March 4, 2001
Duel of Fates - By Arguile
Arguile bent over the lavish fountain in the town square, taking time
to study each of the surrounding citizens. Heroes and novices rubbed
shoulders in the busy streets, brushing past the city's regular denizens with
ease. A cleric wandered the square amongst the mass of people, healing the
injured and offering succor to the fallen. Janitors were liberally
distributed around the streets, disposing of litter and corpses with equal
All of this Arguile took in with an apathetic, almost melancholy glance. This
was not his problem. You could not stop to gather minnows when sharks roamed
Hallar, Arguile's father, was often prone to sudden disappearances, but this
time he had come back in an aggressive mood and with an overwhelming challenge
for his aspiring offspring. If Arguile could defeat his father in a duel, he
would receive knowledge and praise from the heroes of the land.
Emerging from the shimmering portal in the midst of the warrior's quarters,
Arguile made his second examination of his surroundings in as many minutes.
Carnage reigned supreme, although it seemed a distant din by the time it
reached the young adventurer's ears. His own thoughts throbbed in his ears,
mixing with the death screams so often heard in Medievia City, and he almost
collapsed with the sheer weight of it all.
Arguile faltered but drew himself up and slowly walked on, muttering to
himself. "My father... returned from his distant crusade... this damned fool
challenge my father offered upon his return... I don't know who the bigger fool
is, father for offering it... or myself for accepting it!" By the time his
thoughts had run their course, he realized that he had reached his
The dueling complex was a simple warehouse, organized in a haphazardly way.
To the ignorant it might seem as if the crates and shrubbery were placed in a
random formation to liven the area; but to the experienced adventurer, each of
these obstacles were death traps, able to be used as weapons themselves, never
to be considered lightly.
Hallar stood apart from the others surrounding the dueling complex, browsing
through the trinkets his endeavors had garnered. Perhaps they would find some
value on the auction blocks later, but for now they were just a minor
His eyes darted up briefly from the baubles, and he found exactly what he had
assumed he would. Arguile stood not ten feet from him, unable to see him
because of a simple invisibility spell he had woven about himself earlier.
His son was... a thief, was it now? ...it had seemed so long ago that his
conception occurred, Hallar of the Hallar lineage bearing his youngest son,
Arguile the cleric. His son had grown more than a foot since Hallar's last
voyage, and he could not express his longing to show the ecstasy he felt. But
he must play his role today, and he must play it well.
He strolled forth quickly to his son, and caught him completely off-guard by
tapping his shoulder and flicking his nose. His son must have quickly
discovered the meaning, and he soon heard Arguile chanting a few arcane
words. Arguile stared longingly into his father's eyes for any sort of relief,
or remorse for his departure, or for any sort of emotion. What he got was not
what he expected.
"I hope you don't EVER go into hazardous areas with that brain of yours! To
think that someone could hide themselves so easily from you! Have I taught
Arguile briefly elapsed into a silent, brooding stare at his combat boots,
until he finally spoke, and it was with clear hurt and surprise. "Are we
going to fight or not, 'father'?"
Hallar hoped his son had not meant what he had said, but as usual he showed no
sign of his inward emotions. "All right. Get on your gear. I hope you feel
prepared to die. It has been so long since I last killed another trained
assassin." Hallar quickly prepared himself for the battle, although he did
leave out several choice pieces of equipment. "..might as well give the squirt
a chance," he thought.
Arguile and Hallar stood exactly a hundred paces apart, staring intently at
each other. When they both conceded that duel must begin they began circling
menacingly, waiting for the slightest hesitation, the faintest chance of an
error. A terrifying death scream came from the south-western corner of the
area, and Hallar turned his head to examine the commotion. Arguile leaped at
this chance, viciously gouging the flesh on Hallar's back with his flaming
short sword. Hallar gasped in amazement at his own folly, and fled the
immediate area. For a moment Arguile remained in place, wobbling while trying
to regain his balance, so Hallar uttered a few arcane words to soothe and mend
his wounds, preparing himself for a brutal counter-attack.
Hallar slunk into the shadows surrounding the area, maneuvering himself into
position at Arguile's rear. Leaping from his secluded cover, Hallar ravaged
the small of Arguile's back. Arguile retreated, and remembering a precious
few skills from the days when he served the gods, cast a few healing spells on
himself and began to search for an opening in his father's position.
For near half an hour this went on, attacking and retreating, until Arguile
decided to break the flow and put extra shielding spells on himself. When
Hallar attacked next, he found himself barely able to penetrate Arguile's
defenses. Hallar quickly recovered from his attack, but he continued by
uttering spells that abolished Arguile's shields, leaving him as defenseless as
a newborn. Father and son lashed out viciously against each other, inflicting
numerous wounds and cuts as they danced with their blades. Hallar felt his
strength diminish as they fought on, and soon felt that he was about to face
defeat by his young son, when an idea sprung into his head.
Throwing caution to the wind, Hallar lashed out with the last spell he could
summon power for. "Blindness!" Hallar chanted, and suddenly Arguile felt his
powers of sight demolished. Hallar quickly took that opportunity to skirt
around his flailing son's position and stabbed the boy's back ruthlessly. All
Arguile could manage as he took his final breath was to scream in a terrifying
death howl, much like the one that had distracted Hallar when the combat
Arguile collapsed to the ground bleeding heavily from his wounds, yet as the
blackness claimed him he felt a warmth spread throughout his body. Hands
imbued with divine powers touched him gently and his father's voice spoke
softly in his ear. "You may not be able to beat me yet, son, but with the
proper training you may do me proud some day."
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