Chapter 63 = The beginning or the end?
Disclaimer: Although all characters here are of my own invention, the original idea of Yoshies, Birdos, etcetera, are copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
“I don’t believe this!” Darkmark screamed, during a break in his stream of expletives. “We came all this way, all the way from Yoshi’s Island, and he’s not here!”
“This is the right place, I’m sure…”
“It has to be. It just has to be!” Darkmark shouted again, his voice reaching a sudden high pitch just like Klashkna’s did. “We heard it from the elves; the castle near Sansata. There aren’t any other castles for miles around! This has to be it!”
He tried to become silent, but his anger overcame him and he furiously kicked out at the nearest table, breaking it in half and sending everything on top of it flying. “He has to be here. He has to be!”
“Calm down, okay?” Manny urged, stepping forwards and stopping in front of the window, looking out into the distance. It had started to rain, and the sky was getting ever darker. “He can’t be far. If there are any stairs here, they’ll only lead to the roof, and he’s not going to be up there, I imagine. He has to be here somewhere…”
Darkmark walked over to the far end of the room, before putting his hands out on the wall and sighing loudly. “I was so close… so close…”
Manny turned around and took a step forwards. “Hey, are you okay?” he asked. “Your wings are still there.”
“Yeah, I know.” Darkmark replied. “I’ll dispel them in a moment, but going through that door really took a lot out of me… I can still feel some of the magic prickling at me, stopping me from using my psionics…”
He turned around again as Manny started to talk. “Look, Darkmark, this is the right place… it has to be, right? Like you said, this is the only castle for-”
It happened in a flash. Suddenly, there was a cloud of smoke just behind the blue Yoshi, and a burly arm grabbed Manny around the neck and held him in a choking grip. The smoke cleared to reveal a male human a little taller than Manny, cloaked in dark grey wizard robes and holding a wand in his left hand. His black hair was ragged and his eyes were dark, soulless pits, and curving out over his bottom lip were two sharp fangs, a small part of a cruel, twisted smile…
Darkmark had no time to react. Foryo aimed his wand straight at the brown Yoshi and shouted in a deep voice, “Nothana Thalutha!” causing a bolt of black energy to shoot from the tip of the wand and strike Darkmark on the chest. There was a sudden rush of both magic and psionic energy across his body, setting his nerve endings alight and making him fall to the ground, roaring in agony as the energy coursed across his body…
The sight of Darkmark falling to the floor as jolts of purple and green energy surged across his brown and white skin was the last thing that Manny saw. With one adversary eliminated, Foryo took the opportunity and stunned the blue Yoshi with a paralysis spell, before holding him with one hand and sinking his fangs into Manny’s neck. Unable to cry out, Manny felt them pierce his skin and some toxin enter his body, spreading quickly to his brain and sending him into a deep, eternal loss of consciousness…
By the time the combined energies had stopped flooding across Darkmark’s body, it was too late for him to save his friend. He found that he could no longer feel the mental strain induced by his wings, but that they were still there and he couldn’t dispel them at all, as Foryo dropped Manny’s body down to the floor while Darkmark got to his knees. He felt oddly cold, and a sudden crushing weight hung on Darkmark’s heart at the sight of his friend… his only remaining friend… dead at the hands of the one who had already been the cause of so much of his suffering…
Darkmark leapt to his feet and pulled Karlo-Shin’s sword out of its sheath, the pale glow around the blade having become a bright, intense light. Foryo hissed loudly at this and stepped back, but Darkmark ran forwards with a loud cry of rage, taking a wild swing at his target and missing as a result. This gave Foryo enough time to run over and retrieve his own sword from the pile of objects knocked off the table, holding it up quickly to deflect a strike from Darkmark. He made his own counter-slash, cutting only thin air as Darkmark moved out of the way, before retreating from the brown Yoshi’s broad cuts with the enchanted weapon. Far enough away to avoid being hurt, he cast the shield spell on himself with a loud cry of “Olasta Phyisca!”, holding the shimmering semi-spherical shield in front of his body to knock away an attack from Darkmark.
Making a charge with the shield, he pushed Darkmark back into the wall, smirking in a self-satisfied manner until Darkmark swung the sword back through a full circle, cutting through the stone bricks - as though they didn’t exist - with his enchanted blade. The tip of the sword only barely missed Foryo’s arm, and the wizard stepped back rapidly again as Darkmark freed his arm and made a thrust with the silver weapon, running through an open section of wall at the back of the room.
Realising immediately that it was merely an illusion, Darkmark ran carelessly through the false wall and up a small set of spiral stairs, finding himself on the roof of the tower at the top of them. Foryo was already standing at the far end, waiting for him, ignoring the rain pelting off his robes and wetting his hair down, holding his magical shield ready and his sword in front of him.
“So, you are the one my master told me to kill… such a pity that you somehow survived. He need not know that you lived, for I shall kill you here!”
“Vile human!” Darkmark retorted, “You deserve to die a thousand deaths for what you have done. You murdered over a hundred innocent Yoshies in a single day, and I dare not think what other atrocities you have committed on this world. You filthy humans are a plague upon the lands, and I shall begin the cleansing of our world here today with your destruction… I may not finish it, but it is my destiny, and the destiny of my descendants, to carry on that crusade until every last one of you has been killed! For I am a saviour, a bringer of light to the lands and my people, and in the names of all the gods and saviours I shall kill you this day, lest you cause more pain and suffering to me and my race!”
He ran forwards with a roar of “Bey nálíarraín!”, For Vengeance!, taking another broad slash at the human wizard, but his opponent managed to raise his sword in time to block the attack, making a stab of his own for Darkmark. The tip passed over Darkmark’s shoulder harmlessly, and the winged brown Yoshi ducked off to one side as Foryo brought the blade downwards. Coming back again, Darkmark made a broad vertical slash that the wizard blocked on his shield, before swinging his arm around and throwing the shield at Darkmark, knocking him over the edge of the tower. He plunged downwards but managed to spread his wings and soar skywards, flapping his wings furiously to gain altitude, rising back up to the tower roof to find Foryo ready and waiting.
The wizard fired off another spell that Darkmark couldn’t hear in the heavy rain, but a blazing jet of red light flew past the side of his head, and as he landed on the stone roof he saw Foryo preparing to cast it again, and he quickly readied a charge of psionic energy upon his hands.
As the red light shot towards him, he swung his arm in a broad, horizontal arc, leaving a trail of psionic energy in the path of his hand, and as the red light struck it both it and the energy dissipated harmlessly, returning to the ether surrounding them. Looking up, Darkmark saw Foryo cast the spell once again, and with a heavy charge of energy in his hands he sidestepped out of the way, before raising his arm and snagging the spell in a web of energy.
For a moment, Darkmark stood there with the purple psionic energy holding the spell still, before he threw both the magic spell and the psionic energy containing it back at the caster. The energy dissipated harmlessly, but the spell struck Foryo’s chest with a bright flash, knocking him back a step, but his back pressed up against the flagpole, saving him from the fall.
“You can’t kill someone who’s already dead!” he cried triumphantly, standing straight again and raising his wand once more, but just as he did so, Darkmark touched two fingers to his temple and increased his reflexes as he had done before, copying the way Tsi-Lau had done it. Foryo swirled the tip in a circle, distorting the air in front of him until a barrage of fireballs shot out from the space, aimed straight for Darkmark. At the same time, the brown Yoshi ran forwards, and used his increased reflexes to move out of the way of the fireballs, or knock them aside with his sword. They became more frequent as he neared, and he leapt up and into the air, coming down at Foryo with the point of the sword aimed for the human’s chest, but he ducked away at the last moment and narrowly avoided the Darkmark’ blade.
Darkmark cast a quick enchantment mirroring another one he had seen Tsi-Lau perform, back when she was Xenly, and several false images of himself fanned out, surrounding Foryo in a circle. He started to run in circles around the trapped wizard, as did the false images, before suddenly changing his course and running straight for the human. The edge of Karlo-Shin’s sword found only the cloak of the dodging wizard as the false Darkmarks vanished, slicing a large shred off of the wool as its owner barely escaped destruction once more.
Quickly, intent on not giving Foryo time to react or cast a spell, Darkmark leapt up into the air and brought his feet down, performing a powerful double kick on the wizard’s chest that knocked him back and sent him teetering over the edge of the tower. Attempting to finish what he had started, Darkmark ran forwards and made a leaping slash, landing precariously on the edge of the flat roof as his quarry rolled off to the side. By the time he had turned around, Foryo was casting another spell, but Darkmark had a trick of his own to use…
Just as Foryo cast the spell and sent a bolt of green energy heading for Darkmark, the brown Yoshi held the sword level and threw it with perfect accuracy and incredible speed for the wizard, the blade remaining horizontal as it travelled through the air. The tip pierced Foryo’s armour and jammed all the way up to the handle into his body, sticking out through his back, and the blade began to shine brightly as the enchantment took effect. At the same time, the spell collided with Darkmark and sent him reeling, sprawled in a sitting position against the wall to watch what happened next as he felt his strength sap away…
As though he were a lit piece of paper, a bright light began to spread out from the sword, burning through Foryo’s body steadily with a bright white flame. He gave an agonising shout as the process continued, consuming all of his form, and his dying yell lingered in the air for a moment after the last of his body burned away, leaving only the sword and his wand hovering in mid-air, before they fell to the roof harmlessly.
Only an unnervingly cold wind remained, and it took all of Darkmark’s strength to heave himself up and stagger over to the sword, picking it up and feebly using it to cut Foryo’s wand in half. He then fell to his knees, trying to support his weight on the sword as the rain pounded on his skin and lightning flashed in the distance, feeling his consciousness slip away.
“I… I did it…” he gasped, trying to smile. “A-… Alziana… I did it… but it… cost me everything…”
He fell onto his front and whispered, “I hope that… you will… be proud of me…”
His eyelids closed, and he managed to whisper a barely audible question to himself, happy at last that he had avenged all the deaths that had plagued him…
“Háy mó… tíka ka míyeva…?”
Is this… where I die…?
To be continued…