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I stared at them from my place among my fellows across the oval. They were a howling mass, a mob wracked with jealousy and the bloodlust it created within them. They stared back, howling, threatening, cursing and wailing as they did. There were so many of them. It must have been their whole school? and probably some from other schools in the district who shared St Connell?s distaste for us.

I don?t know now, even after everything I have seen and done, nor did I know then exactly why they hated us so. I mean, the easy answer was that they were jealous. We were a rich school, a Posh school, but that hardly seems to justify it.
Regardless, there they were, massing on the other end of Ponting Oval, on the brink of surging forward to wreak havoc and chaos upon us and our school. Looking around I saw what we had managed? Most of the boys of the Senior and even Middle school stood at our end of the oval and even some of the chicks had come. Where they were a rambling mob, anarchic and loud, we stood in rank and file behind hastily erected 3 foot tall barricades of tipped over tables and gym equipment, stony and silent. A quick guess told me that we were probably around 400 strong, but my mood fell as I looked across the oval and saw what was easily more than 1000 angry faces staring back at me. My sweeping gaze continued and it finally fell on to the boy standing next to me. Another year twelve like myself, and two of my closest friends; Simon and next to him Charles. Both were taller than me and lithely muscular. Simon, the athlete was as fleet as anybody I had seen and could outrun pretty much everyone in our school, and often had to after his smart-arse mouth got him in trouble. Charles was also muscular, and possessed a broad shoulders and large hands, his muscles easily seen under his light blue school shirt, Ever a ladies man, and while he never took advantage of this, you could see by the sparkle in his eyes he enjoyed it. They both held cricket bats loosely in their hands, as did I, and they were also scanning the predicament we had landed in. It was hard to believe just yesterday we were just normal school students? I didn?t know what we were anymore but it was far from normal. After a brief moment Simon, miraculously keeping his ever-present wide grin on his face and his voice light and flippant, said ?wow? we?re fucked?? I knew how he felt, but felt the need to reply with ?Don?t think of it as being outnumbered, think of it more as if we have a very large target selection.? I received a punch in the arm and a kick in the shins for my forced optimism.
Rhys saved me from further fratricide he walked up behind Simon and Charles and rested his arms comfortably on their shoulders. While Charles, Simon and I aren?t small, Rhys can only be described as huge. Almost a head taller than Charles and Simon and nearly half again as wide, Rhys towered over most people and an exercise r?gime had put him in very good shape, an imposing figure to be sure. Our attention once again turned to the Horde facing us and our smiles slid off our faces.
As one, we said ?Wow? we?re fucked.?
Further contemplation of our grim fate soon became impossible as some unseen signal swept through the mass of not-quite-humanity and it began to advance upon us. Simon, Rhys, Charles and I separated then, spreading ourselves out in the line. From behind us I heard a prefect calling out the order to ?AIM!? The front ranks of our line knelt and after a few seconds the prefects voice rang out again ??FIRE!?
A wave of projectiles, Cricket and soccer balls, blunted javelins and other miscellaneous objects, hurtled over our head at the charging mob, felling the leaders into piles of moaning bodies that were quickly trampled by the rest of the horde. ?FIRE AT WILL,? Came the next command, ?PREPARE FOR IMPACT!?
I pulled my earphones out of my pocket and pressed the play button on my iPod. Rhythmic Violins backed up by heavy percussion began to fill my mind and I could feel myself becoming lost in the music. The last thing I can remember saying was ?Lets dance?? Then the veil covered my mind, and I watched myself, as if from a distance, as I vaulted our makeshift barricade and countercharged the onrushing Horde. With perfect clarity that was somehow slightly muted, I heard the slow motion drawl of Simon cursing and I knew he, Charles and Rhys had abandoned their place in the line and charged out to rescue me. From there it was all just a blur of motion. I remember thinking, in a detached kind of way, that I was doing incredibly well. I was executing forms that I had never managed in my years of practicing Kendo, Swordplay, Tae Kwon Do and Karate. The others were similarly impressive: Simon was darting from person to person and dispatching with a grace that surpassed even the greatest of martial artists that I had seen, but his face wore a calm but glazed expression that I imagine was something like my own. Charles had also brought a cricket bat in with him as well as some cricket balls and was batting them furiously fast and at ever decreasing range and with superhuman accuracy into the faces of those attacking us, despite his faraway expression. Rhys was also present in the maelstrom; he had forsaken a simple cricket bat for a large metal pipe with a block of concrete on one end and was smashing and breaking his way through waves of attackers with bone-crunching swings. He too possessed the glazed look. I could also feel Edward, somewhere behind me a ways, and I knew that he was coordinating volleys of projectiles at clumps of writhing, hostile humanity with pinpoint accuracy and a distant expression and tone of voice.
All of a sudden, as I was bringing my bat down on someone?s joint where shoulder meets neck a new picture overlapped my vision; my bat was replaced with a bloody sword and I could see my arms covered in leather and a plate covering my lower arms and hand. Blood splattered my face and the sensation brought me back to reality, although I was still not controlling my actions. Detached as I was, I could not bring myself to be worried about this macabre vision and I just watched on as I moved flawlessly from Snake stance, to moon fall to eagle strike and continue to flow and dance from one stance and strike to another while people fell, projectiles flew and my companions ?danced? with me. My blood sang in chorus with the other?s.
Separate from myself as I was, I noticed the sky clouding over and darkening with tremendous speed. Lightning began to streak across the sky and the booming thunder reached even into my silent place from where I was observing. Despite the unexplained superhuman grace and skill that my companions and I were manifesting, we were still being pushed relentlessly backwards under the waves of seemingly endless, mindless aggressors. A glancing blow from a girl with a pair of scissors had me bleeding from a long gash in my forehead, and I could feel the others being worn down too. Lightning struck again and the strange other world overlapped my vision once more for a brief instant. Still on we fought, fighting ever backwards towards the library, the point I vaguely remembered as the place we had designated as our last stand. Although I knew I must be exhausted from the onslaught, in my silent place I began to feel lighter. An all encompassing rumble began in the heavens, even though there was no lighting accompanying it and I saw myself and the others throw their heads back and give an unearthly Battle cry to match the thunder?s fury. Lighting struck. Me.
All of a sudden I was IN that other world. This was not just some overlapping perception or sensation. I knew I was there. And with this realization, my silent place evicted me and I was forced into myself.
I didn?t have any time to think, only react, as a sword sliced the air in front of me, intent on cleaving me in half. My sword flew up in my hands and blocked the lethal blow mere inches from my forehead and sent shockwaves up my arm. Red began to fill my vision. An inexplicable and terrible rage welled inside me and I felt as if it were about to erupt out of me. It was. It did.
I got lost in my rage and the next thing that I knew I was leaning on a sword? my sword? surrounded by bodies of the dead or dying. I lifted a hand to wipe the sweat out of my eyes and found it was covered in blood. What had I done. I hastily looked around to see that there was no one else even close to me. I was surrounded by a sea of corpses, valleys and hills of the faceless dead surrounded me. Had I done all this? It was then that it fully came to me that I was somewhere else. I had never seen this place before. Plains with rolling hills, now covered with bodies, and over in the near distance I could see smoke rising from a compound of buildings. Absently I picked up the sword I was leaning on, which I somehow knew was called ?BrightSlayer.? In doing so I noticed an unexpected weight upon me that I had not noticed until now. Taking a look at myself I saw that I was clothed in a shirt of interlinked chain rings and wearing pants of thick leather. Across my back I felt the weight of what must be a scabbard for the sword I held in my hand. I took a closer look at the sword. The hilt was made of silver with veins of gold running through it while the blade Shone brightly even under the blood and dark clouds. I could see why it was called bright slayer. Gazing into the luminescent blade of my sword, I felt my consciousness expand


The field was full of death and blood, yet I was filled with joy as my mind soared. My mind soared around, touching fleetingly with the living dotted around the field. There was Simon, confused and angry, gazing from body to body. Charles, likewise stricken, transfixed upon his bow. When I touched minds with Ed, I reeled from the sensation; his mind was rushing at a million miles an hour with complex thoughts I could not comprehend. From his mind fled into that of my other companion, Rhys.
He was sleeping.
I distantly felt something on my shoulder which ripped me back to my body. The joy lingered for only a second, but bright-slayer glowed warm in my hand. It shared my joy and saved in for later? I think. Turning to face the man that dared interrupt my joy I saw a walking mountain of a man, scarred and grizzly. What was even more shocking about this, was that he flinched and withdrew from my scowl. Needless to say my scowl disappeared when I saw the man, but I had enough control not let my own reaction to the sight of this fearsome looking warrior.
?Grace, friend? he rumbled, holding his hands out to me in a gesture for peace, ?remember yourself, remember me, remember Gornen.? He too was covered in blood and sweat, and not all of it belonged to the people he had apparently slain.
Gornen? I remembered touching minds with him, as I had everyone in the field. Clarity was not perfect and recall was dismal, but somehow I knew he was a good man and a good friend to me. Or at least whom ever I was now. ?S?ok? I?m good now? I replied. A puzzled expression came over him at my words, but he apparently caught my drift anyway. ?Come, we shall get our wounds seen to, though as ever I am jealous of your skill in not hurting yourself despite the recklessness of your rage.? I grinned ruefully, although I did not understand what he meant. I had only taken a few steps after the man when I felt a twinge upon the new bond formed between my friends and I. Ed. I stopped in my tracks, eyes darting to where I somehow knew Ed was. The man in front of me, Gornen, stopped too and looked at me, confused for a second, before realization dawned in his eyes. He was about to say more when I felt panic tug at the bond, and I set off at a run towards the tent that housed Ed. I could feel the others doing the same, even Rhys, who had been roused from his sleep. I burst into the tent, sword in hand ready to strike the unknown enemy only to be met with the sight of 4 nervous looking men in robes light clothing and, cowering in the corner: Ed, cowering in fear and staring terrified at his own hand, which was smoking slightly.
Charles Simon and Rhys barreled in behind me, blades bared and eyes flashing. Like me, they too faulted when they met the anticlimactic scene before us. ?what happened?? Charles demanded, with inflection, speech modulation and patterns as they should be, but a deeper voice than normal. I wondered if my voice had also changed. One of the other men took a tentative step forward and offered: ?we don?t really know... erm? Mister Soulstriker? milord?sir? He just set his hand on fire and then he became as he is now?? he trailed off. I heard Charles mutter ??Soulstriker?? as Simon asked the inevitable question ?with what??
The apparent spokesperson looked shocked by the question and cast a quizzical eye over Simon before answering; ?Why, magic of course.? I might have said something had I not felt the bond that I did between others and I and my experience with BrightSlayer. I could feel that the others were thinking the same things. ?Thanks? I dismissed the men an went to see to Ed. As I turned I did, however, notice the men share a ?look? between them, apparently regarding my companions and my behavior. Right then I didn?t care. I joined the others forming a circle around Ed and trying to cajole a response out of him. After a few moments, he blinked for the first time and the tension on the bond relaxed. He didn?t move though, and his eyes did not refocus. We all relaxed too, and waited for him to come back to himself. We didn?t really have a choice, as if we did something, we could have hurt him. So we waited.
About 5 minutes had past when I heard a whistling sound, I looked to where the sound was coming from and found it was Ed?s hand. A glance at his face showed intense concentration, but his eyes were still clouded. All of a sudden his eyes cleared and his hand erupted in flame, burning bright and hot, singing his shirt and incinerating Charles?s eyebrows. A few seconds later Ed blinked and the flame extinguished. A few seconds passed in dead silence, our party looking on in stunned silence and the other men sharing the tent looking on in perplexed confusion. Total silence reigned for exactly 8.73 seconds before:
?HOLY SHIT! COOL!? we all chorused in perfect synchrony.
If the onlookers were perplexed before about our behavior and, at least in this setting, outlandish speech, before, then now they were clearly worried. A look and passed between us and we all instantly reverted to our ?Super Manly, Tough, Surly Don?t mess with us? poses. They shared a weighted look before one of them soundlessly left the tent? we decided that that would probably be a good idea too. As we left, we saw the man who left before us hustling towards a large and very grand looking tent. ?We?re fucked...? opined Simon. ?Yup? we all agreed. ?Run?? I asked, ?Fight?? Rhys conjectured. We all looked to Ed, who threw cornered looks at all of us.
?What?!?! Why are you looking at me!??
We all shrugged, but did not look away. He soon realized it was pointless to try and argue and let out a sigh. A few minutes of intense thought apparently led him to the conclusion: ?we can?t leave, because we don?t know who we are, so we are just going to have to hang around here and try and act like everyone else. We have to talk like them, act like them, be like them. No acting modern? okay Simon??
?For Shizzen.? We all turned and kicked him in the shins and, when we realized the surviving warriors were watching us and giving us strange looks we hurriedly pummeled him with our fists, which seemed to placate them. Needless to say Simon was left in a crumpled heap on the ground. We all picked him up and decided to take him back to where ever we were supposed to go. Only once we had begun walking did we realize that we didn?t actually have any idea where that was.
... to be continued

If it is as it is, then it is as it should be, and if it isnt, then change it to how it should be, so it can be as it is... that makes sense, i think...

Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:14 am
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