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I was at last face to face with the darkest dream of Hayden Trill: a thing known only as “The Crucifier”. By the time the creature charged at me from the deep blackness beyond the light, my sister was already grinning through the shadows, whispering a warning from between her metal teeth. I took several steps backward, placing my attacker in front of the candles, providing me with a glowing silhouette for a target.
A hammer descended upon me, and I seized the arm that held it. I tossed Mr. Trill back into the darkness that obeyed him, hoping to cow the shadows that might rise up against me at his behest. In the distance, I heard his hammer fall to the floor, far behind the candlelight. The hunter bent low, avoiding flashing teeth, and lunged at me with the force of a bull. I did not move, but only let his momentum shatter across me like breaking glass. After he stumbled backwards, I delivered him into the hands of gravity with several well placed blows. Then, as if thrown from the floor, my opponent was back on his feet and brandishing a small silver blade; it hissed like a snake as it coiled and struck-out all around me. My sisters greeted polished fangs with steel smiles, filling the air with their glittering laughter. I assessed my opponent’s strength from our brief collision; it was zealous, and conditioned well beyond ordinary limits. However, our respective might was an extension of our dreams, and mine was the night-terror to his nightmare. Realizing this as well, he attempted a formidable retreat, drawing a bladed arc in his wake that nearly opened up my retina. I would have happily allowed him escape (call it a courtesy exchanged between predators), but he was on my list.
When The Crucifier had all but disappeared into the darkness I had stolen from him, my sister left my grip, flying across the room and finding his spine. His bested body fell at the feet of its own shadow – stretched long and twisting by the dancing candlelight. His eyes were bottomless with fury, raging at a body that would no longer rise and kill. I loomed over him in my new darkness. I let him see the shadows filling my eyes. No words were exchanged, for really, what did we have to say to one another? Then, from upon my back, I could feel a terrible unrest: Father was awake.
I lifted my great father from his resting place, swinging him high above my head, his edged face gleaming with the amber glow of candlelight. The massive ax passed through the crippled hunter so smoothly that I thought I had missed him entirely.