“We hereby sentence you to death,” Restik said, standing in front of the royal court.
Eloken smiled slightly, expecting the sentence and looking forward to it. “If I recall correctly, as a nobleman, I have the right to choose the method of my execution.”
The room fell silent for a moment, and the council members looked at the king and then at each other in confusion. Lately, the executions had been quick and quiet, with beheadings behind the court, witnessed by only a few and with no time wasted. The sentence was passed and executed on the same day, quick and efficient.
“I don’t think that’s an option, young man,” Restik finally broke the silence with his calm voice.
“I am afraid it is, my lord,” Eloken said, his tone condescending and his smile making everyone in the courtroom feel uneasy.
The trials were public, and this one, in particular, drew a large audience. An unfamiliar young nobleman had been caught in the Royal Manor, going through a forbidden library. Some documents had gone missing, and the captured nobleman, Eloken, would not disclose their location. The court was secretive about which documents were stolen, which in turn gathered some of the largest crowds the trials had seen.
To make matters more interesting, no one knew the young nobleman, but he had all the necessary documentation to prove his noble descent. He had a manor on the other side of the kingdom, and his blood was tested, showing that he had pure noble blood, almost perfect by the royal standards.
If Eloken were just a commoner, he would have already been executed, but his noble blood had at least gotten him a trial. However, everyone knew that his fate was sealed the moment he entered the Royal Manor without an invitation.
“You can check the book of the law, my lords,” Eloken said. “And if you have misplaced yours, here is the copy I found.”
The courtroom fell silent once again as everyone waited for Eloken to provide the book, as if he had any chance of doing so. Moments later, the courtroom burst into laughter as Eloken stood with his hands pointing in front of him.
“Enough of this,” The king spoke in a serious and commanding tone. “You have already been sentenced to death. Stop this charade! Guards, take him and execute him right away. I will not stand for this mockery. I have more serious matters to attend to.”
“Any moment now,” Eloken said, gesturing towards the judge, who looked confused.
As the guards slowly approached him, they were startled by the sudden sound of shattering glass. An object had flown in from outside, breaking the window in the process and landing almost perfectly in front of the judge’s table. It was a heavy book with golden ornamentation, and the title read Law of Inzeki Kingdom.
“What is this?” The king demanded an answer from someone.
Restik approached the book, inspecting it from all sides before opening it and handing it over to the judge.
“It is a book of your kingdom’s law, Your Majesty,” Eloken said. “I’ve highlighted the page that grants me the right to choose the method of my execution by slightly folding the page in question. I believe it’s somewhere around the middle, and as far as I remember, you swore to uphold the law when you took the crown, Your Majesty.” Eloken looked the king directly in the eyes, his mocking tone and smile gone.
The judge fiddled with the book in his hand before opening the highlighted page and reading it out loud. “If a nobleman is sentenced to death by the royal court, he has the ability to choose his method of execution and whether it will be public or private.”
“What’s the point of this?” the King asked, visibly frustrated.
“The point is that you have to follow the law, Your Majesty,” Eloken said. “Or do you believe yourself to be above it?”
The King was taken aback by Eloken’s comment and looked over at Restik and the rest of the jury members who mumbled between each other, nodding in agreement.
“Fine,” the King said, waving the guards away. “Choose the way you are going to die,” he emphasized the word ‘die.’
Eloken nodded and turned towards the judge. “For my execution, I choose,” Eloken paused, looking over the audience that was fully entertained by the trial and the show he was putting on. “Honorable combat.”
The murmurs began in the courtroom as the audience and the jury members spoke between each other, no one sure of what the young nobleman meant.
“Silence,” the judge said. “You are making a mockery of the court, young man.” He looked over at Eloken with a furious look in his eyes. The judge was one of the fairest in the kingdom, as fair as he could be under the influence of the king and nobility. If the case was between citizens or lower nobility, he would usually make the trial fair, but when the King himself or high nobility were involved, there was not much he could do.
“I am just using my rights as written by our former emperor and his council, or are you trying to call them a joke?” Eloken asked, a smug smile on his face.
“Of course not,” the judge said, almost spitting in the process. “They made a perfect system.”
“Which you seem not to know,” Eloken said. “Please read the next page, it will explain my demand and right.”
The judge furiously flipped a page while the courtroom fell into silence once again.
“Among other things, the nobleman can choose death by honorable combat,” the judge began reading. “The sentenced nobleman will be given a wooden sword or a club and no shield or armor and will have to fight a knight of the Imperial Order in full armor and weapons, who has the right to use his abilities in combat. The combat will be public and will be held in the Arena.”
“See,” Eloken said slightly. “It’s all written there nicely and explained so even little kids can understand it.”
“Fine,” the King rose to his feet. “If you wish, you will be killed by an Imperial Guard in front of the whole city. You will be made an example of so everyone wishes for a quick and painless death.”
“I do wish it, Your Majesty,” Eloken said. “I mean the honorable combat, not the quick and painless death.”
“What happens if he manages to beat the knight of the Imperial Order?” Restik joined the conversation, speaking in front of the jury, who were once again mumbling while the King and Eloken spoke.
“There is no way anyone other than an Imperial King who can kill an Imperial knight, especially with no weapons,” the King said.
“I agree, Your Majesty,” the judge said. “But I will read out loud what the book of law says.” The judge cleared his throat before continuing.
“If the sentenced nobleman manages to defeat the knight, he has the right to take the knight’s weapon. The King can then send one or all of the Knights of the Imperial Order to continue the combat. If, by the grace of Tar himself, the sentenced nobleman manages to defeat the entire row of Imperial Order knights present at the honorable combat, he will have earned his freedom. However, his freedom will not be granted until every knight has been beaten.”
“There,” Eloken said, his voice cold and calm. “I hope everything is clear now.” He looked the King right in his eyes, his hatred almost spilling out of him, but he composed himself in the last second.
“You are going to die in less than five seconds, kid, and I am going to enjoy every moment of it for wasting my time,” the King said, his voice laced with anger as he glared back at Eloken. “Scratch that. I am going to have my knight torture you, slowly kill you in front of everyone while you beg for him to finish you.”
“As you wish, Your Majesty,” Eloken said, his tone betraying no fear or emotion. “Then it’s set. Everyone, prepare for the show.” He gestured towards the audience, who seemed to have enjoyed the way he had provoked the court and the King himself a little too much.
The king rose from his throne and walked in front of the crowd. The torches in the grand hall flickered as he spoke, casting eerie shadows on the stone walls. “The combat will be held tomorrow. You are all invited to come and watch. After the combat, we will make a big feast to celebrate our Kingdom, Tar, the citizens, and our Imperial Order.” He smiled towards the audience, who applauded him in return.
Eloken couldn’t hide his smug smile as the guards took him away.
Eloken spent the night in a cold, damp cell with only a small window that provided little light. He had no bed and only a thin blanket to keep him warm. Despite the discomfort, he couldn’t bring himself to sleep. Adrenaline coursed through his veins, keeping him on edge and alert.
In the morning, a meager meal was served to him, but the sight of it made him retch. To him it looked like something that even pigs would eat only as a last resort, so he tossed it a side waiting for guards to come for him.
Four guards came for him few hours after the sun rose over the horizon. They placed the shackles on him and escorted him towards the carriage waiting to drive them to the Arena.
He tried to engage in a conversation with the guards asking them various questions, but they remained silent. Must be the kings instructions, he thought to himself, but continued talking to them as if they were answering.
“Do you think I stand the chance?” Eloken asked as the carriage bumped from the cobbled stone road below. “If there is someone taking bets on this fight, bet on me, you can earn a fortune.” No answer came back.
It took them less than ten minutes to arive at the large arena, that was one of the marbles of the city. The guards escorted him towards the enterance where he noticed a large crowd had already gathered. Good, he thougth to himself, I need many people here today to witness this.
They escorted him to a small room where a new set of simple clothing was laid out, gray shirt and pants, peasents waredrobe. The clothes were simple and plain, meant to make him appear as insignificant as possible.
Next to the clothes laid a simple wooden sword and an sparring staff, both made of same type of wood. The staff was slighly longer, but much tinner, whichever Eloken chose it would be usless in a fight.
The guards left him alone so he could change and momments later someone knocked on the door. Eloken gave them an okey to enter and a figure in white robes emerged into the small room, a high priest.
“God helps all my child,” The priest said. Eloken was surprised by the priests age, he was shockingly young for a hight priest. His face was youthfull but hidden behind thick dark beard.
“God helps all Father,” Eloken said. “What brings you here?” He asked curiosly.
“I am here by court’s order to take your last words in, your last chance to get rid of your sins so your soul can rest in the Celestial Citadel after your death,” the priest said with a calm voice.
“I am not going to die yet, Father,” Eloken said, tightening his shoes.”Denial is not good. It’s best if you confess and let go of your sins,” the priest said.
“Tar will lead me to victory today,” Eloken said. “If I am wrong, then I shall suffer in the Infernal Abyss.”
“As you wish, my child,” the priest said. “I cannot force you to admit your sins; it defeats the purpose of it. May Tar lead you then,” the priest said and left, closing the door behind.
As the honorable combat approached, Eloken could hear the boisterous cheering of the crowd in the distance. The king had organized some last-minute entertainment to add to the spectacle, making his fight the main event. It was all on him now, and he could feel the weight of expectation bearing down on his shoulders.
The same four guards escorted him to the entrance of the field. As the gates opened and the announcer bellowed his name, the crowd started booing loudly. Eloken stepped onto the dirt floor, walking towards the center of the field, taking in the full stands of people. Over thirty thousand people had gathered to witness his death.
As he approached the center of the field, the gate on the other side opened, and an Imperial Knight walked in. The audience immediately switched from boos to thunderous applause. Eloken felt a pang of envy at the sight of the knight, being hailed as a hero.
Today it all changes, Eloken thought to himself as he tightened his grip on the wooden staff. The imperial knights were a mystery to this day. Their armor was dark and imposing, concealing all of their features, including their face. It was impossible to discern any details about the knight’s identity, leaving everyone to wonder who they were and where they came from.
The sheer size of the knight was awe-inspiring, towering above the average human with ease. Their movements were swift and graceful, hinting at the possibility that they could use the old magic to enhance their abilities. The enchanted swords they wielded emanated a powerful energy that made the very metal itself shine brighter than usual. It was common knowledge that a single imperial knight could defeat dozens of regular soldiers with ease, a testament to the incredible power that lay beneath their imposing armor and weapons and Eloken found himself facing one of them, holding nothing but a wooden staff in his hands.
What did I get myself convinced into, Eloken thought to himself as the knight approached him and stopped a few meters away. He pushed those thoughts away, refusing to let uncertainty creep into his mind. He had made this decision years ago to follow this path and had trained tirelessly for it. There was no going back now. So Eloken stood a little bit taller, trying to appear more confident while standing next to the towering imperial knight.
The royal family, including the King, Queen, Princess were seated in the Royal Loge, surrounded by servants pouring drinks and serving exotic foods. Eloken gave them a quick glance, noticing that the Judge and even Restik were in the Loge, before turning around and scanning the crowd, holding his gaze at each part of the stands as if observing each person separately. The cheers from the audience were deafening, and Eloken could feel the ground shaking beneath him. He took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer’s voice echoed across the arena, and the deafening cheers slowly died down. “Welcome to the first Hounrable Combat in a century,” he proclaimed, and Eloken couldn’t help but wonder if it was true or just a dramatic statement to hype up the event.
The announcer’s voice continued, “The accused young nobleman Eloken Valtair has chosen the death by Hounrable Combat, in which he will face an Imperial Knight armed with nothing but a wooden staff.” The crowd erupted in boos and jeers, showing their disdain towards Eloken.
“If, by some miraculous chance, he manages to defeat the Imperial Knight,” the announcer paused for effect, “the accused will be granted the right to pick up his weapon. However, the King will have the opportunity to send the rest of the Knights after him.” The audience burst into laughter, finding the idea of a wooden weapon defeating the formidable Imperial Knight absurd.
The announcer then turned towards Eloken and the Imperial Knight, “Are you ready?” The knight lifted his sword, and the crowd went wild as the blade glimmered in the morning sun. Eloken raised his thumb, signalling that he was ready, but was greeted once again by a chorus of boos.
All eyes turned towards the King, who nodded slightly, and the announcer proclaimed, “You may begin the Hounrable Combat!”
Eloken took a step back, creating more distance between himself and the Knight. He didn’t want to be caught off guard by a surprise charge. With a deep breath, he reached into his reserves and drew upon the power of Vis, enchanting his speed slightly and increasing his resilience in case he couldn’t dodge a hit from the Knight.
He chose to enhance his speed only slightly, matching that of the Imperial Knight for two reasons. Firstly, he didn’t want to reveal his full potential right away. He knew that defeating the Knight would not be easy, and he wanted to conserve his strength for when he faced the rest of the Imperial Order. Secondly, his reserves were not unlimited. He would need all the Vis he could muster for when the Knights attacked him simultaneously.
As the Imperial Knight charged towards him with two steps and a huge leap, Eloken reacted quickly, moving to his left side and letting the Knight charge past him. The audience gasped in amazement, and Eloken managed to steal a quick glance at the Royal Loge where he saw a look of shock on the King’s face.
Eloken and his team had only theorized on how to defeat the Imperial Knight based on rumors and reports from past battles. Based on those reports some of the Knights had been injured or, on rare occasions, killed. Now, Eloken would have to put those theories to the test.
First of all, he would need to find a way to break through the Knight’s armor. He had no real weapon to do so, and that would be the biggest challenge of the day, breaking the first piece.
As the Knight charged at him once again, Eloken didn’t have time to think his next move through. He had to trust his instincts and training. This time, the Knight ran straight at him with his sword grip tightly. The large armored man covered the short distance between them in inhuman speed, but Eloken easily dodged the charge once again, moving to his right side with graceful ease.
The Knight anticipated his move and swung his sword behind his back, rotating his body with one fluid motion as he ran past Eloken. Eloken saw the large sword heading straight towards his face and only with the help of enhanced speed from Vis did he barely escape beheading. He felt the gust of wind created by the powerful sword motion brush past his hair.
Eloken’s smile disappeared momentarily as the crowd erupted into cheers across the arena. He knew he had to concentrate more and start executing his fight plan right away. He scanned the Knight’s armor, noticing its intricate design, focusing on the joints and helmet. He took note of the Knight’s movements, the way he shifted his weight and the sound of his heavy breathing as he charged towards him.
Eloken expertly dodged two more attacks from the Imperial Knight, all the while studying the Knight’s moves carefully. He learned more from these four attacks than he had from all the scripts and theories they had.
Thinking quickly, Eloken rushed towards the towering wall of the arena that separated the field from the stands. The wall was almost three times taller than him, making the field look like a pit. The arena was built to withstand the test of time and enemy attacks, and Eloken planned to use that to his advantage.
He stood with his back turned towards the wall, gripping his wooden staff tightly with both hands as the Knight charged towards him. Eloken could not see his face behind the helmet but he imagined him puffing with fury, like an enraged bull seeing only red. Eloken would use the Knight’s rage to his advantage.
“Come on now,” Eloken muttered under his breath as he gripped his staff even tighter and tapped into his Exo reserves. With the power of Exo, he could manipulate matter for short periods of time, as it was one of the most volatile sources of power. He stepped back and touched the stone wall behind him, searching for the iron and steel bars that reinforced the wall. He transferred the mix of all three elements to his staff, empowering it for the next few seconds.
This time, Eloken didn’t intend to dodge. He stood his ground, taking in more of the Vis reserves. letting go of the speed enchantment and using all of it for his strength. He used the remaining Exo reserves to toughen his skin slightly with the elements from the wall, so he could withstand the charging Imperial Knight’s hit. With the Knight only a few steps away from him, Eloken knelt and stuck his staff between the wall and the ground, leveling the other end of the staff with the Knight’s head in the last second.
The Imperial Knight hit him with full force, wanting to grab him instead of slicing him with his sword. Eloken felt the full impact throughout his body, but his Vis and Exo kept him alive. A normal human being would have been dead on impact. His body ached as his vision returned seconds later, and he found himself sandwiched between the wall and the Knight. The stone wall behind him had slightly cracked from the impact of their collision.
Eloken had used almost all of the Vis he had taken from the reserves moments ago to withstand the force of the Imperial Knight’s attack. He took what remaining Vis he had available to enhance his strength, pushing the dazed Knight off of himself.
Luckily for Eloken, his gamble paid off. The Knight’s helmet was chipped slightly above the eyes, revealing a small crack where human skin showed through. Not wanting to give the Knight a chance to recover, Eloken quickly jumped at him and stuck his fingers into the opening of the helmet, ripping off the top part in one swift motion.
TThe rest of the helmet fell apart, revealing the dazed face of a middle-aged man with a bald head and a stubble beard. The arena fell silent as the spectators tried to process what had just happened in the last thirty seconds. Eloken wanted to look at the King, imagining his face full of horror as one of the Kingdom’s best warriors lay on the ground. But he knew he had no time for that. Imperial Knights had faster recovery than ordinary humans, and the man wasn’t even hurt badly; he was mostly dazed and concussed from the collision. Eloken had to work quickly.
He stepped behind the Imperial Knight and reached for more Vis in his reserves. He had already used almost half of it just for one Imperial Knight, and there were still seven more stationed in the capital and present at the Arena in this moment. He and his team had planned carefully, ensuring that the least amount of Imperial Knights would be present in the city when they put their plan into motion.
Eloken lifted the Knight by his armor, reaching his arm under the Knight’s neck and putting him in a chokehold. The Knight started to resist, but Elokens Vis-enchanted strength held.
“How are you doing this,” The Knight managed to mutter while fighting for his life.
“Rot in the abyss,” Eloken said, enchanting his speed once again and breaking the Knight’s neck in one swift motion.
The Imperial Knight’s lifeless body hit the dirt with a thump, and dust rose around him. Eloken looked around the arena at the shocked faces of the people who couldn’t fathom what was happening on the field.
Eloken searched the ground for the dead Knight’s sword. Grabbing the sword by the hilt, he felt the strange power buzzing through his veins.
“So it’s true,” he muttered with a smile. “They are enchanted.”
He lifted the sword towards the Royal Loge, leveling it with the King’s head from his perspective, and yelled, “SEND THEM ALL!” as the sword glinted in the sun, sending a flash of light across the arena. The spectators gasped in shock and Eloken could swear he started to hear clapping.
Eloken kept his gaze fixed on the King, his eyes tracing the anxiousness that played across the ruler’s face as he consulted with his advisors and generals. Despite his inner turmoil, the old man kept his poise, his lips twisted into a confident smile. Eloken could feel the adrenaline coursing through his veins, his mind racing with a single, consuming desire: to use all of his Vis reserves and rush the Royal Loge straight away, taking a leap almost thirty meters high to behead the kid and his advisors before they could react to what was going on.
Luckily for him, the announcer broke the silence, cutting through his frenzy. Eloken forced himself to snap out of it, regaining his composure.
“It appears that accused nobleman Eloken has managed to defeat the Imperial Knight,” the announcer declared, unable to hide the surprise in his voice. “And has claimed the Knight’s sword. The King can send the next Imperial Knight or all of them at once to fight the accused.”
All eyes turned towards the Royal Loge, waiting for the King’s decision. Eloken walked back toward the center of the Arena, his heart pounding with anticipation. He knew that there were seven Imperial Knights left here in the arena. Two of them guarded the king, and he never left his mansion without them by his side. The remaining five were scattered around the grounds. Eloken wondered if the king would send all seven of them, leaving himself exposed, or if he would just send the five available.
The Imperial Row held around a hundred knights at all times, that much was known. Each one of them had a unique glyph imprinted on their armor, and they were all present at the yearly military parade. However, that was the only time they were all gathered in Worlin, the capital of the Kingdom. The King usually sent them across the kingdom to fight and smother rebellions, gather taxes, fight bandits and pirates, and patrol the borders to scare off the kingdom’s enemies. That’s why Eloken and his crew spread rumors about various rebellions going around in different parts of the kingdom and played the local warlords and kings to encourage bordering countries to raise their armies near the kingdom’s borders.
All of that left eight Imperial Knights in Worlin. Normally, it would take an army of at least three-three hundred or more men to take on the eight Imperial Knights without the help of regular soldiers, but Eloken was not an ordinary man. He was far from it.
The hardest part of the job was done, convincing the court to agree to Honorable Combat and defeating the first Knight without a weapon, and not showing his full potential in the process to not scare off the King from calling off the rest of the combat. Eloken was confident that he could take on the rest of the Imperial Knights, but he knew that the odds were stacked against him.
“That was a lucky strike,” the King finally rose from his small throne in the Royal Loge and spoke. “Trotokin, the fallen Knight, was only a novice, not even a fully pledged Imperial Knight yet. He was too eager and basically beat himself in this combat.”
Eloken could sense the King’s insecurity, and he couldn’t help but think to himself, Lie some more old man. Your tyranny will soon end.
“But enough of the charades,” the King continued. “I am sending the rest of the Imperial Order present to end this combat right away, so we can move on with the day and start our feast and celebration.”
The crowd cheered as all of the gates opened, letting in the five Imperial Knights that were scattered around the arena. The Knights surrounded Eloken, who still stood in the middle of the arena, the sword he claimed resting on the ground. Two Knights that were guarding the King left the loge by jumping to the terrace below and then onto the field in a synchronized motion. Eloken watched as ten soldiers from the royal guard filled their place in the Royal Lodge. The arena was now filled with the clanging of armor and the sound of weapons being unsheathed.
Eloken took a deep breath, savoring the thrill of the fight. The Imperial Knights were the most skilled and dangerous warriors in the kingdom, trained from a young age in the art of combat, and their abilities and equipment were enchanted by an unknown source. Seven against one was a daunting task, but Eloken was confident in his abilities. He had trained tirelessly past few years for this moment, honing his skills and developing new techniques that would give him an edge over his opponents.
The Knights were all wearing heavy armor that covered their entire body, leaving only small slits for their eyes. They moved with precision and grace, their movements coordinated and fluid. Out of the seven knights on the field, four of them wielded swords, two had axes, and one had a shield and a large mace.
Eloken stood tall in the middle of the arena, his eyes scanning his opponents carefully. He knew he couldn’t take them all on at once even with all the power he had, so he waited for them to make the first move. The Knights circled him, testing his defenses, searching for an opening.
The crowd was on the edge of their seats, their eyes glued to the arena. They knew they were witnessing a historic moment, a battle that would go down in the annals of the kingdom’s history. They could feel the tension in the air, the excitement building with every passing second.
Eloken could feel his heart pounding in his chest, his adrenaline pumping. He focused his mind, blocking out the distractions around him, and entered a state of pure concentration. He was ready for whatever came next.
“Seven to one seems like a fair fight,” Eloken said to the crowd gesturing towards slowly moving Imperial Knights, boes prevailed but he could finally hear cheers. Their fear is disappearing slowly, good, He thought, Now I am going give them a real show of power.
“The Honorable Combat will continue with seven Imperial Knights versus the accused nobleman Eloken,” The announcer said as the crowd quieted down. “The young nobleman has the chance to earn his freedom, but the odds are against him, BEGIN!” The announcer yelled and the crowd erupted once again.
Eloken checked his reserves, Vis was below half and he reached for it taking all the remaining power in, he would need it all. Exo was almost completely gone less than a quarter left, and three more sources remained to be used as the surprise in the upcoming combat.
The Knights made their move, charging towards him with their weapons raised high. Eloken devised the plan to solo out the Imperial Knight with shield and mace, he could use his shield for the remaining of the combat. He used vis that he pulled from the reserves and enchanted his speed far above that of Imperial Knights.
Eloken dodged the upcoming attacks with ease, moving with incredible speed and agility. He parried two blows with the claimed sword, striking back with his fists and feet to create separation, using his Vis to enhance his strength and speed.
He deftly parried a sword attack with his sword in his right hand, weaving under the falling axe from another knight. With his free hand, he pushed a third knight back, but the fourth knight managed to cut him from behind. The sharp blade sliced through his ribs, and blood started pouring out immediately, soaking his simple vest provided by the King for this fight. Eloken cursed under his breath, wishing he had been given proper armor for this battle.
In the split second it took him to gather his thoughts, a gruntled fist came from above from the knight whose sword attack he had parried and hit him straight in the nose. His vision blurred, and he felt disoriented. Blood started pouring out of his nose immediately, making it hard to breathe. He found himself on one knee, holding his sword against another sword, and almost fully surrounded by all of the knights in the middle of the arena. There was no time to waste, he had to go all in now.
Desperate to turn the tide of the battle, he reached deep into his reserves, searching for another power source. He quickly found a full reserve of unused power source, Tem, once he found it he pulled half of it into the active state and immediately used it all.
He wasn’t sure how Tem exactly worked, he wasn’t sure about how most of the power sources worked. The only instructions he had received were on that fateful night almost four years ago when he had accidentally used Vis to survive what would have been a fall to certain death. Four cloaked and hooded figures appeared out of thin air moments after he accidentally used the powers that night and explained to him briefly what had happened and set him on this path, the path to overthrow the tyrant.
One thing he knew, with Tem he could sense the upcoming moves from his attackers, as if the time itself slowed down around him allowing him to move and react to everything in real-time while the rest of the world continued in slow-motion.
As he used all the Tem he pulled from reserves, time slowed down, and he saw the gauntlet fist that hit him moments ago coming for his head once again. He easily dodged it, almost hitting his head on the axe that was coming from the other side. He moved the axe-wielding knight’s hand up, changing the trajectory of the swing so it would hit the gruntled fist of his friend. The combination of Tem and Eloken’s quick thinking allowed him to gain the upper hand.
Similar to Exo, Tam disappeared quickly, and he only had a few seconds of it. His vision was still blurry, and the cut on his ribs hurt like crazy. He quickly touched the armor of the closest knight and activated Exo, making it three active power sources running through his veins. That was the maximum he could use at once, no matter what he tried. He couldn’t activate another power source before he extinguished or used one of the three active sources.
While touching the knight’s armor and Exo running through his body, he used the power source to harden his skin, making it almost as hard as the armor. Exo couldn’t transfer the toughness and resilience fully, but it would be enough for what he had planned.
He planted both of his feet on the dirt floor and enchanted his speed and strength with running Vis, targeting a mace-wielding Imperial Knight. He exploded in the direction of the knight, grabbing him by his armor. His Exo-hardened skin and Vis-enchanted body withstood the impact, and he carried the knight with the leap into the closest arena wall. They collided with the wall with a loud thump, the wall cracking from the impact. He was sure he heard the sound of bones breaking but didn’t care. He had to take the Imperial Knights in whichever way he could.
As the mace-wielding knight fell to the ground, Eloken quickly retrieved his sword which he had lost his grip on during their collision with the wall. With one swift motion, he plunged the blade into the knight’s neck, ending his life.
Eloken turned his attention to the Imperial Knights’ hurdle where he and the dead knight had been only seconds ago. One of the knights lay on the ground clutching his hand, while the other looked, with what Eloken thought was disbelief unable to see his expression due to the helmet, into the axe Eloken had deflected. A brief smile played on Eloken’s lips, but the battle had taken its toll. His body ached from the cuts, the blow to the head, and the impact with the wall. He almost lost his balance as he pulled his sword from the fallen knight’s neck.
With all active Exo and Tem used he reached into his reserves once again looking for another full reserve, he found Vit and moved all of it into an active state, and started using it imidatelly.
Almost instantly, Eloken’s vision cleared, his fatigue dissipated, and he felt refreshed as if he had just woken up from a restful night’s sleep. The wound on his ribs began to heal slowly, the skin closing in, the gushing blood slowing down and hardening on the outside. Vit could heal almost all wounds given the right amount of time. Like with most sources, he wondered how far it could go – could it heal a fatal wound? He didn’t know, but he had faith in its abilities. Over the past four years, Vit had saved him from many injuries, healing broken bones in a day or two and smaller cuts and stab wounds in mere hours. It had even worked against poison when a foreign warlord had tried to kill him by poisoning his wine.
Eloken left Vit running and he would do so for the remaining of the Honorable Combat as on top of the healing, Vit dulled the pain to almost nonexistent level. With Exo reserves gone, he reached into Tem again and moved the remaining half from the reserves into the active state, he had a plan.
He stopped on the shield that the dying knight lost during the impact and it went flying into the air and Eloken caught it with his free hand. Standing tall his clothes stained with his own blood, gripping the sword and shielding tightly Eloken felt Godly. He looked over the crowd and almost everyone was standing, shocked expressions decorating their faces. They had never seen a man move this fast, be this strong. He glanced at the Royal Loge and King’s composure was giving in, his face was pale, his posture slumped and most importantly a smug smile was gone from his face.
“Let’s end this,” Eloken mumbled to himself as he charged toward the six remaining Imperial Knights, his newfound shield leading the way.
He used the shield combined with his enchanted speed and power to knock the Imperial Knights away allowing him to jump into the middle of the hurdle once again. Before the Knights could react he quickly stabbed the Knight that was laying on the and ground gripping his hand into the neck, killing him instantly, five knights remained, four surrounding him and one that he just pushed away. Eloken used all of the remaining Tem and time slowed down.
It was time to end this Hounrable Combat in the next few seconds before he ran out of Tem and Vis. He pushed away the upcoming axe attack with his shield and cut the arm of the other knight with one swift motion. Normal swords could not cut through the Imperial Knight’s armor, but their enchanted swords did the job. He didn’t want to risk it getting stuck in the armor, so he targeted the weak spots around the joints. He stabbed another knight into his upper thigh and with one swift motion cut the arm of the axe-wielding knight whose attack he parried moments ago.
With adrenaline and Vis pumping through his veins, he went for the instant kill on the fourth knight. Swinging his sword in large motion he came down upon the knight’s neck and cut his head off clean. His Tem ran out at that moment and all four knights fell to the ground.
Eloken wondered how it looked from the stands, was it like a blur jumping into the hurdle of the knights and a second later all four of them were on the ground, dead or gravely injured? He didn’t waste time, finishing the three injured knights that fell to the ground with precise and quick stabs.
He threw his shield to the ground and picked up another sword, now wielding two large Imperial swords, and turned towards the single remaining knight. The swords were huge, without Vis he might have been able to carry one of them using both of his hands, but with Vis running they felt like daggers to him.
He wondered what was the expression of the remaining knight, was he afraid? Enraged? Confused? It made no difference it was time to end this. Eloken sprinted towards the remaining knight and jumped over him. He twisted and turned in the air slamming both of the swords into the knight’s back as he flew above him. Eloken and the knight fell to the ground at the same time, both of the swords sticking from the fallen knight’s back. He put one foot on the dead knight’s back and pulled both swords free turning toward the Royal Loge and looking directly at the King.
“Good grace of Tar,” the announcer said in disbelief. “It would appear that the accused had managed to defeat all of the Imperial Knights. And with this, he had-” Eloken looked at the announcer and he went silent, and so did the crowd.
With his Vis running low, almost completely gone, Eloken wondered what to do next. But this was a show, he needed to continue and put an end to this with style. He used almost all of the remaining the Vis enchanting his agility and ran in the direction of the Royal Loge. A few meters before colliding with the wall he leaped in the air and using the remaining Vis and landed at the Royal Loge’s fence right in front of the king. Screams echoed through the Loge and Royal Guard rushed to help but Eloken already had both of the swords at the King’s throat, they stopped and moved back. He had bits of Vis running, only allowing him to hold both swords, his strength and speed wouldn’t be enchanted anymore.
“Who, what are you?” King mumbled as he shook with fear.
“You don’t recognize me, do you?” Eloken asked. “They were afraid you might and wanted me to use disguise, but I told them you were so full of yourself that you would never notice.”
“I am sorry,” The king said shaking and maybe for the first time in the past two days looking at Eloken closely, inspecting his face, his posture, everything about it. “I can’t be.” He mumbled.
“Yes it can, Uncle!” Eloken said with a devious smile.
“How? How is it possible, I had-” The king started.
“You had me killed, alongside my parents,” Eloken said. “Shame on you uncle!”
Eloken turned towards the crowd, leaving one of the swords at the king’s throat and weaving the other sword around with his hand pointing out. “This man right here,” He yelled at the top of his lungs. “Your king, Had his brother, his wife, and his nephews killed, twenty years ago, all because there was a tiniest chance my father could take the throne away from him.”
The crowd looked in disbelief, he could hear gasps coming from the nearby stands. “Yeah, that is right. When my grandfather, your former king fell ill, he called for my father to return to Worlin.” Eloken continued. “But see, my father never wanted to be a King, he had no interest in it. He didn’t like how my Grandfather and our predecessors ruled that’s why he went away to the Isle of Moir, to live his life with his family in peace.”
Eloken eyes teared up thinking about his parents and his brother he had lost, but he pushed those feeling away using more of the Vit to push them deeper, make himself number. “So when my father called him back on his deathbed, my father answered anyway, he wanted me and my brother to see our homeland and our grandfather before he died.” Eloken continued his voice clear once again.
“But see, my uncle, your King, had other plans. He had sent the Imperial Order to intercept our carriage and kill us all, making it all look like it was done by our former neighbors and good allies, Kotors, which he would later use as a reason to slaughter them and ravage their lands.” Eloken said.
“I didn’t-” The king started and Eloken cut him slightly with the sword, and some blood appeared around the cut.
“Shut up, I was there and so were you. I remember it all like it was yesterday, I have nightmares about it every night. How you are pulling them out of the carriage me unable to do anything, and killing them with ease, kicking their dead bodies all with smiles on your faces.” Eloken said rage taking over him.
“But, how-” King started again and Eloken thrust his sword further.
“How am I alive?” Eloken asked. “Well, see we brought my brother’s friend with us, his parents had just died due to the virus that spread around the Isle and my parents loved him like he was one of our own. We played a game in the carriage where I would hide under the seats and try to guess where they hid the toys. That’s when you stopped the carriage and killed them all, thinking that Hodris was me, you killed him. You didn’t even know what your own nephews looked like. And I watched it all under the seat, horrified, scared, crying not knowing what to do, whether to yell for help or run away.” Eloken said anger consuming him completely.
“So, uncle, you asked who I am?” Eloken said. “I am Kryon Thormwol, son of Mythral and Cella Thormwol and brother of Yortal Thormwol, all unjustifiably killed by a greedy pathetic man.” But I go by Eloken now, that’s who I am, that’s what I had to become to come here and kill you.“
“You can’t just kill a King,” His uncle, Hrodig Thormwol said. “What do you want? You earned your freedom by killing the Imperial knights or is it the throne, you want to be a king?” He asked his voice trembling.
“No I don’t want that, I can’t be a king, I am a broken man, there are far better people for the job,” Eloken said. “And I haven’t quite earned my freedom, there is one more Imperial Knight alive here,” Eloken said his smile returning and the King’s face went pale.
“That’s right uncle, not many people know that you were an Imperial Knight before you took the throne, and once you become a member of the order you are one until your last breath,” Eloken said.
“I-” King started but Elonged swung his sword and stabbed the King thru his heart impaling the throne behind him. He then swung the other sword and cut off the Kings head.
Eloken sat at the top of the hill overlooking the city of Worlin, replenishing the reserves that he had wasted earlier in the day. He wanted to be alone, to think about his future.
All of a sudden his peace and quiet were interrupted by a faint buzzing and he felt a bit of anxiety wash over him, the same feeling he had four years ago when he accidentally used Vis to survive. Turning around he knew what he would see, four tall and slander figures stood in colorful robes their faces obscured by the large hoods.
“Good job Master Eloken,” One of the figures spoke. “But this is only the beginning, there is so much more to be done.”