The first of many death matches to come. If you do not know what this is all about, then go here.
Here, Aerimon Clyde (protagonist/antagonist from my Dargonzine stories Sowing Seeds and Death Blooms) is pitted against Micale (one of the main characters from Thoughts of Steel). Both of them are masters of the martial arts, although in completely different styles. I guarantee that this is some of the most engaging and creative writing I’ve done in respect to a fight scene. Enjoy, friends.
Remember to leave me some comments on your thoughts. I also welcome your ideas. Who, of my characters, would you like to see fight to the death?
Blood sprayed from between the pale blue lips of the massive creature along with one shining, sharp tooth. Aerimon drew back his elbow as though it were a bolt of lightning, rolled to his left and brought his katana to bear. The Urepterian stood eight feet in height, a brutish thing with perpetually moist blue skin, spikes of bone stabbing outward from its body along its collar and joints, and an extended lower jaw that harbored large fangs within. It recovered from the elbow strike after having attempted to rush forward and grab Aerimon in a crushing embrace only to come face to edge with his blade.
Steel split flesh and bone greedily, opening wide and devouring this beast’s life. The match was won, in similar fashion as the three others before now. Aerimon indifferently pried his blade from the creature, allowing it to crumble to the floor, then wiped his blade on its scant clothing.
An applause rent the momentary silence as violently as Aerimon’s blade had slain the Urepterian. The black fog of battle that the gods above had conjured evaporated, revealing a circular set of stands barely visible in the wan light cast by the few specters of flame that floated in air. In those seats there sat three thrones and a god was upon each, staring down hungrily at the battles. Hundreds of others in gaudy clothing and shielded from identification by masks of all sort filled the rest of the coliseum.
“Aerimon takes another victory!” boomed a commanding voice. The sound of coins changing hands could be heard within the folds of cheers and laments, conjuring forth memories of time spent in the Shattered Spear, a seedy tavern nestled in Dargon.
He’d been there only a few hours before, in fact, having walked outside simply to relieve himself of a painfully obvious liquid nuisance. Stepping from the Shattered Spear’s door and onto the streets of Dargon, however, resulted in his trip to this other world where he was pitted against many brutal foes in a fight for his life. The rules had been simply and swiftly explained to them all; either one killed the other before the fight drug on overly long or they’d both be struck dead immediately.
Aerimon didn’t need to wait for the guard to prod him this time. A gate of iron bars slid up into the wall it belonged to, chains rattling as it did so and he strode toward it in a melancholy state.
Although he understood none of what was transpiring, Aerimon decided to believe that each creature he dispatched was born of evil. Therefore, it was an easy thing to look upon the blue beast’s ruined, red spattered face and feel not an inkling of remorse. He was reminded of the night he’d watched the shadow boy Gerald die and the ghost of sensation returned to his left hand where his missing pinky should have existed. He gripped his blade harder, grit his teeth, and moved through the raised gate to the holding area.
Once within, he became painfully aware of the fact that only one other being other than the armor-clad guards remained. The dank cell held little more than wooden benches, several sets of chains and manacles set into the far wall, and an open fire burning weakly near the middle of the room. The final figure sat with his back to the wall, chains hanging to either side of his head. He trailed Aerimon with his eyes, a mixture of respect and the promise of violence exuding from him.
Aerimon hadn’t paid attention to names. He didn’t care what these evil things were called. He did, however, note that this final contestant was human as well, unlike all the others, and covered in bronze armor: gauntlets covered him from fingertip to elbow with spikes and sharp blades stabbing out from joints and knuckles, greaves flowed from toe to knee and bronze caps covered those joints with a brutal spike of metal spearing outward from each, and a breast plate protected his torso. The firelight reflected off his smooth, bald dome and green eyes, accentuating his deep, angular features.
Only a short moment separated Aerimon from what may be his last battle, so he took a breath to steady himself as his master had taught him. He turned his back to his final opponent and sat upon and bench, letting his eyelids slowly fall.
First, he calmed himself from the rigors of his last fight and found a balanced center for his world. He came to a point where he merely felt the things around him with a physical sense and shut out all emotion. It was a better way to draw upon his knowledge. Then, he began to imagine the movements of his attacker and how he would evade them. Void of armor, he’d be left with just one means by which to keep from the clutches of death.
Lastly, he fell into a land of thoughts that was relatively new to him. It was a place of fetid ideas and corrupt actions, all of which were perpetrated by the man behind him.
“What do you seek out of life?” The man’s voice, deep and soothing, slowly brought Aerimon from his inner world. The words penetrated some time after, causing him to wrinkle his brow in confusion. It was such an odd question to ask of someone moments before they attempted to kill one another.
“What?” Aerimon asked, unsure of how to respond and feeling a sense of discomfort creep into room as the time stretched.
“For me,” the man continued, shifting, “it was always about being the best at my art.”
“Besting absolutely every single person in battle.” Aerimon spun around at that, placed his katana on the bench next to him, and leaned forward to put his elbows on his knees. The man continued, “I didn’t care how. It could be messy. I could barely survive. As long as I wasn’t the one who died. That’s what my master taught me. He was cruel, and oblivious to the pain he caused me, even as a child.”
“I take it you were forced into your art then. Mine I made part of my life by choice. There have been many who have tried to take away the things I hold dear, and each and every one of them died for it.” A bitter taste shocked his tongue as he imagined the things he had lost for the retaliation he had taken and felt entitled to.
“Again, what do you seek out of life?”
Aerimon was stalled by the intensity of the man’s gaze. Certainly there was a reason behind his asking. He had something he wanted to convey, but was waiting until he drew the answer he sought out of Aerimon.
“What is your name?” Aerimon asked as he narrowed his eyes, letting his mind chew on the abstract question he seemingly had no hope at avoiding.
“You don’t have a sir name?”
“I don’t know it. My master took me from my village when I was young. He was the emissary of a god.” Micale shook his head and let his eyes drop to the floor for a moment, lost in a specific thought. Whatever it was, it seemed to be one born of anger.
Aerimon nodded once, scrutinizing Micale, befuddled once more by that he had said. A god? How could that be? The bronze-clad warrior brought his gaze back up and pierced Aerimon’s with the question once more. “Well, I’ve always wanted to teach my art. To affect as many people as I can with it. To spread my knowledge.” Even as he said it, he realized they were only half-truths. That is what he had wanted, but far from what he now wanted.
In one crystallizing moment, Aerimon realized his self-doubt plagued him often. It was as if he had been climbing a hill without purpose to crest its top and discover his cause and the reasons he had begun the journey in the first place all at once. Not just here and now, but ever since he’d hunted and murdered the gangsters who had tried to extort him and then slammed his heel into Garrity’s chest until the bones caging his organs were no more than shattered eggshells, he’d been unsure of his actions and motives.
Aerimon shook his head, forcing the damning thoughts from his head. Now, anger replaced his introspection, throwing up a wall that prevented his mind from reviewing his actions. “Now though,” he whispered, knowing that keeping the truth from this man he was about to murder was pointless, “snuffing out all the life of all the evil things is what drives me. I live for the moments where I get to kill those who I know deserve it. They drove me to this point, and I am glad they did.”
Micale was unfazed as he snapped, “None of that is truly what you want. They made you think it’s what you seek in life. But it isn’t. My purpose was forced upon me by a god and I discovered one terrible truth that obliterated all of it; gods are not real. Only children with unheard of powers. Now, you die knowing that you have fallen prey to the game this universe plays on its victims.”
With the threat, heat blossomed in Aerimon’s chest, calling him to rise up, stretch out his limbs as a plant reaches its leaves toward the sun, and fall into the dance of battle that would end in Micale’s death. It was plain that each man thought themselves the better of the two, and there were no empty meanings in anything Micale said. Despite that, however, Aerimon would claim victory today. His sword would slice through Micale and spill his life onto the hard dirt ground of the battlefield.
Chains rattled and a guard barked, “It’s time!”
Micale surged to his feet, slamming the backs of his arms against the brick wall behind him as he pushed off it. Aerimon turned before the man could pass him, safe in the knowledge that he wouldn’t strike him before they each began on a level playing field.
The two strode past the open gate and were accosted by a thunderous cacophony of those in the stands above. The dark fog had yet to hide their masked faces. They jostled one another, called out bets and jeered others to participate in them as well. A healthy amount of blood and gore covered the battleground, staining the dirt dark with violence.
Darkness coagulated above and Aerimon turned to look at Micale. His opponent, however, kept his eyes glaring upward as if he was attempting to murder one of the gods sitting in their thrones with the intensity of his stare alone. Aerimon followed Micale’s gaze to see bright eyes shining amidst features darkened but obviously raised in a satisfied smile. A voice whispered through the air, “I am your god, child.”
The god was lost behind the veil of fog and Aerimon was left in the ring alone with Micale. They locked eyes, Micale obviously overcome with anger as he breathed deeply through flared nostrils. Aerimon slid his feet apart, setting his right leg forward, and laid his katana, also in his right hand, on his lead shoulder. Micale stomped down with his left foot in front and set his weight deep through his heels, raising his open hands before his face.
At once, they began to move, Aerimon stepping forward with his lead leg toward his opponent and Micale bouncing back and forth on the balls of his feet. The latter suddenly burst forward, catching Aerimon off guard with his aggression. He backpedaled several steps and set his base, waiting to strike. Micale continued to hurtle forward. A lunge separated the two when Aerimon faked with his blade, jerking it from his shoulder and forward as though he were attempting a downward chop. It was a feint that concealed the stab that came next.
Micale was not fooled, however, as he spun off his line and swept his forearm across his body, batting the katana away. He continued his rotation and lifted his far leg, tucking it in tightly. Then, his leg lashed out as he twisted violently and the back of his heel cut through the air for Aerimon’s head. Aerimon raised his arm to hug his skull tightly and the strike landed on his bicep. Thunder resounded between his ears but he rolled with the force of the blow, committing to his own spin.
Aerimon lashed out with his own kick as he came back around and his aim had been true, his shin slamming into Micale’s thigh. They disengaged, circling and calculating, neither one injured.
Micale was again the first to move in. Aerimon pushed him back with short stabs and slashes, forcing Micale to slip this way and that to avoid the blade. He danced lightly on his feet, too busy dodging to commit to his own attack, and Aerimon increased the speed of his onslaught, wanting nothing more than to slice into Micale’s flesh, even if only shallowly. He wanted to see blood. Micale deserved to bleed. Somehow, for something he had done in his life, he deserved it.
Greed was a costly thing, Aerimon learned as Micale nearly ran into the wall surrounding the battlefield. The bronze-clad fighter slipped to his right and turned his hips, raised his leg, then thrust it out. Aerimon ran into Micale’s extending heel, blasting the air from his lungs and nearly forcing his stomach to leap from his throat.
Aerimon swallowed the pain as quickly as it came. He ducked beneath a hook aimed at his head which would have ended with his brains scattered across the ground. A knee strike, led by a four-inch spike of bronze, came next. Aerimon shot his arm down and burst forward. The side of Micale’s thigh slid along his forearm.
Without looking up, Aerimon continued his charge and raised his head up at the last moment. A satisfying crunch reverberated through Micale’s lower jaw and the top of Aerimon’s skull. Scorching pain seared his abdomen and he cried out in surprise as he jerked away. Blood began to well beneath Aerimon’s tattered robes and he realized that the blade along Micale’s forearm had sliced into him. He hadn’t seen the elbow strike as he drove his head into Micale’s jaw and he had ended up in worse condition out of the two for it.
Micale rubbed his jaw briefly then rolled his shoulders and neck, taking up his fighting stance once more. Aerimon banished his own pain, knowing that the gouge in his stomach was not one capable of causing an end to his life at the moment. He’d survive as long as he made it out of this soon.
Aerimon leapt forward with a downward cut and Micale sidestepped the strike then interposed his forearm when Aerimon slashed for his neck. Micale raised his other arm and pinched the blade tightly, the spikes from his knuckles acting like a cage that locked the katana in place. Then, he pulled violently. Aerimon rode the momentum as his enemy swept his leg out in a low kick that would have sheared into his calf.
The blade, and leg it was attached to, cut through air as Aerimon jumped. He pulled his legs in then thrust the nearest one at Micale. His heel met his enemy’s chest and sent him stumbling backward, losing his grip of the blade.
A respite did not come, however, as Micale dove back into the melee. They traded blows for a while, Aerimon slipping away from Micale’s strikes, any one of them with fatal capabilities, while the latter utilized his armored forearms to deflect the blade. They disengaged for a brief moment and Aerimon found himself rasping like a bellows. Several cuts lined his arms and a shallow hole had been punched into his thigh after a failed attempt at a head kick ended with Micale glancing him with a punch. The bronze fighter bore the mark of several gashes and even a rent in his armor which leaked blood just above his hip.
Micale seemed physically unperturbed, however, and Aerimon knew that the wound in his stomach was posing a much larger problem for him then he thought it would. “You’re slowing,” Micale taunted.
Although Aerimon wanted nothing more than to allow his anger to control his response, he willed the turbulent maelstrom of emotion within to dull until they were no more than calm waves lapping at the shore. They beat a steady rhythm, but he was the guide of his vessel upon them, and they would not control his decisions.
Instead, Aerimon relived the fight thus far and realized a hole in Micale’s tactics. Either he finished this now, or he’d die.
Aerimon darted forward, his blade carving an X through the air with speed great enough to elicit a whistle with each strike. Micale evaded the first two strikes but could then afford nothing else other than to begin using his forearms to deflect the blows after. He still burst side to side as he tried to get off the line Aerimon moved on, but the latter was prepared for the swift movements and followed.
The rhythm set, Aerimon took a chance and broke it himself. He completed a final swipe of his continuous motion then feinted low. Micale thrust his hips back and Aerimon twisted his blade and brought it up. It slashed the air before Micale’s stomach, the tip aimed for his jaw. Instead of carving through flesh, however, Aerimon’s blade clashed with bronze as Micale intercepted it with his hand.
Steel dug between the joints of bronze, shattered them, continued through muscle and bone, then sliced through the knuckled spikes on the other side. Seven things fell to the ground: four fingers and three spikes of bronze several inches in length. Micale, for his part, continued with the kick he had thrown despite the maiming of his hand and Aerimon faltered as the blade of bronze along Micale’s shin sliced deeply into his thigh.
Aerimon’s knee crashed into the ground and he looked up to see Micale’s balled fist, this one with all its fingers and bristling spikes attached, cocked back in anticipation of the death strike. He interposed his katana at an off angle and Micale’s fist came down. Again, steel and bronze warred, but the latter was victorious this time. Aerimon’s grip failed and his blade slipped from his grasp to clatter on the ground before him.
Micale shot his lead leg forward and the spike bristling from his knee sank into Aerimon’s chest. With the invading spike came a sense of cold dread as he feared it would lead to his death. The strike, however was far too quick, thus lacking in power, to cease the beating of his heart. Micale pulled his leg back to ready it for another strike and Aerimon saw death standing before him. It was a terrible, evil thing, and it deserved not at all to molest him. He wouldn’t fall victim to this malicious being. He would defy it with every iota of his body and soul while he still drew breath.
Despite his various crippling wounds, Aerimon burst forward and wrapped his arms around Micale’s legs, circling all the way to the back of his thighs. The spikes on his knees poked at Aerimon’s flesh prodding him to continue to drive forward and circle. Had Micale’s hand been whole, he may have stopped Aerimon. As it was, the bloody stump of his hand slipped across the back of Aerimon’s neck as he surged to his feet and spun, finishing behind Micale with his arms clasped together across his enemy’s chest.
Aerimon maintained his grip and leapt into the air then pumped his legs forward. Each heel smashed into Micale’s hamstrings and he crumbled. Immediately, Aerimon flipped his left leg across Micale’s stomach then clamped down on his own shin with the back of his right leg, locking in a body triangle with enough pressure to snap bones if not for the breastplate saving Micale. Either way, it made for a damn efficient way to stick to Micale’s back, keeping him safe from the spikes and blades along his body.
Aerimon looped his left arm around Micale’s neck and struck him twice in the side of the head with his right fist. Micale accepted the blows and gripped Aerimon’s arm with his good hand. The next motion happened far too quickly for Aerimon to understand until it had already ended with his arm in peril. Micale had pried Aerimon’s arm from his neck, slipped beneath it, passed it to the other side of his head, then put his ear against Aerimon’s elbow and turned to lean the entirety of his weight on it.
The pressure that exploded in his arm spoke of torn ligaments and muscle, but the bone had yet to give. Aerimon began to resist, grunting with exertion and pain, knowing that he needed to do something before his arm snapped. Bronze glittered near his shoulder and he found himself lying on his side next to the spikes he had cut from Micale’s fist. He accepted the inevitable and snatched a single, two-inch spike.
Cold shot through his body and his bones jumped at the sensation of his arm snapping in half. He cried out involuntarily but his yelp quickly transformed into a snarl as he brought his other hand around. Bronze pierced flesh as the spike he held stabbed into the side of Micale’s neck.
Without the use of his other arm, however, Micale was able to spin around and put Aerimon on his back. There was time only to absorb the haunted look that had come to Micale’s eyes as he realized that, despite who was deemed victor in this battle, he was already dead. Then, Micale’s fist came down.
Every spike lining his knuckles bit into Aerimon’s throat. He felt the sharp tips split his skin then dig deep and separate his trachea in three places. Blood immediately flowed into the back of his throat as he gagged on the bronze spikes grating against his spine. Hot lead pumped from the spikes and into his throat, damning it off from the air it needed to breathe in order for Aerimon to continue living. Fire conjured from a raging inferno in the deepest pit of hell exploded where the spikes punctured.
Aerimon’s vision flashed, white giving way to black then finally allowing him a skewed sight of his attacker still above him. Micale now seemed extremely far away although Aerimon looked down on his wrist and followed the impossibly long arm up to the man’s neck, blood spurting from the hole in it. His own arm appeared as if it belonged to someone else and Micale simply sat still as the spike clutched in Aerimon’s hand pierced his temple, cracking bone open like a clam shell then exposing the prize within to the merciless shard.
Light fled Micale’s eyes quickly and his face grew slack as he immediately became a corpse. Aerimon reacted on instinct then, his free hand gripping Micale’s wrist and dislodging the spikes from his throat. The sensation of the spikes sliding from his flesh caused a wave of disgust to overcome him. He rolled the dead man off his body then wriggled to his stomach, the black closing in. The damn broke as he vomited an obscene amount of blood on the ground a few inches from Micale’s head. His sight returned in full and so did his senses.
Complete consciousness opened the door to fear. Icy clutches gripped Aerimon’s heart and squeezed it tight. He floundered as he tried to push himself up, frenetic in his motions as if standing would somehow remove him from the terror swallowing him. However, he continued to slide down its gullet as he finally stood and stumbled, groping his ruined throat.
Darkness above dissipated and Aerimon stared up with wild eyes at hundreds of maddening faces. Masks and the gods mocked him and he felt insignificant beneath their gazes. Death swept him up and he knew he could evade it no longer.
Desperation caused him to cry out. “Help me!” he croaked, blood bubbling from the holes in his throat and between his teeth. Cold glares answered him and he lost the will to stand. He collapsed and his throat closed again. He lay on his side, obscene noises coming from him as he coughed his life onto the ground and convulsed. Ultimate darkness closed in, and his last sight was a vision of Micale’s placid face, the bronze spike propping his head up in a sickening position.
Aerimon expired as a maelstrom might, in complete disarray, suddenly, and without accepting his end. His fleeting moment was accompanied only by the soul shattering influence of terror, and the urge to do nothing more than simply stay alive for one more moment. Despite his brief victory over his opponent, he failed to conquer his final battle.
All of the above material is not, nor will it ever, be considered canon for my writing. The story takes place in a time between Sowing Seeds and Death Blooms for Aerimon and after Game of Gods for Micale.