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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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Writer Mathew Babaoye
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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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#14
The Sun Prince
Mathew Babaoye
Apr 23, 2016
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52
23 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!VGuIZWMUXrDEbfk5Y0LWposted on PENANA

The golden sun was setting low in the bright, overcast orange and purple sky behind Caer Nocht, and above the ancient forest vale’s shadowed, encircling mountains…copyright protection52PENANAUwlB5yuxeV

… metal slithered, wood groaned…copyright protection52PENANAkaCPTBLFvJ

Descending slowly, the castle drawbridge eventually landed across the darkly gleaming moat with a soft *thump*. A pounding of hooves sounded, then a figure with its black hood up and its black cloak billowing behind it galloped out from the castle upon a black steed, crossing the drawbridge before descending through the low hills towards the bluff’s dusky lower plain. Distant, a small, bright-armored Royal force was crossing the plain, lead by a tall, glittering figure with living flame upon his brow, riding a proud, powerfully stepping white stallion…copyright protection52PENANA69nipInnI9

The Sun Prince.copyright protection52PENANAkDFFeLeJis

Opposite. The dark figure continued galloping madly down through the low hills, approaching.copyright protection52PENANAFDDhtwTeco

A hue and cry was raised among the bright force, before the Sun Prince raised his glittering gauntlet, stilling it.copyright protection52PENANAYiymBX4ZlN

The dark figure eventually sawed at its dark reigns, causing the galloping black steed to draw up short upon a last rise, rearing briefly up against the evening sky, whinnying, before it came back down again onto its front hooves, snorting. Trotting left along the rise, the dark figure surveyed them before pulling the reigns right and doing the same that way. It finally tugged the reigns a last time to face them directly, placed two of its black-gloved fingers against its dark neck, and abruptly gave a banshees piercing cry!copyright protection52PENANA8FqOkFzzoR

Below: the bright forces rippled with unrest, hands moving to hilts and horses shifting, but none acted, all still waiting upon the Sun Prince who merely remained calm, staring up…copyright protection52PENANA24vFlYcedo

Know this!” the dark figure called down in wyrd voice. “You were granted safe passage through the Night Realm, and it has been thus. But you are come before Caer Nocht, and soon the Queen of Night whose judgement is law. Do you agree to be bound by it?”copyright protection52PENANADbGcxiaBhv

Although Day was almost done, the Sun Prince smiled brightly. “I will abide by my word, as I always do,” he called out in a pure, Powerful voice.copyright protection52PENANAppaPdvvM4U

The dark figure stared down upon that bright immortal one handsome, honest, kind…copyright protection52PENANAE6Y9Mk8Yzl

And without fear.copyright protection52PENANAmdw3p3lzFD

Not bad.copyright protection52PENANA542gUgLp3Q

It’s not wrong. Cloaked by the Night Herald’s disguise (which she wore when desiring anonymity), Goldenslaughter smiled an unseen smile within its shadow cowl. “Then let it be so!” she called out again, before pulling hard on the reigns to turn the black stallion Construct (made from living darkness) and gallop back up through the low hills, rapidly climbing towards Caer Nocht where living darkness was now spilling out from its open drawbridge like a black, grasping mist…copyright protection52PENANAjHXiRKCZIb

The Sun Prince stared after her, until–copyright protection52PENANAk5pR8OUuoz

She galloped across the drawbridge and was finally enveloped by the outspilling darknesscopyright protection52PENANA7tEaKyqvXt

Gone.copyright protection52PENANAmhbkz34c3N

copyright protection52PENANAnoSNf1C9v0

Swirling darkness filled her vast Throne Room, distant steps leading upwards to her Dark Throne upon the Royal Dais, with a circlet of living shadow seemingly floated alone above it. Mmm…copyright protection52PENANAJDunNeWdKT

*Creaking*, the double-doors slowly opened, letting in the pure light from his Fiery Crown, easily pushing back the coiling, living darkness before his bold entrance: skin dusky, handsome features exotic, and with a mythically muscled form (clad in a crisp white military uniform), the Sun Prince came striding steadily down the old, hard-bitten gold carpet now, after which his young squire and bearded counselor followed...copyright protection52PENANAH7aSrKWwWZ

And substantial, she became…copyright protection52PENANAjknb7CcJMI

The Queen of Night. With a circlet of living shadow upon her bonewhite brow, and her slender form eerily beautiful in a layered black ballgown, she waited upon the Dark Throne. “Approach.”copyright protection52PENANAKwlfU9tRme

The Sun Prince did so, with long strides…copyright protection52PENANAK4mVXNGTkC

Her eyes narrowed: the nearing light of his Fiery Crown was slowly fading, but his burning Essence still shaded her bonewhite face back to merely pale. The warm interaction of my own strange Nature with His.copyright protection52PENANATDXgO4T1OG

Finally falling to one white-clad knee before the Dais, the Sun looked up with dazzling smile. “Queen of Night, Goldenslaughter,” he called. “You do me honor.”copyright protection52PENANAKyd6N8fhZC

Do I?”copyright protection52PENANAwKGSFDGmx0

The Sun Prince stood back up tall, strong, handsome, and still smiling. “Without a doubt. Few are allowed to visit your Realm.”copyright protection52PENANAYqDVHs0AuP

She sneered. “And leave.”copyright protection52PENANAheovlbDAtD

Playing hard to get?copyright protection52PENANAd0nTS3xyp5

His squire bravely stepped forward now, along with his bearded counselor, but the Sun Prince only laughed. “Just so. I will guard my tongue, though I hope to leave us warmer, hereafter…”copyright protection52PENANAznvcjcFkN9

Goldenslaughter twirled living darkness idly between her pale fingers. “I prefer the cold,” she replied, seemingly bored.copyright protection52PENANA95oxAJJekd

The Sun Prince nodded gravely. “As you say. But might I ask a question? Did my gift find favor?”copyright protection52PENANARxder5hYEH

Her pale fingers flicked, banishing away the darkness twirled between them. “Perhaps.”copyright protection52PENANA3d4zqoM5JA

“Then I will ask nothing in return,” he declared. “The honor of this visit, and your presence, is enough for my satisfaction.”copyright protection52PENANAfSFEqgo9vI

Mmm. Well said. The dark immortal one finally rose smoothly back up to standing, then began gliding down the Dais steps while her long blue-black hair and black ballgown streamed ethereally behind her. A vision of supernatural loveliness...copyright protection52PENANAnmgABHGTGl

The Sun Prince’s eyes were fixed upon Her…copyright protection52PENANAAKyFjZ464N

Goldenslaughter eventually reached the old, hard-bitten gold carpet. “Enough flattery” she commanded, but still offered him an arm, with one arched dark eyebrow.copyright protection52PENANAGkFmY6Dmg8

“To the feast?” he asked, gently hooking his arm with hers.copyright protection52PENANA5Duld62U0J

For now. Come.”copyright protection52PENANAfAtOgNNkTR

The two great Powers walked (arm-in-arm) away from the Dais through slowly coiling living darkness encroaching back towards his still fading light. His squire and counselor kept a respectful distance, but still remained close enough for safety…copyright protection52PENANA8AcOWaUzxa

“You are coy,” he murmured.copyright protection52PENANAHCNcX1j0Wj

More curious.”copyright protection52PENANAJbUcZbZMwT

The Sun Prince smiled. “About what, pray tell?”copyright protection52PENANAEEtQsp1nZy

Queen Goldenslaughter glanced sidelong at him as they passed through the Throne Room’s entrance double-doors and out into a dark, faintly crystalline hall eerily illuminated by green witchfyre torches. “About the reason for this visit. You claimed the matter urgent…”copyright protection52PENANAxGalT7nc8j

His eyebrows rose up. “To business then? If you insist. Though it might wait until we are at table.”copyright protection52PENANAwRvq4uC4h8

At the hall’s exit double-doors: a beastly Were soldier in dark armor stationed at left, and a brightly-armored Knight at right stepped forward to smoothly open both doors at once, revealing a crowded Feasting Hall illuminated garish green by more witchfyre torches burning along its dark, faintly crystalline walls. The two great Powers continued inside it, where all eyes fell upon them.copyright protection52PENANAXVMqMfQNCP

Your fellows seem well behaved,” she observed, eyeing his quiet force among the left side of the room: they looked spectral in their armor reflecting ghostly green, all silent but for a few low-voiced conversations…copyright protection52PENANAlawvvqDTDM

“As do yours,” he remarked: her subdenizen forces seated right were subdued (compared to their normal raucous revelry), though many muttered loud enough, or grumbled, while glaring over…copyright protection52PENANAd9DIAIccMt

Mmm. We can only hope to uphold their example, then.” Queen Goldenslaughter unhooked her arm from his before gliding up the Dais steps alone. Passing by second tier tables of their mixed captains waiting (in uncomfortable silence) for her welcome feast to begin, she then reaching the high table, sat gracefully upon the high-backed chair Feasal pulled out, and waited…copyright protection52PENANAkKp7bbm2ZZ

The Sun Prince climbed steadily after her, his Fiery Crown now merely cold metal flames again. Eventually reaching the high table, he then took his own seat, right beside her. “At you word,” he murmured.copyright protection52PENANARk9oQFPtzs

The Queen of Night raised a bonewhite hand…copyright protection52PENANAgMCTudCGpp

All quieted.copyright protection52PENANAaK9ASlMenL

In the shadow of ambition, she called out, “and the light of civility, let us feast togetherBring in the first course!”copyright protection52PENANAef6nDW3tqC

Her signal given: dutiful gnome servitors wearing her black and purple livery entered in pairs, bearing covered platters. Smoothly wending through the crowded tables, the first two pairs of servitors climbed the Dais steps swiftly, one remaining with their mixed captains while the other continued up to the high table, removing the coverings from the platters to reveal bowls of steaming soup, garnish, and spicebread which they quickly set before the two great Powers.copyright protection52PENANAVGoyASLczb

How fares your rule?” she asked him, while the left servitor filled one of her two goblets with water, then the other with wine…copyright protection52PENANACKVLkO773u

“Well,” the Sun Prince replied, while the right servitor did the same for him.copyright protection52PENANAShJZFnVIQl

He hedges.copyright protection52PENANAlM2JkCC5Pc

Both servitors bowed low, and swiftly withdrew.copyright protection52PENANAgrWcdh0ko4

“… or as well as it can be,” he finally amended, while taking his fll goblet of wine in hand. “Given its place in the wider world, of course.”copyright protection52PENANAPhlyg0WcJN

The Queen picked up her silver spoon. “I heard you had some more trouble, recently.”copyright protection52PENANAy4zAOUdr03

“The Golden Harpy?” He chuckled. “I took care of that one personally.”copyright protection52PENANADhvztIQu3f

Slain?”copyright protection52PENANAySwUrNUo0E

The Sun Prince looked chagrinned. “Would that I could. Its Nature shares too much with my own Power to easily combat, but I drove it off and Bound it from returning.”copyright protection52PENANAbyJL9xFmYF

A sad compromise for many of us in the Peerage.”copyright protection52PENANAqBWVbqD2UH

Sipping from his wine goblet, the Sun Prince set it back down afterwards, sighing. “Yes… which reminds me: one of your subjects found me while my force was crossing your Realm.”copyright protection52PENANAhtAOn2CiqC

Goldenslaughter paused, holding a spoonful of soup before her face. “Through my cordon? And your guards?”copyright protection52PENANAWBbGmkd2Hc

“Indeed,” he admitted, frowning. “It called itself the Slythy, and gave me a cryptic message.”copyright protection52PENANAH7OD2Z3G2Y

Placing her spoon back down in the soup bowl, she waited…copyright protection52PENANAojsY8Q1K9r

The Sun Prince cleared his throat. “It said: ‘the darkness hides a lie, though your own fortune lies with it.’”copyright protection52PENANAn63yMqSZsA

Silence.copyright protection52PENANAc9H0NK0Rr2

Intriguing,” she finally muttered.copyright protection52PENANAQQmjPu9Qfi

“Isn’t it?” That dazzling smile again. “Though I place little stock in prophecy, and much less so when delivered by skulking augers. Hmm. Which in this case was a mere group of buzzing insects, quickly dispersed.”copyright protection52PENANAhCokaaK3ad

Queen Goldenslaughter shared a nast smile. “Like your Golden Harpy, the Slythy has proven troublesome, although it is not one to be removed…” She paused. “Yet. An Ontological Impression here from long ago, it is a part of this land, even broken.”copyright protection52PENANADmmlna6o2y

“And full of hate,” he added. “You would do well to keep an eye on that one.”copyright protection52PENANArSoNbeil4x

Goldenslaughter raised her spoon again, taking a delicate sip...copyright protection52PENANADma2Gkcron

The Sun Prince tasted his own soup again, then put his spoon gently back down into the bowl. “To other matters, then.”copyright protection52PENANAF1K1n7cuwe

Another sip…copyright protection52PENANA2X6rLiF4DK

“You land seems well,” he finally continued, “and your people fair. More than passing fair, in fact. I have never had the chance to see mortals long exposed to a Realm of such generous magic… and so changed.copyright protection52PENANACg6MjN7vev

Silence.copyright protection52PENANATTxDVVL8ph

Her eyes wanted to narrow. His question might seem like mere curiosity to some, but a suspicious mind would think he fishes for information on the metaphysics of my Realm. Having been allowed an official crossing through Abstraction, a great Power like himself might already be halfway towards understanding its underpinning in such a way as to break the veil open with force at a later time, for good or ill…copyright protection52PENANAmsftU1MA5p

Silence.copyright protection52PENANAkIGquZdCvs

When she still offered no response, the Sun Prince awkwardly cleared his throat again. “Yes. Well. I had also hoped to visit your priest Reynauld. To see how he is faring.”copyright protection52PENANA8omG1iCMq2

My Priest?” She tisked. “He is a Sun Priest, and never mine.”copyright protection52PENANA4Nujhpk3Zq

“Still. I had hoped to speak with him, ere I go.”copyright protection52PENANAsj89JD9XgE

Goldenslaughter now gave him a shrewd look. “To receive a report?”copyright protection52PENANApp2M544HQv

The Sun Prince shook his head. “Not at all. When we agreed to an exchange of Priests as part of our treaty I made sure to send a good man, and a friend. Would you not inquire after that which you sent to me and mine, next you visit my Kingdom?”copyright protection52PENANAJUieeADzDC

My Priest is of the Night, and can take care of himself.”copyright protection52PENANAZ6W8fFMoD3

The Sun Prince grunted. “It’s unholy nature gave me doubt at first, but the Night Priest has been a model citizen,” he grudgingly admitted. “However: I would have words with Reynauld at some point. If you would not mind...”copyright protection52PENANA32s6OxaTf1

Of course not.”copyright protection52PENANAoZVHeahRJV

“Thank you.”copyright protection52PENANAuJ1qSh6EGJ

The two great Powers ate in silence for a time, while strained conversation continued at the mixed captain’s table and somewhat louder chatter beyond. Eventually: Goldenslaughter finished her soup, pushed back the empty bowl and stared off into the distance, distracted… before slowly turning, to catch him staring. “What?”copyright protection52PENANAHJMaPBHZuX

The Sun Prince flushed, but did not flinch. “I am a man, despite my Title, and no man could fail to recognize with eyes what sets fire to heart.”copyright protection52PENANA0TXWAb7S3Q

And yet you cast no enchantment upon him…copyright protection52PENANANyAOYs657M

Goldenslaughter glanced away now, taking another sip from her goblet to hide her smile.copyright protection52PENANAOPvAZlbHkG

Servitors returned to the Feasting Hall with the second course: choice cuts of boar, vegetable dumplings and red rice. The two great Power’s empty bowls were removed and new fare was quickly set before them, before the servitors again withdrew.copyright protection52PENANAElzCi9Np2R

He desires.copyright protection52PENANAgPpQEojKtq

Of course he does. But my Realm more than my person. So: to business then?” she asked, while using her fork to hold the loin cut of boar in place and carve a large section with a sharp knife.copyright protection52PENANAwhf2Sfn4WI

The Sun Prince smiled slightly. “To business.”copyright protection52PENANAKB4kdmu1Mw

Queen Goldenslaughter placed the first section of meat upon his plate, then began cutting her own. “Why have you come? And do not give me more nonsense about the pleasure of my company.”copyright protection52PENANAS2liTZGdK9

“Even if it is the truth?”copyright protection52PENANADgrTjj8Ho5

Are you sure?copyright protection52PENANAp9GttUQXWC

Queen Goldenslaughter waved pale fingers in negation, then calmly placed another cut on her own plate and sliced a smaller piece to chew.copyright protection52PENANAtOFP6zPMMz

The Sun Prince awkwardly cleared his throat a third time. “To put it otherwise, then: I am here for diplomacy. Our lands are neighbors in the metaphysical. Mutual support, therefore, would hold mutual advantage.”copyright protection52PENANAWqQnk9HsQ5

Do you speak of a full alliance?” she asked him incuriously, and began chewing…copyright protection52PENANAygffKI9AG5

The Sun Prince was staring at her steadily.copyright protection52PENANAd9UTY1sOOf

Goldenslaughter swallowed, returning him a level gaze.copyright protection52PENANAnKFd8ZnPse

The Sun Prince smiled boldly now. “Imagine what we could accomplish together...”copyright protection52PENANAV0uafeTpPz

We could rule the twilight,” she quipped.copyright protection52PENANAv2IqVHrovg

The Sun Prince snorted good-naturedly. “You have a ready wit, though I refer to matters beyond mere sovereignty. Have we not already found mutual benefit in our last endeavor?”copyright protection52PENANADT1i69huYK

Goldenslaughter gave him a slow smile, then purred: “the cage proved worthwhile for me. Quite recently.”copyright protection52PENANAITKd40rXqg

“I am glad for it,” he replied, “and I would be gladder still if we took another step. Together.”copyright protection52PENANAwVjfleXNDt

Goldenslaughter gave him another long stare… then abruptly cackled. Voice lowered across the Feasting Hall, and a sea of faces turned towards her until she placed a hand on her heaving chest, breathing deeply. “My, but I do so appreciate your sincerity.”copyright protection52PENANA3gm4yteQXc

The Sun Prince’s dusky, handsome face bore a wry expression. “If it please you, I would know the cause of your mirth.”copyright protection52PENANAAF6lSamk8M

Goldenslaughter patted his strong left arm. “The matter is inconsequential, though it must be said that I always seem to enjoy our time together… for one reason, or another.”copyright protection52PENANABEIUT49RSM

The Sun Prince gave her yet another dazzling smile. “Then I am glad indeed.”copyright protection52PENANAkW2G1B9fs7

Yes, yes. But I am missing something here. What else is could it be? Goldenslaughter picked up her wine goblet, taking a long sip with her dark eyes expressing amusement over the rim. “I’m glad you didn’t come just to salve your wounded pride.”copyright protection52PENANAs2MyoFJL0R

“Oh? How was it wounded?”copyright protection52PENANAyBwgwqlGhe

Goldenslaughter put the goblet down, revealing her red-lipped smile. “Do you not recall our tet in the desert?”copyright protection52PENANAsBavib7rqz

The Sun Prince laughed, and shook his head. “A repeat had crossed my mind once or twice, though only if you wish it.”copyright protection52PENANAyTClr11bM1

Goldenslaughter continued smiling…copyright protection52PENANA3kDzB90XQh

The Sun Prince seemed taken aback. “I had thought we might…” A pause. His lips quirked up into an answering smile. “Well, if you insist. But this time things may go differently, and not just because the full moon provides me advantage.”copyright protection52PENANAbjTlObxWCY

Oh? So what has changed?”copyright protection52PENANAvbR8xj9yuV

“Everything,” he promised her, in a voice gone husky. “My drive, my passion, and my intent.”copyright protection52PENANAAyge8So8Pe

Goldenslaughter bit her lip. “Then I cannot wait for you to show me.”copyright protection52PENANAp1ximmtTi6

copyright protection52PENANASOiJWP25ox

Laughter in the silvered nighttime forest…copyright protection52PENANA1Z5hdeaBmZ

… and the dark immortal one suddenly ran out into the moonlit clearing dark. Clad in a fitted black jacket, pants, and snug black boots, with the subtle blade was sheathed on her left hip and the rune shield strapped to her right bicep, her long blue-black hair and black cape were flying behind her as she disappeared inhumanly fast back into the forest on the other side. Rays of golden light began escaping into the clearing…copyright protection52PENANAQL0n4nJyh2

Golden light exploded!copyright protection52PENANAF9QXTMNVRb

Too slow. Already racing safely away uphill through cover, she left behind more rays flickering up towards after crossing over a hilltop and sprinting downslope away again–copyright protection52PENANAtTbzapNl09

“Stand and face me, cruel maid!” came his deepthroated call.copyright protection52PENANAkRVleZIYy0

Goldenslaughter ducked behind a dark trunk and immediately scaled it nimbly, while simultaneously using her monolithic Will to imbue enough Power into the living darkness held beneath her black clothing to expand it, BOILING out to cover her pale skin and glinting armaments until only a dark shadow remained still among the branches…copyright protection52PENANA0d9Qa2CXYu

Rays of golden light increasingly seeped through the dark trees ,like dawn was coming, until the Sun Prince suddenly charged out bright, the pure light shining upon his dusky brow reflecting dazzlingly off his glittering silver armor. Never slowing, he passed her hiding place and continued deeper into the silvered forest with inhuman speed, the dawn receding quickly until the last few rays winked OUT, in the very far distance…copyright protection52PENANA9snl1yKOTL

Foolishness. Bidding the darkness to dissolve, her form was revealed again as she dropped back to the forest floor down into a crouch, then slowly rose back up to standing and quickly threw her subtle blade at a nearby tree trunk–copyright protection52PENANAYdCTzQTiOr

“Hey!” Dodging, a voidish cloak unfurled from nothing to reveal the Sun Prince closeby. He stared at her blade embedded deep into the trunk beside him, then turned back towards her in admiration. “How did you know?” Fiery light began welling once more upon his brow, as his glittering silver armor reflected it dazzlingly again…copyright protection52PENANAiOEsFPvhNu

I made you that cloak,” she answered, while sliding the rune shield down to her forearm, “and I know the Night.”copyright protection52PENANALWW9hXH2MA

The Sun Prince grinned. “At least you stopped running.”copyright protection52PENANANKOpDngxG5

Goldenslaughter abruptly CHARGED him with a fierce cry, raising the rune shield to deflect his first bolt of sizzling light (the shield’s rune glowing briefly from the impact) before she leapt inhumanly high over the rest of his sizzling bombardment at the last second, arcing well above the Sun Prince who gaped upwards at her for a frozen moment…copyright protection52PENANAYZUDrzsXRf

Now.copyright protection52PENANArDcnMultw7

Exploding massive coils of living darkness down to impact into the ground all around him, she then bid each coil to immediately harden into the bars of a huge black crystal cage before surging even more living darkness surged between the bars to seal it shut. She landed a safe distance behind afterwards, ripping her subtle blade free from the shadowed trunk and sprinting deeper into the silvered forest…copyright protection52PENANA4jRSJvgZ2X

His deep laughter echoed.copyright protection52PENANA50WZEoz6lq

Oooh.copyright protection52PENANAmN3yaP2vjy

Golden light burst forth in a glorious conflagration behind her, shattering the dark crystal cage in a crackling ROAR of light and sound racing outwards searing, pursuing her again…copyright protection52PENANADnSufC0wC2

Tsh. But at least it delayed him long enough to increase the gap, and keep wearing him down. The dark immortal one touched her rune shield mid-sprint, the rune glowing briefly before she allowed its metaphysical protection to combine with her dark Power, using both to shape the darkness now spilling out from her shoulders into a pair of great, hoary dark wings spreading wide to shielding her back. Nearing a vine-choked ravine, she then put on a final burst of inhuman speed and leapt, soaring impossibly far across the dark space while her wings suddenly spread wide in flight…copyright protection52PENANAtH3pHHOgN9

A bolt of golden light!copyright protection52PENANAGaWJI7zKDS

Her glide faltered: she glanced back to see a hole now burning through even her rune-strengthened wings, with its golden glow eating outwards afterwards…copyright protection52PENANAjgfcLvOL2q

Ahhh.copyright protection52PENANAOv7RVOyJ5m

Golden light welled from the trees behind her again, spilling out across the dark ravine. “I know you will fall graceful,” came his deepthroated call. “Your every move is imbued with the quality.”copyright protection52PENANATLwQvfY50B

Fah!” Severing her damaged wings caused her to briefly fall before she cast out a carpet of living darkness, landing upon it which zipped her ahead like a blurring black ribbon shooting her forwards to land upon the other side of the dark ravine. While skidding to a halt among the scraggly foliage, she simultaneously exploded darkness ahead in waves forming dark doppelgangers running away through the trees. She turned back, blew him a kiss and then raced off after them as more darkness boiled up to cloak her form before she disappeared amongst dark doppelgangers fleeing out of sight through the trees.copyright protection52PENANAXjSdwDJkpL

“Ha!” Burning MUCH brighter, he charged towards the ravine from the other side of the forest and leapt, soaring across the like a blazing comet leaving a trail of light….copyright protection52PENANAKdhS4cHDWM

Goldenslaughter abruptly crashed into him from nowhere like a comet of boiling darkness!copyright protection52PENANA0QyxH3MF8M

The Sun Prince cried out.copyright protection52PENANAg669jDM2Xc

Bearing him back across the ravine, she landed atop him, back on the original side, in a storm ofdarkness and light, before they skidded out of their mixing Essences to a halt with her still on top, but up on one knee while holding the edge of her subtle blade to his neck. “Do you yield?”copyright protection52PENANAOIp5Buij8f

The Sun Prince opened his mouth…copyright protection52PENANA595DGMHtrQ

Her eyes widened–copyright protection52PENANAgIWnRg0EjY

Concussive light blasted out of his mouth!copyright protection52PENANAR7HhciMuBU

Hammered in the face, her head snapped back and she howled, immediately bringing up her pale hands to cover the damage while reeling backwards and quickly boiling darkness upwards to cloak and heal her form…copyright protection52PENANAKH4PlLC2e4

Solid hit!copyright protection52PENANATvNPTE6Tjp

The Sun Prince rose, with brightness welling once more upon his brow and glittering his armor before he stepped slowly towards her again, drawing his fiery sword. “Let us make an end to this foreplay.”copyright protection52PENANASbxzsJSeet

Her dark form crouched, waiting…copyright protection52PENANA9YaeOvZqye

Delicious deception.copyright protection52PENANAvrJihCXnwh

The Sun Prince realized the deception almost too late, suddenly spinning around to dodge her true form slashing at him with her subtle blade.copyright protection52PENANANoskYU4Q9j

Close!copyright protection52PENANAjjiux60wxz

It was costly, but she had translated from her original darkness into more forming behind him from shadow. Seeking to press her advantage now, she lunged forward while her dark decoy did the same, seeking to pin him between–copyright protection52PENANAK20uki7iGD

Abruptly: the Sun Prince sent a wave of pure golden light EXPLODING outwards from his brow, burning through the dark decoy and stumbling her.copyright protection52PENANAzu21P0WTR5

Grr. Her immense Power was steadily dwindling in the face of his oppositional NAture, but she expended ever more to boil more darkness outwards through her bonewhite skin now, healing and cloaking her again.copyright protection52PENANAdbpvFWCGt9

The Sun Prince charged–copyright protection52PENANAfdcgIxzPPf

Whistling! She had summoned spears of living darkness which now lanced down towards him from the night sky like a sharp, dark rain of death…copyright protection52PENANAsoKvpzvmsn

Sending a bright flare of golden light from his brow upwards to deflect them, he dodged another cut from her subtle blade.copyright protection52PENANArGyRbeNNUg

Grrrr! Pressing the attack, her powerful, inhumanly fast strikes rang out once, twice, and thrice, until–copyright protection52PENANAXau9rcG01v

The Sun Prince began burning brightly again, and pressed her in turn, driving her back now with a series of blinding slashes from his fiery sword, each one a lightning fast flaming arc raining down upon her again and again and AGAIN and–copyright protection52PENANAguT0ZjAvF3

Goldenslaughter blocked each one but was giving ground now while she drew ever more of her immense, but even more rapidly dwindling Power to produce darkness boiling up slightly more slowly as it cloaked her form once more. Tendrils from the growing mass beneath her also surged out on all sides to grasp at him violently (although contact with his increasingly blinding form dissolved them away repeatedly)–copyright protection52PENANAS7JqYUEMIz

The Sun Prince suddenly lunged forward much farther than anticipated, his fiery sword slicing through her guard easily and FLARING with golden light which dissolved away her shroud of living darkness to show…copyright protection52PENANA2FJxObJvcL

Nothing.copyright protection52PENANA0tfUuee4JU

Heehee!copyright protection52PENANA7B1Q10LGMt

The Sun Prince turned sharply, but–copyright protection52PENANAfP9ZmXa6tm

Goldenslaughter had just appeared behind him again (by yet another costly Translation through more summoned, upswirling darkness) and now knocked the fiery sword from his hand before elbowing him in the side of the head, dazing him, then gripped his blinding throat with her bare hand, skin sizzling from the contact while darkness boiled out to glove her, constantly dissolving and replaced while she lifted him up into the air, glaring at him…copyright protection52PENANARtP6ojkDo3

The light upon his brow briefly flickered.copyright protection52PENANAxvFylGz7nl

Weakling! Goldenslaughter continued holding him aloft with her trembling arm…copyright protection52PENANAACaJBxHMDb

His light began swelling AGAIN–copyright protection52PENANA9uFZA3jVGH

NO. Gritting her teeth, she funneled ever more of her immense dwindling Power into the dissolving darkness covering her trembling arm to shade it deeper, and darker, until it was a limb of immovable Void, shrieking emptiness.copyright protection52PENANAZdcEMyllFI

The Sun Prince cried out now as the golden light was violently, abruptly sucked from his entire body…copyright protection52PENANAHglR0XpIJ2

But it was too difficult to hold: quickly allowing her immovable voidish arm to fade back into darkness, she finally let him fall back down to the ground in a clattering clank of dull armor. Finish it. She drew her subtle blade and stepped forward…copyright protection52PENANATSwyR7Ba3i

Surprising her again, the Sun Prince shook his head and forced himself back up onto one knee, panting, while staring up at her with a slow grin returning to his dusky, handsome face.copyright protection52PENANAR2w4GjC2Fi

What-?copyright protection52PENANALmy6ey3DgM

He raised his hand, pulling down the moonlight.copyright protection52PENANAF9FcIxkkIn

She gaped.copyright protection52PENANACAq9E7sh98

White tendrils spiraled down through the night air into a silver spear slowly growing solid in his strong hand, and shining with a pale, strong light. “Before,” the immortal bright one now panted, slowly standing back up again as pale moonlight welled upon his brow (to replace the daylight lost), and his armor began glittering silver with it, “you were cruel and hard. Yet strong as you still are, I find YOU changed, as well.”copyright protection52PENANAzUu81IH4mX

This is new. Be careful. Goldenslaughter edged back uncertainly, while living darkness continued building ever more slowly into a swirling mass beneath her. “False bravado from a man facing his second defeat in as many duels...”copyright protection52PENANAR27wfQ4zaM

“What if I told you that this was not the victory I seek?”copyright protection52PENANAXMmoW1voiF

Confusion: she hesitated–copyright protection52PENANAwSz10BKHF6

And the Sun Prince struck with the moonlight spear.copyright protection52PENANAFx9N4oD8YN

I am a divine fool! Twisting inhumanly fast, she was still caught in the shoulder and spun away, snarling now, while funneling ever more of her dwindling Power reserves into the darkness boiling up even more angrily around her, and enfolding her form…copyright protection52PENANAUWAhkwiPVB

The Sun Prince jabbed towards her again.copyright protection52PENANAvst5tuGebl

Goldenslaughter dodged, deflecting the moonlight spear away, with her subtle blade, before another strike came MUCH faster than anticipated. Her subtle blade was out of position to block it, so she kept spinning with the momentum of her first dodge to interpose her pale arm instantly, painfully cycling from skin to shadow to darkness and back to shrieking voidcopyright protection52PENANAlRTuEXTh5R

The moonlight spear struck!copyright protection52PENANA50OFh9bAZ7

GRRRR. It broke in half and was sucked entirely into the Void before she lost her grip upon this still new application of her Power and it snapped back against her Will, which caused light and darkness to EXPLODE outwards from her arm returning quickly back to normal, pale flesh. She stumbled…copyright protection52PENANAbuzFz39fhl

The Sun Prince bulled forward now, his glittering silver armor flickering as he bore her to the ground and brought his dull sword (beginning to glow silver) around towards her exposed throat–copyright protection52PENANABCcu7Qr08w

Goldenslaughter knocked it from his hands.copyright protection52PENANASdxGTOP5oP

Falling…copyright protection52PENANAcAjLfSOo76

The two great Powers landed together upon the urth, wrestling for position and trading advantage. She was a canny brawler, however, and quickly trapped his limbs in loops of living darkness before straddling him, panting. “Do you yield?” she growled.copyright protection52PENANAJJIWdPMFQV

His lips were bloody, but his dusky face was still handsome. “You will have to,” he panted, “make me.”copyright protection52PENANAbI8Ip1xf6W

Goldenslaughter scowled, with her disheveled, long blue-black hair hanging down around her bonewhite face. “Do you not think I will end you if provoked?”copyright protection52PENANA4jwn4MfTbn

The Sun Prince smiled.copyright protection52PENANA0V7JRkzDZp

She frowned–copyright protection52PENANAyb7HUxJsMQ

His hand blaze briefly silver, breaking apart the darkness chaining him before he heaved her over to straddle her in turn as his armor slowly built back towards one last blinding display. “Why?”copyright protection52PENANAoQ9VeeHu8T

Slowly…copyright protection52PENANAR8OYRFjqjj

Goldenslaughter looked up, into his eyes…copyright protection52PENANAPSvXzquiSh

The Sun Prince gave her that dazzling smile again. “Why grant my audience? Could it be? That you also–”copyright protection52PENANA9h7iclwUPE

Slipping his guard, she punched him inhumanly hard in the cheek, EXPLODING darkness from her fist to send him hurtling away through the trees where he eventually landed in a clattering, rolling tumble. Another defeat.copyright protection52PENANANHNBGEh05A

Or is it?copyright protection52PENANAjUsPS2fnl7

Groaning in pain now, he didn’t have the Power left to stop his light from guttering out completely.copyright protection52PENANAEuoMNB8jvY

The Queen of Night flowed back up to standing, and then sauntered gracefully towards him while her long, disheveled blue-black hair and black cape resumed streaming behind here in a flagrant display of Power. Simultaneously: darkness slowly boiled back beneath her like a tired, angry corporeal shadow. “You argue for twilight,” she growled, coming to a stop above him, looming threateningly. “And for what? To elevate yourself, at the cost of my unchallenged sovereignity.”copyright protection52PENANAYjFMVmqcnv

“No,” he groaned. “That is not my cause.”copyright protection52PENANANHqfwjiLGD

Easy enough to say.”copyright protection52PENANATl7h7UTgeo

The Sun Prince was breathless now, and blinking. “We are not so different, you and I…”copyright protection52PENANAedIUZDhqQE

We are as different as two can be,” she grated, the subtle blade suddenly back in her bonewhite hand, then pointed down at him. “Do. You. Yield?”copyright protection52PENANAWDlmTSGbDm

The Sun Prince forced that dazzling smile. “Never.”copyright protection52PENANAOwIVOQQH65

This has not gone to plan. What will you do?copyright protection52PENANA6kiPfiswIi

Goldenslaughter cursed…copyright protection52PENANAaEWw1PoH02

… and then left him lying there upon his bed of leaves, under the full moon shining in a black sky.copyright protection52PENANA4OzNKoDB6K

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