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Изменено (AggressiveBacon): 11/17/2018 12:06:55 PM

The Lords of Ambros (Chapter 8, Part 2)

Table of Contents: [b]Chapter 8, Part 2[/b] "What do you mean he [i]isn't here[/i]?" Felwinter shouted, causing the gathered men to take a collective step backward. "Just that,” the hooded figure before him responded, his flat voice belying growing annoyance. "He isn't here." Felwinter stood in silence, fuming. The Ambrosian ambassador's guards, who were positioned to either side of him in the usual arrowhead formation, sat silent upon their mounts, their posture relaxed but their eyes attentive. "When will Ikoris return?" the scholar finally asked, infuriated by his own use of those words. They made him feel like a child. He was not here for a game of hide and seek: he was here for blood. Still, he could find no better words to use. "I do not know", the Chosen responded, "and I see no reason why you should care. Honestly, it seems to me that you should be glad of his absence." "I care...", Felwinter said, gritting his teeth, "...because I cannot [i]kill[/i] him if I cannot [i]find[/i] him." The cloaked figure stilled a moment in pause, processing the Wolf's words. "So it is a duel that you want?" he asked. "Yes", the Lord of Iron replied, his tone that of one speaking to a toddler. "Very well", the Ambrosian said, drawing a blade of bronze and adopting a bracing stance. "Not you, you imbecile!" Felwinter bellowed. "I want to fight [i]Ikoris[/i]!" "Very well", a voice repeated, more distant than that prior, yet much more distinct. Felwinter shifted his gaze, staring past the ambassador to spot the new arrival just as their helmet disappeared. The scholar needed no aid in determining his identity, of course. The speaker rode forward, an expanse of plain visible at his back where the crowd had parted. Doffing his own helmet, Felwinter spoke again, locking eyes with his new opponent. "I'm going to kill you, Ikoris. Today." "We shall see", the Awoken replied grimly. _______________ From where Roak lay, they were little more than specks of color against the dull ground-to the naked eye, that is. Through the lens of his scope, however, the Iron Lord perceived the scene in great detail. The two hosts had met without hostilities-at least none that could be measured in crimson blades or spent brass-and had sent forth their ambassadors: Felwinter for the Lords of Iron, and a gray-cloaked figure whose identity he was neither able nor willing to determine for the Ambrosians. Ikoris, to Roak’s surprise, was initially absent. This observation at first disappointed him, but then furnished him with a measure of hope. Any thoughts of victory which the scout may have housed were short-lived, however, as the thunder of hooves called from the west. The source of this noise was outside of Roak’s field of vision, of course, but he needn’t see the sound’s origin to guess its cause. Ikoris had arrived. The Lord of Iron had watched from his knoll in silence as the Awoken crossed the distance between himself and the war parties, rays of early sun causing his silken robes to shimmer like flames of crimson and gold atop the silver streak of his steed. Then Ikoris had reached the others, and things had set into motion. As the Lord of Ambros cantered forward, he had exchanged words with Felwinter, though these were directed away from Roak and thus escaped his understanding. Then he had dismounted, and the two had begun to circle about, ending their conversation. The others arranged themselves in a ring, completely encircling the pair of Risen, though they were careful to leave a wide berth. Roak thanked himself silently, glad of his luck. Were it not for his raised position, he might have lost sight of his prey. _______________ Felwinter glared at his opponent, his form radiating a cold fury as he began to circle. All of his efforts, the scholar knew, were to culminate in this encounter. He had endured years of a bitter rivalry which, while reducing him to a being of festering rage and want for vindication, had left the Awoken seemingly unchanged. He knew not when the fighting was to begin, and doubted that his voice held the power to initiate it. So he simply circled...and watched...and waited. Ikoris saw the Wolf across from him, who stood prowling just as he. Felwinter had already donned the garments of war, and a broadsword was clasped at his side. He had come in this way, Ikoris knew. He had come to fight. He had come to die. Yet this match, he was confident, was not to be determined by arms or armor. No-its outcome would be the decision of fate. Still, it was best to look the part. Ikoris allowed himself to be enveloped by a shell of light as he, too, armed himself for the duel. When the glow faded, he was adorned with the suit which he had worn at the death of Garamont: his helm and breastplate were of silver, as were his bracers, and his robe was a deep burgundy. He held no shield, nor any rifle. Just as his opponent, the Lord of Ambros carried only a sheathed blade. Felwinter watched this transformation in silence, and he circled. When the illumination about the Awoken’s form had faded, he made his move. The cry of steel sounded as Felwinter’s sword was dragged from its sheath. Before the crowd could take notice of the blade, the scholar had closed the distance to his opponent. Ikoris’ ancient saber flashed from its own holster, and flames ran its surface as he parried the blow. Allowing the Exo’s blade to slide from his own, the Warlord sidestepped, restoring the space between them. Once more, the Risen circled. “Tell me, Felwinter, what do you hope to gain from this exchange?” Ikoris questioned flatly. “I do not hope to [i]gain[/i] anything. I only hope for [i]you[/i] to [i]lose everything[/i].” “And why is that?” the Awoken pressed. “Why do you loathe me so?” “Because you are a butcher, damn you, and a tyrant!” the Iron Lord spat. “Spare me your lies, Felwinter”, Ikoris replied, his tone calm. “They will not serve you well here. You are as much a butcher as I. You have killed, just as I, and your victims have been no more deserving of death than my own. Yet you call me a tyrant?” The Warlord laughed dismissively. “Yes. I suppose I am. We are [i]all[/i] tyrants...even your Wolves. It is unavoidable. I think that you may have been proud of such a title, once, while you sat upon your mountain throne. You were among the best of us [i]tyrants[/i], my friend.” Felwinter lunged forward once more, driven by anger and impatience, and thirst for blood. His blow was parried, and Ikoris continued. “But you were an [i]honest[/i] tyrant, then. Now you are a tyrant, yes, but also a liar, and a coward.” The scholar swung again, and was blocked. This time, however, as sword and saber met, Felwinter released his blade. As the broadsword arced into the sky, he drove his body forward, sending his shoulder into the Awoken’s chest, his full force behind it. The crack of bone sounded audibly as the Warlord’s ribs gave way beneath his armor, and he skidded across the ground. Felwinter rushed forward to seize upon him, but Ikoris rose with frightening speed. While the Wolf’s sword lay still on the earth, his rose to meet the Lord of Iron, who was driven onto the blade by his own eager momentum. The Exo lowered his eyes to behold the wound. The saber was in him to its hilt. He looked back to his opponent, whose helmet was dissipating. He spat blood upon the grass before smiling at him grimly. “You have grown reckless, Felwinter. You were not always so.” The scholar responded with a headbutt. Ikoris’ unarmored skull gave little resistance, and it caved with a sickening crunch. He fell to the ground, dead. Felwinter cast his eyes downward once more, and pulled the Awoken’s saber from his chest. He tossed it to the side, uninterested. The Warlord’s Ghost had appeared, and now hovered above his remains. He walked toward it slowly. The window had passed. A fierce shotgun formed in his grasp, and he raised it in the approximate height of the warlord’s chest. As his Ghost’s Light washed over him and he was returned to life, Ikoris slid forward immediately, a spray of lead peppering his shoulder. He caught Felwinter’s rifle at its barrel’s end, which he forced upward. Flames surged from his palm, melting the steel at his fingers. With the last of his momentum, the Risen drove his remaining hand upward, sending the [i]Xiphos[/i] within into his opponent’s midsection. He tore the dagger further skyward, and it exited beneath Felwinter’s chin. _______________ [Continued]

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