Book Three Chapter Eight: Soldiers Of Fate

Book Three Chapter Eight: Soldiers Of Fate

A Chapter by Ryan Henderson

Chapter Eight Soldiers of Fate: Drottingheim was beautiful. It had rust colored peaks and rocks as far as the eye can see, we arrived at a mountain top that had a flat surface that was a few kilometers across, and had nooks, crannies and boulders all over. It was the tallest peak in all of the land, as far as I could tell. The sky above blazed orange-yellow, as if the heavens were bathed in a warm glow. The sky looked as though it were shimmering, moving even. There was a massive valley that would easily dwarf the Grand Canyon that was a few hundred feet below. My friends then fell next to me. Then the soldiers. Then... The council of the Black Reqrium.

            The council of the Black Reqrium fell to the ground and stood up immediately. I heard automatic gunfire going off, and a hailstorm of bullets flew at the council of the Black Reqrium. Instantly, way before the bullets hit them, they all found cover behind a boulder, or in a crack or crevice. I readied my hunting rifle. I saw movement behind a boulder twenty feet away, and I saw Serita. She hurled a fireball at our group, causing us to scatter, no one was hit. Just then, Kenneth leaned around his boulder and shot lightning at me, I ducked and rolled behind a boulder nearby, my fear was at its peak.

            I heard no more gunfire. Were the soldiers out of ammunition? I leaned around my boulder, seeing no apparent threat. I started to walk out, and was almost cooked by a bolt of lightning from Kenneth. I saw him, his deep blue eye blazed in the fire like glow cast from the sky. I rolled back into cover just before the bolt of lightning hit me. I saw Kaleen was behind the boulder next to me. I looked to her. "Any ideas?" I whispered. She shrugged. I'll take that as a no. I peeked out from above my boulder. A fireball twice the size of my head was already sailing at me. Fear billowed up from my gut and out my mouth in the form of a scream of terror. I crouched behind the boulder again, narrowly avoiding being roasted.

            Come on! I had to have some kind of power like that! Saja said that I have countless powers waiting to be discovered, opening portals to worlds was cool, but I couldn't kill Vladimir or his council with that, and I couldn't peek up to shot them without getting fried. I clutched my rifle in my hands, sitting with my back against the boulder. I had no ideas. I tried peeking out again, but a lightning bolt hit the ground next to me. I quickly got back into cover. I then felt the boulder kick against my back. Uh oh. I felt it kick three more times. I looked at it. It was starting to crack. I ran into cover with Kaleen, just as the boulder I was hiding behind shattered in a burst of flame and lightning. The rock sent fragments everywhere when it exploded, I was hit with some small rock fragments. Then an idea hit me.

            The rock fragments were just like shrapnel. I had a grenade. I had almost forgotten! I also had a flare gun, flares, and a pistol. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the small grenade. I clutched it tightly. I nodded to myself, preparing myself for what I was about to do. I peaked up, and was there for a split second when a bolt of lightning soared towards me. I ducked. I had to get an angle on the council, I had to figure out where they were hiding so I could maximize the grenade's effectiveness. I looked to Kaleen. "I'm going to use this, but I can't get up there long enough to get an angle on them, I don't even know where they are." I said. Kaleen grinned. She had a plan.

            Kaleen looked into my eyes. Her crimson irises glistened in the light cast from the sky, the smoldering fire color of the sky gave Drottingheim its beauty. "Remember what my talent is?" She asked me. I then recalled. Kaleen could fuddle a group's thoughts, like she had done to Hale and I at that one house where she first discovered her power. I smiled and nodded. She peaked upwards, and didn't get fried. I put the grenade away, and took my hunting rifle into my arms, I leaned around the boulder and looked down the sight. I saw movement from the side of a boulder, someone must have just taken cover. I waited for the movement to come again, but it didn't.

            I scanned the other boulders. "Hurry up, Nick. I can't do this much... Longer!" I heard Kaleen say. I then saw movement behind a boulder a hundred feet away. I held my breath to steady my hand. I saw the faint image of a limb. An elbow or a knee by the looks of it. I held the crosshair steady, placed the limb in the center of the crosshair, and pulled the trigger. The rifle kicked against my shoulder, the barrel flared and I loaded a new bullet into the chamber. I leaned back into cover. I heard a muffled cry of pain shortly afterwards. I had hit someone, but who? I felt a consciousness oppress my own. I faintly saw cerulean colored eyes in my vision. Come out of there. Ordered Silver's voice. I shook my head, trying to dislodge her presence from my mind.

            I kept shaking my head, but her presence in my mind did not fade. I looked over to see Kaleen's reaction was much the same as mine, I could only assume that my friend's reactions were similar. "Get out of my head, Silver!" I heard Hale shout. I heard the sound of metal hitting stone. I knew what it was. It was the sound of the soldiers dropping their rifles. I looked to Kaleen, my thoughts were starting to become what Silver wanted them to be. "Kaleen... Can you... Stun them? I asked her, my mental welfare was quickly fading. Kaleen shook her head. "I need... A second of... Clarity." She said. She and I could not hold off for much longer.

            In a few more seconds, I broke. So did Kaleen. My resistance was grinded away to nothing, and I started to walk out from behind the boulder, my limbs moving, I was willing them to, but Silver was making me will them to. It was confusing. I came around the boulder. I saw Serita and Kenneth staring at Kaleen and I, their hands held out. I saw my friends were walking out from behind their boulders. Once we were all in line, I saw a change in Serita and Kenneth's statures. They were getting ready to kill us, much like a firing squad would stand ready to slaughter criminal offenders.

            I saw the fire forming in Serita's hands, and I saw a blue tint go into the air around Kenneth. Fear filled me to the brim. This is it. This is where I die. I thought hopelessly to myself. I saw the two elements coming towards us. Time seemed to slow down. Just then, there was movement to my right. I looked forward to face my impending death. I saw the fire and the lightning flying through the air at my friends and I. It came closer, and closer. It was five feet away, four, three, two...

            The lightning and fire never hit us. For I now knew what that movement to my right was. It was a soldier sprinting at full speed at us. He saved our lives that day, and that will never be forgotten. His face, as he dove through the air right before the fire and lightning hit him will forever be engraved in my memory. It was a look of fear, and determination. Courage, and the knowledge of sacrifice. Lastly, his face was filled with an expression of duty, and an expression of the acceptance of death.

            Milliseconds before he was enflamed and electrocuted, I saw all that. A few milliseconds later, he was dead. Gone. Gone in a haze of sapphire lightning and blood colored fire. I then felt Silver's mind retract from mine, this had caught her by surprise. I was the first to get my wits back. In a second, I had my hunting rifle off of my back and in my hands. In another second I had it at my shoulder, pointed at Silver, and in a fraction of a second, I pulled the trigger. Again, time seemed to slow down. My friends and the rest of the council of the Black Reqrium stood dazed, surprised at the brave soldier's sacrifice. In that instant that time seemed to slow down, I watched the bullet fly through the air. I saw it spinning, I saw it rocketing towards its target: Silver.

            In a mere fraction of a second, the bullet had pierced Silver's heart. Blood spattered everywhere, landing on the boulder next to her and on the rust colored rock bellow her. Triumph blazed inside of me. I did not even hear her scream, and I did not see the other council member's reaction, because I ducked and pulled Kaleen back into cover behind our boulder. I heard my friends following me, and in seconds we were all reunited behind the boulder Kaleen and I were behind. It could barely fit us all behind it. There were a lot of us behind that boulder, I counted five soldiers, Luna, my mom, my dad, Mr. Grant, Chibata, Hale, Kaleen, Anara and myself. Fourteen of us. We were the last line of defense between the council of the Black Reqrium and the rest of humanity. I couldn't fail. Not again.

            A soldier looked to me, he had a chiseled jaw, and high cheekbones and traces of stubble on his cheeks and chin. His eyes were sky blue, and they shone in the fire-like light from the sky. "You really shot that girl?" He asked. I nodded. "I had to, she was controlling your mind. They would have killed us all if I hadn't shot her." I explained, feeling no remorse at all. He nodded. "I do not know where we are, or why, or even how we got here, just explain that, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we will do our best to do the right thing." He said. The other soldiers nodded in agreement. I nodded as well. "Alright, I'll tell you everything." I said. I then peeked up over the boulder to see if the council of the Black Reqrium was ready for us, they weren't, so I sat down and explained.

            "Alright, so there are these six evil spirits... Five. They want nothing less than total destruction of the world, they want it born anew, with them as supreme rulers. They come from a different world, and they have supernatural powers, which you have seen already. Just do all you can to kill them. We are all that remains. We cannot go back beside the dying fire that is Earth right now, they caused that apocalypse, well, someone else that was afflicted with them did, but that is not the point. We need to kill them at all costs. We are the last line of defense between them and their sinister goals." I explained. The soldiers looked horrified, yet excited at the same time, as did my friends, and my parents. They looked intense, and focused. "Is everyone clear on what we need to do?" I asked. Everyone nodded while making noises of excitement and anticipation. "Alright everyone, stick close, hold together. Understood?" I asked. Everyone nodded.

            I had a thought. "Oh, and if fire, lightning or any other deadly projectile comes at you, scatter." I said. A soldier spoke up. "Kind of like when an enemy throws a grenade into your group?" He asked. I nodded, not really knowing what that was like. "Close enough." I said. I had another thought. "Speaking of which, I have a grenade right here. This grenade could be the salvation of Earth. Keep me alive long enough for me to use this grenade, and I'll kill as many of them as I can." I said. Everyone nodded, even my parents. I peeked over the boulder again, this time, I saw Serita and Kenneth standing behind two adjacent boulders. I ducked back down as fire and lighting zipped over my head. "I know where they are. The fire and lightning casters are behind two different rocks, just in front of this boulder, around fifty feet away." I told them.       

            A soldier peaked out, but ducked back into cover as a fireball soared past. "How many bullets do you all have?" I asked them. The soldiers all removed their magazines. "Twelve." One soldier said. "Six." Another said. "One." The next one said. "Seven." a fourth one said. "Twenty." The last one said. The soldiers all looked at him with looks of confusion. The man with twenty bullets just shrugged. "I'm good at conserving ammunition." He said. "I have enough hunting rifle bullets to last me quite a while, plus I have a pistol with seventeen bullets in a clip, a grenade, and a flare gun with twenty flares." I told them. They didn't ask where I got the flare gun. It didn't matter.

            I decided to try my luck at peaking around the corner with the rifle. I leaned around the corner, spotting the boulders that Serita and Kenneth were hiding behind, but a lightning strike hit the rock next to me, shattering a piece, sending rock fragments everywhere and kicking up a little smoke screen, not enough for cover, though. I leaned back in, waited a few seconds, then leaned out, lined up a shot, and took it. I pulled the trigger, the barrel flared and the rifle kicked against my shoulder, I loaded a new bullet into the chamber. I stayed peaked long enough to see the bullet hit the rock in front of Kenneth, causing him to duck down behind it. That's when my friends leaned around the opposite side and fired at them with their weapons.

            I heard bullets hitting the rock for a second, then my friends leaned back into cover, they had all missed. "Any luck?" I asked, just in case. They all shook their heads. Chibata spoke up. "You know, in a combat scenario like this, it is wise to not move from cover to cover, to minimize the risk of being shot, or in this case, torched, or struck by lightning, or... What did you say the other fellow could do? Agartoo or whatever his name was?" Chibata asked. "Agatu. He can control your body, Silver controls your mind." I told him. Chibata nodded. A soldier spoke up, this one had remained silent throughout everything. "Do... These spirits... Come from... Hell?" He asked. I shook my head. "No, they are not demons, although they can be perceived as such, they are evil spirits." I said. The man nodded, looking relieved.

            Hale looked to me. "Are you ready to give this another shot?" He asked. I nodded. "You bet." I said. Hale took his MAC-10 and leaned around the corner, unleashing a short burst of automatic gunfire, waited a few seconds to let the fireball that Serita had sent fly by, then motioned for me to peek out. I did so, leaning around the rock, lining up a shot with the scope. I pulled the trigger, ducked back into cover and loaded another bullet into the chamber. I had missed and hit the rock in front of Serita, I was sure of it. I had to aim a little higher. Anara Spoke up. "I'm out of ammunition... Still." She said. Anara threw her MK.22 to the ground, but Chibata went over and picked it up. "I have an idea." He said. Everyone looked at him with questioning expressions.

            Chibata went over to the edge of the boulder. "I learned this trick from world war two, March twenty fourth, nineteen forty five. I used this trick in Operation Varsity, in Wesel, Germany. My men and I were in the back line of defense, our tanks had just pushed through, it was the tank's job to clear out the camp we were assaulting, and my men and I's job was to pick off any straggling German soldiers who had fled the camp. One of my soldiers, he was out of ammunition on his sidearm, and he saw a German soldier at close range, the German soldier fired on him, he took cover and threw his pistol out, the German soldier thought the sidearm was a grenade, and dove for cover, this gave my friend enough time to run up to the German soldier and kill him with a few cuts with his knife." Chibata said. I nodded. Man, this guy would be such a cool grandpa!

            Chibata then threw the pistol out, and around the side of the boulder. A split second later, He peeked around the corner with his submachine gun and fired for around two seconds. I heard a cry of pain from who I assumed to be Kenneth. Chibata yelled in triumph and leaned back into cover. "I hit the one with the eye patch, Kenneth, once or twice. I don't think he's dead, but he’ll have troubles casting lighting at us with two holes in his side!" He yelled. I yelled with him. Why not? "Yeah! Good work Chibata." I said. I could almost feel our group's spirits lifting upon hearing this.

            Taking advantage of Kenneth's wounded state, I peeked around the corner with my rifle drawn. I saw Kenneth, but he ducked behind the boulder he was near, I saw Serita looking the other way, but she saw me and ducked into cover. I saw Agatu and Eumano thirty feet farther away from Serita and Kenneth, behind them. I noticed that Eumano had a bloody wound on her elbow, probably from when I shot the limb that was sticking out from behind the rock earlier. Eumano and Agatu both ducked into cover. Vladimir was nowhere to be found. Coward. I took advantage of the fact that the council of the Black Reqrium's heads were down, and I waited for someone to peek. I kept aiming down the sights, waiting for the faintest hint of movement from behind any of the boulders.

            I did not take my eyes off of the boulders. "Everyone, point your weapons at those boulders, if anyone peeks, shoot them." I ordered. Then there was silence. As I looked down the sights of my rifle, I noticed that my hands shook slightly with anticipation. I shifted my aim from boulder to boulder. There was nothing but stillness. They would peek eventually. They had to. We would wait them out. I thought about using the grenade, but it wasn't the right time. I wanted to kill as many of the council of the Black Reqrium's members as possible, not just one or two. The eerie stillness remained constant for the time being. What was going on? I kept aimed down, just in case.

            Just then, a huge orange orb with yellow and red streaks within it rose from behind the boulders. The orb was like frozen, crystalline fire. Fear filled me. Oh no. My heart sank as it rose up into the air. "What is that thing?" I asked, fear leaked into my voice. The thing rose slowly into the air. I heard Hale say something. "Oh no." He said quietly. Just then, the massive ball of crystalline fire shot forward faster than I could gasp. The massive orb made contact with the boulder we were using for cover and exploded, sending a massive heat wave outwards and shattering the boulder completely, knocking everyone from my group down in the process. "Run! Find cover!" Hale shouted. I ran over to him, the others were still struggling to get up, he was on his feet. I then looked over to the council of the Black Reqrium to see that they had peeked up. Serita and Kenneth were forming their fire and lightning, preparing to strike.

            I saw a boulder behind Hale. I dragged him behind it. I looked to my friends to see that they were on their way over. I beckoned them. Unfortunately, a few people did not make it over, they were burned and shocked to death by Kenneth and Serita. Their agonized screams filled the air for a solid few seconds, then they stopped. I counted all the members of my group, they were all there. Two soldiers had just died, the military soldiers. The two that remained were already behind the rock with my friends and I. I saw that one of the soldiers, a man, was crying. "Those people were my friends! I went to war with them! They saved my life many times! Now... They're dead!" He shouted. Tears streaked his eyes, pouring down his cheeks like salty rivers.

            The man grabbed his assault rifle. "I will make those spirits pay. Right now. They took my friends away from me. I will to the same to them!" He said loudly, but he creamed the last word. He readied his assault rifle, and ran around the right side of the rock. "Hey! wait!" I shouted. "Sergeant, you get back here, that's an order!" His friend yelled, the sergeant didn't listen. He kept running. I heard seven gunshots, but and a scream of pain for a few seconds, but the scream of pain did not belong to any of Vladimir's council. It belonged to the soldier, because there was a huge flare of light that we could see even from behind the rock. The last soldier remaining had a hard look in his eye, and a stone like expression on his face. "My friends are dead." He said plainly, a tear coming out of his eye.

            I nodded. "I'm so sorry. I wouldn't have brought them in to this if it wasn't needed, but you all were standing on the ground by me when I opened the portal." I said. The soldier nodded. "When I joined the armed forces, I had a goal. That goal was to keep the world safe. And that is exactly what I intend to do today." He said. I smiled and nodded. "I like your attitude." I said encouragingly. I then peeked up with my rifle, but saw no movement. I ducked back down and reloaded my rifle. I then had a thought. A question had gone unanswered. "Hale, what was that massive orb of crystalized fire?" I asked him. He took a breath and explained. "The council of the Black Reqrium has many powers. Individually, they are very powerful, but together they hold power with limitless depth. When their powers combine, they form an object of ancient power. This object is known as a Hellstar. It is a very devastating thing, but it weakness the council and drains their strength, like a vampire bite. That is probably why they haven't peeked out yet." He said.

            I nodded. It was useful having the previous Chosen One with us. "What should we do now?" Asked Kaleen. Hale pressed his lips together. "The council of the Black Reqrium have undoubtedly recovered from the Hellstar, so it is best to wait for them to make the next move." Hale said. The only remaining soldier, a man who had dark skin, brown hair and a tight, compact face looked to me. "What about that grenade you have?" He asked. I looked to my pocket where the grenade was. "I'm saving it for when it is most needed." I explained. The soldier nodded. "I don't mean to sound like a smart mouth, but I think that the 'time where it is most needed' has passed." He said. I felt a puzzled look settle over my features. The soldier saw it and explained. "We have already lost four men, four good men. Soon, we will lose more good men, and more good women, if you are going to make that grenade count, you'd better do it soon." He said. I nodded. "I will. I promise." I told him.

            The soldier nodded. I looked to Chibata, who was peeking around the corner of the boulder with his submachine gun. "Any sign of trouble?" I asked him. He shook his head. "No, I think we will be fine if we move up." He said. "Are you sure?" Asked Anara, doubt was plainly audible in her voice. Chibata nodded. "Yes, but we'll need to be careful. Do not let your guard down." He said. He then motioned for us all to follow him around the rock. I readied my rifle and followed him, the rest of my friends were in tow. I shouldered my rifle, aiming it where the council of the Black Reqrium were hiding. We were around fifty feet away, and we were approaching another boulder. We were ten feet away from the boulder, when I saw six figures peek out from behind the boulders in front of us. I saw fire and lightning approaching us in two adjacent lines.

            "Run!" I yelled on instinct, ducking under a jet of flame. I pointed my rifle at the boulders, aiming down the sights. I lined up a shot in the crosshair. I placed Kenneth's torso in the center, and fired. I hit him in between the two bloody marks on either side of his chest that Chibata had probably put there when he shot him. The shot looked like it peirced his heart, but it was hard to tell from this range. Kenneth fell backwards, he jerked as if he had a seizure. He disappeared from view, collapsed behind the rock. I saw Serita aiming at me with her fire, she sent a jet of red-hot inferno streaming towards me at high speed. I aimed at her and pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. I had forgotten to load a new bullet into the chamber! I ducked, but not soon enough. The tail end of Serita's jet of flame hit me in the shoulder. Burning pain flared, and I almost dropped my rifle, but managed to hang on to it with my hand on my good arm. I ran and rolled in to cover with my friends. I then loaded a new bullet into the chamber.

            "Did you get him?" I heard Anara say. "Are you alright?" Asked Kaleen with more care in her voice than Anara. She eyed my burn mark. I looked to it, my flesh was burned, and my shirt was singed off where my shoulder had been exposed to the flame. "Yeah, I'm fine." I said. Although the burning pain still had not stopped. I thought of back in the woods at our campsite, when Serita had created the ring of fire and threw me into it, maybe because these flames were directly from her, and didn't touch anything else, like the ground, first. Or maybe because this was Drottingheim? I had a feeling that this place was different, it gave me a feeling not bad or good. Suspicion? It might've been. This unnatural fire-like twilight color that tainted Drottingheim’s sky was strange.

            I was dragged out of my thoughts by the sound of fire crackling. Why did I keep zoning out like that? Did it have something to do with Drottingheim? I looked around, there was fire all around us, and it was a ring of fire. Fear gripped me as I figured out what was happening. This ring of fire was shrinking. We all pressed up against the boulder. The flames were just over ten feet away that gave us some time. "What do we do?" Asked the dark skinned soldier, panicking. "I have an idea!" He said. I looked to the fire, then back to the boulder. He then jumped up and tried to grab the top. "No!" Yelled Chibata, grabbing the soldier's leg and dragging him down. "They'll kill you." Chibata said. The soldier shook his head. "That's why I have this." He said, brandishing his automatic.

            Chibata cocked his head. "Yeah? And how many bullets do you have for it?" He asked the soldier. The soldier slipped put his magazine and we saw that it was almost full. "Twenty rounds." The soldier smirked. He jammed the magazine back into his rifle. "I am going to give those evil spirits a run for their money." He said. The twilight sky set a dark gleam into the soldier's eyes. This man was brave. I looked back to the fire. It was shrinking quickly. We had five feet of room left between the edge of the fire and the boulder. I looked to the boulder. It was only seven feet tall, and it looked big enough to fit all of us on top. I had an idea.

            I jumped up to the top using my vampire strength. I had shouldered my rifle on the way up. I took aim on Serita and fired. I missed, hitting the rock beside her. That forced her to duck down. I then felt a strange feeling come over my body. I couldn't move. My arms stretched to my sides, still straight, as if I were about to give someone a hug. My rifle was still in my right hand. Agatu. I thought to myself. My veins felt like they were bulging out of my skin, they felt like tubes of rock rather than flesh. It was very uncomfortable, but not painful. I could feel a sensation slowly settle in my heart. It was faint at first, but I soon realized what was happening: Agatu was stopping my circulation. I then heard someone climb up onto the boulder next to me.

            I then heard a gunshot next to me, and I watched Agatu drop to the ground, as well as Serita. Vladimir was nowhere to be seen, neither was Eumano, Silver, or Kenneth. Where was Eumano? Where was Vladimir? I saw no blood splatter when someone shot at Agatu, so I think my rescuer missed. I turned to look, and saw Kaleen holding her pistol, one hand on her slender hip, the other holding the handle of the pistol, the barrel was smoking. She flipped the pistol up, then blew on the barrel, causing the smoke to clear. I shook my head smiling. "Really?" I asked. Kaleen didn't respond. "Thank you." I said, my face going serious. Kaleen nodded. I looked back to see that the boulders were clear, the council of the Black Reqrium was in cover once again.

            I looked backwards to see that the ring of fire had extinguished. We all stood on top of that boulder, waiting for someone to peek. "It looks like I didn't need to shoot anyone after all." Said the soldier regretfully. I laughed. "I'm sure you'll get your chance." I told him. "Well, Silver is dead, Kenneth is probably dead, Eumano and Vladimir are nowhere to be found, that leaves Serita and Agatu as out two guaranteed targets, of course, you all know what to do when you see the others." I told everyone. They all nodded at different intervals. "Yeah, we kill them." Said the soldier. Kaleen nodded. “I will rip out their throats myself if I have to.” Kaleen said with an anger that seemed to burn within her voice.

            I looked to the boulders where the council of the Black Reqrium was hiding. I saw that Hale, Chibata and Anara were watching the boulders, the council had not peeked up. I pointed my hunting rifle at the boulders, shouldering it. “This isn’t right, why haven’t they peeked yet?” Asked the soldier. I shrugged. “I don’t know.” I said. “You don’t think that they have another Hellstar coming, do you?” Asked Anara. “No, that can’t be. They need all six of them to create a Hellstar, Kenneth and Silver are dead.” Hale explained. I did not look away from the boulders. I then heard someone shout. It was Luna. “Look out!” She called. Before I could turn my attention to her, an explosion blew the boulder we were standing on apart. A concussive sound wave forced itself to my ears, and my friends and I were blown forwards a good thirty feet. I was not hurt, for I had stone like skin, all vampires did. I heard cries of anguish from the humans in my group. We were all scattered around after the explosion. I panicked, looking around, trying to find the source of the explosion.

            I looked over my shoulder and saw the source; standing where the boulder we were standing on had been, were Eumano and Vladimir. Eumano stood with her hands smoking from creating the explosion. I stood up from my prone position and readied my hunting rifle. I shouldered it, pointing it at Eumano. I pulled the trigger, the barrel flared and the rifle kicked back, but the bullet did not reach Eumano. Vladimir had discharged a small fist sized orb, it was black in color, with a few shades of blue and violet tinting it. The orb collided with the bullet and shattered it. The orb disappeared along with the bullet in a flare of black, blue and violet light. I could not underestimate Vladimir’s power again, next time, my actions could lead to someone getting killed.

            Firing at Eumano kept Vladimir and Eumano distracted long enough to allow my friends to get up off of the ground. I loaded a new bullet into my rifle’s chamber just as Agatu and Serita came around the corner, out from behind the boulders. Before us stood the four remaining members of the council of the Black Reqrium: Vladimir, Agatu, Eumano and Serita. I kept my hunting rifle aimed at the four evil spirits before us. “Nick, I have no weapon!” Anara yelled at me from a few feet away. I reached into my pocket with vampire speed and threw the spare pistol I had to Anara. I did that in just under a second. I looked around, there was no cover for my friends and I, for the four remaining council members, there was there were the boulders that Serita and Agatu had just come from. My heart sank, our situation seemed hopeless, but we had to make do. We could not back down. The fate of the world was in our hands.

            It was Vladimir who attacked first. He balled the same orb of dark energy that he shattered my bullet with; the same bullet what would have hit Eumano. The orb of dark energy sailed towards me at high velocity. I dropped to the ground, narrowly avoiding it. I used this opportunity to take a shot with my hunting rifle. I tried to line up a shot on Vladimir, but Serita sent a fireball sailing at me, I flinched and pulled the trigger, missing Vladimir and getting hit by the fireball. Burning pain flared in my shoulder again, she hit the same place that she had before. I yelled in frustration and pain. I saw another fireball coming, I rolled out of the way, but I was forced to stop rolling. The familiar sensation came over me, telling me that Agatu was in control of me.

            I watched in horror as Serita’s fireball made its way to me. I could not move, I was forced to watch my death approach. Fear made my heart sink. The fireball was the size of my head, it was so close now that I could feel the heat radiating off of it! I estimated that I had about two seconds left of my life. My life did not flash before my eyes, as people said it did before you died. Maybe that was just a rumor?

            Something then happened that saved my life. As the fireball was inches from my face, it disappeared. I looked up at Serita, Agatu, Eumano and Vladimir, who were all clenching their heads in their hands. Kaleen was using her power of them. I felt Agatu’s grip on my body loosen, and soon I was free of him. I readied my hunting rifle. I aimed at the council’s most valuable target: Agatu. My aim swayed slightly as I lined the crosshair up with Agatu’s chest. “Hurry up… Nick!” I heard Kaleen yell, strain filled her voice. I did not hear my friends gunshots go off. Perhaps they were in shock that the council was in-capitated? As soon as I had a shot lined up, I pulled the trigger.

            The gunshot ripped its way out of the barrel, the barrel flared and the rifle kicked. I loaded a new bullet into the chamber. I watched with triumph as the bullet roared closer to Agatu. The rest of the council were in-capitated by Kaleen’s ability. When I pulled the trigger, my hand shook a little, and instead of hitting Agatu in the chest, the bullet hit him in the right side of the head, effectively shattering a quarter of his cranium. I heard Kaleen gasp and slightly cry out, as if in pain. A second later, Kaleen’s ability on the council wore off, and the council fought all the more intensely. Vladimir’s fists flew at frighteningly quick intervals, each one of his punches to us sent an orb of dark energy hurtling through the air. Serita had the same attitude, doing the same thing, but sending fire at us rather than dark orbs of energy.

            My friends and I ducked and weaved around, dodging Vladimir’s orbs and Serita’s fire. I looked around for any form of cover. I saw the only cover that was apparent to the eye: The boulders that were near the council of the Black Reqrium. We had to draw the council away from them, then we could take the offensive. I looked to my friends while still dodging fire and dark orbs. “We need to get to the boulders!” I yelled, pointing to the collection of rocks near the council. The others looked to the boulders I had indicated while running over to me. Unfortunately, one person did not make it over. I watched in dazed horror as a fireball the size of my head flew at my mother, hitting her square in the chest. She let out a cry of pain and collapsed to the ground. “Mom!” I yelled, my heart sinking, remembering all the times she had been at my side, through good and bad. And in my heart, I knew that to return the favor here, it would mean my death.

            “Hope!” Yelled my father, Thirsk. “No! Dad! You will die, too!” I yelled at him. Concern for him filled me. He did not listen to me. “Hope! Come on! Get up!” He yelled in sadness and anger. “Get up! We need to move!” He said, grabbing my mother by the shoulders and hoisting her up onto his back. I aimed at the council of the Black Reqrium, at Serita. I could not get a clear shot lined up in time. By the time I had seen her through the scope of the rifle, it was too late. I was too late. She had unleashed another fireball at my father, hitting him in the side, making him drop my mother and collapse to the ground as well. “Dad!” I yelled in anguish. My father did not move. He lay there on the ground next to my mother, motionless. A wave of hopeless sadness overcame me. I should have tried harder to get along with them. I could have made a better impression before they died. Tears began to well up in my blood colored eyes.

            “Nick! You need to move!” I heard Luna yell from twenty feet to my right. “Nick! Do you wish to be killed along with your parents?” Yelled Luna, concern and sadness was audible in her voice. I was snapped back to reality by her words, and it may just have been her words that saved me in that moment. I clutched my hunting rifle hard, and ran after my friends, we were around thirty feet from the boulders. Fireballs flew by us and dark orbs did as well. Eumano’s ability was pretty useless at the range, so she could not attack. The entire way to the boulders, I could not stop thinking about the deaths of my parents. I moved in a blur of sadness and determination. I aimed my hunting rifle and took a few pot shots at the council of the Black Reqrium, thinking of nothing but vengeance.

            I heard gunfire from beside me, my friends had taken up arms and were following my lead. I saw the three council members dive out of the way to avoid the spray of bullets that hurtled towards them. I took this as an opportunity to reload my rifle. I noticed I was running low on bullets in my pocket. I heard my friends stop firing, they were reloading. We still kept making out way to the boulders, even as we were firing. In a second, the boulders were between us and the council. “Alright, we can now take up an offensive position, lock and load!” Yelled Chibata. I hid behind a small boulder, big enough for me to stand behind, but not big enough to fit two people. I leaned around the side. I lined up a shot with my crosshair, but couldn’t take it because Serita had thrown a fireball at me. I ducked back in to cover.

            “I’m being suppressed!” Yelled the military soldier. I then heard a cry of pain. It was the same pitch as the soldier’s voice. The soldier was dead. Sorrow overcame me as I recalled the man’s courage. His willingness to fight, and to defend. He must have been a fine soldier. We were down to a few people now. Me, Luna, Kaleen, Mr. Grant, Chibata, Hale and Anara. Seven on three. We could do this. “Just a little more, guys, we can do this!” Yelled Mr. Grant. I heard Chibata laugh. “The end is near, we are going to do this!” He yelled. “The odds are in our favor!” Yelled Anara. “Victory is close!” Yelled Kaleen. “Finally, after all these years, after all the hardship everyone who has been in this war has experienced, it is finally going to end!” Yelled Luna with glee. I heard Hale laugh with joy. “The feud we have fought with Saja and Vladimir is finally coming to a close!” Hale yelled with triumph. Hearing my friend’s encouraging words helped take my mind off of my parents. If I could not speak to them ever again, the least I could do is make sure that they did not die in vain.

            I leaned around the corner and quickly lined up a shot with my crosshair. I took the shot, but missed, watching the blur of motion that was the bullet sail over Serita’s head. Before I ducked into cover, she looked at me angrily and sent a fireball my way. I heard three gunshots go off from a few feet away. “Yeah!” I heard Kaleen yell. “I got Eumano!” Kaleen said, glee almost cracked her voice. I thrust my fist in the air. “Yes!” I yelled. I then heard Serita hurl a fireball towards us, a few seconds later, I heard a scream of agony. I knew exactly who is belonged to. It belonged to Chibata. I heard him hit the ground. “Chibata!” I yelled. I heard him groaning in pain. I peeked around the rock to see him on the ground a few feet away with a huge burn mark on his chest.

            I looked at the dying, old man. “I will ensure that you did not die in vain, Chibata.” I told him. Although I knew he was already dead, I could have sworn I saw him smile ever so faintly. I ducked back in to my cover so as to avoid being fried by Serita. “Chibata’s dead!” I yelled to the others. It was now six on two. “Argh!” I heard Hale yell in anger. I then heard rapid fire gunshots. I heard Serita hurl another fireball at us. I leaned around the rock to see her slightly on an angle facing away from me. I saw my chance and lined up a shot. I saw her hurl another fireball at the boulders, I was about to pull the trigger, but a scream of pain shocked me, and I flinched, losing an easy chance to Kill Serita. Because of my hesitation, Serita turned on me and threw a fireball at my head.

            I ducked back into cover and watched the fireball sail past me. “Who was hit?” I asked my friends, sorrow filling my voice. “It was the man, the one from your past!” I heard Hale yell. I knew who he meant. It was Mr. Grant. Mr. Grant was dead. I felt sorry for him, and sorry that I had not fully caught up with him back at the CDC. I sagged with depression. My friends were dying around me, and there was nothing I could do. Five on two. We can still do this. I looked to my right to see Luna aimed at the council with a sniper rifle. She pulled the trigger, causing a sound that almost deafened me, it was loud. I watched her struggle to pull the bolt up, back forward and down, but she couldn’t. There was a look of frantic worry on her face as she struggled to unbolt the rifle, and what I saw next made my heart sink. Coming towards her was an orange glow. The glow of an oncoming fire.

            In seconds, I watched the fireball travel across the plain to where we were, and I watched as the orange glow grew brighter and brighter, and soon a fireball came into view, and that fireball engulfed Luna in half a second, charring her entire body. “No!” I yelled, ducking back into cover. Luna was now dead. Sorrow filled me as I remembered our past. Her rescuing me from Saja, her betrayal, her treachery, her cunning, her wit, but most of all, I remembered her good side. The caring, wise and empathetic Luna whom I had not seen much of since Ectoclis. Luna was indeed one big puzzle. Was the good side of her an act back on Ectoclis? Was it real now? It had to be. She had changed, she had helped me. It was not an act. I shook myself out of my thoughts about Luna and focused on killing the council of the Black Reqrium. It was four on two. Me, Kaleen, Hale and Anara. We are all that is left. I leaned around the corner of the boulder, aiming at Serita. I took a shot, hitting her in the shoulder. I heard her scream in pain, and drop to her knees, she was not dead. I aimed at her and was about to finish her off, but Vladimir threw a barrage of dark orbs at me, forcing me to duck back behind the boulder.

            While I was suppressed, I heard Serita throw another fireball. Oh no. If I peeked out, I was going to die, if I didn’t someone else might die. I couldn’t peek out, I could not be killed, I had to end this. I listened in the ensuing seconds after Serita’s most recent attack, and around two seconds later, I heard Hale yell in pain, I heard the hiss noise and smelled a strange odor as his skin began to sizzle. “Hale!” I shouted, a wave of sadness hitting me. The Chosen One before me was now dead. It was now Kaleen, Anara and I.

            “Hale’s dead!” I yelled. I heard a gunshot. “I know!” I heard Kaleen yell, her voice was accompanied by a few gunshots. She was firing at the council of the Black Reqrium, as was Anara. I reloaded my hunting rifle, only to discover that I was down to my last few bullets. I had to make them count. “How are you two on ammunition?” I asked. There was a pause. “Not good, I’m running low!” Yelled Kaleen. A few more gunshots sounded, and I heard Anara yell in frustration. “I’m out of ammunition!” She yelled. I heard a few more gunshots from Kaleen. “Me, too!” She yelled. I then heard a cry of agony. “Anara!” Kaleen yelled, she sounded like she was going to cry. “No!” I yelled. A wave of hatred filled me. I was not going to let Vladimir win this war. I couldn’t.

            I heard Kaleen start crying. “She’s dead! Anara is dead!” She yelled. I began to feel hopeless, but I then remembered the one advantage that we had over the council of the Black Reqrium: The hand grenade! I reached into my pocket and grabbed it. This is it. I thought to myself. I had to make this grenade count. I leaned around the boulder and saw where Serita and Vladimir stood, surrounded by the lifeless bodies of their fallen comrades. I ducked back into cover as Serita threw a fireball at me. I held the image of where the two evil spirits stood in my mind, and I aimed a throw to get the grenade over the boulder. I visualized where they would be, I squeezed the handle and pulled the pin like they do in the movies, and I threw the grenade.

            I heard the grenade bounce across the ground a few times. I waited a few seconds for the fuse to detonate the explosives within the grenade. After four total seconds, I heard an explosion, followed by a cry of pain from Serita! I shouted in triumph, as did Kaleen. Now it was only Vladimir standing. Two against one. There was an eerie silence of the field on battle. Atop the peeks of Drottingheim, where the battle for all of humanity was taking place, there was silence. Not a sound could be heard.

            Vladimir spoke. “Well met, Chosen One. Well met indeed.” He said, following this was slow, arrogant applause from Vladimir. “You are going to die, Vladimir.” I said from behind my boulder. “Oh, is that so? Well, why don’t you come out here and put action behind your words.” Vladimir taunted. I hesitated, he was baiting me, and I was mentally torn apart by the deaths of the people I knew for so long. “Come on, I’m right here.” Vladimir Jeered. I peeked out, he did not attack me. He had his arms at his sides. “What game are you playing, Vladimir?” I asked him. He chuckled. “Come now, let us have a fair fight, come out of your hiding place, we shall settle this like gentlemen.” Vladimir said. I laughed. “Vladimir, brother of Saja, asks for a fair fight? I abhor your disgraceful trickery, Vladimir.” I said to him. I heard Vladimir exhale. “I did not want to do this… But you have forced my hand.” Vladimir said.

            Puzzled, I looked to Vladimir. “I will give you one last chance, put the both of us on an even playing field by exiting your hiding place, and I will not do something regrettable.” Vladimir said. I was torn. What could Vladimir do? Should I accept his proposition of a fair fight? Who was I kidding? Vladimir was a liar, a cheat. He would not go for something such as a fair fight. “This was your choice.” Vladimir said. I then heard Kaleen scream. Fear shot through me, as well as anger. “Kaleen!” I shouted. I looked over to her, seeing her floating in the air, with dark tendrils wrapped around her limbs. She floated out from behind her boulder and came to a halt in front of Vladimir. I ran out from behind my boulder without thinking.

            I heard Vladimir laugh slightly. “So, the Chosen One comes to his senses.” He said. “Let her go!” I yelled. I considered running over to him at vampire speed and ripping his throat out, but he would surely kill Kaleen before I reached him. There was a ten foot space between us. “Hm, I have a better idea.” Vladimir said. I then heard an odd noise, it was a noise that cannot be described, and sent a shiver down my spine. I then saw a dark black speck appear on Kaleen’s chest. That speck grew until it was the size of a gold ball, then grew to the size of a basketball. Kaleen, who had been silent throughout her odd capture, then screamed a cry of pure agony, her scream sounded like the pain grew more intense with every passing second. A few seconds later, I heard her scream so loud that her voice cracked, then she was silent. Vladimir’s black tendrils released their grip on Kaleen and she fell to the ground, limp and lifeless.

            Seeing my best friend dead on the ground by Vladimir sent a flurry of memories from Kaleen and I’s past through my head, it sent grief, angry, hatred, sadness, and a lust for vengeance through my heart. With a war cry comprised of all of those emotions, I got my rifle up with vampire speed and pulled the trigger. Vladimir vanished in a cloud of smoke. I heard him behind me, I turned around. I aimed the rifle at him, but he grabbed the barrel of the rifle and forced it to my left, so the barrel was resting against my shoulder and the butt stock was pointing at the ground. I tried aiming at him, but Vladimir pushed me away and kicked the rifle in the middle of it, but the scope. The rifle snapped in my hands. I quickly dropped the two useless pieces of metal and wood and I reached for the flare gun that I kept in my pocket. I grabbed it and aimed it at Vladimir, with a shred of hope, but I found that he was too close to me, and he smacked it out of my hand with frightening strength. The flare gun landed next to Kaleen’s limp, lifeless body.

            With one last shred of hope existing, I grasped it as my only hope to defeat Vladimir. I reached into my pocket and grabbed my silver knife. I watched at Vladimir grabbed a silver knife from inside his cloak. I knew what that meant. Vladimir could kill me with a single knife cut. Vladimir lunged at me with his blade out. I blocked it with my own knife and sparks flew across the ground with a metallic clang! I pushed against Vladimir and he stumbled backwards a little. He was getting tired, but so was I. I lunged at Vladimir, taking the offensive. He blocked me, but I stepped backwards in time to avoid being slashed by Vladimir’s silver knife. Vladimir came at me, forcing me to take a defensive stance, I did so, I watched his knife come at me. I sidestepped him, and he stumbled forward. I did not have enough time to stab him in the back as he passed me. He recovered almost instantly and came at me again. Our blades locked.

            I gazed into his violet eyes. He gazed into my crimson eyes. “You will soon learn the true power of the Black Reqrium.” He said. What did that mean? I wondered. He then pulled away, I came at him, giving him no time to compose himself. He was forced to spin out of his stance and take up defense. I watched him spin around, and he bent his knees, ready for me. I came at him, he blocked me and tried to push me back, but I stood strong and pushed back. He did not move either. We were evenly matched. Vladimir shoved me away with a surprising burst of strength and went to stab me. I blocked him at the last minute, fear blossomed in my gut, but settled down when I saw that I had blocked him. I jumped backwards, avoiding his next slash at me.

            Vladimir came at me again, I sidestepped him and turned to face him. He was already coming at me. I swung at him, but he blocked me. He tried pushing me back, and I lost my footing and tripped and fell on my back! Fear engulfed me and Vladimir went to stab me. I rolled out of the way and stood back up beside him. He was ready for me, and went to stab me. I blocked him and forced him backwards. “You have killed my friends.” I told him. Vladimir went to stab me, but I blocked him, I forced him back again, closer to the lifeless body of Kaleen. Sadness and anger filled me upon seeing her dead body again. “You kill them, and I am going to kill you!” I yelled, I punctuated the last word by forcing him backwards again with a swipe of my knife, he stumbled backwards again. I saw him trip and crash to the ground. I saw my chance.

            Vladimir landed on his back, much like I had when I lost my footing a while ago. I prepared to stab him. I angled my legs to they covered both sides so he couldn’t roll away. I angled my silver knife in a way that it was pointing at him. I gazed into him eyes. “Don’t curse me with your last words, Vladimir.” I said bitterly. I reeled back and plunged my knife towards him. I was going to enjoy watching the spark of life fade from his eyes. I watched an aura of blackness envelope Vladimir. Dismay hit me in an instant. Vladimir began to stand back up, but he did not move, the aura of blackness seemed to life him, he was angling upwards quickly now, and he grabbed my hand that I hand the knife in, my right, and threw me backwards. I was sent crashing to the ground.

            I scurried backwards, but I came into contact with a boulder. I stood up, with my back still to the boulder. If I still had a heartbeat, it would be hammering at the speed of helicopter blades. Fear filled me so fast that I thought I would explode. I saw Vladimir bear down on me. He was coming closer and closer by the second. I raised my knife to defend myself, but he raised his knife, preparing a killing blow. I had no room to maneuver, and I could not block the blow at the high velocity that Vladimir intended to land on me. I watched helplessly as his blade came crashing down towards me. Just before Vladimir’s knife penetrated me, I saw a light come from behind Vladimir, a strange bright red light followed by a high pitched, screeching sound. I was puzzled as to what it was. In that instant, I saw Vladimir lurch forward with a gaps of pain. Reacting only on instinct, I saw Vladimir’s weakness. The one moment of weakness that would allow me to kill him. I reeled back with my knife in my right hand, and I chopped down as hard as I could. My knife made contact with Vladimir’s neck, I felt the blade of my silver knife sink through his skin like a hot knife through butter.

            I heard Vladimir gasp in pain, and purple gas seeped out of his wound. I pushed harder, using the momentum from when I reeled back that I had not yet lost. In a split second more, I felt my knife come loose from Vladimir’s neck, and his head dropped to the ground at my feet, severed from his body. His head rolled across the ground, leaving a trail of dark purple liquid behind it. I looked to the stub that was the spot Vladimir’s head used to be, to find that it was oozing purple gas. I dropped his limp body to the ground. I looked to see what had saved me. When I dropped Vladimir’s lifeless body to the ground, in front of me was a joyous sight.

© 2014 Ryan Henderson

Author's Note

Ryan Henderson
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The final battle is finally here! I am loving the flow, pace and suspense of it all! Awesome effort into your work is being put forth by you, I can tell you take this very seriously! I love these books! You are truly and artist!

Posted 5 Years Ago

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Added on November 25, 2014
Last Updated on November 25, 2014
Tags: Vampire, Vampires, Epic, fiction, Fantasy


Ryan Henderson
Ryan Henderson

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

I will review your work if you send me a read request, I like to help writers get off of the ground, I will also suggest ideas for your work if needed. Please note that I don't really like poetry... more..