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Friday, February 08, 2008 Survival of the Swiftest - Part Three

Sample image for Ultimatum, dagger stained with cursed blood

Suddenly, Iris’ ears flutter again: She detects a very strong, dark aura coming from a distance in high speed, and she shouts, “INCOMING!”
The attack comes towards Robert and lands on Robert’s belly with a loud clang. This time Carolyn shrieks!
Then, a voice comes, ‘Saved by your armor again eh, Robert?’
All eyes turn to the source, and here he is, hanging on the ravine wall by his twin daggers, the Ultimatum. The man has untidy hair; his eyes have no eyeballs like blind, and he has tattoos around and between them. The tattoo on the center of his forehead resembles the crest of the dark elves and the sign of Pride, the Original Sin. He wears ragged clothes and a ragged scarf covers his mouth and throat like a ninja from Shima. His skin is pale-white like a corpse’s, and he’s very skinny, as though he’s fasting for years. He speaks politely like a perfect gentleman as he comes down the cliff.
‘I’m MacLair, Oliver MacLair, at your service. And I’m here to serve you death.’
Robert observes his armor. The spot where the stab has landed is nothing but a dent. MacLair... The man Hulferd warned me of once... The quickest man on the planet. His speed exceeds the swiftest elf, except maybe Kyflynn. And he must admit that he is no match for MacLair and Kyflynn’s speed even in full alert.
But, do not despair. To fight him, Robert and friends still have four more useful weapons: power, magic, defense and wisdom. Plus, if they’re lucky enough, they will defeat the band of assassins like they did to Zal’fira’s undead horde.
Now, with MacLair joining the fight, they can’t rely on Omnigalatr Field alone. They must devise a tactic to turn the tide around. Carolyn and Iris move to the center of the formation. Rael’charon takes out his thin-bladed, elf-made Silk Sword and with Andreas they fend off the assassins.
The mages concentrate their auras, preparing to cast high-level spells. Of course, the assassins recognize that move and concentrate their attacks on the mages. Andreas and Rael'charon move closer to protect the girls. Chris, who recovers from his wounds joins in the defense. The three get more stabs and slashes, and two more dark elves fall; but then the real attack comes from another side!
‘An Algaban Aschi!’
Suddenly, a hexagonal portal erupts in front of Robert Chandler, and from it comes the gigantic, formidable form of the Ancient Red Dragon, Algaban.
‘You sent for me?’ says Algaban in her human-like voice. ‘Hmm, looks like emergency enough. All right, I’ll help you.’
Saying that, the dragon goes on rampage, thrashing around with her great tail and shoots fireblasts on the assassins. A lucky shot burns an enemy into crisp.
The quick-witted dark elves immediately scatter, and five of them plus MacLair attack Algaban.

‘Stab the eyes, shall we?’ MacLair speaks like a perfect gentleman, then vanishes! Soon, Algaban wiggles her head around and closes her eyes as though some bugs fly around her face. Actually, MacLair attacks her with his move: Inevitable Demise, stabbing from every direction in random, all targeting two spots: her eyes.
However, being great in size, Algaban is overwhelmed by MacLair’s super-speedy strikes. Another stab comes from the right, and this time Algaban counters by opening her jaws, ready to swallow him whole. And she does! As she closes her jaws, a body is sticking out between her sharp, large teeth, then the sticking-out part falls onto the ground. Algaban opens her eyes in relief, but suddenly stab darts directly to her eye! Shutting her eyes again will be too late, the strike goes too fast!
Algaban sees the blood-stained dagger closes in – the last sight with her right eye – She has resigned to fate as suddenly.... Something hits the hand with the dagger and deflects it. Robert sees the situation and un-summons Algaban at once.
Who could’ve saved Algaban’s eye?
Then, one figure lands and two more come to his side. They are Desmond, Agustina, and Kyflynn!
‘Well, well. The famous Kyflynn the Windwalker,’ says MacLair the Rogue Assassin. ‘You failed to eliminate your target, and then you’re here to ruin mine? That’s no sporting!’
‘Sorry to spoil your sport, Mac. But this is no sport. This is about survival and what we stand for,’ says Kyflynn.
‘Then, you are not a true assassin. You are nothing more than a knave with a knife. Adair’s puppet. Sissy Assassin!’
‘Call me whatever you like, Mac. I abandoned my clan because I refused to kill my father. And now if Adair should abandon me because I won’t kill my friends, so be it.’
‘Yet, you pretended to fail. You might fooled the fool who hired you, but not me! You forget the Assasins’ Code: To fail is to die. That’s a simple truth. I knew all along that Robert, Rael’charon and you would come here. So, I waited with my fellow disciples to strike you all down, like killing three eagles with one arrow.’
Kyflynn sees Agustina moving closer to them, muttering something. Then he alks on.
‘So, MacLair, the past few months have been very pleasing for you, right?’
‘That’s right. I’ve never had this much fun since I got this cursed blood on my dagger,’ says MacLair, holding up his twin daggers – one of which has a permanent blood stain on it, and the other doesn't.
'Never before Ultimatum drank so much blood. So many to kill, so many souls for me to feed on. Never before I feel so... alive.'
Saying so, a black aura of screaming and writhing lost souls appear around the Rogue Assassin, posing a sound intimidation.
'Your show-off can never scare an assassin like me,' Kyflynn also culminates his wind aura; his long hair rises and waves around like a flag.
'He who refuses to kill his own father is not fit to be an assassin!'
'So, I'm a hunter. My conscience compels me NOT to kill without a good reason. I'm just a trashman and you and your assassin's code are the scums I must dispose of!'
'Enough talking and start trashing!'
Saying so, MacLair vanishes! Kyflynn also vanishes. No human eye can catch them striking at each other, even Agustina's. She instantly goes back to join her comrades in the fight. Moments later, prickles of blood fall from the sky.
Up in the air, between the walls of the narrow ravine, the two death dealers are like flying. After exchanging hundreds of moves, MacLair doubles his speed and attacks with Assasin Cross Slash that grazes the night elf's left arm. Kyflynn counters with Cartwheel Stab: a back flip and thrust move, and his dagger Maraj'vriad finds its target on MacLair's foot, making a minor cut there.

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