Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hollow World Book 4 Part 21

Tartarus-Graham grabbed his fallen soldier’s smoldering torch from the ground, and waved it back and forth before him, the flames springing back to life.  He turned to Charon and growled.  He noted the woman beside his nephew, advancing a step toward her before Peter pulled the machete from his back and stepped into the clearing.  He snarled at the advancing human.  “You dare challenge a God?”

“If that’s what it takes to end this,”  Peter said, stepping further into the clearing, trying to ignore the pain in his chest.  “Although you were always just a nightmare to me, and now that I see you standing there, you really are not that scary.”

Tartarus cackled, and the torch before him flared, the flames dancing before him despite the lack of wind.  He stood his ground, waiting for Peter to make his way to him.  Rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, Tartarus swung the torch a few times, loosening his stiff shoulders.  It had been a long time since he himself had been in a fight, and his bodies limbs cracked under the unusual movement.  As Peter drew near, he extended the torch like a blade, making small darting motions, testing the man’s defense.

Peter closed warily, jerking backward at each thrust of the flame laden stick.  Finally within range, he batted at the torch with the flat of his blade, pushing it away from his chest, the searing flames threatening to scorch his exposed skin.

Tartarus laughed again, and thrust again, getting passed Peter’s blade, the flaming wood touch his left arm.

Peter cursed and pulled his arm back, casting a glance down at the blisters that had already formed.  The slight distraction nearly cost him, as Tartarus thrust again with the torch, but Peter managed to dance backwards, twisting his body to intercede with his blade.  He winced as he did so and his foe smiled.

“We can do this later if you would rather,”  the man who was a God said.  “I will let you live and we can finish this fight when you are healed.”

“No thanks,” Peter said and rushed forward, beating aside the torch with his bare left arm only to have his machete stopped by the flak armor that Tartarus that was Graham wore.  Peter took a step backwards to avoid the thrust that came in behind his own blade, the flames licking his chin.  He recovered and began to circle Tartarus, looking for an opening.  Their weapons smacked against each other once, and then again, before Peter slashed out wildly, drawing a crimson line down the left arm of his opponent.  “First blood, do you yield?”  Peter asked despite knowing the answer.

Tartarus spat at him, the globule landing upon the ground as Peter hopped back a step, smiling. 

Tartarus rushed forward, the torch dancing furiously before him forcing Peter to retreat.  The circle of watchers, who remained silent, shifted around them, leaving them space to continue their fight.  Finally Peter managed to beat the torch out wide with a slice that stopped Tartarus’ forward momentum although it did not cause any permanent damage.

“How long can you keep this up?”  Tartarus asked, taunting Peter.

Breathing heavily, and painfully, Peter stood up straight and growled, “As long as it takes.”  He rushed forward, tapping his blade against the torch three times, each hit sending it out wider, before he shifted his footing, stepping to the right and bringing him in line with Tartarus’ left arm.  The blade bit deeply into the limb a few inches from the shoulder but it cost Peter.  As Tartarus backed away, growling in pain, he took the blade with him, despite his best effort, Peter could not tug it free from the bone.  Peter followed the retreating God, trying to grab the machete’s handle but failed.  

Finally, Tartarus’ eyes flashed, and Peter saw the flames burning within them that had so haunted his nightmares.  He began to back away as the God advanced, wildly swinging the torch like a club.  With each jump, Peter winced, the jerking of his body shooting pain throughout his chest from his broken ribs.

“Peter,”  Through the pain, he heard Amy’s voice and he started to shift his position so he was close to her.  He wanted to turn and run, but knew that he was the only thing that was keeping this mad man from destroying the rest of his friends, from killing Amy, and his child.  “Here,” he heard her call, and through the sweat that coated his brow and ran down into his eyes, he saw Amy’s blade fly before him.  He reached out and managed to grab it’s long handle bringing it close to him and in line with the next of Tartarus’s thrusts.  He stopped his retreat, gasping for air as he was, and swung the blade in a tight figure eight, judging it’s balance as he blocked the next thrust of the torch.

Peter began to circle again, keeping his foe’s useless left arm between them.  He hacked at it a couple of times, scoring small slashes, but they did not bleed.  He tried a feint, his blade darting in, and Tartarus swatted at his blade furiously.  Peter stepped in behind the unwieldy parry and grabbed ahold of the machete still lodged in Tartarus’ shoulder.  The God snorted in rage as Peter planted a foot on his chest and kicked with all of the force he could muster, sending them to fall on their backsides in opposite directions, the blade finally slid free from the bone.  

Peter recovered quicker, and was upon Tartarus before the God had even managed to stand up.  Tartarus swung the torch at Peter slowly, the blood loss finally beginning to take it’s toll.  Peter managed to stop the torch with Amy’s blade and used the recovered machete to split the wood in two and completely severing the Gods wrist.  

The flames within Graham’s eyes flickered for a minute as he tried to shift to one of his nearby Others, but something blocked him.  He managed to turn his head to peer at Charon and confirm his suspicions that Nyx was gone, before Peter’s blade bit deep into his neck, and the flames went out for good.

1 comment:

archnemesis_goldenhair said...

I was wrong. It was Nyx, not Murphy. Which we haven't heard anything from her in a while.
But yay! Graham is dead!
Well written fight, there are a few spots here and there that required a second reading for me, but that could also be just me.
Looking forward to what comes next.

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