Schala vs. Suroos Schala vs. Suroos
Schala was a natural early-morning riser, often getting up with the sun even after only four hours' worth of sleep. It had helped her this time as well. She had entered and left Kaitlin's tent quietly, not wishing to disturb her friend's slumber. She wasn't even sure if the druidess would know if she had been there at all.
Now it was early morning. Schala walked some distance away from the tents to fully capture the sunlight. What a wonderful feeling it was...after so long in almost total darkness, she was finally in the light again, physically if not mentally. She stretched out her arms, lifted her face to the sky, and took deep breaths. A song burst forth from her lips, one that the old druid had taught her, a song to welcome the sun.
Without really knowing where she was going, Schala walked further and further away from the camp. She was feeling adventurous, and decided to climb some way up the mountains. But when the thought came to her mind, she hesitated a bit. Then she shrugged and laughed. "My mind is going, so I may as well live it up," she said aloud.
She climbed for some minutes before reaching a small plateau. She looked out over the camp. It was truly an amazing sight to her, who had never seen a war camp before...at least, not one like this.
When she turned around to climb again, Schala saw a small cave behind her. Curiosity filled her, and she examined the hole. It was just large enough for her to crawl through, and she did so without any regard to her loosely flowing robes.
It was much longer than she thought, and it was complete darkness for a good part of her crawl. Several times she thought of turning back, but her determination won through and she pushed on.
Schala finally emerged out onto another plateau. She looked below and found she was in a small valley completely surrounded by the mountains. It was narrow at one end, then grew out to an almost circular shape at the other end.
Suddenly, she heard a rumbling above her. Looking up, Schala saw the beginnings of a massive rockslide! The ground wasn't that far below her (or so she thought), so her reflexes made her jump.
She hit the ground with a thud and rolled further along before she came to a stop. But it was that, that saved her. Getting to her feet, she shaded her eyes against the sun and looked up to where the rockslide had begun.
"So...you are not as inexperienced as I though," a deep voice boomed out behind her.
Schala quickly swiveled around. Standing there was a large, heavily built man. He was dressed completely in red, wearing rather fitted pants and shirt, and a red cape slung over his shoulders. The man's long black hair flew out behind him. One hand was fisted, while the other held a curious glowing orb.
"And who, may I ask, are you?" Schala called out.
The man threw back his head and laughed. "Certainly you may ask," he answered, "but that does not mean I will answer." He suddenly jumped and became a blur. Schala hunched down, certain that he would attack, but instead she heard his voice come from behind her. "You may not know me, but I know you. You are the one who thinks the path is straight, only to find that it leads into the unknown."
She turned and faced him again. This time, he looked very familiar... "I do know you," she said quietly. "You are Suroos, an influential mage at Zeal... You were finally ousted from your position because..."
His laughter cut her off. "Don't underestimate how powerful I am," he declared arrogantly. "My training under sorcerers greater than you or Janus have enhanced me. I have seen and learned things that you can't even imagine. Zeal is the past. But don't think I have forgotten it." He took slow, menacing steps toward her, but Schala stood her ground. "It was all because of YOU...because of you that I was thrown out...and if I defeat you, I will take what was denied me then..." His eyes roved over her body, and as Schala noticed the action and recalled the incident that had led to Suroos's downfall, she felt an uncharacteristic anger flare up.
"Then we FIGHT!" she yelled. Distracted by her unintentional anger, she threw a careless fireball -- careless because she hadn't taken the time to either build it up or aim properly.
Suroos dodged it easily. "Is that all you can do?" he sneered. "THIS is a fireball!" He pulled his hands back, quickly gathered energy, and flung a large red ball. Schala barely jumped out of the way, rolling on the grass again but quickly regaining herself, just in time to see him charge her, holding out the crystal ball as though it were a sword.
She leaped to the side, but not before she had felt the shock of the crystal. "What is that?" she gasped out, her body already feeling battered from her falls. The ball had a powerful force about it that had seemed to tear her
The man laughed again. "Ah, you were able to escape the crystal's force. There are not many who can do that, especially not as such close range. You are indeed a powerful sorceress...which makes me even more eager to conquer you!" Suroos raised the ball above his hand. Bolts of lightning crackled from it as a strong gust began to blow.
Battered by debris thrown about by the wind, Schala hunched down and raised her arms to protect her eyes. Suddenly she was being lifted, higher and higher, by the wind. She tried to levitate, but the winds were a strong twister that pulled her closer and closer to the mage, who was standing in the eye of the storm.
As Schala approached him, Suroos thrust the ball at the Mystic. This time it glowed a faint green. The howling hurricane drowned Schala's screams as she felt herself being sucked into the crystal.
Time seemed to slow down, then suddenly speed up, then slow down again, all within a few seconds. It was like going through a Gate, only much faster and with much less control. Schala felt lightheaded. Where was she headed? The last thing she remembered was the crystal...
With a slight *whump*, she found herself surrounded by a clear nothingness. Schala quickly recovered herself and looked around. A hard substance met her exploring touch. It was...yes, she was certain...the inside of the crystal.
A breeze blew. With a bright flash of light, Suroos was in the crystal as well.
"So, how do you like my domain?" he sneered at her. "Now we can have a proper fight, won't we?" His leering grin was meant to arouse her anger again, but Schala wasn't falling for it this time.
"If it's revenge against me you want, I'm afraid you won't have it," she said softly. "You were always too eager to call yourself more powerful than the rest. You could never acknowledge that you were simply an impetuous young fool!" She was turning the tables on him; now it was Suroos's anger that was beginning to show.
"HOW DARE YOU!" he yelled so loudly that Schala cringed slightly. He lifted his arms and she felt the familiar wind. This time she was ready. She cast a temporary stone spell on herself and avoided being lifted into the gale. Unfortunately, it did leave her vulnerable to his lightning-fast attacks, and when he saw what she had done, he quickly drew a sword and charged her, letting the wind die down.
Schala was so surprised at seeing the weapon that her mind went blank for a minute. Her spell wore off just as he reached her, and the blade sliced into her shoulder. She cried out and flung herself to the side, then cast an invisible shield.
Suroos whipped around, but he stood there, examining the blade carefully. Then he laughed. "Ah, my beauty, I've drawn blood from you, one way or another!"
Schala got up slowly, plugging up the wound with her loose robes. She felt herself leaning against the cool glass wall of the crystal. She peered at the mage through her silver hair, which had become tangled. A repulsion grew as she watched Suroos continue to laugh at her. Her breathing became heavy. For the first time in a long time, she felt fear...
What was it she feared?
The answer came to her in a blind rush...
She had been practicing with the pendant, observing how the Mammon Machine reacted depending on how much power she channeled through the Dreamstone. It was late at night, and this part of the palace was deserted, for no one except Schala and Queen Zeal were allowed in.
She had been concentrating so hard that she hadn't heard the door open behind her. When she finally heard a slight noise, she started and swiveled around. She could barely make out a figure in the shadows.
"Who's there?" Schala called out.
A man stepped slowly forth. "Princess," came a deep voice, "it's late. You should be in bed."
Schala tensed slightly. Looking back at the incident, now, she had been so stupid...Only a Dreamstone could open the door that led into the room with the machine, and only two pendants existed; the other was with the Queen. So how had he gotten in? She knew she had sealed the door. But her attention had been on the machine and so she had forgotten to ask herself those questions...
She was annoyed to be disturbed, especially by a man whom she didn't really care for. "Please, Suroos, this is the only time I can work and not be interrupted," she said impatiently. "I'm close to finding out how much power is needed to create reactions..."
"That is an admirable thing, Princess," Suroos replied. His voice was silky, smooth. "But you need rest, too...There will always be tomorrow to work..." His steps toward her were deceivingly gentle. "Come...let me return you to your quarters..."
He laid a hand on her upper arm. A sudden shock ran through her, and Schala wrenched herself away. "No, I'll stay here," she said firmly. She looked directly at Suroos for the first time since he entered. The look in his eyes was one she had never seen before, but she knew immediately what it meant, and she felt a new kind of desperate fear...
Schala clutched the pendant and ran for the door. Seeing that she knew his intentions, he caught up with her quickly and grasped her arm. "No...NO!" she yelled, trying to wriggle free. He held her other arm and slammed her against the wall. Schala tried to kick him, but her flowing robes tangled around her legs.
Suddenly Schala slipped and fell to the floor. Suroos followed, pinning both her arms with one strong hand. She felt Suroos touching her, violating her...She heard the dull rip of her clothing as his eager hand tore it. Schala's screams echoed through the room.
She didn't realize she was screaming.
When Suroos saw Schala hunched in the corner, trying to deal with her wound, he grinned. She seemed to have the fight knocked out of her. He strode toward her confidently, knowing that her shield was no good against such a powerful being as he was. He grabbed her arm and pulled her body roughly next to his.
Then suddenly, she brought her head up and screamed.
It was an unholy sound, a cry from a tortured soul condemned to Hell, but knew that did not belong there. A soul that was trying to get out of the depths in which it found itself.
Suroos staggered back from the intensity of the sound. He clapped his hands over his ears.
Then, a shard fell from above.
He looked up. The crystal was cracking, unable to stand against Schala's scream. More pieces fell. Suroos levitated himself, fleeing through the growing hole in the ball. As he looked down, he saw the woman still standing amidst the crumbling glass.
When Schala finally regained her senses, she was alone.
She stood up and looked all around. The pieces of the crystal were scattered widely on the ground. She saw one particularly big piece. Stooping down, Schala picked it up carefully. It was a large sliver about four inches long.
"You still haven't escaped me yet."
She took her time in turning around to face him. When she did, the anger in his eyes burned white-hot. "You may have destroyed my crystal, but you have yet to destroy ME!" He brought his hands together and flung out a terrific fireball at her.
Schala felt amazingly lax. Staring at the sliver in her hand, she realized that she could finally use his own power against him. Casting a quick spell on the glass, she flung it at Suroos. It flew straight and true, piercing the mage's heart. Then she threw out a dispel against the fireball, and it broke apart into harmless sparks that pattered around her feet.
Suroos was slow in comprehending what was happening. Then he dropped to his knees, clutching his chest. He fell completely to the ground, spasms racking his body.
The woman walked over and looked down at her opponent. This was it, this was what had lain behind her indecision. It wasn't only the abstract thing of where her life was headed, or where the War was headed. It had been a physical, very real thing, one that threatened the peace of every woman. Until this second meeting with Suroos, she hadn't realized she had buried the feelings, the horror, the very image of her near-rape.
And now, as Suroos lay dying, Schala could feel her own indecision doing the same. She felt as though the heavy burden that she had been carrying, invisible but always present, had been lifted. It wasn't just the death of the man who had done it. It was also knowing the real cause behind the woman she had become.
Suroos looked up at her, still with a malevolent glare. "You think you have beaten me," he gasped out, "but you will never beat me. I will always live inside your mind, ready to wreak havoc when you let it!"
Schala knelt down. "You are wrong," she replied. "I have conquered you...both physically and mentally. You may appear in my head but you will never have the same kind of power that you once had..."
His countenance did not change. The spasms jerked his body into strange contortions. Finally, with a slight gasp, he died.
Schala stood up. The sun was just above the horizon. The first bird of the morning flew through the air, right in front of the orange circle.
She was finally free.
She slowly made her way back to camp.
His Dark Lordship
As she leaves the premises, two small moogles in stray clothing run out of the tall grass.
"MEAT!" yelled one.
Suroos opened his eyes somewhat, unknowing he was dead. He gazed into the eyes of the moogles.
"He still alive." said the second moogle.
The Dark Lord smiled from above.
"Just thought I'd give you a taste of your own poison."
"Death.. by kupo." said the first Moogle.
OOC: Sorry to screw up your story, I just thought it'd be appropriate. ;D