Malabar stood against the onslaught. He was surrounded by Seekers and alone. Damned demon-infested oafs. They were useless in a fight, especially one-on-one. Their belief in the demonic powers as their own was their madness.
He frowned. he could kill the human host. But the demon would be harder to destroy. Luckily, he owned an enchanted blade designed for just that. Destroying demons.
A seasoned swordsman, Malabar sized his enemies up. He sought the weakness in their defense, their armor. He noted each weakness as he drew his sword. They would likely guard their weaknesses well.
Fire erupted from his left hand, now balled in a fist. His right held his sword. With his left, he made a quick circular motion and flames swirled around him, separating human shells from the demons within. The smile returned to his face. Now this was a fight he could handle.
Soul Taker’s blade glowed in the presence of the demons that had just been ripped from their human host. The sword absorbed any evil it came into contact with whether demon or human soul and became more powerful.
Protected by a spell of protection, he was unconcerned with being injured by his opponents. Sure there would be pain, but he didn’t mind pain. He knew that his enemies didn’t stand a chance in Arbahnd’s seven hells of winning. He was just too much for them. Fifth years were never that good at ‘seeking’. They were not even good at fighting. They merely swarmed over their victims and hoped that they could overpower them.
With Malabar, that was an impossibility. After all, he was literally endowed with omniscience and foresight. He literally saw everything, even that which had yet to happen. No one could ever surprise him.
Yet, these demons had decided to pick a fight with him and he knew that he had no choice but to oblige them. He just wanted it to be done and over. He hated these meaningless and inescapable skirmishes. They solved nothing. Neither did the emperor’s attempts to consolidate his control of Austryn. Kyrzhad was wasting his time.
Soul Taker weaved a deadly arc around her wielder as flame and energy seared the air. Demons burst into flame, turning to ash as the sword came into contact with them. Malabar snorted in a mix of triumph and disgust.
“Not so powerful, are you?” he muttered. “They don’t call me Demon-Killer for no reason, you know.”
The battle was a short one. Fifty demons were not enough to take him. but then again, he was immortal. It had been one of the three gifts given to him by the gods at the end of the last war. But even blessings became a curse from time to time. He was lucky, though. Whenever he chose, he could pass the powers, the immortality, and the sword on to whoever he picked as his successor. But there was no one worthy of the calling now. The youth were unruly and hated to take instruction. They had no respect for their elders.
But there were rumors that the chosen had been born to the four lands. Perhaps when the boy was of age, he could pass his power and wisdom on to him. it would make him the most powerful mage in the Renge. Malabar grinned. Yes. He would do that. It would serve old Olgath right.
Niobe stood on the balcony where the citizens of Yndarr could see her. she looked lovingly out over them. They were a rough lot, but they were loyal.
“Dear citizens,” she began, “we have embarked upon a new chapter in the city’s existence. Not only have we banned lotus and its trade, we have also begun making the city cleaner. I do not do this on my own, no.” She motioned to the men at her side. “No, I do it with the help of the Guilds. Assassins without a membership in the Guild will either need to register with them or leave the city. The same goes with the thieves . any who do not join the Guilds or leave, will be hunted down and executed. To avoid this, those who do not wish to join the Guilds must leave the city and the land of Sudia.
“This brings me to the subject of the meetings I just returned from.” She turned and gestured to Khardym. “We will need at least two representatives elected from our citizenry to be part of two councils, one person per council. One council will guide this land as a central source of leadership, while the other will be a council of allied lands that will keep the peace. Those interested will need to submit their names to General Khardym for consideration. Once we have our candidates, we will hold an open election to pick the one who will go to each council.”
A cheer went up from the crowd. She could tell that the idea was very popular and grinned in spite of herself. Sedition was a thrilling feeling. Open rebellion was so empowering.
She knew that the city would be celebrating her announcement of secession from the empire. Yndarr had never harbored any love for the emperor or the nobilis. They had always been over-taxed and underappreciated. They had been thought of, until now, as just another rich port. Now, they had become the epicenter of a political earthquake that now shook the empire to its very foundations.
She watched as the raucous crowd dispersed, then turned and went back into the governor’s palace. She was tired. It had been a long journey to and from Tyrannos. Still, she had to write the decrees and have them ready for posting. Khardym would need them tomorrow.
After entering her chambers, she went over to her personal desk and pulled out four sheets of vellum. Taking out her inkwell, she dripped enough water in and mixed her ink, dipping her quill to write. Khardym entered, as if called, unseen by her. he watched as she wrote the decrees herself, then copied them…oblivious to all that was going on around her.
He smiled as he watched her. She was so beautiful and he was lucky to have her in his life. He loved her so much. He cleared his throat, making her jump. She looked up at him, a smile playing across her face.
“I missed you while I was away,” she stated sweetly, “I-I never knew I could love someone so much and want to be back in their arms.”
“I missed you too, milady,” he replied adoringly, I worried about you all the while, too.”
He took her in his arms. She laid her head on his chest for a few seconds, then looked up into his eyes. Her lips sought his and they kissed.