“Just wait ’til that know-it-all ’el sees this sword of mine,” Lu-seth bragged to himself. “She won’t be so proud and mighty when I slice off her arms just for fun, then lop off her head just for meanness.” A wicked sneer flickering across his face at the thought of what he planned.
“When I picked up her sword it gave me the idea of looking in the ‘Forces of Evil Storage Room’ for a sword of my own intentions,” he told himself. He could still see the scars on his hands from the ’el’s sword. The sword that he now possessed seemed to hum an evil tune in his ears as he carried it toward the site of the train wreck. It had a name across the handle, probably from a former owner, but he didn’t care. He was bound and determined to use this sword to get vengeance for his failure over the last few weeks at securing Anna, his prime target.
The Boss was really mad about his failed attempts so far, and had threatened to reduce him to a mere laborer, rather than one free to roam about the world. “Of all the insults! And all because of that Andri-el. Just wait ’til she sees me with this wicked blade. She won’t be so proud.”
He laughed out loud at the thought of her reaction. As he neared the Alabama bayou where the train wreck occurred, he slowed down and proceeded forward with caution. “That ’el was tricky and smart, as much as I hate to admit it. If she sees me coming full bore with a sword in hand, I know she’ll be on the defensive. But if I can catch her off guard – who knows?”
The woods around the cabin were quiet, just like they had been the previous time he was there. This time, however, he did not feel the overwhelming presence of The Healer. “Is Anna still here?” he wondered.
Then he spotted Anna sitting in the woods by the water’s edge. Looking closer, he saw the ’el behind her, gazing toward the right, down the bayou channel. “What’s that infuriating ’el looking at, I wonder?” Then he saw it too, or rather felt it through the trees. Humans were approaching in a boat – two humans, and full of energy, especially the one in charge.
When Lu-seth looked back at the ’el, she was watching him. “So much for the sneak attack,” he admitted, as he rushed forward. He held the sword behind him as he approached, hoping to at least surprise her with it. As he attacked, the sword grew warmer and warmer in his hands – as if it knew that a battle was coming and was preparing for the challenge.
As Andri-el drew back her sword in readiness for the attack, Anna suddenly called “Samuel, where are you?” The momentary distraction caused Andri-el to falter, dividing her attention between Anna on the ground and Lu-seth approaching in the air behind them. Just at that moment the sword that he carried in his hand leaped around Lu-seth of its own will and struck home in Andri-el’s sword arm. It wasn’t blood that issued forth, but Lu-seth could see life force pouring from the wounded limb as his sword pulled him past the injured ’el and straight toward Anna.
Recovering quickly, too quickly it seemed, Andri-el grabbed her sword with the other hand and swung a mighty blow at Lu-seth’s back side. He could feel the searing heat of the wound as it dug deeply, but his sword kept him heading toward his ultimate target sitting beside the water.
The second stroke of the ’el’s sword severed one of his arms just below the elbow. Oddly enough, the unattached limb remained firmly anchored to the sword. The unbalanced load on the sword handle, however, caused his sword’s tip to strike the ground instead of the unsuspecting girl. But it was close enough. Thinking quickly, Lu-seth flipped the grounded sword sideways to remove it, and in so doing plunged Anna into the water. She screamed, as she floundered with broken limbs to stop her slide under the surface.
Now out of the ground, Lu-seth’s sword readied itself for the attacking ’el. He felt the sword’s power and knew its hatred of the ’el – more than even his own hatred. It was a hatred born of knowing and choosing – a hatred of dark power – a consuming hatred. Lu-seth felt his own energy being drawn into the sword’s life, and it took over his body in so doing. He thrilled with a power that he had never known before. He felt invincible.
In spite of his new-found power, however, the ’el kept attacking and defending fearlessly. She did not back down for one moment. Her sword sliced and hacked at him. Were it not for the power of his sword, he knew he would have been mere slivers lying on the ground in minutes at the feet of the ’el.
His sword was strong, and it knew how to fight. He gave it willing hands to swing itself, and somehow in return the sword managed to reattach his severed limbs back together. It was a black power – dark and old. It was a power to be feared. Yet the ’el did not show fear. His sword’s power was a power that took control of his life, and gave nothing back in return. Yet for all its taking, it could not take the life of the ’el. Nor could it distract itself from the battle with the ’el to take the life of the girl.
Then suddenly realization dawned on Lu-seth. The sword had no real interest in the girl. Neither did it care what he wanted. It had only attacked Anna earlier as a way of provoking the ’el into battle. In the same way, the sword had no interest in his well being either. He was merely the instrument that it used to accomplish its will in battling the ’el.
Now that he was no longer in control of the sword, he was also no longer in control of his own destiny. The sword had taken him. The sword fought, and he was simply along for the ride. Fear gripped him as the sword took ever-increasing chances, trying to get the better of the ’el, and using him as bait. The ’el’s sword sliced him and ripped him, and threatened to take his life every moment. But each time when it looked like the last blow was about to fall on him, his sword pulled him from ultimate danger just in time to get ready for the next lunge.
Lu-seth instinctively knew that some type of activity was happening in the water near Anna, but he didn’t have time to investigate it fully. The sword did not care what happened to Anna. Lu-seth knew he had become the sword, thus riveting his attention to the battle with the ’el. Eventually, it also became obvious to him that even with this sword forged of old magic, he was still no match for the sword carried by the ’el. His blows were ineffective – hers struck home. His every move was anticipated – hers were always unexpected.
Lu-seth was spent. His energy was gone, yet the sword continued to fight, drawing more and more life from him. As his battle with the ’el continued, Lu-seth knew that whatever had been happening in the water with Anna was over. He hoped that she was dead, but he knew better. He also knew that she was no longer there.
Suddenly, the ’el stopped fighting in mid-battle and held her sword aloft in the air for just a brief moment. In that moment, Lu-seth’s sword assumed it finally saw an advantage and lunged forward with all its cunning and remaining power. The ’el had planned a ruse – a clever ploy to force the evil sword to act unwisely. With a sudden whirl and brilliant flash of light, Andri-el spun and lowered her sword in one smooth motion, slicing Lu-seth’s evil sword cleanly in half.
Lu-seth screamed in pain. He was the sword, and the sword was him. The mighty sword was broken, and so was he. His reattached arm fell to the ground, as the pieces of the broken instrument of dark evil clattered beside it, then bounced into the bayou. Hiss and steam rose from the watery grave.
“You fool!” he heard loudly and deeply with his ears. “Not only did you let her escape, you also lost my sword. Never again will you be trusted with power.”
Even from his diminutive size, Lu-seth seemed to shrink even further. Never had The Boss spoken to him this way. Actually, The Boss had never spoken directly to him in any way, especially this way. The condemnation was more than he could bear. He was not sorry for his actions, it was the sword’s fault, not his. He was merely trying to get Anna. The stupid sword was the one who decided to fight the ’el to the death. It was the sword that lost both the battle and Anna, not him. It was not his fault, but he doubted that The Boss wanted to argue about it right now.
Lu-seth had to escape until this whole affair blew over. He went as far as he could find from anything to do with Anna. He hid himself in a cave, hoping to avoid the scorn and ridicule that were sure to follow his trouncing by the ’el. It was so humiliating. He didn’t deserve this treatment. It wasn’t his fault. Didn’t anyone understand him or believe him? “Just wait until I heal,” he told himself. “Then I’ll get vengeance on that ’el. She won’t escape next time. I’ve just got to find the right weapon. I know she has a weakness – and I’m just the one to find it. Plus, now I know to be ready for that blinding-light-spinning-thing that she tricked me with – maybe some sunglasses. She surprised me this time, but next time I’ll be ready.” He continued to whimper pitifully in the darkness.