Be sure to read Pondera before this.

“Come, Essum. It’s time to end this.”

Music to my ears.

Bolts of white light arc from Balance’s outstretched fingers, scoring grooves in the stone floor. One tendril whips out at me, and I catch it with my left hand, applying pressure until the ethereal but somehow substantial light [Kill-] shatters. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I push off with my right foot, propelling myself through the shards at Balance. He grabs my arm, aiming a kick at my head. Ducking, I avoid the kick before breaking his hold and making another attack. Our fists hit each other dead-on, the reaction force causing us both to skid backward.

Pity. I expected so much more.

“I’m not finished!”

Balance charges at me-

-And stops. He looks away from me, eyes fixed to something to my right. Following his gaze, I see what it is. His former paramour is attempting to stand, surprise and fear on her face.


“Shelby!” Balance shouts, rushing toward her. Using the Void to bend the distance, I appear almost instantly in front of him. I grab him by the face, using his own momentum against him to launch him backward. He skids across the ground before standing up again.

You really can be a pest sometimes, Balance. Rescuing the damsel in distress means going through me. I told you this already.

“Stand aside, Essum!”

Kill me first.

Balance launches himself at me again. I shunt his attack, forcing him away.

You still aren't taking this seriously.

"Give way, Essum."

It's hurtful, you know, that you're ignoring me like this. I spent decades, centuries, even, amassing my army, finding the Conduit. My legion is marching across the world as we speak, razing and destroying it. And still, you care more about the girl. It is rather irritating. I suppose I'll have to force your interest.

I hold out my hand, and his love's nephew's eyes snap open. He stands, staring blankly ahead of him. His head turns slowly, stare connecting with Balance's. His mouth curls into a Cheshire smile.

"What are you doing?"

I'm making you interested.

Without warning, the Shelby's nephew begins to laugh. It begins slowly, softly, crescendoing into a loud, grating, screeching sound. Balance cringes, disturbed by the sight. The nephew rises into the air, the laugh growing louder all the while as he gravitates slowly toward the edge.

I flick my wrist.

The nephew flies from the edge. The laugh slowly grows more distant as he falls, eventually petering into nothing.

Balance stares at me in shock and horror. Slowly, his features harden into anger and hatred.

"Alright, Essum. You have my interest. I will focus all of my energy upon destroying you. When I finish, not a single atom of you will be bonded to another.

Suddenly, light surrounds Balance, a deafening roaring sound following it. He is saying something, but I cannot make it out. Another robe materializes around him, one I recognize to be the Toga of the Gods. The Brace of Submission forms around his right wrist, clamping on. At the end of the chain, a shaft of the white light begins to grow, lengthening into a sort of halberd with an elongated blade. The light dissipates, revealing a purely white blade, that of the White King’s Sword, the chain of the Brace fused to the weapon about half a foot from the white blade. Balance levels it at me, the hate in his eyes shining with a mad energy.

Interesting. You’ve fused the Objects together with your own power.

“Stand aside now.”

Make me.

I hold out my hand, and the Black King’s Sword materializes, the blade longer than before, and ground infinitely sharper by my power. The hilt is no longer elegant and ornate, the once cross-shaped guard now a wicked, claw-like curve toward the blade. It ignites, the blade becoming wreathed in black flames, leaving a trail through the air as it moves.

Balance charges, and I meet him, the force of our blades’ contact sending a powerful gust of air in all directions. Balance’s former lover is thrown back into my Experiments, who dig into the ground to keep from being falling from the edge. Balance swings again, sparks flying from our clashing blades, the impacts so fast that they seem to almost blur into one sound. [Praetorous-] Our weapons become locked against each other for a moment, our faces less than a foot apart. The Objects Balance has begin to glow as he draws more energy from them, trying to overpower me. I myself begin to struggle, drawing out more of my strength, the force of our blades roughly equal. I break the lock, causing Balance to stumble back. I whirl the Black King’s sword, making my moves [Destroy-] unpredictable, moving it faster and faster until it is scarcely a blur, dancing around me. Balance’s eyes follow it intently, trying to read me. A few moments pass as I speed up, occasionally scoring small gashes in the floor. Suddenly, Balance looks directly at me. He’s predicted where I’ll swing from.

Which causes my kick to his face to come as a surprise to him.

The angle of the attack causes him to fly upward, slamming into a stone column. Shards of it rain down from where he impacted it, the force making a sizeable impression in the stone. Balance dislodges himself, landing on his feet, spitting out blood and cracking his nose back into place.

In an instant he is in front of me, making a slash at my neck. I duck, but not in time, as his weapon slices one of my horns off. I cannot feel pain in the traditional sense, but I can feel the injury, and it annoys me. I retaliate, swatting Balance’s right arm aside with my left and lunging. He jumps backward, but not before I’ve scored a shallow would across his chest. He touches it with his left hand, and the wound knits itself back together.

We charge at each other again, swords clashing, tongues of white light and black fire scorching and slicing at both of us. We both skid backward, breaking the trance. Looking down at myself, [You-] I can see that part of my cloak is gone, revealing the black flame in my chest. Balance and I both are covered in superficial wounds, but he has a rather deep cut midway between his shoulder and clavicle. He glares at me, panting, the hate in his eyes palpable. Suddenly, his eyes narrow, and I realize that he has spotted the hole in my chest that contains the black flame. The source of my power. White light surrounds him, and the chain of the Brace somehow extends. Grabbing it, he tosses his weapon in the air, whirling it in a perfect circle at blinding speed.

“It’s time to end this, Essum.” I realize his intention too late.

The halberd goes speeding toward me. I have no time to react as the blade slides into the hole, penetrating the flame perfectly as it passes through. I stumble back, grasping the shaft to prevent the blade from passing farther into me. I take a deep, rasping breath.

“Do you see now, beast? You cannot hope to compare to me. I am the Balance, and you are an agent of chaos, a slave to disorder. To balance you, my power will swell to become greater than yours, a thousand times yours.” He grips the shaft of his weapon. “Die now, and sink back into the void of nonexistence you arose from.”

My head inclines, and I allow my grip on his weapon to slacken. I stumble backward slightly, falling to my knees. My eyes close.

And open again.

You poor deluded fool.

Spidery veins creep through the blade of Balance’s weapon. I rise and take a step toward him, the motion driving his weapon deeper into my chest. Shock and disbelief cross his face.


Did you really think killing me would be so easy, Balance? Really think that after all these years, with all my planning, and all my power, that I would have some sort of “weak spot” that was unaccounted for? You fool.

The veins creep further, moving up the shaft of his weapon, and moving into his hand. He gasps in pain as they move further under his skin, traveling up his arm.

You may be able to resist my corruption, but I’ve yet to see anyone who can resist it when they touch its source.

He gasps, trying to breathe as the veins crawl up his neck and to his face. He stumbles back, pulling his blade from me, but it is too late. The corruption continues to move through him.

The hilt of the Black King’s sword collides with his forehead, knocking him to the ground.

You are right about one thing, however, I grab the front of his tunic, lifting him up in the air and throwing him down again. It is time to end this.

Balance tries to stand, and I kick him hard in the face, sending him flying into a stone column. Cracks bloom across it, and it crumbles, coming crashing to the ground. I jump onto the wreck, dragging Balance from the rubble. I grab him by the throat, lifting him off his feet. He gasps and claws at my hand, but to no avail.

You know, Balance, there is something I want to tell you before I kill you.

“What… do you want…” he rasps, voice hoarse and strained.

I was created when the Reunion failed. I’m sure you know this. But do you know why? I’ll tell you. The man who tried to bring Them together was stopped by the Balance. The Balance that came before you.

Balance makes a weak choking sound in response.

Do you know why you’re needed, Balance?


I release my grip on his throat, and he falls to the ground, coughing, the spidery veins covering his face.

I killed him.


Balance stands, something [Essum-] I did not expect him to be able to do in his state. He makes an attack with his weapon, at a surprising speed. Nonetheless, I avoid it easily enough. I make a riposte, and he blocks the blow with the staff part of his weapon, straining in his weakness. Suddenly, and without warning, the Black King’s Sword shears entirely through Balance’s weapon, slicing a deep path in his torso. I reverse the Black King’s Sword in my hand, using the [Destroy-] leverage and momentum to make a powerful thrust. A wet, almost grating sound ensues as the Black King’s Sword slides into Balance’s stomach. A cracking sound follows as it parts his ribs, exiting through his back. He gasps in pain, bloody vomitus exiting his mouth. He falls to [Engineered-] his knees, and then to all fours, coughing and hacking. I bring the blade of the Black King’s sword to Balance’s neck, drawing blood. I draw it back.

Goodbye, Balance. Die with the knowledge, deep in your soul, that you role was always futile. And know, completely and utterly, that you have failed to play it even more bitterly than your predecessor.

I swing down.

To be concluded in Consilium.

Part of the series Ieiunitas, Infectus, Talius.
Last modified on 2009-08-13 10:57:27Viewed 6286 times

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