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The kingdom through the.., p.30
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       The Kingdom through the Swamp: The Courts Divided - Book 1, p.30

           Kell Inkston
 
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR: HOS’RAYULL EDITION)

  The three Knights embark on their mission, going down to the first floor, exchanging a set of permitting glances and then splitting up to complete their various tasks.

  Law moves forward into a good, central intersection in the keep. He takes a deep breath, bows his head, and says a short prayer to both Omniverse the Allbeing and his draconic ancestors. He opens his eyes anew, reasserted in his goal to both prove his worth as a Knight to the Allbeing, and to prove his greatness to his ancestors. He withdraws his enormous great mace and pauses in silence. If one were listening, they could hear a slight breeze as Law takes in a slow, deep, stoic breath before the battle.

  A few seconds pass, and Law abruptly joins his hands to the shaft of the mace and throws all of its weight into the ground several times, obliterating the marble tiles underneath. He slams his mace down a few more times, making sure he has the entire keep’s attention before he delivers his message.

  “HEY YOU FAIRY F****! GET YOUR WEAK ASSES OVER HERE! THERE’S A STUPID, EMOTIONALLY-INSECURE DRAGON THAT’D LIKE TO GIVE YOU HIS OPINION ON HOW WEAK AND STUPID YOUR ARCHETECTURE IS! I’D BET I COULD LEVEL THIS ENTIRE F****** KEEP IF I WANTED TO!” He boasts half-mockingly with the intensity of a dragon’s blazing breath. He draws another gust of wind through his ivory-white barricade of teeth.

  There is a short silence, and then Law hears the frantic rush of fairy feet closing in from all directions. Elves, dwarves, gnomes, fairies both high and low, spooks, ghosts, ghouls, ents and even a few talking animals meet the angry dragon-kin’s challenge, weapons, claws, fists and teeth at the ready. There is a part of Law that dislikes, that he’ll have to avoid killing them on purpose, but it’s necessary to get the point across once all this is over. Should he not hold back, it would only add another layer of controversy to fairy-Knight relations.

  He readies his weapon, and meets the first in the group with a mace to the face.

  A group of higher, middle, and lower fairies make up the bulk of the approaching force, and already Law sees a glint of fear in their eyes. Deep in the cold-blooded ore of his core, he feels a hot spark reignite; he knows he was designed by the dragon gods to fight, and fight he will.

  He sweeps across the first wave of spears, knocking either the spears from the guards, or the guards themselves into the air and into the wall. Unlike Love, the guards are quickly deterred back into the entirety of the force, now forming ranks. A new front line is established, this time of the larger, stronger fairy-folk, and they approach again. Law sees that he has them precisely where he wants them; if they continue this level of caution he can buy an hour of time if need be.

  “Yes, come here, fairies, I’m hungry,” he says with a wide, rocky grin. The fairies, most of which have been raised on stories of villainous dragons breaking into homes at night to feast on disobedient little fairy children, quickly flinch at the remembrance of their childhood nightmares. The officer calls out to press on, and at that the phalanx returns to the task at hand.

  With a crazed glare, Law removes his gauntlet and bites into his hand, drawing a rapid stream of blood that he promptly smears across his face.

  “C-captain, hark! This foe is so maddened with spirits of his ancient agonists, what chance have we, decent folk, to best such a demon!” one of the fairies calls nervously to the officer.

  “Indeed!”

  “Forcert.”

  “Harken to these words, our dear captain!” three other voices ring out as the approaching force comes to a halt.

  Law’s breath picks up in volume as he points his head up high to stare at the spear-wall out of the corner of his eye. He can now hear the badly-concealed shudders and gasps of terror from the fairies.

  “Breathe, winged armlings! He is but one death-lusting foe cursed with the blood of the dark--” the officer’s encouragement is muted by the cackle Rayull lets loose.

  “P-please, captain!”

  “Spare us our graves!” two of the fairies again complain, eyes all focused on the maverick dragon-kin howling out smoke.

  “Bah! Cowardlies of no use! The ones of the ground be a heartier flesh. Dwarf-kind, come forward and re--” The officer’s voice is again overpowered, this time from the immense, conjoined scream from the fairies at the sight of Law abruptly rushing forward, his mace poised to smash them into oblivion. The ranks break as the mass of spear-fairies are smashed into the warm air of the eternal summer realm, weapons scattering about and hitting a few of the others in the farther ranks.

  Amidst the screaming insanity of the fairy folk breaking their guards and turning to run, Law draws back for another swing, and throws his weight into the retreating soldiers. The mace that weighs a fourth of the force slams into their backs, sending another array of fairies into the air, breaking their bones, smashing their wings, and imprinting securely in their minds that the stories their parents told them at night are undoubtedly true. The officer draws back, as afraid as the others, but better at seeming collected; he turns to run or fly along with the others but is grasped by the wings.

  “Going somewhere?” Law asks as he snaps the officer’s insectly wings in a single instant. The officer squeals in pain as Law pulls him back, throws him into the floor, and stomps into one of his shins, breaking it like a twig.

  “PLEASE! I BEG OF THEE! SHOULD ANY SPARK OF MERCY BE IN THAT HEART OF TAR, METAL, AND FIRE, I BEG, LET ME FREE!” the officer screams, flailing like a child before punishment. Law hates their pompous, high-pitched voices. The dragon-kin laughs and then, as if he had heard bad news, sobers up. As the other guards clear out of the hall to get distance, Law looms down over the officer, and looks him right in the eyes.

  “Did your people give my great grand-parents the same choice?” The question is painfully rhetorical, as no discovered dragon-kin was spared by fairy forces during the Extermination Wars. The officer begins crying in pain and fear.

  “Please! Please! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”

  “Are you?”

  “Yes! Please! I didn’t make those decisions! I never even fought in the Extermination Wars! I-I love your kind!”

  “My kind? Oh yes, what was it? ‘Those death-lusting foes cursed with the blood of the dark ...’ would you care to finish that sentence?” Law asks as he grinds his boot into the fairies shin. The fairy begins writhing uncontrollably, in denial that he’s about to be smashed to death by one of those horrible dragon-men. The officer has seen his fair share of action, but never alone, and never against something so invincible. What’s worse is that, among the more popular of the dragon-kin rumors in Liefland, is that they devour the souls of their victims, sending them into a hellfire of eternal torment.

  “I can’t! Please! I can’t! Pl-pl-pleleeese!” the officer cries in sheer horror.

  There is a slight pause, and Law lifts his mace again. Would he strike the fairy, he would be nothing else but unknowable, splattered remnants of a corpse; a corpse among corpses he would be so unrecognizable.

  “Well I have something to tell you,” Law says calmly, mace lifted high. The fairy braces to receive his ultimate end.

  “He ... heh ... heh!” he mutters, unable to speak amidst the terror strangling his heart and clouding his mind.

  “As a superior creature, I know when to spare a life that cannot possibly take my own; simply part of being a god in comparison to something like you. I forgive you, you piece of shit- it was your ancestors that killed mine, and as the new generation we’re given the opportunity to move away from that. Tell them that I let you live, and maybe we’ll have a new future for our kinds. Now go, crawl back to your sniveling hive like a good insect,” Law says, releasing his foot-hold on the officer’s leg. The fairy stares in shock a moment, unbelieving that one of the horrible beasts of his childhood, told to have an unquenchable thirst for murder and innocent flesh, has just allowed him the rest of his life in front of his men; watching from afar.

  The wide-eyed, wing-and-leg-broken officer crawls away as q
uickly as he can.

  Some of the on looking guards go out halfway to pull the officer back into the ranks, now a dozen meters away. Law listens to the commotion of relief and warning passing between the fairies, and then sees the officer send out a messenger to elsewhere in the castle.

  Law continues to stare with stoic silence; only a lifeless body would be more still.

  In the next minute, there in one over confident dwarf that approaches and attempts to use magic, and a few other fairy folk using ranged attacks to get at Law. Law promptly kicks the dwarf in his face, sending him rushing back into the group, and every arrow that hits Law only barely taps into his armor, either natural or artificial.

  Having foiled every attempt that the Liefland royal guard has thrown at him, Law cannot help but crack a genuine smile. It’s such a rush for him, fighting fairies just like his ancestors- displaying his superiority to all who behold him. His smile fades only a moment after its birth when he spots something incredibly strange down the hall.

  Far away, several hall intersections back, from what looks to be the officer’s sector, is what seems to be darkness itself approaching him. The guards quickly make way for Liefland’s secret weapon, the very same that had already taken care of Dresmond, and is now on its way to handle the next matter in the keep. Law squints, and makes out that it’s not darkness that’s approaching, it’s just the lanterns are dying out as the concealed something approaches. The guards, assured of their victory, clear out of the halls.

  Law watches in awe a moment more, and then beholds the ghastly sight of his opponent, silently approaching with arms outstretched.

  Hos’Rayull raises his mace.

 
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