It calls us back to who we truly are.
Truthfully, Serilda was absolutely shocked that she’d managed to pull the transfer off. Neither of them had been certain it would work, nor did they have any idea of how long it would last. Everything was up in the air and there was no telling how it would pan out, but the important part for now was that it had been successful.
Hugo came at her hard, infuriated by the spell she had used to set his blood on fire. He swung his heavy weapon down through an overhead strike and Serilda leapt back out of its way, electing to evade it rather than tank it. While she was confident in her ability to avoid damage through the use of the Void, she refused to abuse that ability or take it for granted, especially when it did still have its limits -- even if those limits were fairly vast. His weapon sank into the ground, practically slicing the earth in two as a giant fissure opened up beneath her feet. She allowed herself to sink down into it, disappearing into the dirt as she merged her body with the Void and raced to find a better angle to catch him at.
Serilda popped back up to his left, swinging Moonlight and then Malice in quick succession. Hugo brought his sword up and blocked both strikes with one stance, holding himself firm enough that the blows glanced off the larger blade without wavering it from his hold. She was going for a second round of strikes when a wave of darkness magic burst from him as he pushed the flat of his blade toward her. Her Voidwalking absorbed the damage as the brunt of the magic washed through her harmlessly, but she still stumbled back a few steps, giving him an opening to go back on the offensive.
She must have pissed Faera off royally, because as they fought the memory around them flickered and was swallowed up in a dark black and green hue that cast an eerie shadow over the scene. In the corner of her eye she could see the memory had been warped, as Mythal took hold of Serilda to talk to her, only to have a knife shoved through his back. The ghost of Kayson Warheez used his blade to carve Mythal in half before coming down upon the memory of Serilda to do the same. While the image of Mythal in an eviscerated heap was heart wrenching, it only served to make Serilda angrier at the thought that the goddess thought this some kind of strategy to disarm her.
“What a child your new beau is,” Serilda said, ignoring the corrupted memory and staying focused on her fight. “She really needs to grow up.” Hugo growled and hurled a bolt of darkness at her, followed by four more. Serilda knocked each one aside easily with her twin scimitars, only to realize the blasts hadn’t been destroyed. In fact they were careening back around and coming after her again from different sides. Opening up a few portals, she caught blasts within them and forced them to come out around Hugo instead, each one slamming into his body roughly. While they didn’t hurt him as much as they probably would have hurt her, they still did some damage.
Can you still hear me?
I can. Is everything okay?
Yes, so far, so good. Gren was a little surprised and uneasy but he’s rolling with it.
Furious. Serilda couldn’t feel Victoria’s emotions at the moment but there was no mistaking the pleasure in her voice. Unfortunately, she’s decided to take it out on Gren. He’s holding his own surprisingly well, but you still need to make quick work of your ex and get here fast. She’s not playing around anymore.
I’m trying. He’s proving to be more difficult than I prefer, and I have a feeling he’s still holding back on me.
In fact, it was time to test that theory. While Hugo was displaying swordsmanship and magical capabilities far beyond anything he’d ever had in life, Serilda couldn’t help but think that he wasn’t putting up as much of a fight as he could. If Faera had drafted him for the soul purpose of targeting Serilda, then why did he not seem very prepared to actually combat her specific magic style? The darkness magic was a given, considering his status, but a part of her felt like there was a bigger shoe waiting to drop, like he was waiting for an opportune moment to catch her off guard.
So, Serilda figured she’d take a stab at trying to force him to show his hand sooner. It was time to turn up the heat. Or rather, turn it down. Twisting her heel along the ground, a sheet of black ice shot along the ground, turning the entire lake and the forest surrounding it into a slippery winterscape. Hugo immediately lost his footing mid swipe, very nearly toppling face first into the icy ground before his wings shot him into the air. He had been so busy focusing on his footing that he didn’t notice the black rune appear in the sky above him as a fully realized blizzard instantly terrorized the area, his wings getting caught in the black snow and winds and sucking him into its violent vortex.
As Hugo was whipped around the sky, being pelted and swarmed by unholy sleet and snow, Serilda was biding her time for him to find his way out, giving a gentle tug on her blood magic and waiting for the right moment to strike. Out he threw himself at her, rocketing from the twisting blizzard on a plume of darkness that practically consumed his entire body as he came charging toward her with his sword out. “Now,” Seri whispered.
Out of nowhere, Hugo got body checked mid flight and knocked off his course and down into the ground where he skidded along the icy floor, his body digging a trench through the floor with such destructive force that his chest and shoulders picked up several sharp chunks of unholy ice that riddled him with cuts and gaping wounds. When they came to a stop, Hugo was lying on his stomach with a small woman standing on his back like he’d just been a surfboard to ride through the waves of ice. She had dark skin and a thick mass of curly black hair. She wore a plain, matching set of brown cotton pants and a midriff shirt with no sleeves, with a blue handkerchief tied around her neck. There was a cocky smirk on her face as she looked down at him.
“Phew! Where’d you dig this guy up, boss? He’s a big one!” Mazikeen sized Hugo up like a fisherman measuring her catch. “Alright, how would you like your filet o’ Trumpet prepared? Broiled? Oven roasted? Cold, raw, and slapped over a roll of sushi?”
“Get off of me you insufferable demon tramp!” Hugo roared and tried to smack the woman off him with one of his immense wings. Mazikeen tumbled out of the way before he could hit her, back flipping from him and vaulting gracefully onto the icy ground with all the talent of a master martial artist and landing in a low, ready crouch.
“Seared it is,” she said with a dark, malicious grin. She closed one of her hands into a tight fist and the limb burst into flames. “My favorite.”
Hugo was back on his feet, his sword charged with a sheath of darkness that was quickly swelling with pressure. He swung the weapon and unleashed the attack, the darkness unleashing itself as a thin horizontal arc through the air at the demoness before exploding into a cloud that swallowed Mazikeen whole. His free arm warped until flesh and bone was replaced with inky tendrils that shot into the cloud, looking to snatch Mazikeen and crush her within his grip.
Before he could even get close enough to capture her, Hugo felt a sharp pain across his shoulders and gasped in shock. Whirling on his feet, he found Serilda armed with two long whips, her scimitars servings as the handles as thin funnels of black wind stretched and curled from their tips across the distance. She slapped him with another crack, and then another as he quickly turned and raised his sword up to block the attacks. Over and over she pelted him, keeping him on the defensive as he scrambled to get footing enough to do more than just stand there and deflect.
Angling his weapon so that one of her whips wrapped tightly around it, Hugo quickly yanked backward. His physical strength was much superior to Serilda’s causing the Voidwalker to get ripped off her feet and pulled toward him. The fist of his freehand became black as night as he reared back and made to slug her in a single, earth shattering blow. Serilda adjusted at the last second, dropping onto a hip and letting the ice on the ground slide her right past him and throwing off his aim, his attack smashing at full force into the frozen floor and shattering it for several hundred meters in front of him.
Serilda continued to slide and used the opportunity to yank him off balance while their weapons were still intertwined, pulling him back enough to spin him around where he stood. Waiting for him was Maze, grinning ear to ear, her fists and feet ablaze with her inferno magic as she engaged him in melee. Hugo was forced to drop his sword to put his hands up in order to trade blows back and forth with her on equal footing, his punches and kicks more powerful, but her footwork and movement more quick and nimble. As he fought to keep Maze back, he found himself being pelted from afar by more cracks of Serilda’s whips, the demoness somehow feinting and dodging at the exact right times to leave opening for the Voidwalker to land strike after strike on the man.
“Is this how you fight your battles, Serilda?” Hugo yelled at her from across the distance between them while he fought back both women. “Letting someone else battle for you while you sit back and take the easy road? I seem to recall my wife having more pride and honor than that!”
“I’m not your wife anymore,” she informed him tartly, “And I’m not here to humor you with a fair fight. You aren’t worth the time or the energy, and I have nothing to prove to you.”
Summoning a rune beneath the large angel, he found himself getting tossed high up into the air as a cyclone of black wind opened up under his feet. Mazikeen used the fire under her heels to shoot herself above him, clasping both her hands together and slamming them down upon him hard enough that the air itself shook from the sonic boom that impacted his body. He dropped down so fast that Serilda almost couldn’t follow it with her eyes, only knowing he hit the ground when the ice over the lake gave way beneath him and he sank into the frigid depths, a pillar of ice and water spraying into the sky in his wake.
Meanwhile, Victoria was along for the ride as Gren raced to outrun the tendrils of darkness that honed in on him. He had already nullified one such wave but had been immediately beset by another, one which almost took him when one of the dead bodies in the warped memory suddenly reached out and snagged him by the ankle, pulling him down into a solid face plant. The former Rune Knight found himself needing to resort to his lightning magic, shifting himself into a bolt of energy so he could streak out of reach of the darkness, through the sky until he came upon a cave on an island and sought refuge within. He gave Victoria the heads up before suddenly whipping himself back to face the attack and unleashing an immense wave of nullification magic at the tendrils that he’d managed to isolate in one direction behind him. The corridor lit up like a sun, overwhelming even his own vision and causing him to black out.
Victoria recovered quicker. Wake up, Gren! she said, sending a jolt of painless but powerful energy through his veins to force him out of his temporary coma. At first she had thought that the eye blinding shift in light had been a temporary result of his blast, but the old Seal quickly realized that he had somehow simply purged the darkness out of the area, reversing the endless black world that they’d first seen upon entering Mythal’s head and making it white instead. As far as she could tell, he had not been injured yet though the expulsion of magic he’d released had been powerful enough to affect even him. Faera is not going to give you the chance to recover. You must get back on your feet.