Chapter 1: Warden
It quivered among no illuminations. The unsightly thing, surely, moved through the dark. The great event, in line to unfold, must have been key priority in its mind. Although one might dispute this particular event's greatness, if it even had any meaning to begin with. But it happened nonetheless, a grid formation appeared. It seized the sky, space, time, all existence in this place. It shot out and away, leaving a gleaming trail in its wake. Agleam of stars and those colorful things that come next. It could be seen now, its celestial complexion. Surely not something of this place...
The dim glow faded from what the dignified boy held in his palm. The oil had run dry quicker than expected. Their escape would take to the subterrestrial shadows of the abyss.
“Shal! Stay close!”
A quaking pressure came from the ground, and nearby walls. Pebbles fell full-force from the towering ceiling above, as the ominous visitor prepared greeting in the dark.
Another, tense, voice arouse strong, “Gama! Should we -”
The courtly one's blade unsheathed, glistening at its hilt from a distant fire.
A great movement above. There was no more time. A colossal cleaver crashed down from the lofty visitor upfront. The broad thing hauled the blade back to its side. Beading sweat. The boy yelled, leaping with all his mustered might. Air scattered past his crisp steel. The loud clash of metal. A direct hit. There would be no holding back! This fight must be finished hastily before time's end! The boy yelled again, with another formidable strike, before taking hold of the weighty creature. This creature had no sensation of flesh or bone. It was hard, sharp at the edge as is steel. Gama kept hold of it. Was this its leg? His clear thought shattered from a sporadic shaking. A fringe of the thing's leg punctured Gama's chest. The liquid of life poured, loosening grip.
“Gama! Where are you?”
This grip can't fail, this mission can't fail, it will not fail!
In a mighty stomp, against the surface of that thing's mighty leg, Gama flew. A momentum that couldn't go to waste. The air of the kick carried him upwards, just enough to count. Gama's steel stood steady, hilt and all, but an oddity arose. Air, around the motionless blade, quickened into a blur of speed. As was the blow. Fragments flew from the punctured beast. But one wasn't enough, more. More. MORE. Gama, now, hovered in memory of where that thing's leg once dared to fill. Shards and scrapes could be heard, clattering, in the dark. A slow, protracted creaking grew from the moment of silent peace. One end of the corridor shook again, signaling this battles end. But something signaled otherwise. Gama slipped.
“Gama! Where are you? Did you stop it? Come on!”
A twinge of pain circulated throughout. This can't be it! They must reach the end, and there wasn't an abundance of time to mingle or pant. You must arise Gama.
“Hey! Gama, say something!”
One foot under the other. Push. The needles sunk deeper within his chest. Deeper.
Shal sensed a tumble nearby, “Gama! Are you hurt?”
Gama felt her soft hands lift up his frail body, “Shal... Is he here?”
“No... not yet. Come now! No - no, I've got you.”
Consciousness was fading. How can one stay valiant at an hour so bleak. There was no light to be found in this place, but that fire up ahead. Focusing... blotting out all things other than its approaching flame. Surrounded in stones, it continues to burn in a place so far in depth and ancient in construction.
It continues to burn... It must be connected to the ancient passageway, it can't be any simple anomaly! There’s no way I can let go now, not 'til doom strikes me at the heart.
“Shal.” Gama growled, cringing his chest and pushing away. “I... will have to fight him. That flame... that flame should mark the start of the steps. You must -”
“Gama! We've come this far! You can't - we have to make it to the e-”
“This is the end Shal! My throne... it's not relevant anymore! You...” The gore of his wound continued out his mouth, slurring speech.
A slight gap. “There's meaning to this Shal... more meaning than reaching that end! You must take the gem onwards.”
“I can heal y-”
“You... can't waste your power!”
“Or this valuable time - GO!”
The flame illuminated her tear droplets and pearly, silk cloak while tapping up the steps.
Gama took in the last sight of her, “Keep on! God forgive...”
“God?” The needles of pain even ceased to this sound.
Over Gama's shoulder all was cimmerian shade, but the flame from behind him would spoil his stance. There was no good to come from this position. He must stay alert in hope of recovery. In a scarcely servile manner, Gama demanded, “Rat, show yourself!”
A chuckle ensued a voice of precedence, “You're wounded? That machine must have taken you.”
“You think this...” Gama held his posture.
“It's finally time traitor. As King and royalty of Royce, I declare you, Gama Patsy, surrender your life before the tip of my spear!”
How did it come to this...
“... However, I would prefer another one of your revelries to simp-.”
“ABLAIN, COME OUT!”
Unsheathed again, this can't be the final time. There's more reason than just surviving this game of cat and mouse.
The gust of air to the left impelled something fatal. Gama's blade caught a grip on the King's spearhead as it tore Gama's pauldron clean off. Uniform collisions met the weakening steel blade. Dampening sweat blinded vision. Still not a hit to be let off, only many to be taken. The spear swept out from an anonymous angle, into Gama's recent wound. Pain of another scope soared throughout as Gama's eyes pierced the dark for requital. A leaning swing forward met no foe. A sidewards sway to the right left no cut. Yet, the jingling of mail, at the rear, caught Patsy's ear. An instantaneous, forward dive saved him from Albain's clout thrust.
Now the King's position was known. The foolish King stood before the fire-pit from far abaft. Footsteps ringed Gama's earshot as he searched for the right mark to make on his antagonist. An increment upwards, an opening! The lengthy veer of his blade rode the King's spear higher, a wide target! Briskly relieving the sword backwards above his own shoulder, an opposing defense was futile. The amount of armor worn wouldn't save Albain from this move... this strike... will end his life. I will live on!
From Gama's perspective, the blade made a solid hit against Albain's armored defense, but there was a gap. A senseless gap. Where the blade attempted to strike, it met a wall of energy, small and bright. Another hit in the combination, led to a similar fate. Another and another, side by side, swipe by swipe, all angles manageable - the wall only continued to merge, revealing the monarch's expression of utter delight. There was no cavity, no sense. But confusion ceased. So did everything else. Gama Patsy's blade fell sharply below him. The incision left fresh blood droplets adrift. There was no more fighting. It was over. This met nowhere near the length of time needed for Shal to make her move. She's standing somewhere up there, not aware of this failure.
My failure... you put trust in me, with sacrifice. I'm sorry for not denying it when I could. Goodbye...