Chapter 19- Battle of the Blue Hairs
600ad, Truce Village
Tristan Tenser slowly sipped from the mug of coffee in his hand. He didn't normally drink the stuff black, but something told him not to trust the milk in this time. He looked across the table to see his equally depressed companions, each silent in contemplation. The next move they would make was yet to be decided. Actually, they didn't even have an idea of what to do next.
None of them much relished the idea of sitting and waiting for Jack to show up. For all they knew, he might be dead. Tristan knew that if Jack was dead, they would most likely be stuck here. He examined the idea of building a new gate key over and over again, rethinking the plans for the device in his head, but he knew that materials for something like that would not be readily available. In addition, and possibly needless to say, he was already missing the simple joys of modern life.
Naturally, Aragorn and Rayith didn't mind; this was the only life that they had ever known outside of the last week's journey. Aragorn in particular though seemed distraught, almost lost in thought. Tristan never pictured him to be an analytical or even intelligent fellow, but you never could really tell. While he was simple in his mannerisms, Aragorn had a cunning sense for battle and tactics.
This guy's past is awfully shady, he thought to himself. But he doesn't ever seem to want to talk about it. I wonder what happened to him?
As if on cue, Aragorn slowly rose from his seat and announced his new plan.
"I'm going for a walk," he said absently, walking over to the corner of the room and picking up his sword. "I'll be back soon."
Aragorn hoisted his giant broad sword over his shoulder as he left the inn and walked into the streets. He wandered around aimlessly for about half an hour, mostly killing time and analyzing the recent events. He didn't quite understand everything completely, but it made enough. What really didn't make sense is that they got thrown though a portal and ended up back in 600ad. Didn't Jack say that gates were supposed to take you to the same place in another time?
Something about that gate was particularly abnormal. But, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that the gate really wasn't what was eating him. Something big was going to happen. A battle was coming up. He had spent enough years in the military to sense it.
All the while, he had been making small experiments with Force Tech energy. Manipulating the energy to do simple things, such as lifting the weight of his sword so it wasn't so annoying to carry. He found that it was possible to control the energy to extremely minute detail, or it would become that way with enough practice.
As he continued with his experiments, he noticed that the area around him had become particularly loud. People seemed like they were screaming. He spun around, looking for the source of the problem, but everyone seemed to be going about their everyday business. In a moment of realization, he increased the Force Tech intake, and as expected, the voices grew louder still. He was increasing his sense of hearing!
Toying with his new little trick, he tried to increase the hearing while using more energy to funnel particular sounds into his ear. He was able to pick up all sorts of private conversations.
"Aye, I heard the King is on his deathbed," came a voice that he pinpointed on. He looked across the street and found the people involved in the conversation he was listening too.
"No, it's only a rumor. I heard he led the assault across Zenan Bridge himself," came the voice of the man standing next to the first man. Aragorn got board of this conversation quickly, however and saw what else he could pick up.
"Is it true Magus has been defeated?"
"I'm sure that damned Mystic is just hiding."
"What about Ozzie?"
"He hasn't been seen either." Aragorn was starting to be able to pick out the voices more clearly. After scanning around once more however, he was starting to get board. Just then, one voice caught his attention.
"So Keltar is launching the attack?" The voice didn't sound human. It spoke in somewhat broken English. It sounded almost…
"That fool thinks he can really take Ozzie's place?" came another voice, also in crude speech. Then, Aragorn was sure of it: it was a Mystic. Two of them. But what were they talking about. He concentrated deeply and phased out all other sounds.
"Does he really think he'll take the castle in one attack?"
"After all, it did take Magus years before finally launching a full assault."
"And with Ozzie gone, his magic troops will surely fall apart."
"That's not his plan, though. He's not going to win with pure troop power." This was a new voice, a third.
"What do you mean?" Aragorn was now finding the location of the voices. They were coming from an ally about fifty yards away. Moving with haste, he made his way to the entrance to the ally, waiting for the right moment.
"After all, what troops will fight with their King dead?" the third voice said
"So the assassin is all ready?" came the first voice
"It should happen soon."
"Are you sure we should be talking about this here?" asked the second voice.
"Why not? Who's going to hear?"
"I will," Aragorn said calmly, stepping into the ally and drawing his sword. "And you three just bought yourself a mess of trouble."
12,000 BC, Just outside the Cave,
Jack drew his sword and eyed his opponent who was standing fifty paces from him. This would certainly not be an easy fight, but he had to try. If this Magus really did know about the Lavoid, which it seemed was true, then Jack needed to find as much as he could. After all, why else would have Topik sent him after Magus in the first place?
"Are you ready to die, boy?" Magus taunted from afar, preparing a spell.
"I won't be defeated that easily," Jack smirked. "I think you're over estimating your chances. Your servant Falgroth did something similar before I cut him down."
"So you defeated Falgroth?" Magus asked rhetorically. "Well, you'll soon find that I'm not as simple an opponent!" With that, Magus raised his hand and a ball of fire rocketed towards Jack. Jack rolled to the side and started to gather Force Tech, glowing a dull blue. He rushed at Magus and leaped into the air.
Magus was not phased, however and simply chanted another spell, pointing at the air-born warrior and blasting him with a bolt of electricity. Jack was hit dead center with the spell and was knocked back, but recovered with a back flip and landed on the ground, unharmed.
"A tough one eh?" Magus asked himself. Jack ran at him again, the glow around him snapping into red as his movements suddenly became much faster. Magus lost sight of him as Jack left the spectrum of Magus's vision.
"What?!" Magus yelled. Jack came back into view behind Magus and slashed downward. Magus brought his scythe up to block, barely avoiding being cleaved in half. Jack smirked viciously knowing that now his opponent had a bit more respect for him. Jack drew the blade back and made three more cuts, each being blocked by a smaller margin then the last. Jack was faster than Magus, or at least with Force Tech, and he knew it.
"You're a nimble one," Magus said, not showing any sign of worry. "But no matter. You will be short to leave this mortal coil…" Magus made a series of hand motions and the air around Jack erupted into black energy. Jack jumped out of the dome of death, his clothes slightly torn and drew his hand back, preparing a spell of his own.
"And you aren't the only one who can do that…" Jack said, thrusting his hand forward and sending white hot beam of energy at Magus. Magus jumped off to the side just in time.
His power. That spell. It was immense, Magus thought to himself. I wonder if he himself understands how much energy was in that last spell that he cast almost effortlessly? It's certain that I'm not dealing with a mere child.
"Your skill is impressive," Magus said offhandedly as Jack landed and the two stood ten feet away from each other. Their vision was somewhat obscured by the wind and snow.
"I'm honored," Jack said sarcastically. "So will you tell me about the Lavoid?"
"Not just yet," Magus said. Magus jumped backward and pointed at Jack. Jack felt a severe magical flux as a Dark Mist past over him. He felt drained as the spell hit and passed. He fell to a knee, panting heavily.
"Not so tough, now are you?" Magus spat. Jack grinned inwardly, raising his sword and sprinting at his arrogant enemy. Magus gathered the winds for another spell, but Jack had already begun to increase his Force Tech flow. His aura shifted from blue to yellow to fiery red as he once again speed out of Magus's range of vision. Turning into a blur, Jack jumped up and brought a flying kick into the side of Magus's head before he could react. Quickly, Jack grabbed Magus's arm and sent a pummeling roundhouse into his chest. While Magus was winded, Jack spun the arm awkwardly over his shoulder and swung his leg to catch Magus behind the knees.
As Magus started to fall, Jack blasted him with a side kick to the kidney Magus was sent back and Jack followed with run into a rising uppercut, sending Magus skyward. Magus recovered mid flight and looked down to see Jack readying his sword for the killing blow. In a last second roll, Magus dodged Jack who had jumped upward, poised to kill. Jack quickly recalculated and came back down towards the Magus, sword over his head.
"You can't beat me that simply," Magus muttered, using his gathered energy to cause Jack to become engulfed in a black sphere The sphere pulsated with energy as Jack convulsed in pain.
"Ahhhhhhh!" Jack screamed as Magus recovered and floated lightly to the floor. When the sphere dissipated, Jack fell to the ground with a thud. Slowly he rose to one knee. Smoke rose up off of him and his clothes had been completely destroyed, save for his sword's sheath and his pants, which had only been eradicated from his knee down. Oddly enough, however, the Red TAG that hung from his belt was completely unharmed. Not even a scratch could be seen. Ignoring the cold against his bare skin, he lifted his sword once more. He placed the sword in his sheath and dropped the sheath to the ground. Cracking his knuckles, eyed Magus.
"And the mighty blue-haired man is defeated," Magus mused out loud. "To be honest, I was expecting more of a challenge from one who defeated so many of my men."
"Who says I'm done?" Jack said coldly. "I've just decided to take this fight up a notch."
"You'll excuse me if I'm not shivering with fear. Now, prepare yourself for the void..." Magus prepared what would be his killing spell. Lightly chanting the words for the Dark Matter, he gathered the black winds to his command. Jack didn't move. Magus closed his eyes for a second and the opened them, looking directly at Jack. Jack still didn't make a move. The magical energies in the area were picking up as a vortex of wind formed around Magus.
"You just gave yourself away..." Jack mumbled. He raised his arm and as he waved it across his body, a wave of magic blew over them, blowing the very energy of the Dark Matter spell out of Magus's hands. In Jack's view to the etheral side of the world, the fiery energies Magus was forming were dampened into nothingness like a match being blown out by a powerful breath.
Magus lifted his hands and gazed at them in amazement. "How did you...?"
"Like I said," Jack smiled. "You gave yourself away. I figured out how you gather your energy. You'll have to protect it better next time."
"A counterspell?" Magus mumbled. "He used the black wind itself to blow away my energies. How clever…"
"So, are you ready to kick it up a notch?" Jack grinned widely. "'Cause you're life just got a bit more difficult!" Jack jumped to the side in a flicker of energy and gathered some of the winds. Holding up his index and middle fingers, he touched them to his forehead and then pointed them at Magus, who was in the process of gathering his own energies. Magus was being more cautious of protecting the energies he was gathering now. It took some of the power to form the shield around the larger mass of energy, but it would have to. He had never actually battled someone who could use the winds so effectively before.
With Jack's quick handed movement, a pillar of black energy erupted from the ground where Magus was standing. Jumping to the side, Magus only took part of the force of the blow.
Now doubt about it now, Magus thought to himself. I'm certainly right about this one. There's no other way. His natural ability is too high. He's got to be... His chain of thought was interrupted by a vortex of wind that formed around him and blew him about fifty feet to his left. Jack smiled at the success of his wind spell as he prepared another one.
Magus took this chance to make his own offensive, thrusting his hand at Jack as the ground below his opponent began to shake. A spike of earth shot from below and nearly impaled Jack. While he was barely dodging the Stone Spiker, Magus launched a ball of shadow magic at the off-balanced teen which nailed him dead center. Jack was sent flying back into a rock formation behind him. Hitting the wall with a thud, he lost the winds he was manipulating and had to start again.
Magus lifted his hand as the rock formation behind him came alive and floated upward. The giant mass of earth broke apart into several smaller pieces. With a flick of Magus's wrist, the rocks shot towards Jack. In a last minute defense, Jack shifted the winds he was wielding to form a shield and most of the rocks rebounded off of it without harming him. As the shield got beaten down, however, a small rock broke through and embedded itself into Jack's leg. Jack let out a cry before flying off to the side and firing several balls of flame at the Wizard. Magus dodged most of them but was pummeled by the third in his back. Tumbling to the ground, Magus was suddenly the prey again. Jack pounced and blasted a surge of lightning at his downed opponent. Magus was jolted heavily by the attack but rose up again, charging another spell.
"See if you can fight the Dark Matter again!" Magus cursed as he flew backwards and pointed at Jack. This spell was created faster, not giving Jack a chance to counter it. Jack was caught off guard when the spinning triangles within triangles of death that formed around him. Feeling as if was being torn in all directions, Jack screamed in pain.
"I think he likes it!" Magus grinned. As the spell completed, Jack once again appeared as a smoking mass, but this time he floated down slowly. Walking slowly towards Magus, he grinned.
"Is that all you got?" Jack asked. Magus ignored him, busy chanting another Dark Matter spell. "Hmmm….good," Jack said. "Then I'll finish this my way. I didn't want to have to use this, but…" Reaching to his belt, he drew the Red TAG and powered it on. The fiery beam of red energy shot from the handle and Jack raised it to the ready. "Looks like I don't have a choice." An extreme quantity of energy was being emitted from the blade. Jack could feel it, and so could Magus.
Magus looked up from his chanting to see Jack standing with his new toy. Magus almost fell to the floor in shock. That weapon! Magus exclaimed. That's really it! As he looked at the blazing sword that Jack held, he lost his concentration as Jack charged him. Before Magus could react any further, Jack was on top of him.
Jack made a downward swipe which Magus brought up his scythe to block. The TAG tore through the scythe handle like it wasn't even there and Jack made another cut which Magus had to dodge. Advancing quickly and eyeing the spell that he could see the wizard forming, he cut across Magus's chest, tearing through his leather armor and cutting through the top layer of skin.
"Ah!" Magus yelled clutching the wound. "That weapon IS the same one as I saw ages ago! It should have never been here!" he shouted, seeming a lot more worried now. Thrusting his hand forward, a gust of wind blew at Jack and swiped the TAG from his hands. It landed about twenty yards away from the teen as he looked back helplessly at the now deactivated weapon.
"Back to magic…" Jack mumbled, drawing his arm across his body as shards of Ice rose from the ground beneath the Magus. Magus dodged it simply before firing a bolt of lightning at Jack, who held his hand up and absorbed the blow.
"This can't go on forever," Jack said, hovering above the ground, some fifty feet away from Magus. "I can feel the power in this area diminishing. We've used up most of the magical energy."
"Then as long as that weapons gone, I'll end it fast," Magus called out. Pointing at his opponent, a beam of energy appeared from behind Jack, seemingly from nowhere, Jack turned his head and gathered the energy for a shield. Surprisingly, though, the energy passed over him and he felt nothing. No pain. No pressure against his barrier. Then he realized. A dummy blast! But how? How did he make it seem so real? Jack spun around in full knowledge of what was coming, and found himself face to face with a gargantuan blast of power. He tried to block it but it went right through his feeble shield. The blast engulfed him as he felt his very skin singe. The burning was immense! But no, it wasn't fire energy. There would be no actual burns his he lived through it. This was black energy, shadow magic, the black wind. There would be no burns, only pain.
As the blast subsided, he plummeted to the ground, gripping on the edge of consciousness. Magus walked triumphantly over to him. Jack rose to his knees, knowing however that he could not fight any more. Magus had purposely used the last of the Black Wind in that attack. Jack was helpless.
"Neat trick," Jack said weakly, Magus ignored him. "Okay," Jack said. "Just kill me and get it over with, I just ask that you make it quick..." To Jack's surprise, Magus laughed.
"Please!" Magus demanded. "I would sooner kill my own kin then kill you!" Jack looked up in puzzlement. "This was simply a test to prove if I was right about you. I'm almost positive now Anyway, since I can't have you following me..." Magus drew what was left of his scythe and brought forth the butt end of the deadly weapon. With a swift strike, he knocked Jack out.
"I think I'll leave the Guru's toy here for him. There has to be a reason that he has it…" he trailed off. "That girl should be waking up soon. She'll find him..." Without another word, Magus drew his cloak around him and headed off into the distance.
600ad, Truce Village
Aragorn analyzed his situation. There were four mystics, none of them too big. He needed one of them alive. Now, which one would it be? He scanned them briefly before deciding on the one that mentioned an assassination of the King. That one he needed. The rest...were expendable.
"Okay, boyz!" one Mystic shouted. "Kill the human!" The four of them all drew small swords from their cloaks and came at him. Aragorn didn't waste anytime before trying to even out the numbers slightly. Readying his blade, he lunged at the nearest Mystic. With almost no effort, the massive weapon torn right through the creature's abdomen and came out the other side. The Mystic's eye's went wide as his internal organs were spilled on the floor. With a quick movement, Aragorn swung the blade to the right and launched the body of the impaled Mystic into one of his companions, sending them both into a wall. The first one was almost dead by the time they hit.
"Okay, who's next?" Aragorn asked, taunting the two that remained standing. They both ran at him from different angles. The first one jumped on his back as he turned to face the second one. As the Mystic brought his sword to Aragorn's throat, Aragorn grabbed the Mystic's arm and snapped it down over his shoulder. The resulting action broke the Mystic's arm sharply and send him flying into his friend feet first. Within a few seconds, all three live Mystics rose from the floor.
In a joint action, the three of them came running at Aragorn, seeming to enjoy getting bashed around by the human who had so easily dispatched one of their comrades. Aragorn drew his blade back and held out his hand. With a short incantation, the ground in front of him leapt from it's resting place and towards the Mystic on the far left. The magically animated earth formed a giant, forward facing spike that tore through the Mystic's upper body crushing his heart and lungs, killing him almost instantly. While the other two were distracted, Aragorn made a wide swing at the one of the far right, cutting off his legs in a bloody mess. Before the now crippled Mystic could hit the floor, Aragorn brought the blade back around and severed his opponents head, spewing blood and spinal fluid into the air. As the headless, legless torso hit the floor, the last one gazed in terror as his opponent sheathed his blade and walked menacingly towards him.
The last Mystic's legs trembled as the knight walked up to him and raised his armored forearm. Without even trying to defend against it, the Mystic felt the cuffing of Aragorn's bracer across his head. With a clump, the Mystic fell to the ground, prey to whatever interrogation Aragorn had planned.
The Mystic came to about an hour latter, finding himself tied tightly to a chair. Struggling to move at first, he quickly found that Aragorn's knots were done well. Looking up, he saw there people looking down on him. The first was a blonde man in a black coat. The next was a short red-head with a cloak drawn around her. Looking lastly to the one who was towering over him the most, he had a moment of insight and put a name to a face.
"A-A-Aragorn Lestrides?!" he yelped in fear. He started to struggle to get free again but to no avail.
"This is good," Aragorn said confidently. "Since my reputation precedes me, maybe I won't have to hurt you to badly." Eyeing the frightened creature, he cracked his knuckles.
"Aragorn Lestrides, the Mystic Bane! The Foe Hammer! The Demon Crusher!" The Mystic started to panic, pulling at his arms more and more and even trying to bite the ropes that tied him.
"Yeah, yeah, I've heard them all," Aragorn said with a shrug. "But you better stop that squirming or I'm gonna have to knock you out again." The Mystic paid no attention to him
"Wait a minute," Tristan said. "What's this about Mystic Bane and the like?" Aragorn didn't turn, instead thinking about how to pry the information he needed out of his captive.
"Maybe if you're lucky, I'll tell you," Aragorn said. Tristan turned to Rayith.
"Did you know about this?" Tristan asked her. Rayith nodded briefly.
"More or less," she said. "He was a war hero, that I know, but since he didn't want to talk about it, who am I to talk about it?"
"That's unlike you," Tristan said. Rayith crossed her arms.
"Yeah, well, you don't know as much about me as you think you do."
"Whatever…" Tristan said, pulling out a cigarette. He knew he would probably run out before he got back to 1999ad, and so he was rationing them, so to say. Lighting it up, he sat went to sit down in a chair across the room.
Aragorn still stared at the deathly scarred Mystic that was tied down before him.
"Now, we can do this the easy way or the hard way," he said. "The easy way being you telling me about this assassination that good old Keltar has planned. The hard way would be me beating the crap out of you until you tell me about this assassination that good old Keltar has planned. It's your choice." The Mystic took at gulp, but was silent.
Aragorn frowned, cracking his knuckles again. "Okay then, I guess it's the hard way…"
."My Name is Aragorn, former Knight of the Square Table..." -Aragorn Lestrides
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