O, Death: Part XX

by Matt P.

The Demon was fast, but it seemed proper that Death was faster. It moved like a piece of falling silk, smooth and sudden and over before she even knew it was coming. And yet somehow she moved her sword to the right place to parry the blow, and somehow the wicked and almost molecularly thin blade didn’t shatter it.

Morgan had told Siobhan once what her sword was. It was a physical manifestation of both her power and her soul, more a piece of her than anything she could ever wield beside it. And because her soul had the powers of Faerie within it, through her mother and her mother’s mothers back to Morgan herself, her sword did too. The demon looked surprised that Siobhan managed to parry the blow, although it set her sword ringing, and Siobhan took that moment to attack her.

As Siobhan lashed out with her sword, the Eisenhund lunged for death—apparently reading what Siobhan was planning to do and moving to complement it. Siobhan, meanwhile, was complimented a terrifying predator like the Eisenhund considered her plan worth not screwing up.

The demoness didn’t have a sword, but it brought a hand up to parry the Faerie blade. When her hand struck the Faerie sword it rang loudly again, the blade quivering with the force of the blow and the energy that made it. “Blight and black, how do you have one of those? And why didn’t the reaper kill you?” She asked angrily. But she was also trying to distract Siobhan, feeling a distinct movement behind her body. She whipped her sword around behind her and parried an attack that would have decapitated her, throwing herself in to a roll to come up with her blade facing both of her foes. The Eisenhund continued to lash at them as well, moving to now keep the demoness off-balance.

Antigone apparently was metal enough, because she came up behind the demoness and clubbed her in the back of the head with a leg bone while she was distracted. The demoness sputtered, stumbling forward and gasping more in indignation then pain, because there didn’t seem to be any kind of effect. Instead she turned and backhanded Antigone in the face, sending her sprawling toward the altar with a cry. She landed beside it, bumping in to Matty’s leg and apparently starting to wake the siblings. The sight of her sister set anger boiling inside of Siobhan and she launched forward to cut at the demoness while she was still distracted by the bone blow.

“You didn’t kill enough kids last time you freak bitch, now you have to try to kill my sister to?” Siobhan demanded angrily. The dog pivoted quickly and sank its legs in to Death’s leg, although it apparently did little to slow it down. “You highjacked death to kill some sick kids, and now you’re trying to kill my sister!” Her sword lashed out quickly twice, three times, and the second and third times managed to push back the Demoness’ parries and drew blood from her arm and from her cheek. Her blood hissed as it rested on Siobhan’s sword, boiling away either from the metal or from the atmosphere—she couldn’t tell.

“It must have made him more demon than reaper somehow…” The demoness hissed as she danced back. But her withdrawal was only a feint, and a moment later she was darting forward and driving her fist into Siobhan’s stomach. Agony lanced up and down her spine and all the breath was driven from her lungs from the strength of the blow, and the demoness followed it up with another backhand. This time it was Siobhan that was sent sprawling in agony, stars and white spots exploding across her vision as the back of her head clipped the back of the altar. It was enough to leave her on the ground in agony, gasping.

The Eisenhund tried to come to her rescue, launching at the demoness’ throat. It missed but caught a piece of her shoulder, and too bright blood hissed as it was ripped in to the air. But that left the reaper walking slowly toward Siobhan, inexorable and unstoppable as death itself—which it probably was.

“Kill her!” The demoness hissed as it punched the dog in the head—she winced at the feeling of the hound’s armor, but it sent the faithful protector yelping in to a pile. “Make it hurt, make her bleed!”

Apparently whatever she had done to the altar made the reaper have to obey the demoness, because when he brought up that wicked and thin blade he didn’t immediately go for the kill. Instead he placed it against her shoulder and slowly began to push. “AAAAH!” Siobhan shrieked, trying to pull away. The blade wasn’t more than a little bit in to her, but it was already excruciating agony. She kicked her legs, lashing out at the reaper but finding nothing but shadows.

“Hey ugly!” A voice called from the alter. Natalie Morrison popped up above it, her face pained and dirty but determined. In her hand she held the Oberon shard, the green glow bathing her in ethereal light. “She hacked your brain? Well now I’ve got it. Protect us!”

For a moment the demon paused, but then it pushed a little bit more on its sword and Siobhan went back to screaming in agony. The demoness came up, limping away from the still breathing Eisenhund, and grinned with all her terrible teeth. “You can’t steal my trap, little one. You thwarted it once and trapped my toy away, but with the shard of the dead King you can’t use it. You don’t have it in you.”

And in that moment, once again, it was Antigone who was the hero. Blood streaming from her forehead where she too had apparently caught the edge of the altar with her head and some level of concussion, she staggered up and grabbed the shard above Natalie’s hand. “Guess what, hell skank. This thing is made of my great great whatever grand-daddy, and that means I get to make death my bitch too.” And with a heave she crushed the crystal, an explosion of green energy flowing in to the closest vessel capable of holding Faerie energy: Herself.