Faith Fails Again!

  When it walked from the shadows, I gasped at what I beheld. It was a man, composed almost entirely tattered bits of flesh, a strange demon to be sure, but due to the distortion, I could not quite make out its face, although the outline was clear. “Do you not recognize me? Do you not see what I have done?” I took a horse stance, arms wide, with my blade parallel to my shoulders. “Being, I do not recognize nor know you. I suggest you leave this place now.” The demon began to walk toward me. “Leave?!?! Why would I do that? Especially without killing you first." And after the demon looked around for a brief moment, it sighed and said, "but before I kill you, do you mind if we change the setting? I would prefer something a little more melodramatic...”

  I laughed out loud. “Whatever man, just choose something quickly demon, as I am anxious to send you back to hell.” The demon just laughed as the darkness faded into a place I knew all too well.

  For our battleground, the demon had chosen a place that was sacred to me – the library at my old elementary school. It was a place that held many pivotal memories for me. It was where I won the 2nd grade spelling bee; it was where I used to steal books because I did not have books of my own; and it was also where I met a certain old rabbi, who, masquerading as child psychologist for the county gifted program, had actually triggered my "awakening" and announced my existence to the world. Of course, I did not realize that fact while we were talking in that small room where surplus books from the library were housed, but the First Elder knew what he did, as he pursued his agenda, whatever that might be. Hmpf, I hated walking around not understanding anything fully. Yet, I did understand this, the demon could not have chosen this place to intimidate or distract me, because surely he knew that this place was special for me, and here, in this place, my power would be at its greatest.

  There it was again, that sickening feeling of being in the midst of a great crowd, yet not recognizing a single face or person. Indeed, here was this demon, who sought my destruction, yet chose a battleground where his goal would be the most difficult to achieve.

  I felt a slight twinge of fear creep into my soul. Such arrogance from a human would be a welcomed advantage, but demons do not make such mistakes. I had clearly misread this entire situati ... “You know this place, Champion? Is it to your liking? I thought it appropriate for your death, and I took great pains to duplicate everything from the color of the old faded books, to the strange yellow tint from the overhead lights, to the faint musky odor from the old carpet that should have been replaced years ago. Did I mi-" The being did not finish his sentence. I had conceived my attack and loosed it.

  The demon laughed, and roaring, raced to meet my charge. I could not help but admire his beauty . His power. He was royal, this one. Clearly, an early spawn of a Fallen. I saw his bizarre blade swing dangerously close to my neck as I crashed into the demon. The demon flew back into the book shelf on the other side of the room. I moved in to finish him, when the demon thrust his hand from the rubble and whispered, "Eclipsed Solstice." Darkness rained down in ever direction, or rather broken daggers of light fell from the eclisped sun that suddenly appeared at the center of the dreamscape. I dodged most of the shards (all that sparring with Wrath and Justice actually came in handy for a change.) However, as just one shard nicked my right forearm, I felt an intense chemical burn. Well, I thought, that explains that dumb looking serpent hanging in the air.

  Without hesitation, I sliced half the flesh off of my right forearm, and focusing my chi into my soul blade, seared the torn flesh. The demon like thing cackled with glee. "Oh, that must have hurt. But I like your lack of hesitation Champion. You see a problem, and you act!" Dusting himself off, the demon continued, "But it wont do you any good. This party is just getting started!" Party eh? Damn, this guy is crazy, which means that this is a fight to the death. It was time to take off the kid gloves. And so I released my soul blade, and immediately shattered both Wrath and Justice. Black and white crystalline shards began to swirl around me.

  "So, we are getting serious now huh? Well, permit me to tell you my true name." The creature rolled his head from shoulder to shoulder like a bad kabuki actor, and focused his eyes into mine. He emoted, "I reject all of creation, I deny all of existence, and I deny He who created all things. I am Victor the Abhorent."

  I gasped. "Victor?! What have you done?"

  "I have chosen my friend. Why haven't you?"

  "Victor, what are you talking about. Chosen?!? Stop this nonsense."

  "I cannot my friend" Victor then briefly stared down at his rotting flesh, hanging from him like tattered threads. "I no longer need this." And clenching his fist, Victor whispered, "Faith Forsaken". The dreamscape suddenly darkened in a flash of night, and before me stood the fleshless form of Victor the Faithless.

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