DIEGO

NO MANS LAND

DIEGO

”This is just suicide ” Diego reflected in silence.

The king and prince were already in tears laughing, so was the rest of the crowd. Dorian said the same thing that she was thinking.

”This is just suicide! ”

”Is this some kind of a joke? ” Daerason said.

The foolish boy finally got his foot into his boot. ”Ahh yes ” he said, jumping up and down.

He drew out his twin shortswords and was ready for batte. ”Lets go ” he said.

The black knight roared with laughter. Diego giggled, she had to admit that the boys bravery was somewhat amusing yet stupid. She pitied him but she remembered she was the one in need of pity. The boy was short, with a small body, round face and purple hair. He looked fifteen or fourteen from his physical appearance.

The big black knight looked at him and sighed. He roared ”Give me a real opponent! ”

”I agree ” Daerason laughed aloud, ” the black knight asks for a fight and life sends him a boy. ”

”Fight me ” said the boy, ” i do not have the whole day here fam ”

”If you
e so eager to die then so be it kid ” said the Theo drawing his great longsword at the boy. He wasnt smiling anymore.

”Don take it personal big guy ” the boy mocked.

The black knight went for him and striked with his great blade missing the boy by inches with a swing. He went again but the boy slid under his attack and danced back yourning.

”You little… ” Theo got angry.

Theo striked endlessly with his blade but the boy evaded all his attempts. Diego noticed that the boy was toying with him and that his reflexes wasnt something to look down upon. The knights next attack was full of rage, the boy literally jumped over his head and appeared behind him giggling. The knight stomped the ground till the was a crack but the boy escaped again.

The king and princess were gasping in amazement. ”This boy… ” Dorian said.

”A nice warm up dont you think? ” the boy sighed.

”Dont play with me boy ” said Theo angrily. ”Ill break you! ”

The boy giggled and sheathed his blades. He held up both palms at the knight and announced, ”Ten moves ”

”Whats that? ” Theo said. The boy replied ”Ill beat you with ten moves ” he said ”since you dont wanna play anymore. Unless you can prove me wrong ”

”Kid i will grind your bones to dust! ” Theo threatened.

The boy just smiled and said ”Show me ”

The knight jumped and crashed down with his sword till there was a crater on the floor. The boy evaded, unsheathed one sword and cut the knights left shoulder and danced back playing with his sword. The knight roared in anger and pain then striked again furiously. The boy counted with his blade, pulled out the second one and went for his hip. The knight staggered back. The boy went straight at him running and slid between his legs cutting his ankles, the knight fell on one knee.

”Thats three….and counting ” said the boy.

The knight went at him again but the boy sent it down with a front kick on the chest. ”Four…. ”

The boys blade went to the knights thigh for the fifth move. It was happening so fast. Every move the knight made was countered and returned with a cut a different places, ”six….seven, eight…. ”

Theo Gilliard was now crippled of his arms and legs. His greatword was the only think helping him to stand up straight. The boy sheathed his blades and pushed the knight with one finger on the forehead then he fell on the floor defeated.

The boy towered over him.

”I didnt even reach ten ” the boy yourned, ”So disappointing ”

Unbelievable Diego gasped in silence.

The big knight was panting on the floor bleeding.

”This match is over. I wont kill you. The humiliation of being beaten by a kid will ” the boy smiled and turned his back on him.

As he walked away the black knight struggled to his feet, picked up his blade and attempted to kill the boy from behind….but he wasnt fast enough. In a blink of an eye the boy had unsheathed one blade already and was already paused behind him sheathing it back in it sheathed. He had sliced through the black knight with such speed that Theo just collapsed dead on the sand.

For a while the crowd died in silence in disbelief. Then they cheered. The boy dropped on one knee infront of the king ”Your Highness ”

”Boy ” Dorian said ”state your name ”

”Cleos ” he said ”Altar Cleos. From Dragon Isle ”

Dragon Isle? Diego thought. Dragon isle was common to find fire nature users, but in Altars fight he displayed no fire styles at all.

”Altar Cleos… ” the king spoke up ”youve defeated the captain of my Dornish men…. ”

”That guy was your captain? ” He mocked

”Yes. He was. Now hes dead. ” Dorian said with no emotion. ”You displayed unbelievable skill ….a man of your abilities would be very useful in my army. Would you like to join the Dornishmen? ”

”It would be an honour ” said Altar ” i was gon ask for knighthood anyway but…..in that case Id like some cash too. Like the other guy. And that knighthood. ”

”Granted ” the king smiled.

”And a bowl of your finest meat ” Altar added.

The kings smile faded.

The sun was beginning to set and the tournament had ended.

Diego was locked in her room again and she drowned herself in her tears and sorrow. Her death was a few hours away. Maybe even minutes she wasnt sure. She knew a knight would come in her room and take her to her death. She could feel it.

”I cannot die like this ” Diego said to herself aloud.

She went to the bulcony and looked down….it was a long way down. There was a window under her balcony that would probably take her to another room. Any room was better than the one she was in, Diego climbed off the balcony and after grabbing a purple coat and carefully went in through the window. She found herself in an open space inside of a room, a passage way with knight statues and candle flames on the walls. She ran around looking for an exit but one of the knights spotted her.

”There she is! ” They barked. They were already looking for her. The ritual was ready.

Diego anxiously ran the opposite direction trying to get as far away from them as she could.

ALTAR

”Sir. Altar Cleos ” his friend Karl Smidt was laughing at him.

That night they were in the chambers of the amphitheatre with a few of the Dornish men and gladiators.

”This the tour you dragged me across the Southern Waters for Karl? ” Altar said.

”You got what you came for didn you? ” Karl said ”you should thank me for the invite, youll be a knight tomorrow. Like me ”

”The thought of you being my senior is depressing ” Altar said.

Karl Smidt also came from Dragon Isle like Altar but he was knighted two years ago in Dorne. His skill was comparason to Altars own except for his nature.

A woman with a bowl full of meat entered and passed all the Dornish men. She went to Altar and said ”Your order? ”

”My order yes ” Altar agreed taking the bowl with a smile. The woman left, everyone looked at Altar gasping.

”Dont yall look at me we all had choices ” Altar shrugged his shoulders.

”I didnt know king Dorian was gonna go through with that demand ” Karl said

”Yeah? Me neither ” Altar laughed ”I mustve really impressed him. ”

”Yeah no shit you might just take my job if Im not careful ” Karl said

Altar scanned Karls beautiful grey armour. It shined brighter than his own old rundown armour.

”Im finally gonna get me one of those ” he felt the symbol symbol of Dorne carved on Karls breastplate – the setting sun behind the three cliffs.

”My old man will be stunned when he sees me wearing that ” Altar said.

”As they should Altar ” Karl agreed, ”Being a knight of Dorne is an honour…..well serving in general is an honour ”

”I dont fully agree with that ” Altar said

”You dont agree with anything that makes sense Altar ” Karl said, ”Its getting dark, you should go back to the house, ill be working late today. ”

”Yea sure ” Altar said ”and dont worry about supper ” he held up his bowl.

Altar left Karl and trotted out of the chambers. From the Amphitheatre, Altar was about to pass the palace but noticed how amazing it actually looked with the moon shining over it. It was like a painted portrait.

”You should see it under the black sky Altar….its magnificent! ” Karl would always remark on the palace of Dorne when he visited him back in Dragon Isle.

He wasnt kidding Altar thought, which made him go inside.

The door he entered from was not guarded. He looked around in amazement while sinking his teeth in the juicey chicken. The Dornish palace looked beautiful even on the inside, it was clean, spotless and surprisingly empty. King Redicos castle in Dragon Isle always had men or maidens running up and down and full of red flags of Dragon Isle. Or was it because Altar entered at night? He didnt really care either way, he hoped itd stay empty.

Altar decided to go deeper in the palace and took a tour passing knight statues with real metal armour. He saw stairs and went up not knowing where they led. With every step he took his old armour rattled with an itritating sound which Altar ignored.

Altar entered what looked like a council room. There was a big round table with empty seats and a giant map of Beaunotique on the table. There were pieces on the map that looked like chess pieces.

Pawns Altar thought. He places his bowl of meat on the table and studied the map out of curiosity.

The council room so big, his fathers house in Dragon Isle would probably fit in there. What caught his attention besides the map on the table was the longswords and katanas that were organised on the wall.

”Gorgeous ” Altar whistled reaching out for the red-and-black katana.

There was weight to it as expected, Altar knew that this was the real deal. He slowly unsheathed the blade letting is light blind him. He looked at his reflection on the sword and gasped. Before he could pull out the whole blade right through, he heared voices. Angry voices of pursuit.

”There she is get her! ” they called.

Altar heared steps and clattering aromour, and the sound of a hundred men yelling. The sound became stronger and Altar sheathed the sword and put it back where he found it. Altar knew that he had to go. His gut told him that the men were making their way to his location. When Altar run out of the council room and in the hallway the Dornish knights where already there like they were looking for something.

”Shit ” Altar hissed then turned to make a run for it….but it was too late. Something knocked him so hard he found himself on the floor with his head spinning.

He opened his violet eyes and found a girl opposite him also on the floor rubbing her head. She wore a white gown and purple jacket.

”Wait….I know you… ” Altar said confused. Is vision was a little blurred, he tried to stand up then found himseld surrounded with the girl by the Dornishmen, all with their blades drawn.

”Whats going on? ” Altar demanded

”You gotta help me ” the girl clutched on his arm and hid behind her like a scared little animal. ”Please they will kill me ”

”Give us the girl, boy ” one of the knights said. ”Now! ”

The girl was pleading, tightening her grip on his arm. Altar could see the fear in her eyes and even felt her heart beating.

The knights kept yelling at him to hand the girl over but their voices were slowly fading away. One of the men reached out for the girl and Altar acted fast; he grabbed his arm, broke it and swung him to the others.

Another one approached and Altar quickly sliced through him with his blade then paused.

What am i doing? What are you doing Altar he questioned himself.

”Traitor! Kill him! ” The men called, all charging at him.

Altar looked at the girl, grabbed her wrist and they ran through the council room.

DORIAN

The ritual took place somewhere near the Sea Of Dorne behind the amphitheater under the black sky. The mages of Dorne were all present circling around him chanting incantations. Dorian stood there with no armour and nothing not conceal his chest enduring the voices of the mages.

The mages held hands and a blue pattern apppeared on the ground below Dorian. The mages prepared all their magic for the Reverse Sealing Technique they were about to perform on Diego. It requires a large amount of energy and concentration.

The time is finally at hand, Dorian thought to himself, The power of the Black Spirits…shall be mine.

He looked into the black sky thinking about the Reverse Sealing that theyve practised for so long. The same technique late Queen Aaliyah Reed of Theronia had performed on herself to seal the Black Spirit within her self….only difference was that hers wasn a Reverse seal.

A reverse seal actually breaks the active seal that has been placed on a Spirit host or vessel to suppress its power, once thats done the imprisoned spirit is then freed into the world taking the life of its host.

Dorians plan was to do exactly that and before the spirit escapes the mages will be there to quickly reseal it but into Dorians body, and just like that the king of Dorne will be invincible.

Perfect Dorian reflected on his plan, what could go wrong when Ive made it this far?

”The time is at hand people! I shall expand Dorne! ” He said aloud.

Only a handful of people knew about Dorians plan to take Beaunotique – his councilmen, his son and only a few of his trusted Dornishmen.

A knight stormed in running pass the mages and fell on one knee in front of the king.

”Speak ”, Dorian demanded looking at him.

”My king the girl ” the knight began.

”Oh no what of her? ” Dorian immediately got angry.

”She escaped….my king ” he said.

Dorian towered over him ”She did what? How? ”

”The boy….Altar Cleos betrayed us Your Grace. He took the girl ” the knight explained, ”They are still in the palace though My Liege. ”

”AMATEURS! ” the king barked angrily.

This cannot be happening! Ive worked too hard for her to slip away in my fingers! She will not escape me the king thought.

Black magic dust in the form of sand materialized below the kings feet as a tile then escalated with him in the air. Dorne used it as a surfboard and flew straight for the castle.

Before he left he told one of the mages not to stop the ritual.

”The girl will be retrieved ” he assured them.

DIEGO

The boy called Altar Cleos had a tight grip on her wrist, running through the open hallway. Diego just tried to keep up with his speed. She still couldn believe that the boy actually decided to help her. She wondered if hed thought of the cost of the situation his put himself in because of her. Altar was literally risking his knighthood for him and also if they were caught the boy would be shortened by head guarenteed.

They ran into an open room and a few knights stormed in.

”Get the girl. The boy is optional ”

Altar let go of her wrist and told her to run ahead, the road was clear.

Diego nodded and just ran. Altar unsheathed his blades and took out one of the knights easily. One of them had ignored him and went for Diego.

Altar went after him and jumped on his back slitting his throat. Diego stopped and looked at Altar who was behind her.

”Go! ” He ordered. Diego went on ahead. More knights appeared behind Altar and he decided to follow Diego instead.

”Get them! Kill the traitor! ” The barked.

Altar killed whoever got close enough to him while running after the girl. His swords were stained red with the blood of the Dornish lives he took without hesitation.

When Diego reached the stairs going down two knights were already downstairs running up to her to grab her. Altar appeared decending over Diegos head and blew a wave of fire from his mouth down at the Dornishmen. The men went down with an explosion that destroyed the windows and part of the ground floor.

Diego had flinched but the blast caught her too, but she recovered instantly.

”You
e okay ” Altar took the chance to ask while helping her up.

Diego nodded. ”Yes, sir… ”

”Lets stick to Altar. ” Altar told him ”very nice to meet you ” he shook his hand ”well chat more when we
e out of here okay? ”

”Okay…. ” she said ” thank you ”

”We
e not out of the woods yet ” Altar said.

They saw the exit doors and approached them, but Prince Daerason appeared with his teleportation technique. ”Leaving so soon? ”

Altar stood in front of her ready to defend her from anything.

”Leave me alone….please ” Diego said

”Im afraid I cannot do that ” Daerason told her ”You are my fathers grand prize….we cant let you just run along. If you comply it will all be over soon ” he pulled out his golden longsword.

He faced Altar. ”And you….i really thought that you had a sense of vision when you wanted to join us….but you
e stupid. And now you will die because of that stupidity. ”

”If i had a penny for eachtime people said theyd kill me ” Altar sighed.

”What do you want with the Pnevma? ” Daerason demanded ”you want to harness its power for yourself? ”

”Her power? ” Altar chuckled ”i have my own ”

”Then why are you risking your petty life for her? ” Daerason said

”I honestly don know ” Altar replied. ”So are we gonna talk or are you gonna come try and kill me? Im beyond reasoning with at this point ”

”Atleast you
e aware of your current situation boy ” Daerason said.

From the broken windows Diego saw a giant fist of black sand from the outside and dived on Altar moving him. The fist destroyed half of the ground floor. Diego immediately knew king Dorian had arrived.

”The ** was that? ” Altar staggered to his feet.

”King Dorian….hes here ” said Diego.

King Dorian descended from the sky and stood there with his eyes scanning the big hole hed made in his castle.

Altar and Diego spotted him. ”This isn fun anymore…. ” Altar said.

”I dont think you can take him on Altar ” Diego clutched on his arm.

”Is that a fact? ” Altar protested laughing hopelessly.

”You will not escape me Pnevma….. ” Dorian announced.

”I dont think hes kidding….run to the wall to the gate. Thats your freedom ” Altar told him.

”What about you? ” Diego said.

”Im right behind you ” he assured.

Diego ran and did not look back.

Altar played with his blade then went straight for the king, ascended to the air and tried to bury his blades in his chest but Dorians black sand was already there acting as a shield from his swords. The sand grabbed Altars leg, swung him around then tossed him away.

Diego saw Altar flying pass her and crashed in her way rolling. ”Shit…. ”

”Altar! Are you okay? ” Diego stopped running

”Keep going woman! ” Altar barked at her staggering to his feet.

Dorian was already in the sky towering over him commanding his black sand down at them. The sand stretched around like an arm to crush them both but Altar knocked Diego out of the way.

Altar ran on the black sand going straight for the king. More sand materialized to stop Altar; the boy jumped and glided in mid air and threw his blade at the king , which he easily cast aside with his sand.

Altar shot a ball of flame from his mouth then crashed down rolling. The fire ball hit the king but when the smoke cleared Dorian had wrapped himself in a sand cocoon.

Dorians cocoon faded and sand appeared again this time as long rods rained from the sky. The boy quickly recovered and evaded the attacks clumsily.

Diego was getting closer to the gate, Altar used the little energy he had left to run after her.

Diego was getting slower, running out of breath but she forced herself to keep going. She had made it that far she couldn give up yet. The gate was just up ahead, secured with Dornishmen. She looked behind her to find Altar racing behind her with speed.

Behind him a giant face made of black magic sand had been brought forth by king Dorian; the face resembled the kings own and it roared behind them like a monster.

I won make it… she thought. The wave of sand raced after them even faster and she was already out of breath.

She was concerned for Altar who was on her tail. ”Altar! Run! ”

When she looked, Altar blew a fire ball once again from his mouth but this time he blew it at Diego.

”Uh? ” Diego flinched as the ball travelled with her under the wooden gate before it closed. A few seconds after the colossal face of Dorian swallowed the boy and smashed through the wall destroying it and the gate.

DORIAN

The impact of Dorians sculptured face turned half the wall that protected the castle into rubble, taking the boy knight with it.

The black sky was clouded with rubble and smoke. Dorian didnt care about the damage he had caused, it was all his property anyway.

Once his goal was reached it wouldn matter. The king descended from the sky panting and his son appeared beside him.

”Pretty sure you got them with that one ” said Daerason. ” What a mess youve made ”

”It wont matter soon ” Dorian replied. A crowd of knights and mages had formed to look at the action.

”What happened here Sire ” a mage asked the king.

”Nothing you should worry about. ” Dorian said, ” the girl has been neutralized ” he gathered all the scattered magic sand with a wave of his palm then it all evaporated. ” Let us continue the ritual ”.

Dorian walked through the rubble over the destroyed wall. Half the men that guarded the gate were wounded.

One of the men called the king over, ”My king….come and look. ”

When Dorian came to check they found the boy Altar Cleos buried under rocks unconscious.

”Is he alive ” the king demanded

Altar started coughing. Dorian smiled.

He jerked him with his foot turning him to face up. The boy was panting with blood everywhere. He was done for.

I will torture this one personally Dorian thought.

”The girl has been located ” the men called.

Dorian went to the girl followed by his son and a few men, there they found her crawling slowly, wounded and exhausted. Her jacket had burn marks on it.

”Why do you resist child? ” Dorian said to her. ”Dont make this harder than it already has to be. Let yourself be captured and this will end quickly. ”

Dorian stood in her way but she kept crawling closer to him. He could hear her sobbing. ”We are destined to be one….to rule Beaunotique as one. We will bring about peace…. ” he said to her, ”a world with no war. A world with one leader. One king. ”

Diego reached Dorians leg and clutched on to it. Daerasons eyes never left her, the wind blew through his blue cape. Diego faced the floor crying. Dorian bent on one knee and touched the girls hair brushing them with his hand. He saw her tears dripping on the floor.

”Do it. Now ” Dorian told his mages.

The mages took their positions surrounding Diego and Dorian. One of the mages urged the king to step away from her for the ritual to begin. When Dorian tried to stand up Diego didnt let go of his leg. He tried shaking her but she clung on him.

”Let go ” Dorian snapped.

Diegos face slowly rose up and she looked at him. Her eyes had went from a sky blue to a blood red colour. Her lips turned black and a crooked smile froze on her face. Purple gas started to steam from her body, like she was overheating.

”This isnt Diego ” she said with a double voice, a sinister voice.

Dorian gasped.

”Don tell me…. ” Daerason muttered.

”This is bad ” Dorian said.

He rose up and kicked Diego away. The girl rolled on the floor then began laughing hysterically, clutching on her head.

Seeing Diego rampage scared Dorian alittle but for the most part it exited him. He was seeing a power that he would obtain.

”DO IT! ” he barked.

The mages held out their hands at Diego then they began their incantations. They all yelled ”Reverse Seal- ” but before they could finish Diego screamed at all the mages were scattered unconscious, including the king.

Dorian struggled to his feet but Diego was already on top of him in a blink of at eye, with her palm on Dorian face. Slowly a ball of purple hot energy manifested from nothing, the king felt the heat on his face.

Such speed Dorian thought gasping.

”DIE! ” Diego hissed at him with a voice that did not belong to her.

Before Diego released the blast Daerason appeared and grabbed his fathers shoulder then they were gone.

Diego released the blast into the ground destroying everything around her.

Daerason and Dorian were still caught in the blast but with minimum damage thanks to Daerasons teleportation.

Diego began to laugh again with her hair slowly turning into a red colour. She ascended to the sky smiling with her hand burning in purple energy. She got a glimpse of Altar Cleos laying their unconscious and her smile faded. The purple energy around her started to evaporate away and her transformation halted.

”She still has her human emotions ” Dorian said, ”Now is our chance ”. Dorian jumped to hie feet to went straight for her manifesting his sand.

Diego caught sight of him then powered up again. This time there a purple then while light swallowed up everything in an explosion.

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