It had mere inches to go, but the bullet never made it’s mark. Haryk heard his gun burst, and he felt the familiar power as the explosion of the black rock powder slammed against the back of the small metal projectile. His arm recoiled, and he waited to see the impact of his munition, the reaction caused by the explosive force within his father’s weapon. Most often this reaction was the satisfying thrust of his target through the air. But this time there was nothing–there was no reaction! The woman before him didn’t even flinch. The bullet simply exited the shaft of his weapon, stopped in midair, and fell to the chamber floor.
Hasai, her golden hair like wheat swirling in a strong wind, spun so fast Haryk couldn’t squeeze his finger again fast enough. Before he could do anything, her hand wrapped around his weapon yanking it out of his grip. She threw it across the worn stones of the small chamber. Andril pointed his finger at her, now finished with his spell. There was a loud crack just as the magical incantation was completed. Haryk had seen this one before. He jokingly called it the “Fucking Die Spell”. It was often the last thing the enemy saw too. Hasai though swiped her other hand aside, and Haryk felt a woosh of hot energy fly away from him and strike the chamber wall where she swept her hand. The force concussed the stones, shaking the entire room.
Haryk had only ever seen one person move so fast, and she was currently still hanging on the wall behind the woman now bearing down on him. It had been a long time since he had been disarmed. He reached for his sword at his side. Andril, face in shock at their adversary’s speed was obviously stunned she could simply wave his spell away. The mage ointed his staff at her. He muttered fiercely concentrating hard.
But Hasai was just too quick, and she was more than just a pretty face. Before Haryk had brought his sword around to swing, before Andril’s spell had completed, Hasai hissed out a magical incantation so fast, it made what the mage did feel like slow motion to Haryk. And now before he could blink, Haryk felt his feet leave the floor. He threw his arms out to stabilize himself in the air, but it wasn’t working very well. The room began to spin as he, Andril next to him, began to spin around, trying to gain his balance. That’s when he noticed the room growing larger. There were now too many things happening for the old soldier to keep track of. Haryk thrashed about wildly, slashing out with his sword, hitting only empty space. He cried out in his own version of a tiny squirrel voice, “Put me down, Beautiful!”
Hasai was now completely amused. Her smile was even wider and her eyes, glowing like blue aquamarine gems, gleamed at her prey. “My, my…if it isn’t the heroes! Come to save your guardian?! What fortune!”
“We didn’t come for him,” snapped Haryk’s tinny voice. He was still trying desperately to reach her with his weapon. “We came for the rogue!” As he spoke, the woman grew taller and taller–the room expanding outwards away from him in all directions.
“The street urchin?” Hasai’s voice now boomed out. She was nearly doubled over in laughter now, the echoes of which were like thunder to the little men. She seemed genuinely amused at their presence here. “You two! I should have known your deaths would be this easy-Instead of chasing you all over the isles, I could have just waited for you to show up!”
“Well, killing you was just a door prize,” piped Andril. He had found a way to stop his motion, but only just. His staff was still in his hand, and Haryk, wondered what he would do. He knew, the moment he pointed it at Hasai, she’d have something ready back, and he figured she’d be a quicker draw. Besides, how much is a mouse-sized magical missile going to hurt the sexy sex giant? Not a lot Haryk.
Unblinking, Hasai’s blue eyes moved closer to the now two little men, suspended in the air. Haryk watched her hand, now as large as a house come for him. All she’d have to do is squeeze and it would be all over. About the only thing I can do is give her a sword splinter.
At that exact moment, the fly which had been bothering the woman earlier flew in between her hand and the hovering little man she was reaching for. To Haryk, the buzzing sound was larger than life. The little insect changed directions and began to fly around the woman’s massive head right in front of him. Annoyed at being interrupted, she swiped at the little thing which had now landed behind her, possibly on her back. Hasai’s hand slapped at her back a second time, and this time it came up with a squirrel firmly gripping it with all of it’s might. Claws outstretched, the little beast squealed and hung on for dear life as the woman flailed her arm around in a large circle trying to get it off.
Somehow the absurdity of the moment struck Haryk as altogether funny. One minute he was about to get squished by a huge sexy manicured lady hand. The next he was falling next to Andril on the stones with a thud. He lost sight of the mage, but concentrating on his landing, he got lucky. Somehow, he found a way to bend his knees upon impact enough that he was able to roll outwards and then his luck got even better. For he was rolling towards the gun, lying on the floor. And somehow his luck got even better than that, because the weapon, which was now the size and thickness of several barrels laid end to end, was facing Hasai’s legs!
Haryk lunged with both hands out at the trigger, which were now as long as a rapier! With both arms and all his might, he pulled, careful to move aside of the barrel sized barrel. Bang! Went the discharge, and then Haryk’s luck hit the luck jackpot. Because Hasai was fully engaged with a squirrel, and she wasn’t a very good dancer either. His bullet, this time, struck home, striking her leg, shattering bone.
“Death by squirrel, you sexy bitch!!!!” Roared Haryk!
Hasai screamed in pain and fury–she flung her head around booming a curse that nearly knocked him off his feet. Haryk stared up at her, and watched her lift her massively huge and sexy foot to squash him. But what a way to go.
The foot came down like a speeding boulder off a hill. He was about to be jelly. And then, to his utter delight, Haryk saw through the one eye he was keeping open to witness his own death, that she had made a huge mistake. No, not so much huge, just regular-sized. For Haryk now saw behind her, Andril, and he was normal sized once more.
“I cast shut the fuck up!” Shouted Andril, and just like that Hasai’s foot hung in the air.
The squirrel circled around her back and clung now to her face, it’s bushy tail tickling her nose. It clamored down her frozen body and stood on it’s hind legs before Haryk. “Heeeeyyyy Haryk, it’s..”
“I KNOW WHO THE FUCK IT IS SQUIRREL BOY!” squeaked Haryk in the most high pitched voice ever.
“We don’t have much time, you fuckers!” Boomed Andril. “Get to the ring Haryk, squirrel boy come help me while I free….” He paused, peeking through a square hole in the massive wooden door behind him There was something making a loud raucous and it was getting louder. “Oh shit, we’ve got company fellas, full-grown company!”
Tahg, the squirrel, hopped over and up onto Ariea. He disappeared again behind her back for just a moment and in a flash, there was a small snapping noise. Areia fell upon the stones. Lifting herself up, she shook her head, rose in a push up and like a bolt of lightning ran at the frozen figure of Hasai, arms outstretched. Before making contact though, she struck something and was thrown back on the floor.
Not knowing how to help, Haryk dragged his weapon towards the ring. He wasn’t going anywhere without his family heirloom and he figured if he could just get the ring around the muzzle, it would come back to the other with him. It wasn’t a good plan, but there was little else he could do. Meanwhile, Andril fought the bonds that held Ulua to the wall. He was aided by the squirrel who was trying to chew them free, but these were proving far more difficult than Ariea’s. He barked at Areia to help, knowing the rogue would be able to find a solution to what was clearly not a magical means of binding a person to a metal ring embedded in a stone wall.
But Areia had slunk over to Abraxas, and was preoccupied entirely, cradling his head in her hands. She knelt before him on the stones, oblivious to anything else.
“Leave him Areia!” screamed Andril. “We have incoming company here, and although our blonde friend here can’t get to us yet, I can’t harm her either. We have only but seconds and I can’t shrink us all again.” Then, Andril placed his fingers to Ulua’s throat, and Haryk saw him shake his head. He began muttering the words to a spell and finished his thought while in deep meditation, “Come, it’s time to go. Ulua is dead. So will he be soon.”
Areia growled back at Andril, hissing like a wild animal. “You bastards,’ she cried tears streaming down her face, “He was never your enemy! He saved you, you cannot leave him!”
Haryk paused, and watched Abraxas’ eyes open. He looked up in Andril’s direction first. “You came?”
“To kill you! You bastard,” said Andril flatly, still focusing on the completion of his incantation.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Abraxas smiled choking and coughing out the words. His eyes fell on Tahg, still trying unsuccessfully to free the dead princess of the Ata.
Tahg-squirrel stood up on his hind legs, chirped and nodded his head. “Yes, Abraxas. I brought them! To save you!”
You little fucker! Haryk yelled in his head. He had nearly dragged the gun to the edge of the ring, but how to get the ring to stand upright, it was larger around now than his outstretched body!
Haryk didn’t know why, but at just that moment he stopped. Above him, Hasai was muttering her counter curse, and he knew without knowing how he knew that Andril’s temporary hold on her was breaking. He looked at Andril, and the squirrel who couldn’t undo Ulua’s bindings, she herself dead anyways. Then he looked to Areia, and finally to the dying man, thing, in her arms. Blood now coated her hands, and dripped upon the floor underneath him. Abraxas coughed up blood in an attempt to speak. “Do not be angry… Areia, do not be sad. I have lived many lives of men, much more than I cared to. I am tired, I have no fight left in me. Hasai is right. The last of my children are gone. My courage is gone. Go, you must. Go!”
Areia cried. “No, no Abraxas. No…my…my love. I will not leave you.”
With great effort, Abraxas lifted his hand to Areia’s tear-streaked face, placing them on her cheek. Haryk would never forget his final words for he spoke them perfectly, as the life, the many lives of men, left him. “There must be a light, to make a shadow, Areia Nightshade. Be the light. For the sake of….for the sake of us all…”
And in that moment, Abraxas the ancient breathed his last breath.
“Touching,” said Andril. He grabbed Areia by the shoulder. “Ulua is dead, we cannot free her, it’s time to go.”
Areia spun around, her silver hair shimmering, her pointy ears, lips and hands quivering.
Hasai was nearly done with her counterspell. “Hurry!” Yelled Haryk. “Hurry you fuckers!”
Areia pulled back from Andril’s grip, “Run you bastards, I was doing fine without you anyways!” She reached down and picked up a shattered piece of glass. “I’m going to stab her fucking dragon brains in just as soon as your shield comes..”
Just then a blue claw thrust through the small square hole in the door behind them. And something struck the door, and then another thing and another. The hinges of the door began to buckle. Hasai’s lips peeled apart. “Die, you will all die!!!!!!”