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RADIX - She Won't Be Enough

Hundreds of Clements’ guard flanked him. Red capes billowing where they crouched from view of the knights below.

“So, what do we do?” Clements asked from next to Radix.

“I’ll be damned if I let this happen!” Radix’s gray eyes narrowed.

“What do these people matter?” Clements asked.

“My war against their tenets has been centuries long. Painstaking. Beginning long before they were born.”

“Why so long? Why haven’t you massacred them?” Clements eyes flashed darkly.

“Because there are rules, I must follow.”

“Rules?” Clements lifted a haughty brow. “You must follow rules?”

“Yes! Yes!” Okine screeched. “One: Cannot attack direct or doors…” He displayed one meaty finger for emphasis. Lifting another. “Two: Human not know he is. Three: Can’t turn evil, only darken what already in soul.”

“Isn’t there ways around those?” Clements demanded.

“Sometimes...” Radix said slowly. “Today will change nothing.” He shrugged. Pulling the hood of his mantle up as he peered around Okine to assess the readiness of the Pope’s commander.

“You don’t fear the tide swaying in their favor?” Clements dared ask. Proving dumber than he looked.

“I went to their encampment last night. Warned them.”

“That they’d become immortal?” Clements’ head spun to see Radix glowering at him.

“That they will be attacked in this canyon.” Radix snapped. “I thought their desire to live would prevent this.” He tossed his hand.

“No want die?” Okine’s high voice rose to an unbearable level. Vibrating Radix’s ears.

He winced. “I wanted them to find their deaths another way!”

“They didn’t listen?” Clements was astounded.

Radix gestured below agitatedly. “Well, they are here, are they not? Or do my old eyes mistake me?”

Okine tucked his head between wide shoulders. Disliking annoyance in the demon’s voice.

“Like fools they pursued this trek despite my warnings.”

Clements’ lips whitened at Radix’s tone, but he’d enough sense to bite his tongue.

Okine followed his gaze.

Silver armor shined below. The knight’s steps unwavering, proudly wearing white cloaks emblazoned with the bold red cross which had, until recently, symbolized their purpose.

“I hate Templars.” Okine muttered.

Radix’s lips twisted in a dark sneer. Gray eyes lit orange. Fixated on the canyon bottom. His narrow beard twisting in the breeze. Eventually blowing over one shoulder. “We have to kill them before it happens. They must die now!”

Okine nodded vigorously.

At Radix’s cry the Pope’s army leapt into motion. Okine slammed the square helmet over his head and led the troupe down the sheer bank.

To Radix’s horror, gray clouds snapped over the sky. Banishing the cottony fluff that’d ruled a moment ago.

“No!” Radix gasped.

Thunder racked the ridge. The Pope’s knights spilled over the rock faces. The first drop of rain fell into the meager stream. Splashing in a riot of gleaming beads. And with that single drip it began. Dumping in a cascade that tinked off metal armor and wetted the sandy dirt underfoot. Sending rivulets down their helmets. Slicking their saddles and the reins in their hands.

The last of the heavily persecuted Templars moved into a defensive circle under a darkening sky. They witnessed winged terrors with long spindly limbs descending. The likes of which they’d never seen before. Dark rodents poured amidst stumbling knights, orange eyes glowing and skinny tails lashing. Behind them, dark dogs charged the slippery incline. Nearly bald save for a dusting of brown on their shoulders. Mouths full of spiked teeth, and seeping drool.

“What are those things!” One of the knights cried. Voice muffled by a boom of thunder.

“We’re cut off in every direction!” Another frantically shouted.

“Yes!” Radix purred.

Silver strings of lightning whipped across the sky, parting dark clouds and illuminating the white film dropping through.

“What is that?” Clements asked breathlessly. Astonished by the sparkling creature.

Radix strived so hard to abolish the Templars. Maneuvering kings and lords. Manipulating this Pope’s pride. Still…somehow, it led straight to what he’d sought to prevent.

He watched in horror. Clawing fistfuls of scraggly gray hair. “No! No!” He was hysterical. Recognizing this scene as what’d been foretold.

Radix shouted for his flying Sarabi to take to the skies. To stop her.

His raging shouts drowned by growling thunder. As clouds beneath her parted like hands trying to catch her. She slipped through their fingers. Falling irrevocably. Ivory skinned with long silver hair spooling around her in a cradle against gravity. The soundless flailing of her limbs was her terrified struggle against what she’d wrought for herself.

Radix tried everything he knew to keep her from those knights, but their fates had been written on parchment even he couldn’t tear. Written by something more powerful than anything on that ridge.

Radix gnashed rotted teeth, frail hands clasping the billowing gray cloak.

“Is that it?” Clements gasped? “Her?”

Okine shouted from halfway down the ridge. Pointing as though Radix hadn’t already seen it.

Radix tugged his beard ferociously. Only mildly appeased by knowing firsthand what she’d suffer at impact. The blinding pain of bones crushing to fragments. Those fragments puncturing organs.

“What we do?”

“Kill them!” Radix shrieked. Face turning black and distorting. Small rearing heads emerging from the skin of his cheeks, squealing in slow fury. Eyes orange trimmed in red.

The ground beneath him turned to ash, spanning to run underneath the knights fumbling down the ridge. Tinging everything gray. The rim crumbled then cracked in a jagged line heading to the canyon floor.

Okine tried to make it to the bottom but stumbled, causing the Pope’s knights to trip over one another. Slowing their trek.

“Let her suffer!” Radix hoped. Watching her plummeting to the gorge. Thoughts dark with hatred.

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