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The Ravine Part II

  Run. Run fast. Run faster than ever before my mind screamed at me. My knees knocked and Justice fell to the ground. For a moment, I thought that I was already dead, so consumed with fear and dread was I. But as that first wave of panic passed, my thoughts cleared, and my first thought was to seriously consider putting Wrath in my mouth and pulling the trigger - at least my death would be quick and under my own terms. At that moment, Wrath fell from my hands and the clank of diamond on obsidian (a strange sound to be sure), snapped me back into focus. Relax, said a familar voice, and my resolve immediately returned. I grimly acknowledged that to lead the legion and its leader away from Stinky, I would have to give them more interesting quarry, and catching my own reflection in the hilt of Justice, I thought look, there he is.

  I picked up Wrath in my good hand and after several tries, managed to pick up Justice psychically. Well, time to do this. Besides, I was Magnus, son of Albert, and I feared nothing in this omniverse other than the Creator, and He was not up on that ledge. I summoned my chi. Wrath and Justice glowed with the strength of my will and life force. They were both beautiful weapons, but today I needed them to be effective. After a few moments, I was at full power, and so I croached in the dust, uttered Daniel’s Prayer and leapt straight up.

  Once I cleared the edge of the ravine, the depth of my dilemma became clear. This was no mere group of demons, but a battle class legion. Still undaunted, I let loose a full volley. The demon nearest the edge of the ravine died first, and unknowingly so, as his horned head exploded. His neighbor was not as lucky, as he dodged my first shot, only loosing the tip of a horn, but the nozzle of Justice neatly pierced his left eye, and fired at point blank range. I landed with a thud in the midst of the legion, and began my dance of death.

  The element of surprised availed me of little, as this was a battle legion, and after the first two demons died, no one was caught unaware. To succeed here, I would have to literally fight my way through dozens of soldier demons, not counting the officer, who normally was more powerful than his entire legion combined. This was not looking good. I immediately engaged the next soldier. I felt him unthink the pulse from Wrath as my shot varied wildly to the left. But he did not realize that I had already swept his feet from under him and blew his entire midsection away. The demon’s remaining halves clumped together with a sickening vacuum like sound as he fell dead. Another demon raked my face with his talons. Another‘s tail pierced my thigh. Daniel’s Prayer had gone unanswered, so I had no choice but to go all out. I released Wrath and held it psychically as well, firing in every direction as quickly as I could summon the chi to do so. Moreover, with my remaining good hand, I reached behind my back, and grasped what was not there, but always there, and drew my soul blade.

  Literally, it was a blade forged from a part of my soul. Not unlike pulling off one’s arm and using it as a cudgel, except a soul blade is a special tool. One of last resort, at least for people like me. I had heard that there were beings who relied exclusively on their soul blades, and that their blades were frighteningly powerful, and could even cut a Fallen. Clearly, my soul blade was not like any of those I had heard tall tales about. While only a few feet long, mine was more short sword than broadsword or long sword. It was a jagged blade made of a shiny black crystalline substance – not unlike Wrath, and to some extent, that bothered me.

  Hellfire singed my arm, as I barely unthunk another firery death. My blade sang in my hands, and my confidence returned. Now, with both cannons floating at my sides and firing continuously, and my soul blade effortlessly severing heads from shoulders, I slowly began to make some headway through the legion’s main column. However, fighting at this intensity, I could not continue for much longer, so again, I crouched down and leapt up to a dizzying height. Seeing my tree in the distance, I summoned Wrath and Justice to me, aimed them behind me, and propeled myself toward the tree. Or more aptly, well, I ran.

 During the whole of this skirmish, the legion’s commander watched my struggles with quiet amusement, and realizing my intention, he made the slightest of nods, and the more powerful members of his legion set out in full pursuit of me. As a side note, I guess that I should highlight something here about the caliber of a demon and its general shape, form and powers. As I mentioned earlier, demons are generally the spawn of Fallen, and upon occasion, a jinn. Accordingly, a demon’s power and beauty are often directly proportional to its generation – i.e., direct descendants of a Fallen are more powerful than the “grandchildren” of a Fallen. Moreover, the more powerful a demon, the more striking its appearance, where “striking” can be equivalent to beauty, and sometimes, hideousness.

  Likewise, most of this battle legion, especially the ones I had previously defeated, were nth generation demons, slow, stupid, and not terribly powerful. However, this second group of demons were more “impressive”. For example, all were winged, and not the gnarled, purposeless wings, but expansive folds of leathery flesh that framed the creatures shoulders like a well made cape. These creatures were graceful, flying with speed and power, wings effortlessly propelling them forward at astonishing speeds. And most disturbingly, a malevolent intelligence glinted in their eyes. These creatures could unthink effectively, both defensively and offensively, and they were skilled with any number of weapons and spells. Some of the demons carried blades, others crossbows, some guns, and others weapons that I did not recognized, and cared not to learn about. If unwounded, I could barely fight one of these creatures at a time, much less the entire hoard. However, I had the hunters attention now, and I could easily lead them away from Stinky.

  Anyway, I did the right thing, and continued to run, hurling blasts of chi in my backwash, mostly for additional speed, but also in hopes of at least injuring a few of my pursuers. Of course, such random attacks were easily unthunk, and most of my shots did little more than kick up clouds of dust. Yet, I was only a few hundred feet from the tree, and if I poured more of my chi into my guns, I might make it before my pursuers closed the rapidly narrowing space between us. But as had been par for this adventure, I failed to notice that several of the horde had teleported in front of me and had breathed hellfire into my path. Carelessly, I flew right into the boiling cloud of molten fire, badly burning my right leg. I screamed in pain as I tumbled to a vicious stop near the edge of the ravine. My pursuers came to a halt. Their prey was wounded and trapped. This was the time to savor a hunt, to prepare for glorious combat. These monsters did not rush to finish me off. These wolves hunted for sport, but unlike sportsmen, these creatures lacked none of the desperation, ferocity or fervor of the hungry wolf who hunts to survive. Besides that these fiends had plans, ugly plans that I wanted no part of, and so, I dropped Wrath and Justice, released my soul blade back into my body, and cleared my mind and soul. I fell to my knees in the shade of my tree, and submitted. In the distance, I heard the leader of the legion scream “Run! Fools! Run!” But it was too late, I closed my eyes and called to He who reigned over all the omniverse, and I prayed to Him to take my life.

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