Final Battle

August 15, 2014

This is an extract I wrote for a possible future for one of my Alternate Gargoyles Universe characters, Ebony. She became my main character, though I hadn’t really intended it to happen. One of the joys of creative writing. This story takes place in the not so distant future, where a lot went down, and it wasn’t all good for her. Of course as a writer I have to abuse my main character. :) This is a kind of finale for the first part of her story. It’s also long, over 2300 words, so be prepared.

Ebony hit the floor and Nate was on top of her, pinning her down. She struggled against his grip, but he was far more powerful.

“Why do you bother to struggle?” he asked gloating. “You know full well you can’t break away with that pitiful strength of yours.” He pulled her wrists together, his large hand easily holding them both and yanked her to her feet, raising her well above the ground. Then he slammed her hard against the wall, stunning her. He touched the stone wall with his other hand, a red glowing coming from it and the rock in the wall formed a shackle around her wrists, restraining her.

“Do you know how long I’ve dreamt of this moment? You thwarted my plans too many times. You, a mortal, more pathetic that even those of your own species. How many times did I have you at my mercy, only to have one of your protectors arrive at the last moment to save you?” He snarled, slamming his fist inches from her head and leaned in close. “There’s no one to save you this time,” he spoke in a whisper, his face mere inches from hers. Stunned as she was, Ebony still tried to get away from him. All she could do was turn her head and close her eyes to try to block him out. But he wasn’t going to have that. He grabbed her by the chin and forced her to face him.

“It’s just you and me. No one will find you here,” he said, his smile cold and full of hate. “Do you know what I could do to you? You don’t know the meaning of pain, yet. I could keep you alive for centuries, just on the brink of death, that release so close yet so far.” He ran his fingers gently down to her throat and then dug his claws in, drawing blood and causing her to gasp in pain. “And do you know what the best part of that is? He will feel every single moment. You’re still connected you know. Even if you don’t feel his presence, he is still there, watching, listening, feeling, but completely powerless to do anything. Like you.” He released her throat and her head slumped down. He smiled with some satisfaction. As he continued to stare at her his expression softened. He reached out to her again and gently stroked her cheek. She flinched at his touch. “Just think of it Megan, just the two of us, together forever,” he said tenderly.

Ebony slowly opened her eyes and stared at Nate in surprise. “What did you call me?” she asked. Her question startled him back to reality. He backed away.

“It–it doesn’t matter. Names are meaningless. Your kind never used to take them. I don’t know why you suddenly started now.”

“It does matter,” she pressed. “It isn’t just what you said, it’s how you said it. You really care for her.”

“No. Not me. Him. That shadow that my brother created when I was banished to this mortal world.” Hate dripped from his voice as he spoke of his dragon brethren. Ebony watched Nate start to pace, agitated.

“No, he’s not the shadow,” Ebony said, as she started to realize the truth. “You are. There is no way the one who holds the gift of breath could be filled with so much hate and malice.” Her golden eyes stared at him intently, though he refused to meet them. “Something happened to you, to the Real-You, didn’t it? Something so terrible that he allowed this dark version, Dark-You to take over.”

“NO!” He turned on her, snarling, and smashed his fist into the wall close to her head again, but she didn’t flinch this time. She knew she was getting closer to the truth.

“Yes, it did. What was it? What happened to make you so consumed with anger and hate?”

“You wouldn’t–” Nate started, finally meeting her eyes, and immediately regretted it.

“I wouldn’t what–” Ebony stopped when his eyes met hers. She knew that look. She saw it every time she looked in a mirror. “You lost someone you loved.” She stated.

“No!” he denied, breaking away from her gaze.

“It’s the only thing that make sense,” Ebony continued. “You really loved someone, a girl like Megan perhaps, but something happened and she died. You couldn’t bring her back and you couldn’t die, so the only thing you could do…was forget.” How many times has she wished to do the same thing when the memories were too painful? “You lost who you were, and your love turned to hate. That’s why you wanted me here!” She looked up at him. “You were made to forget again and the real you came back. You were going to disappear. The only way you can keep that from happening is to rekindle that hate, and there’s no one you hate more in this realm than me.” He spun back around, his hand covering her mouth and nose and pressing down.

“You’re too clever for your own good,” he hissed. Ebony struggled to get a breath, but she was helpless. “I should just kill you, but that’s won’t be enough. It has to be the other one. He’ll go back if it’s by his own hand. And with you in my grip, I can keep him at bay. Are your lungs starting to burn? Suffocation is such a painful way to die–”

A gunshot echoed through the room, and a bullet ricocheted off the wall just inches from Nate’s head. He backed away, releasing his hold on Ebony and turning to see who had found them. Ebony inhaled deeply, the cool air relieving her burning lungs. She didn’t have to look. She knew who it was.

“Robert,” she said, her voice raspy. “It’s about time.” She turned her head slightly to look at him. He stood at the entrance, his gun trained on Nate. Behind him appeared Megan.

“Sorry, we missed the left at Albuquerque,” Robert quipped. Ebony gave him a half-smile, and looked back at Nate.

“What were you saying about my protectors not being around?”

Nate threw his head back and roared in rage. Megan flinched. She had never seen Nate angry–ever, and it scared her.

“Get her free,” Robert said to Megan as he kept Nate covered. The blood-red gargoyle was glaring at him.

“She going to kill him,” Megan said, hesitating. “I can sense her blood lust.”

HE’S going to kill us first!” Robert said. “She’s not a killer Megan. She won’t be gentle, but she won’t kill.” He gave her a reassuring glance, but in the moment he took his eyes from Nate, the gargoyle lunged at them. Robert and Megan leapt away in opposite direction, Robert getting a few shots off, that just seemed to bounce off the gargoyle. Megan ran over to Ebony, and broke the stone shackle that held her. Ebony fell to the floor like a puppet whose strings has been cut. But she didn’t stay down. She struggled to get to her feet almost immediately. Megan helped her stand, but held onto her arm.

“Don’t kill him,” she said to Ebony, half-pleading, half threatening. Ebony stared at her for a moment, then a dark smile formed on her lips.

“You have no idea who you are dealing with,” she said and wrenched her arm from of Megan’s grasp before running over to help Robert. Nate was closing in on him. He towered over him, his claws reared to slash him.

“You’re pea-shooter has no effect on me!” he growled, but before he could strike, Ebony came up from behind and kicked him hard at the knees, knocking his legs out from under him. Her eyes glowed a golden-yellow as he got back to his feet and turn to face her. She was ready for him this time. There would be no surprise attack to catch her unawares. He made the first move, leaping at her, thinking he could easily overpower her again. But while he had size and strength on his side, she had speed and agility, and years of training which he lacked. She soon had the upper hand and turned the tables on him as she threw him over her again and he landed flat on his back. He was dazed. She jumped onto him, pinning his arms to his sides with her legs.

Ebony stared down at the creature in front of her, and a rage that had been pent-up in her for years bubbled to the surface. She clutched her hand into fist and then suddenly punched him in the face.

“You killed my siblings!” She shouted, and then punched him again. “You destroyed my clan!” Punch. “You tormented and tortured me for months! Estranged me from the few remaining clansmen I had left!” She punched him again, and then stared at his barely conscious form.

“Nate!” Megan cried and tried to run out to him and protect him, but Robert stopped her. He understood this was something Ebony needed to do.

Ebony slowly stood up and looked around. Her bow, dropped when he had attacked her, was only a few feet away. She retrieved it and the arrow that had been notched in it, and then turned back to Nate. He was trying to sit up, but Ebony just pushed him back down with her foot. Arrow notched again, she drew the bow back.

“You took everything from me!” she said coldly, the arrow pointed at Nate’s head.

He looked up at her and that infuriatingly smug smile returned to his face. “No, I gave you everything,” he said. Her eyes blazed in fury and she drew the bow back to its fullest, ready to release it.

“Ebony, don’t!” Robert shouted as he realized she just might do it.

“No!” Megan cried, tears falling from the corners of her eyes.

“The choice is still yours.” The last voice only she heard, its cool and calm tone just making her more angry.

“Shut up! Shut Up! SHUT UP!” Ebony shouted and released the string, the arrow flying at terrifying speed at her target.

The arrow vibrated slightly from the impact. Ebony dropped her arms down to her sides, exhausted. She stared at the body below her for one moment more and then turned away from him.

“Nate!” Megan cried and broke away from Robert. He didn’t try to stop her this time. He was staring at Ebony as she walked slowly toward him. He didn’t think she would ever, she could ever do such a thing.

Megan ran to Nate’s side, kneeling next to him. “You killed him!” she shouted through her tears. “You mur–” she started but stopped when she heard Nate moan. She looked down at him and saw that the arrow hadn’t hit him. Instead, it was embedded in the stone next to his head. “Nate! You’re alive! Thank all the dragon gods you’re alive!” She put her arm around him, and laid her head down on his chest.

“Megan,” he whispered, and put his hand on her head affectionately.

Robert was smiling by the time Ebony reached his side. “You didn’t kill him,” he said, sounding relieved.

“You can’t kill a dragon,” she said simply.

“You didn’t shoot him,” he pointed out.

“I made a choice. It seems that’s what I’m always doing.” She glanced over her shoulder at Megan and Nate. Megan was still crying and Nate was trying to reassure her. “We’ll have to wait and see if it was the right one.”

Robert took her bow and slung it over his shoulder. She let him take it. It was starting to feel heavy in her hands. He then scooped her up and cradled her in his arms.

“Robert!” she exclaimed in surprise.

“You look like you’re about to fall over. And you should have some of those wounds looked at,” he said.

“I’m fine,” she argued. “A day or two sleep and they’ll all be healed.” She tried to struggle against him, but he held her steadfastly.

“And you’ll be more fine after the doctor looks you over,” Robert said. Ebony glared at him, but gave up fighting. He was as stubborn as she was sometimes. She rested her head against his shoulder wearily. Robert smiled at his victory and turned to leave with her.

“Hey! You can’t leave Nate here, injured like this!” Megan called out when she noticed them leaving.

“He’s fine,” Ebony said, waving her hand dismissively over Robert’s shoulder.

Megan was about to shout back at them, when Nate sat up.

“It’s alright Megan, I’m fine. See?” he said. She looked back at him, and was surprised to see he all his injuries were gone. The only indication that he had been in a battle at all were his clothes. She stared at him, too shocked to speak or move. Nate stood up and then offered his hand to help her up. “Let’s go too. This place gives me the creeps.” Megan smiled. He was back. Her Nate was back. She took his hand and he pulled her easily to her feet. He put his arm around her and hugged her before they walked out.

The arrow Ebony had shot was still embedded in the floor. It had pierced a dark stain in the rock that looked like a dragon roaring in agony.

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