The Story Of Magus Chapter 13
MAGUS! Part 1
Janus went through the next series of motions before shouting, "Fireball!" Another knight went down in a blazing heap. The combination of fear, exhileration, and weariness from all the spell-casting was beginning to catch up to him. Stumbling out of the main portion of the battle, he found a reletively quiet spot where he could view the bloodied streets of Truce as well as stay out of the fighting. He winced from minor wounds as he sat down. He leaned his back against the railing of a porch that belonged to the burnt-out shell of a house he had destroyed moments earlier. In the moment of quiet, he took the opportunity to reflect on the battle.
The first opening attack was simple yet deadly. Flea and her Sorcerors had used wind power to toss the Rolly Bombers into the air. They had come down on the rooftops with magical accuracy, blowing them up as easily as one could snap a twig. The explosions drove the populace of Truce into the streets to see what was going on. After that, had it become the biggest blood-bath Janus would ever seen in his life.
The Mystics fell upon the Humans with brural force. Swords, axes, whatever weapons they used found their way into living bodies. He had watched with horror as a Brock casualy lopped the head off of a helplessly terrified victim. Yattler and his team of archers shot barrages of their missles into the sky and danced with glee as men, women, and children fell to the dust, their bodies looking like grotesque pin-cushions. FrazzelC'ur led his Grimalkins into the fray with all the light-heartedness of cold-blooded killers. Flea and her magic-users had took great delight in their work. They didn't seek to kill their victims, they maimed them beyond recognition and left them alive in agony and humiliation. They toyed with the humans, allowing them the chance to escape before tormenting them. Flea had gotten a pretty young girl cornered against the side of the Truce Inn. The young thing had been trembling and whimpering in fear. It tore Janus' normaly indifferent heart to see her suffering in such a manner.
"Oh, looky here! What a cute little bug I've found!," Flea had laughed wickedly. "Not as pretty as my boys like their girls though." Her hand suddenly flashed and razor-sharp ice crystals flew towards the girl. "Maybe these jim-dandies will pretty her up a bit!" Janus heard the unfortunate girl scream in anguish again and again as Flea laughed and tossed her magic-created weapons at her. "I grow tired of this game," Flea yawned finally. She looked over her shoulder to Brock and his group. "Boys, she's all yours." Janus caught a glimpse of the girl before the Henches closed in on her, their leers so terrifying that even Flea had to look away. The girl no longer had a face to speak of, Flea had damaged her so badly. Hopefully, the Henches wouldn't torture her too long before she died from their sport. The best thing would have to done a mercy killing.
Janus felt no love for the humans but this slaughter of innocents was something he would not participate in if he could help it. "I'll kill you, you murdering scum!," a man had shouted, his eyes awash with madness. "You butchered my whole family! I'm going to see you die like they did!" In his hands was a common picthfork, his only weapon that he expected to use against magic as well as sword.
"No, you are mistaken. I didn't kill your family. I am not responsible for their deaths," the youth had said quietly. The peasant had shook his head in denial.
"You're one of them! You're a Mystic! It doesn't matter! You all need to die to avenge the wrongs you've commited!" Howling his grief, the man lunged at the young sorceror. In a flash, Janus had his sword out and swung it in a shining arch, his new cloak billowing around him. The pitchfork fell from nervless fingers as the ground became wet with a spreading red stain. That was the first time Janus had killed. He had stared down at the corpse and felt his stomach do a heave. Stumbling back, he had turned his back on the body and clasped a hand over his mouth. His glove was warm and wet. With bulging eyes he'd looked at the blood on his hand and franticaly began rubbing his mouth on his cloak hem. Try as he might, the feeling of stickiness and the coppery tang to the air wouldn't leave him.
A shuddering sob escaped his throat. Dropping his sword, he sank down next to the corpse of the man he'd slain. Wrapping his arms around his knees, he rocked from side to side, crying his heart out, begging forgiveness from whatever diety might be listening. A gut-wrenching pain lashed through him and for a second, he had thought he'd been run through by a blade. Instead, sweat broke out on his forhead as the Black Wind shrieked acrossed the smoking town of Truce, mingling with the screams of the dying. The sun itself had hid from the sound, gathering dark clouds to hide it's light from the doomed villagers. A dense ground fog rolled in and in it's smokiness, the Black Wind had conjoured images of spectres and demons, all laughing in malicious glee.
Janus! You belong to ME, Janus....Janus! You belong to ME, Janus....
"NOOOOO!," He cried out, the sound tearing from his throat. "Leave me alone! You are not my master! I am the master of my fate! You do not controll me!!! I will not be ruled by the darkness!!!"
"Janus! Get ahold of yourself!"
"Noooo!," he moaned. A pair of hands grabbed him, trying to pull him towards the inky abyss, towards Lavos and the Black Wind. He had to fight, fight with all his strength! "Schala! Schala I need you!" A sharp slap acrossed the face brought him back to his senses. "Wha...?" He had gaped at the hand holding him. It was strong, black, and feathered. Raising his head, he'd found himself staring into a pair of bright black eyes.
"You ok, Janus?," GrabbleDrek had asked anxiously. He'd been ordered by Ozzie to keep Janus alive at all costs and then the stupid human had almost gone into fits. Janus had pointed a shaking finger at the corpse.
"I k-killed him. He was going to kill me and I...I...Oh, god!," his head sank into his hands, then he'd recoiled when he remembered the blood on them. "I didn't want to but he was-"
"He was going to kill you," Drek had finished for him in a sneering voice. "What did you expect? This isn't just some sort of game, Janus. This is real life. This is a war. People are going to get hurt and are going to die. If you're going to run with this crowd, you'd better get used to having blood on your hands." He thrust the hilt of the youth's forgotten sword into his limp fingers. "Now take your weapon and do what you were meant to do here."
"You mean kill?," Janus demanded sharply. Drek leaned close untill his pointed beak was only inches from the youth's face. One feathered hand had gripped his chin tightly and kept it from moving away.
"I mean to butcher, slaughter, slay, maul, mutilate and whatever else comes to mind untill you drop dead or they do. You are a Mystic now, not some cowardly human, and you better damn well start acting like it!"
Janus had angrily slapped Drek's hand away, gripping his sword hilt tightly and scrambling to his feet. His imposing six foot hight had towered over the five foot tall Owtlaw, but the spy didn't give ground to him. "Don't ever touch me again!," he had hissed in a deadly whisper. GrabbelDrek leered at him evily.
"Then do your job and I won't have to. But fail to live up to my expectations, and it will be..." Here he drew one finger acrossed his throat in a swift cutting motion. "And just to make sure you stay in line, I think I'll keep this little knick-knack for a while." With a lightning quick motion, Drek made a chopping action with his hand at the former prince's neck. Janus had jumped back, but not soon enough. One hand went to his throat while the other sliced the air with his sword. The weapon went wide, however, and missed it's mark. But when his fingers met unblemished skin, he had stared at Drek, puzzled for an instant. And then he saw that flash of gold and platinum shining from Drek's hand. It was the medallion Schala had given him!
"Give it back! GIVE IT BACK!," he had screamed, lunging and swinging his sword wildly. The spy had only laughed and danced out of harms way.
"You'll get this back depending on your behavior out here. Untill then, I think I'll wear this pretty little trinket." Before Janus could make another move, one hand had slipped the talisman over his neck while the other tossed down a smoke pellet. Oily green-grey smoke made Janus retreat a few steps, choking and gagging. Drek's cruel laughter still echoed in his ears.
An inarticualte scream of rage welled up from his throat. "Damit!," he had shouted, his normaly pale face red with fury. "If he wants to see blood flow, so be it! The streets will run red with my vengance before I'm through!" Janus then unhooked his cloak and turned it to the reverse side which was a chilling bright crimson. Tossing it over his shoulders, he re-hooked the clip. The sounds of battle still echoed in the air around him, though not in the near vacinity. Silently, like the spectre of death himself, he had walked through the town towards the fighting. If he trod upon the broken bodies of Mystics or their victims, he was not slowed. Turning the corner he saw Flea and the rest of the army fending off an onslaught of knights.
"Yattler! Where is that thrice-cursed bird-brain?!," Flea was shouting, alternating her magical attacks from her signature fire kisses to her Waltz of Wind and a few of her less powerfull ice attacks. Beside her, FrazzelC'ur was having surprising luck defending himself against fully armored knights. Apparantly, it was eaier to move without the bulk of platemail.
"Old bird-brain has bit the dust! Pretty soon, so will us!," Frazzel had rhymed above the din, dilivering a mighty blow to a soldier's unprotected throat. There had been a vile crunching sound and the man fell over, his neck broken. Brock was fending off three knights easily with his battle-axe. His large girth made him a formidable opponant.
"This is for the glory of the Mystics!," Janus had shouted at the top of his lungs. For the space of a heartbeat, all heads had turned to him. He moved among them with cold precision. He was no master swordsman, but more then once his blade found it's mark. Those he couldn't defeat with a weapon, he blasted with a magical attack. Gradually his fire spells and lightning spells gave way to raw, dark energy. Subconciously he harnessed the power of his anger and hatred, transforming it into blazing balls of crackling power. The dark energy was strong but they were very draining on his reserves of strength, both mentaly and physicaly.
And that brings me to now, Janus concluded in his mind as he wrapped up the summary. The knights were being forced back and the Mystics were cheering loudly at their victories. A shadow fell over him. It was Flea. Her face was grimy and sweat-streaked. Her normaly spotless attire was torn in places, stained with red and green blood, hers and human's, and covered with all manner of filth. Her hair was singed and sticking up in all directions, and yet she seemed unconcerned for once on her appearance. A wide smile spread acrossed her face as she joined Janus on the step.
"Not bad for small skirmish, I'd say," she laughed, punching her grim companion's arm. Janus rubbed the spot she'd hit as it started to sting. Trust Flea to land a punch on a bruise.
"Small skirmish?," he repeated incrediously. "How did the knights get involved? I thought we werent going to bring them into this!"
"You call those clowns knights? You must be daffy! Those were only the sword fodder, the front-line, the soldiers."
"So, you mean I've been thinking of them as knights this whole time and I've been wrong?"
"Well, there were a few full fledged knights along in there, but they were few and far between."
"How did they show up anyway? It's not like you didn't have people there to keep them away," Janus growled. Now that his raw, unbridled emotions were ebbing, he found he had developed a rather splitting head-ache. Flea scratched her chin, heedless of the dirt that was scraped off under her nails.
"It was that idiot Yattler. I knew he was bad luck. He couldn't lead a team to save his life!" Seeing Janus starting to open his mouth to prompt the whole story, Flea sighed. "I think one of the few knights we fought managed to get passed Yattler and his troops and report back to the castle. The soldiers were sent to put us down. That must have been the move of the Chancellor or the King," she mused.
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, first of all, sending pitifully weak opponants to stop us is like building a wall of twigs to stand against a hurricane. It's obvious to a trained tactician, such as myself, that it wasn't the move of a skilled strategist. My only question is, should we fully demolish this town or let some people live to spread the tale to the knights when they show up."
"What makes you think anyone will show up anytime soon?"
"Being the brilliant field commander that I am, I decided to let the last handfull of soldiers head back over to the castle to call for reinforcements."
"And what good will that do?," Janus inquired. Flea smiled and pointed. The young man turned his head to look. A large group of men in armor were racing towards the town. As Flea had described, these men looked much different then the soldiers. Their armor was more full and brightly polished. Their capes flapped in the hot, smoky wind like the wings of avenging angels. Flea slapped Janus on the back and stood up.
"Well, half-time is over and it's time to get back to buisness. See you later, Janus," she waved. Then over her shoulder she added ominously, "If you survive that is." Janus watched as she ran screaming like a mad-woman into the new battle and raised a slender eyebrow after her. Trust the Mystic magician to do things with as little dignity or honor as she could. Then he snorted in derision. As if I'm any better, he thought bitterly.
The fight was in full swing in such a short time. Apparently, the knights had much more strength and skill then the soldiers their army had fought earlier. Unlike them, these men could dice a Mystic up by double-teaming them with moves Janus had come to refer to as X-Strikes, because that's what they looked like. Some could use weak tech spells like Fire or Ice. No Lightning spells were used, the young man noted. He guessed it was probably because of all the armor they were wearing. Since metal was a good conducer for electric energy, it probably wouldn't be wise to fool around with magic that could fry you along with your enemies. Janus was actually rather proud that he remembered that tid-bit of knowledge from one of Flea's lessons. The battle was starting to move his way and he doubted if he could remain apart from the fighting much longer. Though his limbs were aching with fatigue and cuts, he dragged himself to his feet.
"Death to all Mystics!"
Turning, he saw a knight standing before him. From what he could tell of the man, Janus surmised they were around the same age. He was slightly shorter then Janus, but he held himself with all the stiff formality that he had come to expect from a knight. His sword-arm didn't falter as he realized he had captured his target's attention.
"What did you say?," Janus inquired, not bothering to raise his own weapon.
"I said, death to all Mystics, and that means you!"
"What's that I hear?," Janus asked suddenly, cocking his head. "Yes, yes I do believe it is the sound of your mother calling you. You'd better go home and see what she wants." The young knight went purple with rage.
"You'll die for that insult!," he growled. Janus started to turn his back on him.
He heard the sound of the blade whistle as it came down as well as a flash of movement, giving Janus the inclination to drop and roll out of harms way. As he came around to face the youth who had the audacity to attack him, he felt a warm wetness soaking his shirt. Looking down, he saw a rather deep cut acrossed his shoulder. His eyes slowly travled from the wound to his opponant.
"Now you know that I mean buisness," the young knight hissed. Janus smiled grimly as he staggered to his feet. The new wound throbbed unmercifully as he adjusted his grip on the sword.
"Bad move. You should have ran when you had the chance!" Janus sprang into the air, slicing down with his sword. The knight scrambled out of the way barely in the nick of time. Before he could recover, Janus slammed into him, knocking them both over. Though the move winded the knight, the young magician hadn't counted on his shoulder giving him problems. The pain wrenched a low cry from his throat and as such, he wasn't able to maintain a solid grip on his sword. His hand reflexively dropped the weapon and clutched at the bloody cut. The knight was coughing, trying to get some air into his lungs. Releasing his shoulder, Janus picked up his sword and placed the point against the knight's chest, directly over his heart.
"Now you die!," he grated. The knight looked into Janus' eyes and swallowed hard. He saw all of his short life flashing past his eyes and coming to a sudden halt at the end of ths Mystic's sword point. At first, it looked as if he were going to cry, but then he sucked up his courage and thrust his chin out arrogantly, determined to be a knight till the end. Janus drew back his arm for the final thrust...and found himself in reletively the same possition as his victim.
A sword tip had decided to poke him painfully in the back. "Get up, foul villian! Fight someone who hast the skill to match your wickedness with his own honor!" Slowly, Janus rose to his feet, letting his sword hang limply in his grasp. A rough hand grabbed his shoulder and spun him around. A startled gasp escaped his throat as he found himself starring right into the face of the man he'd hated for the past eight years. It was none other, then Sir Cedrick.