Several hours had now passed since Kanes’ return to Elvera and the castle. Ascondia stood looking into the forest from the window of the library. As she looked down upon the outskirts of forest she spotted several small dots of light, they seemed to be dart in and out of the forest, appearing for a moment then vanishing back among the tree-line, their tell-tale lanterns lighting small patches of the trees for a moment before been extinguished in the next moment. A gasp slid from Ascondia as in a sudden recognition as it dawned upon her that Elvera was in danger and about to be attacked. She ran her hand through her hair, before she turned away from the window.
“Idiots” she muttered softly, “If only they knew Kane had returned, I very much doubt they’d be so hasty in their attack then!” She had merely been talking to herself or so she had thought, unaware that the door had opened slightly the very moment she had spoken those words.
“But Mistress Ascondia, Master Kane is …. Dead, we heard the messenger say so” The voice low and rasping from behind her.
“Ah Shadow,” She said softly “It seems Kanes death was indeed greatly exaggerated, it was merely a ruse to buy him time to return. I should have known better than to have believed such things until I saw his corpse for myself, Kane is resilient at the best of times, I should have known it would have taken more than this to take him from us, right now he is resting in his chambers, please go awaken him, inform him the castle is in danger”
The man short in appearance, his hair long but neatened, his eyes of deepened red and wearing slightly tattered clothing. He looked once more to Ascondia then with a smile and a small pop he vanished leaving a cloud of green smoke with dissipated quickly into the surrounding air.
Kanes eyes snapped open as he heard a loud and rapid knock upon his chamber door; he sat upright and looked over to the door before his eyes took a long look around the room and then a moment later returning his attention to the door.
“It’s open,” He barked somewhat more angrily than he’d intended
The door opened and slowly Shadows head appeared around the door, a small smile flicking across his thin lips as his eyes fell upon Kane.
“Master Kane” He gasped “It’s true you have returned, Miss … Mistress Ascondia requires your presence, it seems something or perhaps someone may be preparing to attack the castle”
Kane rolled quickly from his bed, landing on both feet with a practiced ease as he straightened to his full height in the same motion, his eyes narrowed, his eyes flicked to the window for a moment, a moment later the room was rocked hard as something slammed into the outer walls of the Castle; Kane stumbled back almost falling as he grabbed angrily at the frame of his bed for support. He barely managed to stay on his feet and swept across the room in long strides toward the window, having to turn and shield himself from the glass as the next impact shattered it into a thousand pieces of deadly shrapnel. As the glass shards dissipated he took a moment to look through the empty frame, quickly spotting the crowd that had now formed on the edge of the forest, they had started several large fires and were darting around in the amber light, though from in the distance they looked like tiny black shadows, they had brought with them several large catapults and were firing huge fiery boulders high into the air, the boulders took a high and long arc leaving trails of fire in the night sky before they would descend and slam into the walls of Elvera castle, the impact shaking the very foundations of the castle, each impact causing small fragments of the walls and ceiling to fall with a cloud of dust.
“Find the castle troops! Get them out there as of now! If they refuse ... Kill them, and Shadow, hurry the hell up please!” Kane barked with a powerful authority.
“Yes master” Replied Shadow before again he disappeared leaving his telltale cloud of green smoke which once again dissipated into the surrounding air.
Another explosion rocked the castle causing Kane to stumble back his head snapping forward as he hit the frame of his bed sending him to the floor in a heap, his hands barely breaking the fall and protecting his face from meeting the cold stone floor. With a low dangerous growl he pushed up from the floor, returning to his feet and grabbed his crossbow and blade finally he grabbed his cloak as he exited the room. He turned from the corridor and headed up the stairs of the tower.
With graceful ease he climbed the sharp spiralling staircase, arriving on the tower roof he quickly swept across to the battlements, another moment he had to still his balance as another barrage of fiery boulders assaulted the castle walls, quickly he made his way around the walls to the front gates of the castle, he now had a clear view as scores of troops exited the castle and began engaging the approaching rebel troops, blades could be seen glimmering in the moonlight, sparks could be seen flying spectacularly as the blades of the two armies clashed, occasionally one of the troops would freeze and disintegrate to dust in a fiery red show.
Parts of the forest were now alight, as were parts of the castle, the remaining troops of Elvera and the villagers battled frantically amongst the ongoing battle to try and control or put the fires out, but even that action was having its casualties.
Kane was taking a moment to assess the situation as his attention was drawn to a high-pitched familiar voice cut through the air, the undertone of panic clearly noticeable. Kane moved around the battlements finally spotting a small vampire crowd that had closed in and were now surrounding Ascondia, inches from the castle entranceway.
“She just had to get involved!” Growled Kane bitterly
With a smooth sharp action he drew his blade and leapt onto the battlement pausing a moment before leaping from the battlements and high into the air before hurtling towards the ground his cloak flowed out in the night air, moments later he flipped majestically in mid-air to land on the cold damp earth inches behind Ascondia in a low crouch so as to conceal his face.
“Play times over!” He snapped
As he stood he flicked his blade out then struck upward up striking a vampire, a long low whistle could be heard before the sound of a blade cutting flesh and bone, the vampire cut clean in half, then with a sharp well defined motion he turned as he spun the blade to face behind him and thrust sharply and violently backwards taking the life a second vampire as it penetrated it’s heart. The two vampires froze in sequence before they then collapsed to dust with the same fiery red flicker he’d observed from above.
“Kane!” Snapped one of the crowd
Kane turned slowly to face the vampire whom had addressed him, his eyes now dark, cold and very much focused on protecting the castle and its inhabitants.
“Navron, surprised to see me?” Kane let out a small cold chuckle, as his smile twisted further “Ceremons pet Molvar failed to get the job done yet again, a simple fireball and that hair brain half wolf actually thought he’d got me, had he checked the grass he’d have noticed it had been walked upon, well crawled but let’s not nit-pick eh? But then again that’s just so typical of the fifth; they never bother to actually check a job is done right”
“Master Ceremon is going to be most upset” Replied Navron
Kane stepped forward from behind Ascondia, his cloak flowing in his movement then to a halt as it fell back around his tall, powerful and well-built frame, Kane was imposing to say the least as he glared down at Navron, who was significantly less menacing than Kane in appearance, almost frail in retrospect to Kane, the battle had soon dulled to a few scores here and there as the remaining members of the fifth closed ranks in and around Kane and Ascondia isolating them away from the both the castle and the remaining troops.
Kanes forces closed in between the rest and their leaders to prevent them gaining any truthful ground toward Elvera, in that moment the whole situation had come to a chilling standoff. The air now carried a dangerous silence as Kane looked down at his adversary; his blade lowered the tip barely touching the cold damp earth of the meadow floor.
“You won’t be so lucky this time Elcarus!” Snapped Navron
Navron barely had chance to complete his sentence as there was an immense crack followed by a large explosion behind the crowds, a spray of dust and dirt was kicked high into the air covering many underneath it in remnants of earth. The entire crowd turned in unison to see a figure standing his face hidden by the dark shadows of the forest.
Slowly he began to move forward the fires beginning to illuminate his face, his hair long, with a gentle curl and a slightly greasy look to it. The crowd parted to allow him through as he approached Kane the figures stare did not break from Kanes own eyes. Slowly he reached up and lowered his hood, his face strangely similar to Kane.
“Having a problem?” He said gently a touch of sarcasm noticeable.
“I had it” Kane replied with the same semblance of sarcasm
“Hmm, two or three hundred on two and yet you had it?” The figure replied shortly
“As I said Hades I had it” Replied Kane
Kane turned back to the Navron a near emotionless look drew over his face, his eyes returning to their usual gentle emerald, the odds in this battle had shifted dramatically and he knew it, Kane held his look on Navron now. He looked up and then back towards the forest.
“Tell Master Ceremon that as long as Hades and I stand united as the brothers we are, then he will not take Elvera nor any other region of the Everlands” Kanes voice was very soft, low and carried a deathly chilling tone to it, it was not a threat but a statement of fact, the brothers were indeed as a good a team as any you were ever likely to find in the Everlands, their skill matched only by each other that alone could change the tide of even the biggest battle.
“So you two spend the best part of the last two centuries fighting and then suddenly align, and you Hades it was Ceremon who freed you from those mountain caves! Why turn upon him? With he and you together you could have had everything” Snapped Navron
“Perhaps it’s that sort of debt I can do without” Replied Hades coldly
Kane looked to him as Hades had drawn two daggers from under his cloak and looked to the vampire crowd. Who had now begun to disperse back into the darkness of the forest, weapons could be heard as they were dropped in haste, it was a battle they wanted no part of.
“Just as well we aren’t you then, but really I wouldn’t hang around, wouldn’t want your troops to arrive back in camp before you, Master Ceremon really wouldn’t appreciate that now would he?” Kane chuckled
Navron took one final glance from Kane and then to Hades then back to Kane his glance now passing the amassing crowd of heavily armed Everlandians that were now quickly closing in behind Kane. Slowly he stepped back turning slightly then with a flicker of red light he was gone.
Kane now rounded on the newcomer as he glared back towards Hades, before quietly looking down to the ground then back up his eyes locking upon Hades’, once again in that one single moment the whole night seemed to stand still, the conflict and distrust between the two brothers was now more clear than perhaps it had been a moment ago, as Kane stepped back then slowly turned on his heel and headed back towards the castle. Ascondia hurried to catch him; she jogged by his side to keep pace with Kane. As Kane halted suddenly, she barely had time to react as she ran into his back, sending her backward causing her to loose her balance and fall to the ground her hands aiding her landing ensuring she landed in a seated position upon the ground. As he had turned and now looked down to her, his eyes flickering with the usual gentle emerald, which was visible under the pale light.
“Kane can you come to my chambers, this evening I need to speak with you, I have something to tell you that is very important” She said softly
Kane nodded once in a long slow motion and then headed on back towards the castle leaving Ascondia sat on the grass with a confused look upon her face. As Hades finally caught up he looked in the direction after Kane before looking back at Ascondia
“He worries me,” He said
“So he should,” Ascondia replied sharply as she pulled herself back to her feet, dusting the dirt and grass from her dress.
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