Dark and Light

Dark and Light

A Story by NoblePariah
"

A man gets an unwanted visit from an old freind.

"

     Arnold twisted the top of his cheap whiskey bottle till he heard the crack that meant the seal was broken. He hated the cheap stuff, but it was just that, cheap. The price range of an alcoholic was rather low especially because of his dead end night job as a cashier at a 7-11. He poured the whiskey into a double shot, hoping to down as much as possible before the taste set in. Swallowing the drink, shook his head in disgust. He felt droplets fall into his beard, but didn't feel inclined to wipe at them.

      Picking up a loose cigarette he had set on the wooden side table, he held it with his lips as he lit the end with his rune-covered Zippo. Immediately, he regretted the decision, as his memories came back in a flood. She had given him that lighter. He tried to silence the demons with another double shot that, somehow, tasted even worse than the first.

      He took another puff from the cigarette, sighing out the smoke as the nicotine began to kick in, then tapping the ash off the end and onto the floor. They were the one thing he carried from his old life, before he found out what he was.

      “That's a good way to start a fire, A,” said a painfully familiar voice.

      Pointing toward the door, Arnold replied, “Yeah? And that's a good way to leave my apartment. I thought I told you to quit showing up in my living room.”

      “Come on, do you really have to be so cliché about your depression? Seriously, you're a mage... not to mention the physical embodiment of darkness in this world. At least be creative.”

      “I prefer to steer clear of magic, and your damned war. What has it brought me, but a s**t storm?”

      “It brought you her” the voice said softly from behind him.

     “Yeah, Eumann, it did bring bring her to me,” he said, a clear edge in his voice. Pausing, he stood and with the hand holding the whiskey glass, pointed a finger at the man, “and then it dissolved her, right in front of me. So thanks recruiting me for that damned mission, I really owe all I am today to you. Prick.”

      At that moment, Arnold heard one of the few things that could surprise him at this point in his life. An Old One apologizing. Their mysterious order had been a pain in the a*s since they began training him. He didn't hate them, or Eumann, but he had not had the chance to unleash his anger.

      “I'm sorry, Arnold. Truly, I am, but can you explain to me how this helps? You saved the world, man,” he said, his jaw tensing as he clearly wrestled with his pride.

      “Funny, I've never heard one of you apologize, you're all just suit-wearing a*s hats. Especially you, you're too arrogant not to defend your actions.. You want something.”

      “Don't forget why I called upon you!” he pleaded. “Old Ones are the protectors! I warned you so that you could save us all, if I hadn't we'd all be dead. That includes her.”

      “Yeah, dead and better off. Whatever it is, I want no part in it. Now get the hell out of my house, before I remind you of why you picked me to save your sorry hides,” Arnold spat, moving back towards his armchair.

      “What if I said she isn't dead? What if I said she is alive, but she is in the worst suffering imaginable?”

Arnold felt hope cross his mind before it was replaced by anger. In one quick motion, he spun on his heel letting his whiskey glass fall to the floor, shattering on impact and raising his now outstretched hand towards Eumann. The Old One flung against the brick wall, his back cracking it with the force of the impact.

      Arnold was making the light in the room disappear into his left fist as he closed it, causing a noticeable drop in temperature. “I swear you b*****d, if you hurt her, or if your lying to me, I will end you.”

      “I'm telling the truth, I swear! It's not the Old Ones that have her it's the light! They assimilated her!” he said, quickly. The expression on his face was as close to fear as it would ever get.

       Arnold released him, along with his hold on the light in the room and asked, “how long have you known?”

      “We just learned that she's the host, I promise.”

      “I believe you, but know I'll destroy all of your kind if your lying.”

      Standing and trying to dust of his suit Eumann said, “I know you're not going to believe this, but all we want is to save your people.”

      “Yeah I'm sure saving your own skins' has nothing to do with it. Let's just get this over with.”

"""""

      “What the hell is that thing?” Arnold asked, gesturing towards the dog-sized lizard creature that Eumann had brought with them.

      “It's a volug, they sense imbalance in the world. The kind the Light makes when it vaporizes or blinds people,” Eumann replied petting the creature between two bulging black eyes. The creature blinked several times and turned his head in a jerking motion towards Arnold.

      “Damn, it's uglier than you are and I'd given up hope of seeing that,” he said, putting his hand on his chin looking back and forth between the two. Eumann looked human, and could easily be mistaken for such. He had a long jaw line, brown hair and a goatee. The one difference was his eyes, which were a color Arnold had never seen before, they were indescribable. Though, he wore sunglasses to hide that feature to blend with humans.

      Ignoring the remark, Eumann looked at Arnold seriously and asked, “are you ready for this? Remember the Light always tries to extinguish all darkness, especially you. You can't let that happen, too much light blinds the world, you must temper it.”

      “I'm ready. Seriously though, less pep talk, it works better when you don't use the exact same

one that you used last time.”

      “It remains true.”

      “Whatever, is your ugly duckling there ready to go?” Arnold asked, once again gesturing

towards the Volug.

      “It's ready. Remember, one of the other Old Ones is going to meet us inside.”

      “Awesome, because if there's one thing that I need right now, it's more of you,” Arnold said sarcastically, gesturing for Eumann to lead the way.

      As they began walking, Arnold's mind turned to the oncoming battle. His heart sank at the very idea of fighting Lea, but he knew that not doing it would leave her to a fate worse than death. I just have to free her, he told himself. He welcomed the thought of death, he had naught but painful memories to go back to.

The warehouse they were in was far bigger on the inside than it had any right to be from the outside appearance. Clearly magic was used to make the inside larger, which Arnold knew meant one thing; trouble. They clearly knew that they were going to be attacked.

      A stench wafted through the air as they took a corner around some old, crumbling dry wall, causing Arnold to pull his shirt over his nose. It was a smell he recognized all too well. “There are dead bodies around here,” he said, in answer to Eumann's questioning glance. That was the one thing that had always puzzled Arnold, the Old Ones' absence of a sense of smell.

      Arnold's sarcastic remark about their lack of smell was cut short as they found the source of the terrible odor. Six bodies, dressed in the same uniform of the company that owned the warehouse, were sprawled across the stone floor, in an alcove made with several plastic wrapped pallets. There were also several spots where there was a black outline against the stone or one of the pallets. Each of the bodies had their eyes and eyelids

missing, the area where they should have been was simply a gaping hole of red.

      Arnold had seen the product of the Light many times before, but he still cringed at the gruesome sight before him. “Seriously, why is the Light so damn evil? I thought I was supposed to be the bad guy here.”

      Eumann made a gesture and the Volug stopped moving and sat down. He then looked at Arnold very seriously and said, “You are the complete opposite of a bad guy, you know that. The Light has always been this way, it doesn't hide itself, it simply tries to spread, to make everyone and everything perish. The hardest thing for a good man to understand is why evil does what it does. That is why they had me unlock your power that day, because you are a good man.

      For the first time, Arnold actually appreciated something Eumann had said, nodding to him slightly, they continued to follow the Volug. It soon began to walk quickly, taking several steps and blinking multiple times between each one.

      “Uhh, your thing is freaking out. I assume that means the Light is nearby?” Arnold asked.

      “Yes, it's close.”

      It was not long before the hanging florescent lights overhead began to grow brighter than they should have been, the sign that they were extremely close. Eumann made another gesture at the Volug, seemingly releasing it and telling it to leave the building. The pair put their backs to a set of wooden pallets and slowly peered around opposing sides to get a look at what they would be facing.

      Arnold's eyes searched the overly bright area for Lea's familiar form, finding her standing in the middle of an open area. She was just as beautiful as he remembered, long brown hair that went down to her shoulders, her delicate lips. There were only two things missing; her amber eyes were white with the Light's power and her ever-present smile was nowhere to be found. His head was a confused mix of emotions he felt elation at seeing her again, but he had to fight her, to kill her, for her

own good. Looking at Eumann, they nodded at each other, each as each began to

prepare.

      Arnold began to summon the shadows to his aid in preparation for the fight. A cloak of moving blackness began forming at his feet as dark tendrils licked at his jeans. He felt it work its way up to his head, finally forming the last piece when it made the hood that covered half of his eyes, to shield them from the light. He clenched his fists, breathing slowly as he prepared himself for the coming fight.

      Looking over at Eumann, who had drawn a sword seemingly from nowhere, they once again nodded as a sign that it was time to attack. They ran out from behind thee pallet and straight for where Lea had been. To their surprise, she was gone. They both looked in different directions in an attempt to find her. Hearing the slightest sound of fabric moving in the wind, Arnold turned just in time to see her rushing at him. She had one hand in front of her and the other pulled back like a claw, ready to strike at his face.

      He was too quick to fall for the ruse though, punching upwards and catching her under the jaw. It felt like he had betrayed her, but he knew that he must press the attack, lest she be made to suffer more.

      She stumbled backwards from the force of the blow, but quickly caught herself on all fours, giving her the appearance of a wild beast. Her eyes began to glow brighter and brighter as she stared at Arnold, preparing her attack in a clear attempt to burn out his eyes. He braced himself for the attack, but before she could finish charging, Eumann slashed at her from behind. She ducked the blow and rolled out of the way to put her back to the wall.

       “She's faster than the last embodiment, we have to be careful or she'll overspread the light and vaporize us,” Eumann said, quickly.

      “I know,” Arnold said. He had immediately noticed the change, and had adjusted his tactics accordingly.

      He attacked, concentrating his magic into his right hand, ready to unleash the built up power on contact. His punch connected, knocking her off balance causing her to stumble backwards into a set of wooden pallets. Again he felt a pang of guilt, but he was distracted when a massive burst of focused kinetic energy slammed into his ribcage, breaking at least one of his ribs. As he stumbled to the side he

heard Eumann exclaim, “No! Balthor?! What have you done?!”

      It was the first time he had heard full on fear in the Old One's voice and that alone scared the hell out of him. Arnold rolled over, grasping his side lightly, as he made an attempt to stand. He followed Eumann's gaze finding his attacker. It was undeniably an Old One, and to Arnold's absolute terror, it had the signature glowing white eyes of the Light.

      “Eumann, what the hell? I didn't even know you guys could be taken over,” Arnold said, carefully flicking his gaze between Balthor and the now moving boxes where Lea had fallen.

      “We can't unless we allow it to happen. Balthor, you would betray our order? You would betray the very world we were made to protect?” Eumann said, growing more angry than Arnold had ever seen him.

      “Oh, Eumann, always the most noble of us, how foolish you are. I am not the one who betrayed our order, you are. We are all in this vessel, the light came to us with the offer of immortality and ultimate power after your favorite little mortal defeated it. We knew you would not turn, so we tricked you into setting this trap. The only reason I haven't killed you yet is because we are going to offer you to join the winning side,” Balthor said, not bothering to look at Arnold.

      Eumann was clearly having trouble even processing the situation. He opened,his mouth as if to say something, but each time he simply closed it, adopting a more confounded look each time he did so.    
     “Arnold, I have a favor to ask you,” said Eumann, his voice shaking tones with quiet fury. Help me destroy this abomination, and save the memory of my people.”

      “That, I can do,” Arnold said, adopting a smile as he blacked out the world behind him, calling all of the shadows that he could to his aid.
       At that moment Arnold gained no small amount of respect for the being with whom he had once saved the world.

      Arnold felt several pangs of guilt for his insults of the Old One, while they had both been surprised by the betrayal, Eumann was clearly floored at having the order that had been his life betray him and cast him aside. Arnold looked at Balthor, his adrenaline pumping as his anger raised. “I'm going to make sure you die painfully.,” Arnold said, raising his arm to his rib and resetting the bone to start the healing process. He ignored the massive amount of pain that it caused.

      “Bravery was never your problem mortal, arrogance was,” retorted Balthor, his tone dismissive.

      Lea pushed her way through the final broken pallets, taking her place next to Balthor. Her skin was a blueish color from the ice spell Arnold had woven into his punch.

The pair didn't miss a beat, both sprinting at Arnold beginning to grow brighter with each moment. Just before they hit, he pulled his dark hood over his eyes and stepped back into the shadows he had created behind him. From there he pushed with all his might against the light they were creating, and distracting them for Eumann to sneak up on them with his sword. The strength that the Light produced was ten fold what it was the previous time they had fought, due to the addition of the

Old Ones' power.

      They pushed at the wall of blackness that he had put up, quickly weakening him to one knee before Eumann unleashed a surprise attack. Lea caught his sword, releasing some of the pressure on Arnold, though he was still struggling to hold his ground, let alone gain any. He had been conserving the actual magic to use strategically, as he knew he didn't have much to work with.

      He tensed his arms, and felt the magic flow from his chest and into his arms as he released it at Bathlor in the form of six massive bolts of ice. As they broke the barrier and propelled Balthor backwards, Arnold manipulated the particles and how fast they moved, heating them as they the body made contact with the wall. Instantly, he refroze them when the water had covered the host's body, temporarily immobilizing him.

      “Arnold! We need to use the back-up plan from last time! Don't you get it? We're fighting all of the Old Ones!” said Eumann, ducking a blow from Lea.

      “No! We can beat them!” Arnold replied as he extinguished lights around Balthor.

      A shattering noise was followed by a sudden bright light from Balthor's body as it was covered with blue flames from head to toe. “Boy I was using magic before you could walk! You think parlor tricks will work on me!?”

      “A, we need to use the plan! We're outmatched! Let me do my duty!” yelled Eumann, slashing, unsuccessfully at Lea with an upward swing. “They were my people! It's going to happen whether you help or not, so I beg you, just help me regain my honor!”

      Before Arnold could answer he was flung against the wall, denting the metal. He coughed blood and wiped his lip. “Eumann, I'm sorry.” Arnold said, summoning the final reserves of his power.

     He knew that if he hadn't acted at that moment, then they would lose the ability to do it at all. Now that they Balthor heard him say it, they would figure out what it was that Eumann spoke of. Using magic had been burning calories quickly, but he still had enough left for the trap. He shut his eyes, breathing in slowly as he cast the first spell. He drew not only upon his strength, but also Eumann's life energy, filling his veins with liquid fire.

      He opened his eyes... and activated the trap spell. The battlefield instantly slowed, including Balthor, who had been sprinting towards Arnold, but now moved slowly. He looked at Eumann and Lea, both staring at each other, frozen in their unrelenting fight. When he walked over to the pair, he realized that slight smirk on Eumann's face.

      Arnold could not smile, this was the second time he had to watch a friend die at the hands of the Light. As he began to form dark and compress the darkness in his hand, he felt Eumann's life energy begin to flow forth. The black ball continued to compress and build, making it heavier. He put a hand on the final Old One's shoulder, and said, “Goodbye, old friend. I will continue to guard against the Light in your absence. He knew the Old One would not hear the words.

      Arnold felt a lump in his throat as he stared at Lea, tracing the lines of her face as he folded the darkness that would steal her away... again. He put his finger and thumb around her jaw, kissing her lightly on the lips, ignoring the feral snarl. Feeling cold emanating from from the condensing dark sphere, he put it on the ground thought of his destination, outside of the warehouse.     

     He felt the rush as he flew through the portal. He stood across the street and watched as his control over the magic, and Eumann's life force broke with the distance. The building began to creak and crumple as it compressed

into increasingly smaller sections. After a few moments, watched the warehouse disappear. He had saved the world. Yet, somehow, he hated himself for it. On the way back home he bought a bottle of cheap whiskey and a pack of cigarettes.

© 2013 NoblePariah


Author's Note

NoblePariah
It's still a first draft, any opinions welcome.

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Reviews

This is very well written. I love the story, and your description appears to be very well thought out. I always find it hard to write about fight scenes, but you do it very well. This was a very refreshing story.

Everything flows wonderfully, it was not rushed as everything was explained very well.

Good luck!


Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on March 19, 2013
Last Updated on April 14, 2013
Tags: Dark and Light, Dark, Light, Magic

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NoblePariah
NoblePariah

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I am a writer trying to better myself in the craft. I'm 22 and in college, pursuing a degree in creative writing. Please don't add me and send me a read request without reviewing a piece of my work. .. more..

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A Story by NoblePariah