Viraku'un stepped into a large clearing, big enough for him to move around properly in. Now he sent Hass another thought. A sound this time. Running footsteps. Leaves rustling. Twigs snapping underfoot. He was coming. Fast. But alone. Where was the dragon? Surely it still lived. Surely it hadn't left him to fight alone, even if it had injuries of its own? They faced the way from which they had come, ready.
Ios slowed a little, seeing the opening to a clearing ahead. As well as his target. He slipped among the trees and watched. The dragon awaited him, he had been too loud! If he had just taken his time... Nonetheless, he pulled on the bowstring and aimed...
They watched and waited. They couldn't see anything. The running had stopped. He couldn't have lost them, so where was he? Viraku'un growled. He wanted this over and done with, the uncertainty was getting to him. Hass understood, it was strange being the prey. There. The light rustle of leaves, almost silent, even to the great dragon. He turned his head slightly to the left, looking... nothing. They would have burned the area just to be sure if they didn't want even more attention drawn to them.
Then there was a blinding pain and Viraku'un was shrieking and flailing his head, roaring as red blossoms sprouted from his left eye.
"WHERE ARE YOU!? COME AND FACE ME, COWARD! SEE HOW WELL YOUR ARROWS STAND AGAINST MY FIRE!" More thrashing and Hass was thrown from his back. He landed on the ground with a thud. His sword and spear thankfully landed a few feet away as opposed to on him. Or through him.
Lifting his head groggily, his vision blurry, he could see Viraku'un breathing fire in a long line after their assailant, who was running quickly, firing arrows into his softer underbelly and neck. Viraku'un lost his patience with the fire and soon swung a massive, clawed front foot at the man, who nimbly dive rolled out of the way before continuing his barrage of arrows. This time the dragon
reared up, taking a few more arrows in the belly as he did so, and slammed his whole body down.
Shockwaves ripped up dirt and mud and threw the assassin meters away against a tree, stunning him. Hass himself was slid along the ground to the treeline. His vision still blurred, he took a few moments to recover. Opening his eyes again, he saw Viraku'un walk forward to finish the assailant off. His reared back, preparing to lunge forward and bite him...
Ios looked up, dazed. He saw the massive black dragon in front of him. Then there was some green. Then green and black swirls on the ground in front of him. Blinking heavily, he cleared his vision to see Iilah and the large dragon disappear into the treeline, tearing and shrieking at each other.
The next thing Ios noticed was Gwerder coming for him, the large man was already striding with all of his weaponry, looking determined to finish him. Ios staggered to his feet and collected his own equipment. Aiming for Gwerder's head, he knocked an arrow onto the bowstring straight away and fired. The bigger man simply lifted his shield and caught the arrow. Ios moved around him, firing more arrows and looking for an opening, but he blocked each and every one of them, giving Ios no opportunities of hitting him at all. Reaching back for another arrow, he found that only one remained; the one he made with Archer.
"Shit..." He looked at Gwerder and sighed. This was going to be risky and difficult...
He ran straight at Gwerder. Just before he got in reach of his spear, he darted to the right, knocking the arrow onto the bowstring. As Gwerder turned to face him, he ran at him again, jumping up. Gwerder angled his shield, probably positioning it to better take the shock of Ios hitting into it. Instead of slamming into him, Ios used the shield as a launch pad, vaulting several feet above him. In the space of a second in the air, Ios twisted to face downwards, aimed at Gwerder and fired the stone arrow. Twisting again he landed behind him, rolling to absorb to shock.
Turning, he saw the arrow jutting out of a gap between his shoulder pad and torso. Gwerder slowly turned his head to look at the arrow. He threw down the spear and shield before pulling the arrow out and throwing it down. He turned to face Ios with his sword.
"Well, assassin, consider me impressed. Now enough flowery displays, let's finish this." Gwerder intoned. Ios stood, drawing his own sword. Both of them adopted their fighting stances. They both moved forward and clashed. Swinging wildly at eachother, the two generals sent sparks flying, screaming and cursing at eachother. Gwerder raised his blade and Ios jumped back to dodge. Nonetheless, the blow caught his right gauntlet and split it straight down the middle, barely avoiding the flesh. Ios jumped back forward and swung for Gwerder again, only for the blow to be met by his falchion.
They sparred back and forth, with Ios darting in and out, his few slashes that got past Gwerder's guard merely scratching his thick armour. Gwerder, on the other hand, cut and nicked Ios at every opportunity. They both paused, panting.
"You're really dragging this out assassin, nobody has lasted this long, bleeding as you are." Gwerder said, laughing between breaths.
"I'd hate to dissappoint. Afterall, this is your last fight, I might as well make it interesting for you." Ios chuckled back. A glimmer in Gwerder's eyes hinted at a grin beneath his helmet.
"Assassin, you have stood against both me and Viraku'un. It takes guts to stand up to someone bigger than you. And even more so to face off with a dragon... Tell me, what is your name?"
"Ios Vindril. Now you tell me, Gwerder... why have you turned your back on your own people? Why have you betrayed us?"
"A new age is within our grasp, Vindril. The time of the four races is nearly over. We can form one, stronger, smarter, better race of elves. We needn't be divided anymore. Our enemies can be overcome if we leave behind our old, foolish ways. The Nameless have shown us this. They have no dragons or griffins. Only their own power. Yet they pose a threat to all of the races and even the minotaurs follow their every command! They are our future! Can you not see it!?" Gwerder raved. Ios shook his head.
"The Nameless have simply burst into the scene and killed innocent people. They haven't even attempted to win anyone over with words. They view themselves as a master race, whose right it is to rule. They are wrong. Maybe some of them have been wronged, but none of them hold the right to rule because they have the blood of more than one race!" Now it was Gwerder's turn to shake his head.
"Foolish, blind assassin. Do you not see that this system is failing? Nobody is truly allies! We are all scatter- AGHHHH!" The bigger man fell to his knees, shrieking.
"Gwerder?" Ios frowned, not sure if he was trying to trick him. "What are you doing?" A roar erupted through the forest and part of the forest behind them lit up.
"AHHHHHHHHHH! V-V-V.... VIRAKU'UN!" The man leapt up and ran straight for Ios, swinging his sword in a wide arc. Ios dived out the way, barely avoiding the blade. So that was how some people reacted when their bonded died, Ios wondered. He dodged in and out, letting Gwerder chase him. Once more they both paused, only this time Ios wasn't out of breath.
"SHE KILLED HIM! SHE TORE OUT HIS THROAT!" Gwerder wailed, sobbing. Ios actually felt sorry for him. This was probably how he would cope... or rather, not cope, if the same happened to him. At that moment, Iilah re-emerged from the forest. She turned to Ios, and breathed a lick of fire over him.
"Deliver his punishment." She said flatly as the flames clung to Ios and his sword. He turned back to Gwerder, who now looked terrified as well as devastated.
"W-WHAT... W-WHAT IS THIS!?" He screamed.
"This is what follows when you betray Iukan. This is the end." Ios growled, feeling up for a dramatic statement. He strode forward to Gwerder who swung his falchion weakly at him. Ios parried the attack with next to no effort and stabbed at him. His sword came into contact with Gwerder's chestplate and melted through it. The flames dispersed and Gwerder's helmet fell off as he slumped forward. Ios layed him down gently as the metal began to cool already, his sword fixed into Gwerder's armour.
"V-vira.... vi..." He quivered.
"Be silent. Your fight has finished, Hass." Ios told him, his voice shaking. He still couldn't get over killing another elf... it seemed so... cruel. Killing minotaurs was one thing but Elves were another. He had been quick to do it before but... could he actually go through with it again if the time came? Hass' breath became ragged, blood trickling from his mouth.
"H-how did I lose? To... some kid who... barely..? Is it... too late? A-are we... lost?" He said, voice trembling. Ios frowned.
"What do you mean? Kid who barely what? How are we lost?" He asked, the child still in him scared of what he could mean. "What are you talking about?" The older man coughed, blood spattering onto his chin. His breathing slowed, becoming deep as his eyes drooped shut. With a last shuddering breath he went, leaving Ios to gape at the body.
"Bloody hell! Tell me what you meant!" He shouted, voice breaking. Iilah's light tread thumped behind him as she approached.
"Don't dwell on a fool's last words, Ios. We have won." She said, gently nudging him with her nose. Ios nodded and pulled the stone arrow out of Hass' shoulder. Standing, he looked at his sword and sighed before kicking the flat of the blade, snapping it. He picked up the handle.
"Don't wanna leave this here, it could get recognised. Ugh, I'm going to need a replacement..."
"Perhaps you could scavenge a few claws and scales from the battlefield. Viraku'un and I didn't let up on one-another." Ios nodded and set about picking up any arrows or scales he could find.
"There's going to need to be a lot of fixing to cover this up..." He sighed.