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July 25, 2013
Never assume there is only one...
Chapter 8: Brethren
The word escaped lips and Tiros never thought he would see this rumor for himself. Lesun looked like any other man, a bit savage, perhaps. There was nothing about him to say he was more than that.
And yet, when Melasa almost cut him in two, he stood back up and his deep gash healed before their eyes. What was he?
The man laughed maniacally until he looked at the man crawling in pain behind Tiros, "You worthless dog! Did you even tire him, Hanbao?"
"A thousand apologies, my lord. I will do as you command." Hanbao coughed blood as he stood up unsteadily. Tiros was surprised that he had made his way to him.
Lesun snarled, "Don't bother, trash. I'll take care of this myself!"
Before Tiros could lift his arms, steel clashed as Melasa struck at the warlord. Again and again, she attacked, the green armored Lesun blocked skillfully but was not fast enough to counter. Her two hands gripped her sword tightly as she made her move. She thrusted in a curve that started out but went in with the curve of the sword, retracted and repeating at a slightly lower angle. She did this so fast that all Tiros saw was dozens of blades curve in after Lesun that it looked like closing petals of a deadly flower.
The fatal petals worked like a storm, one may dodge one or even many, but could not hope to stop them all. Cuts emerged on Lesun as if from thin air. Blood poured down his body in thin streams as he panted in pain.
"You're gonna need more than that," he laughed as the cuts sowed up and left only faint scars.
Tiros stepped forward to join when a wall parted him from their fight. He saw that the source of it was the ugly man he had humiliated just before, Hanbao was it?
"Is it really wise to test me when I already beat you so badly."
His determined look showed no loss of resolve, "General Lesun will kill her in time, my duty is to keep you occupied until he is ready for you."
"Get out of the way, or I will hurt you."
Calmly, Hanbao lifted his hand and commanded a rushing wall of earth to crush the young man. Tiros sidestepped it with wide eyes. He did that much faster than before. He countered with a ball of fire that missed its mark.
Hanbao charged calmly and with a level head. As he sped forward, small bits of stone surrounded and covered his hands. With fingers out like a blade on each hand, he punched for the Avatar.
Tiros dodged the first and was skimmed by a second hit that came quickly. He was just grazed but felt the forced that could break bones. Hanbao was much stronger than he realized. He must have been holding back before, even if it meant losing.
As the flurry of punches started, the Avatar supplemented his dodging with airbending, giving him the ability to avoid the hits rather than endure them.
Hanbao kept coming with unnatural speed and determination. Hanbao was much better than he thought, "You are far more creative than I gave you credit for. Those gloves make it impossible for me to face with fists and you can even catch some of my elemental attacks. Why waste it on Lesun?"
"He's the master, I do what he says."
Those words didn't settle right with Tiros. He was going to respond about doing what was right no matter what, but was he any better to say when his servant was bound to his command by spell?
He had little time to ponder as another set of attacks came after him from the cool and collected Hanbao.
Melasa kept striking after the brutal savage with a blinding flurry of thrusts and swings of her lightning sword. To her amazement, he kept up and used earthbending to let him move backwards without having to take steps as she pressed forward aggressively.
Lesun smirked as he blocked the barrage of attacks and countered with a thrust in between all her attacks. While it seemed that he struck her, she was still moving. So fast were her movements that she appeared to be in multiple places at once as the blur of her body made it appear that she was untouchable.
While Lesun was concerned with trying to hit the red haired witch, Melasa was concerned with trying to figure out how he had survived her attacks so far. Her mind was racing with options when it smacked her in the face.
The swords batted at each other like brand new, but they weren't. Melasa's sword was ancient, powered by forces beyond man's understanding. And yet the sword across from her still was intact and ringing from parrying her strikes.
Could it be?
Was this an Ish Kash?
The Blood Drinker
Was this an Ish Kash? The sword had escaped her notice before except that he had one. She had ignored its importance, and now it could be the deciding factor in this battle.
Her blinding fury was expressed as her many attacks broke his defense and sent shivering cuts through his body. His top robes were in tatters as his upper body bled and showed through.
Staggering back, Lesun breathed raggedly as several stabs were through his lungs. He tightened the grip on his sword and Melasa focused her eyes on it. Throns grew out, goring his hand and yet they did not bleed, in fact, it dried as if drinking the blood greedily.
His deep wounds and lacerations began to heal again, confirming the worst for the half-witch. He laughed as his breathing returned to normal, "Nothing you do can harm me!"She narrowed her eyes as she pointed her hand forward, "Dish-Ta!"
A massive set of cuts through his entire chest appears as if multiple cleavers had hacked at him. At the center was a gaping hole parallel to where he fingers pointed. Again, it healed as flesh grew back in the missing pieces.
"The Thorn Cutter," Melasa whispered the name to herself.
A loud blast took the area as the earth shook. Fire escaped into the air and she knew that Tiros had leapt into the air.
The young Avatar charged his hand, having blasted the persistent Hanbao with an explosion. He readied to hit the somewhat still Lesun. Unready to prevent an aerial attack, he was open prey as the massive stream of flame hit him.
He tried to shield himself instinctively with his arms and sword but could not escape the wrath of the Avatar's power. A final surge hit like a shockwave and pushed the warrior away. Tiros and Melasa ran for cover as barrages of boulders were sent into the air.
"That should finally shut him up!"
Melasa shook her head, "It won't. I know how he is healing. His sword is an Ish Kash, like mine."
"But yours doesn't have healing powers."
"No, it has storm powers. His has a very potent power, that why his right hand hasn't let go of the blade, he needs stay in contact with the weapon."
"So cut off his hand then."
"Easier said than done, master."
Tiros grunted in frustration at the situation. His mind raced for answers. A sword that could heal its user's wounds? "How much can it heal?"
"I'm sorry?" Melasa frowned in confusion.
"Will he grow back an arm? A head? Will he recover no matter what?"
"I'm not sure. I don't think he could do this if his limb holding the vile sword was cut off. Master, I might be able to stop him, but not while fighting an army."
"How much time do you need?"
"How much can you give me?"
"We have a couple hundred men and an Avatar, Melasa, I think we can keep you covered."
She nodded and head towards the wreckage that Lesun flew through. Running through the debris, she reached the epicenter of the wreckage where piles of rocks shifted as a man raged and seethed.
"Argh! I'll kill you for that!"
He merged after throwing a massive boulder off of himself. His entire upper body was burned charcoal. The scarred tissue heaved with every breath, "You think that was enough to kill me!"
He tightened the grip on his sword more and the thorns that had pierced his hands grew and began to envelop his wrist and lower arm. Melasa's eyes worried on that. How much had he used this power?
Nevertheless, she had to fight him and have him continue relying on the healing to fight. She charged forward and met him in a contest of steel. In her quick string of attacks, she noticed something was off but kept fighting as all Lesun saw was multiple witches where she was.
He stabbed for the center, shocked when he saw her standing on his blade. Completely open, she swung wide yet deep. He moved his head at the last second, cause the blade to only run through half of his neck as opposed to the whole. Blood gushed out as Melasa leapt through with the attack and landed behind the warlord.
He made a guttural sound as blood poured from his mouth and the deep gash stitched itself together. He grunted in anger as the growths from the hilt of his sword reached higher.
He charged after her and she took to her storm of attacks, and knew that something was wrong. She had noticed that he was blocking more before, but now he was countering almost all of her attacks. He was getting better. The sword was increasing his strength and speed in order to match his opponents, as was needed to fight.
The Thorn Cutter was more dangerous than she realized. Could she kill him?
- The history of the Thorn Cutter will be explained in a later chapter
- Lesun would be dead ten times over if it were not for the sword, even then, he is a powerful earthbender in his own right.
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|