Five hundred feet below London, a large cavern exists. Accessible only by two tunnels, the entrances to which are extremely well hidden, this cavern contains a small village. In this village lives a small handful of caretakers, which spend their days cleaning and seeing to the upkeep of the cavern. Also in this cavern are several large buildings, each with a separate purpose. There is a building for meetings of war, a building for negotiations between clans, and a building used only once every year. This building, known as the Stadium, is used for the yearly Tournament of the Clans.
It was a large room, at least fifty feet square, with tiered balconies ringing the room. There was also a lower ledge, ten feet above the floor, with a railing separating it from the main room. On this ledge are a series of thrones, each as varied as can be. These are for the clan leaders and Vampire Lords, all of whom are unable to enter the tournament, unless challenged. They can, however, challenge each other, in which case their match will be set at the end of the tournament.
Apart from Lords and clan leaders, however, anyone can enter the tournament, in one of two states, challenging, or open. If challenging, they have already sent a request to the rival, and the request has been accepted, and the match will be set at the end of the tournament. If open, the fighter will be paired with another fighter according to the rules and guidelines. The winner will then be paired with another winner, also according to the rules and guidelines, if possible. However, fighters are few, as the consequences of the battles can be severe. The battles are not to the death, but go on until one combatant either surrenders, or is no longer able to fight. A team of expert healers, chosen before the tournament, are on standby for the end of the match, and rush to the arena when a fight has ended, trying to revive the loser. They are not always successful, and deaths are not uncommon.
But, open fighters have one incentive to fight. If one makes it to the final ranking, they are given a choice of fighting a Lord, leader, or another combatant. If they defeat a Lord or leader, they are given that vampires rank and class, resulting in them gaining a much higher position. This, however, is rare.
Xadian Night-Shade walked down the stairs, along with the other Lords. They talked as they entered the Vampirum Cavern through the east entrance.
“So, where's Fenix? Isn't he supposed to be here?” One, Lucian Light-Caster, asked.
“Yeah, but he usually ducks out. He was in one of these back before he became a Lord. Almost died. He's been afraid of this place ever since.” Xadian replied.
“Fenix? Afraid of a fight?”
“Well, he came a lot closer than most come back from. Disemboweled, and still standing. The guy had to chop off Fenix's arms off. And stab him in the eye too. Came just short of tearing out his skull and beating him to death with it before Fenix finally gave up. If they hadn't had Kierus Wound-Bane picked out as a healer that year, Fenix wouldn't be alive right now.”
“Tearing his skull out and beating him to death with it doesn't seem physically possible, you know?”
Xadian winked. “I've done it before, haven’t you?”
“Yeah?” The rest of the Lords chorused.
“But, wouldn't the act of-”
“C'mon, it's starting.”
They walked into the building and Lucian moved off into another corridor.
“Where are you going?” Xadian asked.
“I joined the tournament, gotta go join the contestants.”
“You what!?!” Xadian exclaimed. “You can't join, you're a Lord!”
“Technically, even though I’ve been a Lord for almost a year, the paperwork hasn't gone through yet. My old clan leader's kinda reluctant to let me go, seeing as they're going to war with the Moonlight clan soon.”
“It still doesn't seem right.”
“I checked, its legal.”
“Xadian, you remember how it was when Fenix first joined. We couldn’t call him a Lord for six months, cause his clan leader didn't want to let him go.” Okeana Water-Shifter said.
“Yeah, but this is different.”
“Not really, he's only a Lord in name at the moment.”
“But I didn’t have to go through anything like this.”
“Dian, you went straight to the Lords, you weren’t in a clan before then.”
“Come on, we gotta get going.”
The fighters lined up in front of the thrones, sizing up each other. The Lords and clan leaders took note of likely winners and picked favorites for the betting that usually took place.
“I bet a blood-slave that that ones going to do well.”
“The one with the dark hair and the scythe.”
“You guys are betting against Lucian?”
“Nah, I'm just saying, that ones gonna put up a good fight.”
“I like the one with the glove.”
“Him, right there.”
“Ah, unusual choice, he doesn't seem to have any weapon other than that glove.”
Xadian cut in here. “Him.”
“The one with the two swords and the red hair.”
“Xade, that's the the first time you've ever bet on one of these, and you're betting on a pint sized guy like that?”
“I can practically see his power.”
“And, you're betting on a fire user?”
Xadian just smiled. The vampire he was betting on had red hair, which looked slightly unnatural, and two swords. His eyes were the color of blood, and he was a full head shorter than than most of the other contestants. But, there was an air of confidence around him, and if you looked hard enough there was a slight waver in the air around him, a slight indicator of his power, which was fire. It also indicated he was extremely proficient with his ability. His hands twitched towards his weapons every so often, as if he expected to be attacked at any second. He wore a hat, a black fedora, which was tilted downward so as to conceal much of his face.
The vampire in question also seemed to take an interest in Xadian himself.
“You, with the hat.” Xadian called out.
The vampire looked surprised that Xadian would call on him, but answered anyway. “Yes?” He called back, notably dropping the 'My lord' that usually accompanied a reply to a Lord.
“What's your name?”
Xadian smiled. “Carry on.”
Presently the gong rang, which signaled the start of the tournament. At the same moment the final Lord, Fenix Fire-Slayer, walked onto the Lords Ledge.
“Thought you weren't coming.” Okeana said.
“Shut up.” Fenix replied quietly.
They were interrupted by the gong sounding again, signaling the contestants to remove themselves from the field.
The tournament began with a fight between a dark-haired individual with a scythe, and Lucian Light-Caster himself. The vampire with the scythe introduced himself as Lexan Dusk-Walker.
Lucian and Lexan stood on opposite ends of the arena, the latter looking rather nervous. He hefted his scythe nonetheless, and advanced carefully. But Lucian was impatient, and advanced much more quickly. He ran to the middle of the field, arriving much earlier than Lexan would have, and disappeared in a flash of light. He reappeared behind Lexan, and punched him in the back of the head, sending him head over heels all the way to the end of the field, where he slammed into the wall. Lucian walked over to the fallen vampire, taking his time. He picked up the scythe, which had fallen near the middle of the field. He reached the wall against which his opponent lay and slammed the blade into the wall, levering it so that the handle pinned Lexan by the throat.
“Give up yet?”
In response, darkness welled up in the ground behind Lucian, spreading across the ground. It flew into the air and fell across Lucian's back, spreading to envelope his arms, pinning them to his sides. A tendril grew out of the shadow and stretched across to the handle of the scythe. It pulled the scythe out of the wall and set it in Lexan's hand. He stood up. Lucian was lifted off the ground by the shadow.
“Give up yet?” Lexan asked with a smile.
“What do you think?” Lucian's fingers twitched and the shadow disappeared in a flash of light. He took off the ring he always wore and set it in his palm. A ray of light formed around the ring. It formed the shape of a sword and slowly turned solid. Light turned to wood and metal, forming the sword. There was an inscription on the blade, which was in some unreadable runes and when translated read, “Light-Caster”. The jewel from the ring was set in the blade, an emerald with a red sphere in it, which made it look rather like an eye. He raised the sword and pointed it at Lexan. The two ran at each other and their weapons clashed.
On the Lords Ledge.
“You were right, he is putting up a pretty good fight.” Okeana said as the two combatants fought.
“He's dead in a minute.” Xadian said boredly.
“Yeah.” Fenix agreed.
“What do you mean?” The Vampire King, and the one who had bet on Lexan, FireRaven HollowHeart asked.
Lucian swiped with his sword, tracing a cut down Lexan's arm. Lexan responded by jabbing him in the face with the handle of his scythe. They traded blows for another few seconds before Lucian broke the cycle. He punched Lexan in the face and in the second that Lexan took to recover, jabbed him again, this time open palmed, releasing a ball of light at the same time. The ball of light exploded in Lexan's face, throwing him back a few yards. Lucian followed up by firing a ray of solid light which tore through Lexan's shoulder, leaving a gaping hole and almost tearing off his arm. Lexan was also slammed into the wall by the force of the blow, knocking his head into the wall with a crack.
Lexan slumped to the ground, knocked unconscious for a few seconds. Lucian teleported so that he was standing over Lexan, waiting. Lexan slowly regained his senses, looking around.
“Give up?” Lucian asked.
“Not really.” Lexan replied.
“What about now?” Lucian asked, twin balls of light forming in his hands. They slowly got brighter until it was impossible to look directly at them.
“Yes, yes, I give up!”
All in all, the match had lasted less than three minutes.
After healers had taken to the field and repaired the hole in Lexan's arm, the gong sounded and the next two fighters walked onto the field. The next match was between a young vampire with a metal glove and a larger vampire who carried several sets of weapons. The fighter with the glove introduced himself simply as Zane, while the other called himself Feran Blood-Bane. The match began.
Feran began with a set of axes, while Zane still had yet to produce a weapon other than the glove he wore. The two slowly advanced upon each other, both wary. Feran attacked first, throwing an axe halfway across the arena, where it would have lodged in Zane's head had he not caught the weapon by its blade, his glove protecting his hand. He flipped the axe in the air so that he was holding it by the handle, then he ran at Feran. Feran dropped his other axe and drew two swords, but the blades seemed stuck in their sheaths. Zane reached Feran and buried the axe in his opponents shoulder before punching him with his glove, which had sprouted spikes along the knuckles. The spikes left a line of holes in Feran's stomach, but he didn't seem overly hurt. He finally managed to remove his swords from their sheaths and and he swung both with anger. Zane blocked one with his glove and ducked under the other, pulling the sword from Feran's grasp at same time. He sliced it along his opponents stomach and then stabbed him in the chest with it. Finally he punched Feran in the head with his glove, with its spikes thankfully retracted. Nonetheless, it bowled him over and knocked him unconscious.
Zane pulled several of Feran's weapons from their places and set them on the ground. Then he concentrated and they floated off the ground, poised to stab or chop should his opponent attack. Feran regained his senses and noticed the weapons floating. He wisely surrendered.
Before the two left the field Xadian called on Zane.
“You, what's your power.”
“I control metal, my lord.”
The next match took place between the red haired vampire who had already introduced himself as Rex Fire-Slayer and a wind user known as Anrael of the Sky.
Rex didn't even draw his swords. He simply raised a hand and black flames burst into existence in the corners of the arena, racing in a spiral to the center of the field. Anrael raised a tornado around himself, but it did nothing to deter the flames, which engulfed him none the less. The flames danced on the wind, creating a whirlwind of black fire in the middle of the room. Anrael wisely stopped the wind and dropped to the ground, still on fire. He surrendered and Rex put out the flames. Healers ran out onto the field to treat Anrael's burns, which covered much of his body. The gong rang and the next match began.
The tournament continued for the next few hours, the thirty or so vampires at the beginning of the tournament dwindling to the final four. The finalists consisted of Lucian, Rex Fire-Slayer, Zane,and a female combatant known as Lexas, who had displayed extreme skill in hand to hand combat, as well as with her power, which was water. It was now that the final four could choose a Lord or clan leader to fight, or another of the final four. Lexas got to pick first, and she chose to fight a Lord. Specifically, Fenix Fire-Slayer.
The arena had been changed slightly, something that was allowed when a non-Lord was fighting a Lord. The field would be changed slightly so as to give an advantage to the non-Lord. In this case, a small lake had been added to the center of the field.
The fight began. Lexas made the first move, jumping across the field in the blink of an eye. She landed in the middle of the lake, standing on the water as if it were solid ground. Fenix raised a hand and a jet of flame rocketed toward Lexas, who was already raising a shield of water to protect herself. The flame fizzled out when it hit the water, and Lexas jumped straight through the shield, landing a foot away from Fenix. Before he could twitch a finger, she punched him twice in the stomach, and again in the face, ending in a vicious kick to the groin that dropped him to his knees.
On the Lords Ledge, everyone had frozen when Fenix dropped to his knees. Everyone except Okeana, who cheered Lexas on before pushing over a wide-eyed FireRaven.
Back on the field, Lexas jumped into the air and knee'd Fenix in the side of the head, which he almost didn't notice despite it knocking him over. He finally regained control a few seconds later. He stood slowly, favoring his center.
Lexas gave him a few seconds to recover before grabbing his head and slamming it into the wall, where he stayed lodged for a few seconds before falling back to the ground. He got up more quickly this time and started a fire attack. Flames blazed in the center of the field, drifting on the water in the lake before rising up into a blazing sphere. Lexas quickly made a cloak of water as the fireball flew towards her. Then, she ran towards the fire. Three steps away, she jumped into the fireball, bursting from the other side an instant later, still unscathed.
The fireball, however, kept going, on a direct path to Fenix, who simply stepped into it. The flames reshaped themselves until they covered Fenix, a flaming suit of armor. He ran towards Lexas, and she towards him, both in their respective suits of armor. They clashed and steam covered the fight, hiding them from the rest of the arena. They traded blows, steam erupting from every touch. Then, part of the lake rose up from behind Lexas and engulfed them both. Fenix's entire suit of armor went out immediately. Lexas took the opportunity to grab him by his shirt and slam him into the ground. She punched him into the floor several times, then picked him up, threw him into the air, and slammed her foot into his groin for the second time in as many minutes, making him fly all the way back into the wall.
He slammed into the wall, knocking him senseless. Lexas stepped out of the slowly disappearing cloud of steam., expecting to see Fenix lying on the ground. But he was already running towards her, having recovered much more quickly this time. She barely had time to raise a hand before Fenix punched her in the face, bowling her over and throwing her back several yards. He ran over to her and picked her up, throwing her in the air and kicking her in the stomach. She flew back another few yards, barely touching the ground before Fenix was over her again, picking her up by her head and ramming her into the wall. He backed up, fire billowing from his hands. Lexas got up quickly, water running over from the lake to cover her own hands. They circled each other, hands up.
Lexas made the first move, jumping in and punching Fenix twice in the face before jumping back out. Fenix then tried a punch of his own, but Lexas caught it, steam rising as fire met water, and twisted his arm behind him, throwing him forward and kicking him in the chest as he twisted around to face her. He spun around to face her again, this time an arm up to protect himself. He caught her leg and held it, the fire around his hand quickly taking effect. She jerked back and dropped to her knees, cradling the burn. She looked back up and her eyes narrowed. She took a running leap and kicked him in the face, pushing him back. She rolled towards him, ducking the jets of fire that he threw at her, coming up a step away from him and punching him three times in the face. She kneed him in the stomach and slammed her elbow into the back of his head as he doubled over. She picked him up off the ground and threw him into the lake, which rose up to meet him. He tried to rise to the surface but the water held him down. Meanwhile, Lexas was walking towards the lake, water running over her leg, soothing the burn. Her hand rose and Fenix was lifted out of the water, some of which was still wrapped around him. He writhed and squirmed, trying to get a hand free so he could raise some fire, but he was trapped. Lexas spoke for the first time.
“Do you surrender?”
She raised a fist and the water around Fenix slowly constricted until he was writhing in pain from the pressure.
However, the movement of the water allowed him to free a finger, and he was able to create a small flame, which he hid behind his back.
“What about now?” Lexas asked, taking a step forward.
Lexas took another step forward, raising her hands. But it was one step too many, and Fenix's finger twitched, sending his flame flying to land on her shoulder, where it sputtered for a moment before setting ablaze. Lexan jumped into the lake, dropping Fenix to the ground. He growled and threw his arms out to the sides, spawning a wall of fire which enveloped the entire wall behind him. Around the room, onlookers jumped to their feet as the air in the room heated up. There were only three who stayed seated. Xadian, FireRaven, and the fighter, Rex, who almost seemed amused.
Fenix had a wild grin on his face as he threw his arms forward, the wall of fire moving with them. Every onlooker in the room raised protective barriers, shielding themselves from the fire. The fire wall passed Fenix, not even seeming to touch him. Lexas, on the other hand, raised the entire lake, forming a wall of her own, albeit much smaller, only covering herself. The two walls met and the entire room was filled with steam. Fenix, who had been running behind the wall, had finally drawn his sword, a huge six foot long broadsword, which he lifted with one hand. Lexas had a small amount of water in her hand, and it formed the shape of a staff. The water turned to metal, until Lexas was holding a five foot long metal stick. She held it from the middle and twirled it around before bringing it up to stop Fenix's swing. She twirled it again and it slammed into Fenix's face, then his leg, and then there was a whirlwind of blows. Leg, arm, head, leg again. She finished up with a smash to the groin, dropping him to his knees before she slammed him in the head, laying him out flat.
He got up slowly, Lexas waiting in a defensive position. She allowed him to pick up his sword and move towards her before laying him out again, this time with a rapid fire flurry of blows that alternated between his head and groin. She threw her staff in the air and punched Fenix in the chest, pushing him back five feet. She caught her weapon as it fell and took up a defensive stance. Fenix threw himself at her sword first, and she had to back up a step to keep her balance as she blocked the blow. He didn't let up, swinging savagely as she blocked, always pushing her back a step or two with every swing. She was about to break the cycle when she took another step back to prepare to spring forward and her foot stopped. She'd hit the wall.
Fenix kicked her in the stomach, pushing her flat against the wall. She ducked his next blow, a wild stab that slammed his blade into wall where her head had been. It stuck in the wall and rather than pull it free Fenix let go, opting instead to punch her in the head. She reeled back, or as far back as she could, and he pinned her to the wall with a knee. She looked him in the eye.
“Are you serious? Is this supposed to keep me down?”
She pushed him off and stood up. She grabbed him by his hair and slammed his face in the hilt of his sword before letting go. He crumpled to the ground, blood running down his face. She picked him back up and threw him over her shoulder. She took up a defensive position and waited for him to get up. He stood up and looked her in the eye before running at her. She stepped to the side and he ran into the hilt of his sword and bounced off. He spun around and looked for her. She kicked him in the chest and he slammed back into the sword, falling back to the ground.
She picked her staff up from where she'd dropped it as he got back up. He drew a knife from a sheathe on his hip and charged her. She knocked the knife from his hand and struck him in the face. Three blows later and Fenix was flat on his back again. He rolled to the side as she slammed her staff into the ground. He pulled himself up by his sword, and pulled it out of the wall. He gave an almighty swing and chopped Lexas's staff in two. She stepped back, out of his reach. She returned the two pieces of the staff to water and used it to make a sword, which she then used to parry Fenix's next strike. They played at this for the next few seconds before Fenix threw his sword away and grabbed hers with his bare hands. He pulled it out of her grasp and threw it beside his own.
They stood there for a second, him bleeding from various wounds and her favoring her burnt leg. Then they jumped at each other. She kicked him in the crotch but he was stronger and grabbed her by the arm and swung her into the wall. She crumpled to the ground, blood running from a gash on her head. Fenix picked her back up and threw her halfway across the arena. She got up slowly while he walked to her. She stumbled forward half a step, then crumpled back to the ground. It was over.
Fenix limped up the Lords Ledge, victorious but wounded. He sat in his throne.
“Fenix, how the hell did you stay standing during that battle?” Xadian asked.
“Xade, I lost all feeling in my crotch halfway through that battle.” Fenix replied, his voice much higher than usual.
“We should all be so lucky.”
“Hey Frosty, help me out here.”
The neighboring clan leader, Feruss Frost-Fighter, held out his hand and a block of ice formed in it. “I told you to stop calling me that.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Fenix took the block of ice and pressed it to his crotch, sighing.
“Hey Dian, that guys looking at you again.” Okeana said, referring to Rex.
Xadian looked over at the fighter, who was indeed staring. “Its his turn so...”
Rex jumped off his balcony, landing lightly. He walked to the center of the field.
“I challenge Xadian Night-Shade.”
“Gladly.” Xadian replied, already on the ground. His fist was already flying, but Rex ducked out of range. The gong rang, a little late.
A wave of shadow formed behind Xadian and flew towards Rex, who made no move. The wave hit him, and passed him, leaving him unharmed. But his hair had changed from red to a more natural looking black, and his eyes seemed to be fighting to stay red. He was also standing up straight, and his hat was gone. He seemed to have grown six inches, standing even with Xadian.
“I thought so. What is your real name?” Xadian asked.
Rex held a hand before his face, black flames flickering up and down his fingers.
“You'll forgive me if I stop the fire act, as well as the spell that makes my shadows hot. It's rather tiring.” His eyes stopped changing color, settling on their original black. “My name is Crow Shade-Slayer, and I am your blood-son. I’ve come for my rightful position.”
There was a collective gasp from the audience. Xadian didn't seem surprised. He drew his swords, his opponent following suit.
They looked much alike, both in the same offensive position, with the same swords and same hair and eyes. Suddenly, the arena went dark. There was a ringing sound, like that of two swords clashing, then a series of explosions that only made it darker. Finally there was a crashing noise and the light returned to the room. Xadian stood several steps from his original position, and was kneeling on the ground, out of breath. There were several indentations in the walls. Crow was no where to be found, but there was a Crow-shaped hole in the wall that punched straight through the five feet of stone. A few seconds passed, then a hand made of shadow reached through the hole, and a ten foot tall humanoid shadow was pulled through. Crow's face could be seen in the things chest, and he seemed to be in control of it. He reached for Xadian and grabbed hold of him.
Xadian was thrown into the air, going so high as to strike the ceiling. His fall was cushioned by a blanket of shadow on the ground. Xadian got up and went on the attack. He jumped onto the shadow-body and stabbed it in the chest, trying to hit Crow, but missing. He was thrown off and landed on his feet, jumping back as a shadowy fist slammed into the ground where he'd been standing. He kept jumping back as Crow kept punching. Xadian knew he had to end it before he hit the wall, so he took a running leap and somersaulted over Crow, landing behind him. He spun around to face his opponent and jumped on his back. He stabbed him repeatedly in the back, this time actually striking Crow, a glancing blow to the side. The shadow-body arched its back, throwing Xadian into the air. Crow twisted the shadow-body around, bringing up an arm and sweeping Xadian out of the air and into a wall. He fell to the ground in a heap. Crow picked him up and held him up high, as if for everyone to see.
“So, the great Xadian Night-Shade, reduced to this, a huddled heap of nothing. Now, I will show you all who is the real Lord.” His voice boomed out, seeming to be distorted. He had an insane grin, and the shadow-body had a crude approximation of the same expression. His fist tightened, and Xadian cried out. Crow yelled and the shadow fist clenched, crushing Xadian. Blood dripped from the giant hand as it opened, letting the broken body drop to the floor. Blood pooled around Xadian. Crow roared triumphantly, stepping on the body, breaking it even further. The entire room was shocked at witnessing the death of this unbeatable force, the second most powerful vampire alive, the Vampiris Eterna himself. Crow walked up to the lords ledge, still encased in his shadow-body. The occupants shrank back, all except FireRaven HollowHeart. He walked up to the shadow figure and looked Crow in the eye. He slowly raised a hand, and Crow tensed. All eyes were on these two. FireRaven pointed behind Crow, and smiled.
“It's not over yet.”
Crow looked behind him. He saw Xadian's body, and someone standing over it. It was another Xadian. He was standing over the body, which was slowly melting into darkness.
“Did you have fun playing with my little puppet?” Xadian asked, walking over to Crow. He had a hat on, the black fedora that Crow had been wearing.
“You have no idea who you're messing with.” Xadian continued. He had reached Crow now. “I am Xadian Night-Shade, blood-son of Khantoul Night-Shade, himself blood-son to Zen Night-Shade, in the bloodline of Troso the Great since time immemorial. You may be my blood-son, and you may be powerful. But you aren't me.” He smiled. He stretched his hands out to the sides, and two pools of shadow formed on each side. They formed humanoid shapes, then turned real, turning into two more Xadians.
Crow lunged, his hand outstretched to grab the middle Xadian, but his other hand was stuck to the Lords Ledge.
“Poor Crow. Did it not occur to you that you are encased in shadow, which I control?” Xadian said teasingly. Crow caught on, and his shadow-body evaporated, melting in the light. He dropped to the ground, his swords in his hands. The blow that Xadian had managed to land didn't seem to slow him down. Xadian motioned and the gong rang again, signaling the start of the real fight.
Crow attacked, a quick darting stab that took out the middle Xadian, who crumpled to the ground. The Xadian on the left stepped forward, revealing himself as the real one.
“Nope.” He said.
Crow attacked with a vicious swipe, but Xadian backflipped over a puppet that had just formed. The puppet raised its sword just in time, parrying Crows swipe. Crow tried to back away to go after the real Xadian, but the fake leaped to the attack. The two fought as more and more Xadians walked out of the shadows on the field, until there were more than fifteen. Crow finally managed to strike down the puppet he was fighting. He didn’t even stop, he just spun around and killed another, then spun again to attack another puppet. This puppet managed to get its sword up in time, and it forced Crow back, strike by strike. Crow backed into another puppet, and grabbed it, swinging it into the others sword. Crow crouched and drove his swords into the ground, creating a wave of shadow that blasted an area clear, a perfect circle ten feet in diameter. Then he created as many puppets as he could, managing only two, being unfamiliar with the art. The original ran for the middle of the field as the two puppets attacked whatever they could reach. They were quickly overwhelmed, as Crow didn’t know how to split up his thinking between three fights at the same time. It was a strange form of multitasking, which was difficult to master. Xadian, however, had no such difficulties, and his puppets all started doing strange tasks. Several sat down and cleaned their swords as others walked around and started conversations. Some sparred in a corner of the field. The only one who stayed still was the one in the exact middle of the field. Crow went straight for him, and they clashed. They struck and parried, until Crow managed a lucky strike and chopped off his foes head. He looked around, expecting the puppets to disappear, but they kept moving.
One of the puppets, who had been talking to FireRaven, stood up.
Crow threw one of his swords, impaling the Xadian in the head.
“Nope.” A Xadian said from behind Crow.
Crow spun around and attacked the Xadian with his remaining sword. The two clashed as the puppets watched. Crow attacked viciously, but Xadian was calmer, more focused, and he held his own. Crow let up and stepped back. He held out his free hand and a sword appeared in it. It had a blade made of darkness, so that there was more shadow than metal. There was a black diamond in the hilt, and there was an inscription in unreadable runes on the diamond.
Xadian was mad. “You stole my sword you little bastard.”
“I found it.” Crow smirked.
“Yeah, in a cave of pitch black shadows, with my name floating through the air in runes, and with the ground covered in deadly night-shade. Haven’t you ever heard of a signature?”
Crow smiled, the shadows dancing on the swords blade slowly creeping up his arm. They covered him, creating a suit of black armor. He attacked the Xadian, and as their swords clashed, there was an explosion of shadow, which threw the Xadian into the wall so hard he immediately exploded into shadow.
“Still not the right one?” Crow called out as he looked around for one that looked out of place.
There was one standing with its hand on its sword, watching the sparring match in the corner. Crow teleported in front of it and cut it down. It wasn't the right one. He swung his swords and the sparring match behind him was interrupted by an explosion, which threw the fighters halfway across the field. The rest of the puppets stopped what they were doing and stared at Crow. As one, they drew their swords and charged.
Crow ran up to one, jumped on its head, and backflipped off, letting a Xadian that had been running up behind him impale itself on the others sword. Crow cut off the others head. A Xadian crept up behind him and stabbed him, but the black armor stopped the blow. But the attack distracted Crow and allowed all the other Xadians to move in. They attacked as one. He turned around and killed the Xadian that had attacked him while the rest closed in. He dropped to his knees and drove the sword into the ground. He stood again, pulling the sword out of the ground, a shadow of the sword remaining. From the shadow three replicas of Crow grew. These were no puppets, they were true clones, autonomous and free thinking. The three all had the same armor and swords, and all had the same insane grin. The Xadians stopped their attack and converged. They melted into each other until there were only three left. Xadian had followed Crow's lead, making these three completely alive. But the real Xadian still hadn't appeared, and there were no puppets left. Just then a hat fell to the floor, dropped from high above. Everyone looked up, and saw Xadian standing upside down, hanging by his feet from the roof. He let go, falling to the floor and landing on one of Crow's clones, crushing him.
One of Xadian's clones joined him in his attack on the real Crow, while the remaining two engaged the clones. Xadian, the real one, was sword fighting the real Crow, while the clone that had been helping him was trying to break through a shadow-shield that Crow had created behind him. There was a lightning fast flurry of strikes and parries, with neither combatant giving an inch. Then, Crow's sword erupted in a burst of shadow, and Xadian jumped back as a starburst of spikes stabbed outward. Crow swung the sword, now more of a mace, around, mincing the clone still behind him. The mace continued on its path to Xadian's head, but was parried at the last minute. Crow swung the mace again and again, the heavy tip not slowing him down at all. Xadian parried it repeatedly, waiting. Finally, Crow slipped up, swinging too hard. Xadian ducked and let the mace fly over his head. Crow was spun around by the force of his own blow. In the time it took him to make a full rotation, Xadian popped up and kicked him in the back. He dropped his sword and held out his hand. The lights dimmed.
Black lightning formed in his hand, and Crow's sword flickered in and out of existence. Nothing happened for a second. Xadian seemed to be trying to take the sword back. He gave one final push and the sword disappeared from Crow's hand and, amid bursts of lightning, appeared in his own. A second passed, then the lights went out. Black lightning lit up the room, a thunder clap shook the room and Xadian flew back several feet. The lights came back on a few seconds later.
Xadian was holding his left arm, which was smoking. Crow's sword was back in his hand. Xadian had failed.
“Well, that's... alarming.” Xadian said. “It seems you truly are my blood-son.”
“You may own that sword now, but my position is earned. You'll have to kill me to get it.” Xadian growled. He held out his left hand, which was still smoking. Shadows formed in his palm, and slowly a new sword took shape. This one was identical to Crow's in every way, except for the inscription on the diamond. This one read: Night-Shade.
“There are two?!” Crow exclaimed. “I thought-”
“Oh yes, there are two. One alone would not have made me the most powerful vampire alive. This is MY sword, forged specifically for me.” Xadian said.
“Then I can't get that one...” Crow muttered. “Oh well, I have this one and that means your position is mine.”
“Come take it.” Xadian jumped.
“He isn't!” FireRaven jumped to his feet. “Fenix, we need to get everyone out of here!”
“Why, what's happening?”
“Those swords were never meant to be used against each other!”
Their swords clashed, and an explosion shook the ground. A sphere of darkness expanded around the two, engulfing them. It ate up a crater in the ground, and as the sphere disappeared they dropped to the ground. They went right back to fighting, explosions booming at random places as their swords clashed over and over again. Their swords clashed a final time and they held there, sparks flying as their swords ground together, their face inches apart. They jumped apart and stood there.
By now FireRaven and Fenix had gotten everyone out of the room.
“Aren't you coming FireRaven?”
“No, if this guy beats Xadian, I have first dibs.”
“I second that.” Fenix drew his sword.
What happened next, happened very fast. Xadian and Crow jumped at each other, the ground exploding as their feet left it. Their swords met, and one of the walls splintered, a giant crack running its entire height. An explosion threw Crow back against a wall. Then, a crack in the air formed. It was like a floating piece of glass, interrupting ones vision as they looked at it.
“Now you will find out why they call me Night-Shade.” Xadian said, his voice distorted like Crow's had been at the beginning of the fight.
There was a crackling sound, and black lightning flashed, originating from the crack in reality. Like the crack, one couldn't really see it, only a slight disturbance in the air as if looking through a piece of glass. Whatever the lightning touched, simply disappeared, vanishing into some other dimension. It tore holes in the walls and entire lengths of the Lords Ledge were taken. Crow ducked as lightning zipped over his head, evaporating a swath of the wall. He was forced to dodge again, then again as the lightning almost hit him. Xadian simply looked on, his appearance slowly changing.
His eyes had grown completely black, so that there was a no trace of white at all. His short black hair had grown until it reached his shoulders. Black markings had covered his skin, runes spelling out long forgotten spells. And the shadows on his sword danced like fire, leaping every time a bolt of lightning flashed.
A bolt of lightning flashed towards FireRaven, only to be absorbed at the last minute by his power, which allowed him to control force and energy, giving him a large amount of control over other vampires powers. But even his powers almost weren't enough to absorb all the energy from the bolt. As it was he was drained to the point of having to drop to his knees. Fenix helped him up.
“Watch it, we're still in here!” Fenix yelled over the sound of the lightning.
Xadian turned at the sound of Fenix's shout, but he still had the same disinterested look. He exerted a bit of pressure, and several bolts of lightning struck towards Crow at the same time. One managed to hit, a shot to the chest that was barely stopped by Crow's shadow armor. But the hit knocked him against the wall, stunning him. The next three bolts flew rapid fire, a flurry of lightning that Crow tried to dodge. But the final bolt caught his leg, which was only lightly armored. Much of the energy was absorbed by the shadows, but his leg was still burned and numb. He got to his feet unsteadily and had his sword at the ready. When the next bolt came, it was deflected off the blade, striking the wall. The same thing happened to the next few bolts, then one slipped by and hit his left arm. Again, he was protected by the shadows, but again his arm was black and numb. The next bolt got through too, and hit his right arm. He dropped the sword, clutching both arms. As his sword hit the ground the armor covering him slipped away. Xadian walked toward Crow, and stood over him. He raised his sword, and as Crow watched, plunged it into Crow's belly. He withdrew it, letting Crow fall.
Crow dropped to the ground, his hand falling onto his sword. Xadian made to deliver the kill blow, a clean slice to the neck but Crow raised his sword at the last minute and the arena fell into darkness.
When the lights came back on, Crow was gone, along with his ShadeSword. Xadian was alone on the battlefield, and the crack in reality was shrinking. It lessened and lessened until it was gone. Xadian dropped to his knees, suddenly tired beyond imagining. He surveyed the arena, with the pockmarked and hole riddled walls, with the giant crack defacing an entire wall, the pit in the center from the sphere of darkness. He fell to the ground and lay there, exhausted.
But Fenix and FireRaven were having none of it, racing over to him and picking him up off the ground.
“Xadian, I have no idea what the hell all that was, but you beat him. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.” Fenix exclaimed.
“Guys, lets do this later. Right now I need some rest and something to cut all this hair with.”
Everyone had gone back inside the Stadium, assured that it was safe. As Fenix and FireRaven told the tale to those who had missed it, Xadian had taken a pair of pruning scissors to his hair, soon reducing it back to its usual length. His eyes had also returned to normal. Lucian, meanwhile, was tracking down Zane. He finally found him.
“Hey, let's do this.”
“Our fight, lets do it now.”
“Now? Before they've repaired the field?”
“Yeah.” Lucian waved his hand and the gong rang.
COMMENTARY: I hated to start with this one, since it marks a very signifiacnt time in the life of Xadian Night-Shade, and I think the impact is lessened if you don't have extensive knowledge of his adventures. This is said in his bio, but the real meaning of Crow stealing his sword is that that sword goes with his position as a Vampire Lord. And Xadian can't get it back, so Crow WILL get his position soon. And there's no way that Xadian would just give Crow his position.
About Lexas. She's based off of Tex from Red vs Blue. I snuck several references to RvB in this story, and she's the biggest. I got the idea for her from my niece, who started reading this story over my shoulder before I was five pages in. Alot of people, my niece included, are going to wonder why she lost, if she's based off of Tex. Go watch episode 19 of season eight of RvB. She couldn't win. Not if she was based off of Tex. Personally, I didn't care who won, although I knew it would be Fenix from the start. Then I remembered that episode and it was just over. I know the end of that fight was rushed, but I actually finished that scene last. I skipped it at first so that I could finish the story as a whole. I really wanted to get to Crow's and Xadian's fight.
Crow and Xadian. Yeah, Xadian is frickin powerful. Second most powerful character ever. Basically he was possessed by darkness itself, which let him unlock his entire potential. He doesn't like doing this. It allows him to create cracks in reality, something I like to call chaos seed. Trust me, I had alot of trouble bringing this vision I had of it to life in words.
Well, it's not the end of Crow, he'll be back. Soon.