Chapter 2 - Part 1

There were ten of them, dressed in the same ebony raiment as their deceased confidant. Their swords glowed in the moonlight, like cat’s eyes. Seeing that they had not yet caught wind of their presence, Alyxandra first sheathed her sword, before quietly and slowly taking her ebony bow in one hand, and, moving her other hand in the same manner, withdrew an arrow from her quiver. She placed in the bow, drawing back the string, both feeling and watching the tension heighten. The bow was now drawn close and tight, Alyxandra anchoring the bow with her lips. She narrowed her gaze, and chose her target - a figure who seemed to be prominent, in the centre of the group. Taking aim at his throat, she inhaled deeply, and prepared to fire. As she was about to release the bow, another arrow flew, almost from nowhere, toward the very spot at which she had aimed. He fell immediately as the tip pierced his jugular vein, blood trailing down his neck and over his clothes. Acting quickly, Alyxandra released her arrow, sending a missive to his second-in-command, striking him in the breast. He too fell, among the panic that had now ensued among the leaderless foes. They began to retreat, still unable to see their attackers. Another arrow, which Alyxandra attributed to Alceren, flew among them, becoming lodged deeply in one of the Stygian’s arms. Finally pooling together for a counter attack, the enemy took up their arms; some readied their swords, while others found arrows and bows. Alyxandra looked to her right, now able to detect Alceren’s outline, well disguised by his now replaced mask, hood and long robe, all the same deep green.

Alyxandra was not easily noticeable herself, with her deep purple robes proving useful in the darkness of the evening. Presently, one of the Stygians began to utter words under his breath, in a language neither could understand, as his hands began to glow, even beneath the dark gloves he wore, until it held a flame in his hands. With another utterance, it turned in on itself, forming a globe of fire, which grew until it engulfed the immediate darkness, illuminating the pathway with a devilish light. The light bounced upon the cobbles, seeping through the darkness until, in its brightness it shone, a face now noticeable in the shadows. Alyxandra knew that her face, pale by even Elven standards, could now been seen. Understanding that she would soon be a target, she risked withdrawing her blade from its sheath, aware that a bow and arrow proves to be near useless at close range. It sang in a shrill tone as it emerged, as though it was somehow excited to be in use. This sound filled the surrounding air as any sound does in silence, causing the enemy to turn, as another of Alceren’s arrows made its way into another of their number. At this, panic ensued, as the fourth evil man to die that night met with the earth’s surface. Alyxandra leapt from the shadows, immediately engaging one of the Stygians in combat. Their blades met, the sound of their meetings giving the air a metallic edge. Alceren also took his sword, and lunged forward, surprising another Stygian and forcing him to react quickly. Before long, a conflict had ensued that involved each Stygian there. Alyxandra flicked her wrist as the enemy fought back, blades colliding and their wielders turning in a strange morbid dance; she twisted left and right, slicing with the blade diagonally, hoping to disarm her foe.

Presently, the Stygian withdrew a second sword, twisting both of them, the blades drawing their collective pathways millimeters from her face. She thought on her feet; turning over her shoulder, a tree filled her vision. She leapt forward, and, with every ounce of her force, she sprung off the tree, flying backwards into a somersault before sharply kicking her enemy in the head, sending him hurtling towards the cobbles. She reached the floor safely and, catching her breath, stood over him and held her sword to his chin. She then raised the sword above her head, and was about to strike, when she found a sudden remorse in his face. Moved by this, she was distracted for a moment, when suddenly another Stygian leapt behind her, brandishing a rapier. She turned quickly on her hocks and began to duel with a new opponent. As she fought, she registered the tone of its breath and the cries the Stygian made and realised that she was fighting another woman. As Alyxandra fought, her breath became more laboured as she realised she was tiring. As she began to fear the worst, the woman froze, before sinking to the floor, a red plumed arrow in her back. Alceren stood a little way off, his bow in his grip, a small smile dancing on his lips as they made eye contact. Having caught her breath, Alyxandra turned as Alceren began to fire more arrows. She closed her eyes as the screams followed. When she dared open them, she found only three more Stygians were in fact alive, the one who Alyxandra had felled previously among them, still outstretched on the floor. As the other two took in their surroundings, they were overcome with a sudden fear, turning to flee into the darkness. Without a word, Alceren took aim at one, while Alyxandra readied her bow for the other. A few moments later, the shots echoed through the air, followed by a final gasp from the fleeing figures before they fell to the forest floor.

The End

13 comments about this story Feed