In an act of sorcerous avoidance, Chakrasul transfigured half Her body into profane fire to avoid Slyphe’s incoming assault, Her silhouette streaking away off the deck amidst perfumed smoke and seared wood. She danced upon the surface of the Maelstrom’s crashing dominion in defiance of Their rulership, Her form held upright by a dark haze of wicked fire and putrid smog.
With the eminent confidence of a master mariner, Slyphe dove off the side of the Dawnbreaker in pursuit of Their hated foe. The ocean rose to meet its beloved Monarch, its aqueous embrace enfolding Them in the heart of Their kingdom in preparation for the grim struggle to come. As the Maelstrom took off after Chakrasul, They raised the blade of Their cutlass over the water alike to a shark’s dreaded fin, Their pace setting the oceans to a vicious churn.
This tumult birthed roiling waves, sending Enorian’s flagship further away from the deific violence even as their violent union resulted in whirlpools and churning, cyclonic waterspouts. Columns of glimmering water arose from the sea’s shifting surface, twisting and turning like dancing serpents that trapped Chakrasul within a violent tangle.
A mere darkened silhouette, Silafi darted from wave to wave, navigating churning vortices and rising aquatic columns with ethereal grace. Each time They breached the cover of Their undersea domain, They lunged forward and scored a blow against Chakrasul’s pale flesh with Their cutlass, steaming ichor blossoming where mortals might expel mundane blood. On one acrobatic pass, the Maelstrom’s blade caught on a strap securing Their adversary’s armour, rendering Her vulnerable to the rhythmic strike that followed in the next breath. Tricksome and daring, laughing Slyphe retreated over and over before Their opponent could respond, swimming rippling, confusing circles around Chakrasul.
Trapped at the heart of this aquatic convergence, the Dark Mother turned to violence as Her means of escape. Immortal sorcery coalesced at Her urging, grand conjurations of inky lightning and spiralling jets of jade fire blotting out the glimmering light reflected off the towering waves crashing against Her. Each evocation of Her burgeoning fury burrowed blindly into nearby stormy columns, searching, seeking for Her nautical foe. Dark, smoky wisps swarmed the empyreal vault as Corruption mustered Her vile might, rage ruling as the sole sovereign of Her usually calm, collective countenance.
The Queen of Despair worked foul, Immortal magic, its enactment birthing a crackling nova of sickly celadon that careened into each and every churning waterspout. A screeching hiss serenaded the display of profane power, the raw heat of Her boiling temper reducing Slyphe’s guile to naught but steam. Following this act of dark enchantment up with another expression of sorcerous mastery, the Dark Lady whispered an incantation in bygone Kalsu that drew Her conjured nova back to Her slender frame, its ephemeral glimmers ensnaring the newly revealed Slyphe.
The firmament’s umbral invaders soon began their descent, twisting and transforming at Corruption’s urging until they became a swarm of duskywing butterflies that descended upon Slyphe. Soon, they unified into two colossal hands of jade smoke, took Slyphe into their clutches and squeezed, strangling Immortal Water as if to wring Them dry of Their very essence.
In the wake of Chakrasul’s vicarious touch, tumours bloomed, riddling Slyphe’s form with barnacle-like growths that befouled Their shifting visage with an alien constancy. Gangrenous flesh floated as sickly, gore-laden chunks within the aqueous essence of Their make, and streaks of jade and sanguine hue coursed through the Maelstrom alike to diseased veins.
Proving too clever for Chakrasul’s vicious spellcasting, Slyphe reduced Their form to mere trickles of Divine essence, eluding the grasp of Her vile might. Leaving behind the death and decay of Her fell enchantment, the Maelstrom reformed whole and hearty once more before lunging back towards Corrupted Might to finish Their deadly duel.
Meanwhile, within the watery containment of Silafi’s arena, Damariel and Haern continued to exchange brutal blows. No longer worried about exposing innocent mortals to even a fraction of His power, Truth cut loose with heaving strikes and hacking cleaves, His weapon whistling through the air amidst bursts of shining effulgence. Each swing decorated the welkin blue with scouring wrath, carving out trails of light as He made an attack at hacking into Haern’s shoulder.
Rather than evade His Brother’s brutal blow, Haern unleashed an ursine roar and shoved forward. Before the cutting edge made contact with His burly frame, His outstretched shoulder rapidly grew a rugged pelt and fangs, a white bear’s muzzle bared to catch Daybreak in its gnashing teeth. The Hunter swiftly jerked His shoulder back to draw Damariel into His trap, Rhythm’s Spine planted upward to catch the Unbound in the chest – only to be foiled by a flash of feverish light that saw Damariel narrowly avoiding fatal impalement.
Whirling around upon the pivot of His starmetal leg, Damariel countered with a blademaster’s interminable grace, the edge of His weapon shearing against the watery prison cordoning His unveiled power away from mortal onlookers. The Hunter met His Brother with a savage swing of His own, the clamour of Their clash thundering along the shores of western Sapience.
As They acted out Their enmity in physical struggle, so too did Their essence express similar violence. Virescent waves of palpable power clashed against lightborn lightning, each calamitous convergence of Their Divine might illuminating the inside of Their arena with blinding flashes of colour. Sabres wrought from searing light dispatched feral silhouettes and parried natural disaster, catastrophic circumstance manifested upon the containment of Their battlefield.
In another display of His metamorphic power, Haern’s horn writhed in place, its length extending into that of a vicious viper. It struck out against Truth Incarnate in unison with the Hunter, both fang and spearhead bound for Damariel’s throat. Stoic bravery drove Damariel forward then, Daybreak whipping downward in a brutal, overhand strike. The cutting edge of His greatsword cleaved the summoned serpent in twain and clipped the side of Haern’s head, forcing Him to leap away from its fatal crash.
Myriad blades of effulgent essence formed a tight circle around Damariel’s frame as He pressed this small offensive opening with another series of practised swings, His arms a brilliant blur of martial motion. Blinding sunbursts accompanied His every blow, Truth’s orbiting armoury lashing out in tandem with His regimented assault. With no choice but to dodge, weave, and block, Haern gave up ground, His muscular arms working doubletime to bring Rhythm’s Spine to bear against His Brother’s greatsword. He raised His spear with both rugged hands to deflect another blurred blow, its wooden haft straining against Damariel’s blade.
Truth’s aureate aura then flowed forth as His weapon made contact with Haern’s, its radiance birthing crackling tongues of incandescent essence that raged within the bounds of Slyphe’s oceanic arena. Determined upon claiming victory, Damariel drew His sword back and hacked downward once more, Daybreak’s destructive edge glittering with alabaster fire. Upon contact, it sheared through Haern’s spear, forcing Immortal Life to cast aside both pieces and lunge forward, a rictus snarl twisting His barbaric visage. His feral mitts arose then in vicious assault, one clenched fist slamming square into His Brother’s unprotected jaw even as He brought the other around for second strike against what He saw as weak prey.
Swaying on His feet beneath Haern’s brutal beating, Damariel backed up, stumbling upon His starmetal prosthetic as He eluded the brutal barrage. Spitting Divine ichor from one side of His mouth, Truth proved His mettle with His next strike: reversing His grip, He slammed the pommel of Daybreak into Immortal Life’s gut, forcing the wind from Him. Following this up with a practised kick, He knocked Haern down to the arena floor and pressed Daybreak’s lethal edge to His throat.
“It is done,” the Unbound informed Herno, His steely eyes looking down upon His Sibling-turned-foe.
“Coward,” Haern snarled, His wounds doing nothing to abate His vital fury. “This is why You and Your Light aint worth a thing.” His head soon tilted upward, baring more of His already exposed throat toward the Unbound’s blade.
“You can’t finish the hunt,” Life taunted. Damariel did not deign to answer, His weapon held to unflinching stillness against His Brother’s neck. Impassive, serene, He stood tall over defeated Haern, His form battered by the brutal assault of fang, spear, and feral claw.
Soon, the smoke and mist on the Dawnbreaker’s opposite side abated. The Changing One’s silhouette came into view, Their wild swordplay dispersing the veil obscuring Their glorious duel with a twisted Sister. Intent on bringing a long-deserved end to Chakrasul, Slyphe bore down upon Her, the rippling edge of Their cutlass aimed straight for Her pale neck. Forced to retreat before She met Her end, Chakrasul dispersed into myriad butterflies, Her essence borne away by their fluttering wings.
Seizing upon Damariel’s distraction, Haern raised one meaty fist and splashed it against the floor of Slyphe’s prison. A thin thread of viridian energy wove itself into a crude gateway underneath Him and, soon, space folded to allow the Hunter egress into the depths of His wild demesne.
As Truth and Water alighted upon the Dawnbreaker’s disastrously dishevelled deck, the Two Gods informed its crew that They lacked the strength to engage Bamathis without great risk. Noting that Dhar and Ivoln had similarly taxed Themselves to break down the last seal, the Unbound posited to some mortals privately that this meant the Warlord would be alone in His attempt upon the Harlot’s life.
As the Hammer set out to rescue Polyargan denizens, Immortal Strife began His lone march.
Penned by my hand on Closday, the 25th of Midsummer, in the year 511 MA.