Death and Shadows - 2 | i

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All he could hear was ringing. Sven rolled onto his side coughing the dust out of his lungs; dust also temporarily blinding him. Once he had oriented himself somewhat, he looked around. A cloud of dust obscured his surroundings, the ringing in his ears blocking out every other sound.

As the dust clouds started to clear, he saw what was happening around him. Fighting. He looked towards the entrance of the cave and all he could make out were mounds of rocks and debris. The hill was flat, a few feet more and it would have been on top of him. Sven got to his feet, anger seething. Two men came rushing towards him, and he took out his anger on them.

Salvay.

Had the man set him up? Sven intended to rip the vampire's tongue from his mouth. No one played Sven for a fool.

***

Ava materialized in the middle of the fight. Vampire versus werewolves and vampires versus vampires. Both sides came toward her, neither sure on which side she belonged. With her body back to being a shadow with form, she walked through them unharmed looking for the binding rune. She had found it where she had least expected it.

Though she had expelled some of the energy from the souls she had absorbed, there was still a significant amount left. The taint continued to spread. From this distance, her connection to Daniel was only barely there for her to focus on for stability. She touched her fingers to her lips. He had kissed her. He had touched her. It was a moment she would carry inside her heart for all eternity. Ava squared her shoulders, pumping herself up for what she was about to do.

The plan was simple. Kill Sven-because that was the only way to stop a man like him. With a second chance, he would stab you in the back without a prick of conscience. Ava felt she had enough power to beat him. Though he had been pulling the souls toward here, they had not been absorbed. She looked up at the sky. At least, not from the looks of it.

Sven's death would mean this world-earth-would be safe. As safe as it could be before the next maniac came seeking power. Sadly, there will always be men like Sven. After he was dead, she would retrieve her stone. It would help to stabilize the power she held, and she would be able to focus it on the task ahead-opening a fraction of the portal only long enough for her to get through. Once she was on the other side, it would seal, and the worlds would remain separated. Ava had no real plan for what she would do once she got to Lansguard, but Ava was confident she would figure it out.

She thought about Daniel. About what it would mean to him when she left. Her chest tightened. She would have to leave him here to keep him safe. Maybe one day she would be able to return to him but if that day never came, at least, he would be safe.

For her plans to work, however, she had to unravel the binding rune. A rune Sven had wrapped inside himself. The man was smart; she had to give him that. She just had to be smarter and stronger to beat him.

***

Sven recognized Ava the moment he saw her. She walked over to him, and he bowed. His action had her stopping in her tracks.

"Your majesty," he said in mocking respect.

He noted the surprise that flashed across her face before it was gone. Salvay had told him that a member of the Order had sealed the portal but never in his wildest dream did he consider it could be her.

"You know me?" Ava asked.

Sven laughed. The sound was angry and bitter. "The blood of my people are on your hands. Your face is one I will never forget."

Ava looked up at the display of floating souls above them. "So you repay my mistake by killing millions more." She looked down at him again.

"This," he said arms outspread. "All of this is your fault. You unleashed my pain into this world."

"Your choices are your own."

"My choices," Sven spat, pointing a finger at his chest, "were a matter of circumstances. Circumstances you created, your majesty."

"Do not call me that."

"Does your crown grow heavy with guilt Avana? I am surprised you fight to keep the portal closed. I am even more surprised that you were the one to close it in the first place. Did you lose control of the monster you created?"

"Enough. I will not allow you to destroy this world."

"As you did mine!"

Sven came at her changing as he did. She deflected his move only throwing him off balance for a moment. He roared going after her again. Salvay and his assumed betrayal took a backseat. He had never thought he would see this woman again. That he would ever match her power, enough to take revenge one on one.

Sven changed back to his human form. Dust still whirled around them, the chaos only building. "You are weak your majesty."

"Not so much so that I cannot kill you and retrieve that which is mine."

Sven looked down at his hand then up at her. He laughed. "The stone."

"My stone."

"Well it seems we have come to an impasse," he said.

"I sincerely doubt that. Omnus impet aman ni gag..." Ava used her hand to form a runic symbol.

Sven just stood there laughing. "You cannot kill what is already dead, your majesty."

His statement stopped her from completing the rune. She stood there looking at him. The incomplete symbol started to disappear.

"That is impossible."

"The shadow welcomes the dead. I had the stone-your stone-inside me when one of my sister's son's killed me. Only thing is he did not know that I died, so no one asked any questions when I came back again. You can imagine my surprise when I realized what I had become. Thanks to you."

"Lies!"

Ava completed the rune she had started throwing it at him. Sven changed countering the rune with one of his own. It went on like this for some time both exhausting themselves both evenly matched. Sven tried to syphon energy from the souls he had at his disposal, but this left an opening for Ava. She threw a death rune at him, and he did not bother to deflect it. The force had him doubling over. When he straightened to face her, he heard her gasp. She took a step back, eyes wide in disbelief.

"I cannot kill you any more than you can kill me without the book." He looked toward where the opening of the portal once was. "All roads lead to Lansguard."


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Author's Note:

Well then... Ava has some explaining to do. And now Sven can't be killed? Lmao. Such a glorious mess is starting to build up.

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