars and their eyes glassy and fake. When his knights charged towards them to protect him they collided with the wolf statues. The instant gleaming armour touched bloodied fur the wolves disintegrated. Turning into nothing but huge piles of smoking ash that drifted lazily on the weak breeze that blew through the field. 'That's a new trick...' Jory said with a small laugh. His handsome features cracking into a beaming smile. 'Can you teach me.'
'Sure, but I won't.' Elseron laughed even though it hurt and he knew this really wasn't the time or place for it. Coughing painfully Elseron leant his full weight onto Jory, 'Help me up.'
'Yes ser!' Jory wheezed as he pushed Elseron's vast weight upwards. Standing on unsteady legs the Lord Commander eyed the field beyond is protective ring of loyal knights. Everything still seemed even...as many naked Lycan dead covered the ground as Atlanteans. Of his friends...Eden, Dante, Melody, Arisa. There was no sign.
'Any sign of Fenrir.' Elseron asked loudly, to nobody imperticular.
'None Lord Commander,' said one of his generals, Ser Roswell. 'But there are still hundreds of Lycan's...how would we know which is the right one?'
'Trust me General, you'd know.'
'Elseron,' an almost ghostly voice said behind him. Turning Elseron felt his heartbeat quicken, Pilot stood there. Glowing...actually glowing. His skin a marble white and his eyes lit like diamonds. Shining out with all the brightness of the sun.
'Pilot...' breathed the old commander.
'Elseron I have located Fenrir.' said the almost angelic looking Pilot. 'I...'
The world broke. It didn't bend like when Eden or Atlas used their powers...it physically cracked in half beneath his feet. It broke. Thrown from his feet by the force of the eruption Elseron crashed to the ground painfully while hell awakened around him. His knights scattered. Their bodies thrown through the air in every direction while jets of roaring flamed erupted from the ground. The earth around them cracking, splitting, fissuring. Everything shook. Explosion after explosion sounded from deep beneath the surface...the facility beneath them was self destructing. Zeus...you bastard! Elseron swore as he tried to make sense of the devastation. Fire engulfed whole regiments of his army, men and women screamed and the wolves fled like scared animals. 'FALL BACK! FALL BACK!' Elseron bellowed lunging to his feet, grabbing Jory by the back of his chest plate and dragging the young knight through the flames. 'On your feet boy! I'm f*cked if I'm carrying you all the way back!' He yelled trying to find a stable path across the shaking ground. Pushing Jory along Elseron pulled up as many knights as he could, those that were beyond saving...he gave relief too with his axe.
Another explosion ruptured the world. Creating a fissure several hundred feet across and spirits knew how many metres deep. Flame roiling like angry daemons at its bottom. 'MOVE!' Elseron bellowed. Wolves still attacked them. Knights still fought through everything! A roar like nothing, nothing, Elseron had ever heard in all his three hundred year existence cut across the battlefield. Not even Dante sounded like that. It was the sound of evil itself. Death given shape. Stripped of wings and scythe and implanted within the body of a wolf. Fenrir. Knights took his orders and were retreating through the carnage back towards Atlas and Finneous's position. Their armour more ruby than aquamarine in the light from the roaring flames. 'Go go!' Elseron said throwing them free of the carnage just as more cracks split the earth. This place was going to be nothing more than a mile wide sink hole within minutes. A second roar followed the first. This one no doubt Dante. They're fighting...I...I need to help him. He thought tightening the grip around his axe. 'Jory clear as many people as you can and retreat back to Atlas, protect her with your life or I swear I'll kill you myself.'
'Aye Ser! But what about...' That was as far as Jory got before Elseron dove into hell itself. The hot air from the fissures singed his beard, he could smell the burning hair and a mixture of a thousand other things as the facility they had just escaped from was igniting beneath his feet. He felt like he was running directly into the mouth of hell, the fire, the heat, the screams as dying knights were burned to death. Bodies cooking beneath their armour. It seemed to take hours to find them, their hate filled roars seeming to echo from a dozen places at once as the sound resonated through the cracks. Leaping over a ten foot wide gap Elseron skidded to a halt, his left foot skittering over the edge into nothingness for a split second. Before him, two elemental titans of rage and unnatural power battled in the middle of a large burned section of rock. Hanging amidst the flames. Fissures as dozens of feet wide and miles deep surrounding them on every edge. It was impossible to distinguish one from the other, their moves were too fast, their fighting style too similar. They were just a blur of blood, claws, teeth and midnight fur. But as he watched, dumbstruck, Dante staggered back towards the edge. Eyes unfocused. Blood streaming down his huge bear face. Then with a savage slash Fenrir brought his claws to bare.
Dante fell from the edge. Roaring as he fell into the pit below. 'DANTE!' Elseron thundered as the wolf shrank and its hair burned away. Rage. Utter, complete, unending rage made Elseron take his axe in both hands and leap onto the spit of land the two titans had clashed on. Clearing the gap with ease, boots cracking scorched rocks beneath him as he landed and faced the naked Fenrir. 'FENRIR!'
'Ser Elseron...' the man said. Long hair matted with blood and thick viscera coating his pale flesh. 'We meet at last.'
'I'm going to kill you mutt!'
'That's funny, because my plan was to come here and kill you and kidnap your little bitch of a queen. In truth I wanted to kill you first before my whelp of a brother, but the Gods saw otherwise.' Brother? Fenrir smiled. 'He never told you...' a laugh barked through his lips. 'My darling little brother never told you were shared blood, how interesting.'
'Tut tut tut. Elseron, you're a smart man. You know it’s true.' said Fenrir with a wicked smile. 'For every God in the world there is always one prodigal son, one person overwhelmed with jealousy at the others powers. Father loved me more, he knew what I was, he saw me for the God I am! But mother...no...mother loved her little baby Dante. Nobody could hurt her boy despite him being a freak! A monster. A walking, talking birth-defect that my father should have left out in the woods to die if he had any sense. But no...mother was far too fond of her little pet.' Fenrir smiled as he looked at Elseron, his lips soaked in some poor man’s blood. 'I always wondered how much of a fight he would put up, but...he fell. Like all the others. None can stand in front of a God for long.'
'You are no God Fenrir; you're a rabid dog with ideas above your station. Nothing else.' Falling into battle stance Elseron held his axe out and readied himself. 'Stand against me if you dare, dog.'