From a distance, the sun appeared to rest on the horizon of the Great Casa Plains. Chilly autumnal winds began to venture throughout the vast emerald fields, dancing with the few trees that stood yards away from each other. The skies were partially clear: the amber and purple were compromising with each other with the pink of the large clouds.
Sir Mark of Collara traveled back to the Casche Capital City with Lady Margaret, where they hope to prepare for the Halloween festival. Upon stepping into his residence, the knight could feel a presence somewhere inside. Venturing around the house, he did not see or hear anything unusual or unnatural.
Maj stared at the man rather confused and disgusted. “Sir Knight,” she proceeded to ask, “What are you doing? Are you making advances in frightening an assassin, such as myself? The effort’s pointless.”
“No. It’s just… something within this establishment.” Stomping his feet upstairs towards his bedroom, Mark continued, “There has to be somebody else in this house besides you and I, Margaret.”
Barging into his own room, the Collarean knight stands in the doorway, eye-to-eye with his doppelganger Sir Darkimus. The shadow, relaxed in the mortal’s bed, says, “Noble knight! You’ve returned! I’ve been meaning to speak with you on an important matter.”
Mark released the knob of the door as stared into Darki’s eyes and commanded, “Go on. What must I know at this hour?”
Now slightly uneasy with that response, Darki presented himself with a smile when he commented, “Mmm. Doesn’t appear I’ll ever strike fear to your soul anymore, so allow me to stand before ye’.” Lifting out of the bed and walking towards his mortal doppelganger, he continued with what he wanted to tell Mark. “I hope you weren’t planning on heading straight for that Halloween festival at the Casche Capital City. That Narmarn Curse, it will employ a war in a few minutes or less, and you have to be ready for that.” Walking towards the closet, Darki examined Exile—Mark’s knight-sword—and tells him, “Hope you have a better weapon than this old thing. Your opponents won’t be slain with a simple slash from this silver-blade” Then there was a quick glance at the black-blade Izia in its sheath. Returning Exile to the closet and taking two large steps towards his mortal doppelganger, the shadow scanned the mystical sword.
“Do thou wish to duel here, now?” Sir Mark gestured, ready to pull Izia from its sheath at Darki.
With a look of confusion, Sir Darkimus formally replied, “The duel, no, the war, Sir Mark, art starts outdoors in the Great Casa Plains, for a multitude of minions of the Asheta Army will stand tall and feel resurrect. Hope ye don’t mind.” The shadow shifted into a gaseous fog and migrated behind the knight before reviving to a human form, displaying his weapon of choice for the battle.
The voice of Lady Maj was heard downstairs. “Mark! Did you find out what it was? Do you request any assistance?”
Before he pulled his lips apart to give her a reply, Darkimus, instead, answered with his mortal doppelganger’s exact, maleficent voice, “No need. I’ve found it. Remain down there and relax, Margaret.”
Pulling out Poker from their holsters, Maj snuck towards the stairs, unknowingly telling the shadow, “Watch it, Sir Knight.” While she remained in a corner between the stairs and wall, Maj eavesdropped on the conversation upstairs, careful not to make any noise as she did.
Darkimus continued in his devilish tone. “See this sword? It bears the name Kytton, a shadow-blade deep in Hathes, stowed away somewhere in my kingdom Asheta.” Caressing the blade in a way that would leave a mortal bleeding, he wields it close to his head as he went on. “Where? The only places a shadow could remain hidden from the light.” Abruptly pointing the blade at Mark, Darki proclaimed, “You, Sir Mark of Collara, have roughly half an hour to prepare yourself for this very match! Bring forth as many as you can, but we, Knight of the Casche Monarch and Monarch Protector of the Asheta Kingdom, will spar one-on-one.” Placing Kytton in its sheath on his backside, the shadow promptly concludes, “And let this war decide the latter’s fate.” As he shifted from fog to human towards the door, Darkimus, without even directing his attention to the stealthy woman beneath the stairs, gave out a warning. “Make sure your target isn’t me, Lady Margaret Ann Juya. If you become one major distract during your acquaintance’s one-on-one match with me, hope that he spares he’ life. Mercy will not exist.” And the shadow vanished from area.
Maj smiled, returning Poker back into their holsters before storming upstairs to check on Sir Knight. “Mark? Everything’s alright?” she queried worryingly, examining his eyes before slapping the knight.
Mark yelled in pain, “Ah! Eh, Margaret, I’m fine; I’m all right. There was no need in doing that, ow.”
Before retreating outside, the lady gently rubbed where she had hit Mark as she told him, “And if you plan to send me out on a request for the others, no reason to. They’ll come when the time is right. Thee must prepare, Sir Knight!” Then a leap over the railing and a sprint through the door to the outdoors, Maj wielded Poker stylishly.
Now, with the sun gone and the skies dimming, the winds that tangoed with the branches of the trees yards apart from one another in the Great Casa Plains began to blow strong, leaving the hilly region to feel as if winter was approaching faster than expected. Instead of pink shedding dominance in the sky, blue-violets raided and consumed whatever they could of the natural masterpiece, leaving the thin and silky cirrus clouds intact as they darken from silvery white to a grim gray.
Sir Darkimus of Hathes stood stance, arms crossed as he smiled at his opponent Sir Mark of Collara, whom wields the black-blade Izia from farther away. While the dark doppelganger grinned as he predicted the outcome of the battle, the mortal knight didn’t express any emotion on his face, letting the sword in his right hand illuminate a bright purple.
Maj kneeled to the grassy ground, wielding Poker ready for the shadow soldiers of Darki’s Asheta Army to be summoned. “The hour is almost here, Sir Knight,” she reported firmly with eyes locked on his shadow doppelganger.
Eventually, the wind settled down as Sir Mark raised his sword to his face, exclaiming to Darki, “I stand ready for thee! The hour for war must start now, to see the victor to waltz into the Casche Capital City.”
“Let that be so,” Darkimus replied, lifting his dark-blade Kytton from its sheath and presenting it horizontally in his left hand.
Maj took careful notice of the mastermind’s weapon; a skinny chain ran from the pommel inside the shadow’s upper-arm. As she stood up from her current position and before a word was said, Darki’s soldiers were summoned into the battlefield, one immediately behind the swift lady who fired two bullets from Poker into its abdomen. “Go, Mark!” Maj shouted as two headshots were made simultaneously. This battle had officially ensued, finally starting.
Swiping the black-blade Izia to his side, Sir Mark charged for Sir Darkimus, pressing forward as the sword’s beams slashed the emerging shadows from his path. Once he was at his doppelganger, he lifted the blade, and a loud clash was heard throughout the plains, the sound reaching the capital and hitting Ruok’s ears with familiarity.
“So, it has ensue, yes?” the soothsayer said, turning to the direction of the sound’s origin before glancing at his crystal. “Ah, yes. Sir Knight’s at the fight. I shall watch this closely.”
On the battlefield, the army surely revealed themselves in a gradually large paste, the numbers increasing from two to four, four to eight, eight to sixteen. The Purple Sprite, Margaret, still managed to wipe them out with the quickest bullets aimed at specific points of their torsos and heads. No arca was wasted, every shot so precise. Soon, the horde surrounded her, leaving the sharpshooter to migrate away to obtain space. Wielding both pistols close to her, Maj tapped the sides of Poker-I and Poker-II as she said, “Alrighty. Thou must be hungry, yes? Thy arca is ready! C’mere!” Once more, the waves expanded.
Sir Mark of Collara gave Sir Darkimus of Hathes several clashes between Izia and Kytton, failing at pushing his opponent back or inflicting cuts on the doppelganger’s body. Then he heard a chuckle come from him.
“Jester?” Pushing the knight back, Darki added, “The enchanted black-blade of yours, Izia, right? There’s no way it could match this shadow-blade Kytton, yet you’ve managed to get a slight upper hand. I wonder how long that’ll last.” Raising the sword high before leaping towards his opponent, the shadow swiped Kytton in several directions, almost in a hidden octagonal shape. The Collarean knight, being as strategic as he possibly could in this rash situation, adjusted his blade parallel to the swipes, using Izia as his shield against the barrage. Once it was over and Darki leapt back, Mark wields his sword to the side, allowing it to charge a beam of light before sending several waves to his opponent, expecting to score some hits if any. Though swift in evading, one beam snipped the shadow’s left foot. This led to Sir Darki’s retaliation: tossing Kytton towards Mark as the chain extends from the doppelganger’s body.
“What the--?” the knight started as he swung Izia upwards to knock the shadow blade away. “That weapon is something else.” Again, Mark charged the sword and sent several waves towards Darki.
As the shadow evaded these, he cockily proclaimed, “It’s only been half an hour, and you’ve only managed to land one tiny scratch on my foot! Izia must not be all that powerful as you thought it was, Sir Knight!”
“Thee jests!” the knight of Collara exclaimed angrily, tightening his grip on his black-blade as he knocked Kytton downward and climbed on the dark, blood-colored chain. While on it, he made an attempt to divide the chain from the handle and body, which eventually became the knight’s mistake. Darki pulled the chain, and it wrapped around Izia that was, now, stuck in the ground. Avoiding Kytton, the Collarean knight propelled himself from the handle of the black-blade and landed a few feet away from the dark doppelganger. Realizing he was weaponless, Sir Mark of Collara shouted, “Thou art’s defenseless! Yet e’ continues the match!”
Darkimus of Hathes laughed, wielding Izia in his right and Kytton in his left. While the newly-acquired black-blade charged, he stated, “Ye’ must be ignorant. Ye’ lost his sword, ye’ weapon of choice. Why those thou prolong the fight defenseless now? Lady Margaret is busy with my soldiers, and it doesn’t take much time for my minions to devour the assassin, even if she holds them back. Where’re your other members? Thee quit?” Then his attention was drawn to an arrow directed at his heart, which passed through flawlessly, accurately, and precisely. Examining the shape and color, as well as a small black flag near the tip, Sir Mark knew from whom had submitted in assisting him in the warfare.
“Excuse my tardiness,” Sir Skael Saxon told Mark as he landed to his right, wielding his bow Kariron-Beta. “Thought you’d need some assistance… and here’s Ureo with your new weapon!” A quick glance, the knight witnessed Sir Ureo Ralph of Abar, swiping away at surrounding shadow soldiers with Ureoka, eliminating all that stood in the blacksmith’s way. It did not take him too long before he stood face to face with the three.
Pulling out an elaborately crafted light-blade, Ureo tossed Mark his new sword, stating, “Izia’s a strong black-blade, but it would have eventually fallen apart to that dark-blade. Keeo, the light-blade, should substitute for that.”
Catching the sheath and unleashing the sword within, Sir Mark wields the light-blade firm in his right hand as a grin formed on his face.
Darkimus, himself, had a smile carved into his face as he pointed Kytton at the men and reminded, “Nice, the team’s all here and ready for the fight. However, Sir Mark of Collara is my opponent; he seeks no assistance except that of holding off the Asheta Army. Skael, Ureo, both of you, join Maj behind me before I display my prowess to thee as well.” Both men looked at the knight, who nodded his head to agree with what was told of them.
“I have he to fight. Focus on assisting Lady Margaret against his shadow soldiers!”
Switching from Kariron-Beta to Kariron-Alpha—his crossbow—and before joining in the bullet storm, Skael replied, “On it!” Ureo, too, swapped Ureoka for his blade pair Haidan before slashing at nearby soldiers in his move to Maj and Skael.
Mark directed his attention back to Darki, pointing Keeo at the shadow as he said, “Ready?”
Mimicking his mortal doppelganger, he pointed Kytton at Mark as he replied courageously, “Your move!”
Teasing her opponents, Maj swayed away from their knight swords and used the magic of her bullets to paralyze and sloth the soldiers. “I miss playing with my toys,” she jests, shooting arms and legs before aiming for heads and hearts. After a few kicks to soldiers’ heads, the sharpshooter witnessed the blacksmith swinging his swords around, every slash made producing a swiftly thin amount of decaying blue and orange flames. This snapped her back into seriousness, returning to blowing brains out and breaking hearts quickly. Then his voice startled her a bit, the familiar voice of a friend.
“Allow me to help you, Lady Margaret,” Sir Skael politely requested, “or shall I recite you as ‘The Purple Sprite.’”
To hold back an incoming blush, the lady elbowed him in his abdomen before softly apologizing, “I thought you were one of Darki’s soldiers. Sincere apology. Yes, help me fend them off for Mark!” While Maj fired arca from Poker, Skael fired his alphae—specialized arrows for his crossbow—at surrounding enemies as they motioned closer to the sharpshooter.
Sir Ureo Ralph, then, leapt near the two and performed two spins, casting a ring of Fire around his team as he shouted, “P’iran!” A wave of fire was sent in all directions, scotching the shadow soldiers as they fell defeated. “Alrighty then,” the blacksmith said, switching out Haidan for Ureoka. “You should be protected for the next hour now. Remain serious and don’t get cocky in the fighting; if any attack hits you, it will backfire and burn that attacker.”
The lady snickered before she replied, “Yes, Sir Ureo. Thank you.”
Gripping both of his hands firm and strong on the handle of the silver-blade, the blacksmith, before storming off into the approaching horde, said, “Now, let’s get bloody.”
Again, Sir Darkimus threw his sword at Sir Mark, yanking the chain back and around as if Kytton was a playful toy, attempting to knock the knight off-guard and weak. Every single try seemed to fail; Mark managed to move in closer to the dark doppelganger and swipe Keeo no greater than two time before motioning away from his opponent.
“Sir Darkimus,” the mortal doppelganger asked loudly, “if you don’t mind me asking this query: why does this fight feel rather bland? What’s with all of those scratches on your armor? It looks as if it may fall apart if I continue any farther!”
The shadow turned to the Collarean knight, smiling with his teeth presented evilly. “Don’t fret,” the wielder of Kytton answered, loosening his left hand on the shadow-blade. Tossing the chained sword upwards into the dark sky, Darki performed a strange dance while Mark stood curiously confused on what would happen if it was interrupted or finished. He glanced at the swaying chain and sword above; they began to illuminate a faint red color when Darki evilly chanted, in a hundred demonic voices, “Mor’te, mor’te. Dem et-nu.” A large octagram appeared beneath the shadow’s feet, highlighted a much brighter red than his dancing weapon.
The knight of Collara closed his eyes and raised his silver-blade Keeo high as he cited a spell of his own. “Et ma! Keeo!” And the blade illuminated bright, deep pink. Pulling the weapon down to his right side and gripping the handle with both hands, Mark charged towards Darki much faster than he physically could. This left the dancing opponent at a slight disadvantage, for his spell wasn’t finish, though nearly close. Four swift swipes pass the center of the octagram, the mortal man left twenty deep scratches on the shadow’s armor, which disintegrated and turned into dusty, black ash.
It vanishes; the octagram disappears while Kytton glows a crimson red. Darki gives a sinfully hysterical laugh, his eyes cry thick red tears. “Hope you’re happy about that, Sir--!” he loudly screamed, obtaining his shadow-blade from the sky and vaporizing into his gaseous cloud state as he migrated to his team’s position in the battlefield. All three seemed very distracted to the horde of shadow soldiers that constantly summoned; though Sir Mark rushed to hold his doppelganger back, he was unable to use the same speed enchantment seconds ago nor was he able to cry out and warn them. He, however, was capable to launch another magical attack through Keeo. With the silver-blade illuminating pink, the Collarean knight left two perpendicular scars in the air that slashed through the horde of shadow soldiers and knocked Darkimus out of his gaseous form; Maj, Skael, and Ureo heard the blast and evaded Mark’s attack in a matter of seconds.
Sir Darkimus returned to his human shape, an X cut on his back. Standing from where he had landed, the shadow did not make a move and appeared paralyzed by the attack. While the army surrounded the team in a circular shape, the three regrouped next to the knight of Collara, pondering over what is to come next.
Slightly timid, Sir Mark requested hesitantly, “Retreat. The three of you return to your fights with the soldiers and retreat. Darki has something plotted out, and it may involve harm done to the team, something I will not risk the chances of happening.” Making the first move, Maj swiped her left leg underneath the feet of two shadow soldiers, knocking them down and firing individual arca into their heads. Ureo, following after the Purple Sprite, thrusts Ureoka into the chest of one soldier in their Asheta-stationary stance, pulling Haidan from the sheath to finish three more behind with a scything wave of flames. Skael placed five enchanted alphae into Alpha, each with an different spell enchant; pulling the string back and pushing the trigger, the armorsmith tagged five rows on soldiers, all falling from a pain-inducing spell.
Taking notice of his surroundings before returning his attention back to his dark doppelganger, Mark saw that there were no more soldiers spawning into the battlefield; Observing Darki, the mortal knight witness the shadow heal his wounds as he turned to make eye contact with one another.
Both hands clutched as tightly as he could make them, Sir Mark charged at Sir Darkimus, his sword the pinkest it had been thus far into the fight. Kytton blocked what was potentially a swift, clean slash to the shadow’s head.
Another evil chuckle, “Did you really think it would be that simple? Mortals are such gullible creatures. However…” Mark’s team witnessed all hordes of soldiers vanish from the vicinity, leaving them to face Sir Mark and Sir Darki to see what had happened. Then a large repulsive force knocked everyone off their feet, Mark’s silver-blade Keeo yards away from his grasp.
The shadow continued, “…some do manage to obtain a vast amount of intelligence and wisdom to reach their intended goals irregardless of their importance.” Standing over the Collarean knight’s body, Sir Darkimus of Hathes raised the luminously red dark-blade, ready to slice whatever it was prepared to strike. “Allow me to cleanse this world of your sin.” And before it had been delivered, a voice stopped him, one that seemed rather familiar to Mark’s ears.
“Heave, Darkimus!” the voice called out. Then his identity had been revealed; after a miniature white moon morphed into a man in a dark-colored suit and kneeled over the knight of Collara, Mark knew whom he was face-to-face with. The man was Nevan, the dark wizard that assisted Naaz of the Republic in the theft of the precious book of secrets from the Casche Monarch. In complete shock, the knight’s eyes widened and ears remained opened to what he needed to hear from the one that cursed him.
“Mm. It seems that you may have known me from an earlier appearance, but I will state what I feel is required of me.” Pulling a dagger out from his sleeve, the wizard wields it just below Mark’s jaw as he tells, “My name is Nevan. Yes, I assisted my uncle in the stealing of said book of the Casche. Our intentions cannot be revealed simply so nor could they be comprehended so.” Gesturing his servant Sir Darkimus to put down his dark-blade Kytton and to walk back a few steps, Nevan the Wizard put the dagger back in his sleeve and placed magical constrictors on the Collarean knight’s hands before walking to retrieve Keeo, only to be stopped by an enchanted bullet from Poker-II.
He glanced at the sharpshooter assassin Maj, who was kneeling to the ground in an attempt to stand once more. For a second, she believed that the shot actually altered the wizard’s entire right arm into stone, but it was a ruse, a spell of trickery when Nevan glared at her with a sinful look on his face, his arm intact.
“Silly woman,” he laughed, “such a shot must be beyond my sorcery, a level of wizardry that cannot be easily surpassed by a puny arca-bullet.” In slight frustration, she pointed Poker-I at Darkimus and fired an enchanted bullet. It penetrated his body, passing through his heart and out his spine. An odd occurrence, the shadow had liquefied—changed into a liquid form rather than a gaseous state. While Nevan the Wizard was distracted, Ureo somersaulted forward, towards Keeo and swiped the silver-blade out of the ground before the wizard could pull it out himself. Being as swift as he could, the blacksmith slashed the metallic suit that the dark wizard bears before finishing it off with a powerful kick to the man’s head, knocking him to the ground hard.
Mark struggled to loosen and break free from the constrictors, shouting to his team, “Free me, team!”
“I’ll be there, don’t fret,” Skael replied as he hurried over to the knight. It was not long before Nevan magically migrated his person to Skael and Mark’s position, punching the armorsmith and knocking him unconscious. As for Sir Mark, the dark wizard brought Darkimus back to his solid human form, but with a small opening in the shadow’s chest from where Maj’s bullet had entered.
“Don’t assume that this fight will get any easier, Sir Knight!” Darkimus announced in a thousand voices. Extending his left arm, his dark-blade Kytton emerged chainless and blade, not only sharper, but also longer. A flick of Nevan’s fingers, Mark was freed from the constrictors.
Ureo tossed the knight his sword and told him, “Finish it off, Mark. We have no more than two hours left of this fight before the curse takes over.”
The Dark Wizard expressed anger on his face as well as in his voice when he stared at the blacksmith Ureo Ralph and shouted, “Shut it! You and your friends need to go now before you, too, face the consequences of my curse.” Then it presented another brightening of a pink color, this time a deeper, more pure pink that represented the rage that the knight was ready to express.
That look, Nevan noticed Mark’s facial expression and the glow of Keeo. “And it all falls into play,” he said. “Consider me a sub-creator of the Narmarn Curse. Consider yourself, Sir Mark of Collara, my test subject. At the end of this battle, I will determine whether you are worthy of its removal or if your soul shall be damned to Hathes.” Stretching his right arm high in the air to summon his staff, the Dark Wizard concludes formally, “Do not fail to protect the monarchy in power. They appointed you for a reason. Display all of your potentials for me against your doppelganger, even if it means ending your life as a knight.” And the fight resumed its play.
With Nevan, Darki’s Asheta Army, and Mark’s team off the battlefield, the Great Casa Plains became the two men’s arena. Both opponents readied their enchanted swords; then Sir Darkimus had made the first move, one too fast for Sir Mark to keep pace and defend against. To the mortal knight’s luck, however, Keeo blocked the parallel slash waves that came from the sides. It propelled the man back several yards, but the Collarean knight remained standing, wielding his silver-blade in front of him until the shadow appeared before him and proceeded to thrust the handle of the dark-blade into Mark’s chest and below Mark’s jaw. The uppercut, the attack scrapped some blood from the mortal’s mouth and lifted his feet from the ground but was unsuccessful in knocking him unconscious to Darki’s displeasure. Quickly planning out what he needed to do next, Sir Knight wedged Keeo into the ground as he regained his footing, his balance on the grassy ground.
Evading one thrust of Darki’s blade, the Collarean knight pulled his sword out of the ground and performs several defensive swings to fend the shadow away a bit. A strategy, then, emerged into Mark’s head, one he believes could come in his favor. Placing the handle of Keeo into his left hand, he manages to sprint pass Darki’s wielding hand, the shadow’s left side, and position himself no more than inches from the rear, the point of Keeo in the doppelganger’s spine. It had appeared that Sir Darkimus was mentally swift as well; once he felt Keeo touch his backside—specifically his spine, the dark doppelganger went to his gaseous form and migrated to Sir Knight’s arms, using this chance to take control of them and release the silver-blade from Mark’s hand.
Fighting the shadow’s possession, the knight of Collara could feel the overwhelming pain from maintain command of his body. It boiled the blood that flowed inside; his arms had a sensation similar to fire on skin as the mortal made attempts to ply the shadow off him. This became a slight time waster until Keeo fell from Mark’s hand and Darki returned to his human state, advancing to claim the enchanted silver-blade as his own.
The shadow felt a stinging feeling when he touched the handle of Keeo; upon gripping it his tightest, Darkimus’s hand became numb. Glancing at the dark doppelganger’s body, Sir Mark noticed that the shadow’s arm went pale in specific areas, at what appeared to be a display of common veins likewise of a human. Though weaponless, the Collarean knight kicked the silver-blade upwards, knocking Keeo out of the shadow’s now weakened hand. In retaliation, Darki used his good hand wielding Kytton and swiped at the knight. It was miss; even though the dark-blade was the perfect length to leave a scratch on the knight’s armor Amethya, a backward somersault prevented the sword from ever making contact with it. While the dark doppelganger used whatever strength left in him to regain some balance, Sir Mark took this chance to knock Kytton out of his opponent’s wielding hand before Keeo returned to the ground. There went a kick to the board side of the sword, and Kytton was freed from Sir Darkimus’s grasp. Lifting himself into the air, the knight of Collara stretched his right arm to the handle of the silver-blade, pulls the sword down using both hands and, with one final and vengeful pink illumination, performed a powerful downward slash on the shadow’s head.
At first, it just appeared as if Keeo never even touched Darki when the shadow presented a creepy smile that was not there before the attack. Then, unexpectedly, the shadow exploded into his gaseous form, a loud maniacal laugh echoing throughout the Great Casa Plains. Sir Knight closed his eyes tightly as the overwhelming dark gray fog surrounded him. Once it was all over, Mark looked around the arena; he noticed that the dark-blade Kytton still lays untouched on the ground as if Darkimus left it. When the mortal approached the enchanted weapon, the sight of the blade glowing red had him stop in his tracks and ponder what was going to happen next. “Did I… defeat him?”
An octagram appeared beneath Kytton, one similar to what the shadow Sir Darkimus of Hathes had under his feet when a spell was used during an earlier part of the battle. The dark-blade, then, rose from the ground, glistening overall red before a red silhouette appears before the blade, wielding it in its right hand upside-down. When the octagram vanished and the light dimmed, it was revealed that the man wielding Kytton now was Nevan the Dark Wizard. This left Mark off-guard, long enough for the summoned wizard to pull out his staff and knock the Collarean knight onto his rear.
Using the dark-blade to separate the orb on the staff and holding it in his left hand, Nevan exclaims angrily, “I honestly hope thee didn’t believe HE will end it all here like that! Thee must be ignorant!” Tossing the orb into the air and shattering the pieces with Kytton, the wizard released a purple vapor that quickly surrounded the mortal men. It did not take the knight much time to acknowledge that he was stuck with breathing the gas in as he attempts recollecting whatever energy and strength left to stand and face Nevan again. But something familiar was in the air that hit Mark’s nose at the right spot. He tried to cough, but it was no use. Too much of the vapor had already entered his lungs.
The Dark Wizard took notice of the Collarean knight gradually drifting into unconsciousness, laughing evilly and loudly as he readied the dark-blade Kytton to finish the mortal once and for all. “Let this be the proper way for a nobleman, such as yourself, Sir Knight, meet his ultimate demise and fall to shame,” Nevan softly proclaimed, right wielding arm stretched to the highest. Within a second or two, Lady Margaret rushes to Mark’s aid, firing two bullets at the dark-blade in hand, both striking but failing to do anything to the man. Rather than have it fall from his fingers, the wizard had the sword levitate above his head while he let his right hand constrict the muscles in the woman’s body, crippling her until she laid unable to stand, walk, or talk.
In complete panic and worry, Sir Skael pulled out Kariron-Alpha and fired five enchanted arrows at Nevan without hesitation or heeding Ureo’s warning, “Don’t fire!” The Dark Wizard, now growing annoyed and using his free, left hand, deflected the attack and constricts the muscles in the armorsmith-archer’s body, though they were a great distance away from one another. Sir Ureo witnessed both teammates fall cripple by the magic of the wizard, taking notice that Nevan had to present both hands in order to do so. A thought later, he pulls the blade pair Haidan and charged, building up enough power within the swords to produce flames readied for attack.
A peek over his shoulder and his eyes filled with burning anger and agitation, Nevan the Wizard spawned a third arm from his back, stretching it out before presenting the palm to the attacker and constricting his muscles, halting what was to come. “I’ve had enough of these predictably pointless distractions!” the wizard shouted. “You three will witness the demise of this one whether you like it or not!” Using telekinesis on Kytton, the man stood over Sir Mark of Collara, telling him, “To punish you for murdering Uncle Naaz of the Republic, it seems fair that I remove you from this world. Sir Knight, nobleman of the Casche Monarch, I damn thee to Hathes and banish your forfeit soul to Obsidia.” Giving the knight a farewell wink, the Dark Wizard raised the dark-blade high and threw it downwards.
Sir Mark closed his eyes to the fading consciousness; he did not feel Kytton touch him, though. The Collarean knight’s team was released from their magical confinements and glanced at Nevan.
There stood what appeared to be the Grim Reaper behind the Dark Wizard, wielding his scythe parallel to his arm. On the blade was blood, large amount of blood from the man that stands before Death. With a deep voice, he told Nevan, “It appears that thou must go first.” And the wizard collapses to the grass, staining areas of green with the red of blood. While the three members lift themselves off the ground and recollecting energy, they watch the Grim Reaper carry unconscious Mark, turn to face them and listen his request.
“The battle is over now; ye’ may return to the Casche Capital City and enjoy the Halloween festival. Your friend here will meet thee as well at the capital once I remove what has left him to slumber.” And he vanished from the vicinity.
Now, the team walked the crowded streets of the Casche Capital City, easing and relaxing from the events that had occurred an hour ago. All around them, they noticed a lot of festivities were set out throughout the corners, the place decorated with fancy banners, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Neither of the three could wipe their smiles off whenever they witnessed children in costumes run down the sidewalks for candy.
However, Sir Skael’s mind did not stray away from questioning where the Grim Reaper had disappeared to and where he took Sir Mark. So the question was asked, “Are any of you curious on where Death must have gone with Sir Knight? Though this festival’s bright and dazzling with the children and games and the like, I cannot seem to break loose of the thoughts on what Sir Reaper is really on about.”
Lady Maj yanked the armorsmith’s left arm, subtly blushing as she gave him a reply. “Don’t worry about that now, Skael. Sir Knight will be here shortly. That’s an honest promise.” Grabbing the blacksmith’s left arm and pulling both men forward, towards the Casche Monarch’s palace, the woman, with a cheerful tone, shouted, “Come along, men! We have a party to attend to at the palace!” Bypassing the servants that protected the entrance to the royal palace, Maj lets go of Ureo’s arm but tightly hugs against Skael’s, rubbing her head against his upper arm as she requested in whisper, “May we dance to the music?”
He give an indirect response; once the man reached the middle of the room, Skael firmly grasped Lady Margaret’s hand and performed a dance with her, keeping his heart opened to what could happen next. The blacksmith Ureo Ralph grinned as he witnessed the two sway around as if a beautiful couple performing a form of courtship. Then he scanned the room in hopes to find the Collarean knight and the soothsayer Ruok. His eyes were locked on them standing next to the array of snacks on an orange table.
As he approached, the blacksmith greeted the men. “Hey, guys.” Giving Mark a hug, he added, “Welcome back, Sir Collarean Knight. Skael Saxon worried over your absence after Death took you away from us. Feeling any better?”
“Yeah,” the knight answered with a sigh, “I’m getting there. And it appears that my soul is freed from the Narmarn Curse as well.”
After hearing those words from Sir Mark, Ruok the Soothsayer giggled a bit as a smile grew over his face. “Don’t either one of you want to have a little fun while you still can inside the palace?” he queried as he pulled out his crystal orb. “Rarely has Prince Te’on or King Mantra allowed anyone at all enter or party within the walls of the throne, ever since the theft incident.”
“Right.” Ureo picked up a pink cupcake and walked away from the table while Mark loosen his muscles before joining some of the dancers on the floor. As for the soothsayer Ruok of Collara, he and his third eye stared into Medaa and watched the fight between Sir Mark of Collara and Sir Darkimus of Hathes, finding amusement of all that happened only hours before the team’s arrival into the capital.
And the favorite moment of the duel was the appearance of the Grim Reaper. “You’re welcome, Sir Knight.”