Xeann lay in the snow after falling off the mountain when the Narwhine slammed its tail into her back. Clearly it hadn’t been impressed with her singing but then again, everyone was a critic. Xeann grunted as she pushed herself up onto her feet, brushing the snow off her trousers. She looked up and sighed when she saw the large ominous tower a few kilometres ahead. She pulled her hood up and advanced towards the tower, rubbing her arms for extra warmth as the blizzard over the tower blew faster. She didn’t know how long it took, she just felt relief when she reached the rusted doors of the tower, shoving them open and stumbling inside. She breathed evenly as she lowered her hood and looked up. There was a large hole going through the tower and Xeann then noticed how much in disrepair the tower actually was.
‘Is this a sort of design then?’ she asked to herself and began ascending the stairs ‘Either very clever or very foolish.’ Snow fell from the opening in the ceiling and from the holes that the tower had on the walls. Xeann’s boots made the iron stairs creak as she began exploring and observing her surroundings. When she reached a platform, she narrowed her eyes suspiciously when she saw that it was to mimic a living room with a sofa in the corner, torn apart with its stuffing falling out, a broken television on the other side, the aerial gone and a static screen only showing, but what caught Xeann’s complete attention was a coffee table that had an assortment of picture frames on them. Some of them were empty, others weren’t. Xeann walked over to the coffee table, carefully picking one up. It was a torn picture that was inside. Half of it was missing but Xeann didn’t care about that. What scared her the most was that it was a picture of her. A picture that had been taken when she was about ten years old. She dropped the frame abruptly and the glass shattered as a pain seared through her head. She gasped and placed a hand over her forehead.
‘You looked so adorable back then, I must admit.’ Xeann gasped and turned on her heel to see a shadow flit past. A cackle echoed through the tower and Xeann continued turning round to try and catch a glimpse of the person, or people, that were here. Suddenly everything stopped and Xeann turned again, feeling rather dizzy, to see a young man seated on the broken sofa, arms casually spread out and one leg over the other.
‘Who are you?’ she asked and her heart was suddenly pierced with fear, the fear from her nightmares. She grunted and clutched the place over her heart and realised, while looking into the young man’s bright blue eyes, that he was a demon. The man laughed and tossed his dark blue hair.
‘I am Nightmare,’ he introduced himself.
‘And I am Horror.’ Xeann turned to see a similar looking man with ginger hair and orange eyes sitting on the broken television, the aerial in his hands. The horror of seeing her friends killed struck Xeann’s heart next as she made eye contact with him, making her stumble backwards, closing her eyes.
‘I see…’ she murmured ‘I would assume you would know who I was.’
‘Please, dearie,’ Nightmare grinned as he suddenly appeared directly behind her ‘introduce yourself. Play the game.’ Xeann straightened up, slowly opening her eyes.
‘Fine. My name is Xeann,’ she said.
‘And what a pretty name it is,’ Horror purred as he suddenly appeared over her.
‘For a pretty girlie a pretty name must be given to her,’ Nightmare commented as he trailed a finger down Xeann’s cheek.
‘Don’t you dare touch me!’ Xeann shouted as she unsheathed her blades and swerved to attack the both of them. The ruined tower was filled with laughter as the demons jumped back, unsheathing swords of their hair colour. Xeann noticed the way that they were dressed similarly as they became blurs of dark blue and orange, sleeveless tops and trousers colour coded to their physical appearances. Nightmare suddenly dashed forward and she barely blocked his attack, kicking him in the chest and began ascending up the stairs. Each demon took his turn to lunge at her as she climbed the iron stairs and each time they became stronger and harder for Xeann to block. Eventually Horror hit her when she reached the next platform and she was pushed over, sent flying into one of the columns that supported the platform above. She grunted as she slumped to the floor and opened her eyes to stand up and run at the demons as they reached the platform. They swerved out of the way, Nightmare thrusting the hilt of his sword into Xeann’s stomach as he passed her. Xeann gasped as she fell backwards. She hissed when Horror came up towards her and let his blade glide across her face, leaving a horizontal cut across her face.
‘Aw, poor vampire!’ Horror grinned as he stuck his tongue out and waggled his hands behind his ears to spite her.
‘Neh neh neh neh neh nah!’ Nightmare jeered as he did the same once he put distance between himself and Xeann. Xeann growled as she felt her energy drain quickly from enduring the demons. Her eyes glowed red for a brief moment and she closed them calmly, standing up. Nightmare jumped back and grinned with a satisfied tilt of the head when her body was suddenly engulfed in shadows. Horror stepped closer with a curious frown as Xeann’s blades turned from curved to straight. When the shadows left Xeann’s body, she was clad in black armour. She stumbled when she felt the lack of heels on her boots but kept her stance, swords pointed at the demons.
‘Round Two,’ she said challengingly. Nightmare just grinned and rushed forward to attack her. With her limit in control, Xeann blocked and disarmed the demon without so much of a blink. She smirked confidently, one of her swords poised at Nightmare’s throat, grinned wider at his brief surprise and didn’t falter when he began laughing.
‘The vampire has gone all serious on us now, brother!’ he shouted at Horror. Horror just laughed and ran up behind her, sword aimed to cut her arm off. Xeann turned immediately to block his attack, gasping when Nightmare took advantage of her vulnerability to kick her from behind. Horror let his sword slide up from Xeann’s sword and it hit her armour with a loud clang. Xeann pushed up from her feet, her head colliding into Horror’s chin. As Horror fell and Nightmare jumped off the platform to retrieve his sword, Xeann began making her way back up the stairs. Horror began chasing her as soon as he recovered.
‘You can’t run forever, little birdie!’ he cooed and Xeann didn’t glance over her shoulder, only turning when she reached the next platform, clashing with Horror when he eventually caught up with her. The two of them began fighting viciously, Xeann’s teeth bared and Horror’s insane grin forever etched into his face. Xeann’s movements got swifter and faster when Horror began to cheat his victory through attempts in tripping her up and pulling her hair.
‘Surprise, dearie!’ a sudden voice shouted from seemingly out of nowhere. It was when Nightmare unexpectedly swooped up from the hole in the middle of the platform, his large demonic dark blue wings spread out to intimidate her, that Xeann foolishly lowered her guard. Nightmare immediately saw the opportunity, swooping down to harshly ram his sword handle into her stomach. Xeann was thrown back and out of one of the many holes in the tower.
‘Tough luck, little birdie!’ Horror shouted and the demons began laughing to spite her. Xeann snarled as she was thrown out onto an outside platform. She skidded on the icy surface, using one of her swords to dig into the ice and throw her body weight around it to shoot back into the tower.
‘Surprise, boys!’ she shouted once she shot through, her feet colliding into Horror’s face. The surprise attack sent Horror falling down the stairs. Nightmare froze as he watched his brother fall then grinned at Xeann while shooting up to the summit of the tower. Xeann growled as she ran up the stairs to chase him, keeping in mind that Horror would soon come chasing after her. She reached a door at the end of the staircase, slamming it open and accidentally throwing it off its hinges. Her boots crunched in the snow and she nearly fell over when she remembered she wasn’t wearing high heels.
‘Come to Horror, little birdie!’ Xeann wanted to shout in frustration when she heard Horror behind her. She turned abruptly, swords up to block Horror’s incoming attack. They began fighting again, except Xeann’s blows came harder than before. Horror felt his defence crumbling with every swing she threw at him, disarming him on the fourth blow. The edges of Xeann’s left sword began to glow blue and Xeann slashed it across Horror’s chest. To Horror’s, well horror, the blue lining around her sword was holy water. It burned into his skin, sending steam up into the air. Nightmare, who was still ascending the tower, stopped when he heard his brother scream and watched as Horror stumbled onto the ledge of the outside platform. Xeann slammed her foot into his crutch to hold him still, her face emotionless as the demon squirmed underneath her.
‘Go back to Hell, fiend,’ she said as she held up the handle of her left sword. It opened and more holy water poured out, splashing onto Horror’s face. Horror wailed in pain and in a final attempt to hurt Xeann, he lashed his hand out. Holy water flew from his hand and some splashed onto Xeann’s cheek. Xeann kicked him off the ledge when hot white pain flared from that splash of water, stumbling back and holding her gloved hand against the burning spot of flesh. Horror roared in pain as the holy water burned his face and body like acid eating away at flesh while he fell. Xeann breathed calmly, rubbing her cheek tenderly, pulling away and seeing in the reflection of her cheek in her armoured glove. She saw the spot of skin that the holy water had touched steam and leave a burnt mark. With a grimace she turned and looked up the next staircase where Nightmare stood, a scowl on his face.
‘You shall pay for that!’ he declared, lifting his sword and swooping down with his wings. Xeann didn’t prepare for the sudden attack and she was thrown off the platform, plummeting down into the frozen wasteland below her. She began clawing at her breastplate, pulling one off to reveal a small silver coloured button. She pressed it and turned her body so that her front was directed to the ground. Her armour whirred, clunked and clicked to let her shoulder pads fall. Large light metal wings, attached to her armour, spread out and flapped once to stop her from having a collision into the land, then again so she could safely land on the ground on her feet. She slipped when she realised that she wasn’t wearing high heels and landed harshly on her rump. Nightmare laughed loudly at her little slip-up and she glowered at him.
‘Stupid demons,’ she muttered to herself and got back up to her feet. A wave of dizziness hit her and she grunted, falling to one knee. It was a risk to release her wings from their compartments, it took up a lot of energy. But if she could just endure another seven minutes then perhaps it would be worth it if she managed to finish off this demon. Staring up at Nightmare, using a hand to shield her face from the blizzard, she grimaced when she noticed how far up he was. She was going to have to be strong. Taking a deep breath, her wings spread out and she shot up towards Nightmare. Nightmare just laughed and she began chasing him around the tower. Xeann became a little light-headed when she followed him up the tower, swords at the ready to cut Nightmare down. Her right sword began to glow blue with holy water to smite her opponent. She didn’t expect Nightmare to suddenly turn and tackle her when they reached the very top of the tower. She landed on the flat roof, gasping when Nightmare grabbed her right sword and shook it to release the holy water. She turned and managed to only get holy water on the back of her neck. She cried out in pain while Nightmare yelped when his hands got holy water on them, dropping her sword hastily.
‘My, my, a vampire that can use holy water,’ he commented while shaking his hands out and Xeann stood, left sword at the ready ‘That’s new.’ Xeann gasped as she felt fatigue catch up with her and swayed on the spot woozily. Nightmare grinned and she glared at him as he opened his mouth again. ‘Looks like you’re out of limit energy. Pity, I was so hoping for a more challenging fight.’ Xeann managed to smirk and stood up straight.
‘I have one more thing up my sleeve,’ she said and gasped as she swayed again.
‘You know,’ Nightmare ignored her ‘you’ve changed since we last met.’ Xeann froze and looked at him with a scowl.
‘We’ve never met before,’ she said and Nightmare laughed.
‘Oh yes we have, dearie,’ he grinned ‘I’m sure you would remember, it was about sixty five years ago…Bella?’ Xeann’s breath hitched at the name and she stared at Nightmare with wide, horror-stricken eyes. A searing pain shot through her mind as she remembered that painful memory which she had long forgotten.
‘No…’ she whispered and snarled ‘NO!’ Despair wracked through her body as she yelled at the top of her voice. Nightmare stepped back as shadows engulfed her body and Xeann was lifted, the shadows coiling around her legs and constricting around her chest to pose as a large dress. Xeann glared down at Nightmare with a snarl. ‘Things have changed now,’ she said ‘I never stopped training ever since that day.’
After the limit stage, with enough training, there is a final limit. The creature would be able to unlock an even more powerful power to use in their time of need. A final limit was a great risk though, as the creature will most likely experience a coma, amnesia, being paralyzed or even death. Each final limit puts pressure on the body so it will only last for a brief minute before it disappears. Nightmare whistled, impressed at Xeann’s new development.
‘I am impressed, dearie,’ he smirked ‘Very impressed. You’ve grown up.’ Xeann stuck her hands out and dark energy began to pool in between them. She took a deep breath as the tower shook and Nightmare took off to escape. Xeann fired the large ball once she saw him fly off and saw as it hit his shoulder, sending him spiralling down to the ground. Xeann then began to feel light as the shadows melted away and she was lowered to the ground. She lay on the snow covered roof, her vision blacking out as she fell into a coma.