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#11696701 Oct 31, 2015 at 01:07 AM
Aspirant
5 Posts
Descent……

Emil set down his cup of Kaf “Very well my dear….I’ll tell you all of it”.

He looked into the flickering small fire of the candles at the table and began to recount his tale.

“It all started with a dream”

*several weeks earlier*

A fire was slowly dying down from small but alight to embers. Nearby the Emil, or sometimes known as the Black Swordsman, was leaning against a nearby tree in its shadow. In the event anyone came upon his campsite he would be at least granted some protection to wake up, being a light sleeper by habit when out in the open. Thankfully this was a rare night where he was able to sleep soundly, in full armor, with sword in hand, and his bearskin cloak covering him.

He was camped north of Tesso, on his way to Tarantia to meet up with his brother Atlis and sister in-law Keyarie. Taking this chance to also stop by a secluded, and nearly unknown grave where rested two long dead, and dearly missed souls from his past.

Still he slept soundly, as sound as to be expected. Within his slumbering mind however he was soon to receive summons.

“Emil…”

Emil opened his eye. Already he was aware that he was not really awake, having more than a normal lifetime’s worth of nightmares, and other such terrors of the night it was easy to see that whoever called him was doing so to his sleeping mind.

“Emil…” the voice called again.

A woman?

He thought, already able to tell that much. Looking around he could not see anyone but there was something about the voice that almost made him happy.

Then he heard it, the sound if leather and metal, of armor, and a woman’s laughter.

This laughter was one full of life, amusement, and spirit. Only one woman he knew made a laugh like that.

“Lleilwin?” he called out.

“Heh, took yer long enough Emil, I been calling yer for hours now. I need yer ter join me in the north, time ter put that sword arm to good use, among other parts of yer” came the voice and more laughter of Lleilwin the wolf rider.

Emil looked around for the sight of a mane of hair that was like one kissed by fire. He could not see her, the one woman he held love for in his scarred and guarded heart.

“Where?” He asked

“North of Frigard, tis where I wait for yer my beloved. I long for Yer Company once again” she said from the surrounding shadows.

Before he could say another word he was suddenly awake, jolted out of his dreams by something of the real world.

As it happened that something turned out to be night bandits, throat cutters of the small hours.

“Fire’s almost dead, where’s the marks?” One voice asked.

“By the gods shut up, don’t wake them” said another.

Despite them out of his line of sight due to the tree, he could see them already.

Five, no six from the smell and sound of boots…

“Too late” Emil said as he rose and shifted his cloak aside, drawing his sword.
The sudden appearance of an armored warrior, alert and ready took them by surprise. He drew his sword and at once the bandits sensed a ill fate upon the.

In terms of battle it was brief but the motions ended with Emil being forced a good number of paces to the east and when it was done he was in sight of the graves, the two wooden marks and the mounds already well covered by overgrowth.

Even so this spot, marked by death, horror, and pain few can understand, would never be forgotten or missed by the swordsman whose face was obscured in shadow even as the sun began to rise. For a moment there was a shine in the corner of his left eye but as the light grew nothing could be seen a moment later.

**

The bitter cold winds howled as he pulled up his hood to try and stave off the cold a bit. His bearskin cloak was pulled all around him and while blocking the wind it was never enough to hold off the cold of Cimmeria. It was a testing thing to live in this north, even more so if one was a wearer of armor. True the use of clothing under, even a simple few layers, would keep it from biting the skin. It was still a test of one’s endurance.
Emil had been travelling for weeks, currently on foot as his horse had to be borrowed by his sister in-law Keyarie, her own having taken an arrow to the neck a few days before he parted company with her and his brother.
He’d had a second dream of some kind of attack on Frigard, one told to him by Lleilwin again, and with the city short on fighting strength he knew those two would keep the gates secured while he continued north to find his Vanir Shield-maiden.

The sun had long since set and tonight a clear and bright full moon, along with all the stars one could see in the northern sky, shined on his path through the hills and woods.

His mind was almost literally a buzz with questions, both to himself and for the company he was soon to find.
Why call me out here…not to Frigard?

How did she call me in my dreams?

Does this involve….No her ties are severed to ‘them’

His stream of thoughts was then broken as he came upon a light after entering small patch of woods.

It was a campfire light.

He could not help but smile a little, in his own version which was usually no more than a slight curving of the corners of his mouth. It was a well-known fact that Lleilwin was the only one alive that stirred the withdrawn and introvert swordsman to more positive emotions and behavior.

THUD.

Came the resounding sound of a Crossbow bolt as it punched into tree trunk less than hand span away from his head.

“Your aim is off” Emil said without even blinking at the missed shot.

“Yer steps, are too loud” Lleilwin said back with a building smile on her face as she set her crossbow down against the fallen tree she was using as a seat.

Stepping away from the trees into the very small and spare clearing he came into the light of the campfire and took in the sight of her.

She was a stunning sight. Tall, powerful, bright flaming hair, weathered and hardened features of one whose lead the path of a warrior but still she was beautiful, not to mention a punch that no man would forget if he himself forgot who they were staring at.

“Emil, my love. Yer planning ter stare all day or some join me, I’ve got a fair bottle of whiskey we can share this night” she said winking at him while returning to her seat on the fallen tree.

Emil cocked his head to the side “Whiskey, not Kaf?”

A peal of laughter resounded among the tree giving more warmth to them.

“Kaf, this late in the night? While I doubt there any sleep ter be had this night, I nay imagine it be due to needing ter drink Kaf” she said patting the spot by her.

Emil nodded and made his way towards her.

Each step was slow and measured, he kept his gaze on her.

“Going ter remove yer sword yet, tis another I’m eager ter see again” Lleilwin said as she reached for the bottle of whiskey.

“No, I still need it” Emil said and all the emotion left his voice.

The sound of steel ringing, a bottle was dropped, a cry of surprise and a body hitting the ground hard.

Emil had drawn his sword and swung hard from the right. Lleilwin had hers as well but as a reflex and thus only managed a block with one hand on the grip, the other had just released the bottle of whiskey. Thus when his greater swing made contact it sent her flying over the fire and into the ground hard.

Coughing and grunting she was slow to rise.

“What in the name of the Hel do you think you’re doing!?” she yelled in rage, rage but not surprised or shock.

“Grimface” Emil said in a calm even tone, although underneath there was an edge of cold hard rage. His eye was dark and mirror like but behind it lurked dark and dangerous fire.

“What?” she said confused raising her sword in a defensive stance finally getting to her feet and recovered from the bash.

“Lleilwin calls me Grimface, even when alone using my name during more intimate moments” he replied.

Lleilwin’s eyes widened in alarm.

“She can, has and would drink Kaf any time of any day even if would keep her awake” He continued.

Lleilwin’s foot shifted, she was preparing.

Finally Emil tapped the cross bow ahead of his left foot with his boot.

“…a crossbow? Lleilwin would throw a dagger not this I know she’s thrown a few at me before” he said and finally the dark rage entered his voice.

Lleilwin sprang forward suddenly, sword raised upward for a frontal assault.

Emil kicked the crossbow ahead of him and it was sent flying right towards Lleilwin’s face obscuring her vision for just a moment. She shifted her blade to the left side and used it to block the weapon.

That was her final mistake as Emil swung his own sword at her right flank, it struck her armor but did not bite. He didn’t have the space or time to make a full swing that would have stood a good chance of cleaving her but it was enough to send her flying again this time she struck a tree hard and was winded. Her arm caught a branch and was left mostly on her feet.

“Last…Lleilwin, the one and true Lleilwin, would never make a frontal attack if she had lost the initiative…she’s ten times better than that, if not more.. you aren’t Lleilwin but you called me here using her face…that wasn’t wise” He said and finally he gave show to the rage and darkness in his face and voice as he charged and this time his swung was a full one as he brought his sword down from above and cleaved the impostor at the shoulder and down into the chest. He would have likely cut her in two but the tree trunk prevented from going deeper. Even so the deed was done and his sword had done its task well.

However that is when his suspicions weren’t finished, if nothing they went higher.

There was no blood.

Not just that. There was no scream of pain, no gag, no deathly rattle of last breath.

Nothing. It was like the impostor he almost cleaved in two wasn’t there.

Then whatever it was he attacked just vanished, the body, and all else in front of him turned to smoke. Now he was just standing in front of a tree with his sword cutting into its bark.

He felt a chill in the air, a tickle at his neck where his Brand was along with the shiver of a threat behind.

“Impressive”

“To attack even when wearing that face”

“He might be of use”

Three different female voices spoke behind him. All of them deep and thick with northern accents. All of them also sounded powerful.

Emil knew without looking these were not normal enemies. He gave a tug away from the tree and his sword came away easily enough then turned and charged without warning towards his ambushers.

His sword shined in the moonlight as it came from the right.

A deafening crash of steel and steel signaled the end of the battle.

His sword had struck another. This one held by one of the three, the end of it buried in the ground.
Stunned at the clash he could not help but shake his battle instincts and look up from the clashing weapons.

“Stay your blade, Black Swordsman, we did not come here to do battle” one of them spoke.

He could not see their faces the fire was behind them.

“Who are you?” Emil asked, trying to keep himself calm and focused, but already he had some idea.

“We have crossed paths before Swordsman, though not this directly, by the strings and threads of Fate” the one on the left sword.

“We have need of you” The one on the right said.

“We are the Norn’s” said the middle.

Emil’s eye went wide, as he came to realize that events were about to take a dangerous turn for him.
#11696709 Oct 31, 2015 at 01:12 AM
Aspirant
5 Posts
Descent Part ii

Emil was in shock to say the least. He had heard much and while brushing with them, as some might claim when he wasn’t in earshot, in his being with Lleilwin he had never actually met them face to face.

In fact the closest he had come was when through the body of the woman Ravnhild they had conjured her spirit to ask him to ready Frigard for the coming of the Winter Wolf, Fenris.

“Norn’s?” he asked finally finding his tongue but not losing his warrior composure keeping his blade locked with the one planted in the ground held by the middle Nornir.

The one in the middle nodded.

It was said they resembled the female Jotun’s and this was true. Each was tall and imposing. Clothed in heavy fur lined robes. Each carried a wicked looking sword hung at their hips. Under those robes as the various stories went he would find each woman armed and fully prepared to do battle, or some told that he would see three naked voluptuous beauties that were the sign of fate being a perfect thing.

Whatever they were Emil didn’t care. He looked to the middle one that had spoken the most. She was the tallest by maybe an inch or two of the other two and had golden blonde hair, tied in several braids stretching back to a single knot at the back of her head.

The other two were nearly identical save for the painted symbols faces, along with the one on the left having black hanging loosely around her head, her tattoo the white elf. The last one on the right had bright fiery colored hair and wore it with two braids at the front, her marking was the winter hunter.

At the sight of that mark, that hair, and the northern facial features, he could not help but do two things. First he thought again of Lleilwin.

Second his eye narrowed, and a dark fire came alive in it again at both remembering it was these three who likely sent that false illusion and was now again mocking him with a look alike.

The golden hair saw both his anger but even more then that she saw the dark fire, and the beast, that was surfacing and she quickly turned to look at her companion.

“Skuld, make haste and alter your face before you bear this Swordsman’s wrath” she said and there was in fact a note of worry, if not fear, in her voice.

The redhead, Skuld, frowned at her ‘sister’

“I see no reason to change for I come as she of the Vanir clans” Skuld said with fire in her own eyes and a ready look for battle.

“We do not battle, unless the Well comes under attack, and we would not fare well against the swordsman no better than if the Wolfrider were to challenge us in her old state” spoke the black haired Fate.

Emil finally spoke.

“You don’t get to talk of her…in front of me after what she has endured because of you…not to mention using her to lure me here that makes all of you ready for my sword” he said with pure cold rage in his voice.

The black hair placed her hand on her sword, the redhead started to draw.

“Enough!” the Golden hair spoke with both a commanding but also urgent tone.

She pulled her sword out of the ground then before Emil could correct himself for another strike she sheathed it.

With a quick look to her sister’s they also took their hands away.

“She made her choices just as you have Swordsman. As for right now you have a choice, to attack and perhaps slay us or to listen and preserve the life of she whom your heart belongs too” Said the golden haired Fate.
Was it the look of almost pleading in her eyes, or the mention of Lleilwin’s life that made Emil lower his sword in contemplation?

His face gave nothing away as he did so.

Finally he looked to the black haired one.

“Urðr here for the Cimmerians, and that makes you Verðandi for the Aesir” he said looking to the leader of the three last.

“We are the Fate’s, and by the look we know that to be a title you have distaste for, for the entire north but for those we come as one for each people” Verðandi said.

Emil still kept his sword lowered.

Inside though his mind was racing, why they had called him here, what did they want, and what did this have to do with Lleilwin’s life. These were the first questions before pushed aside by the sudden feel of a hot breath at the back of his neck.

He was familiar with this approach it was the Hound.

“Do not bother with thinking. Only using that sword to slake the thirst for blood that you’re feeling against these three” it said in his own voice but one with malice and a more guttural bloodthirsty tone.

True he still felt that dark fire of rage that always burned deep inside him becoming greater and hot. Calling for flood to feed flames, revenge, justice, a sense of honor…these reasons were but words to the swordsman.

“You said Lleilwin’s life is in danger…. but she is no longer tied to you or does this involve Fenris?” he asked finally.
Verðandi seemed to almost look relieved that her words had earned his interest, or kept his sword down.

“The Wolfrider has cut her ties from the Devourer of the Sun, coming to this in no small part from your aid Swordsman. You who are reborn in death become one strand that can change the fates at the interstice of Fate, at the most crucial moments. It may surprise you to know Swordsman that you’re meeting with Lleilwin was not our doing but your fate and hers have become intertwined” Skuld explained.

Emil said nothing, but his eye narrowed as he saw that Skuld had not change her appearance but there was bigger things at hand.

“However the Winter Wolf is an obstinate one, even as he was cut from your love a part of her, an essence you might say was cut away with him. This he seeks to use to enter the physical plane and take the land upon which Frigard is built. Seeking to corrupt that land with its presence, it will corrupt the Well and as such the Great Tree will also in time be affected. This will herald winter, night and death for the north and soon the rest of the lands” Urðr continued.

Emil’s grip on his sword tightened.

“With the coming of this doppelganger of the Wolfrider possessed by Fenris, your own beloved’s life will be slowly drained as to complete the unity between her ‘twin’ you might say and the Winter Wolf. Your heart, scarred as it is, calls for the Wolfrider but know that this Twin of hers is not her, it is but a leftover of when Fenris was removed from her” Verðandi finished.

The three Fates watched their ‘guest’ intently. They could peer into the hearts and souls of all and their powers were greatest in the north that was their home but some mortals could almost become clouded to their sight. He was such a mortal but due in part to the path of death he has walked and the dark beast given its own voice that curled itself around his soul.

After a few moments to let this sink in Verðandi raised her hand and pointed at him.

“It is for this that we have summoned you here Swordsman. For you know the Wolfrider like no other, but you who have also defied and faced the Winter Wolf more than twice before. He will fear and seek to battle you to ensure his plans can continue” she said.

Then her finger pointed to his sword

“This sword, as formidable as you are has shed much blood, tasted much death. Very few swords in the history of the world are like this one. You have faced a battle against a hundred men, a hundred beasts, and in your travels we have seen your battle of a hundred demons when you walked dark plane. Lastly it has even dealt its bite to the Devourer of the Sun himself as has the Beast within you. There is none who face be made readier to face Fenris then you before it is too late” she said with grave words at the end.

“What will you do Swordsman?” They all asked in unison.

Emil had been as stone faced as always during this talk. Glancing only down at his sword when they spoke of the battles he had faced with it in his hand.

“Where do I go?” he asked

The three fates smiled, a barely seen one as the grim nature of their request was thick in the air.

“The Winter Wolf cannot cross to this plane easily. He waits for the night of a new moon. In that moment he will tear the border that divides this plane with Hel and enter this world in the body of your beloved’s Twin. The place to cross will be a grove north of Frigard. I think you know it” Verðandi explained.

Emil nodded.

He did know the grove they spoke of. To anyone passing by it on chance it would look like nothing more than a simple faded and fallen shrine of some sort. Its symbols weathered down by the elements of the seasons. It was here Lleilwin had once taken him ages ago after learning of Fenris within her for the first time. It had also been a secret meeting place for them be in in times of a desire for intimacy, or during times of crisis when they had to meet.

It was not far from here in fact. Clearly when the Fates had called him here it was with the intention that he accepted their request and could leave to face Fenris right away.

“I know it” He said

The Fates nodded “We must also ensure Frigard is defended, the Winter Wolf is cunning and may have lured minions to secure the site for his great night to begin” Verðandi said.

“My brother and others I trust are at Frigard now. I dreamed of a coming threat so I sent them there to be ready for anything” Emil explained.

The Fates seem surprised.

“We may weave, watch, and spin the threads of Fate but even we cannot predict all, at the turning points events, even small ones, can still occur that shakes the very foundations of greater things to come, or that have already begun” Verðandi said.

She then stepped forward and held out her hand and gave him something.

It was a simple, polished, steel ring.

“At one time this belonged to the Wolfrider, a simple trinket but it was during her time when she first joined with the Winter Wolf. Take it to the grove and you will see the doorway open before you. Luck be with you Swordsman” she said.

With that she stepped back and a suddenly northern wind blew through the clearing. It kicked up his cloak and for a moment blocked his sight, no longer then a breath but when his cloak lowered the three Fates were gone.

Emil looked down at the ring in his hand. On closer inspection he did think it looked to be about the right size for Lleilwin’s hand. It also brought about an amused thought or two that he was holding a ring meant for her hand.
Suddenly something snapped near his hand.

“Why are you bothering with that kind of thinking” the Hound said as he suddenly appeared circling him.
A large, dark hellhound beast. Its body seemed to be alive with a sort of dark fire that was in fact the manifestation of his rage and all the evil within him.

“This isn’t the time for thinking of that woman…and don’t give me that look. Why else would you keep her at arm’s length like you do all the others even the ones you care about. You are rage, you are carnage, and now comes the chance to reap much of that….do not forget!” it said with another snap near his hand as it stopped circling him, and in the blink of Emil’s eye his inner beast was gone.

Emil was still as death for a moment or two

“He has a point…I have something to do” he said as he sheathed his sword and made to the Northwest.

The walk itself took perhaps only a couple hours due in part to needing to take his time to not lose his way and miss the grove.

Finally he cleared the trees and came upon the Shrine not thirty feet away.

Just before it he noticed a couple fallen logs covered by growth. They formed an almost L shape and on the inside corner was the remains of more than one campfire from some time ago. He could already see the scene of himself and Lleilwin sharing a warm laugh as they enjoyed a warm summer’s night together. It was a comforting thing to think on as he was preparing to go into battle. Most think a swordsman should make himself devoid of all but the way to fight. In truth Emil wanted to make sure the reason to fight was clear in his mind.

The reason was clear, and that reason would come with some painful consequences if he failed, worst still if he failed and lived to tell her about it.

It was then he took notice of something.

It was like seeing fireflies emerge but it was too late in the year for them, in a couple weeks’ time he would expect the snows to start flying hard and fierce.

But this ‘firefly’ soon became very noticeable until it started to expand and he saw it wasn’t a firefly but a point of light stretching into some sort of line of line. It was a bluish black sort of shimmering light. Not bright enough to notice from a distance but in this grove it would draw attention.

The line continued to stretch till it was taller than him by a few inches. Then with a cold rush of air and otherworldly feeling it ‘opened’.

For lack of a better way to describe the line opened. If it were a pair of doors it would be like looking at the line two doors make when they meet closed and the gap that is created s you pull them open.

The rush of cold air was coming from the opening gap.

He knew then was this was. It was almost like when he found himself in the Astral, or Dark, plane. Except this was a doorway to Hel. A place he had heard much of from Lleilwin.

This is where Fenris would be waiting for him. He didn’t know how but after so many years of Swordsman life he trusted his gut on it.

Fenris was waiting for him and so was ‘she’.

Without hesitation or pausing to think he stepped through that Doorway.

**

It was like just taking two steps and finding himself two steps from where he had just been standing.
He was still in the grove but.. something wasn’t right

There was no sounds of animals, no calls, chirps, squeaks, or cries.

The moon was full but seemed much colder and brighter.

It was also much colder than two steps ago.

He could see his own breath, but he didn’t feel the cold bite of armor against his skin.
Despite it being his actual first time here, he could not suppress a familiar feeling he got. Was it from that time he had first faced and battled Fenris?

No, he knew that battle had been inside Lleilwin, in a sense, and while the surroundings were like they are know this was his first time walking into Hel. Yet still he could not shake a feeling he had been here before.
He also had not realized he was still walking. Due to being lost in thought he saw he was making his way down a narrow path.

It was then he heard it. The sound of something moving ahead, and a wolves howl.

Drawing his sword he stepped out from the trees.

He was in a plain, massive, and spanning for what felt like as far as the eye could see. In the distance he could make out what looked like Frigard, but it was a ruin. Burning and in much smaller then he recalled.

Before he could make sense of it however he heard a laugh.

It was coming from a woman. It was Lleilwin. She was seated atop the head of a giant wolf.

Fenris had come.
#11696716 Oct 31, 2015 at 01:17 AM
Aspirant
5 Posts
Descent - Part 3

It was Lleilwin, and she was seated atop the head of Fenris.

No, that’s not her..

It was a tiny voice, at first Emil thought to be in his own mind. Then however he realized it was female and looking around he noticed three specks of light on his right shoulder.

More fireflies?

Is what the Dark Swordsman thought at first, then he realized that the Fates had decided to join him in this battle. He had gathered they could not fight Fenris, or this doppelganger of Lleilwin’s themselves but advising was within their power. On a closer look he could in fact make out the forms they had taken in the clearing, although now no bigger in size then bugs.

“Welcome, Lover” Called out the woman.

Looking up Emil gazed deeply into the eyes of she who wore the face of the woman he loved beyond all else in this life.

In many ways she was the same as his Lleilwin. Those eyes the color of blue like the melting snow on the tundra, the frame of her face and the way that vibrant and shining mane of red hair fell around it and fluttered in the winds that blew in this place. Her hands and the strength you could see in the way she held her sword as it rested across her lap. Her smile as he looked down at him….no, it wasn’t the same.

There was no amused smirk on her lips or even the sort of cruel sneer she held for most others namely enemies, no fiery spark in her eyes he had come to love whenever she looked at him not even the cold glint there was nothing. Her hair, it was the same but something about it was missing it was almost like the color was not completely there.

Finally her voice registered. It was similar in that powerful tone but there was not softness to it. Unless she was truly angered Lleilwin always had a soft tone for Emil.

“You’re not Lleilwin” Emil said in a cold, dark tone.

On his shoulder the three Fates all sighed in relief. They knew the first true test Fenris would put to the Dark Swordsman would be the sight of his beloved Wolfrider. It would be an easy, and understandable thing to be swayed by the sight. How could they blame him if he had, this one they had come to view with some greater significance than most of the mortals that passed their sight.

This one tormented Soul whose past so closely resembled the once mortal sword of Fenris and found a kindred spirit within her.

A laughter arose all around Emil. It was guttural, dark, and full of anger, malice, and wicked amusement.

“Well done Swordsman” Fenris spoke.

The colossal wolf, which was the same that had once emerged into the physical plane only to be defeated and cast back into Hel by the Hird of Frigard. Large as the Keep of Frigard, even laying down looked massive.
A massive northern looking wolf, thick dark fur. Glowing, hungry, and evil yellow eyes. It’s tail lightly swaying from side to side to express its possible joy at the sight of a new victim, or perhaps for the prospect of vengeance against one who had stood in his way for years.

When Fenris spoke its mouth did not move. It was more like the voice just came out of its body and shook the area all around him. Emil felt as though a slight vibration travelled along his bones when it had spoken to him.

“So this is who those three cowardly bitches managed to coax into facing me. I shall be sure to thank them, before I take them for my own as they watch their precious well and tree become corrupted by me power. For they sent me the one whom I would most enjoy devouring” Fenris spoke as it opened its mouth to bare it’s collection of razor sharp fangs. His tongue lapped at his own jowls.

Emil had remained silent and still. He gave away nothing, no outward rage, or fear. Simply he stared with fixed cold purpose upon both the giant wolf and the woman seated atop his head.

“How does it feel swordsman, to know your death will come from the hand of your lady love?” the woman asked.

“If she was here, I’d answer that. You aren’t Lleilwin, your just pathetic leftover that your giant mutt has conjured to try and shake me” Emil finally spoke.

The wolf snarled at him

“She is just a real as my former bitch Swordsman. This Wolfrider will become my new sword once the doorway for me to cross over opens. All that stands before us is one broken, and cursed Swordsman, and his inner mad dog. Do not think I had forgotten you inner evil. Were it not also deserving of my wrath I would be tempted to tame him for myself”

Emil felt within Hellhound stirring.

Mad dog.

Long has that title been something of a taunt to him.

Ever since his first meeting with Gambino and his charming band of mercenaries. They had called him that for the first year until Emil had finally told them all his name after Leona, Gambino’s lover, talked it out of him.
It was his title during his years as a member of the band because of his wild, untamed, and feral fighting style. Even as he shocked them all with his quick study and fearless growing skill he always was called that.
Even today the name still caused an old twitch within him. How ironic that when he had been branded by the Curse of the Sacrifice the result would be an awakening to a side of him that would be known as Hellhound.

Now the Hound stirred at the presence of an old enemy, and naturally as the reaction of Emil’s rage and bloodlust.
He did not see it but at his back something almost slithered up along his cloak, and his sword seemed to emit a dark spark or two. The fates saw this and each began to shiver at what they sensed. To foresee and divine events for them was old but to be in the sight of something as strong and potent as what they senses within their champion was something else.

Emil drew his sword.

“No words Swordsman? That does not surprise” Fenris said as he growled at the same time rising to his feet. The woman on his head also stood and hefted her own sword. It was then Emil also noticed her left hand, it was missing the ring finger.

That was the finger Lleilwin had lost when she was in Hel herself. It had been restored after the defeat of Fenris by Frigard. This itself confirmed to him that what he faced was not Lleilwin but merely a shade or mimic.
Emil tightened his grip a he gazed upward at his enemy. He had faced large enemies. Demons, dragons, and more the one Frost Giant. Even so this beast he faced was in a different league and he knew he would need to be ready and call on the power of his Berserker Armor.

The ancient curse all but extinct from this world from a time when Atlantis and Acheron still waged wars. With a ritual that was based from the joining of Acheronian and Atlantis soul magic and a sacrifice, a power was made part of the soul of the intended only take existence after the joining by which a Brand was marked on part of the intended’s body.

This power housed itself in the armor that warrior would wear till the day he or she died. However it was always meant for one of pure light or pure dark, one making a sacrifice of their life out of pure goodness in heart, or to be made a sacrifice for the greater good with pure evil in heart.
Because of this the power would become part of the soul and consume it. Then when the warrior entered battle the armor could engulf them. Taking away the ability to feel pain, fear, mercy, or another other emotion save for a rage induced insanity, and pure killing intent. Releasing the mind’s limits set upon the body making them fight harder, faster, and stronger.

Even if injured or broken the armor repaired the host body piercing it to reinforce. Finally the warrior would be almost consumed by the armor becoming nothing by a skeletal remain inside to not become a risk to its creators.
During those long dead warring era one neither truly good nor truly evil. A warrior who later became known as the Knight of Skulls did something no other before him did. He reversed the armor’s possession and tamed the inner beast it created. What became of him none known save for the Swordsman who know stood ready to battle.
He like that Knight was also neither good nor evil. Instead his curse had giving a voice to all the evil in him and such was his eternal struggle.

Emil watched the Wolf, as it in turn watched him. As though each waiting for some manner of sign to begin.
Then after an exact minute the wind died down and in the distance one could hear the screams from the burning ruin that was Frigard in the distance.

Emil charged

Roaring a wordless challenge to the wolf he ran. While wearing a full set of plate, one of his own making. He had spent his spent his near entire life in armor and thus knew how to obtain speed even in armor, and a lifetime of this had also granted him the endurance and stamina to maintain speed for a good amount of time and battle.

The Wolf howled as it did not pounce instead it moved forward slowly, as being so large it did not have to cover much ground. It took perhaps one or two strides ahead before it swiped with its front left paw. Claws like the sword Emil held ready aiming for him.

Emil saw the attack. With something so big he could easily read the movements and side stepped to his left thus outside the arc of the swipe but not before turning his sword to the right and grazing the paw. It jarred his arms as he was striking an opposing force.

Still his sword, like the Fates had seen, has seen much. A battle of a hundred men, a battle of a hundred beasts, a battle of a hundred demons. Such acts leave a power in a blade.

In this place such powers can become greater and just a graze left a wound on the Wolf’s paw cutting it’ hide.
The Wolf snarled in pain as he placed his paw down to keep balance and Emil advanced to get under it and try to strike its belly or another paw to cripple its movements.

Suddenly came a flash of steel in the bright moonlight

Emil raised his sword and then the ringing cry of clashing steel. The woman had leapt from the top of the Wolves head and aimed to come down on him with her sword but Emil parried and ruined her foot as she had only just landed. He quickly spun and followed through with a midsection slash which struck her own sword flat into her and sent her flying back several feet while Fenris shifted around.

It struck Emil as odd that both he managed so easy a counter, with one hand nonetheless and that Fenris was moving with care not to step on either of them.

The woman meanwhile had recovered and charged again at him. She shouted her own wordless cry of rage and battle bring her sword up for a thrust.

A thrust? Too obvious from that far away

Emil though as he side stepped and brought his sword down sending hers into the snowy ground hard enough to bite and leaving her open to his strike.

Or she would have been had Fenris not howled and aimed his uninjured paw towards him. Emil again had to put all the effort into his legs to jump backwards hard enough to just barely clear that crushing paw and in return he slashed his sword across the back of it. Fairly certain he severed a tendon.

That would cut down the Wolves movement.

His answer to that attack was a thunderous howling roar. He felt like an earthquake had suddenly erupted at his feet and that his every bone would be shattered. Falling to his knees he felt himself starting to get dizzy, sick and weak from the sensory overload.

It was then he saw a pair of boots moving closer and out of reflex he manages to plant his sword in the ground to use it as a shield and the blow he took sent him flying much as he had just done to the woman a moment earlier.
Emil rolled and soon came to a stop. Slowly he got back to his feet feeling the after effects of the roar starting to subside he just again barely had time to raise his sword and block yet another blow.

He was now staring into the malice filled eyes of the woman wearing his beloved’s face as she tried to overpower him.

Emil snarled at her as he saw he had the worse footing so instead of falling back like most would he merely dropped his sword.

Letting it go put all of the woman’s momentum out of her favor and she went forward. She did catch herself and started to spin, much slower than Emil would have expected.

Emil however was quick to take advantage. Reaching to his belt he drew the twin short swords he had been wearing for some time. He drew them cross draw, it was faster than a proper one and also let him use the left hand blade to send a flurry of attacks while reversing it while the right he snuck in through her guard and slammed the pommel at her face.

She tried to pull back but he still caught her with his fist. It almost cracked her jaw but did draw a spray of scarlet in the bright moonlight and send her reeling back a few steps.

When she turned again to face him he had already sheathed his swords and picked up his great sword.

The feint had worked and now his disadvantage was gone.

“Heh as always Emil, you fight harder then you fuck” the woman said.

Emil’s eye narrowed at that.

“Why so shocked. I am born of your woman. I have all her memories” she said with a bloody smile as blood poured from her nose, and from a burst lip.

She licked her lips of the blood

“I can tell you this much. Your love for me is tainted, you claim to love me, but you hold me at arm’s length, me, the one you claim to be closer to then anyone. Nothing but a balm for your sorry example of a heart or a fine arse to bed whenever you decided to bother and visit. Why else would you keep so distant” she taunted.

Her answer was a sudden and blurred attack as it was so fast she barely could block it without taking a jarring graze to her left arm.

Emil’s face was hidden by the shadows of the trees which they had slowly gotten closer to, as such she did not see the look of burning dark rage, nor the spark of something even more bloodthirsty that sparked in his eye. Instead all she saw as a sideways strike with the flat of his blade. Even if blocked it would still have some effect.

However her block had been poor, much too poor.

She was again sent flying back. Towards the Winter Wolf who had slowly closing in while watching.

Her taunting tactics forgotten he had gotten under her skin this time.

“HRNG! Fuck why! I am Lleilwin. I have her skills, memory, and I know all your moves. Why can I not best you!” she shouted.

“You just don’t get it, woman or rather fake” Emil replied in a calm voice.

Now he was again focused, calm. The battle thus far had bothered him and shaken his concentration because something just did not feel right. When she had stopped to mock him of his love for Lleilwin, the real Lleilwin. He had time to think and now the answer was clear. It wasn’t just her looks, her speech, and her behavior. It was her movements, her attacks, and her defense.

It was all pathetic.

“You may look like her, but you far from being her. Lleilwin, the real Lleilwin, is ten, no a hundred times the Swordswoman you are. I know I taught her the great sword and there is no one who moves I know better than hers. It’s clear you have her memories and skills but your body is just a mimic something you just got, your mind is too sluggish to keep up with her honed reflexes and your body is too unfamiliar so you hold back without realizing.”

Emil said slowly moving forward.

The woman snarled at him, as the Wolf also growled but for a moment it seemed it was more at her then Emil.

“You’re just acting on instinct like a wild animal. That is why I can read, anticipate and counter your moves” he continued.

He was now only a few paces away from them.

“Reflexes and thought must be honed as one through true experience…this combination is the mark of a true Swordsman. Not some shade” he said as he brought his sword down towards the woman.

She block but weakly and was brought to her knees, rolling to the side she rose and swung as she did so. To one not expecting it might have caught an attacker off guard but her attack hit his sword and strong arm behind it to block. He then met her again and methodically began to block her attacks, while at the same time he was pushing her back.

Still he kept Fenris in his sight knowing the cunning Wolf would strike soon.

He was not wrong.

Right then the Wolf joined the Fray. This time it lunged forward with its jaws low aiming to snatch him up.

Emil leapt back just as the loud crash of jaws resounded in his ears and he saw white fangs where he would have been two seconds ago.

The woman meanwhile grabbed hold of the fur on the muzzle and leaps atop the snout. Emil not wanting to give up the advantage knowing he had rocked her focus and could try to even the odds turned and ran towards one of the paws Fenris had outstretched to steady himself while slowly raising his head with his passenger upwards.
Emil leapt and stabbed his sword right down into the back of that paw eliciting a howl from Fenris. Blood was now coursing out of that wound. Not to mention the two precious ones he had delivered to the other front paw.
However he had expected Fenris to try and lift that injured paw as a reflex. However the Wolf did not he kept it planted meaning for the moment Emil had to first draw out his sword.

That proved costly.

No sooner had he done so that he saw the other paw coming, and the bright shining claws.

He leapt away again.

But it wasn’t soon enough this time.

He dodged the paw, and the short claws but one of the center ones found its mark.

At first he thought it was just a strong gust of wind. Then he realized that was because he was flying. Flying about six or seven feet above the ground.

Fenris had struck him. However the leap back only kept the paw and claws from tearing him apart. Instead the one that did catch him by the tip had cut clean through his armor and into his body. The blow was like he had been struck by a charging mammoth in that line across his chest that had just been opened up and sent wave, after wave of mind numbing pain crashing through his body. He only barely registered that the shock wave of the claw striking him cut right through to his back, albeit it was smaller in size to the front cut.

The force of it was also what sent him flying in the direction of the burning Frigard. He was sent flying in a relatively straight arc barely going higher than half a dozen feet above the ground.

The fact he was moving however only barely took place in his mind. He felt it.

He was dying

Emil hit the ground now merely a few hundred yards away from Frigard the fires that raged cast their light on him. His sword knocked from his hand at the landing and subsequent rolling that carried him another dozen or so feet from it.

His heart and lungs felt as though they weren’t even there. His ribs and other bones like pieces of bread crumbs throughout his body.

He barely made a sound as he hit the ground or rolled, save for the gurgling deathly rattle of breath as he spat mouthful of blood out.

Finally when he came to a rest his eye were fixed, and near lifeless. His mind barely able to catch up with what happened. He could see Fenris with the woman now back on the ground making their way to him. He could feel the blood seeping out of his front and back wound. He could feel his heartbeat getting slower and slower.

His breath wouldn’t come, his fingers twitched but soon went still.

All round sound seemed to just ebb away, from the fires burning behind him, from the footfalls of the coming Wolf, from the three fates on his shoulder likely trying to call out to him.

His eye started to close.
#11696735 Oct 31, 2015 at 01:25 AM
Aspirant
5 Posts
Descent Part 4

Emil lay on his side. His eye still and unfocused. His fingers didn’t twitch.

He wasn’t breathing, the life could be seen ebbing out of him despite the wound looking little more than a flesh wound.

He didn’t even feel the chill of the hard frozen snow under him.

Ahead he though he saw the approaching Fenris and the Shade of Lleilwin, who had now dismounted from his head.

In his mind he saw the attack happen again and again. It was with the front paw he had struck twice and deeply.

Had Fenris been toying with him? No that made no sense that wasn’t his style or had he been trying to test the Shade’s strength, if so why bother joining the fight at all.

After what seemed like hours in his mind he lost interest as he felt the darkness amassing. His mind slowly slipping as he slowly bled out onto the snow the shock of his wound sinking in deeper.

Despite what he thought were three firefly shaped women trying to rouse him he was going….going…go-

“Is that all you have Struggler?” a voice snarled in his head.

Emil was suddenly standing, whole, unwounded and in an empty dark place. The only light was from above. Before him resting on its belly was Hellhound.

It lifted his head at his arrival at what could only be his inner mind.

“Is that all you have?” the Hound asked again.

Emil didn’t answer he just stared back into the jagged lightning bolt shaped whites of its eyes.

“Haven’t you see what is happening?” It asked

“The wolf wants something” Emil said at least

“Yes” Hellhound said rising and beginning to pace around Emil. It often used this maneuver when trying to persuade him of something.

This creatures was in essence Emil himself. It was all the evil in him given its own voice by the power of his curse. Ever it sought for him to become the Berserker but also for him to slip back into the path of the Swordsman of

Carnage he was in his earlier years nothing but rage, bloodlust, and fury.

It was that never dying fire that even if buried deep down would always burn a rage that could not be sated, no matter by how much blood. The more spilt the greater the thirst.

It was also however a part of Emil that sought survival not wanting to die.

So for now he’d listen.

“That Mongrel has been taking it too easy. This battle has been one sided for a reason. I thought it was to let that shade of your woman test herself but no. It’s clear what the Wolf wants. You” The Hound said coming to rest in front of him. It’s head before Emil’s face.

In its eyes Emil could see himself, or rather the ‘himself’ he was when he gave in to the Hellhound and became the Berserker.

“Me? Well that does make sense” Emil said

“Yes, he need a mortal sword. Like your woman and it seems he wants the one who’s bested him before. He only sees strength and right now you look to be that, Struggler”

Emil’s eye narrowed.

“Kind of a lost cause now. I’m all but dead” Emil replied with a touch of bitterness in his voice.

“No. Think, you’ve been feeling it since arriving. This place is like another dark realm you walked, a placed you shed much blood, a place you enjoyed being in” The hound said as it growled at him in a pleased way.

Emil was silent, and then a flash of the rooftops of Tarantia, a battle with someone he had never expected…the last of his kin. Then being in a place of blood, bone, and darkness

“The astral realm” Emil whispered.

Now it all made sense. Emil had once been trapped after crossing a tear in the veil to the astral realm a place of the wandering dead, demons and other creatures not meant for the physical realm where mortals dwelt. In that place he had to cross to close the door but was caught inside and being a living being he was like a beacon of light and warmth to hungry or cold and desperate creatures.

It was also in the place he realized he was at his most powerful.

“Remember, a place where ones Will could even take shape, alter things is ways that it cannot in the physical realm” The hound said finishing his thoughts.

**
Suddenly Emil opened his eye and coughed up a mouthful of blood that had been partially in his throat blocking his breathing. He gasped for breathe as he rolled onto his belly and on weak, shaking legs and arms slowly rose to all fours.

The fates on his shoulder could not help but stare in awe

“He fought his way back from death by sheer will” one of them murmured.

Even Fenris and the Shade had stopped in their approach.

“How are you still alive?” the shade asked.

Emil turned his head and for a moment both she and the Wolf were taken aback by the dark fire in his eye.
It was then that the shock would be doubled as a dark fire erupted from Emil. It wasn’t as though he had caught on fire, he was the source of it.

“Will” he said in a dangerous sounding tone.

While he felt like every bone in his body was broken or about to break, every nerve on fire. His chest felt as though it had been stepped on by a mammoth. He still rose, after crawling a short distance he finally grasps his sword. It was then that dark fire erupted along the blade, as though rejoining with the hunk of steel had completed whatever it was he had awakened.

“What?” Fenris asked

“Will. The power of the mortal’s will, not something you would know Mongrel. We mortals are weak and pathetic but even if tortured, beaten, broken, or put on death’s door we will fight to survive...” Emil said.

It was at that the dark flames seemed to be moving away from his body, through the air they travelled to behind him eclipsing part of the raging fires behind them at Frigard.

“Have you ever walked the dark astral realm Fenris?” Emil asked

“What?” asked the Winter wolf

“The astral realm it’s called, or the dead realm to some. A place of darkness. Demons, the dead, other horrors. It is a place like this not of the physical world a place…where ones will can even take shape…I learned that there and that is how I survived…and how I am standing now…but now you’ll see something else” Emil said as he tried to get his breathing back under control.

“Tough talk for a man down a lung” said the shade.

Emil just turned his eye on her and said nothing but smiles at them. A dark and vicious smile, one of battle and lust for blood.

Then the dark flames behind him grew. Like a ball exploding outward they grew. A shape began to emerge from it. First what looked like a face but soon it began to morph and grow as the nose moved outward more like a muzzle. The head took a more defined shape like that of a wolf, or perhaps a hound. The body grew out from the head all dark fire but the body itself seemed to become more solid in mass and density that you could no longer see through it.

Finally legs form, the head raises and the beast that had formed from the dark fire reared its head and bared it’s fangs at the moon.

It was clearly a hound from the build of the head, or rather a Hellhound. It had a long somewhat pointed head. Sharp ears, and both eyes were like jagged bolts of lightning all white with no iris or pupil’s. Its mouth was filled with fangs and it lapped at its jowls in a display of hunger. All round it’s body it was a solid back mass but along the ‘edges’ of the mass was where you could see the black flame it was made of.

Fenris had now shifted to a more aggressive stance at the sight of the Hellhound.

The shade meanwhile was staring in shock and awe. If she possessed all of Lleilwin’s memories then while Lleilwin had once or twice exchanged words with this hound she had never come face to face with it.

The hound stared down the victims it clearly wanted to devour.

“I will deal with the mongrel wolf, the woman is yours” it said as it suddenly leapt and attacked Fenris.

The wolf had seen the coming lunge and leapt back to clear some distance then meet the Hound head on each sinking their teeth into the other’s neck trying to get the better grip.

Emil meanwhile hefted his great sword. When he had unleashed the Hound, the black fire had coursed through him and breathed a second wind into his body. He still felt the pain of his wound but now it was lessened. It was not an easy thing to describe but it was like the heat had helped fight off the numbing chill of this realm. True he was still injured with part of his chest armor missing but he stood ready.

The shade meanwhile after watching to two beasts move away turned her attention back to the Swordsman.

“You think you can still defeat me in your condition?” she asked.

Emil did not reply, he saw no sense in talking to this woman. Instead he charged forward clearly ignoring the pain and fighting at nearly the same speed and ferocity when he started he brought his sword down towards the woman after closing the distance.

The shade however merely side stepped but started to run.

In the direction of Frigard.

“Follow if you dare Swordsman, you may not like what you see” she called out over her shoulder.

Emil knew there was more to this than just a desperate gambit to gain ground.

Rather than chase he walked, partially to conserve his strength as he did not trust himself to make long distance runs. Casting a glance to his ‘companion’ he saw that the Hound and Wolf were more or less locked.
Neither of them gave ground as they charged each other paws slapping at each other looking to get a hold with their jaws. Having tasted the blood and pain of the Winter wolf before gives the Hound the ability to hold his own but Emil knew that the Hound was only at his strongest when working as one with Emil.

He would need to end this stalemate soon.

Quickening his pace he followed after the Shade.

He passed through the broken and burning Gates of Frigard in what seemed like almost no time. He had to remind that in this place time was not as strict or inflexible as it was in the physical realm.

“Death ter the Aesir!” came a cry.

That cry, full of anger, rage, and pain.

He knew who it was even before turning to see the red haired beauty swinging her swords at him.

However without even flinching he knew it wasn’t her, it was an illusion that just passed right through him. This place was of her memories and being used as one way to unnerve him. Being in a battle with her shade was one thing. To see her in this chapter in her history was another.

Lleilwin, leading the army that attacked and burnt Frigard to the ground.

She would have been about twenty years now. Barely any difference between the woman he was watching now and the woman he knew and loved today.

She was mercilessly killing any man, woman, and even some older children that stood in her path. Fire alight in her eyes, or rather the rage of the Wolf inside her fueling her own at the loss of her family not long ago.
Watching her was in fact like seeing a past version of himself one that burned with a more red hot fire.
The sight of her with many a fierce and blood thirsty Vanir warrior at her back in the act of slaughter had him distracted.

It was then he caught the sound of a steel blade being drawn, and steps behind him. The back of his neck shivered and he knew he would not be able to turn in time. Instead he only raised his sword from his shoulder and made a blind block that did deflect the blade but sent him crashing into the battling forms of the Vanir attackers and Aesir defenders.

The crash also send a number of painful spikes coursing through him. While having gained a second wind from the addition of the Hound to his side of the battle, he was still badly wounded.
Rising to his feet he planted his sword in the ground to steady himself.

“Enjoying the battle Swordsman?” the shade asked.

She had emerged from the shadow of the partially fallen guard tower when he was distracted.

“Behold, the razing of Frigard all done with your beloved Lleilwin at the head of the armor. See her as she truly Is, not the warm, kind, and loving woman you’ve been enjoying all these years. She is the mortal sword of Fenris, by rights she is your enemy even” the Shade said gesturing with her sword like some announcer for a band of travelling performers as the noise of the battling northerners seemed to die down letting him hear his enemy even better.

She also began to start walking towards him. Turning her grip on her sword now readying for an end to this.
Emil simply stared back now yet changing his stance. His sword in front of him and planted in the ground for support.

“If you have enjoyed seeing your beloved in her natural state then perhaps another glimpse as to that she really is” the Shade said with icy malice in her voice.

She then pointed to her left and Emil followed.

What he saw was clearly not part of this memory, but another.

It was also easy enough to see as in the patch of light that shined on the scene fresh, unbloodied, snow was falling. A small campfire raged as a man and woman were clearly making love under a fur blanket. Their grunts and moans of pleasure could clearly be head. Then a pair of arms and head emerged.

“There’s a devil in you!” A man howled as he was kissing the neck of a woman

It was Lleilwin.

Emil stared long and hard, his expression and eye unreadable. He knew of this.

“That is Skjoldsung. Lleilwin’s former Hird leader, and lover. She learned the ways of war from this one. See now. She cared not for him save for what she could get from him to become stronger. You are no different. How quick did she turn her charms on you after you showed her your own skill?”

The shade circled him now as the scene of Lleilwin and Skjoldsung rutting kept on playing out.

“Your skills with the sword, and to make a sword that is well worth its weight in gold. To fight battles against odds no sane man would wager on” the shade said.

Finally she stopped behind him.

“Then it changed soon it was clear you were of use to her, that beast inside you, or rather the beast you are could finally give her freedom now that Fenris was more nuisance then ally. So she plays to your sad pathetic heart to make use of you” she said.

Emil watched the scene still.

“Your right” he finally said in a dead tone.

The shade smiled to herself seeing her trap had worked.

She raised her sword sensing that the Swordsman’s guard was down.

The sword came down.

The ring of steel, a cry of surprise and shock, the sound of a sword imbedding itself in the ground.
Emil had turned with blurring speed again. As the Shade’s sword came down her struck it with his own sword.
His blow had been well timed that it left a crack in the blade of her sword and sent it flying from her hands and into the ground almost into the ghostly images of Lleilwin and Skjoldsung still making love under their blanket. Now however that image was starting to waver and dissolve.

“Your right. I am skilled with my sword, and with my ability to forge a strong sword. I made one for her one that would never crack so easily as that. Fenris doesn’t know good steel and you don’t either” Emil the dark rage back now as he charged again.

The shade however while shocked and furious at her ploy having failed was not yet ready to give up. She reached to her own waist and drew twin swords. Much like the ones Lleilwin herself had used during her first meeting with Emil.

They clashed and it was over in less than a minute.

The shade had again made the mistake of a frontal assault. She locked her blades against Emil’s own. Thinking that in his condition she could not be repelled. Instead Emil pushed her back until she made another shove against him then leapt back and when her momentum carried her forward he side stepped and brought his sword down on her.
She again raised her sword up to defend.

It was an odd twist of fate that such a defense would be used against him with the same result.

His sword met hers and as it happened once before, he shattered both her sword. Breaking them just a few inches above the hilts. The resulting blow sent her staggering back.

Before she had any time to regain her focus or retreat and regroup Emil charged her and without hesitating an instant ran her through with his sword.

He impaled her on it and it pierced right through her stomach and out her back.

The sound of steel punching through flesh, and bone. The spray of blood on the ground behind her.

The surprised cry and shocked look of reality not yet sinking in.

Then the horror creeping into the eyes a moment ago filled with fury and malice.

“No” she breathed as blood began to fill her mouth and pour out.

Emil pulled the sword out and it fell from his hand and onto the ground.

With the removal of the blade from her belly, her legs turned to water and crumpled under her. She feel forward.

Into the arms of her killer.

As she fell forward Emil caught her and gently he set her down onto the ground. Falling to his knees as well.

“Emil” she breathed, barely able to speak as she coughed up blood.

There was clearly no pain. A mortal wound like that would leave one in shock and free of pain as the blood was leaving the body.

Emil leaned over her and took her hand.

“I’m here” he said, there was a lax in his normal tone. He was clearly trying to offer comfort.

“Heh, I’m your enemy. Tried to kill you, mocked the woman you love and what you share with her and you still show me some comfort after killing me?” the shade asked.

“Yes…you didn’t want to do any of this…, your anger your rage, your hate it’s because Fenris made you for his own uses. He made you turn that on Lleilwin and me” Emil said.

The Shade’s eyes when wide. How had he seen the truth? Had he known all along?

“Your right. My birth was an accident never intended. When Fenris was removed a part of her went as well. I was created soon after…I look like her, have her memories but am not Lleilwin. It was maddening…he told me I could take her place if I” she said but stopped as she coughed again, blood failing from her lips.

Emil wiped it away.

Suddenly something shined in the light. It welled up in the corner of Emil’s eye and travelled down his cheek, to fall onto her own cheek.

The shade reached up and placed her hand against his cheek, caressing him as the woman she resembled did.

“I…I think that is the first time either of us have seen you shed tears” she said

Emil said nothing in reply, a look of sorrow crossed his face briefly.

“Heh, still the same…Emil. I am not sure if I can say this but, as I have her *cough* memories. I love yer, I always will love yer..”

Her words ended with a quiet sigh of her last breathe. The hand on his cheek fell. He caught it and gently place it with the other over her wound to hide it a bit.

He also closed her eyes and wiped away the blood that had spilt down as to help her look more peaceful.

“Rest now, you’ve earned it…Lleilwin”

Suddenly the quiet was torn open but a howling cry of rage.

“SWORDSMAN!” Fenris howled from outside the gates.

Emil slowly rose up, turning he picked up his sword.

As the raging fires were to his back now the shadows hide his face.

Slowly walking out with his sword resting on his shoulder, her exited Frigard.

The first thing he came upon was the hound down, but still snarling up at Fenris as it was standing over it looking triumphant. Fenris did sport some large bite wounds but it was clear the Winter Wolf had won the brawl of beasts.

As Emil came into view Fenris snarled at him.

“You killed her, I am surprised you could slay someone who was in a way your woman” Fenris said.

“That just means it was my burden to free her from you. Mongrel” Emil said as he looked up.

Even Fenris could sense the fires inside this Swordsman had grown immensely.

“Good I expect such mercilessness from my Sword” Fenris said with a chuckle

“So, you are planning to take me for your sword” Emil said

Fenris looked down at the downed Hound at his feet.

“Your beast, or rather you have sharp insight. Yes I am. That is why I stayed my full might in the earlier bout Swordsman. I wanted to test you and pit you against her to see just how strong your mettle was. I am pleased.
Now I will defeat you and take you as my Sword” Fenris said.

Emil look to the Hound and nodded.

At once the Hound began to dissolve back into the dark flames which had emerged from Emil in the first place. The flames moved along the snowy ground towards him and then up along his body, and sword.

“Your right we do. If not I never would have seen that in this place I am stronger then I normally would be. That is why this is going to end now Fenris, and with you broken…what you have done has really angered me” Emil said.

The black flames along his body began to reshape.

Emil’s armor was changing turning all black. The portion blown away at his chest was now reforming from the rest of his armor. Like it was re-growing itself.

On his shoulder the three fates, whom had remained silent for this battle so far all whispered to themselves sensing what was coming. They knew remaining on this perch would be dangerous for them and they leapt away knowing Fenris would soon be too occupied to try and devour them.

Emil’s armor was still changing. It was spreading over him covering all the exposed sections save for very small openings at the joints to allow movement. A helm also formed from the rim of his breastplate. It was like a pair of jaws closing up over his head to form a Hellhound shaped helm with a jagged slot on both sides for the eyes.

He lifted his sword with a single hand, then pointed it right at Fenris.

Suddenly he leapt, much higher than normal, up towards Fenris’ head aiming his sword to strike a blow.
#11696747 Oct 31, 2015 at 01:37 AM
Aspirant
5 Posts
Descent part 5

The three Fates stood atop one of the remaining standing gate towers of Frigard, which they had moved to after jumping off Emil’s shoulder.

Since then they had sensed the oncoming change the swordsman was going to make, turning to the berserker, and given the way this otherworldly realm could be affected by such strong and will and old power. They thought it safe to move elsewhere to witness the conclusion of this battle.

They knew that the swordsman had reserved this change for when the end was near.

This would end with the death and possession of Emil as the new Sword of Fenris. The alternative being the defeat and temporary safety from Fenris’ plans.

Emil had launched himself at a running charge.

His leap was much greater than any normal mortal could achieved, especially one wearing full armor and carrying such a large great sword.

“His power it is unbelievable” Skuld said

“To stand this long along against the devourer of the sun” Urðr breathed.

Verðandi whom had been the most silent during this ongoing battle finally spoke “It is the power of the armor and in no small part the undying will power that mortals that each mortal has the ability to tap into. His curse houses the power in his armor. When possessed his bodily limitations to prevent self-injury are removed he can fighter harder, faster, and more fiercely. The risk being that he can literally destroy himself during battle…but as you said sisters his power is another thing. His will reacts in this realm. I would not go so far as to say the man is near a Demi-god such as ourselves the then Winter Wolf, but in this place he is not to be under estimated.

Fenris himself, unlike most, was not taken aback by the sudden change of the swordsman into the long thought forgotten Black Beast of ages past.

In fact he looked thrilled.

That was until as he threw a paw out to stop the air assault of the now berserk Swordsman.

Emil had stabbed forward with his sword midair and as Fenris connected with his paw it served onto to help the point of the blade find its mark and sank deep into his flesh.

A tricky maneuver has the point been deflected Emil would have been sent flying.

Without hesitation Emil spun himself with newly available momentum now being connected to something solid as he rolled forward, withdrawing his sword and leaving a nasty wound, to the upper side of Fenris’ paw and already started to run up along the leg.

Fenris howled in rage and immediately snapped his massive jaw as the bug crawling along his body. However what he met was the bug’s sharp stinger.

Emil had seen the jaws coming and turned, stopping his advance and turned his sword up. As the jaws closed in Fenris again forced the blade into his own flesh. This time between the fangs into the soft flesh of the gums.
This had also stopped the closing in fangs, the lower set barely inches from shredding the Swordsman.

Again without hesitation, thanks to being fueled by the rage driven insanity and desire to see his enemy slain Emil hauled with his enhanced might and twisted his sword then pulled.

The act cutting deep into the gums and even severing a fang from the rest.

When the sword was pulled from his jaws Fenris howled again in rage, slammed his jaws shut, and swung his head so it connected with the Swordsman.

The exchange since the snap of the jaws was only a matter of seconds but it was uncanny to the witness’s on the tower nearby at the reaction speed the swordsman now possessed.

However he was not able to leap, or move away from that massive head which collided with him, he did however react fast enough to turn his sword in front of his body so the flat of the blade was between himself and Fenris.

This acted as a minor shield and absorbed some of the impact but even from a distance the Fates hears the snap of bones, the crash of metal and flesh as they saw the Dark Swordsman sent flying.

Fenris had not made a full swing of his head, otherwise the shockwave of that strong an impact would have killed even Emil however he was sent crashing to the ground at least a few hundred yards from the massive wolf.

The fates could not make much of the cloud of dust, now, and dirt that was kicked up from the crash.

They finally saw a dark shadow emerge from the cloud. Blood was turning the snow red.

From the looks of his limping Emil’s left arm and right leg were broken, yet still he moved forward to clear past the cloud as to not lose sight of his enemy.

Even this f ar away spectator’s and enemy saw him look down at his own leg and arm, the helm hid whatever is was went through the mind of the swordsman when in this state but it from his body language it was more like he was curious about his injuries.

Finally came the sound of metal biting flesh, and another spray of blood onto the snow.

Another power this cursed housed in the armor, when possessed the armor would repair damage such as broken limbs, or torn open flesh. The armor itself would pierce the warrior’s body with spikes thus mending the bones, and closing the flesh. To an observer it would look more like the armor was devouring the warrior inside as to preserve his ability to keep fighting.

Indeed those spikes would bleed him more.

Another sound filled the air around him.

Hissing, the sound of hot metal pressed to flesh.

Those black flames had sparked into life again heating the armor and cauterizing the flesh. Something that could only happened here and still only a temporary mending as his wound would need real healing very soon.

“This bodes Ill sisters, our champion is nearing his limit. Even now I sense the dark beast inside him is pushing him, while his mind is about eady to try and retake control” Verðandi said.

“He must defeat the Winter Wolf before that” Uror said.

Fenris meanwhile laughed at the Swordsman’s relentlessness

“Interesting, Interesting. Very good Swordsman, you are making yourself more and more tempting to me as my Sword, but my sword must be one who bows to me. A mad dog must be broken” Fenris said.

Emil meanwhile only readied his sword and charged again.

“If you will not bow or back down. Then you will when you DIE!” He said the last coming out with a deep roar.
This roar came from the belly of the wolf and was like an attack itself. The ground shook, the tower on which the Fates stood rattled.

It was like a shockwave aimed for the charging Berserk Swordsman as he keep running. Then without warning he just leapt hard to his right and stabbed his sword into the ground. Taking refuge behind it.

This had saved him from having every part of his body broken. Jumping out of the direct path of the shockwave he stabbed his sword into the ground then hunched down behind it. This would make the lesser parts of the save strike the sword and the vibration would run down it into the ground.

That was more a tactic employed by the un-possessed Emil. Clearly he had grown in his ability to influence his actions even in Berserker state.

After a moment the shockwave died down.

What took longer was the ringing in the ears from so potent a roar.

“Damn you swordsman, you will not bow or die. Then I shall simply consume you!” Fenris growled.

The wolf charged, not as fast as now he was starting the feel the numerous wounds his paws and legs had sustained.

Emil also resumed his charge.

It was a rather odd, but thrilling, sight. One man, a simple mortal, charge a creature feared in all the northlands.

Charging without fear, without mercy, but with rage and ferocity.

The charge was short lived, given the size of the wolf, the unhindered speed of Emil, and the short distance between the two.

What was not expected was how the next clash would be met.

Emil had at the last second jumped.

That jump was timed with the opening of Fenris’ jaws.

He landed on the tip of the Winter Wolf’s nose as the upper jaw shot upward, and also used the strength in his legs to jump again.

The combination of his jump with the upward momentum of Fenris’ jaw sent him again high into the air, and out of the sight of the Winter Wolf.

That would be the straw that broke the Wolf’s back, in a manner of speaking.

Fenris lost sight of the Dark Swordsman.

Just as he was about to turn his head upward to try and follow where the dark blur had moved towards.

Then pain shoot through his massive body. He howled in furious pain.

Emil had used the charge was a feint. To gain a helping foothold to launch himself onto the back of the Wolf.
Rather, to launch himself and land with his sword biting deep down into the Wolves hide. However he did not stop. Once his sword had pierced he began to charge again pulling his sword with him and thus tearing open a gaping wound into the wolf. Finally after several seconds in which the pain he was inflicting left Fenris stunned. Emil leapt as he got near the tail and his charge had lost momentum in the last several strides due to the thickness of the Wolves hide.

Emil landed on the ground and turned.

Only to meet the open jaws of Fenris and have they closed shut around him and a small chunk of the ground under him.

Fenris had anticipated how the swordsman would depart his back and gaining back his wits in time he spun fast enough to finally achieve his goal.

He had consumed Emil.

Or so he thought.

As Fenris raised his head to help swallow he would have started to laugh

The Fates where shocked first by seeing their Champion suddenly consumed. However they were even more shocked when they saw a sort of lump forming at Fenris’ throat.

Then Emil’s sword pierced Fenris’ throat from within.

It was impossible, improbable, and nothing short of a miracle.

Somehow Emil must have gotten on top of the chunk of ground that Fenris had swallowed along with him and since he knew which as down he just stabbed in whatever direction would stop his descent.

Even in the stinking, wet darkness he was now in he knew he stabbed in the right direction and cut open his escape. Kicking against the flesh behind him be forced himself through the cut he had made in Fenris’ throat and with a torrent of blood escaped back onto the snowy battlefield.

He landed in a pile on the ground but swiftly got back to his feet. His black armor now shining with hot blood.
Sword raised.

However it wasn’t needed.

Fenris had collapsed, howling, snarling, gurgling on his own blood as he thrashed and kicked about in his wounded state.

Emil meanwhile started to shake.

His armor was again changing. The helm was peeling away, back into his breastplate. The other parts that had grown to cover his body entirely shrank back as well.

He gasped out also as his head was finally free, gulping the cold night air like he had been suffocating. Stabbing his sword into the ground again he leaned on it for support as he had not taken back control of his body and mind but with that came the massive fatigue and debilitating effects of his wounds. With the Berserker possession lifted he was left barely standing.

The slash of white in the front of his hairline, the mark of the stress of his first time being possessed, seemed a bit wider now.

He watched as he saw Fenris thrash about.

Then suddenly Fenris seemed to be shrinking. The cloud of snow and dirt he was kicked up soon covered him as clearly he was shrinking.

Then he was gone in that cloud.

“You are a true beast, Swordsman. More than ‘her’ I think” came a deep growling voice.

A man emerged from that cloud.

Rather a Beast-man. He was at least ten feet tall. His face like that of a beast and man’s mixed together. Rippling with muscle to the point of almost looking obscene. Eyes that were nothing but red orbs. Naked save for a wolf fur pelt tied around his waist. He was still wounded but the wound in his throat was much smaller but still bleeding. As were the wounds his hands and wrist. Likely the wound on is back was still present.



“Behold Swordsman. My form when I appear to you Human mortals as one of you kind” Fenris said with a cruel laugh.

“Your idea of appearance….leaves a bit to be desired for” Emil said as he raised his sword.

However he could only barely feel his legs, much like the rest of his body Numb, weakened, and barely able to stand. He knew is limit was just about reached. He had to finish this somehow with one strike.

“I see it Swordsman, you are on your last legs. I think it’s best we end this, this way” Fenris said raising his hand
From the distance, towards Frigard. The Sword that the Shade of Lleilwin had used suddenly was pulled by some force from the ground and went sailing.

Within seconds that sword arrived to he who called it.

“We end this now with blades Swordsman. I shall end you, but claim soul and body for myself. You will be my True Sword” Fenris said as he mirrored Emil’s stance.

Emil however was staring not at his enemy, but rather the weapon he wielded.

“Curious Swordsman? Yes even I would use a crude thing as this for the right enemy” Fenris said.

The Winter Wolf would have said more but was surprised to see Emil had altered his stance.

Emil had lowered his sword to about mid-level then turned it sideway and spun his body around at the waist. Now his sword was behind him ready for a mid-level swing with all the force behind of his body behind it.

“Ah I see, you intent to gamble the end of this battle on a single strike of your sword. Thinking that our strength and our weapons are now equal. Your logic is flawed Swordsman your brains will be scattered upon the snow before you even know your failure. All the same how interesting I accept your challenge”

The air was quite.

Then it happened.

The night was ending. The Sun had started to rise.

They each struck then.

Emil put all he had in this last gamble.

The swords met, the sound of steel ringing. The flash of something went flying.

Emil saw the battle play out. He saw his own head cut away, burst apart from the force of the blow. Not even enough time to see his own body fall.

He saw, but it did not happen.

Instead it was Fenris who failed.

Emil had seen the crack in the sword Fenris had taken up. He knew that if he could strike it just right again he would break it.

“My sword!” Fenris shouted, his guard down.

Emil howled in rage as he did not let his chance go to waste.

He raised his sword and brought it down across Fenris body from left shoulder down and across to the right side of his waist. Not letting he spun with the momentum and struck again exactly the same way but this time from the right shoulder down and across to the left side of the waist.

Finally he pulled his sword back and stabbed forward in the center of Fenris’ chest and did not stop until the hilt of his sword was against the bleeding body of his now defeated enemy.

Fenris hacked up blood as he tried to grip the sword buried in him but his hands slipped.

“No! Impossible.. H-How!” he said enraged.

Emil merely chuckled

“You’re the one whose logic was flaws Fenris. You don’t know our crude weapons as much as you think…our weapons weren’t equal yours was cracked and that is how I won…and you will be trapped here weakened!” Emil said as with the last he roared again and pulled his sword free.

Just then the black flames light up again as he was pulling the sword out and ignited all along Fenris body as it fell back to the ground with the swift rising of the bright Sun.

Fenris merely just howled out in rage and pain as he was consumed by fire.

He could not be killed.

Emil knew that much about the Winter Wolf. However he would be weakened, be put to sleep and from this battle, it was really anyone’s guess, it would likely be a long sleep.

It was over.

Emil watched the rising of the sun with a slight smile on his face. Resting on his sword again enjoying the warmth and bright sunshine.

He was beaten, bloodied, well past the point of exhaustion, and looked like an absolute nightmare.

He had won.



(Author’s note: Artwork involved credited towards the talented Kentaro Miura creator of Berserk.)
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