Shadowed Moon Chapter 25
It's rare, even unheard of, that I would make two posts so close together, but these are fairly short chapters with little cliffhangers at the end of each, so I figured I'd be nice and not make readers wait so long. That being said, I must add that I am posting these quickly because I have actually and finally written those most beloved of all three-letter words in this old story: The End. Indeed, Shadowed Moon, which has become far longer than it was ever intented and has consumed much of my writing stamina over the past few years, has at last reached a finish--as a matter of fact, I only have two more posts left. So, dear readers, I will now stop blabbering on and step aside so that you may read on. Enjoy.
Faylin and Kellen seemed to have reached a stalemate.
When we arrived, they were both standing and watching each other but neither moved until Faylin’s ears swiveled in our direction. The dragons had flown us low over the forests to the cliff and now landed some yards away. The fact that Faylin had been the first to register our presence meant either that Kellen’s attentions were elsewhere or he was at the end of his strength and was summoning his energies for the final blow that would finish us.
“Hello, Lara.” Kellen said.
“Your army is gone now, Kellen.” I said evenly. “Macarran is lost to you forever. We have you surrounded, surely you cannot fight off all of us at once, can you? Not when you are so tired.”
Stones rose from the ground a few feet away and hurtled towards us but missed narrowly. “Get out.” Kellen said in a cold, lifeless tone.
“No.” I replied. “I want you to see something Kellen.” I took off Narris’ blindfold while Veilara held the hawk tightly in her talons. Narris croaked in protest. “Show him, Narris. Tell him.”
It seemed at first that nothing happened, that Narris had refused or perhaps Kellen didn’t have enough strength to keep in contact with her. But his expression changed from cold and taut to enraged and even…frightened. Faylin watched the scene closely, but his eyes kept squeezing shut and he held on of his paws awkwardly. He wouldn’t survive another fight like the one he had just endured. Kellen was far too strong. Stronger than I had even imagined.
“You’ve lost, Kellen.” I said quietly, leaving the others and inching several steps nearer. “You are done. Put down your weapon.”
“I do not make a habit of losing Lara.”
“Well, then this is a first time. Admit it.”
“I will admit nothing.” Kellen stared at me with his dead eyes and then swiveled his head slowly back around to focus on Faylin. “I will not surrender to you. Ever. You are the ones who will lose.” His breathing was becoming ragged even as his voice dropped quieter and lower.
“Kellen,” I began slowly.
“No. No. No. Lara, you do not control me. That sword did not control me. No one and nothing controls me!” He bellowed. His hands were fisted now.
I had to get him to back off. If Faylin couldn’t beat him, I doubted anyone else—even the dragons, for all their stamina and fire—could. He was still using his magic and would until he had won. “Kellen, listen to me.” I tried one last time.
Kellen slowly straightened to his full height, refusing to turn back to face me. His body trembled with his rage. His mouth opened and mouthed a single word, but no sound came with it. a smile traced his face, his eyes gleaming with the pleasure of it. He opened his mouth wide and shouted out one word.
And he attacked Faylin again. This time there was no calm calculating. No pacing back and forth. There was murder in his eyes and he was going to satisfy his need for complete power.
“Faylin!” I shouted in warning, but Faylin had already moved, nimbly dodging Kellen’s first rush. Faylin stumbled slightly as he turned to face his enemy.
“She’s right Kellen,” he growled. “You have absolutely nothing more to gain here. You never had anything to gain from the start. So give it up, give it up now!”
“It’s far, far too late for that, wolf.” Kellen replied. He laughed. “And now, thanks to her, you are dead.”
He rushed again and this time Faylin had no time to dodge the attack. As Kellen came, his dagger thrusting outward, Faylin leapt into the air. The massive wolf aimed for Kellen’s head, his jaws wide open, his front legs outstretched. His yellow eyes burned brighter than I had ever seen them. In that second, I thought we would win. That maybe, just maybe, Faylin would defeat the sorcerer.
And then Kellen brought his dagger up higher and Faylin let loose a cry of pain that cut into the soil at our feet, ripping at the sky. His jaws snapped shut on empty air, then opened again in the same howl of agony. Kellen’s hand disappeared beneath the fur on the wolf’s belly.
I screamed. Ditri was in the sky in a single heartbeat, preparing to dive on the sorcerer. Fire streamed from his mouth.
But Faylin didn’t stop. He couldn’t stop. As I had seen time and time again, the wolf allowed his momentum to carry him all the way through his lunge and this time his gaping mouth didn’t close on the night air alone. The two foes crashed into the ground and Faylin’s cry abruptly ceased.
I staggered forward a step, wishing I had a weapon, any weapon. I wasn’t sure Kellen was dead. The pile of man and beast moved suddenly and Kellen stumbled out, bent over. I couldn’t see his face. He ran past us and fell at the edge of the woods. Enriad, armed with his bow, ran to make sure he didn’t go anywhere else.
Faylin’s crumpled form lay still.
I broke from my daze and ran for him.
A sliver of light shafted down through the darkness as the moons took the last step in their dance.