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An Oath of Revenge


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Arcon was in his room, running through the forms with his dual-handed combination of long sword and dagger. His style relying on most of the attack done with his right handed long sword, while his dagger came in quickly with the killing blow. Hearing a knock on the door, he quickly slipped the dagger back into his wrist sheath and the sword to its home on his waist. Then, he embraced the source, his true weapon.  Most of his group had died on Redpath’s ship, though his enemies were alive and well in the Fortress, practicing the power where he was shielded for months on end. It had left him rusty when he first returned; though in truth he thought he’d made up the time.“It’s open.” He cried out, cautious and ready to weave every bit of death he had learned in his stay at the Fortress, and furthered with his bodies own dance of destruction aboard The Merry Pauper.


To his surprise, it was not an angry Acolyte, or even a frustrated Adept, but instead a fully fledged Dreadlord. Arcon couldn’t say he recognized the man, though he picked out his place of birth as Andor.  His blue eyes told that much. “Arcon Dadread, release the source and come with me. You are to be tested for your raising to the Adept status today. If you touch the Source before the test begins, I will kill you.” Promptly, the dreadlord let go. Watching colors fade was a sadness that had grown to be second nature by now. The man turned on his supple blacked leather boots, and began walking.


And he kept walking, taking Arcon through twists and turns that he had never thought could exist in this apparently mammoth building. He kept his lips still, but his mind wandered. How much don’t I know about even this place? I’ve been here for months, surely I should have explored at least this much of the Fortress… His thoughts were cut short as the Dreadlord stopped in front of a black-iron bound oak door, and embraced the source to push them open. “Enter, and come out the other end. If you make it out, then you will be ranked among the Adepts of the Fortress.” All the Acolyte could do, was step forward, and watch the world go dim as the doors shut behind him.


He waited only a moment, before embracing the source. He wove a small ball of light to illuminate his path. The walls were close around him, the ceiling towering above. Arcon shook his head, running his fingers through those raven locks. “Time to get started, I suppose.” With that those short Carhieren legs began to move, and within thirty feet, he came to a threeway split. He wove two more balls of light, and sent one down each corridor. The right path was a deadend, so he let that weave go, the forward brought him to a right turn, and the left…


When the ball reached the end of the left turn, Arcon got goosebumps, only a moment before he grunted when his weave was cut. Dreadladies? The thought skittered the edge of the void, but he refused to let fear into his mind. Instead, he wove earth and air, to raise a rock, and sent it skittering down the right path, while silently walking down the forward, releasing the ball of light and walking blindly. His time with Mr. Sweeper, may his heart be torn out by a pack of rabid wolves, aided him here. He saw the dreadlady run down the right path, Arcon just out of her light’s range. After only a moment, his pace increased to a near sprint, knowing the diversion wouldn’t last long, and again summoning that ball of light, forcing it ahead of him to light the path ahead.


He heard her double back, as he crossed the right turn. Quickly, he wove three bands of air and tied them off, stretching the width of the corridor just before the bend in the hall, and tied them off. A smug smile formed on his lips. Simple, yet quite devious, at least to his mind. Arcon continued on, taking a left at the next intersection, and bit his lip as he heard her scream. She would definitely have bruises from running full force into the equivalent of three iron bars, yet the Acolyte couldn’t force himself to care.


That accomplished, he went on his merry way, slowly, and silently. He couldn’t feel any men channeling, and his arm didn’t signify any women, but still he held onto the source. One could never tell what the shadow might throw at an initiate to test him. For hours he walked, the strain of holding the source getting to him. He considered letting go, before his arm tightened up once again. He winced, and again began his sprint, running in a simple pattern of left, right, straight, praying that the end of the maze would come upon him soon. Behind him, he heard the woman keeping pace, and the dreadlord-to-be had to roll out of the way of fireballs, and wove sticks of flame across the hallway in his own attempts to either kill her, or slow her down.


Finally, he saw light high at the end of the tunnel, and had he ever learned the blessings of the Light, he would have thanked it then. Instead, he threw everything he had into running forward. Then his sphere of light touched a stone tablet, in front of a fifteen foot gap. Arcon growled, ignoring whatever writing was on the stone, and wove fire and air violently into its base, while adding more air up top to push it over. The result; a bridge to the light. The Acolyte dove through the doorway, and again wove his exploding weave to block the tunnel, if only for a moment.


Arcon stood, slowly, and walked to a stone table in front of him, with a mass of white on top. His eyes widened, and his already ragged breath shortened as he drew closer. Blonde hair, a white dress. Alice. Promptly, he released the source, his steps heavy with fatigue and dread for what was to come. Her head turned to the side, and he saw those wonderful blue eyes of hers once again, a smile still on her lips. All of the memories of her rushed back to him, but one above all.


His hand reached out, stretching for his love, and at that moment he felt more alive than he could have ever dreamed possible. A torrent of ice and fire flowed through him, and he fought against it, a man against an ocean of power, and on top, a vileness so pure he instantly wanted to empty every meal he’d ever eaten. Fire formed in his palm, and launched where he reached; his love’s own heart…


There it was, in the center of her chest, a burn mark about the size of Arcon’s palm. Tears fell from his eyes, landing on the stone slab under the body. “I’ve come far, and I will go further. I’ll serve the Great Lord..” His voice was weak, cracking in the beginning, yet it grew stronger. “As you never could, I’ll destroy his enemies, and bend those faithful below him to my knee.” His voice grew angry, enraged as he continued. “I’ll do everything I swore to you I would, and so much more. I’ll avenge you with my own hands!”


He heard clapping behind him, and turned his right hand on the hilt of his long sword. It was that same Dreadlord who had led him to the testing room. “Oh, well done. I trust now that you’ve sworn revenge, you will keep to it? Yes, I do believe you will. Now, you have been down here nine hours, and have earned some rest Adept.” Arcon’s eyes widened at that word, “Continue down the hall, and go up the stairs on your left. You should be able to find your way from there.” With that, the Dreadlord disappeared into the shadows of the room. Leaving the Adept Arcon Dadread to find his way to his rooms, a grim smile on his face. Behind him, the image of Alice fell, and the wooden doll beneath the façade was revealed.


“Hah, so we find one Carhierien who was lax in his lessons..” The Dreadlord Tryial laughed…

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