Shadowed Moon Chapter 23

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 7/26/2011

 

We were losing. Kellen laughed as he struck my shield and blade again and again. He was almost gleeful when he informed me that our army was being crushed half a mile away. I could hear the battle as an unending roar.
            I’m not doing this right, I thought as I narrowly missed one of Kellen’s thrusts. There’s something that I’m missing. I parried and stepped back, allowing myself to be pushed before I began pushing instead, driving Kellen away. He was surprised at first and I pressed the advantage as long as I could. But Kellen was still stronger and I couldn’t think of a way to stop him. Faylin and I had agreed that he was only to step in if I failed because of what the prophesy said.
            The blade Macarann swung out in a broad strike and I had no time to avoid it. I shoved up my shield as the sword fell and the blow sent me reeling, almost falling. I staggered back and wiped sweat from my eyes as Kellen prepared another attack. I momentarily forgot about Kellen when Macarann struck at me again. I suddenly realized that I couldn’t defeat Kellen. And, come to think of it, the prophesy never mentioned killing him. But I had to destroy the sword, as well as the shield whose sole purpose was to protect against the sword.
            For the first time since the fight began, I smiled. Kellen’s blade slashed forward again with more momentum than he needed. I turned away and the strike passed by harmlessly. At the last second, Kellen turned and thrust his fist into my side.
            I fell, rolling on the ground in pain and trying to catch my breath. Kellen was laughing again, always laughing. But as he saw that he had injured me, his grip on the black sword loosened. Forcing as much strength as I could find into my bruised, weak body, I dove forward, swinging with my smaller blade as hard as I could. I knew I only had one shot to make this and if I missed, Kellen’s back-slash would kill me. Our blades met while Kellen’s grip was still relaxed and with a sharp clang of metal on metal, his blade flew into the air.
            He stared in astonishment and then gave an animal roar of rage. He slashed at me with is hands but I ignored him and ran to catch the blade. No, not catch it; I didn’t think I could touch it. The sword landed just feet away from us and by some miracle I reached it first.
            Time itself seemed to stop as Kellen threw himself at me and I fell, my face inches from the cursed blade of Rourke…and just inches from the edge of the cliffs. Beyond the small patch of land where we fought, the ground of Zandar gave way into complete blackness. The only sound was that of water crashing against the rocks far, far below.
            As Kellen picked himself up and came at me again, dark eyes intent on only the sword, I again heard a voice whispering to me. It was the same voice that had spoken during the first fight with Kellen. This time, the words were clearer and rang with a certain power, but at the same time, the voice itself blended with the wind sweeping over the cliffs and the water crashing beneath us. “Do you still doubt the words and the wisdom and the might of the One God? He who was in the beginning is now in the present and will be forevermore. He gave you instructions for you to learn, he gave you power so that you could see your weaknesses and he gave you eyes to see what is hate and what is love. What is good and what is evil. Do you now mock him with your unbelief after he has done so much for you?”
            Behind me Kellen had fallen to the ground, his hands clutching his face as if in pain and fear. Blackness seemed to writhe around him as the voice continued.
            “If you believe in him in all things then you have nothing to fear. Nothing can ever harm those who trust in him. He is their strength and their sword and their shield and they have no need of others. Though you falter he will hold you. Though you stumble, he will guide you. When death gathers around you he is there. Even when your life is through, Lara, he will welcome you into his arms. Nothing, I tell you, nothing is too difficult for those who believe and who depend completely on him.”
            “Nothing?” I whispered, my hand slowly reaching out for Kellen’s fallen sword.
            Kellen seemed to regain his strength and staggered upright, his face twisted with hate. “Don’t touch it, Lara.” he warned.
            What would happen if I did touch it? I wondered.
            “Don’t give in Lara!” Kellen shouted. “I know he is speaking to you. Do not listen to him! He’s lying! He only wants his sword and then he will leave you and everyone else forever!”
            His sword? “Rourke?” I asked, my hand hesitating even as Kellen came closer. He was only a few steps away now.
            “Yes, Rourke!” Kellen spat. “He cannot help you and he will not help you.”
            The voice continued speaking, drowning out Kellen’s protests as he again fell to the earth, this time at my side, and his eyes squeezed shut against some unseen horror. That horror was Rourke, I realized. And he was speaking to me again. “The One God is always with you Lara. He is with your companions on the battlefield and he is with the friend who fights with you. You have the sword now, Lara, only because Kellen is afraid and his fear weakens him.” the voice laughed softly. “He is not afraid of me, just as his master is not afraid of me. But both are afraid of the power that is beyond there own. You and I are only the servants of the One God. But through us is his power revealed. You have a job to do, Lara. Obey the One God instead of your fear.”
            I grasped the hilt of Macarran as the voice of Rourke faded in my mind. Kellen stood and his eyes watched me carefully, trying to guess what I was going to do.
            “You want the sword Kellen?” I asked. “I’ve been told not to let you have it.”
            Kellen sneered. “By that weak fool to whom you owe absolutely nothing. Give the blade to me Lara. Rourke will leave you once he has the sword, I tell you!”
            “He will leave?” I asked, thoughts swirling around in my head.
            “And then you will be alone.” Kellen said. He stretched out his hand. “Give me the sword and I will not leave you alone here. All will be forgiven and forgotten.”
            “You don’t like Rourke, do you?”
            Kellen’s eyes glared with malice. “No. And neither should you.”
            “If I give you the sword, Rourke will still be here…” I begin thoughtfully.
            “Perhaps.”
            “…But I have Faylin here so I’m not really alone. Still…Rourke seems to have a bad effect on you, Kellen.”
            The sorcerer licked his lips nervously, his dark eyes on the blade in my hands. “Yes.”
            I glanced down the cliffs for a long moment and then turned back to face Kellen with a triumphant smile. “Well then. Theoretically, this will make you feel better.” I stood up and clutched the shield tightly in one arm, holding out Macarran as if to give it back to Kellen. My feet were now only a few inches from the ledge. I saw Faylin staring back at me and as our gazes met, Kellen glanced back behind him at the wolf for just a second.
            “Now Faylin!” I screamed.
            Faylin leaped at the sorcerer.
            Kellen lunged to the side, digging in the grass for my discarded blade.
            The surf of the ocean beat darkly against the cliffs bottom and the jagged rocks which promised doom to anything that crashed against them.
            The moons remained dark, shadows and light intertwined in the heavens.
            And I stepped off the cliff.

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