Thoughts of another time slipped in and out of his head, memories of a life he no longer had, not since the Academy had put their claws in his life. He-he-he... the laugh came again and the Magician whimpered, feeling the sweat trickle down his forehead. Something moved. There, in the corner of his eye, the man saw the shadow, body continuing to feel more, like ice than flesh with every passing second. The thing sounded so... childish, so just barely inhuman. The man felt lied to, trying to recall whatever teachings he could to try and explain this but coming up empty. All those words of the pages seemed to be fading away in the moment, slipping far from reality. Simply said how much of it was reality? How much could they have ever really known of the ancients, locked away behind that wall so many leagues away from that valley? Hiding. They were all hiding, and the Magician could finally understand why.
His hand moved of its own mind suddenly, reaching for the weapon at his side. Angel weapons, meant to fight the demon scum that still wandered the Wilds. Still trembling, the man closed his eyes, mind resigned to his fate even if the rest of him couldn't follow. Even though that mark burned like all the fires of hell itself, a contrast of the heaven he supposedly fought for, the man tried his best to think of those other times, of those sweeter memories. Faces... all the faces they'd tried to push out of his mind. Now they came back, there in vague form behind closed eyes. He didn't, couldn't, even focus on the laugh this time as it came even closer, seemingly just over his shoulder. The hand of the blade yanked, suddenly unsheathing the strange weapon, light spilling out off its surface into the otherwise shadowy landscape, sunset somewhere above them on the horizon.
The creature was there, chase over. The man was trapped, eyes still closed unable to look at whatever horrific creation had cut down his friends like the dying grass of autumn. All the same, the mark burned harder, making him hiss out in pain, hand ready to strike. It was so strange, that disconnect from body to the desperate will to run of his mind. Still, it wasn't unexpected, not given the circumstances. "Play with me," the strange, disembodied voice cooed behind him, leading into a giggle. There was what seemed to be the sound of a bell, but the man didn't dare open his eyes or turn around. Instead, the fist tightened, sword flaring with a brighter light. It seemed to always have such a life of its own, a blade forged by beings that seemed to nonexistent now. For now, there was just a single flicker of hope that maybe this weapon could be what saved them. Maybe. It was a fading hope, but a hope nonetheless.
There was a hiss, and the blade moved, hand jumping to attack whatever was behind him. It seemed to be a lost cause, a striking clash followed by a melodic laugh, that same eerie laugh from before. The man's heart skipped a beat, fear creeping in, replacing what hope had just been residing in the back of his mind. The blade moved again, mark burning sharper on the man's skin, causing him to gasp out in the new blinding pain that overtook him, adrenaline filling his veins. It seemed there was some frantic chaos, all as the human turned himself just to stop the aching pain of the way his arm had been twisted, free arm over his eyes. The chaos swelled like a growing wave, only to crash into silence.
Trembling, the Magician turned, hesitantly letting his eyes open, only to immediately wish he hadn't. A single screamed escaped his throat, echoing in the empty valley as he stared on in horror at the creature before him. It was over. It was all just over. And then... Then... The ripping of flesh, blood spilling out as a second scream tore out through the silence, leaving behind only the cheerful yet haunting giggle and the chime of bells as whatever had been there slipped back into the darkness, back in the unknowns, back to wait for all the horrors about to unfold.
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