Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
Fathers of Power Chapter 3 Part II: Son of Aredes
“I already gave you children ample chance to escape. Now it’s too late for all of you,” Viknor said. “Embrace the afterlife!” Viknor slammed his hands together, his fingers cradled down into one another. “Poison Art! Miasmic Flare!” With that, there was a rush of light purple mana that spread from Viknor’s aura, covering miles in a moment. Viknor crouched, panting. He felt his mana regenerate almost instantly. He rested his palms on the ground. “Aredic Art! Mana blitz!” A black wave of what resembled seventh grade mana pulsed out from Viknor swiftly. Hilda held up a strong shield, but it was not struck by the black mist.
“What is this?” Hilda wondered aloud, looking about her. Floating even within the red shield was the strange mists of purple and black.
“So he can use even these techniques now,” the three heard Catherina mutter. She had an even more worrisome look on her face. “I wanted to die by Viknor’s hand in payment for my sin, but I can no longer afford to quench my own guilt… These techniques…”
“What are they?!” Hilda asked, beginning to feel a little pale.
“The purple mist is a poison brought forth by his sixth grade mana that spans miles probably. It is a corruption of raw mana. As we inhale it, it destroys our own mana by the second, and can eventually kill us.” Catherina saw the look of panic on her siblings’ faces. Even Hilda was quite worried. “The trouble is in the second technique he used. Years ago I encountered it while going through some of Aredes’ secret scrolls. This black mist prevents all sorcerers trapped in its range who are below sixth grade magic from spaceshifting… It only disappears when the caster dies or shifts away.” Hilda’s face grew even dimmer.
“Then we have to kill Viknor... And fast,” Hilda said. Even still, Hilda held on to the hope of somehow ending the conflict without bloodshed. She lowered the shield, remembering that mana conservation had become even more critical.
“I’m sorry, Viknor, but I cannot allow my siblings and my dear Hilda to pay for my sin. I will kill you… and marry you in hell.”
With her new resolve, she shot off toward her enemy, a thick red aura of great power about her. Red swords of mana in her hands, she reached up to Viknor in a jiffy. Her three companions were moving forward behind her, spreading out. “Die, traitors of the holy council!” Viknor raged, “Mana Cloak!” With that, a thick body of purple surrounded the man, giving him, though at a high cost of mana, speed and strength that were far superior to his enemies’. In a flash, he rushed up to Catherina. *SLAM!* There was no time for her to react, and shifting was impossible. A pulse of power flew off Viknor’s fist as he blasted her mightily.
What?! Hilda glanced back at Catherina, whose body rocketed into the ground heavily, breaking solid earth easily. She heard the woman cry out. *WHAM!* Hilda paid expensively for losing focus. Viknor, with his new strength and speed, sent her hurling off. She landed and rolled in the mists made by her enemy, but recovered to her feet quickly, bright red mana quickly healing her wounds.
“Abingush!” *BLAST!* There was a massive red explosion as Lydia sent a flood of mana at Viknor, a man she had never dreamed she would have to fight. No effect?! Viknor glanced over to the young witch. The look in his eyes seemed to paralyze her. Sister…
The man ignored the frightened Lydia and glanced over to where Catherina was lying, looking to be at a state nearing death. Hilda stood quickly and ran to stand before the fallen Catherina, facing Viknor. “Woman, get up already!” She blasted, sounding annoyed. Catherina struggled to her feet, her mana healing her.
“Summoning! Snake Nest!” Viknor commanded. A circle of darkness spanning a few meters in circumference appeared about him on the ground quickly. The witches’ eyes bulged as they saw massive black snakes rise from the shadowy circle about Viknor and speed malignantly toward them. Hilda tried to fix them a shield, but her head ached as she felt her mana hitting rock bottom.
“Fire Sphere!” they heard a voice command. Suddenly, as the snakes were coming to devour them, a hot sphere of flames encircled them. The snakes dived down into their fiery doom to be consumed by a magical fire that could not be made by rubbing stones together. As the red mana cleared, a friend was revealed.
“Why are you just now showing up?!” Hilda complained.
“Thimius, you came!” Catherina said.
“I can’t marry a dead woman I suppose,” he said, glancing at Hilda.
“We have to be quick and careful, Thimius,” Hilda said, “this is not the Viknor we used to train and laugh with. His power has spiked nastily. The mist about us prevents shifting and drains our mana.”
“Don’t tell me you think Viknor is stronger than me!”
“Are you listening to me?!” Hilda belted annoyed. Thimius could already feel his mana leaving him, and spaceshifting wasn’t an option.
“Fire art!” Thimius began, “Flame Angel!” In that second, a flurry of fire, probably summoned from the pits of hell itself, cloaked Thimius. Also, two gigantic wings of flames appeared on his back. A sword found itself in his right hand. The blade had a whitish colour, and was made from what would best be described as solid fire. Such a sword would have been able to cut through close to anything. Thimius flew off toward Viknor with a speed that effectively shook the air and stirred up a wind.
“Adamian Defense!” Viknor summoned, his eyes flashing black for a split second. As Thimius flew up to Viknor, the earth quaked as something none of the sorcerers had ever seen happened. Two gigantic hands made of hard rock emerged from the ground, up to the wrists. There was a loud rumble as the hands quickly interlocked around Viknor, fingers running down each other, covering the sorcerer completely. With a confident roar, Thimius bashed through the hard entrapment with his fiery speed. *POOF!* Viknor appeared atop the sphere of tight, giant hands, leaving Thimius alone within it. Viknor stooped and touched the ground he stood on; he was standing on one knuckle. As he used a healing technique that the other councillors thought could only repair flesh and blood, the opening in the Adamian shield was mended, leaving him well-trapped inside.
“Thimius!” Hilda cried out.
“Anam Resal!” Viknor commanded, holding one hand out toward the group of enemies. Hilda and Catherina countered the streak of mana with what felt like the last of their strengths.
“Anam Resal!” they commanded, and two bright red beams of power rushed up to meet the purple streak. Lydia and Quincy closed their eyes as the entities of magic clashed vilely. The witches cried out as they strained to counter Viknor’s power. The two younger sorcerers were already drained of their mana by Viknor’s earlier techniques. The air burnt with power and the four felt the heat of death. Viknor lowered his hand finally. The witches fell in weariness. They had countered Viknor’s attack, but there was nothing left in them.
“Descend,” Viknor commanded. Hilda’s heart gasped as the earth rumbled and the sphere of gripping hands sunk back down into it, her lover trapped inside.
“No! No! Viknor, please!” Hilda cried, finding the strength to return to her feet. By the time she could stand, it was far too late. Whether dead or alive, the earth had swallowed up Thimius on Viknor’s command, and the ground was level again. Hilda stared out at Viknor with a new expression. Viknor’s face remained cold and fixated. “Thimius!” Hilda raged, tears running down her face. The earth suffered beneath her as she roused a new strength. Catherina and the others could only look on as a purple aura of light surrounded Hilda, the power of sixth grade magic.
“Come!” Viknor called out to her. *POOF!* In a jiffy, two massive swords appeared in the woman’s hands. *POOF!* On reappearing, Hilda began swinging vilely at Viknor, who quickly materialized swords himself to defend against her attacks. With roars of utter rage and a heavy guilt she could not even quite understand, she struck at Viknor, but the wizard blocked her attacks and struck back with even more menace. *POOF!* Hilda shifted a few meters from Viknor, pointing one of her swords at him as she appeared. She channelled a stream of mana to rush forth from the blade toward her enemy. Without effort, as Viknor’s eyes flashed black another time, Viknor sent forth an even more powerful beam from one of his blades. The purple beams clashed brightly, but there was no competition as to which would prevail.
“Hilda!” Catherina bellowed as she watched a nasty, blinding explosion occur where her friend was. Still, Hilda rushed forth from the brightness toward Viknor. The man shifted out of the way as she swung at him, purple mana still accompanying her. Hilda shifted back to Catherina and her siblings.
“Dammit!” Hilda cursed.
“Hilda, this mana!” Catherina mused.
“With this mist, it’s still impossible for me to shift more than a few meters, so escape is still impossible. I feel this surge of power might soon reach its limit, so I’ll have to make use of it now or never.”
“What are you thinking?” Catherina asked, having a pretty good idea of Hilda’s answer.
“An Ogal spell.”
“Are you mad, woman?!”
“The cost is high, but if I don’t make use of this chance, we all die by Viknor’s hands. He has far more mana than I, so conventional fighting cannot do. I will enter his soul and fight him there. Even if I merely damage him, he might end up losing his magic temporarily as a result, and then we could take it from there easily.”
“Hilda…” Catherina said. Hilda hissed, then stepped toward Viknor.
“Oga Art!” the witch commanded, her purple mana flaring about her. Viknor’s eyes narrowed a little, and a bit of darkness flashed in them. I see. I’ll meet you half way then.
“Spirit Shift!” The two commanded at once, jetting off toward each other, Hilda’s body covered in a host of light, Viknor’s swarmed by a dense and eerie darkness. As the two met, there was a burst of what can only be described as black light, or maybe blindingly bright darkness. The three onlookers covered their eyes in reflex.
Hilda and Viknor found themselves in a strange dreamscape, a realm separated from their world by more than time and space, somewhere in the massive gap between life and death, physicalness and intangibility. It was a place, or maybe even a state, that language could never fully explain. Hilda felt like she had to focus real hard to keep her consciousness from being diffused into this realm. As she focused on the man in the distance before her, the place seemed to materialize and her existence felt less forced. She found herself on a floor of space. So Viknor used this technique at the same time I did… Hilda thought. It seems I am not in his soul… but neither am I in mine… So where is this place?
“You see,” a voice came from behind her. She turned quickly in fright. She was shocked wordless and motionless for a moment.
“Lord Aredes…” Hilda even bowed slightly.
“If one battles within his own soul, he is liable to suffer great loss, even he defeats his enemy.”
“You see, two worlds coexist on every plane, in every dimension, the world of the physical and the world of the abstract.” He spoke as he normally did, as if this meeting was a usual one. Hilda saw black mana thickly misted about the man who taught her everything she knew about magic. “The fabric that holds these two worlds together is existence. Hence, these worlds are one and the same; they mirror each other.”
“I don’t understand.”
“That’s why I’m teaching you,” the man said. “For each element of life that exists over there, exists here a realm that reflects it in a slightly different form. If you want to get a good image of this side of the coin, picture time and space as one entity, say a sea. Within the sea are an uncountable number of bubbles, each paralleled to a life, whether of a man, a tree, a butterfly, whatever. Within each bubble is a small world in which matter is indefinite. Based on the strength of one’s mind, one, if they enter this side of themselves, they can see physical manifestations of abstract things like emotions, memories, abilities. At your level, you might be able only to see a white floor in your spirit realm, which is your knowledge of being in existence, the most basic knowledge. I, though, see a world close to that on the other side, trees, skies, even things you cannot imagine, and I understand what each thing represents.
“Now, with the technique you just now used, you attempted to extend your own consciousness to reach my bubble. In there, you could, even accidentally, destroy important things. What I did was to meet you in that space between both our bubbles, so we’re in an unallocated part of this abstract realm where time does not exist.” Hilda’s brows crawled together and her heart raced as she tried to understand.
“Where… Where is Viknor?”
“Somewhere about,” Aredes said, flashing his hand behind him carelessly. “I am in control here.”
Hilda crouched and held her forehead. She felt her mind spinning rapidly, and it was a strange and terrifying feeling. “Oh don’t mind that,” she heard Aredes say, “I am just taking us out of this middle-ground and to your own bubble.” Moments later, the tense feeling ended and the woman could stand again. She looked around. All she saw was a white floor. “Now I will lend you my eyes,” Aredes said, then appeared before Hilda and touched her. Suddenly, the bare space began to transform into a lively world. The sky was strange. Some parts were blackly dark and some were very bright. There were many things Hilda couldn’t quite identify, but she was sure she saw trees, and stars that looked too big and close to be real. “Now,” Aredes said to the frightened woman, “most so-called geniuses would fight you here and struggle to kill you. The most that would do though is limit or probably delete your sorcery. I would have to destroy the whole bubble to really kill you, but don’t fret, I’ll only remove your powers.” The woman’s eyes widened. “I won’t fight though – it’s much simpler than that. Come with me.” Hilda found herself in a spaceshift. She and Aredes appeared in a field of what seemed like an infinite number of flowers. She mused at the beauty, though it was all eerie to her. “It’s funny; the limit of what exists here depends on whether someone here knows it exists. In that, if another person was here with you in place of me, there would only be a blank floor made physical, and so none of all of this would really be at risk.” The man bent down and uprooted a small flower from the ground. “This is your sorcery, this particular little flower.
“It would have died soon anyway, but I got rid of it from now so you can’t even fight me in here, not that you would be too troublesome anyway.” Hilda tried to summon up some mana, but nothing happened. “Not to worry, you won’t remember any of this. On my way out, I will remove your memories of our meeting. I simply miss lecturing you, you see.” With that, Aredes vanished in a black cloud.
All that happened within the jiffy that Viknor’s eyes flashed darkly. Catherina watched as Hilda collapsed before Viknor. “What?! Hilda!” the woman called. Viknor bent and picked up the flimsy-looking Hilda who didn’t look like more than a corpse. Catherina stood up, struggling to keep her consciousness intact against the mists’ effects. Her siblings were on the ground, even less conscious that her. Viknor tossed Hilda aside effortlessly, flinging her body over meters. The woman made a hard hit and rolled, lifting dust to thicken the miasmic fog.
“And finally you three. You will die together,” Viknor declared, “And I will save you for last, Catherina.” Viknor gathered his right fingers and a dagger appeared in the hollow if his palm. “You killed my father with daggers, didn’t you? Now you get to watch your brother and sister die in like manner.” Catherina shook her head quickly, tears running down her face. She grabbed on to Quincy and Lydia tightly. They clutched on to her with the little energy they had left. There was a sudden crash in the skies and rain poured down on the three. Lydia clenched her feet in the mud, grabbing on to her sister faintly. Viknor walked up toward them slowly. He stooped down before them and grabbed Lydia roughly, forcing her up out of Catherina’s hands by her throat. Lydia was too feeble even to support her own weight. Catherina staggered to stand, but only to slip and fall back down into the mud. Rain drenched her. Viknor took a few backward steps, Lydia roughly gripped by one hand and the long dagger at her throat.
“Viknor…” Catherina’s voice was almost completely gone. The look on her face was nothing short of pitiful. She looked into Viknor’s eyes, and she saw that the Viknor she once knew was no longer there.
“Si…s…ter…” Lydia groaned, looking down at Catherina with a disturbingly fearful countenance.
“No…” Quincy muttered, looking up at his sister, having no strength to move.
“Watch, you murderer,” Catherina heard Viknor’s icy voice beckon. *SLUSH!* The man jammed the dagger in Lydia’s neck. Her eyes rolled over and blood flooded down her. Catherina gasped as she watched Viknor slowly rip through her sister’s throat with the cold blade. Viknor tossed the woman aside, her head and body almost completely separated. Catherina cast her eyes to follow Lydia’s body as it struck the ground. She held tightly to Quincy, who looked dead also. Her muscles weakened and her brother fell from her hands. The witch shook profusely, a wild look in her eyes. Her pupils bobbed and jittered as she struggled to accept what was real. She felt an emptiness that was next to maddening, a darkness that consumed her.
All of a sudden, she felt a fearlessness that was strange to her, and a sudden strength. She stood almost easily, and her tears stopped flowing. “We both die here… I will marry you in hell…” A sudden wind brewed about her and a rich purple mana flooded her being, two massive blades of purple power appearing in her hands, no expression whatsoever on her face. She reached up to Viknor in a flash, making two swings at him. *POOF!* He shifted back, narrowly keeping his head. Catherina looked back down at Lydia, and her face lost its deadness. She glanced back at Quincy, and over at Hilda who was also probably dead. “DIE!” she bellowed hoarsely, rushing on to Viknor at a speed that caused cracks to run through the earth.