Birdcage

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 15 (v.1) - Chapter XV - Stone or: the battle with the rock monster

Submitted: September 10, 2019

Reads: 12

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Submitted: September 10, 2019

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When I saw Jericho Darkholme’s eyes, a fire roared to life within my heart. Years of anger came flooding back at once, flowing through my veins and strengthening my muscles. I threw away the telescope and pulled my sword from the cliffside. The fight I’d been dreaming of for so long was finally upon me.

 

Cross leaned down over the cliff and called out to me. “Ernest, get out of the village while you still can,” he shouted. “We’ll regroup at the fence and come up with a strategy.”

 

I ignored Cross’s order and sprinted deeper into Stonecage. I charged at Darkholme, sword in hand, and brought it down on the dark mage. Darkholme simply dodged and blasted me with lightning, knocking me away. “Surprised that there are still Knights in this town,” Darkholme said. “I figured you guys would have ran away by now.”

 

Darkholme walked over to the rubble of an abandoned house, humming as he carved runes. “You’re Jericho Darkholme,” I mumbled as I crawled back to my feet.

 

“The one and only,” he said, still preoccupied with his runes.

 

I grabbed my sword and pointed it at him. “I have waited for this day for longer than you can imagine,” I said.

 

“Let me guess, you’ve been waiting for ten years?” Darkholme joked.

 

“Shut up!” I said as I charged at him.

 

Darkholme blasted me again. “Listen, kid,” he said as I crumpled to my knees, “You aren’t the first revenge seeking brat I’ve met, and you certainly won’t be the last. Leave now and I might let you live. Emphasis on might.”

 

I landed next to the bodies of the Knights killed by Darkholme. I opened my eyes to the face of a decayed man, remains of the Knight Darkholme drained. His skin and muscle had turned to dust, leaving only a skeleton.

 

I pulled myself to my feet and lunged at Darkholme. He struck me with another energy blast. “Okay, death it is,” he said.

 

Lightning swirled around Jericho’s arm, gathering in intensity and power. Jericho released the lightning upon me, sending a massive blast of dark energy at my injured body. The energy washed over me, surrounding my body. The ground beneath me burned away, leaving only the scent of death.

 

When the energy cleared, I was fine. The green scales produced by Cross’s Verse covered me, redirecting all damage. I turned around to see Squad V running to my aid.

 

Sterling fired an arrow as he ran, striking Darkholme in the shoulder. Cross placed his hands together and fired back the energy gathered protecting me. Darkholme jumped out of the way, dodging a blast that would have annihilated him.

 

Pollux helped me to my feet. “Tell me, did you hit your head when you fell down the cliff?” he asked. “Because the only reason I can think of to run into a massacre after being told to run away is severe brain damage.

 

“I mean, you guys came after me,” I said.

 

“I guess we’re all idiots then,” he said.

 

Sterling and Cross caught up, meeting up with the twins and I. The five of us stood shoulder to shoulder, facing Darkholme. He sighed and rubbed his temples. “Listen, I’m not really in the mood for this kind of thing,” he said. “Would you mind killing yourselves so I don’t have to waste time doing it myself?”

 

“Jericho Darkholme, by decree by his majesty Tasciovanus von Cieleta, we shall kill you, avenging the countless innocents slain by your machinations,” Cross said. “I do not know why you have come to this town on this day, but I do know that you shall not leave alive.”

 

“You see, this is why I hate Knights. Always with the big speeches. “Would it kill you to die quietly like normal people?”

 

Sterling fired another arrow and Cas fired an ice blast. Darkholme blocked both with his lightning. Pollux and I charged forward, weapons in hand, Cross’s scales protecting us. Darkholme fired his energy at us, to no avail. He dodged my sword swing, only to be stabbed in the gut by Pollux’s lance. I brought my sword down on his shoulder and Pollux punched him in the face.

 

Jericho stumbled back, clutching his side. The two of us locked eyes. “It’s over,” I said.

 

“Yeah, it is,” he said with a smile.

 

Suddenly, bony arms burst from the ground, wrapping around me and dragging me down. I screamed as the arms pulled me into the earth. I grabbed Pollux trying to pull myself free. Instead, I just pulled him down with me.

 

Using my incapacitation as a distraction, Darkholme fired his lightning at the Knight corpses, turning them to dust and draining their energy. He quickly finished carving his runes into the wall of the abandoned house. He placed his hand in the center of the runes and dark magic flowed through the rubble.

 

Pollux smacked me, bringing me back to my senses. “What is wrong with you?” he yelled.

 

I looked down. I was aboveground and the skeletal arms were gone. Before I could process this, I heard a rumbling coming from the rubble. I watched as violet energy washed over the abandoned stone house. The bricks shifted and bound together into the form of a large monster, twenty feet tall with skin made of stone.

 

“This has been nice, but I have more pressing matters to attend to,” Jericho said while walking away.

 

I ran after him and the rock monster stepped between us, blocking my path. It swung its fist down at me and I jumped back to avoid it. Sterling fired a few arrows at the monster, each of which bounced off without doing any damage.

 

“He’s getting away!” I shouted while dodging a kick from the monster.

 

“I’m well aware,” Cross shouted as he threw his lance, striking the monster in the chest.

 

The monster ripped the lance out and snapped it in two like a toothpick. It slammed its fist down next to me, almost crushing me. “We need to retreat,” Cross said.

 

“No!” I shouted. “We need to stop Darkholme!”

 

“Did you see what direction he ran in?” Cas said. “He was going north, the only things north of here are the mines and the mountains.”

 

“There’s probably a secret passage out of Stonecage,” Pollux chimed in while dodging a kick from the stone monster.

 

“Maybe he wants to destroy the mine before we can get to it,” Cas said.

 

“It doesn’t matter! The point is, we need to kill him while we have the chance!” I shouted.

 

I looked up at the rock monster. It separated me from Darkholme. Gritting my teeth, I charged at it, hoping to run through its legs. As it brought its fist down on me, two stone pillars burst from the ground blocking its arm. These pillars, creations of Sterling’s Verse, protected me long enough for me to run between the monster’s legs.

 

“What is he doing?” Pollux shouted.

 

“He’s trying to take out Darkholme by himself,” Cross said.

 

“That’s stupid! Why would he do that?”

 

“The why doesn’t matter, the fact is he’ll die if he tries to take on Darkholme alone. We need to defeat this thing and go save him.”

 

Pollux jumped out of the way of another kick. “There’s a slight problem with that plan,” he said. “Namely, the fact that there’s a giant rock monster standing in our way.”

 

The Squad heard a roaring coming from the southern side of the village. They turned to see Firebrand running towards them, propelling himself using his flames. Firebrand leaped over them and threw a large blast of fire at the monster’s chest. “What’s going on?” he asked.

 

“Jericho Darkholme is back and heading for the mine. Zuckerman went after him alone,” Cross said. “We can handle this, you go on ahead.”

 

“Got it,” Firebrand said.

 

Firebrand launched himself at the rock monster using his flames, passing through its chest using his Verse. He ran after Darkholme, leaving Squad V to deal with the rock monster. “Oh, that’s great, get rid of the powerful warrior as soon as he shows up,” Pollux said.

 

“This thing is made of rocks. And Sterling can reshape rocks,” Cas said. “If we can knock this thing down, Sterling’ll be able to destroy this thing easily, right?”

 

“That might work,” Sterling said.

 

Pollux sighed. “That isn’t the worst plan, I suppose,” he said.

 

Cas grabbed his pouch and channeled all of the powder into a single ice blast. The blast froze the monster’s leg in place. Pollux ran forward and shoulder bashed the frozen leg, sending the monster toppling over.

 

Sterling ran up and placed his hands on the rock monster’s leg. Cracks spread through the monster as Sterling used his Verse. The monster began to get up. “Get out of there, Sterling!” Cross shouted.

 

“Just a few more seconds and it’ll be gone,” Sterling said.

 

As he said that, the rock monster stood up. It kicked Sterling, sending him flying into an abandoned house. Fortunately, Cross’s Verse protected Sterling from the kick. Unfortunately, the Verse stopped working as soon as Sterling left Cross’s field of vision. Sterling crashed into a brick wall and passed out.

 

Cross ran after Sterling to make sure he was okay. The rock monster brought its fist down on Cross. Cross stood his ground and absorbed the energy of the blow. He fired it back at the rock monster, shattering it.

 

While all this was going on, I was still chasing after Darkholme. He entered the mine, disappearing deep into the dark tunnel into the mountain. I ran after him. As I stepped into the entrance of the mine, I noticed glowing runes on the walls. The runes exploded, collapsing the entrance of the tunnel and sealing me inside.


© Copyright 2019 Casey Jarmes. All rights reserved.

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