Acolytes of Darkness – Part Two
The moon shone upon the reddish soil and lifeless corpses—of both humans and skeletons. The silence was only broken by the cracking bones of the acolytes of the necromancer and the whooshing of Iudicium wielded by the silver mage.
“Solum, any survivors?” Corvox asked, shattering five skeletons at once.
“None…” the green mage’s eyes widened. “I don’t sense Levinus either.”
“Can I use fire now?” Fastur clenched his teeth, standing besides Solum. “They don’t need their houses if they’re dead!”
“Fine,” Corvox swung his greatsword, shattering what seemed like twenty skeletons jumped back to his comrades. Solum put his hands on the soil and raised them in the air.
“Vim Ignis, I call for thee…” Fastur aimed at the village, his hands igniting. “Release thy wrath and inflame thy foe!”
Fire erupted and streamed down the streets of the village, burning every wooden house and melting the skeletons down.
“You can quench the flames now,” Solum said, standing between Corvox and Fastur as they watched the village burn.
The red mage lowered a hand, scowling at the flames from above. “Extinguo.” The fire ceased and the atmosphere was shrouded in smoke. “Vacuo Fumus.” Fastur clenched his fist, and the smoke cleared.
Solum closed his eyes then opened at once and turned with a grave look on his face. “Behind us!”
They turned back and sighted the necromancer flying before them, his skin shining green, and his hands stretching in their direction.
“Solum!” Corvox shouted, his divine sword pointed before him.
“I’m on it!” The green mage began to descend the ground beneath them. Fastur raised his hands towards him, clenching his teeth.
“I’ll roast you off your skin!” he roared, his hands flaring, and whispered his spell.
“Stop, you idiot!” Solum shouted, but it was too late. Hellfire blazed towards the necromancer.
“Levinus!” Corvox shouted, staring upwards.
The necromancer casted his green spell towards them, besting and quenching Fastur’s flames. The mages barely got saved as Solum changed the direction of the soil beneath. Corvox jumped upward, his greatsword ashine in the air. A swing barely missed the necromancer. He turned back with a spin and missed again.
“Now!” Corvox shouted amid the air.
“Vim Naturae, I call for thee…” Solum clenched his teeth. “Grant me thy power to protect my compeers!”
Countless roots flew from the grounds towards the necromancer, piercing his body like needles. “Paralyze!” Solum shouted, and the necromancer froze.
“W—what was that?” Fastur asked, staring wide-eyed.
“He’ll be fine.” The green mage brought the necromancer to the ground, the broad white eyes staring hollowly. “He will not move unless I lift the spell.”
“Well done, Solum.” Corvox sheathed his greatsword.
“You two may rest for now.” He stretched a hand, staring deeply. The roots enveloped the necromancer’s body on his command. “I will keep an eye on him.”
The sun rose upon and the dawn greeted the companions. The green mage crouched. He aimed at the cocooned body, and the roots uncovered his head, flashing a sunny blond hair and fair, white skin.
“The curse has been lifted.” He turned his sight to his comrades, who then rose and walked towards him.
“Is he unconscious?” Fastur asked.
“Yes,” Solum replied. “He will awake now.” He laid his hand on the white mage’s chest, and the roots slid away.
Levinus’s eyes opened. He squinted at Solum crouching beside him, with Corvox and Fastur standing behind.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Don’t you remember anything?” Corvox said.
Levinus ran a hand on his head, feeling a headache. “I remember having a dream. People were screaming and calling for the four mages.”
His azure eyes opened fully. He raised his head and perceived the dawning sky then glanced back at his comrades, who had a grave look on their faces.
“Wait, it wasn’t a dream, was it?” No one answered. He peeked behind them and sighted the burned village. “Fastur, was your curse triggered?”
“Not mine, idiot.” The red mage glared, crossing his arms.
Corvox threw a look at Fastur. Levinus’s eyes widened, staring at Solum, whose lips pressed and green eyes saddened.
“I see… So it was I who destroyed the village.” His eyes watered, flickering blue.
Fastur shrugged. “Partly.”
“How do you feel?” Solum asked.
Levinus rubbed his eyes. “Like I was sleeping…”
“The fairy was sleeping while we couldn’t shut an eye!” Fastur spat.
“Enough,” Corvox roared, scowling at Fastur who challenged back with a stare. “We must move.” He walked towards the horses. “It will be best if we fight Sholreg before the fourth night.”
The four mages resumed their journey, riding towards Darce. Solum had told Levinus, who insisted to know, about how he turned to a necromancer with white eyes and green dark magic. The four had discussed strategies to control the cursed one when the time comes.
The sky began to darken, and the mages halted at the river, near the shattered kingdom of Fluvia. They faced each other; Solum prepared his paralyzing roots. Everything was under control.
“I think it’s not time yet,” Levinus said, his hands glaring.
Solum glanced at the sky. “It’s darker than when you transformed.”
“Do not hesitate to pierce us with your roots.” Corvox‘s grasp on Iudicium tightened.
The cautious stare persisted. Their spells dimmed as though they started to wear off. Solum felt stressfully impatient. There wasn’t any sign. Perhaps he would be the one to transform. He released a sigh and drew more roots from the soil. His gaze turned at Levinus, who was staring at Corvox at his turn.
“Solum!” Corvox shouted, pointing at Fastur.
The red mage kneeled at once, as though he was being tortured. Countless roots flew towards him and pierced every part of his core. “Paralyze!”
“Well done,” Corvox said, digging his divine sword on the ground.
The three stared at Fastur, who turned black instantly. His clothes could not be distinguished from his skin. His head rose; his eyes were white. In fact, they were the only thing that wasn’t black.
“How could he move?” Levinus shouted, his hands shining towards Fastur. “Isn’t he paralyzed?”
“Solum?” Corvox’s face tightened, wielding his greatsword again.
“I don’t understand!” Solum exclaimed.
The warlock walked off the roots. He closed his eyes and disappeared within the darkness.
“A shadow mage?” Solum grinded his teeth.
“Can you sense him?” Corvox shouted.
“I cannot! He is not visible to nature.”
Levinus stared at his comrades; his hands beamed brighter. He raised his hands in the air and blasted a large light ball in the sky that exploded and illuminated the river.
“Corvox, behind you!” Solum shouted. The silver mage spun his greatsword, ineffectively slashing through a queer silhouette. The shadow struck Corvox on the shoulder. Blood erupted. Levinus blazed at the shadow; Solum laid his hands on the ground at once. The soil levitated but the warlock escaped the spell. They darted towards Corvox. He was bleeding, but did not utter a groan. The light dimmed and the river darkened again.
“You’re the only one who can affect him,” Corvox said, glancing at Levinus.
“Try to immobilize him,” Solum said. “We’ll distract him from you.”
The white mage glanced at his comrades and nodded. He raised his gleaming hands again, and illuminated the scene. The shadow mage was staring from afar with his white eyes. His skin turned grey, his coat dark and hands were shrouded with dark magic. He raised the palm of his hands, and his curse grew more intense.
Solum crouched and caressed the soil. Levinus stretched his arm toward the shadow mage. Corvox rushed, his greatsword flickering; he leaped forward, his sword swung with a loud whoosh, but an ineffective attack. The shadow struck back. Corvox blocked with Iudicium. A blaze struck the shadow, and another swing missed its target. Levinus pointed his hands at the shadow, his fingers lighting.
“Vim Luminis, I call for thee…” Levinus whispered; the ground beneath Solum mounted as he rushed forward. “Light upon thy acolyte and cleanse thy world from evil.”
Rays of light fired towards the shadow mage like arrows and pierced him and laid him on the ground beside the river.
Levinus rushed at once; his light arrows could fade at any moment. Solum casted an earth prison around the immobilized shadow, and Corvox pointed his sword at him.
“I will use my power,” Levinus said, “It will be more effective.”
Solum and Corvox stepped back as the white mage aimed his hands at the warlock. “Vinclum,” he whispered, staring deeply at his cursed comrade, and light chains began to appear around him. The shadow opened his eyes, but they were no longer white and hollow. Levinus lowered his hands as he recognized the eyes of the red mage.
“Fastur?” he whispered.
The brown eyes of Fastur stared at the white mage then turned white at once. The shadow flew towards Solum, penetrating his body. Blood erupted from both his back and chest. Levinus turned and rained light arrows on the escaping shadow. Corvox wielded his flickering divine sword and fixed him on the ground.
Levinus rushed to the green mage, his hands gleaming as the river darkened again. “Sanitatem Intra!” He put both hands upon his chest. Solum was silent. Not a groan, nor a moan, was uttered. His blood poured out. “Sanitatem Intra!” Levinus shouted repeatedly, but the green eyes hollowed, staring at the sky. Corvox’s pressed his lips, plunging his greatsword upon the shadow.
“You’ve been doing this all night,” Corvox said, standing behind the white mage, who was crouching before the shadow mage, his whole body gleaming. “Those magical chains appear to be strong enough.”
“I don’t trust my magic.” Levinus released a sigh, glaring at the motionless warlock before him. “Did you bury him?”
“Good,” Levinus whispered, “I guess…”
The silver mage stepped forward. “What happened?”
“I don’t know. I thought Fastur was going back to normal.”
“It’s not your fault, “Corvox said.
“It is,” Levinus exclaimed. “I shouldn’t have stopped the enchantment.”
The two mages sat beside each other, sharing their stress in a silent atmosphere. The sunlight flashed before them, both staring at the enchained warlock. None did feel relieved as their comrade’s curse lifted.
“Levinus,” Corvox said.
“I know…” The white mage rose to his feet and stretched down his hands. “Solvo.” The chains dimmed and disappeared.
The red mage adjusted himself and turned his sight towards his comrades. The sound of the streaming river tensioned the silence. “How was I?” he said dryly.
“Decently annoying,” Corvox answered.
“Proud of myself!” Fastur rose, sweeping dust from his red coat. He stared at his comrades then examined the place. “Where’s the lord of nature? Gone for a swim?”
Levinus glanced at Corvox; they both stilled, their lips pressed against their teeth. Fastur’s stare persisted, a smile upon his lips.
“He’s gone,” Levinus said.
“Gone?” Fastur’s brow rose.
“Buried… right behind us.”
Fastur glimpsed behind his comrade. The place was a battlefield—roots and soil extracted from the ground. He tottered towards the scene, followed by the two mages’ stares. He stopped suddenly, his eyes perceived red soil watered by blood.
“I buried him there,” Corvox said.
Levinus took a step towards the red mage. “It is I who must be blamed.” His head lowered. “I had you immobilized, but I released you.”
“Why?” Fastur clenched his fist.
“I don’t know. I thought—” A fist interrupted, landing on the white mage’s jaw, thumping him on the floor.
Fastur’s hands ignited. He stood tall before him and took a step forward before Iudicium walled between them.
“You can’t help but be useless,” Fastur whispered, his eyes flaring, staring down at Levinus. “I thought you were weak, but you’re even worse.”
“Fastur, don’t you dare…” Corvox started.
“I will not kill him,” Fastur interrupted, “though I should. It’ll make one less acolyte for Sholreg.” He walked away, quenching his hands.
The remaining mages arrived at Darce in a dusky evening. Nothing had happened on the third night, which appeared to be Solum’s turn. They entered the high dark castle—no underlings had they met, since the dark mage didn’t need any. They strode down the hall and saw Sholreg in a fancy dark throne he had made.
“My darlings!” Sholreg shouted. “I am delighted to see you.”
“We must be quick,” Corvox whispered, wielding his divine sword. “Attack him as soon as he moves.”
“Don’t worry, mage of Altumons.” A giggle echoed in the hall. “I won’t attack my underlings.” Levinus and Fastur uttered their spells, their hands stretched towards him. “One… two…three…” He pointed at them pensively. “And… where’s the peasant?”
“He shall slay you on the other side.” Corvox charged, his greatsword gleaming. Fire blazed in Sholreg’s direction, and light arrows followed.
“Things are getting interesting”—Sholreg leaped, dodging Iudicium that split his throne—“But not enough.” He stretched his hand, quenching Fastur’s fire and fading Levinus’s arrows. Corvox pivoted, whirling Iudicium forcefully. Sholreg kicked the side of the greatsword and landed on his feet. Another rain of arrows befell him, but barely missed. Fastur rushed, his fists burning. He joined Corvox in the close combat, both fire fists and Iudicium missing their targets.
“Join us, my successor!” Sholreg glanced at Levinus. “Let us dance all together!”
Levinus stretched his arms towards them. His teeth grinded and his eyes flickered as he lighted his hands, emitting a large energy sphere. “You will perish now!” he shouted, discharging his spell.
Fastur and Corvox turned their sight and perceived a large light sphere towards them. They halted at once and barely dodged, as Sholreg leaped backward. The wall smashed and the wind blasted between them.
“Who are you trying to kill?” Fastur roared, glaring at Levinus.
“You were on my way!” Levinus shouted. His blue eyes glared at Sholreg, who had once made him shiver.
“It’s more entertaining when you fight each other!” Sholreg laughed. He stared out of the hole on the wall. “It’s not the time yet, but I’m growing impatient…” His hand rose towards Corvox. Dark energy emitted. Levinus and Fastur aimed at the dark mage, but their spells quenched and faded again with a sketch of Sholreg’s other hand. He threw a smile at the silver wizard, who lifted Iudicium before him and positioned himself to block the spell. “You fool.” Sholreg grinned widely and casted his dark spell. “Tenebrum.”
Corvox watched the dark spell reaching him; his divine sword dimmed. The curse struck and shrouded him. His knees weakened and found the floor; darkness devoured him.
The silvery coat became darkling red as the shroud cleared. The warlock rose to his feet; his eyes were red. Iudicium turned black and had fearsome red lines, as though it was forged with steel and blood. He raised his hand, which wounded as he produced an inky red energy.
Levinus gaped at his cursed comrade, his light dimmed. “A blood mage?” He swallowed bitterly. “How can we defeat them both?”
Sholreg scanned the cursed mage, his eyes flickering. “Splendid! This one is perfect!”—his piercing voice echoed—“Well done, Corvox. You are my favorite!”
Fastur clenched his fists. “I have no choice,” he said, straightening his hands towards the blood mage. “I prefer to see you dead than like this.” He released a deep frightening groan. “Vim Ignis, I call for thee…”—his hands ignited with hell fire—“Release thy wrath and inflame thy foe!”
“What are you doing!?” Levinus yelled, scowling at Fastur, scorching from the incredible heat.
“Quiet!” Fastur roared, his hands blazing. He glared at the warlock, who was right behind the blood mage “Ignesco,” he shouted, and the flames grew denser. “Pereunt.”
Flames erupted from Fastur’s hands like a volcano, and the blood mage casted his dark spell. The flames and blood curse collided, creating a tremendous energy between them, but the flames were bested, and the red mage barely dodged, releasing a dreadful groan.
Levinus darted to his comrade, who was lying on the floor. His leg was cursed, as though the blood was poisoned. “Sanitatem Intra!” the white mage shouted as he laid his hand on the leg.
“Join me now and you will not suffer,” Sholreg said, smirking at them. “Look how powerful and dreadful Corvex has become. He must be very happy inside this…”—he glanced at the blood mage beside him, smiling—“beauty.”
Levinus bit his lip sharply. He rose to his feet, glaring. He raised his hands in the air, uttering his enchantment, and his coat gleamed along with his body. “Vim Luminis, I summon thee…”—a dazzling bow appeared in his hands—“Light upon thy acolyte and cleanse thy world from evil.” He aimed the bow towards them, Fastur gazing at his comrade. “The light shall smile upon the virtuous.” He stretched the bow—a dazzling light arrow appeared—and fired towards them.
The blood mage raised his greatsword, but the arrow was quicker. It pierced his chest and dropped him motionless.
Sholreg stared at his acolyte who was thrown behind him. “Good job,” he said dryly. “Now I will have only two underlings.” He rolled his lips.
“We will never be your underlings,” Levinus said. He sat beside his comrade, who had been gaping at him, and healed his leg.
“You will,” Sholreg insisted. He walked towards them then stared behind his shoulder to sight the blood mage moving. “Forget what I said. Corvox hasn’t forsaken me.” He smiled widely. “Arise, my dear warrior!”
The warlock rose to his feet and staggered forth, staring at the two mages. He cursed his greatsword, which gleamed red as it consumed his blood, injuring his face and arms.
“Good boy,” Sholreg said, turning to the two mages. “Now go and play with your comr…” He groaned deeply. His face stared down and found the cursed greatsword out of his chest. “You… you’re under my curse…”
“Did you believe your curse can control the divine mage?” Levinus said. “A warrior like Corvox can never yield.”
Sholreg vomited his blood and released a loud cry as the blood mage drew the sword from his back. Blood welled from Sholreg’s chest.
“You are finished,” Levinus said. He rose to his feet, along with Fastur, and walked towards him. “The light has prevailed.”
The dark mage stopped from groaning as his eyes rolled and his face found the bloody floor.
“Was it because of your arrow?” Fastur smiled.
“Partly”—Levinus glanced at the silver mage—“but mostly because of the voice of the heart.”
The blood mage’s curse was lifted. He was leaning on his greatsword. His brown eyes sighted the smile of his comrades as they stood before the defeated dark mage.