By Nathan Steen
Edited by Alicia Steen
Mykl attacks Ecalai furiously. Ecalai has barely the presence of mind to fend him off. He searches for a way out, but Nightbringer block all possible routes of escape. Ecalai is trapped in a circle of death faced with an onslaught he cannot stop.
“How does it feel, Ecalai, to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have utterly failed?” Mykl jeers. “Nothing else remains but for you to fall into shadow. Don’t worry, though. You won’t be alone for long. Soon all Lords of Magic will join you – broken, powerless, and helpless before the eternal night.”
Ecalai’s blades no longer match Mykl’s in brilliance. Mykl’s sword shines powerfully with a dark light while Ecalai’s are but a dim glow. The glow fades with each strike until it vanishes altogether. With his magic gone, Ecalai is left with two sticks of wood. Mykl closes in.
“Now you see what you really are, though far too late. You have nothing left and nowhere to run. Time to put you out of your misery.” Mykl’s sword shines brighter as he assumes a stance that can be used for only one skill. “Magic breaking technique: Shatter!”
As Mykl’s blade screams through the air Ecalai closes his eyes and whispers, “Erianna, Mykai, I’m sorry. It looks like I wasn’t strong enough after all.” Mykl’s blade cuts through not flesh and bone but slashes Ecalai’s magic directly. Instantly Ecalai feels tremendous pain. He collapses, though not physically injured, for nothing is so painful as when one’s magic is completely broken.
“I hope you are satisfied with what you have become, Ecalai,” Mykl speaks as Ecalai writhes on the ground in agony. “I’ll enjoy watching you fall into shadow.” Turning around, Mykl disappears into the darkness. “Come, my shadows We are done here.”
As Mykl’s spell takes full effect, Ecalai fades into unconsciousness.
Ecalai lays unconscious where Mykl left him. All around the hill where they fought are corpses of shadow dragons that once terrorized the skies. Not one had escaped. Myzrath is pleased. Mykl’s power matches his ambition. Even the Nightbringer are afraid of him. He defeated Ecalai with ease, even surpassing Myzrath’s greatest expectations. Mykl will make the perfect servant to rule the shadow in the days soon to come. He is indeed worthy of bearing the power and title of Myzrath.
Ecalai, on the other hand, is still alive but little else. Mykl has broken his magic; Ecalai will never use magic again. When he wakes up Ecalai will no doubt wish Mykl had killed him. That would have served no purpose, however. This way Ecalai will begin to question everything he once believed and, in time, he might fall so far that he could become a servant of shadow just as Mykl had done. Myzrath will enjoy nudging him toward the darkness as Ecalai searches desperately for answers. This battle has clearly been won.
As the sun rises higher, the shadows leave Dark Moon and its devastation behind. Their mission has been completed.
Hours unknown passed before Ecalai woke up. When he did wake the devastation shadow had caused fill his vison. From the look of things not even Fortress Dark Courage has made it through the night. With no word of Erianna and Mykai, and no magic with which to find his way, Ecalai wanders aimlessly away from the scene of his battle with Mykl. His only thought is to get away from Dark Moon and the memories that plague him as quickly as possible. His body aches, but he pushes himself onward regardless.
Eventually Ecalai stops for a breath when he reaches a small village destroyed in the night. The village is completely empty and little is left standing, but Ecalai finds a wall to lean against to rest. He has remarkably few physical injuries, but exhaustion and pain take their toll. As he rests he tries not to think of his failure, but his mind refuses to let it go.
Suddenly an all too familiar voice speaks from behind him.
“Are you so confident now?” The guide speaks softly. “What have you gained from all your effort? What have you accomplished with all your struggling?”
“What do you want,” Ecalai replies.
“I warned you, Ecalai,” the guide continues. “I told you what would happen but you would not listen. Now Dark Moon is in ruins and you are partially to blame. The shadow cannot be fought; all of Jeshrun will fall. You could not save Nagaster, and you can’t save Jeshrun either.”
“So what do you want me to do?” Ecalai shouts back. “I gave everything I had and it wasn’t enough.” Ecalai stands up and moves away. “I can’t stay here. I’ve had enough of you.” Spotting mountains in the far off horizon, Ecalai makes for them at a run.
The guide smiles. “You can’t hide from shadow, Ecalai!” he shouts. “It will find you wherever you run!”
Ecalai never looks back.