(Page 113) [i]”It was you, it was me, it was the silence underneath the stars that understood my heartbeat and its racing. You told me nothing. I believed everything. In that moment I found life. In that moment I found you”[/i] [spoiler]holy crap I’m so excited to finally be showing this page! If you missed one https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/256610445/0/0 And here’s part 2! Thank you for your amazing support! Hope you enjoy! [/spoiler] The silence, which only lasts for a split second, seem to take ages to Shadow. Blood rushes through her ears. Then, an eruption into chaos. The hunter looks around fearfully and hesitantly. Shocked, she sees many of the eliksni are crowing in approval, cheering for her. Her chest swells with gratitude. Their voices give her strength and confidence. Though, she couldn’t help but notice, a few of them appear outraged, or laugh mockingly. She lifts her chin anyways, glad her mask is hiding her flushed face. Their growls are drowned with the wave of sound from her supporters. Heart pounding, Shadow forces herself to look back at Variks. It skips a beat, fluttering, as their eyes lock. She’s surprised to see his undisguised, stunned reaction. He’s sat bolt upright, eyes wide. Then, slowly, all four narrow into uncertainty. Seeing him look so lost, the hunter feels a wave of pity for putting him in this situation. Was Wolf wrong? Was this not okay to do in their culture? Had she offended him? [i]I’m sorry![/i], her golden orbs plead to him. Variks’s claws dig into the arms of his seat, eyes locked onto his captain. She holds his gaze bravely. The Kell is the first to break it, hesitantly observing the crowd, looking uncomfortable. Assessing the situation. His eyes reconnect with the hunter’s. She breathes in sharply. And then— there it is. One singular, slow, drawn out nod. Shadow’s heart leaps into her chest as the crowd roars. “Alekris... do you hold any part in this..?” Shadow catches the muttered question. Alekris turns wide, wonderfully entertained eyes onto her Kell. Her throat rasps with laughter. “I think I’ve had my fair share of Kell. If you understand, Variks. I don’t know why anyone would fight over you anyways,” she has to add. The youngest captain takes this as her signal to step foward. “I take the challenge.” Shadow’s eyes instantly flick to hers, a fierce fire lighting their ethereal depths. Feral energy courses along her skin. Arc crackles in her palms. The captain shrinks down ever so slightly beneath the amber stare. “Very well. Begin.” The eliksni bark and call out in their harsh tongue as Shadow and the captain circle eachother. A sword is swung, a fist launched. The captain screeches in pain. Shadow takes advantage of any moment of weakness, savagely knocking her to the floor, slicing into her armor. Razor sharp claws strike into flesh. Pain bursts behind the hunter’s eyes. All she can hear now is the heartbeat roaring in her ears, seeing red. Shadow points her blades at the captain’s neck and it’s already over. She’s fought more than enough young captains before. Snarling furiously, the wounded eliksni struggles to her feet and backs off. Bruised and panting, Shadow does the same. Slinking away, the eliksni accepts her defeat, lowering her head to the awoken woman. Shadow straightens. The crowd cheers wildly as the next captain steps foward. Doubt begins to crowd Shadow’s mind as it clears from the heat of battle. Could she handle three captains in a row? Even the small one, though a relatively easy fight, had left the hunter bleeding. She lifts her chin bravely and bares her teeth. “Nama,” the female growls before her opponent can react. “I do not wish to challenge you for our Kel.” Shadow hesitates, untrusting. “I think you deserve that place,” she explains, ducking her head, her palms upturned in a show of respect. Shadow’s skin flushes lavender. Surprise glitters in her eyes as she manages a single nod, thankfully. Variks gestures to the captain when she looks to him for confirmation. The faint touch of confidence that had begun seeping into Shadow’s chest sinks into cold nothingness once more when the last fighter steps foward. She has to bend her neck up to meet the malicious gaze. “I will take the hand of the Kell.” Her voice is deep and strong. She meets Variks’s eyes. “You might not want to take your eyes off me,” Shadow snarls, chest puffed with jealousy. The increase in volume from the house encourage her. And that seems to be the baron’s cue. A crackling sword is swung her way. Shadow dodges beneath the razor sharp blade with hardly a second to spare. She attempts to trip the eliksni to no avail— the baron throws her to the side. [i]Stupid![/i] she berates herself. The hunter growls deeply. She feints a lunge, tricks her. The floor trembles with the baron’s furious cry. Releasing a blast of arc light, the ex guardian knocks her away. Pain sears her side as claws connect with skin. Tearing herself away, Shadow raises a leg in a swift kick, knocking a sword clear out of one of the eliksni’s hands. Cursing, her challenger foolishly throws aside her other dagger, favoring attacking the woman with her own four hands. Dodging her charge, the hunter does what she does best— her body flexibly bends backward as she leaps, giving the explosive knives she throws an extra boost. The baron’s screech fuels and satisfies her as she lands clumsily on her feet. Shadow’s daggers are lodged in her opponent’s chest, sending a spew of cold ether into the air. Her legs begin to tremble. The echo of the crowd, the adrenaline, the swelling in her head, the pain, it was too much. She struggles to focus. A swift stomp sends her tumbling backward. Before she can rise, the baron is upon her. Claws connect with her helmet, raising it before swiftly slamming her head with great force into the hard metal floor beneath them. The room blurs, the crowd becomes muted. A steady ring resonates within the hunter’s ears. As it fades, Shadow stares up into the eyes of the baron, determination surging through her. She wasn’t finished until this eliksni was on the ground. Thrusting herself upward, she takes the baron by surprise. A well aimed punch connects with her face, cracking her armor. Shadow’s own fury is reflected back at her in the cold eyes of the eliksni— she flings away the hunter like a pest. Rolling across the floor to follow her, the baron picks up the shock dagger that she had dropped. Time seems to slow as Shadow, on her back, watches the sword plunge toward her. A gasp escapes her and echoes through the crowd as the blade is driven through her chest. Feeling the crunch and shatter of her ribs, Shadow bites back a scream of agony. Waves of pain threaten to overwhelm her. Blood spills over her lips. She hears a shout from someone to stop her opponent— these fights were supposed to be honorable — but it’s too late. Red hot anger boils Shadow’s blood as she wraps her hands around the blade, slicing deep into her own palms. The eliksni’s eyes widen in shock as the awoken woman pulls the end of the sword out of herself with a force, using the hilt to knock the baron straight between the eyes. With a yelp of pain, Shadow rips the dagger the rest of the way out of her, spilling steaming blood onto the floor. The baron had stumbled backward, cursing, and in the split second before she can recover, Shadow leans backward. With an ear-piercing cry and all the force she can muster, the hunter slams her own head into the eliksni’s with a sickening crunch. Her destroyed helmet falls to the floor. Screeching, she staggers away, hands rising to cover her wounded head. More ether spills into the air. Shadow’s blood decorates the floor. Without her ghost to heal her, the hunter’s vision begins to go dark. Sparks dance behind her eyes. Chest heaving, she shakes her head in a struggle to stay awake. Raging against defeat, the baron attempts a last blow at the hunter. Shadow gasps, dodging too late— claws pierce into her already wounded chest. Blood splatters from her mouth as she doubles over. Shaking, summoning her last bought of strength, a fierce growl forms deep in Shadow’s throat. She rears up, staggering, her blazing eyes meeting the icy gaze of the eliksni that dared to challenge her. This creature was out to kill her, not just gain a title. She was fallen. Light surges through the awoken woman, flames that were once long gone revive within her, flooding an already intense, fire colored gaze. Like a match into gasoline, sparks explode along her arm, preparing to form into a roaring blaze at the tips of her fingers... BANG The baron, hardly more than ashes, falls dead— and so does Shadow.