Living Weapons - Part 20

I chopped down with a heavy sideways blow, catching the lead Goblin through the side. The magical blade cut right through the poorly-armored Goblin, embedding itself in the side of his ally. I pulled sharply, a whirl of blood draining from both stricken enemies. The other two screamed and turned to flee. I extended my hand, touching the book. I activated 'Firebolt', a small ball of fire splashed against their fleeing backs. Their skin smoked and bubbled, they screamed in terror and pain as they died. I reached into the shield, activating two spells, 'Ironflesh'—a spell that made your skin strong enough to stop regular steel—and 'Lion's Heart'—buffing my courage and defense against terror attacks.

The Goblins turned their column towards the commotion, holding ranks. Still in my cloak, I decided to try and sneak along the side of the formation.

"Let me drink their blood, Henry! There are so many bloodbags!"

I thought about throwing the damned sword away, but instead turned towards the main force of enemies. The Shaman I had noted before held a staff, waving it about. A dark wave of force expanded out from him. I raised my shield, activating a defense against magic. I felt the cloak I wore crumbling into dust around me. I was now completely visible, and totally exposed to the bulk of the Goblin forces.

"That's the one who ambushed our raiding party! He assisted Gitlog in his betrayal!" screamed the Shaman.

From the back of the force, the giant in black pushed his way through the the front, taking me in with a dismissive glare.

"This runt? I don't have time for this. Kill him," said the giant.

That's all it took. The horde of Goblins surged forward, the Shaman staying behind, casting another spell. I raised my hand and closed my eyes, casting 'Flash of Light'. A wave of darkness expanded outwards, muting what would normally be an incredible burst of light into little more than that of a torch. I swore, ducking a wild arrow which had nearly stuck me.

"Bastards!" I screamed, charging. I lengthened the sword, swinging it in a great arc through the first line of Goblins. They parted like wheat before the scythe. The shield jerked forward, catching a heavy blow from an ax. I flicked the sword in riposte, catching the Goblin in the throat. Blood sprayed into the sword from all directions, looking like a vortex of viscera with me at its center. I fell backwards, fighting as I did, keeping the Goblins from surrounding me. I raised the shield to block an incoming spear point, I felt a lancing pain in my thigh, where an arrow had firmly lodged itself. I quickly flicked the sword down, cutting the arrow shaft near to the skin, I didn't want the shaft shaking as I moved, tearing my flesh and causing more bleeding. I found better ground, a place where the cave narrowed enough that I was fighting no more than seven at any time. I held up my shield, hand exposed. I selected 'Firestorm', one of my more powerful spells. Fire blazed out in a swirling vortex, catching some two dozen Goblins, burning them into cinders. Hand still raised, I followed it up with a 'Fireball', aimed at the main body of the enemy which hadn't followed. To my surprise, a globe of pitch black nothingness surrounded the ball of flame, snuffing it out. I then spotted the Shaman, his staff now drooping with exertion.

Two large Goblins pushed their way to the front; they were of a similar size to Gitlog, but obviously not as well-armed. I heard sounds of fighting from further down the tunnel, choosing to ignore it until it became a threat. The one on the left held a large maul, made from the same black steel which armored the giant. The one on the right held a halberd of the same material.

"Careful, they're both Chiefs. Not as strong as Gitlog, but strong enough," said Vellen.

"I get to bleed two Chiefs? Gods bless you, Henry," said the sword, voice swelling with anticipation.

"Wait, is the other one a Lord?" I asked.

"Yes, Henry. Stay away from him if possible. Alone, you might take him. Wounded, there is little chance."

I nodded to myself, leveling the sword at the two Chiefs. Experimentally, I raised the sword to greet the both of them. They merely laughed, spreading out as they approached.

"Not an honorable duel, then?" I asked. "Fine by me."

I reached into the pouch, pulling out a phial. I closed my eyes, slamming it against the ground. A light like the sun lit the cavern. I saw the Shaman attempting to counter it, but no magic had been used, as the phial contained phosphorus, an alchemical agent. I charged, my eyes still firmly shut. I hacked down at the Chief holding the halberd. To my surprise, he stopped screaming in pain and caught the blow on his weapon. I dodged as he swung the bladed pole-arm around with huge force. Still, I was forced to catch the blow on my shield. I felt a sundering ability activate, but Vellen shrugged it off as though it hadn't happened. I raised a hand to the Goblins face, casting 'Lightning Bolt'. A white bolt of electricity arced through the Chief, stunning him. Just as I swung the blade around to sever his head, Vellen jerked to the side, catching the full brunt of the maul. I was thrown to the side, smashing through a stalagmite. The Goblin charged me, swinging his maul around his head and roaring. In desperation, I threw the sword with all my might, aiming directly at the charging Chief. He tried to deflect the sword and missed. It impaled itself through his sternum. He dropped to the ground, armor grinding against the stone floor.

The second Chief recovered, approaching me warily. He stopped next to his fallen companion, then smiled wickedly. He dropped the maul he'd been holding, seizing the grip of my sword. He pulled the blade from the body, waving it menacingly at me as he walked ever closer. I smiled as he came within striking distance.

"You've made a huge mistake, friend," I said, laughter on the edge of my tone.

He looked momentarily confused, then in excruciating pain. Blades erupted from the pommel of the sword, skewering the hand of the soon-to-be-dead Chief. He screamed as his blood drained away into the sword, his body deflating like a punctured balloon. I walked up to the now-much-smaller body, prying the sword from the hand of the would-be thief.

"You know, I was pretty pissed when you threw me, but that was fucking awesome. Can you stick me in the other one? I didn't drain him completely yet."

I stabbed the sword into the other Chief, allowing it to drain what little remained of its blood. I could see the small army recoil from the sight of two Chiefs being killed. I took advantage of the pause in battle and drank one of my last health potions. With a quick yank, I pulled out the arrowhead from my thigh. I felt the flesh knitting together and some small strength returning to my arms.

The sound of booming laughter filled the cavern, accompanied by the sound of titanic clapping. The ebony giant stepped forward, walking closer to where I now stood.

"You're pretty good for a Human. What say we have a bit of fun?" he asked in a voice like an avalanche.

I pulled the sword from the Chief's corpse, raising it in greeting to the Goblin Lord. "What's your name?" I asked.

The giant boomed with laughter, raising both of his great war-axes in salute. "I'm Lord Blacksteel. You are?"

"I'm Henry, just Henry, of the Living Weapons."

The giant stopped laughing, his manner growing deadly serious. "I ought to have known by the violence you've wrought. I look forward to killing one of your kind," his voice was a deadly growl.

I took my back away from the wall, giving myself room to maneuver. Blacksteel edged his way around me, his axes at the ready. I was the first to charge, I cursed at the pain in my leg, slowing me minutely. To my surprise, the giant moved like a viper, striking with both axes as I neared him. I blocked one blow on the shield, using the force of the blow to roll away. I raised my hand, casting 'Firebolt'. A glob of darkness snuffed out the bolt before it could make contact. Blacksteel stopped, straightening out and dropping his axes.

"If the Shaman interferes again, cut his fucking throat!" Blacksteel's roar nearly shook the cavern. He turned his head towards me. "This is our fight. Do your best to survive."

I barely got my guard back up before an ax again smashed into Vellen. The shield activated a magical barrier, stopping the sundering ability which fired.

I used the surprise of the barrier to send a vertical slash up through Blacksteel's guard. The sword gouged a deep slice into the night-black armor—but didn't penetrate. Blacksteel leaped back, raising his guard.

"Good! Show me why they call you humanity's reapers!" He boomed another massive laugh. I spat blood, having bit my cheek during the conflict.

"I have a plan," whispered the boots.

"What is it?" I asked.

"When he next attacks, don't block. Just swing with all your strength."

"Alright," I replied.

The giant charged, moving faster than near anyone I had fought. He swung both of his twin axes down in a cross strike. Instead of blocking, I swung with all of my strength activating 'Sunder' as an extra precaution. 'Shadow Walk', I felt the ability trigger, time slowed to a crawl, I shifted from where I had been, now standing behind the Lord. Time reasserted itself, the blade cleaved into the back of Blacksteel. This time, I was rewarded with a large chunck of the armor cracking, a thin line of blood spraying from a small wound.

I barely ducked the counter, narrowly escaping decapitation. The second ax whirled my way again, I blocked the blow and tumbled more than four meters. Blacksteel was upon me again, twin axes striking down in a flurry of lighting blows. My shield and sword were a whirl, blocking every mad slash. My arms burned with exertion, my mana nearly depleted by the use of magic before.

" Boots?" I said, between heavy breaths.

"No, Henry! I'm sorry!"

I rolled away from Blacksteel as he finally slowed his onslaught. I pulled a small strip of Dragon skin from my rucksack, hurriedly flicking the book open to one of the final pages I had bookmarked. I raised my hand to Blacksteel as he rushed me, aiming to hit me with a final blow.

"No Henry! You might die if you cast that spell!" cried the book.

'Dragon's Fury'. The spell resolved, my hand merely a half meter from the charging mountain of steel. A flame exploded forth from my hand, taking the shape of a brilliant, serpentine Dragon. It bit down on the shoulder of Blacksteel, wrapping itself around the behemoth's body. He screamed in rage and pain, dropping his axes in his struggle. I felt my eyes blurring at the edges; the sight of Blacksteel collapsing was the last thing I saw before vision faded away.

I lost consciousness.

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