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July 28, 2013
What people will do for those they care about has no limit...
Chapter 9: Arbalest
Tiros focused inward for a moment before preparing for his attack. Tiros was more than just an Avatar, he was a firebending prodigy. He had mastered the same firebending forms that most did at sixteen when he was thirteen and spent the remaining three years honing in his skills.
Ever since the event that had traumatized his youth, he restrained himself from using his power to his fullest just to prevent any harm. He was now going to stop holding back, he was going to fight and attack to his fullest, with no filter to his power.
He rushed into battle as trailing flames consumed the path behind him. Bringing his hand forward, a torrent of fire and power raged ahead and burned what opposed him. With another wave of his arm, fire swiped after a building where rebels stood to use it as high ground.
Stone and earth were thrown after him but burned and missed as the fires that surrounded him were so great it was blinding and few could actually see him.
A great crack in the earth appeared beneath him as he leapt away. He turned to see a thorn in his side reappear. "Give it up, Hanbao, you've already lost."
"Not until I die," he tensed his muscles as he prepared to fight again.
Hanbao staggered back up as he landed roundly on his backside. Never the luck. Things always went bad for him. Case in point, now. Sure he was the one attacking, but it would be worse if he didn't.
The last time he didn't take initiative, he nearly lost a hand to Lesun who had a fit for days about how lazy and pathetic his men were. He knew not doing something was worse, after all, his predecessor's head rolled away when he didn't do enough.
Hanbao did want his position, but he got it anyway, and he would do what he would have to. If just to avoid his master's wrath.
Not that doing his job would be easy. Fighting an Avatar, even one in training, was hard. This man was unrelenting, only stopping when he would give Hanbao a chance to run away, but the more he saw that he wouldn't, the less time the Avatar gave him to recover. And in the midst of it all, he was still fighting other rebels as well. Burning down any he came across and firing attacks in directions he knew his allies weren't in.
Tiros was truly a frightening opponent if he put his mind to it. And he was doing just that. Hanbao saw as dozens fell to him. The only advantage was that the rebels far outnumbered the defenders and Tiros was still holding back even now whenever he saw Earth Kingdom soldiers pass.
And that was the key here. Tiros' power was deadly when released, his fire showed no restraint or prejudice, it hurt all. He held back to prevent hurting his own side when necessary. It was then to attack and fight the enemy.
A trio of earthbenders passed behind the Avatar. Hanbao slammed his fist into the ground, creating a slide of earth to bury the soldiers. Tiros had immediately caught on and defused the attack with a fire blast into the ground as he now stood in front of the soldiers.
Tiros had realized the strategy and looked on murderously, "Clearly you have no shame. If that is how you want to fight, then so be it."
Hanbao smiled as he finally figured out a strategy to fight.
The Pain Bringer
Melasa leapt back as a barrage of earthen boulders struck after her. Lesun had now taken the offensive and was keeping Melasa a distance away from him. For the healing the Thorn Cutter could bring, it also was incredibly painful. One of its names was Untouched for the fear its users had for the pain of its use.
And now it was here before her. Even if she could deal a deadly blow against him, he would heal. She would have to behead him to kill him for sure, and he was now keeping her at a distance as a precaution when he realized exactly how much of a better swordsman she was.
A twirling storm of stone chased after her. The half-witch deftly ran circles around it, catching the warlord off guard as she cut him deep with a vertical strike across the shoulder and chest. A swing of the sword nearly caught her and forced her to retreat from the already recovered Lesun.
"You're such a dumb bitch," Melasa ignored his malicious insults as he went on, "you think anything you do can harm me? You know how I survive already, I've gathered that much. But there is no way you can disarm me."
He beckoned to his wrist, covered in vine-like growths, "You can't make me drop it, and any attempt to cut the hand itself will fail. What can you do against that?"
"I can cut off your head."
Lesun smirked, "I would love to see you try."
The two charged and fought each other as the steel teeth bitterly clapped at each other. Melasa whispered, "Kish Kash."
Her flurry of attacks weren't even visible. All the showed was her final strike and the blood escaping as three deep lacerations appeared. One was through his heart, another through his liver, and another nearly cleaned through his neck.
His wounds began healing but he was slow to respond. Melasa was just about to capitalize on this when something flew her way. She deftly batted it away to see it was a crossbow bolt. She responded with a small arc of lightning after the archer.
Charred to a husk, she noticed more of these armed rebels advancing now. Worse, they were all heading to Avatar Tiros' location.
She knew if she went to finish off Lesun, it would take too much time. She had to protect her master. And with that she ran for another part of the battlefield.
The Wrath of Fire set out after the rebels. They screamed in pain as flesh burned. It was his greatest technique and it made him deadly to all. He drew in rebel after rebel, as they all longed for a fight.
Habao began targeting soldiers, making him realize that he needed to draw fighters away from the defenders. He did so by using his Wrath of Fire.
More and more came; more and more fell. The emptiness of death welcomed itself to him like an old friend and whispered to him like it did once when madness was his companion.
There is nothing, there is no one. There is only self. Anything you do only matters for how you decide it to.
Tiros ignored this old friend as he stepped further down the path of rage that would keep the enemy engrossed in glorious battle away from the soldiers.
You can't hide from what isn't there. Accept that you are alone and there will be no more despair.
He rejected the voice. He wasn't alone.
Can you say you even live? Where do you call home? Whom do you call family?
He shook his head as he kept denying it to his friend; to himself. But did he have any of that? He hadn't spoken to family in years. He didn't have a home of his own. Friends were fleeting and life was in motion so much that he had nothing to even call his own. Was that life, or was what he called life just an illusion.
All the things that had plagued him after the mutiny had returned and resurfaced. His old friend came calling from within to take its rightful place to tell him he was alone. All the while, he blindly struck down those before him in rage. He wasn't even seeing those past the flames at this point, not noticing as a sly man with a crossbow approached from behind and readied to fire while the rest of the archers burned trying to fire a standing volley on the ground.
Tiros paid attention to nothing as he yelled at them, "I'm not alone, I'm not without!""TIROS!!!"
A thud sounded as the bolt flew true to its target, however, it hit someone else entirely. Tiros turned around to see Melasa in front of him with a steel bolt protruding from her back. She gasped heavily and fell into his arms.
He heard the scream of Lesun charging him with sword held high. He punched with all his might to send a blast of air that blew the warlord far away. He looked back to Melasa as she heaved every breath, the bolt went through her heart.
"Master, I'm sorry-"
"No!" He stopped her, "don't worry, I'll get you out of here!" He picked her up and ran for it. He looked for a stable still standing and crossed Kyo.
The captain was forlorn, "We're losing ground!"
"Get everyone out now, fall back to Michyu!"
The captain nodded as he signaled the retreat. A massive boulder separated them and Tiros ran into the stable to find a steed. The Ostrich Horses inside were panicking but he managed to subdue one so that he could rest the wounded witch on its back.
Crashing sounds got worse, as did the screams. The building shook and soon the doorway caught on fire. Lesun's men must have started razing already, or Captain Kyo ordered it to cover their retreat. Either way, the fire caught quick and spread even faster.
Too distracted, Tiros got onto the steed and forced it to crash through a wall to go another way than those who threw the fire.
There were plenty of openings in the wall to escape the village from, as earthbenders tore at each other for hours.
The ostrich horse ran through the rubble, eager to get away from the chaos. Tiros then realized how bad it was. He had just run into the reinforcements for Lesun's rebels. Turning the mount hard, he steered it to run along the wall as men charged after him in a frenzy. The ground began shaking as several men stomped in unison to bring the wall down on him.
He kicked into his steed to jump up and run with the climbing rubble. Leaping out on the corner the steed was clear of the walls as a few more riders chased after them.
"Come on!" He kicked the sides of the ostrich-horse to speed up as they kept fleeing for mountains in the distance. Earth beneath shook as the closest tried to attack. A fireball hit the rebel and burned a hole in his chest.
Tiros curled his hands in and readied himself centering the energy in his body, he released the lightning as a stream that cut across the landscape, incinerating any who were still following.
Thunder cracked across the dry land as he kept riding with his weak partner hanging by a thread. With the mountains closer now, he needed to find shelter. He looked up into the sky as storms began to break overhead. He needed to find shelter, he needed to save her.
- Arbalest is a crossbow bolt.
- What is interesting to note is that while Melasa is bound to protect Tiros, she is not bound to care for him. Calling out his name means more for this lonesome witch.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Storms of the Future Cycle
|The Journey of Tala|
|Book 1 - Sand and Steel|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 2 - Blood and Swamps|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 3 - Pyres and Storms|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Fates and Vows|
|- - - - - - Ilera - Solace Fade - Scions - Sovereign|
|The Rise of Lirin|
|- In the Morrow - The White Dragon - Faith in Blood - The Great Gates - Lord Avatar - A Red Sun - Faceless - Faction - Tempest - Rally of Crows - Rally of Eagles - Dragons and Serpents - Kings and Men - Storms of a Spirit - Princes - A Battered Land - Seas of Ichor - Arbiter - Return to a Grave - Declination - Disaffection - Epilogue|
|Myths of the Empire|
|Pacification - Assassins - Empire - Red Sun Under The Empire - White Snow - Heirs|
|The Reclamation of Arein|
|Book 1 - Chaos|
|Refugee - Rogue - Ghosts - Dark Roses - Doyen - Divulgence - The Plan - Abscond - Mists of Illusion - Madonna - Syndicate - Playing the Stakes - Purge - Brothers|
|Book 2 - War|
|Alliance - Temple - Tensions - The Fall - Hunters and Prey - Lussuria - Shades of Relevance - Broken Star - Defiler - Strikeforce - Secrets of the Lair - Eminence - Swarm - Wanderer|
|Dreams of Melasa|
|Book 1 - Servant|
| - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|Book 2 - Shadow World|
|Faint but Clear - Ghost in the Steel - Kurotama - Loyalties - Servants of Shadow - Game of Fate - Shadows and Reflections - Tomb of Blood - Broken Blades - Hill of Shadow - Souls and Swords - Home|