Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
Fathers of Power Chapter 4: Paths of Ogal Hands (Part II)
Zedra’s body was wrapped in her fading red mana. Without her ability to shift around, Azar was keeping the pressure on her. She jumped back again, crying out as Azar’s sword grazed her and she felt a jerking shock. She could get no time to perform any magical technique. She and Azar battled in the blinding light that the mightier battle was emitting. Viknor and Hilda were still pressing all their strengths into what would probably be their final attacks of the battle, what could be their final attacks altogether. They cried in strain and struggle, the force of the beams of purple power pushing them back and making the earth collapse beneath them. Azar glanced over to the where Viknor was struggling. He had never seen two beams of mana clash for so long without either subduing the other. Their power levels seemed on par. Even in my prime of sorcery, I was never near the level of these two! Azar thought, humbled and frustrated by how strong theses sorcerers were. Not even my mother or that half-sister of hers could stand against them.
Azar froze up for a moment, just remembering where he had seen the woman before. Early in his childhood, his father had visited an oracle that was claimed to be able to tell one’s future. The then newly crowned king brought his infant child with him. Azar remembered nothing of what the woman told his father, or what his father said to her, but he now remembered clearly the creepy black dress patterned with skulls.
The six fifth-graders were giving Viknor more challenge than he had expected. Their attacks were far more coordinated and complimentary than those of the council he was a part of. The techniques weren’t extremely powerful or of high levels, but the teamwork made it that he had to be constantly fighting all six at once, and this was stressing on his mana. Quincy rushed at him again with his red swords. He had gotten much better on close combat, and was conserving his mana for what he knew would not be a quick battle. “Dammit!” Viknor cursed, blocking Quincy’s heavy strikes. Elissa was already upon him. *POOF!* He shifted to an escape. He glanced over at Jadena, who had just made an interesting summoning.
“Flame Bow!” A fiery bow appeared in her hands. As she drew it back and aimed at Viknor, a bow of unearthly fire materialized within it.
So Catherina has trained even these children to use elemental weapons.
“Niamer!” Hawthorne commanded, flashing red mana at Viknor. Elissa didn’t hesitate to fire the arrow at Viknor. The wizard dodged the arrow narrowly, Hawthorne’s suspension spell barely slowing him a little. There was a hot explosion as the dart of magic fire blasted the wall of the barrier. Red heat rippled against the walls quickly.
“Time to end this!” Viknor blasted, realizing that his mana was already at a pressing level and none of his enemies were dead or even seriously wounded. He spaceshifted in a cloud of black mana as his eyes blackened. Aredes’ power was now coming into play. He appeared beside one of the barrier walls and pressed a palm against it. A thick darkness spread across the walls in half a second, a darkness that the glow of ordinary mana could not penetrate. The six began panicking immediately.
“Lumos!” Hawthorne spelled, but that level of light spell could not enable their visions.
Summoning!” Viknor commanded.
“Edanerg Elit!” Catherina’s voice interrupted, and there was a blinding burst of light that tore the darkness apart faster than it had appeared. The burst of brightness had stirred up a wind. The six had shielded themselves in the dark. They held their shield still, their visions hazing back to normality. Catherina looked around, seeing everyone was alright.
Viknor hissed, glaring at the woman before him, her dress flowing in a majestic breeze of dying light. “She has recovered already,” Viknor said to himself, now thinking of retreat, but then suddenly remembering the barrier that was erected. The six had held him off until his mana was depleted, and now he faced Catherina again. Viknor’s eyes lost their darkness, maybe to Catherina’s powerful light, or maybe as Aredes’ power was completely drained. Or just maybe, Viknor’s will had finally suppressed Aredes’ enough.
“Excellently done, councillors!” the woman commended, “His mana is finished I can sense. You have proven to be even more efficient than the previous council.” Viknor became suddenly angry and offended at this statement. “Now strengthen the barrier and prepare for Ogal spell 97!”
“Understood!” With that, the seven Ogalites shifted to the walls of the barrier, three of the walls anyway – none of them went too close to Viknor. They pressed against the walls. “Barrier Fortification!” they chorused, forcing into the walls strong amounts of mana that spread to make the barrier even stronger. Viknor could sense that escape was even less possible than before.
He smiled. He felt his father’s will fading even more. “You finally give up, old man,” Viknor said. “You see, not even you can stand against Catherina and her council… She is a better leader than you could ever dream to be.” Viknor felt a slight pain in his head. He laughed, seeing how faint Aredes’ will had become, as his mana was all used up, or maybe as he saw that not even he could win against this team. Viknor slowly walked up to Catherina. The woman squinted a little, noticing a difference in the man’s eyes. She drifted off into thought, seeing the Viknor she knew years before.
“Will you not order us to kill him?” Quincy’s voice cut through her daze. Being brought back to her senses, Catherina summoned the lightning rod. She held it out toward Viknor.
“Lower your shields,” Catherina said, “our enemy is defeated.” With that, Catherina sent a bolt of lightning toward Viknor. He uttered a shriek of pain as the bolt struck him and pushed him quickly toward the black wall, shocking life out of him. He bashed against the wall of mana, the streak of lightning pinning him there to suffer. After a few seconds, the attack ended and he fell to his knees, electricity still buzzing about him, his clothes and flesh tattered and burnt. Catherina’s eyes widened as she saw on his face the boyish smile she was used to years ago. Then he fell flat on his face, looking dead. Her heart fluttered with mixed emotions and she released her weapon, making it disappear.
“My lady, can we now lower the barrier?” Hawthorne asked pleadingly, feeling light-headed. In order to keep its existence, the barrier constantly sapped mana from those who erected it.
“No!” Quincy demanded, “Not until we’re sure he’s dead!” Quincy spaceshifted and appeared just over Viknor’s body, holding up a sword to finish him.
“Stop at once!” his sister’s voice halted him. “Lower the barrier!” Catherina said, and as Hawthorne cut off her supply from the barrier, it was destabilized and it disappeared.
“What is this?” Quincy asked angrily and impatiently, glaring at his sister.
“Gather yourselves around him!” she commanded, ignoring Quincy. In a second, the councillors surrounded the dead-looking man. They saw his hand twitch. Catherina sighed, seeing he was still alive.
“Why do you now hesitate?” Viknor asked in a groan. Quincy himself wondered about the answer to this.
“We are not criminals,” Catherina said, “and are not governed by feelings. “We will abide by the laws and will refrain from killing an unarmed man.”
“What?!” Quincy was certainly not pleased.
“We will use an Ogal technique forbidden to all but the Ogal Council, and seal away his mana. Then this man will face the courts of law.”
“Are you insane?!” Quincy blasted, rousing his mana, “Have you forgotten--”
“Enough, little brother!” Catherina stood up.
“You—you traitor!” he blasted. The others said nothing. They all knew of what happened five years before.
“Hands of Oga, unite and cast upon this criminal a seal upon his magic!” With that, the councillors grabbed on to the wizard’s beaten and burnt body. They recited an ancient chant, and a bright light covered all of them. After moments, the incantation was ended. A weakness drew itself over all of them. “No longer a wizard, this criminal is now a mere man,” Catherina said, “and he will be tried and judged for his atrocities.” The councillor stepped back a bit as Viknor struggled to rise. He finally stood up, facing Catherina. Both Catherina and Quincy roused their mana. Viknor still felt, though faintly, the presence of his father with him. His face was sombre.
“I will let Quincy kill me,” Viknor said, “but there is something I must first do.” Quincy summoned his sword again.
“Be patient a while longer, Quincy,” Viknor said, still facing Catherina. He stepped forward quickly and grabbed on to the witch, and stealing a bit of her mana, having none of his own, he shifted out of the midst of them. He left behind black and purple mana.
Powered by Catherina’s mana, which was almost at the seventh grade, his shift brought him across continents, getting him to the furthest possible distance he could cover from Catherina. He landed in some random street, a headache and extreme dizziness grabbing hold of him. He struggled to fight a heavy weight that pressed breakingly against his consciousness. He soon passed out, and woke some time later in a cell he would spend decades sitting in. He sat against the cool, damp wall silently, not remembering and not really caring about how he got there. Probably soldiers had seen him appear in a cloud of mana and he was arrested. He knew at least that he was in a state where sorcery was illegal. He was bound by black ropes and trapped by bars that were painted with Zarium. There weren’t many cells like these around the world. He would meet Zedra in that same Magmalian prison years later, and other sorcerers with whom, decades later, he would team up with under a Magmalian prince in a war written of in prophecy.
For months, even years, Viknor would meditate silently, trying to enter the world inside him. His mind was always bombarded by memories of killing Lydia and Thimius, memories of taking Hilda’s sorcery away, memories of Catherina’s, of Quincy’s tears. Even through the bombardment, he finally managed to break through into the world he remembered facing his father in. He knew his sorcery wasn’t completely gone, as Aredes was strong enough to withstand the spell cast upon him by the council Catherina led. Still, the spell was not completely ineffective. Aredes was severely weakened. Viknor’s sorcery, which Aredes had protected with his will forged of black magic, was not entirely destroyed.
Viknor faced his father on the infinite white floor. On seeing his father, he found the strength to summon up sixth grade mana. “So you finally found your way here, and even before I managed to recover,” Aredes greeted him. “It appears your will’s strength has been severely underestimated by me… I will kill you then, and vanish in your death.” Black mana roused itself about Aredes.
“You will not be the one to kill me,” Viknor said, “it isn’t you who hold that right.” Viknor could feel that his mana was a tiny fraction of what it used to be. Dammit… With this amount of mana, I can’t perform any useful techniques…
“Correct,” Aredes said.
Viknor laughed a little. “I can sense that your mana is close to zero as well.” Aredes’ face straightened. They both relaxed their mana in conservation. Viknor summoned two purple swords.
“Air Cutter!” Aredes summoned, and a unique-looking blade appeared in his right hand. Aredes clenched its handle tightly, and what seemed like a glass meter that ran along the length of this blade was filled with blackness. “In this legendary blade made my Oga himself I have poured all my remaining mana,” Aredes said.
“One last lesson before we die,” the man began. “History speaks of one blade that Oga made, the one that ended up in Zakashi’s hands, the legendary unbreakable sword in which Zakashi’s spirit is said to dwell, and from which he protects his people even after his death. What many scholars don’t know is that years after, Oga made for his generations that would follow him a pair of blades called the Air Cutters. He used sapphire, steel and a bit of zarium, the bits left over after making the sacred vials that trapped the demon Maximo. I went out and searched for these swords, but I found only one. I sealed it within my will, so I have it here within you, even after death has stolen my body and soul. What this blade does is negate space entirely, so distance is meaningless. Now using this sword is a little heavy on mana, but since I’ve never used it before, I will resort to it now. Are you ready? Defend!”
With that, Aredes flashed a swing, though he was meters away from Viknor. Viknor raised his blades up in an awkward-feeling defence. He skated back as he felt the weight of a two-ton sword swung by a giant bashing against his. “I see,” Viknor said to himself.
“Now let us enjoy this battle, my son!” Aredes said, running up to Viknor, though it was far from necessary.
The fight against Aredes was long and repetitive, an everlasting dance of strange swordplay. Aredes laughed madly throughout the fight, babbling all kinds of things Viknor didn’t care to listen to. The arcane sorcerer used no spells, and Viknor got no chance to use any of his. The battle went on until Aredes’ mana was all used up. Then, after a final swing of the Air Cutter, Aredes’ body simply vanished into a black mist. Viknor fell in exhaustion, and panted until he awoke.
He heard a gasp and saw a blur of a quick movement to his right as his vision became less hazy. He glanced over at a shivering woman who stared at him like he was a ghost. His brows furrowed. Why was the woman in the cell next to him looking at him so strangely? When did she get here? he also wondered. His heart felt weak as he wondered just how much time had passed while he was fighting within himself. “What year is it?!” he asked, struggling in the ropes that bound his hands. Before the woman named Zedra could tell him that she had watched him sit with his eyes closed for about thirty years, he burst out into a random craze of laughter, his face wild.
“Is he mad?” Zedra asked herself. His laughter was somehow chilling to her. He could have no sensible conversation for many days. He would laugh at anything the guards or Zedra –who was the only prisoner close to him –would say. He became a lively entertainment to Zedra, whose days had become far less grim. She told him of stories he would forget the next day, and tried to learn more about him.
It seemed the battle he and Aredes fought destroyed crucial facets of his mind. He had no memory of Catherina, and had forgotten about the fight with Aredes altogether. After weeks, he began talking a little, but nothing of much intelligence. After many months, Zedra grew to love him in a strange kind of way. The mad old man would sometimes by chance remember some random thing from his past and would excitedly tell Zedra of it, but not with any sense of sombreness or nostalgia. He mostly remembered things of his childhood. His memories of his father began to return, the good ones, and his memories of this girl he was sure he loved. The days of Zedra and Viknor’s story times together would soon end though, as the Magmalian Prince would soon take Zedra away.
“No! Don’t take her from me!” Viknor called out to the prince, crying profusely. Zedra’s heart sunk as she watched him.
“My prince! I have a power that can end this war! My father! He was—”
“Enough, you old madman!” Azar snapped in annoyance. It was the time of the Black War, and the Magmalian prince was stressed and losing hope that the world would survive the war.
“Please!” the old man begged, forcing his head through the bars, his hands tied with special rope. “Don’t leave me behind! I can help!” Still in their ropes, lined up before the prince were eight prisoners, including Zedra.
“I just checked your mana level. You’re useless, old man, and your crimes are the worst in this prison. You’ll only be more trouble, even in a time like this!”
Time like this? Viknor wondered what was happening outside. He had heard distant noises and screaming and felt the earth tremor a few times before. Crimes? Viknor wondered why he was in prison. “No! Listen, my prince!” the man begged desperately.
“Come,” Azar told the eight, leaving with them.
“I have a power that can save the world!” the man declared, but Azar just hissed and left him behind. Indeed, Viknor had remembered some secret potion his father had left behind, and he knew that something was quite special about it.
Not long after, the prince did return for Viknor, as he was desperate, and needed every possibility of help he could get. Viknor fought with the prince in the world’s second bloodiest war, the Black War, that was ranked decades later to be even far more catastrophic than the Ionide War that occurred millennia before. It was said to be even comparable with the Battle of Gods, the world’s first war. After being by Azar’s side for a while, Viknor was given to Hercule as a gift from Magma Town. It was while he served the Prime Minister there he regained his memories. He had shifted to Notherland with dread in his heart, but all he found were graves of those he knew. The war had taken the woman he loved, the woman he had made to suffer. Missing from Herculean duty, he cried at Catherina’s grave for many days. He thought of suicide heavily, but resolved that he did not deserve such an easy way out. He returned to Hercule. While serving the Prime Minister, he would again meet some old friends.
The two mages lounged forward limply, panting, their bodies burnt by serious magic. The clash of the beams of mana had ended, and it seemed they had consumed one another. Viknor’s vision hazed slightly. “Tired already, Viknor?” Hilda asked, slightly tauntingly. Hilda glanced over to her student as she heard her make a nasty scream.
“Die!” Azar shouted in annoyance, his sword held out toward her. A bolt of current had rushed out and blasted into the tired witch who had no time to react. She was flung over meters. She landed, her body jerking in vile spasms, sparks of current about her. Azar felt a glorious rush through his blood. It had been a while since he had felt this way. He recased his sword quickly. A slight orange aura became more pronounced about him, until Viknor noticed that this energy was actually fire. The old man smiled a little.
“It seems the full complement of his powers is returning,” he said to himself. Azar stretched his right hand out toward Zedra, and fiery power concentrated about it.
“I’ve missed you dearly,” Azar muttered to himself with a smirk. Zedra struggled to stand. A massive flurry of flames rushed out to the woman, turning her into less than ash in moments. Azar lowered his smoking hand, flexing his muscles. He walked over to where Viknor was. “Seems you need some help, old man,” the prince said. Fire and electricity buzzed about him eagerly. He could also feel his mana climbing up, already nearing the fourth grade. They noticed the fabric of the world they were in disintegrating slowly.
“Know this,” Hilda said, “it is God who restored my power… With him on my side, when next we meet, I will overcome you.” Viknor’s eyes widened. Azar’s heart raced as he remembered how his powers were restored. God… The subdimension disappeared, and with it did Hilda.