Once one relinquish their hold onto their senses, they deem themselves puppets, rats after a piper. They laid down their lives for their masters, for reasons forgotten and dubbed duty.He was once like that, so fixated by visions the golden stretches of time promised before him that he knew exactly what vision they would fall for.
He cut down another of Claude’s goon entrapped in his spells, a shadow of his blinded past. The illusion of despair had a good number of them: they break and bend, the slightly stronger weaklings lose themselves under a wave of his hand. He hated the scars he paints upon the spirit, for the flesh is much more adept at healing than the soul.
A blur flitted across the corner of his eyes, the king of rats, “Claude, you traitorous, cowering lecher!”
Here the smart ones among the soldiers paused, they are not disagreeing with their supposed enemy; the named bastard did not pause, but hastened his pace as he dashed for escape and supported Horatio’s claim.
He took that chance and gave chase. There was the fact that Claude knows the region better, but that was counterbalanced by the fact that the priest was not prone to exercise or the sword. Still, the man’s capabilities in the dark arts was not one to be slighted.
Claude almost thought himself free, assumptious that the cries of his men meant at least the preoccupation of the stubborn Etzian-prince-general-advisor. So he allowed himself rest when those sounds of death became muted by distance, catching his breath and scouting the bushes and attempted to hear over the loud screams of nature.
Then a swish of air, a silent shadow and a low growl, “You vermin,” The rat addressed flinched at the cold of a blade that found its rest against his neck, scoffed. “Release that young Nokshan now.”
“You haven’t lost your touch, my good Horatio,”
“Save your words to save your life. Release that girl, Claude.”
“It’s too late for her salvation,” The priest shifted against the blade upon his neck. “She’s lost her purpose.”
“As though you stayed true to your own.”
“Oh, don’t be so harsh now,” Claude chuckled, winced as the blade cut just enough into his throat. “Perhaps this was my purpose all along, and it was you who merely misjudged my character.”
“Misjudged or not, I am sure I did not misjudge the fact that you are human and I could very much behead you. Must I repeat myself?”
“If you intend to kill me regardless, what’s the incentive?”
Horatio scoffed, “A significantly quicker death, perhaps.”
“Ah, aren’t you generous. I can only wish the same upon you.”
He sensed impending doom and evaded, the mountains where he stood sustained a gaping scar. Even the film of dust could not mask the bright blue nor the glint of a bloodied blade.
“Ah, so you plan on hiding behind your puppet,” Well, he should have killed the Priest right there: but that act may very well kill the Nokshan by contract and…why did he care for Eridani’s fate again?
Still, his first question was only answered by another strike, and he saw it, evaded it, measured the fledgling. Funny, that her puppets should be more skillful than she: she relied upon the pure, superhuman strengths the Creator gifted her. Besides, The Nokshan sword was no longer foreign to him, he spectated too many brutal trainings Lyra begged her contractee to give. The experienced general stepped through a crack in her offenses, twisted the brute weight and wrenched it free from its unworthy wielder. The sword was grounded by Horatio’s feet, and he saw the hilt, recognized the simple handle, flinched, “Did you steal something from your brother?”
The young Nokshan was furious, but the human’s reminder lighted her features, “How can he claim possession over anything if he is dead?”
If Alde is dead, then what of the contract? What of Lyra? Horatio didn’t know he could hate Claude more, “What have you done? Was overthrowing any semblance of order in our own world not enough that you must also ruin the Nokshans?”
“Are they not our keepers of peace?” Claude mused. “Clearly, they are just failing miserably.”
From the corner of his eyes he spotted the graceful landing of those animated corpses, he winced a little at the idea and the gaping flaw of Claude’s logic, “Does the existence of guards justify an assassination?”
Claude had little mind or verse to respond, a puppet swept him off to safety. Horatio thought about a route of escape, looked for a crack in the poised forms that now enclosed him, “Why did you kill him, Eridani?”
“Your words cannot influence me.”
“I credit myself more well-versed than your master-rat, so I wouldn’t be so dismissive about the effects of my words.”
At this Eridani armed herself again, took a wild swing, he parried, side stepped; the other Nokshans leapt forward, a rapid enclosure of sharp blades. Then he saw it, a sealed ceramic container on the gravitational path to crash into a puppet’s head. It brought its blade into an upward arc and shattered it, he took the crack in the defenses and broke through, before the broken glass landed he landed a blow to the puppet’s sword arm, leapt back. A cover of dense smoke erupted from where the container was. A few more shatters sounded amongst the screen of smoke, and he was on the edge of it, the choking effects only so slight though the Nokshans and their superhuman senses suffered. He looked up to the facade of a rider backed by the sun on the hills above. The stallion reared, gave in to its rider’s insane demand gallop full speed down the hill. A madwoman, Horatio grinned, yet the most rational.
She swept by, he lept on, and together they galloped away in the screen of smoke.
“My little prince always needs rescuing,” She teased, he scoffed.