A Bittersweet Parting

Gritt was down before he had a chance to fire his Gattling-arm. Carribal hadn't appointed himself commander just because he felt like it, his power was far more offensive than any other shadow's. He could tear darkness to pieces. He watched, satisfied, as the dark mass of Gritt that was left seeped into the ground like oil. He turned to Laurel.

Jeredynn watched the shadow disappear and waited for it to turn on Pliirith. Her pink eyes were glowing as fiercely as neon with defiance as Carribal faced off. His eyes were staring at them, but it was more like he was seeing something else. His mind was distant... he just wanted the whole thing to be over.

Pliirith knew despite her own advanced talents she couldn't stop Carribal if he really wanted to kill her. Well, not 'kill' - for that she would have to have a body and a soul. But the same thing applied - it would be the end of her. Carribal was obviously deciding what to do with her. Gritt had been too quick for him to properly enjoy it. She knew Carribal liked to revel in his own powers of destruction. But before he could do that he had to consider what she was up to - still on his side? She clinched it for him by shouting in a desperate voice, "Jeredynn! Stop him!"

Jeredynn started, as though startled awake by a loud noise too close to his ear. He blinked rapidly and focused again on the shadow girl that had controlled his life ever since ... well, for too long. He knew she still owned some part of him, buried somewhere inside - because when her glowing eyes looked into his, he still felt that warm fluttering, a faint tugging on his heartstrings, that she had put there by making him feel wanted by at least one person on the Earth. But it was consumed by the exhaustion of her controlling, the desire to have his mind free of her probing. He raised his eyes again wearily and murmured the one word that was like a pebble thrown into a lake - it started the ripples.

"No."

Pliriith gasped, and something fizzled in her eyes; disappointment, hatred. Carribal was laughing, having guessed what was going on. It wasn't a pleasant sound, grating and chilling.

"This won't be the last time we meet, Jeredynn, and next time you'll regret this," she promised with a voice cold and angry. "I can always find you. You remember, don't you?"

She smiled sweetly, and vanished as Carribal's swift black blade of shadow sliced through the spot where she had just been.

Carribal snarled in rage, then cast a fiery-eyed glare over the three of them before vanishing too.

Jeredynn felt as if there was a weight off his mind - yet there was a new one in his stomach, a small pit of fear. He knew what Pliirith could do, and he knew she never broke her promises.

The End

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