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Shadowchild: Part Six


by sara_mossflower

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Dire Connections

He'd already sprang at me, hungry, reasonless. I could barely register the words he'd just spoken. Now meet my blade, father!

      "Fa -?"

      I had no time to complete my questioning repetition of his words as he bowled me over with the unruly swing of his sword, colliding with my own. I was sent into the trunk of a nearby tree, and dimly realized that my forested surroundings were completely different from where I'd fought my battles with Frey - on a wide, empty plain. I couldn't manoeuvre as well with the trees on all sides and Tyrin flying amongst them.

      I'd have to get used to it quickly.

      Swinging my blade to the best of my ability, I tried to clear my mind of my whirling thoughts in order to concentrate on my fight, but that was barely possible. Father? I wasn't his father! If I could credit anyone for being his parent it was obviously Frey, but even that theory was impossible.

      "What did you call me that?" I gritted, demanding an answer. Sirocco sliced through the air and I barely dodged it, the steel length crashing into the trunk of a tree with a splintering clamour. I still persisted as he yanked the weapon clear of the wood. "Why did you call me 'father'?"

      "Maybe that wasn't an entirely accurate claim," he retorted, weaving through the trees, pouncing at me from whichever direction was most convenient. "But I do know that there is truth in it. After all, you contributed greatly to my creation - more than anyone else!"

      "I thought you knew nothing about yourself!" I struck out at Sirocco, the sword I had faced so many times and defeated with intense difficulty. Would I be done in this time? There was no way I could know.

      "There are some things I'm aware of," he informed me, "And perhaps you should know too before I finish you off! I must admit, you seem rather clueless for the Storm's keeper!"

      I ducked behind another tree, then strove to assail him yet again. Sirocco clashed with the Windscythe at a low angle, forcing me to leap almost directly above my attacker to avoid a fatal blow. Tyrin made an attempt to skewer me in midair, but I was able to react and steel met steel, sending me spinning overhead and landing awkwardly on my three free limbs. "Tell me then!" I challenged him. "While both of us are still breathing!"

      He bolted towards me and our blades met. He made no further move and for a moment we were just standing motionless, the invisible tension of our weapons grating against each other the only energy still present. Our sweating countenances mirrored each other, black facing white.

      "You've got some kind of remarkable friendship with that fire mage," he murmured icily, and I felt cold sweat break all over my body as he spoke. "One that was able to forge my existence. That's all I know - that you were my creators. But why you'd want to create your own executioner I'll never know."

      I felt unexplainable fury course through my being. It wasn't my fault he was here - it was Frey's! It had to be! How dare he start blaming Aly and myself for his life? I knew now that Dayne's seemingly ridiculous theory was right, but I could scarcely believe it - even as she died, Frey's twisted ambitions had caused her to use me, along with a close friend, to secure my own doom. And now Tyrin thought himself fit to claim to be my son? In my final battle against Frey I had learned to pity her for what she had become, but that was now erased by the uncontrollable hatred pulsing through me.

      I glared at him with such severity I thought I saw him flinch. My eyes drilled into his: the right blue like mine, the left purple like Aly's. This was how Frey tortured me, even after she was gone? By branding this bloodthirsty juvenile with mine and Aly's features, by giving both him and myself the knowledge that something as gracious as friendship could have melded his despicable self from its goodness? Had she wanted me to feel guilty? Had she wanted me to feel pain? Or had she wanted me to believe he was my own and cut him down as she had cut down those close to her? I wasn't going to let myself rot until I was at her level; I knew that at least. How could she have unleashed such a vile curse upon me? How could she have hated me that much?

      I felt nothing but pure anger and derision scouring my soul. I was almost deaf to the subtle thunder stirring within me.

      "HOW COULD SHE ALLOW YOU TO EXIST?"

      With this abnormal outburst, I swiped my sword with a savage energy, sending a wire of blazing light along the Windscythe's length, propelling my Shadow-coloured opponent into a solid trunk.

      I stood panting heavily, shocked at what I was capable of. That had been my first use of the Storm in years, and he was the first person aside from Frey I had ever hurt with it. It had been the elements of Fire and Light combined as the force of lightning, and it seemed to have caused Tyrin some harm - his eyes watered as he looked at me again, and for once his invincible appearance had fallen.

      I felt my throat tighten as I beheld the scene before me. Had I used the Storm earlier, I probably could have killed him.

      And what if Frey had stolen the Storm from me? I couldn't help but wonder. She would have done the same, or worse to her enemies. I had been driven by contempt, as Frey had always been. Tyrin had provoked me - did this mean that if I continued to wage war against him that I would become like… her? I didn't know, and I suddenly felt very afraid: of Frey, of the Storm, and of myself.

      Tyrin wasn't making any move to get up, and I didn't attempt to finish him off - I couldn't. Slaying him while he was helpless like this would feel too much like killing in cold blood - too much like what Frey would do.

      Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my trio of companions, staring at us, as hesitant as we were. Aly's eyes suddenly hardened and she strode forward towards Tyrin, only a few strides. Before she could do or say anything, I held out one hand to stay any movement she might have made. "Leave him. Just let him go for now." I was surprised by the sound of my own voice - I wasn't giving an order, I wasn't even giving a request to my friend of four long years. I was begging - begging for the life of the one I felt absolutely nothing but loathing towards.

      To my great relief, Tyrin finally stood up, and instead of continuing our struggle, he turned on his heel, retreating into the forest.

     *

      We returned to my apartment in silence. I rinsed my face with cold water in some kind of false hope of eliminating the shock of what had just happened. I wasn't ready to deal with yet another Storm-related conflict. I'd feverishly hoped that after Frey's demise it would be all over, forever.

      But it was, unmistakably, too good to be true.

      When I re-entered my sitting room, it felt as though I had walked into a room of strangers. I had the sensation of being disconnected from what I knew, and I yearned for some kind of reacceptance.

      I sat down, soundless. I had nothing to say to them right now. I wasn't about to tell anyone, especially Aly, what had passed between Tyrin and myself in the woods. If she knew that she was part of it all, an ingredient in the concoction of emotions that made up my dark adversary, she would truly know the forsaken confusion that was consuming me right now. I didn't want anyone, especially one of my dear comrades, to know what it was like - I didn't want any of them to bear the Windstorm's burden.

      "You guys can go home," I whispered. "We - we can talk about it tomorrow or something."

      Dayne, Terzin, and Aly nodded mutely. I could tell that they were aching to ask why I looked so sombre, wanting to speak words of reassurance, but I knew that there was nothing they could do for me. As it had been with Frey, I was alone against Tyrin, and as each of them passed through my door, I could feel my world shrinking; becoming more hollow, darker, colder, emptier…

     *

      Tyrin sat in a tall oak specimen of the forest, still hesitant to go back through the probing WindRoads. "So that was him," he muttered to himself. "I guess he is powerful…" He paused, stroking the crushed daisies he had kept clenched in his fist throughout the entire duration of his battle. He felt something shift within him - some kind of emotion that had been evoked for the first time ever within him. He felt a hollowness at the loss of the flowers - they'd been so beautiful, so fragile. The Island Zafara had been fortunate to possess the delicate blossoms - he didn't understand how she had been able to hurl them at him so carelessly in her brief fit of anger. He knew that he wouldn't ever wish any harm to come upon the flowers - they were his now, and he cherished them.

      Realizing that he had let his mind wander from the thought of his predestined opponent, Tyrin fingered the hilt of his blade, pondering how he should go about slaying Sisslio. He'd come so close today, and it had been his first attempt. Thinking back, he wondered why he had really used the word "father" to catch him off guard. Aside from the Windstorm abstractly providing the source of his existence, they were in no way related. Now that he thought about it, what was a father? Whatever it was, he was now fairly sure he didn't have one.

      All was silent for a moment, and Tyrin again turned his mind to his charge.

      I want him to know my vengeance…

      Tyrin's ears perked at the mellifluous tones, but he suddenly realized that he had not heard them physically, but within his mind.

      I want him to realize what he denied me, what I dreamed of for so long…

      Tyrin tried to focus, instinctively wanting to pinpoint the sound, but couldn't. How could he locate something that only existed within his head?

      My blade…

      His focus was then drawn to the sword in his hand. Trying to examine it more closely, he smoothed his fingertips along the hilt, the leather binding it worn from previous use. Now that he noticed it, the leather had a kind of ancient, wild smell, as though the blade was a relic from long-ago battles, riddled with its own sagas and secrets. It had had a previous wielder - he sensed that now, knew that it was a fact in the core of his heart. The Island Zafara girl had been speaking the truth when she said that she knew of the sword's other owner, and their story.

      Tyrin distinctly sensed a presence lingering about the blade that he had not before. "What are you?" he murmured questioningly, but there was no answer. Perhaps it was mere memory, and not a surviving wraith that had whispered those words to him. He looked up again at the sky, which had now been washed with the dimming shades of twilight. "I'm not after him for my own reasons," he reflected. "But I'll obey you, whoever you are. I know that his demise is my life."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Shadowchild: Part One
» Shadowchild: Part Two
» Shadowchild: Part Three
» Shadowchild: Part Four
» Shadowchild: Part Five
» Shadowchild: Part Seven
» Shadowchild: Part Eight
» Shadowchild: Part Nine



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