Chapter 35:

Chapter 35


The dead of night. The moon hangs high. The heroes of Ethros stand at the outskirts of the city. The final battle is about to begin. They march through the streets, to the beat of the drums of liberation. They pass by houses, the church, the town square. They usher nearby citizens to their homes. They take all of the precautionary measures, all to minimize needless casualties. Elizabeth can't bear to witness. Their fear, their confusion. The apocalypse had been brewing right under their noses, a usurper had been living amongst them, and they were none the wiser. Dozens of questions ignored by the mage's and knight's stone faces. And after making their way through the whole city, they had arrived at their final challenge. The precipice of a new dawn. The heroes of Ethros, Elizabeth the doctor, Isaac the paladin, and Vera the mage, stood in front of the castle gates. Only two guards stood in between them and victory, the last standing horsemen of the apocalypse, Dullahan the headless horseman and shadow of Ethros, and Necros the lich and failed royal assassin. Isaac and Vera stepped forward.

"I see Ronin has failed us, the three of you are still kicking." Dullahan began, drawing his cursed blade.

"Bold of you to assume we'd go down so easily." Isaac approached to meet him.

"It's time we ended this rivalry." Vera stood shoulder to shoulder with Isaac, staff in hand.

"Agreed." Necros growled, imbued with powerful arcana. The two knights surged forward. The two mages aimed their staffs. Metal and magic clashed and collided. The battlefield quickly became engulfed in flame. Necros spread his sickly green embers. Vera beat them back with royal blue fires. Isaac and Dullahan pummeled each other of lightning, earth, and ice struck all around them.

"What's with the dress, paladin?" Dullahan cheekily questioned. He grabbed the lilac cloth around Isaac's armor. "Are you growing soft on me?" Dullahan yanked on the strand of dress, pulling Isaac in. He used the pommel of his blade to bash in his gut. With every blow, Isaac would be knocked back, but Dullahan would just pull him back in. Stumbling around, tripping over himself, Isaac quickly couldn't muster the strength to stand. Dullahan threw him to the ground. "What a pitiful excuse for a knight." He tried to stand up but was kicked back down.

"Isaac!" Vera shouted. "Hold on! We're coming!" She and Elizabeth tried to run over to reach him, but they were shoved backwards by and invisible force.

"Back off! You're my prey, he's his!" Necros commanded before continuing his onslaught.

"How many fights has it been, paladin? Where you've lost each one?" Dullahan taunted. "You lost to me, to Necros, to Helsing, and I'm pretty sure to Ronin. You can never finish the fight on your own, always relying on others." Isaac propped himself up and spun around to deliver a swift punch. Dullahan caught his fist and retaliated with the same attack. "You have enough pride to blind you, but not to guide you. In layman's terms, you're arrogant." Dullahan picked him up and began kneeing his chest. "You're weak! You're emotional! You're everything a man isn't!" He pushed him away, raising his blade. "Just like your father." Bringing the sword down, Dullahan slashed open Isaac's chest plate.

"Enough!" Vera swiped her staff across the air. A cone of cold, a chilled wind, rolled out over the field. The two horsemen became incased in ice. "Go get Isaac." She whispered to Elizabeth. The doctor ran over to the knight as the mage slammed her staff into the ground. A familiar ring of light pulsed out, and the ground shook. Unearthed stone rocked the two warriors, knocking them off their feet. Vera then tried to rush over to her companion. But something ensnared her leg.

"Dullahan! Get the girl!" Necros yelled. He tripped Vera as he got himself back up. The headless horseman lurched towards the medic, interrupting her administration of healing potion. Elizabeth scrambled up, sprinting away from the undead knight. "It's time someone put you in your place, girl!" A thunderous boom, a crack of lightning, two bolts rained down from the heavens, striking directing next to Vera on each side. "Arrogance and audacity must be the running theme with your little party. Because you and the knight certainly have got some nerve, no wonder you two boned." Vera shot up. She aimed her staff. But a whip of energy knocked it out her hand. "You talk a big game about being some great mage, a prodigy as you put it. You want to be some great leader, but you've yet to demonstrate any capabilities of doing so." Blast after blast of incredibly powerful elements. Fire seared her flesh. Electricity shocked her systems. Ice froze her skin. Flora tangled her limbs. Darkness clouded her mind, allowing doubt to settle in. "You're a shitty alchemist and a hack of a mage. You're an emotional wreck, and you can't do anything without relying on others. It's no secret why the council doesn't want to choose you. You're better suited to be a housewife, not some great warrior." A gust of wind launched Vera backwards. She slid across the dirt and cobblestone, coming to rest next to Isaac. Shoulder to shoulder. "That's why you decided to start fucking him, right? Because you knew deep in your heart that you weren't good enough, that you'll never be good enough! I would say you made the right choice, but just look at the two of you."

"Two sorry excuses for warriors, trying to be something that they're not." Dullahan claimed. He grabbed Elizabeth's dress. She yelped as he lifted her high into the sky. "Both led by a lost corpse." Plasma jumped between clouds. The roar of the heavens quieted the earth. Rain began to pour. The torches of Ethros, the flames of life, struggled to stay lit.