The Violet Champion
As Seamus sleeps he begins to dream about what little he managed to read of Maumolla’s mind. In his dream he is walking down the street of a rather rundown looking town with roads made of dirt and every building in disrepair. For reasons he can not explain he knows its name is Povice. “Good morning, deary.” He is startled by an elderly lady who waves as she passes by.
“Um, good day,” his response is strangely high pitched. It almost sounds like the voice of a woman.
“Oh, did you hear, Mr. Codds’s gone and traded his daughters to those two Pleting boys from the next territory.” A sudden bout of whispering catches Seamus’s attention. When he turns to look, the people talking gasp and run away, as if they had just been caught doing something they shouldn’t have.
Everything Seamus sees is hazy and cloudy without much detail. As soon as he looks away from something, it starts to fade from his memory. “I wonder which of the Codds got the handsome Pleting boy.” The whispers return as soon as the people believe they are out of earshot.
“I hear the older one got first pick.”
“Which one is older again?”
“I believe she was the one with that long strange name… Molla or something like that.”
“You mean Maumolla,” the other whispering voice corrects her friend. “Quiet or she’ll hear you.”
“Um, excuse me, are you talking about me?” Seamus speaks without thinking. Again his voice is high pitched and feminine.
“No, deary, of course not.” The two women shake their heads vigorously. Even though he is looking straight at them all he can make out are their bonnets and their mouths. He is almost sure that if he lifted the cloth hem of their headwear they would have no eyes. He is now perfectly aware that he is dreaming. These must be memories of Maumolla’s that have deteriorated over time.
“Is their something you need from us?” the two women are becoming nervous.
Seamus wants to ask them more about their conversation but he can't seem to control his own mouth. “No,” Maumolla’s voice rings in his ears. She must have decided to let the matter go, meaning no alternative statement exists in these memories.
Suddenly the scene before Seamus vanishes into darkness. It is quickly replaced by the interior of a small wooden cabin. Out the window Seamus can see a river and a town in the distance. “How could you?” he suddenly shouts in his feminine voice. “Klent was mine!”
“Klent wasn’t interested in you,” a different voice answers from behind him, causing Seamus to spin around. Standing before him is a short woman with bright blonde hair and a pompous smile made menacing by red lips.
“I hate you,” Seamus whispers.
“Do you, Sister?” The woman pretends to be hurt. “I'm sure you’ll get along quite well with… Losher, was it?” she seems to have forgotten the name of the other Pleting brother. Despite only hearing small bits and pieces here and there, Seamus already has a firm grasp and the situation. It is as if he is aware of everything Maumolla knew at the time this memory occurred.
Maumolla and her sister, Daudilla, Daudie for short, have recently become engaged to marry two brothers named Klent and Losher Pleting. It was all arranged by their father, Mr. Codds, without the consent of either. Both know better than to disobey his wishes though. He is probably gaining something of great value in exchange for his two beautiful daughters. Being older Maumolla was given first pick and obviously chose the more handsome and older Klent. After getting to know both women though, it seems he has decided he prefers the younger one, something that angers Maumolla greatly.
“I swear to the heavens, you’ll pay for this,” Seamus hisses through clenched teeth.
“Is that a threat, dear sister?” Daudilla feigns shock. “How barbaric, even for you.”
“Just you wait. I'll rip those pretty lips from your ugly face and feed them to you in a stew,” Seamus spouts something horrible which actually manages to startle Daudilla. She stares at her sister with wide eyes before marching out of the cabin.
Again the scene fades to black as Seamus’s dream moves forward in time. Now he is standing in a different cabin screaming at the top of his lungs at a hideously drunk man with tangled dirty hair and no defining features. Either Maumolla has chosen not to think about whoever this man is or he is just that forgettable. “I'm tired, Molla, just help me get my boots off so we can go to bed,” he groans while stumbling towards Seamus.
“I shall do no such thing.” He shoves the man away. “You are a disgrace, Losher. Have you no shame; drinking at one in the evening. Go and dunk your head in the well before you come back into my house.”
“What gives you the right to talk to me that way?” Losher growls. “My father’s money paid for this land.”
“You gambled through your inheritance like water,” Seamus scoffs. “You barely have enough to buy your pathetic drink. Get out and don’t come back until you’ve found a job or a woman who will have you, because I won't.”
“I told you to stop talking to me that way!” Losher loses his temper. Seamus tries to lean back on instinct as he realizes the man is about to attack but Maumolla’s body doesn’t respond. The slap is hard and painful, mainly due to Losher’s drunken lack of restraint. Maumolla tumbles backwards and hits her head on the wall behind her as she falls. Seamus can actually feel how much it hurts.
“You, you struck me…” Maumolla’s voice is quivering.
“Wait, dear, wait; I didn’t mean to.” Losher touches her cheek.
“Stay away from me!” She jerks backwards, pushing through the door behind her and falling onto the grass outside.
“Are you alright?” Losher tries to grab her.
“I said stay away.” She scrambles to her feet while continuing to back away from him.
“Where are you going?” He chases after her, still stumbling drunkenly.
“Away from you,” she spits angrily.
“Wait, darling, come back,” he whines. “What am I gonna do without you. I can't even do my own laundry.”
Maumolla stops in her tracks. Seamus can tell she is having second thoughts about leaving. It is not that she wants to stay with him, she simply knows he would not survive without her. “Fine,” she grumbles while marching back towards him. He grabs her hand as she struts past, allowing himself to be dragged back into the cabin. She leads him to his bed where she removes his boots and the dirty clothes he is wearing before laying him down on his bed and covering him with a sheet.
Again the scene changes. Now Maumolla is crouching in the middle of a river, soaking Losher’s filthy clothes and trying to scrub the dirt out of them with a horse hair brush and a bar of ivory soap. “Why am I doing this?” she mutters to herself. “I should have never married that man. I should have run the moment my daddy said he was givin’ me away.” Her small-town accent surprises Seamus. It is not something he expected to hear from a demigod.
Just as Maumolla is finishing up her laundry, the clouds in the sky separate. A shimmering beam of purple light strikes the ground in front of her. “What would you do?” an echoing voice scares her.
“What’s goin’ on?” she screams while covering her ears.
“With the power of a god, what would you do?” the voice asks her again.
“I don’t know,” she whimpers. “I'm not a god. I'm not one of those people popping up all over, with those strange powers. I'm not a freak like them.”
“I will bestow upon you the power to better yourself; the power to become more than a human. Do you accept?”
“No,” she moans. “I don’t want nothing to do with any of that.”
“Are you sure?” the voice is relentless. “Are you not dissatisfied with your life? Do you not want the power to leave it all behind?”
“Well yes, I wish I could but…”
“Then it is done.” The purple light strikes Maumolla in the chest, knocking her backwards into the river. She quickly starts to struggle as her head sinks under the water. Seamus can feel how much she is panicking. If she would only stop for a moment and calm herself she could easily recover. The capacity to do so seams beyond her though.
Strangely enough she does not tire of struggling though. Where a normal person would have grown weak, she is maintaining more than enough energy to supply her exaggerated efforts. Seamus knows exactly why. She has already become the Violet Champion.
Finally she realizes how shallow the water actually is and simply sits up. She stares down at her hands which feel numb from the cold water. Something else is filling her body with a warm feeling though. “Is this really happening?” she almost laughs out loud. “Am I one of those freaks? What would people say? What would Losher say?”
Seamus feels Maumolla’s mouth twist into a scowl as her mind drifts back to her useless drunk of a husband. “Why should I care what he thinks,” she spits angrily. “I know what I should do. Anyone in their right mind would do it,” she begins to mutter to herself as she stands up and starts to wring out her dress. Eventually she gives up and starts to walk back to the edge of the stream, leaving her laundry scattered in the water.
Suddenly the scene shifts again. She is back in her cabin, standing over her bed where her husband is fast asleep, snoring loudly. “Oh Losher,” she whispers softly.
“Huh, what?” He jerks his head but does not wake up.
“Losher, dear,” she coos softly while stroking his face.
“Let me be, woman,” he groans.
“That’s not very nice.” She clasps her hands around his wrinkled neck. Immediately his eyes shoot open. She pushes down on his throat to make sure he can not sit up though.
“Molla… what are you doing?” she struggles to speak.
“What does it look like, dear?” She leers down at him. “You were right of course, I could never leave you. No, this way is much better.”
“Eyes, eyes,” he sputters while tapping on her arm.
“Oh, you noticed.” Seamus can see the purple glow reflecting from Maumolla’s eyes in her husbands. She is definitely the Violet Champion. “Stop struggling now, dear,” she grunts while gripping Losher’s throat tighter. “I’ve never done this before and you’re not making it any easier.”
“Please, please, what do you want?” he pleads with her.
“Silly Losher. This is what I want. This is all I want from you, dead husband. Please stop your pathetic breathing. Let your life end and free me from this eternal torment.” Finally Losher’s head falls back as the life leaves his eyes.
Maumolla’s hands snap to her chest as she starts to hyperventilate. “I, I did it,” she gasps. “I can't believe, I'm finally rid of him.”
Seamus is silently screaming in his head. He can't believe what he just witnessed. This is Maumolla’s first act as a demigod, the murder of her own husband. Everything he has ever believed about the so called heroes has just been shattered. Never again will he look up to the warriors that claim to defend humanity.
Before Seamus can regain his composure, the scene once again changes. This time Maumolla is strutting through a much nicer house than her own, humming a quiet song and twirling around happily. She comes to a stop facing a chair with a woman tied to it. It is her sister Daudilla. There is a rag stuffed in her mouth preventing her from talking but she is screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Oh sweet sister, I am so sorry about this,” Maumolla laughs at her. “Whatever have I done? Oh, and you too, Klent.” She turns her attention to the floor beside Daudilla where her husband is lying unconscious with blood running down his head, pooling on the floor. He is similar in appearance to Losher yet somehow less ugly. Seamus can see his face more clearly as well, meaning Maumolla dedicated more to remembering him than her own husband.
“Really, it didn’t have to come to this,” she sighs while shaking her head. “All you had to do was marry me.”
“You’re insane!” Daudilla manages to spit out the rag in her mouth.
“Rude. That’s what you are, dear sister. You’re just rude, the lot of you. Do you know how rude Losher was to me when I woke him last night? He kept crying and asking why I was choking him and it got on my nerves.” If Daudilla was not horrified before she most definitely is now. She can not believe what her sister is saying. “Don’t look at me like that.” Maumolla jabs her thumb into Daudilla’s eye, eliciting a bloodcurdling scream. “Do try to keep it down, you’ll disturb the neighbors.”
Daudilla sucks in a deep breath as she tries to control her voice. Blood is pouring from her ruined eye and she can taste it. “Please, what do you want from us?” she begs.
“Funny, my good for nothing husband asked the same question.” Maumolla tilts her head while pretending to think. “I think I'll give you the same answer.” She jabs her sister in the other eye with her thumb. Again Daudilla is unable to keep from screaming. “Crude, isn’t it?” Maumolla sighs. “I wish I had a better way to do this but I'm new to the whole killing thing. My bare hands seem to work best. Maybe if I use something sharp.” She grabs a knife from a nearby rack of kitchen utensils.
Immediately Daudilla begins to thrash about, trying to escape what she knows is coming. Even without being able to see she knows that sound of her own knives. “Please, Maumolla. I'll do anything you say,” she starts to beg again.
“Will you shut up?” Maumolla jabs her in the mouth with the knife, slicing her tongue open so she can no longer speak. Daudilla starts to gurgle as blood pours from her mouth. “Wait a moment, didn’t I say I was going to cut off you pretty lips?” Maumolla recalls the threat she made years ago. “Oh, this is perfect.” She begins to slice the red puffy portal off. More gurgling screams follow as Daudilla struggles fruitlessly.
Eventually she simply slumps forward in a dead faint. “There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Maumolla chuckles as she pinches the severed body part in her hand. “You can hardly tell the difference.” She pokes the bloody rim where Daudilla’s mouth used to be.
A low groaning from the floor below draws her attention. “Oh, hello, Klent. I had forgotten about you.”
“Who? What? Maumolla? What are you doing here?” he sputters while trying to sit up properly.
“Just playing with my sister.” She holds Daudilla’s lip in front of her own while moving them up and down to feign talking.
“Huh? What is that?” Klent is confused. Suddenly his eyes shoot open as he takes in the scene before him. “Dear lord, woman, what have you done?”
“Oh dear, I do have a problem, now don’t I?” Maumolla clicks her tongue. “I was going to make a stew out of these plump lips and feed it to your wife, but I don’t think she’s up to the task of eating right now. I guess you’ll have to do instead.” She shrugs while marching back into the kitchen and proceeding to start dicing her sister’s severed lips into properly portioned meat for stew.
Seamus is seeing everything from her point of view, making it all the more sickening. Klent is the one to vomit though as he watches his wife’s sister in the kitchen. Luckily for Seamus the scene changes again before he is forced to watch Maumolla feeding her own sister’s lips to her husband.
This time Maumolla is running down a slanted plain as fast as she can, with her arms trailing behind her and a kitchen knife in her right hand. There are two galloping horses in tow, trying to match her speed. Her unlimited stamina makes it extremely difficult though. When they finally catch up to her, one of the riders leaps from his steed and tackles her to the ground.
The pair does not stop rolling until they reach the bottom of the slope, at which point Maumolla promptly stabs the man in the side with her knife. Strangely, the weapon bends rather than penetrating his skin. “What the…?” Maumolla is caught off guard. This gives the second rider the opportunity to leap from his horse and land behind her. “Let me go.” She starts to struggle as he tethers her arms together behind her back.
He positions her on her knees before circling around to stand in front of her along side his companion. Maumolla stares up at the two towering figures while trying to assess her situation. The one who tackled her is dressed in iron armor with a red flowing cape and a thick grey beard. The other is dressed in a shabby tunic and trousers with absolutely no armor to speak of.
Though he is not wearing his signature golden colors and is not even sporting the brown beard he had when Seamus first met him in Bos Stad, he is unmistakably Lodar. “Who are you?” Maumolla spits at the man in red. “What do you want from me?”
“Isn't this ironic?” Lodar snickers. “That is exactly what your victims ask before you kill them, isn’t it?”
“I haven’t killed no one,” she screams while trying to free her hands.
“My friend here can read minds,” the man in red informs her. “You are none other than the mass murderer known as the Violet Death. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“You have no proof.” She continues to struggle. “I haven’t done nothin' wrong.”
“Such lack of upbringing.” Lodar clicks his tongue. “What should we do with her?”
“We can't very well kill her,” the man in red sighs.
“What? Kill me?” Maumolla is startled. “Now hold on a moment.”
“Why can't we?” Lodar asks. “She’s killed more than a dozen humans already.” Seamus is absolutely terrified by Lodar’s statement. How many people has Maumolla killed apart from her family? What could they have possibly done to anger her so much?
“We can't really blame her,” the man in red argues. “She suddenly gained these impossible abilities and has no idea how to react.”
“She didn’t have a slight lapse in judgment, Genlock, she murdered twenty-two people, including her own husband,” Lodar snaps at the man in red. “She is dangerous.”
“We’re all dangerous,” Genlock admits.
“She’s not like us!” Lodar stomps his foot. “Not everyone who gained these powers is as noble as you. Some of them are bound to end up committing atrocities like this.”
“We can't go around killing everyone who suddenly found themselves harboring the powers of a god,” Genlock raises his voice. “As far as I can tell there are a limited number of us. We need to band together and…”
“Who made you the leader?” Lodar scoffs.
“As you said, I might be the most noble of us all.” Genlock tries to look modest but fails miserably.
“You want to create some form of council to control everyone who received these powers?” Lodar manages to understand Genlock’s intentions despite his inflated ego.
“Precisely.” The Red Warrior claps his hands happily. “Imagine the good we could do if we all banded together. I myself have already freed three villages from the oppressive rule of several bloodsuckers.”
“What did you say?” Lodar’s eyes bulge. “Did you say you managed to defeat an actual bloodsucker? Not a ghoul, a full vile bloodsucker.”
“I should say so.” Genlock places his hands on his hips proudly. “It’s not just me either. I’ve heard rumors that many who gained these powers have been able to stand up to the uncivilized creatures. I feel the tides may have finally turned in our favor.”
“Do you suppose this is our purpose?” Lodar asks in a faraway voice.
“Pathetic,” Maumolla scoffs.
“Be silent, vile criminal,” Lodar snaps at her.
“Do not treat your brethren that way,” Genlock scolds him.
“That thing is not my brethren.” Lodar glares down at Maumolla.
“I should say not.” She spits at his feet.
“I would not be so quick to ignore our good will,” Genlock warns her. “You have but two choices; face your crimes in a court of humanity, which my friend and I will personally escort you to, or join our crusade to unit others like us. What say you?”
Maumolla grits her teeth while staring at the ground in thought. “I got careless,” she mutters to herself. “I felt so invulnerable I forgot there were other freaks like me out there.” She raises her eyes to look at the spot where she stabbed Genlock. There is not even a mark on his skin. “No, these freaks are even worse than me. Fine!” she raises her voice so they can hear her. “I will not face a trial of lowly humans. For now I'll do the other thing you mentioned.”
“At least try to pay attention,” Lodar moans while shooting an annoyed glare at Genlock. He is not at all happy with the idea of letting Maumolla off easy for her crimes just because she is apparently like them.
Again the scene before Seamus changes. Maumolla is walking at a sluggish pace behind the two men on horseback as they trek through a barren landscape with no signs of life. “Will you please just ride with one of us?” Lodar begs her.
“Why?” she snorts. “I can carry you better than your horse can carry me.”
“Don’t your feet hurt? Why don’t you have any shoes?” Lodar glances back at her. Instinctively she looks down at her own legs as well. Seamus is able to see that she is still wearing the same dress she was when she first gained her powers and that it has been torn off at the calves whether accidentally or on purpose. Her legs are covered with dirt but there is no actual scrapes or bruises.
“It’s not just my stamina that is unlimited. I also have exceptional vitality now,” she informs him. “My wounds heal even faster than yours, I'll bet.”
“But doesn’t it still hurt?” he argues. “I can't stand to see a woman in pain.”
“You don’t think of me as a woman,” she scoffs. “You think I'm a monster.”
“You are a monster,” Lodar loses his patience.
“Enough, both of you,” Genlock finally decides to intervene. “We said she had to come with us; we never said she had to ride with us if she didn’t want to. She seems more than capable of keeping pace with a horse at full gallop.”
Maumolla is laughing and humming at the same time as she watches Genlock with fluttering purple eyes. She almost seems to be admiring him. “What are you doing?” Lodar is suspicious.
“Hey, can I try to stab you again?” Maumolla asks bluntly.
“You can try,” Genlock laughs.
“What kind of question is that?” Lodar is shocked. “And what kind of answer was that?”
“It seems like our friend has realized my ability.” Genlock is smiling proudly. “Even if she wanted to, there is no way she could harm me.”
“I'm not worried about her injuring you, I'm worried about the fact that she wants to.” Lodar looks downward with a solemn expression.
“Why are you trying so hard to save my soul?” Maumolla can tell what he is thinking. “Why don’t you try freeing yourself from the bonds of humanity like me?”
“You mean start murdering people for fun?” He scowls at her.
“Can't you just imagine what it would be like to peel off Genlock’s skin though?” Her breathing increases, as if she is enjoying the thought. “I’ve skinned several people before. It was so easy too. You wouldn’t be easy, would you?” Her purple eyes are twinkling.
“No, no I wouldn’t,” Genlock laughs.
“How can you be so calm? She’s absolutely insane!” Lodar is becoming erratic.
“You know you want to try it.” Maumolla smiles at him. “You have the power to control people, right? Haven't you ever wanted to light a house on fire and force its occupants to stay inside and burn with it?”
Lodar’s eyes widen in disgust. “Were you ever even human?” he asks.
“I don’t consider myself human, no.” She shakes her head. “I think I was always destined for something greater. I deserve to be a ruler like one of those lords.”
“You wouldn’t last ten seconds against a lord,” Genlock warns her. “They are all descendants of King Doryan and they hold some of his power.”
“Surely it must be diluted by now,” Maumolla insists.
“It is divided in half for every generation,” he explains. “By now the strongest of his successors holds less than an eighth of his power. It is still too much for you though.”
“What would happen if one of the lords experienced the rapture too,” Lodar mutters.
“The what?” Maumolla raises an eyebrow.
“That’s what we’re calling it,” Genlock answers, “the red light that descended from the sky.”
“Mine was yellow,” Lodar quips.
“Violet.” Maumolla flashes a smile at them both. “What about that eerie voice though? What do you call that?”
“Voice?” Both men glance back at her in confusion.
“Yeah, the one that tried to convince me to take the power. I resisted at first but I'm glad I took it in the end.”
“What is she talking about?” Lodar is slightly scared.
“Perhaps she hallucinated it or something,” Genlock suggests.
“I'm not crazy!” she snaps at them.
“We’ve already established the fact that you’re insane,” Lodar reminds her.
“And yet you still want to reform me,” she snickers. “These powers must be rare indeed.”
“We’ve heard rumors of people gaining powers all throughout separate territories,” Genlock answers with a yawn. “The number is at fifty and still growing. Perhaps some day all humans will be this powerful.”
“I hope not,” Maumolla grumbles.
“You wouldn’t be able to kill people so easily anymore,” Lodar mocks her.
“Then again, it has been kind of boring as of late. It could get more challenging.” Her eyes light up with glee. Lodar grabs his stomach as if he might be sick. Genlock is still smiling though. He seems completely removed from the issue of Maumolla’s murderous intent. Perhaps he feels he will be able to prevent her from killing anyone else unnecessarily as long as they continue traveling together.
Seamus is caught off guard by the next scene change. Maumolla is in the middle of tumbling off the roof of an inn inside a small village. There is something clinging onto her, biting her arm and trying to suck out her life force. It is a familiar sensation for Seamus. “What are these things?” Maumolla screams as she hits the ground.
“Bloodsuckers,” Lodar answers. He is standing in the center of a group of ghoul animals and humans alike, all kept at bay by the power of the Golden Clairvoyance.
“Is everyone in town one of them?” Maumolla asks while kicking the bloodsucker that is clinging to her arm in the stomach.
He lands in a crumpled heap a few feet away but quickly recovers. Having just fed he is strong enough to withstand a good deal of damage. “You taste unique,” he hisses at her. Seamus can not make out his face very well, save for the sharp white fangs.
“Don’t let him bite you,” Lodar warns Maumolla. “With your stamina he could become invincible.”
“Now you tell me.” She leaps back as the creatures bounds along the ground on all fours. His fangs barely miss latching onto her trailing leg.
“Having fun?” Genlock’s jolly voice booms from the top of the inn. He is holding two ghouls, one in each hand, and crushing their throats like warm butter.
“Of course we’re not having fun!” Lodar waves his hand at the ghouls he is controlling, ordering them to converge on the Red Warrior so he can kill them one at a time.
“I'm having a little fun,” Maumolla admits. “These things put up a good fight.”
“You’re not immortal,” Lodar snaps at her. “These things can kill you.” Maumolla doesn’t heed his warning at all. Instead she leaps toward the bloodsucker again, tackling him to the ground and pinning him.
As she holds him by the shoulders his tongue extends further than she expected, licking her wrist. “Delicious,” he hisses.
“Ew.” She cringes.
“Why are you so delicious?” he screeches while twisting his neck inhumanly in order to sink his fangs into her wrist.
Immediately she starts to scream. “Get it off. Get it off me!”
“Hold still.” Lodar pries them apart. He holds the bloodsucker up by the shoulders and stares into his eyes, trying take control of him.
“Your eyes are like my ghouls,” the bloodsucker is intrigued.
“How are you resisting?” Lodar shoves him away before he can bite him.
“Lodar, you can't control me or Genlock, can you?” Maumolla asks. He answers by shaking his head. “Maybe you can't control bloodsuckers either,” she surmises.
“Now that is a problem.” Genlock strokes his chin while continuing to fight off practically all of the remaining ghouls with his other hand. “So far we have been an unstoppable duo. I do the leg work while Lodar backs me up. Any ghoul I can’t handle is kept at bay by his control. I thought we were invincible.”
Maumolla is too busy listening to Genlock to notice that the bloodsucker has circled around behind her. He leaps onto her back, knocking her to the ground and sinking his fangs into her neck. Lodar grabs her arm and tries to pull her out from under him but lets go when the creature swipes at him with its claws. “You coward!” Maumolla screams at him.
“I'm not like you two. I don’t have unlimited strength or stamina,” he whines. “I can't let them touch me.”
Maumolla’s eyes are flickering now as the glow is starting to fade. Somehow the bloodsucker is draining more than her life force. It is actually stealing her new found ability. “No.” She jabs it in the stomach with her elbow, which barely affects it at all. “I won't go back to being human,” she squeals. “It’s my power. Get off of me.” She manages to muster enough strength to stand up. This time her elbow jab manages to knock the creature off her back.
“Why are you so tasty?” He almost seems mad with his desire to feed on her. “I must have more.”
“Like hell!” She spins around, kicking him in the jaw with her bare foot, dislocating it. The bloodsucker’s eyes widen as she tackles him to the ground and sits on his waist to keep him from escaping. She then proceeds to punch him in the stomach repeatedly as he sputters to breathe through his nose instead of his broken mouth. Eventually he starts to cough up blood, some of it is hers, most of it is his own. “Why… won't… you… die?” she screams as she begins alternating the location of her blows, smashing his nose, teeth and ribs.
“I told you not to let him feed off of you,” Lodar reminds her. “He has all of your strength as well as his own.”
“He doesn’t have it all!” Her eyes begin to glow again. Lodar cringes as he hears the bloodsucker’s skull cracking more and more with each punch. Maumolla’s fists are bleeding profusely with great gouges of flesh missing from her knuckles. She doesn’t stop though. Not until every bone in the poor creature’s body has been shattered and repaired five times over.
“Just die already!” she screams at the top of her lungs as she clenches her fists together, bringing them both down on the bloodsucker’s forehead at the same time, splitting it open like a melon and exposing brain underneath. Finally the creature’s breathing stops. Lodar is still standing behind Maumolla with a look of absolute fear in his eyes. He is not afraid of the creature or its resilience; he is afraid of the woman before him who has just beat an overpowered bloodsucker to death wit her bare hands.
“That was amazing.” Maumolla leans her head back until she can see Lodar, albeit upside-down. He is shaking his head while backing away slowly. “What is this feeling; this rush of energy? I love it. This is better than killing people. More. I need more of this. Where do these bloodsucker things live? I want to kill more of them. I want to feel their lives ending in my hand.”
“Oh my.” Genlock drops down from the roof of the inn, landing next to Lodar. “It seems we’ve awakened something in her.”
“Was this your plan?” Lodar chokes on a lump in his throat.
“Whatever do you mean?” Genlock smiles at him like he always does. Lodar feels none of its normal warmth though. All he feels is a calm cold chill. He wants to run away from these two monsters as far as he can but something is preventing him. A deep fascination has started to grow inside him. Perhaps what they have become is infectious. Perhaps he too wants to know what it is like to transcend humanity.
Seamus feels a slight twinge of irony as he remembers how Lodar died in a similar manner almost two hundred years later. This person he is seeing right now is innocent and youthful. The man he met in Bos Stad was old and selfish. It stands to reason considering everyone he knew apart from the other demigods had long since passed away. It is hard to imagine someone maintaining their value of human life when it must appear so fleeting.
Seamus is already expecting the next scene change. Maumolla is now riding on the back of Lodar’s horse as they enter yet another village. “Are you sure about this?” she asks.
“It’s only fair. You have earned the right to have a weapon forged by one of the great masters.” He gestures to the wreath of antlers he is now wearing on his head. He is also wearing less shabby clothing, including a golden chest plate much like the one he was wearing when Row killed him.
“Aren't you afraid I'll go on a murdering spree as soon as I get my own Arma?” she asks slyly.
“You may not see it, Maumolla, but you’ve changed since I first met you fifty years ago. We have spent more time than any other demigods as comrades fighting bloodsuckers to the point of extinction. I trust you with my life, and I hope you trust me.”
“Of course I do.” Maumolla leans over Lodar’s shoulder and touches her nose to his cheek. He responds by turning his head enough so that he can kiss her.
Seamus is utterly shocked by the scene playing out before him. He had never even thought about the idea of a demigod having any interest in romance, let alone two demigods romancing each other. He also can't help but feel disappointed in Lodar. Even after fifty years Seamus is positive he could never forgive anyone for the kind of murders he witnessed Maumolla committing first hand.
“It’s an odd sort of term, isn’t it?” Maumolla tilts her head in thought. “Who decided to start calling what we are demigods?”
“I suppose humans did,” Lodar answers with a shrug. “How else would you describe immortal beings such as us?”
“I must admit, I never expected to live this long,” Maumolla sighs. “The perks of these powers are wondrous.”
“It really is too bad there are only a hundred of us.” Lodar shakes his head disappointedly.
“Is that the final word from Genlock?” Maumolla asks. “He has found no more of our kind in the world?”
“No, one hundred of us, exactly. Unfortunately a good portion of them have passed on already. It seems the rapture returns to claim the power it bestowed upon us at the moment of death,” Lodar informs her.
“So much for being immortal,” she snickers.
“At least we’ll always be remembered by them.” Lodar gestures to the many people running out into the streets of the village to greet them. They all seem to know exactly who they are.
“It’s quite a strange feeling, being greeted like this rather than with gallows,” Maumolla gulps.
“It’s been fifty years; I doubt if anyone who still knows what you did is still alive. Your new legend as a protector of humanity has out shadowed your past, in their eyes… and mine,” he adds after a moment.
“Thank you.” She touches his cheek affectionately.
“Lady Maumolla, Lady Maumolla, down here,” a deep female voice calls out over the rest of the screaming people. Maumolla glances down to see a burly woman dressed in a leather blacksmithing frock. “I am master Deetra.” She bows to the demigod. “I have been chosen to construct your Arma.”
“Isn't it wonderful?” Lodar can't help but smile. He is immensely proud of the strides Maumolla has taken since he first met her.
“Who decided that the forbidden techniques could be used in the construction of a demigod’s weapon?” Maumolla is curious.
“The ruling came from all twelve lords,” Deetra informs her. “Please follow me to my workshop. I’ve already gathered several forbidden elements for you to choose from. I hope you…” Her voice trails off as she catches sight of the wreath of antlers sitting atop Lodar's head. “Milord,” she gasps. “Is that made from the mystical peryton antlers?” She reaches toward him.
“This? No.” He smiles while shaking his head. “Peryton antlers are black. These white antlers belonged to a snawfus.”
“Ah, the mystical white deer of legend.” Deetra nods. “How wonderful. What does such an Arma do?”
“For me, it amplifies my Golden Clairvoyance,” he explains proudly. “For a normal person I suppose it would enhance their natural instincts and perceptiveness. Perhaps a sorcerer could use it to amplify mental spells.”
“Exactly as I’d expect,” Deetra sighs. “An Arma is practically useless if used by anyone other than the demigod it was made for.”
“Which is why we have come to you.” Lodar places his hands on Maumolla’s shoulders. “She has been without an Arma for far too long. You have been given the honor of being chosen to create one for her. Afterward you will be awarded the title of great master; a name only one hundred people will ever earn.”
“Unfortunately, even fewer will ever get the chance,” Deetra sighs. “Several of the hundred demigods we know of have already perished without ever receiving an Arma. The number dwindles with every report.”
“Genlock is working hard to find the remainder of the hundred before it is too late,” Lodar assures her. “Hopefully they will follow him willingly and let him help them learn how to survive.”
Maumolla is teetering from side to side on the saddle of Lodar’s horse, trying to appear interested in the conversation and failing terribly. She is not actually concerned with the survival of any of the other demigods. In fact, she is more interested in facing off against them to see if they prove to be a greater challenge than the bloodsuckers she has been fighting for the past fifty years. Of course she knows better than to do something that would obviously anger Lodar or Genlock and force them to eliminate her.
“Are we boring you?” Deetra has noticed Maumolla’s teetering. “I'm sorry, Lady Maumolla. You must be eager to choose the materials for your weapon. Right this way.” She helps the demigod down from her horse and leads her through the crowded streets.
Eventually they reach a stone blacksmith shop at the opposite edge of town from where they entered. It is small and circular with only one room. “I'm sorry that it’s not much to look at but I assure you, my techniques are far more impressive.”
“Of course they are,” Maumolla mutters. She has been doing well without a weapon for fifty years and is not sure she can get used to relying on one now. This is more a ritual to mark the right of passage as a demigod; something that means a lot to Lodar apparently. For reasons she does not understand, she wants to please him. Perhaps she has actually begun to care for the man she originally considered a distraction from her lonely life of fighting and killing.
“Here we are. I hired a hunting party to retrieve as many mystical elements as possible in the short amount of time between your letter of notice and your arrival,” Deetra explains while opening the door to the shop and revealing a long wooden table with several different strange items lying out upon it.
“All of these come from creatures like that snawfus?” Maumolla wrinkles her nose at the display.
“Some are simply rare artifacts or metals, but yes, most of them are mystical organs removed from rare creatures in the area. Sorry, we don’t have any snawfus here but we do have a wide variety of native animals unique to our territory.”
“I wouldn’t want a brittle set of antlers for a weapon anyway,” Maumolla mutters, more to herself than to Deetra.
“Of course not; only the best for you,” Deetra cheers softly.
“You needn’t try so hard,” Maumolla sighs. “Just build whatever you think will suit me and you can have your title.”
“But I don’t know anything about you,” Deetra whines. “Why don’t you try to acquaint yourself with some of these elements so I can watch and learn?”
“Are you telling me to touch the organs of dead animals?” Maumolla cringes.
“Um, you don’t have to touch them,” Deetra whimpers. “I merely assumed a demigod would be used to dealing with… um… dead things.”
“Most of the dead things I’ve touched were alive when I met them,” she informs the now terrified blacksmith.
“Well then, um… please just look to your heart’s content.” She backs away from the table slowly. Maumolla sighs as she glances at the strange items she is to choose from while wondering if she might have been too hard on the blacksmith. The items range from hunks of metal to very obvious animal organs, some still bleeding.
Maumolla spends the next few minutes eyeing them from a distance before finally gathering the courage to approach the table. She is just about to touch what appears to be a large sharp tooth when Deetra slaps her hand. “Hey, what was that for?” Her purple eyes flare angrily.
“That is the tooth of a gigantic horse devouring leach called Burach Bhadi. According to the hunters who collected it for me, it drains the strength of anyone who touches it, even after being removed from the creature’s mouth.”
“Sounds interesting.” Maumolla snatches it before Deetra can block her a second time.
“Oh no, let me get you some solve.” She runs from the room while Maumolla tosses the tooth back and forth between her hands.
“Ha, it kinda tickles.” She is laughing when Deetra returns.
“I, I don’t understand.” The blacksmith drops her jar of solve on the floor. “You should have passed out by now. Isn't it numbing your skin yet?”
“I can't blame you for not knowing who I am, deary. I'm not as famous as the Golden Clairvoyance or the Red Warrior but I'm just as strong.”
“What are you called then, Lady Maumolla?” Deetra is curious.
“Violet… um… I'm the Violet Warrior; no that’s too much like Genlock. How about the champion? I feel pretty superior.”
“The Violet Champion?” Deetra mutters in a confused tone.
“Yeah, that’s it.” Maumolla nods. “I like it, don’t you?”
“Alright then, what kind of weapon does the Violet Champion use?” Deetra tries to play along.
“Well, how would you make a weapon out of this thing?” Maumolla sets the tooth down.
“I would grind it up and smelt it down along with another type of metal.”
“Is this thing made of metal?” Maumolla is skeptical.
“As good as.” Deetra nods. “Burach Bhadi teeth are as strong as steel. If you really think you can handle it then I'll get started right away.” Deetra takes a pair of leather gloves off a nearby rack. Obviously for the purpose of holding the tooth without touching it.
“Say, if you’re going to mix it with another metal, how about one of these then?” Maumolla gestures to the selection of rare ores still sitting on the table.
“Huh? You want to combine two forbidden elements in one Arma?” Deetra is caught off guard.
“Has it never been done before?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Deetra admits. “I've never made a forbidden weapon before. Each of the great masters has their own technique. I spent years perfecting mine. I never thought I’d get a chance to use it though.”
“Well, since you went through all the trouble of collecting these things, why not use two of them.” Maumolla is finally becoming interested in the process of designing her Arma. “What about this white metal? What is it called?”
“That is a nasty little ore called coronum. As the name implies, it is practically corrosive.”
“How can a metal be corrosive?” Maumolla raises an eyebrow. As her father married her off at a young age, she was unable to obtain much in the form of education. However, she is not what anyone would call dumb. She knows enough about metal work to know when something is abnormal.
“Coronum was discovered only a few years ago in one of the mines we collect our ore from. It was originally just a pasty white rock when we removed it but it has now grown to this size.”
“Wait, are you saying this is the only piece in existence?” Maumolla’s purple eyes start to twinkle. “And it grows?”
“It eats is more like it.” Deetra frowns. “The moment it touches another metal it absorbs it and turns it into coronum. Here.” She touches a small piece of steel to the white rock. The metal practically turns to smoke in her hand as its metallic components are absorbed by the coronum. “See, it just eats and grows. If you feed it bad metal it becomes weak. I spent a week trying to chip off a chunk of quick silver I accidentally let touch it.”
“So it absorbs the properties of the metals you feed it?” Maumolla surmises.
“Exactly.” Deetra claps her hand. “When I fed it enough iron it became malleable in a furnace but I have to be careful to shape it before it cools too much or it’ll eat my tools.”
“That’s perfect. Let it eat this then.” Maumolla touches the Burach Bhadi tooth to it.
“What are you doing?” Deetra gasps as the white rock absorbs most of the metallic tusk, leaving behind whatever it can't.
“What’s wrong?” Maumolla asks.
“What if it doesn’t absorb the properties of the Burach Bhadi?” Deetra moans. “Do you know how expensive that thing was?”
Maumolla tosses the white rock into the air and catches it with her other hand. “Nope, still tingly.”
“Thank goodness,” Deetra sighs while collapsing onto her knees.
“Are you okay?” Maumolla taps her on the forehead.
“What did I do to deserve a demigod like this?” she whines. “If I fail to earn the title of great master it’ll be your fault.”
“Yeah, yeah, just get to work on the thing,” Maumolla is losing interest again.
“Wait, what exactly am I forging here? I have no idea what your fighting style is or what kind of weapon will suit you.”
Maumolla rubs her chin while thinking for a moment. “I normally just beat bloodsuckers and ghouls to death with my fists,” she admits, “that or I gouge out their throats and eyes with my fingers.”
Deetra laughs nervously as she rises to her feet. She is not sure if the demigod is lying or not. “I'll just make it into some kind of blade… maybe a long sword since it’s grown so big.”
“Or you could use that extra metal to give it two blades!” Maumolla spouts.
“Huh?” Deetra stares at her stupidly.
“Um, forget I said anything,” Maumolla is suddenly concerned that she has said something dumb.
“No wait.” Deetra snaps her fingers. “I could make a polearm with a blade at each end.”
“Is that like a staff?” Maumolla tries to follow.
“Basically.” Deetra nods. “Oh, this is going to be exciting. I can already see it taking shape. I have to get started right away. Get out. Get out, get out, get out.” She pushes the demigod toward the door. “Just you wait; I'll be a great master soon.”
Seamus is not surprised when the scene changes again. Maumolla is dancing in a field, twirling her new staff around her forearm, letting the inertia keep it from flying off. Lodar is leaning against a nearby tree smiling at her proudly.
Suddenly Seamus starts to feel dizzy as the scene changes yet again. Now Lodar and Maumolla are standing back to back in a burning city, surrounded by ghouls. Most of them are slow and sluggish due to the effect of Arma Venture but there are far too many for them to handle alone. “Go,” Maumolla urges Lodar. “I'll be fine on my own.”
“I know when you’re lying to me.” He frowns at her.
“I can't go all out if I'm trying to protect you,” she snaps at him. “You aren’t as strong as me and you know it. You’re pretty much useless in a straight up fight. Go and get help; I'll hold them off until you get back.”
“You better not die on me.” Lodar pats her shoulder affectionately before sprinting forward, forcing the ghouls to spread apart with his Arma as he goes.
Seamus’s vision blurs as the scene changes again, this time to what appears to be the morning after the last scene. The entire city has burned to the ground, much like the result of his fight with Husk in Quess. Maumolla is sitting atop a mountain of bodies with blood covering every part of her. Apparently she spent the entire night fighting. It is not surprising that she does not require any sleep.
Seamus wants to throw up when he feels the scene shifting again. He must have only been able to gleam a small amount of Maumolla’s memories after a certain point. The next thing he sees is two tall figures standing side by side. “So you’re the Violet Champion?” the one on the right asks. He is a large man with longish brown hair held out of his face by three small braids.
“And you are the Jade Behemoth,” Maumolla yawns. “What do you want with me?”
“An alliance,” the other figure answers. She is a woman who is a full head taller than Maumolla and wearing silver armor with blue cloth underneath. Her eyes look like the sky itself. Seamus is not sure how but he knows she is the demigod Ardine.
“You are no longer traveling with Genlock or Lodar?” Turok asks smugly.
“Lodar and I have decided that we can do more good apart than together,” she grumbles.
“I would get bored of my spouse after a hundred years as well,” Turok whispers to Ardine, who stifles a laugh. Maumolla can hear them but does not care.
“Ahem, as we said before, we were wondering if you wanted to travel with us,” Ardine tries to adopt a serious tone.
“I see no reason not to.” Maumolla shrugs.
“We will try to be the utmost of courteous companions.” Turok bows.
“Watch out for this one, he likes the ladies,” Ardine whispers.
“Are you two…?”
“No!” They both shout at the same time. “There is absolutely nothing between us,” Turok sputters. “I am perfectly available if you are seeking a replacement for that brute Lodar. One as beautiful as yourself should not have to suffer through eternity alone.”
“You can ignore him if you like.” Ardine rolls her eyes.
“I don’t mind men flirting with me,” Maumolla snickers.
“Still, he’s quite a handful. I don’t want you fleeing after the first night because you can't stand him.”
“Oh don’t worry. If I could handle Genlock I can handle your behemoth. Anyone is better than Genlock,” Maumolla shudders.
“I know, he’s so full of himself,” Ardine laughs. Soon Turok has joined in as well. Seamus is just starting to enjoy seeing this lighter side to the demigods of legend when his head starts to spin again. He can't wait for this horrible dream to finally come to an end.
The new scene is a solemn one. Maumolla, Ardine and Turok are all sitting around a campfire as Turok reads a letter from Genlock’s Vassal Gall out loud, informing them of the death of their comrade at the hands of a bloodsucker named Corvic. “Goddamn it!” Turok shouts while slamming his fist into the tree he is leaning against. “I had forgotten what it was like. No one has died since the Titian Witch almost ten years ago.”
“Do you think this new vassal, Brand, is up to the challenge?” Ardine tries to hide her emotions behind logical questions.
“What will you do if he isn’t?” Maumolla scoffs. “Will you find someone better and kill Brand nearby to repeat the rapture?”
Turok can't help but laugh at his companion’s dark humor but his smile quickly fades. “Gall is bringing him to Fort Dedlith for his own safety. We should all go there to meet with him.”
“You two go.” Maumolla waves her hand uninterestedly.
“Come on, we all need to do this,” Ardine tries not to sound bossy.
“Why? I hated the guy,” Maumolla laughs shrilly. Both of her companions can tell she is putting up a front.
“I wonder if Lodar will be there,” Turok mutters something thoughtless.
“Yeah, I'm definitely not going.” Maumolla stands up.
“I just meant that he and I are going to have to split the responsibility of leading the nine now,” Turok sputters quickly.
“You two can argue to your heart’s content; I won't be a part of it.” She crosses her arms.
“What is the matter with you? Genlock is dead!” Ardine snaps at her.
“Why do we do this?” Maumolla asks a strange question.
“I, I don’t…” Ardine does not know how to respond.
“Why do we do this thankless job?” Maumolla raises her voice. “Why do we die for these humans who weren’t even born a hundred years ago? They’ll be gone in another hundred. Why should we even bother saving them?”
“It’s not about us,” Ardine mutters unconvincingly.
“Why not? When do I get to start thinking about myself again? I’ve been doing this for two hundred years, goddamn it. I deserve a break, don’t you think? I want to live a little before I end up like Genlock. Is that so bad?”
“What would you do?” Turok is gaining interest.
“You can't just go back to being normal,” Ardine scoffs.
“No, I'm not normal. I’ve never wanted to be normal. I'm better than normal. I'm better than normal people.”
“We all are,” Turok agrees with her.
“Why do we follow the rules of these idiotic lords?” Maumolla continues to rant. “How pathetic must the lords be to keep letting themselves be seduced by bloodsuckers? If we were the lords, there wouldn’t be any goddamn safe havens for bloodsuckers, would there?”
“Here, here!” Turok cheers.
“Alright, that’s enough,” Ardine finally decides to stop them. “You are getting dangerously close to suggesting betrayal.”
“No, not betrayal, just innovation,” Maumolla giggles. “If these bloodsuckers can wriggle their way into royalty, then why can't we?”
“What are you suggesting?” Turok is practically hanging on her every word.
“We can't simply overthrow the lords; that would be suicidal. No, we need to trick them into giving us their power the way the bloodsuckers do.”
“Enough, both of you. No more!” Ardine stands up. “I will not hear another word of this.”
“Why? Don’t you hate them too?” Turok asks. “I haven’t seen you use Arma Kalo since…”
“What?” Ardine cuts him off. “Since what?”
“The day you almost died,” Turok finishes his sentence while frowning at her.
“Of course I hate bloodsuckers. That doesn’t give us the right to overthrow the lords, though,” Ardine remains adamant.
“If that’s how you feel, then stay out of my way.” Maumolla marches out of the camp, retrieving her horse from the tree she tethered it to when they first stopped.
“Aren't you going to stop her?” Turok asks cautiously.
“It’s not my responsibility,” Ardine sighs.
“You just don’t think you can fight her without Arma Kalo,” Turok scoffs.
“Think what you like,” she does not care. “What about you? Aren't you going to follow her?”
“We have a summit at Fort Dedlith,” he mutters. “I'll make a decision about what Maumolla said after I deal with Lodar. He’ll definitely try to claim leadership of the nine.”
“I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.” Ardine is glaring at him suspiciously.
After having enough time to calm down during this slightly longer reprieve, Seamus is ready for the next scene change; however he is not prepared for the new scene. Maumolla is in the middle of a fight with two other people on a dusty dueling field inside a stone arena. There is a loud cheering coming from the high walls surrounding them, but Seamus is unable to identify it as Maumolla’s eyes are locked on her opponents. To the best of his knowledge, the location looks like the very same arena connected to the castle courtyard in Sliver Bay. Having only seen it once when going to see Louwits, Seamus can not be sure of anything though.
Both of the other fighters are wearing armor of some kind and wielding unique weapons. The one currently on the right has a basket weave helmet with a veil hanging down behind it and a bandana covering their mouth. She is wielding duel sword with hooks on the ends of each. The other fighter is a man wearing black skin tight clothing like an assassin. His weapon of choice is a short blade held upside down in his left hand.
None of the three fighters are helping each other at all. It seems to be a free-for-all battle. From the amount of sweat dripping off of the other two, Seamus can assume it has been going on for some time. Maumolla is not even slightly tired though. As the duel sword wielder charges forward, the assassin disappears from sight, in much the same way that Corvic does. He reappears behind Maumolla with his blade ready to strike.
The demigod is faster though, swinging her double bladed staff over her shoulder without even looking. As she is able to allot as much energy to her motions as she desires, the speed at which her staff moves is almost as fast as the assassin. He is barley able to block Arma Vec with his short blade by using his entire forearm to back it up so Maumolla can't simply knock it out of his hand.
The other fighter, whom Seamus has decided to think of as a warrior as opposed to an assassin, takes advantage of the other two fighters’ predicament and stabs at Maumolla’s face. The demigod merely leans to the left to avoid it. She does not seem to be putting forth any real effort at all, something that bothers the warrior greatly. As the blade slides neatly past Maumolla’s ear, the warrior twists it, managing to slice part of the demigod’s face with the hook.
Maumolla gasps as she jerks away. She had not expected either of her opponents to land a single blow against her. Seamus is treated to a strange view as her eyes dart toward the ground where something round and white has fallen. It is the ceramic mask the new Maumolla was wearing during her fight with Turok. Apparently it belonged to the original. Maumolla tumbles forward, snatching the mask from the ground before the warrior can step on it.
“What are you trying to hide?” her opponent demands as she re-dons the accessory.
“I don’t want my face damaged by your unworthy eyes,” Maumolla answers rudely. The warrior is visibly shaking with rage as she tosses one of her swords at the demigod. Just as Maumolla is about to duck, the warrior catches the blade again by linking the two hooks on the ends. She then proceeds to sling the second sword at Maumolla like long sharp staff with a pivot.
Maumolla actually has trouble trying to dodge it. She has no time to watch the assassin as he trips her from behind and proceeds to straddle her stomach so she can't escape. Just as he is about to drive his blade into her chest, he is knocked in the back of the head by the side of the warrior’s second sword. He slumps forward on top of Maumolla, having been rendered completely unconscious.
The demigod uses this chance to escape by kicking off the ground and sliding away headfirst on her back. The warrior lands right where she was a moment ago with both of her swords sunk neatly into the dusty dirt. “Are you trying to kill me?” Maumolla screams at her.
“Maybe I am.” The warrior shrugs after pulling her swords from the ground. Both of them have bits of dirt lodged in the hooks on the end.
“You better not cut me with those filthy things,” Maumolla warns her.
“Will you quit complaining, woman.” The warrior rolls her eyes.
“You know this match is just a contest, right?” Maumolla sputters nervously. “Why are you trying so hard?”
“I didn’t kill the other guy, did I?” she asks sarcastically. Maumolla slams her palms into the ground and raises her legs into the air, twirling them around in a circular motion before leaping back onto her feet elegantly. “We aren’t here to watch you dance,” the warrior taunts her. “Come at me if you think you can win.”
Maumolla responds by leaping off the ground and somersaulting forward, bringing her staff down in a slicing motion. She is far enough away that the warrior is not even concerned, which turns out to be a significant mistake. The blade on the end of the staff disconnects from the hilt and flies toward her, stabbing her in the thickest part of the armor guarding her stomach.
Maumolla twirls Arma Vec around her wrist the same way she always does as the thick handle shrinks slightly in order to provide another blade for the end, making it unnecessary to retrieve the one sticking out of the warrior’s armor. “What, what was that?” her opponent drops to her knees. “What kind of weapon can do that? Is, is that an Arma?” Maumolla’s only response is to snort. “That's not fair.” The warrior’s eyes are wide in disbelief.
Maumolla turns to stare up at the high wall surrounding the arena, giving Seamus his first look at the cheering audience he has been hearing from the start of the scene. There is a balcony jutting out from the edge closest to the actual castle with several important looking people standing inside a fenced in area. The foremost onlooker is a sinister looking man with sleek dark hair and pale skin. He is smirking at Maumolla who is smiling back at him from behind her mask.
“Where are you looking? The fight’s not over.” The warrior manages to pull herself to her feet.
“Yes it is,” Maumolla yawns. “You win; I surrender.” She drops Arma Vec in the dust.
“You what?” The warrior is shocked. “What do you mean? We haven’t even… we just… you can't be serious. What did you even come here for? Surely you didn’t do all this just to humiliate me.”
“You there.” Maumolla waves up at the dark haired man, ignoring the warrior entirely. “I give up. I'm done. She wins.”
“Really?” he is equally as perplexed, along with the entire watching crowd. “It seemed like you were about to beat her. Why the sudden change of heart?”
“This challenge is meant to select your next personal bodyguard, Lord Melwits, correct?” Maumolla asks calmly and receives a nod in response. “Your father has never allowed you outside of the castle until recently and he still fears for your protection, yes?” Maumolla continues asking questions she already knows the answers to. Again Melwits simply nods. “I'm sorry but my services are not for sale in that manner. I'm here on a different matter.” She removes her ceramic mask again.
“Dear lord,” Melwits gasps. “You, milady, are absolutely beautiful.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot,” she yawns. “Might I have a word with you in private?”
“But of course,” he is overly eager to oblige. “Please use the same entrance you came through to exit the arena. I will have Grand Bishop Carcan escort you to my box.”
“I think I can find my own way.” Maumolla crouches down as low to the ground as she can before kicking off, launching herself into the air, leaving a cloud of dust in her wake. The warrior is still staring at her in awe. She knows now that she could never have won their fight but she is still unhappy about not getting to finish it properly.
Maumolla’s energy is not enough for her to reach the balcony. Melwits is forced to reach out his hand to catch her before she falls back down into the arena. “Here we are, milady.” He is smiling gleefully as he pulls her up over of the wooden fence and into his box.
Just as she is standing up properly, Maumolla tugs on his arm, pulling him down to her level with his ear next to her mouth. “I know what you are,” she whispers in a haunting voice, causing the lord to jerk his hand free and fall backwards in the box.
“Wh-what can you possibly mean by that, milady?” he starts to laugh nervously.
“Do you know who I am?” She stares into his red eyes with her purple ones.
“Maumolla,” he gulps loudly.
“It’s too bad you decided to step out of your castle without any guards today, milord,” she taunts him. “That was the whole point of this farce, wasn’t it; to choose a personal bodyguard. She’s nice, don’t you think?” She shades her eyes from the sun while glancing down at the warrior who is still standing perfectly still in the dusty arena.
“Wh-what do you want from me?” Melwits stutters nervously. “You can't attack me here, you know. This city is sanctuary for my kind. My father will have your head if you…”
“Oh, give it a rest,” she interrupts him. “You and I both know there is no Lord Sliverbane… Or should I say, there is no Melwits,” she corrects herself.
“How did you know?” his voice deepens as he straightens his posture. His cowardice seems to have all been an act.
“The rumors say Lord Sliverbane is on his deathbed. That would be true for a man of nearly a hundred. Unfortunately he is not a man; he is a bloodsucker. Of course, his many loyal subjects know nothing about this. How is he supposed to maintain his rule when he can't even leave the castle looking as young as the day he entered? It’s pretty simple really…”
“Spread rumors that he is on his deathbed and hold an inauguration for his son whom is his spitting image,” Melwits saves her the trouble of revealing his secret. “So, what will one of the nine do with this information? Even if you could prove it to your comrades, you still hold no rights here.”
“You think I care about the rules of the demigods?” Maumolla cackles cruelly. “I don’t even care for the rules of humanity. Did you know, I strangled my first husband to death with my bare hands?”
Melwits’s eyes bulge as a sudden jolt of fear hits him. He had originally assumed he could reason with this demigod who obviously has her own agenda. Now it seems impossible considering the fact that she is completely insane. “Well then, what do you want with me?” he repeats in a less confident voice.
“I want your territory,” she answers bluntly.
“You what?” he is once again in shock. “You want to rule as a lord? That’s impossible; the people will never stand for it.”
“Not if I have to kill you for it, no.” She smiles at him sinisterly. “Of course they’ll have no questions if I rule alongside you though.”
“I don’t understand,” he sputters in confusion.
“Make me your wife, Lord Melwits,” she emphasizes his name because she knows it is most definitely not his actual name.
“You really are insane.”
“That is beside the point.” She waves her hand uninterestedly. “You have a simple choice to make now. Either make me your wife so I may rule at your side or refuse me and solidify your end right here and now. If you think I won't do it then put me to the test. I can count twenty-two people who made the same mistake. How would you like to be number twenty-three?”
“They're wrong.” Melwits stares at her in utter horror. “The humans all say the demigods are their saviors and we are the monsters but they’re all wrong. You are the monsters.”
“Bravo.” She gives a fake clap. “It took you two hundred years to realize it. Yes, we are the bad guys. Who knows, maybe that makes bloodsuckers the heroes. Oh well, times up. What’ll it be?” She grips the handle of her staff tightly.
Melwits’s eyes glance from her hand to the arena below. He knows he does not stand a chance against a normal demigod. An insane one is out of the question. After taking a deep breath and letting out a long sigh, he takes a shaky step toward the edge of the balcony. “We have our winner.” He gestures to the warrior who is still waiting below. “You have earned the honor of becoming my new personal bodyguard.”
The warrior looks as shocked as the rest of the onlookers, who all begin to cry out in protest. “Do you swear to uphold your duty of protecting me, even at the cost of your life?” Melwits shouts over the crowd, forcing them to be silent.
“I do!” she shouts back without thinking.
“Welcome to the honor guard of the great city of Sliver Bay,” he responds in a solemn voice. “I am sorry this is so sudden, but your task has just been doubled. You will now have the great responsibility of protecting not only me, but my new fiancée as well.” He grabs hold of Maumolla’s hand and raises it into the air. Immediately cries of protest erupt from the crowd once again.
“Ooh, they don’t like me,” Maumolla coos softly. “Do something about this, deary.”
“Silence!” Melwits bellows angrily. “I have made my decision. Anyone who goes against me will be branded a traitor, is that understood?” Again all sound ceases. “There, are you satisfied.” Melwits hangs is head in defeat.
“Absolutely.” Maumolla grins evilly.
Seamus had assumed he was done being sickened by Maumolla’s actions but now he knows he was wrong. As the scene fades to black he tries as hard as he can to force himself to wake up. He doesn’t want to see anymore of this insane woman’s past. He has no idea why he even wanted to know who she was in the first place. Two hundred years is a long lifetime; long enough to do things normal people can not even fathom.
When the next scene appears before Seamus, he feels like he is ready to cry. How much more of this will he be forced to endure? “I can't believe you did that without even confiding in me first!” Melwits is already shouting at Maumolla. From the decorations in the colorful room, Seamus can assume they are in Melwits’s personal chambers. There is a large canopy bed at the edge of the room and enough cloth and jewelry dangling about to fill Seamus’s own room back in Bos Stad five times over.
“Keep your voice down,” Maumolla hisses at Melwits. “That useless guard is right outside the door. Do you want her to hear every word you say?”
“I don’t care. You can't just go invading other territories without my permission. How many of my soldiers did you get killed over this?”
“Why do you care about human lives?” she scoffs. “I told you that I wanted to expand my territory. If you won't help me, I'll do it myself.”
“Your greed outweighs your intelligence, my dear spiteful wife,” he insults her outright.
“Watch your tongue,” she snaps at him. “Have I not told you what happened to my first husband?”
“How can I forget,” he groans. “You mention it every time you get the chance. Sometimes his face turns purple and sometimes his eyes bulge like a rabid dog’s. Honestly I don’t know why you’re so proud of the fashion in which you killed him.”
“Quiet!” she shushes him quickly. “I told you to watch your voice. For your information, killing humans with your hands is more meaningful than using a weapon. You can literally feel their life leaving them. I'm sure you know what I mean.”
Melwits’s eyes flare angrily before he responds. “I have never killed anyone in my life. All of my servants are more than willing to offer me sustenance without the need for violence. Compared to you, I'm downright civilized.”
“Is that so?” Maumolla’s eyes narrow. “From my point of view, you are nothing more than an animal; a dog for me to command and control. I’d say that makes you the uncivilized one, don’t you think?”
Melwits rolls his eyes in annoyance but says nothing. His dear wife is easily offended and refuses to let anyone else ever have the last word. It no longer surprises him that she was responsible for the deaths of twenty-two humans. The simplest offence could have set her off, making the majority of her victims innocent bystanders. Even for an emotionless bloodsucker Melwits is sickened by his wife’s actions.
The next scene change is a subtle one. Maumolla’s eyes open in the middle of the night, staring up at the canopy above her bed. She is extremely cold despite a warm feeling washing over her stomach. Slowly she touches something wet and brings it to her face so she can see. It is a dark liquid that tastes of iron and salt. “Blood!” she screams as she bolts upright in her bed, startling her husband.
He tumbles onto the floor and grabs a candle from his nightstand. After several tires he manages to light it. What he sees when the glow from the flames fills the room shocks him. His personal guard, the warrior from the arena, is standing over his wife with a hateful glint in her eyes. Both of her hooked blades are sticking out of Maumolla’s stomach. “My god, what have you done?” Melwits gasps.
“I saved you, my lord,” she coos softly. “I saved you from this terrible being.”
“But why?” Melwits is confused. “You are supposed to protect us.”
“I'm supposed to protect you,” she corrects him. “This horrible thing did not deserve to live.”
“Shut up you wench!” Maumolla screams while lunging at her.
The warrior moves backwards to avoid her easily though. “Not so fast anymore, are you?” Maumolla’s eyes dart around the room until they fall on Arma Vec, leaning against the wardrobe in the corner. The warrior can tell what she is thinking though. “No, no, no, this is mine now.” She grabs the staff and twirls it around.
“Give it back.” Maumolla rips both of the blades out of her stomach, splattering a good amount of blood onto the floor.
If the warrior’s mouth were visible behind her bandana, she would most definitely be smiling. Her expression changes though when she notices the wound on Maumolla’s stomach starting to scab over. “What are you doing? Stop it, right now.”
“You’re a fool.” Maumolla spits a mouthful of blood at her. “Don’t you know anything about demigods? We’re immortal. You’re finished.”
“It’s not fair!” the warrior screams while swinging the staff at Maumolla, slicing open her stomach again. “Why do you get everything? You don’t deserve it. You’re a monster with the powers of a god. How can the heavens have chosen so wrong?”
“You still don’t get it,” Maumolla laughs as her new wound closes up just as quickly. “I'm not a mistake. The heavens wanted me to have these powers. They chose me because they wanted me to rule. I am living proof that the lords are outdated. I will be…”
“Shut up!” The warrior stabs her through the chest.
Maumolla’s laughing only continues to grow louder. “I won't stop. I’ll never stop. You can't kill me.”
“Monster,” the warrior whispers as she twists the blade, trying to gauge out the demigod’s heart.
Finally Maumolla seems to actually be taking damage. The wound on her stomach has stopped healing and the one in her chest is bleeding profusely. “What’s going on?” she is confused. “Why isn’t it working? Why aren’t I healing?”
“It’s your own weapon,” the warrior informs her. “It drains its victim’s strength, remember? You can't heal anymore.”
“What? Get it out!” Maumolla starts to panic. She grabs the blade and shoves it away from herself as hard as she can but the warrior holds it in place. “Doesn’t it hurt?” she asks in a pleading voice. “How can you stand to even touch it?”
The warrior’s eyelids flicker as she starts to feel the effects of Arma Vec as well. “It doesn’t matter.” She grits her teeth. “I gave an oath to protect my lord, even if it meant dying in the process.”
“You stupid woman,” Maumolla whines. “How can you sacrifice yourself for something like him?”
“He’s my lord,” she answers proudly.
“He’s… a bloodsucker,” Maumolla grunts just as her head slumps forward on her chest. The warrior has barely a moment to let go of the staff and leap away as Melwits’s hand jabs right where he chest was a moment ago. His steel fingernails are outstretched like small knives, ready to puncture her flesh.
“Milord?” The warrior’s eyes are wide in disbelief.
“I can't have you knowing my secret.” He shakes his head solemnly.
“But… I trusted you.” She sinks to her knees.
“I am sorry,” he sighs. “You have been a most useful servant. I thank you for freeing me from this terrible prison.”
“What have I done?” She glances at Maumolla again.
Seamus’s vision has started to blur again, not because of a scene change but because he is seeing through Maumolla’s eyes and she is about to die. Everything goes black before he can see the outcome of Melwits’s and the warrior’s fight. He does not need to wonder though. Five years ago Melwits was murdered in his own home. The victor of this fight is the nameless warrior.
Everything has become clear to Seamus now. Even without seeing it in a dream he has gained memories from the warrior as well. After the rapture, she received the power of Maumolla and inherited her name and title. In order to maintain her hidden identity she always wore the same ceramic mask as Maumolla, with an added piece; the blonde braid she removed from her predecessor’s head after her death.With the same set of memories Seamus just viewed she was able to realize just how wrong the world was about demigods. They are not heroes; not even close. With her stolen powers she decided to undertake the task of cleansing the world of these false heroes all by herself. She is not going to stop with just Turok. Her quest will only be complete when every last one of the nine has fallen.