Dark magic fills the throne room as Klaeon’s rage grows at the intrusion. “Who are you, old man?”
“Silence,” Kiphy says, sending his own surge of magic at Klaeon. “You have no right to speak.”
The scarlet of Klaeon’s eye shines brightly and the strange smile from earlier reappears on his face. “Are you a Borrower? We haven’t had one of you in many years.” His voice is filled with other voices, fading in and out.
“I believe I’m speaking to the magic inside this man now?”
“Yes.” Klaeon’s voice rumbles in a lower pitch than normal and shadows ooze from his skin.
Ime scrambles to his feet. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to avenge my boys,” Kiphy answers.
Laughter echoes from Klaeon. He leans his head to the side. “The winter mage and the summer mage. We felt them die. Such a shame their magic was too far for us to eat. We should’ve killed them when they were children, but their magic needed to grow to provide a more suitable meal.”
Grabbing Ime, Kiphy jumps to the side, dragging the startled man with him. The shadows that had been burying into the stone floor explode upwards where the two had been standing. Kiphy throws his free hand at Klaeon, sending broken stones from the floor flying at him.
When Klaeon dodges, gusts of wind hit him from behind and slam him into pillars standing nearby. The force of the wind is so great, when it throws the Blood King into the pillars it causes them to break, bringing the sections of ceiling they hold down on top of Klaeon.
With the immediate threat buried beneath stone, Kiphy shoves Ime towards Meah. “Go to Meah. Find out how much he’s taken from her then get her out of here.”
Ime races towards the throne, but an explosion of flying stone catches his attention and suddenly Klaeon is in front of him with his sword ready to behead Ime. Ime drops to the ground as Kiphy leaps over him, kicking Klaeon in the chest and sending him towards the opening in the wall. Kiphy heads after him as Ime regains his footing and reaches the throne.
Trying to undo the chains wrapped around Meah and the throne, Ime finds they’re too tight to break with simple force. He touches Meah’s cheek and she lifts her head. Her eyes have cleared, but Ime can see she’s struggling to hold her head up.
“Are you all right? How much of your magic did he take?” Ime asks, staring into her eyes as though he could find the answer himself.
“He only took a little. I’m fine. Jaxon—”
“I know about Jaxon.”
Tears swell in Meah’s eyes. “Did you kill him?”
Wiping the tears as they fall from her eyes, Ime shakes his head. “No. But I couldn’t help him.” He checks the chains more thoroughly. “Are you going to be okay to run when I get these off?”
Meah nods, her strength already returning. Her magic gently moves into Ime, healing small wounds he’s sustained throughout the day of fighting. The sensation makes Ime smile. “Do you have the energy for that?”
“I don’t even have to think about it. It doesn’t take even a little bit of effort anymore,” Meah answers, smiling. “My magic knows it’s you and wants to help.” Her eyes stray behind Ime and her expression changes to one of surprise, her eyes slowly widening.
Klaeon appears behind Ime, his hand reaching to grab him by the throat, but before he can Kiphy rams into him. Both are sent sprawling to the floor as Ime turns. Ime curses and grabs the chains in one hand, realizing there’s no time to waste. He melts the metal and the chains fall to the floor harmless. He helps Meah to her feet and they move behind the throne for protection and to allow Meah a chance to regain enough energy to stand on her own.
Klaeon is the first back to his feet and he runs for Ime and Meah again, the shadows surrounding him. Kiphy grabs the Blood King’s leg as he passes and using magic to increase his weight and the strength in his arms, throws Klaeon away and into another pillar.
Yelling with rage, Klaeon grabs the pillar to keep from falling and glares at Kiphy. He aims his next attack at the old man, sending thick shadows at him. Kiphy tries to use wind to blow the shadows away, but these shadows are unaffected and continue racing towards him. Kiphy can only dodge and while he’s distracted, Klaeon slices his hand on the blade of his sword. His blood falls to the floor and Klaeon throws drops towards Kiphy.
The blood pools together into many small puddles and shoots up into the air. As Kiphy moves too close to the pools, the blood stabs out into sharp spikes. One stabs into Kiphy’s arm and another into his leg. Kiphy dodges the rest, but smaller drops land on his clothes without his notice.
Klaeon leaps at Kiphy with his sword swinging wildly. Now Kiphy is dodging not only Klaeon’s blade, but also his blood spikes and the shadows still chasing him. More blood droplets land on Kiphy’s clothing and soon Klaeon manages to fight Kiphy towards the opening in the wall.
Kiphy attacks the shadows surrounding him and they finally disperse, but as soon as they do the droplets on his clothing turn into hundreds of spear that stab into his body. The sudden pain of hundreds of spikes causes Kiphy to hesitate for one moment.
That moment allows Klaeon to stab his blade through the old man’s chest. He grabs Kiphy’s throat and leans close. The scarlet eye twinkles excitedly and Kiphy’s magic is forcefully ripped from his body.
Cursing, Kiphy tries to fight the magic tearing his own from his body, but he’s losing too much blood too quickly. Klaeon finishes pulling the magic from Kiphy and twists his blade inside the old man’s chest, striking Kiphy’s heart and killing him.
Klaeon kicks Kiphy in the stomach to force him off his blade and sending the dead man over the edge and down into the fighting armies below.
Ime watches in horror as Kiphy disappears over the edge. His rage explodes and before he realizes what he’s doing, he’s already running at Klaeon with his sword drawn, ignoring Meah’s cries behind him.
Sensing Ime behind him, Klaeon turns in time to block the blade with his own blood stained blade. His scarlet eye glistens and laughter escapes his lips as he stares into Ime’s twisted face of rage.
The final battle begins.