Medievia Mudslinger
May 7, 1999

When It Gets Personal -By Curie

Dashing into the forest, almost out of breath, I fled for my life. My body wracked with gaping wounds, I had to fight to keep my consciousness. Nearly every part of my body ached with pain, but that didn't stop me; I had to keep going. If not for me, it was for my honor.

My surroundings were quiet, too quiet. It was though even the birds knew of the oncoming danger. My heart pounded, my palms soaked in anticipation, I suddenly became oblivious to my pains. Putting my thieving skills to work, I stuck my nose into the oncoming breeze to sniff out my opponent.

What could I have done to deserve this? This quickly became a royal chaotic mess. My opponent, for reasons unknown, saw it in his best interest to kill me. All I did was my civic duty to uphold the laws and rules of the town. Perhaps, helping destroy the Hoss put me on an evil hit list. I wish I could ask him, but he would never listen to me.

I sneaked west through the forest into a densely packed area of woods, a perfect place to hide for an ambush of unsuspecting prey. He could very well be hidden behind that giant tree, I alerted myself.

Before I was alerted of his presence, my opponent dropped from a tree branch above my line of sight and slashed at me

I dodged out of the way just in the nick of time as the blade barely skinned my neck. Quickly I rebutted with a powerful shockwave. "Later," I muttered before scampering deeper into the woods.

"You know you will pay dearly for that," shouted the voice of Umbriel, my opponent. Umbriel was a God, or at least a God hopeful. He was a ruthless and conniving shell of a man, and I found it difficult to accept that a God would be so mean. He once did have control of the realm, but Tiliev came along branded his own line of Gods to make order in the realm. Umbriel always has despised my unrelenting support of Tiliev. Could that be driving his anger?

I ignored him, cast myself invisible, and ran north. I knew that it was only a matter of time until he found me. I had to move. Just then -- *snap*

Umbriel burst out in front of me. "I bet you don't like twigs very much," she sneered as several images of himself surrounded me. "Just try to guess," he taunted. "I'll give you one chance!"

I reached down and pulled a dagger out of my belt. I chanted, "Eenie, meenie, miny…" before I threw it square in the forehead of one of the images. I must of hit the real Umbriel because he reeled in shock.

"Lucky shot!" he snorted. "See you soon." He fled before I could swipe at him with my sword, and so did his images.

I sneaked off into the woods again hoping to find my opponent. My daggers were handy, sword wielded, wounds partially healed by my magic; I was ready to get personal now. I silently crept up behind him and jammed my dagger in his shoulder three times. "How does it feel now," I whispered as I slowly tuned and twisted the dagger. I drew my sword back and charged at him with full force, knocking him head over heels

Umbriel got up off the ground and returned a feeble attempt at a lightning bolt. Realizing that he could no longer concentrate on his magic, he retreated. "You won this meele, my friend, but be advised that you were only lucky."

I wish he'd stop saying that. Moreover, I wish he'd stop running away. It's not like I'm going to kill him or anything. I just want to - well, kill him. I took a deep breath and glanced around, but I couldn't see him.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw -- a moving plant? On the edge of the path, large vines started moving around with giant leaves reaching out, trying to grab anything in the path. I narrowly jumped out of the way of a grabbing leaf when I saw Umbriel caught in several vines not to far away.

I tried to dodge the relentless plants, but my foot got caught in one of them. I knew there was something strange about this place. The plant tripped me and started pulling me off to the side of the path. I kicked and struggled, but nothing loosened the hold of the leaves. By now, both of my legs were caught. I tried to slice the vine with my sword, but it seemed petrified.

In a panic, I blindly threw a fireball at one of the plants. The fireball destroyed a few of the plants trapping Umbriel. With his legs free, he used his remaining strength to rip the rest of the vines from their roots.

Umbriel was free from imprisonment while I was about to become a permanent resident. "Would you be so kind as to help me?" I cried. He stopped and turned, "You want me to help you," he repeated. "Let me get this straight. You run around with my enemy for so many years, you try to kill me in this forest, and you want me to help you? What's in it for me?" he snorted.

"You and I are one in the same," I reasoned. "We're both into justice. Maybe not the same kind, but the same nonetheless. If you leave me, you're just as bad as Skunk E. Skunk and the Stinky Bunch. Besides you don't want Tiliev after you."

"No dice." He turned to walk away.

The plants have, now, immobilized all my limbs and all but choked the air out of my lungs. I started to scream a death cry when a large leaf stuffed itself down my throat and muffled my cries.

Things looked hopeless for me until Umbriel charged toward the vine and chopped at the base with his weapon. Realizing that didn't work he pulled out a spell book and chanted a magical phrase. Acidic rains fell on the plants, enough for them to weaken. I broke free, then, from the plants' grip and threw a fireball at them. They withered away in a horrible stench as they burned.

I turned around to thank him and offer friendship when I got hit with a series of five lightning bolts. "We are not friends now," he yelled. He stood triumphantly over me and coldly stated, "I didn't want the vines to kill you. I wanted the pleasure! Now it is time to finish you." Points of white light swirled Umbriel's body forming a shimmering aura.

I rolled out of the way just as Umbriel's sword smited my face. "Let this be it then!" I retorted as I stabbed him with a poisoned dagger. "Yeah, what do you have to say now?"

Umbriel drew his sword once again in a powerful attack. My shield stopped him just short of chopping me in half as I retrieved my sword. We both took turns attacking and defending. The battle seemed to last forever, for neither of us would back down.

I back flipped out of Umbriel's reach, conjured a black form of energy, and thrust it at him. Umbriel looked rather unimpressed as he ducked and a shield of magic diffused the black energy. "I thought you were better than that," he chuckled. Umbriel stomped on the ground and the ground shook violently. A small fissure opened up under me, and I almost toppled in.

Grasping on any solid land I could, I held on for dear life. Umbriel strolled up to me and was ready to kick me in when he hunched over and groaned in pain from the poison

I rose up off the ground and, realizing the advantage, cast a spell of blindness over him and chanted spells to plague and weaken him significantly. Triumphantly, I drew my sword and pointed it at his neck.

"Bravo," Umbriel said breathlessly. "I yield to you, proud warrior. Grant me mercy. I know when I have been beaten.

To my surprise, I really had to think about that one. Something in me wanted to kill him right then and there, but to kill a man pleading for mercy wouldn't be honorable. He did try to kill me, and he must be punished for the crimes committed in the cities. On the other hand his plea for mercy could be a trick. I find it hard to believe the words of a man like this could have any meaning. If I withdrew, he would most surely swing at me. Then again, I am a Guardian of Justice, and if Umbriel should die, he should die in combat. I reluctantly withdrew my sword and turned to walk away.

Umbriel snapped to his feet and shouted a loud battle cry. He lunged at me full force when I quickly turned around and gutted him with a dagger. He fell limp right away and slumped to the ground. I stood, with my foot on his arm, over him as he regained consciousness. "I anticipated your move," I said.

"Foolish child," gasped Umbriel. "Haven't your friends taught you anything? Until next time," he choked before he flashed out of existence.

A echoing voice booming from everywhere, but nowhere, stated, "You haven't seen the last of me yet, child. Next time, you will not stop me."

Maybe. Maybe not, but I'll be ready for him.