Just a Little Black Magic
Chapter 5: Flames
by: Jess


Cale was torn between battle and heroics. Every inch of his body cried out for conflict, the gratifying sound of flesh meeting steel. Never before had he felt such a strong urge to fight.
His mind and soul however urged him to save the trapped one within the burning building. His kanjii of obediance flared to life, obediance to his soul, obediance to his mind. Fighting the urge for battle, he ran towards the burning building.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Dais registered Cale's retreating form, but he was too busy avoiding the strange blasts of energy emitted by the creature. He pulled the morningstar from its place on his forearm and swung it violently at the thing's central eye. The beholder retreated from the attack, but didn't manage to pull one of its eyestalks from the path. There was a sickening spurt of green ichor as the small eye crushed under the impact.
The rain slowed to a light drizzle, revealing to Dais the bodies of trampled people scattered down the road. He sorrowed and angered for the needless deaths at once. With a feral roar of mixed anger and despair, Dais swung the morningstar again.
Cale's sensitive eyes seared in the light, pain making his self-imposed task doubly hard. Thick acrid smoke billowed along the ceiling and out the smashed window, forcing Cale to bend low in order to see. He listened for the continued screams, becoming more and more infrequent.
Then one reverberated the room, emenating from over his head. Flames licked at his armor, so hot that he could feel it through the enchanted steel, as he shoved away a fallen stand from the flight of stairs.
Behind his face mask, Dais smiled at the sastifying splurg of metal connecting with bulbous flesh. The beholder levitated straight up in the air over Dais' head. Rotating partway around, it fixed its central eye on the Overlord. Dais was beginning to learn the warning signs, the deep glow of gathering energies. The Overlord dove for cover.
The eye followed, but the discharged energy struck a nearby tree. Dais watched in horror as the tree became stone. If that had been him.... no, Dais had other things to concentrate on, such as taking out that monster.
Cale knocked falling embers from his path. The flames had risen to the second floor; the smoke was so thick up there that Cale found himself wanting for fresh air. He ignored the burning in his lungs and concentrated on the trapped person. The screams had died down to hysterical sobs that could barely be heard over the roar of the flames.
Then he though he saw a movement... yes! He had! A figure huddled in the farthest corner, hemmed in by the brilliant flames. He drew nearer, attempting to clear a path for himself and wishing he had Wildfire's ability to control the element. He knelt to pick the figure up and cary her out when the woman reacted.
Cale froze, feeling the tip of a dagger slip up agaisnt the exposed flesh between his armor and helmet. The woman's eyes blazed violet as she laughed mirthlessly.
"You Ronins are all very stupid," she observed, shrugging absently. The act pushed the dagger against his skin just a little harder. "All muscle and no brain. Oh, well."
Gesturing nonchalantly to the roof she chuckled and addressed her hidden companion. "All right, Phlegethon dear, bring down the house!!"
In a flash of violet, she was gone. Cale spun to leave, only to find himself confronted by a solid wall of flames. Frantically he searched for another exit.
Dais yanked the six blades of his custom staff from the carcass of the b eholder. The wet pavement was slick with gooey green ichor and the beast was dead. He paused to catch his breath, smelling and tasting smoke on the air. He turned to the burning building in time to watch its slow collapse inward to a burning pile of rubble.
The rain began to fall again, softly, like tears.