Monday, July 18, 2011

He's here; I can feel his presence, and the knowledge is like a fire in my veins. I follow the feeling, and suddenly I can see him with crystal clarity, as though everything else were in soft-focus.

The words are like acid in the back of my throat, but my voice is soft, my accent creeping back in. "Your blood is foul and corrupt, twice dead, fit only for the dunghill."

He smiles as he draws his blade, a saber with only a slight curve to it. "You have been a thorn in my side since I arrived in this cursed backwater. It will be good to remove you at last."

I gesture with my unencumbered hand. "Come ahead, foulness, and we'll see."

We come together as if pulled by some dark gravity. Blades clash, seeking flesh. He's good, better than I expected. Good enough to distract me with a feint and draw a deep cut just over a kidney. I spin, drawing him closer as he follows; continuing the spin, I score a thrust to his hip. I give Johnny a twist, gouging more meat from the wound as I whip it out. Rath just grins, fangs gleaming, eyes ablaze with bloodlust and hate. We dance, a dance of thrust and parry, cut and riposte and less subtle things, a waltz of death that can have but one conclusion. He thrusts, taking me in the left armpit and I hiss with the pain of it, but it gives me my chance. I twist, trapping his blade between arm and body and he loses his grip. I grin, feeling the blood drenching my side even as the wound begins to knit together again and I hurl his blade up and away. Huh... wonder where asswipe found an enchanted saber? I send Johnny back to wherever; the closer the better for this kind of work. Then we close again, fangs and claws replacing blades, hissing, roaring, blind with the need to kill, to tear and rend and bathe in hot blood. We tear at each other, ripping away fist-size chunks of flesh, blood aflame... Bloodlust makes me careless and his fangs find a grip in my throat.

One chance, just one.... My hand shoots forward, Rath shrieks and my fingers are wet with warm jelly. I gouge deep, pull back and then my own fangs strike home. No time for subtlety; already the ruined eyes are healing. I rip out a chunk of throat and feed. Rath goes for my eyes, but my head is bowed into his neck and he can only tear furrows into my face and scalp. When I can feed no more, I let his blood drip from my mouth, draining him until he sags limply against me.

His blood sings through my veins, tuning every sense to the highest pitch... I toss my hair back, blink blood out of my eyes as a pair of our young warriors step cautiously forward with a set of Traeger's spell-forged manacles. I let Rath drop then and look around me... It's a mess... bloodier than a slaughterhouse, with dead and dying ghouls all over the place. Erik looks shaken; he's never seen me at my worst. I expect it'll take him a while to assimilate....

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