Blood dripped steadily onto the floor between her splayed fingers. She was kneeling, back bent, face down-turned. Dark-slate smoke shifted around her in languid, hazy swells, and shadows about were deep and stark.
"If you intend to unleash your true power, fledgling- now would be the time to do it..."
The voice was heavy with smug cynicism, and echoed across the vast, murky space. It came from a tall, white-garbed male standing some hundred paces from the kneeling female. He had long, flowing blonde hair, sharply-angled features, and a carnal mouth that was now slanted in a mocking smile. A bony prominence obscured his left eye, his right affixed upon the female with flinty disdain. A misty radiance surrounded the male, pulsing slightly, the space around him seeming to thicken and undulate.
The kneeling female, whose dark, unruly hair was matted with dirt and blood, spoke without raising her head.
"My true ... power ...?"
The silky coolness of her voice starkly contrasted with her tattered, dirty, bloody clothes. She let out a long, quiet sigh.
"What exactly ... are you referring to...?"
The male's right eye twitched slightly and then narrowed, his facial muscles stiffening visibly.
"Your arrogance shall earn you nothing but a pathetic and watery end, perra" The male's voice carried the sharp bite of hatred. A shadow crossed his face, and the nebulous light about him pulsed brighter.
The female let out another sigh, and a sudden, pronounced stillness came over her body. Silence percolated through the dark space between the two figures, and the shadows seemed to deepen. The male, seized by a sudden, vague uneasiness, took a half-step forward, his right hand balling into a fist.
"Fine, perra." He said in a low hiss, his cynical smile narrowing dangerously. "Keep your tongue..." Blazing, blood-red energy erupted and hardened around his fist, making a low, baleful, humming sound. "It matters not. Your end is already sealed ... Scard."
The female known as Scard remained motionless. Standing over her now, the male raised his energy-shrouded fist. His eyes gleamed down at Scard with unmasked, rabid contempt.
"You are m- ..."
From the kneeling Scard, a hard, luminous ripple exploded outwards, its blazing light dispelling the surrounding shadows and searing through the huge, echoing space like heat lightning. Everything went still, as though petrified. Arm raised to strike, the male suddenly found himself completely paralyzed. His teeth clenched, his eyes wide and roving, before settling again on Scard, who, like a ghostly apparition, faded into thin air.
A strangled sound escaped the male. The cords of his neck muscles bunched and quivered, and his Adam's apple bulged repeatedly.
"What in ..." he hissed.
From behind him came Scard's soft, cold voice.
"You asked me to use my true power, Callad."
Callad's eyes strained to look behind him, but not a muscle could be coerced into motion. His entire body trembled horribly, and the energy around his upraised fist dissipated.
"But did I ever give the impression ..."
A furious, raspy sound emerged from between Callad's clenched teeth.
"...I was holding back ..."
Without warning, Callad's entire chest erupted outwards in a gory spray of blood, flesh and bone. His eyes rolled into the back of his head, and his body, released by death, folded lifeless to the floor in a ruined heap.
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