Chapter 33 Blood War

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The throne room is large, much larger than the Great Hall in Kellahn. The ceiling stretches high above the floor and the large windows overlook the battle still raging below. There are no mosaics, no statues, plants, or any other decoration, though shapes in gathered dust show at one time there was. It’s as though everything has been cleared from the room in preparation for what would soon be occurring in the empty hall.

At the far end sits a large throne made of black stone. Meah is sitting on the throne with heavy chains keeping her still. Her head hangs to the side and her eyes are half closed.

“Meah,” Ime yells, running towards her. Fear fills him as he has trouble telling if she’s breathing.

Reaching the center of the room, a sudden change in the room’s air pressure is the only warning Ime gets of the wall of flames racing towards him. He counters the flames with his wind, but it only results in him being pushed back a few steps.

The fire fades and Klaeon walks out from behind the throne. He spins his sword in his hand and stares at Ime, silent. His reddish brown eye glows scarlet while his other eye is closed.

Ime’s rage causes his magic to fill his body and his eyes shine like silver. “Let her go.”

Shaking his head, a strange smile stretches across Klaeon’s lips. The sword stops spinning in his hand.

“Ime,” Meah’s voice is weak and her eyes slowly move to look at him, sending a small wave of relief through Ime. She’s alive. “It’s…not Klaeon.”

Leaning close to Meah, Klaeon’s scarlet eye moves up and down Meah’s face. Suddenly, he grabs her by the chin and forces her to face him. She winces at the sudden move, but she doesn’t have enough strength to struggle.

Klaeon breathes in deeply and Meah winces. A small, soft light is pulled out of her chest. Releasing her, Klaeon uses his free hand to cup the light eagerly. He brings his hand to his mouth and swallows the light, his scarlet eye closing.

He stands up straight and releases a calming breath. Opening both eyes, Klaeon’s attention returns to Ime. His scarlet eye has returned to reddish brown and his icy blue eye focuses, slowly. “I apologize. I told him to feed before you arrived, but he wouldn’t listen. He wanted to see your reaction.”

“He?” Ime asks, confused. “You’re talking about your living magic.”

“I see someone told you about that. Doesn’t matter. You’ll all be dead soon and your magic will feed him,” Klaeon releases a little magic and the room fills with dark red shadows.

“Only one more person needs to die today, false king.” Ime throws a wall of wind at Klaeon, pushing the man away from Meah.

Klaeon runs at Ime, bringing his blade up to strike. Ime draws his sword and blocks the swing easily. Each man swings his blade at the other with the same intensity, but neither has trouble blocking or dodging. Pulling heavy stones from the walls and floor of the throne room, Ime gains an upper hand, as Klaeon has to worry about more than the sword in Ime’s hand.

But as the fighting drags on, Ime finds his body is slowing down. Klaeon’s swings appear much faster and he barely dodges them. He’s still easily able to avoid life-threatening blows, but cuts appear on his arms and legs from when he can’t move fast enough. He tries using his earth magic again to bring stones to him to use as a shield, but even his magic is taking a moment longer to react.

Distracted by what’s happening to his body, Ime realizes Klaeon has maneuvered himself behind and quickly spinning, Ime sends a large wall of wind at the Blood King. The air around him clears and Ime feels his strength and magic surge. Confused, Ime’s eyes search the throne room and he realizes the red shadows filling the room are releasing a light fog. When his wind blew the fog away, it removed the magic hidden in it.

Running to one of the walls, Ime builds his wind and earth magic before releasing it and destroying the stones. Fresh air rushes in and the fog is cleared out of the room. The sounds of the fighting below grow louder, echoing against the stone of the throne room.

Turning his back to the opening, Ime is kicked in the gut by Klaeon and thrown back against the ragged stone. He nearly falls through the hole, but grabs the broken stone bricks still attached to the wall and pulls himself safely in.

“Your arrogance will cost many their lives today. Your clever ruse at the borders may have distracted a large number of my men, but it won’t take them much longer to arrive. Once they do, those who chose to fight with you will die,” Klaeon says, raising the tip of his blade to the ceiling.

His brown eye glows scarlet and a surge of fire explodes from Klaeon’s blade as he swings it. Ime feels the heat and his mind flashes back to his fight with Teron. He remembers how the fire had burned him before. But now he had his fire back and any fear he had is gone.

Holding up his hand, Ime stops the flames in front of him. Klaeon stares at him in shock. Ime meets the Blood King’s eyes. “Guess you didn’t hear. I’ve gotten my fire back. My true fire.” He pushes the fire back and the flames encircle Klaeon.

Yelling ferociously as the fire burns him, dark shadows cover Klaeon’s skin and extinguish the flames. Once the fire is out, the dark shadows fly towards Ime. Ime leaps away from the oncoming shadows, but they turn sharply and stab through him. Ime feels his body being torn apart as the shadows dive in and out of him. But when he looks down, expecting to see bleeding wounds, there are none.

Klaeon grabs Ime by the throat and throws him to the ground, straddling himself across Ime’s chest. All the air is forced from Ime’s lungs and Klaeon tightens his hold around Ime’s throat, cutting air completely off. An excited smile stretches across the Blood King’s face and the burns from Ime’s fire are already healing. Klaeon raises his blade and aims it for Ime’s face.

A sudden gust of wind knocks the blade from Klaeon’s hand. He lifts his head to see who caused the gust, but a second one violently blows him back away from Ime. He slams into a wall near Meah and crumples to the floor.

Ime gasps for air, but the shadows still surrounding him tighten around him and he feels pain covering every inch of his skin. A third blast of wind disperses the shadows and Ime sits up as the pain fades.

A figure appears between Ime and Klaeon, his eyes filled with rage as he stares at the Blood King slowly climbing to his feet. “Get up, Ime,” Kiphy says, angrily. “You’re not dying today.”

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