and Christy, We Who Cliffhang.
WARNINGS: Yaoi, angst, sap, language, some OOC, AU...
PAIRINGS: 1x2, 3x4, 5x?
DISCLAIMER: We own everything in here that we made up ourselves, which
does not include the characters and stuff we borrowed from 'Gundam Wing'
and 'Oath of Swords'. We'll give them all back... probably slightly traumatised,
FEEDBACK: Please peeps, can we have some more?
APOLOGY: Why would we do something like that? We're not sorry!
minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback or dream starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts (and the occasional sound effect): Tadah!
some more sound effects (little ones!): -tadah!-
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>
of Justice + Chapter 28
"I'll explain, and find some
way to get the others loose," Vaijon said, grimacing in frustration as
he looked down at his burned hand. Damn it, why did I grab that
damned chain with my sword hand?! Never mind the fact that I couldn't
have known it would cripple me, I should have known better than to put
my weapon down in the middle of a skirmish! "You have something else
to worry about."
"I noticed," the demon in Karthan's body said grimly, turning to walk
towards the approaching cultists. "I could wish they'd taken a few more
minutes to notice what was going on! I'll try to keep them occupied and
away from you," he added, shooting a quick glance back over his shoulder
as colours began to flicker in the air around him, forming into shadowy
images. A taller, slender form was visible rising above Karthan's stocky
frame for just an instant, dark eyes glittering dangerously before they
were hidden behind red and green armour.
Jens swallowed, eyes widening further. "That was Sir Wufei, wasn't it?"
he asked, voice slightly higher-pitched than normal.
Well, that makes explaining what's going on a lot simpler! "Yes,
it was," Vaijon confirmed, looking around for something he could use to
pry at the manacles' locks. "Karthan's plan ended up being rather more
effective than he'd expected..."
Wufei bounced slightly on his heels and stretched as he strode forwards,
trying to quickly accustom himself to the differences between his and
Karthan's bodies. Shorter arms, shorter legs, just generally shorter,
he frowned, not trying to send the thought to Karthan but not trying particularly
hard to keep it private either. I won't have the reach I'm used to...
though that shouldn't be a factor with a right-handed punch, he added,
grinning faintly. He's certainly fit, and seems reasonably flexible
for a non-martial artist, but I should still avoid doing any really extreme
I'd appreciate it, Karthan told him dryly. I've seen the things
you do when you're practicing alone, and I don't even want to think
about what some of those flips and kicks would do to me! I like my hip
joints in their sockets, thank you very much.*
I'll start with something simple, then, Wufei said soothingly,
well aware that it wasn't convincing. There seemed to be a bubble of gleeful
humour welling up in his chest, prodding him to say or do something reckless,
and he spared a moment to wonder if that was how Duo felt when he pulled
his most outrageous pranks. (--reaction to sudden relief from pain?
anticipation of revenge? whatever, it's fun--)
'Simple'?* Karthan sounded rather suspicious. *What do you mean
by 'simple'? (--uh-oh, sounds like Gunnar in one of his moods--)
Grinning wickedly behind Karthan's beard (--STILL tickles!--),
Wufei ducked his head and lunged forwards as he reached the first of the
approaching cultists, dodging a wild sword strike. A quick swing of his
arm wrapped the dangling chain around the man's wrist, and he turned and
yanked, sending the cultist flying over his head with flailing limbs and
a panicked yell. That was simple, he thought innocently, freeing
the chain with a jerk that left the man with a dislocated shoulder and
wrenched elbow. No blood, no mess... simple!
Which makes me wonder why you're feeling so mis--
Wufei dodged another blow, slid smoothly sideways in between two tall
men, and jumped straight up, one foot lashing out to kick one of them
in the face. The blow wasn't quite as solid as he'd intended (--damn,
didn't judge the changed leg length right--), but was still sufficient
to send his target reeling backwards with at least a broken jaw, and gave
him the momentum to flip backwards.
Leaning down to cut at what he thought was a low target, the other
cultist faltered and looked up as his short opponent shot upwards and
tumbled in midair, twisting his neck to keep Wufei/Karthan in sight as
he/they flipped over him. One short, muscled arm was suddenly clamped
around his head, hand fisted in his hair, and there was a loud cracking
noise as Wufei wrenched his head further around on his way to the ground.
THAT was NOT simple!
Yes it was! Wufei's grin widened as he felt Karthan's shock. Simple,
and sloppily executed as well. If you want complicated, though...
His mental 'voice' trailed off as he concentrated on avoiding his next
few opponents, crippling two of them with well-placed blows, but a wash
of stunned amazement from the dwarf's mind let him know that some indication
of what he considered 'complicated' had leaked through.
You're insane. It's the only explanation. (--who first found out that
one was even possible? And why did they try?!--)
Diving deeper into the crowd of increasingly confused and panicked cultists,
Wufei laughed. (--get in close they can't target us without hitting
each other--) I'm not insane. Setting my own bones, now that would be
insane! (--he'd better treat Duo right or I'll find some way to get to
Are all of you 'Gundam riders' crazy, or is it just you and--
The banter abruptly stopped as they both zeroed in on a splash of colour,
elaborate robes and bloodstained embroidery standing out against the duller
uniforms. (--there! the priest!--)
There was a brief moment of confusion as Wufei realised he didn't know
whose thought that had been, but it was swept away by Karthan's alarm.
Get him now! He's casting some sort of spell!
Serving Sharna may have its good points, but why does my god have to
be so damned stupid?! We're worse off now than when he was calling
Watching the mayhem, the priest clenched his hand around the hilt of his
largest knife, squeezing until his arm shook. Never mind that now.
Thinking like that won't do us any good even if he doesn't hear me...Calling
on a tiny trace of the power he'd managed to take from the small demon,
he could see the overlapping souls inside the dwarf's body. And how
did he manage that?! --No, worry about what to do about it! Hmm...
if I take the chain off the demon's body to use on them, he'll be able
to return to it, and we'll be right back where we started if not worse...
but I might be able to duplicate the spell in a hurry...
I'll need more power.
Not a problem. "Hald... assist me!" he ordered, turning back towards
the scorpion statue.
"My lord!" the acolyte said eagerly, hurrying over. Even in the middle
of a crisis, he took the time to look over his shoulder and smirk at the
other acolytes and underpriests, making sure they saw that he was
the one being picked out for a special duty. "What do you require of me?"
Smarmy, bootlicking crawler... you've always annoyed me. "Kneel
here," he said, pointing to the spot under the scorpion's claws, "and
await instructions. I will be able to cast a spell to defeat that dwarf
in a moment, but a second... pair of hands... is needed."
"Yes, my lord!" Hald almost tripped in his haste to reach the indicated
spot, adjusting his sleeves fussily and folding his hands into a pose
of pious adoration that was slightly spoilt by his expression of smug
superiority. The priest could almost see him thinking that this was sure
to advance his standing.
In a way, it will, he chuckled to himself, moving to stand behind
Hald and starting to murmur a prayer. My lord Sharna?
=*Get on with it!*=
Preoccupied with calculations of his own importance, Hald didn't realise
exactly which prayer he was hearing until the priest yanked his
head back and cut his throat.
There's a fine line between 'pragmatic' and 'ruthless', and if you
ask me I'd say he passed it a long time ago, Wufei thought
coldly, dodging between attackers and catching a glimpse of the acolyte's
body crumpled at the priest's feet. What's he doing?
Waving bloody hands in the air and chanting, what's it look like?!
Karthan shot back, sounding frustrated. Can't you get to him any faster?!
I meant, what's the spell likely to do?! Wufei growled,
white energy crackling briefly around his/Karthan's arm as he put a little
of his annoyance into a punch and slammed one of the cultists into the
wall with a nasty crunching sound. Do you know of any tactics that
would be appropriate here? And I'm working on it!
You probably have a better chance of working out what he's doing than
I do, Karthan admitted. (--I'm not Uthmar not a Champion not a
mage not a demon can't do magic and haven't studied it--) Whatever it
is, he's aiming it at us and presumably would like to get us from a distance,
so it's probably something he can 'throw', and spells are apparently easier
to aim than ordinary weapons--
(--yes well that chain TURNED to get me so in my terms it's either
'seeking' or 'terminally
--so the only tactical advice I can offer is 'get him first'.
That's what I thought.
Despite what Karthan might have thought, Wufei had actually been fighting
rather conservatively up until then, feeling his way into how best to
use Karthan's unfamiliar body. He hadn't tried any moves that were likely
to leave him/them too vulnerable if they failed, and hadn't been drawing
heavily on the power that came through the link (--links? there were
two wonder why--) to his Gundam; the strength he'd used to break out
of his bonds and fight so far was what he was starting to think of as
'normal', the level of physical power he could use without thinking about
it. Now, however, he reached out mentally to Nataku and pulled.
* * * * *
"What in Krahana's bloody hells does your father think he's doing?!"
Terrin asked incredulously, sparing a moment's attention from the battle
to wave at the swathe of destruction Cord was carving through the cultists'
ranks. Beside him, Naiya grumbled something under her breath and sent
another well-aimed shot into the mess.
"I said, 'he probably isn't thinking at all right now'," she said disgustedly,
reaching for another arrow. "He's given himself to the Rage, and quite
frankly I can't think of a stupider time to do it..."
"'Given himself'-- what?!"
"Keep shooting! He's gone berserk. It's a hradani thing."
"You usually say that about things like having a rotten sense of humour
and no respect for authority, not-- not whatever the hell that is!" the
hunter sputtered, snapping off a shot almost at random.
"Oh, those are things that all hradani do, so they're respectable,"
Naiya said sarcastically. "This is a male hradani thing, and it's
about as useful as all the other male-only things in life, like being
able to piss standing up, comparing weapon sizes and scratching random
areas in public."
"Well maybe it's a male dwarf thing too," Terrin grunted, picking off
someone who seemed to be giving one of the armsmen a bit too much trouble.
"Uthmar's gone after him..."
Naiya paused for a moment, eyeing the blazing-gold dwarf, and then smiled
slightly. "Maybe he is thinking after all... it got one of the Champions
fighting seriously, at least! I might even agree it was a good idea --
if he makes it out of this alive!"
Whatever he might have been going to say in reply was lost as a low, deep
grumbling sound shook the ground, making the cart they were standing on
top of tremble.
"What was that?!" he yelped, wobbling off-balance for a moment.
"Nataku," Naiya said triumphantly, pointing to where the giant figure
sat, still motionless but with its eyes glowing greenish-white. "That's
got to be a good sign!"
* * * * *
White fire burned through Karthan, mind as well as body, and he would
have gasped in shock if he'd still been in charge of his lungs. This
is nothing like that time I was in Nataku! Is this what Wufei feels every
time he draws on the power? It seems like you could do anything
with this, shatter a mountain or break the world-- no wonder he's frightened
by it sometimes--
The shadowy armour around him/them was abruptly clearer, easier to see,
and several of the attacking men recoiled in horror as crackling white
energy crawled over its surface, outlining its planes and joints and leaving
it seeming almost solid.
It is solid!Karthan realised, watching from behind his own
eyes as Wufei swatted a thrown axe out of the air, sending it spinning
out of sight without ever touching it with his/their hand. Or -- no,
the chains are swinging through it, so -- Well it seems as though if Wufei
wants it to act as if it's solid, everything else goes along with the
He couldn't tell whether any of his thoughts were 'leaking' through to
Wufei or not, but if the black-eyed human/demon was distracted it didn't
show. Cultists dodged or fell or were smashed out of the way as he turned
and lunged, sprinting to reach the priest before he could complete whatever
spell he was casting, and Karthan could see the strain on the robed man's
face as he raised one hand in a blocking gesture and Wufei's fist rose
for a strike--
--and slammed against an invisible barrier, feet away from the altar and
the priest standing behind it.
For just a moment, there was near-silence as they stared at each other;
then the man's face relaxed, near-panicked expression sliding away to
be replaced with a triumphant smirk. "I hate to-- *ahem* I hate to disappoint
you," he began, clearing his throat to bring his voice back to its normal
smooth, amused tones, "especially after you've tried so hard to
kill me, but that should hold you long enough for me to complete--"
The frail mental barrier keeping their minds at least partially separated
finally collapsed, overloaded by the sheer volume of energy flowing through
them, and a flood of Wufei's thoughts and memories poured into Karthan.
Reeling under the onslaught, he could somehow tell that the memories he
'saw' weren't even ones that Wufei was reliving at the moment; they were
simply fragments thrown up out of the torrent, images that somehow matched
or complemented what was happening right then. In a hundred bright shards
of emotion/vision/touch, Wufei took aim at a target with Nataku's dragon-arm,
and flicked a toggle on his right-hand controller--
--the half-visible armour around his raised right arm sparked with energy
and shifted, lengthening and arching like an angry snake about
to strike as a fanged head formed around the hand/gauntlet--
--and a hundred memories blazed with liquid fire as white lightning struck
from the shadowy Dragon Fang, crashing through the priest's barrier and
burning him to bones and charcoal.
* * * * *
Sharna shrieked in fury as his priest died, clawing hands raking impotently
through the shimmering image of Karthan/Wufei hanging in front of him.
"Curse you, you bastard mortal, I'll-- I'll get a new priest-Champion,
one that can do the job properly! To hell with your energy, I just want
Fumbling in his haste, he widened the focus of the scrying window, flicking
his gaze over the panicked cultists. "No-- no-- not him either-- no--
damn them, don't any of them match me?! No-- no-- ah!" Grinning,
he narrowed the window and centered it on one of the scrambling acolytes,
not caring that by doing so he lost sight of his other target completely.
A faint, faltering spark of sickly green bobbed within the muddy blue
of the human's soul, and Sharna hesitated for a second. Not strong
enough, really. He won't last... hells with it, I don't need him to last
more than a moment! Claim him, take control, and fry that upstart
mortal demon, that's all I need to do!
Concentrating his energy, he focussed on the green flicker, pouring power
and will into it. =*MINE!*= he sent, demanding, not
caring that he could already feel the man's mind breaking around him.
=*BE MINE! And kill him for me!*=
A thin scream came from the man's throat, eyes and mouth stretching painfully
wide as he spun, one arm flying out to throw an uncontrolled blast. Light
flared around his hand, and Sharna leaned forward eagerly, starting to
widen the window so he could see Wufei's death--
--and a semi-substantial dragon's head flashed into view, metallic jaws
closing over the new 'priest' and crushing the life out of him before
he could complete the strike.
"NO!" Almost incoherent, beginning to panic again, Sharna wrenched the
window's point of view around again, searching desperately for another
spark, someone else he could act through before all his cultists were
killed or fled out of range.
"That's enough," Krashnark's voice said from behind him, cold anger making
it deeper than his usual low tenor. "That is more than enough...
A faint, strangled noise escaped Sharna's throat as he spun around and
backed straight through the collapsing scrying window, automatically pressing
back against the wall. "Wh-what are you doing here?!" he asked
shakily, trying to sound confident and failing miserably. "G-get out!
You had your chance to make him yours and he turned you down, h-he's fair
game now and I have a right to destroy him for what he did!"
"That's not what our lord father said," his twin pointed out, advancing.
"He told you you could send one demon after him, and then you were to
leave him to me. He said nothing about giving you a second chance at killing
him later. And, more importantly... that's not what I said. Do
you remember what I said... little brother?"
"Don't call me that!"
"'Chang Wufei is my meat'," Krashnark quoted softly, ignoring Sharna's
outburst and pacing forwards until the two gods were standing almost nose-to-nose.
Like that, the resemblance-- and difference-- between them was obvious:
identical features, same hair, same height even... but their expressions
and stances were completely different. One standing straight, face hard
and angry; one cowering back, trembling, hatred and terror easy to read
in his expression.
"Do you remember the rest of what I said, Sharna?" Krashnark almost whispered,
leaning forward and lifting one hand to gather a fistful of his brother's
tunic, almost gently. "You should, since I had my hand around your neck
at the time and it seemed to make quite an impression on you, but perhaps
I should remind you. I said, 'You can forget about your revenge. It's
not... going... to happen'!" he snarled, voice rising
with each emphasised word as he pulled Sharna forward and slammed the
screaming godling backwards into the wall. "HAVE-- I-- MADE-- MY-- SELF--
CLEAR-- THIS-- TIME?!"
The last blow shattered the wall, chunks of rubble dissolving into mist
as they fell, and Krashnark let go of his brother, kicking him through
the hole into the unshaped area between the Dark gods' private territories.
Sobbing, Sharna scrabbled desperately away on hands and knees, half-formed
items congealing out of the mist around him, spawned by the strength of
his terror. A contemptuous sneer twisted Krashnark's face as he followed,
crushing warped weapons and instruments of torture under his boots.
"It was about then that I told you what would happen if you took an active
part against him again," he went on, voice back to an almost conversational
level as he kicked out once more, sending Sharna tumbling. "I hope you
remember that part, at least. I'd hate to be trying to kill you
without you understanding why." Pausing for a moment, head cocked to one
side, he considered that sentence and then shook his head. "No. No, on
second thought, I think I'd like trying to kill you under any circumstances,
really. Shall we find out if I'm allowed?"
Scrambling to his feet, Sharna began to run towards one of the other constructions
looming in the distance, the low, spiky-looking one that he recognised
as his sister Krahana's home. She might-- she might protect me-- she's
not very strong but she's very good at blocking us out when she wants
to be alone, she can stop him if--
Stone tentacles rose out of the mist in front of him, curling around him
and closing fast before he could backpedal or dodge. Hammering at them
with hysterical strength and all the power he could call up, he screamed
again in renewed terror as the newly-formed stone, ignoring his attacks
and showing no damage, just curled around his hands and began to crush
them. "How are you doing this?!" he wailed, twisting around to
see Krashnark strolling calmly towards him. "You've got hardly any energy
left, I watched you use it all-- you shouldn't be able to do anything
apart from just hitting me!"
"Oh, doing this doesn't take energy, Sharna," Krashnark said with satisfaction.
"It just takes willpower. Something that you've never had more
of than me."
It's a start, he thought with a certain amount of dark satisfaction,
watching Sharna struggle helplessly. A start on what you owe me, to
pay for whatever you've put my Wufei through. I'll collect the rest after
those Light champions get him out of your temple, out where I can see
him, and I can find out exactly what's happened to him... though, judging
by what little I saw before your window collapsed, he's doing quite well
* * * * *