View Full Version : To Stand Before Oblivion [Unfinished(Likely to Remain Thusly) Exalted Short Story]

2010-02-04, 04:39 AM
--Chapter 1---

SPACEMy eyes, I thought as a jolt of pure pain pierced my left side.

SPACEWhy can't I see? A pointless question, but one I felt I needed to ask myself. As long as I kept thinking, kept moving, kept talking and answering then I wouldn't lie down to die. Not yet. A heat washed over my face that pricked at my skin, frayed my nerves and turned the air in my lungs into molten pain. I turned onto my stomach, jerked my numb left arm up and thrust it forward away from the heat.

SPACEEven those simple actions ushered forth a guttural scream from the depths of my being. I had long since thought myself immune to pain in all it's forms after visiting the Walker's so-called loyalty chambers. Oh how I wished that were true. Am I dying again? No. Just keep moving. I can't die again. Not here, not now and certainly not before--My thoughts were interrupted by a realization. For a brief moment, the burning world I could no longer see seemed so distant and meaningless. Is he already...?

"You still live, brother? Here I hoped to find you well after the explosion. I had hoped to bring you over to our side, but I suppose I will settle for ending your suffering."

SPACERage immediately filled my frayed senses, sharpened them to a razor's edge and soon I felt the world again. My sweat-soaked palms pressed against warm and smooth stone. My left arm, leg and side felt seared right to the bone. The rest of my body groaned at me with the familiar pain of strain from being overworked, but otherwise intact. However, now I could see out of my right eye, and that was all that mattered to me at the moment. His shoes were the only things I could see from my position on my stomach, splayed out under a burning roof with half my body feeling like mulch. Bright red steel I thought at first, but the part of my brain that knew my brother best kicked me for a thought so stupid.

He would never...

SPACE"...s-settle for steel", I mumbled out as I brought my usable arm beneath my body and rose. I didn't take it slow, even though the pain made my vision swim. I had to go from laying to standing without any kneeling in the process. Immediate and flawless with no signs of weakness even as I'm breaking apart on the inside. That's the way it had to be, or he'd kill me now. Strength to match his own. This was our way since the First Age, and would be our way into the pits of the Underworld.

"Oh? Heh. Still good enough for a fight, I hope? I didn't bring my Lord and Master into this world just to watch you give it up without a struggle after all."

SPACEI took him in slowly at first, but now I was rapidly regaining lucidity as his presence--No, his very existence numbed my pain as if my entire body had been submerged in ice. That same cocky grin that showed only half his yellowing teeth twisted his boyish features. We were twins in another life, and even now we shared roughly the same physical appearance. Ocean blue eyes met my own slate gray pair, his short-cut blonde mop mirrored the graying mess I called hair, but what made us twins in appearance were our faces: Low cheekbones, pronounced eyebrows, a jawline cut from stone and a stubby chin. We were hardly beautiful, but in a world like ours it wouldn't have mattered if we were. He wore a lacquered set of interlocking plates I mistakenly thought to be steel at first, but rapidly corrected myself. I recognized it now as a set of jade platemail.

"Who did you kill for that?", I said while gesturing toward his armor with my good hand. I quietly reminded myself not to use my left side, just in case he picked up on the numbness creeping across my senses. How much longer would this fate-damned corpse hold together? I don't need to survive the coming fight, but can I kill him before I succumb? I pushed those thoughts away and focused on now. He breathed deeply, and immediately a flash of fire consumed his right hand. I didn't have time to think and only raised my arms to protect my body. The distinctive ring of orichalcum is hard to forget, and even after an eternity I immediately knew what kind of weapon he wielded. The force of his blow blasted me backwards, though my reflexive defense interposed the soulsteel bracers I wore between his blade and my body. I was still alive, badly battered but alive.

SPACEMy back slammed into stone work, my vision swam and for a moment I saw her face again. Alabaster make-up common to the Imperial court hid her soft peach skin beneath it's obfuscating aura. She smiled and I smiled back. Her beauty, accentuated by deep scarlet lips the thin golden wedding veil across her face, made me fall in love with her all over again. She had wanted me. Not because I was Golden Dragon of Pale Lilies, not because I was related to the Righteous Tiger of Red River, and certainly not for the power coursing through my body. No, she wanted me because I made her happy. And in return I had become happy. No more fighting, no more wars, no more slaughter, no more Tiger and no more Dragon. Just us, together, and in those brief moments I found the bliss of eternity.

But it wouldn't last.

SPACEThe loud crack of rock giving way brought me back to the real world, and back to the battle I had to fight. A sharp sting jumped through my left arm again. I knew it was dislocated. Not some four yards away, right where my brother had stood, now stood a grotesquely muscular mockery of man. His corded ropes of sinew strained against his skin as if he were an overfilled waterskin. His bulging and rippling muscles were infeasible and definitely unattainable by any mortal. But I recognized that style as the 'Hero' style of Infernal martial arts. He could break a mountain without breaking a sweat at the moment, and my already damaged body most certainly wasn't going to last in a stand up fight for long. I sighed, and gripped the cold essence of the Void as I breathed out.

SPACEImmediately my divinely-empowered body began to convert the essence of the dead into fuel for my personal magic. My sight sharpened immensely. I could see each and every individual cord of muscle, every imperfection in the stonework beneath him and the gleaming perfection of the golden orichalcum blade dropped at his feet. I could smell his fury, his confidence and his hatred. The steady and rhythmic beating of his heart told me that his adrenaline hadn't even spiked. I hated him even more for toying with me. A flash of shadow passed over the distance between us, and in less than half a second I crossed those four yards. I called to my spear, drawing upon the Void in doing so, and I was instantly armed. A bolt of figurative lightning leapt at my brother as I hurled my weapon forward. A light silvery spear that pierced the air with a wail akin to a mourning maiden now pierced his flesh as the speed of my attack caught him unaware.

SPACEI leapt onto the spear immediately. Where he once had a liver he now had a shaft of cold soulsteel stabbing through his body parallel to the floor below. My essence had twisted reality, and I was striking him from behind even as I bolted to close the distance between us. A mortal would not be able to see that I had even moved. A god would be confused by my attack. But an Exalt? No, my brother merely smiled. I stood before him by balancing on the impossibly razor-thin edge of my own spearhead. I had not disturbed it's balance within my brother's body in the slightest as I raised my good fist to crush his skull. The frozen hatred of the Void filled my muscles and lent it's strength to me.

I struck the killing blow.

SPACEBut I found only his monstrously large hand enclosing my fist like an adult holding a child's. A ripping pain tore through my very being as he squeezed down, yanked backward then threw me the full four yards back against the wall with just one hand. My mangled arm dangled from my side and bled freely down it's length. Sharp stabs of pain told me that I was the proud owner of six new broken ribs.

"My Lord and Master is here now, Maidens. He's in Nexus. His power courses through me so vigorously at this distance that it was so very hard not to kill you just now. I had to hold back so much that it hurt. I destroyed the bones and muscles in your arm when I intended to only break your ribs."

SPACEMy brother spoke quietly as he calmly gripped the spearhead stained with his own blood. In just two quick jerks he pulled the entire haft through his wound without so much as a grimace. His bleeding stopped immediately, and his wound sealed up shortly thereafter. I was too low on essence to seal my wounds, but I knew now it wouldn't matter if I did.

My only hope now is that I see her again in the next life... Ya. That will make me happy. Just to... See her again.

2010-02-10, 02:44 AM
You right pretty well, keep it up, keep righting and see if you cant get good enough to publish.
Easy money... I know! :smallbiggrin: