Enoch announced the start of the battle, as soon as he stopped talking I felt a strong mental attack, and not just one mind, I was fighting several invisible enemies. The floor under my feet started trembling and then I felt something like an explosion, my enemies were not wasting time in showing their powers. I heard steps and turned to see some of Caracalla’s followers rushing to me. I dodged the ax as I fought the mental pain. From the corner of my eye I saw another attacker, and using one of my oldest tricks I grabbed him with my mind and threw him against the one with the ax. They crashed together and I saw that they had hurt themselves with their own weapons. I took advantage of their distraction, while they were trying to get up, to raise some spears out of the ground, trapping them in a makeshift cage. The mental attack was getting weaker, my enemies were engaging other battles and couldn’t waste their resources attacking me, but the ones still attacking were distracting me.
Before I could work my trap someone was pushed to me, using my double mind to keep the mental attack at bay on one hand and my telekinesis on the other, I had left my body unguarded, I stumbled, but regained my footing in time to avoid falling, the one they had pushed against me wasn’t so lucky. I saw him fall, he was one of the generals. I turned and saw the one who had attacked him, I saw another general with a Pudao in her hands, the blade was already covered in blood. She attacked me and I dodged the attack using my blade, but I started feeling dizzy, disoriented. Her attacks were intended to kill, her powers were messing with my coordination, she wasn’t pulling back. The other general stood up and joined the battle, when the general attacked me with the Pudao I redirected it towards the other general. My attacker was content to take any of us down, so she didn’t think twice before finishing her enemy. I took advantage of the moment her hands and attention were busy killing the general to let my sword fall on her, cutting her head off. Once they were both dead, I felt the dizziness lift.
I looked around me, in just a couple of minutes the number of people fighting had been cut in half. I turned to my previous adversaries and notices that someone had taken advantage of my prison to kill them.
My head was feeling better, during my fight with the generals the mental attack had completely stopped, and I noticed why, all of Caracalla’s followers were too busy keeping him protected, they had no time to worry about me. I saw Adze, Trajan, and two others trying to reach Caracalla, but his followers were doing a good job keeping them away. It wasn’t fair, he was cheating! He was supposed to fight by himself. I heard a scream and saw Inionri fighting two adversaries at the same time, one of them cut her hair, not aware that her control over her hair still worked while it wasn’t attached to her head, when the cut strings of hair wrapped around his neck he noticed his error, the other attacker backed down, but Inionri went after her.
I saw a projectile coming my way and I used my psychic wall to stop the attack. I felt cold and noticed that ice was forming around me, trying to trap me. I used my mind to melt it, but as soon as I melted some of it it just froze again, someone was actively feeding it. I looked around and noticed an heiress that I had seen in the reunions, I didn’t remember her name. Still trying to keep the ice at bay I used my mind to throw my sword at her, she was focused on the ice and didn’t notice my attack until it was too close to completely dodge it. She broke her focus and I escaped the ice. I used my wall to fend another attacker, once I looked back at the heiress she was already moving away, with a nasty cut on her shoulder.
I felt the ground under my feet disappear, I moved out of danger, only to receive a kick that sent me to the ground. I moved away and put a psychic wall around me in time to block a spear flying my way, I stood up and noticed Isis in front of me. Too surprised at seeing her I didn’t react in time to prevent the next attack, as her powers destroyed my wall, she attacked again, I took a mace some other warrior had dropped and prepared to defend myself.
“You fight like an Amon,” she said calmly, “this will be an interesting fight.” I didn’t answer, I was busy trying to focus on rebuilding my defenses.
I lifted the mace and prepared to attack, but Isis was faster and I barely dodged her spear, when I was trying to hit her, she just touched my mace and it fell at my feet in pieces. I desperately looked around for my sword, I had lost it when I was fighting the heiress, and I needed it.
Isis’ power wouldn’t let me use anything solid, she was able to destroy my weapons and my wall. I needed to change my defenses, instead of creating an energy, solid wall, I created an air wall, using the air currents to push the spear away. It was risky using my mother’s tricks on her sister, but it was my best option against her power. I created a small whirlwind, using the debris around us to fuel it. I push the whirlwind against Isis, but she moved too fast for me to trap her, it did work on some of Caracalla’s followers that were trying to take me by surprise, trapped by the whirlwind, punched by the debris, cut by the metal shards.
I finally got Isis by throwing one of my attackers against her, it was then that I saw an image that left me frozen in my place. Two of Caracalla’s men were holding Trajan while Caracalla faced him. I saw him lift his sword and stab Trajan.
It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t! We were supposed to fight by ourselves, Trajan was at a disadvantage there. Forgetting about Isis I ran toward my brothers, I was decided to even the odds.
Caracalla was slowly moving the sword out of Trajan, when he was preparing to stab him again, I used my mind to push him away, then I used my sword to attack one of the men holding Trajan. The man I attacked looked at me and I felt him going after my mind, but before he could do any damage I cut him in two. When I turned to help Trajan with the other one I saw that he had already killed him. Trajan cut’s weren’t dangerous, but they looked painful.
“Thanks,” Trajan said, “I owe you one.”
“I couldn’t let Caracalla kill you, he was cheating.” Trajan smiled at me, but there was doubt in his eyes.
“There’s few people left,” he said, and I understood what he wasn’t saying. Soon we would have to fight each other, but not yet.
I looked around, assessing the situation. Adze was on the floor, she looked alive, but her eyes were blank and she had some wounds, similar to Trajan’s. Isis was fighting Lobishomen, Net was fighting against two others, one of them a general. There were a lot of dead people, and some injured that were fighting just to stay alive, they presented an easy target.
Suddenly I was surrounded, Caracalla’s followers had separated me from Trajan. Just a third of their group remained, but even do they were less that at the beginning, they were more than me, they got me at a disadvantage. Trajan tried to attack one of them to give me an out, just as Caracalla stepped inside the circle that surrounded me.
“It’s time to end this,” Caracalla said, “only one of us can sit at the throne.”
“I agree, this has lasted too long.” I felt the combined attack of Caracalla and his followers, I knew I wouldn’t be able to fight them for long. “Not even now will you face me alone?”
‘I don’t need to.’ I heard his voice, but I didn’t see his lips moving, it was then that I discover he had already entered my mind.
His men attacked me, with my mind occupied repelling the psychic attacks, there wasn’t much I could do to defend myself, I was going to be forced to use just my physical abilities. I didn’t waste time trying to stop them, I knew they were going to come at me with everything they had, so my best choice was to dodge. I was able to avoid some of them, but the ones not actively participating in the mental attack were using their double minds to read my movements, their attacks started to get through while mine were failing. Trajan was fighting some of them, but even with his help, it wasn’t enough, I was losing. Something weird started to happen, it wasn’t only the fact that they were reading me, something was wrong with me. I felt my body slowing down, my reflexes were not working fine. Somehow I knew it was Caracalla’s fault.
‘That’s right,’ he confirmed my suspicions. ‘I’m taking control of your body. I had already warned you what I was going to do, soon, you won’t own your own body.’ I shivered at his words, I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but I had to stop him fast.
Despite the odds I continued to survive until there were just two of his followers facing me, the rest were down or fighting Trajan. Decided not to waste more time I took one of them down using my sword and when the other tried to take me down I left him unconscious with a hit of my sword to his temple. Before I could take a breath I felt cold and pain radiating from my chest, I looked down and saw the tip of a sword. With a swift movement the sword disappeared and I fell on my knees. I couldn’t breathe, I tried to, but my chest was burning and I couldn’t. I was tired, short of breath and scared, I didn’t even understand what had happened.
‘You lost,’ Caracalla said, and when I saw him I noticed we were standing in my mental landscape, my mental projection was chained in the center of the labyrinth. ‘I will destroy you and claim my victory.’
‘This is my mind, you can’t defeat me here.’ I tried to move, but I was trapped.
Caracalla just laughed at me as more chains appeared around me, I was feeling the cold metal crushing me.
‘I will trap your subconsciousness and destroy your mind, your mental projection will remain chained and you will lose control of your body, your body won’t answer to you anymore.’ He was enjoying himself as the chains continued to grow and entangle around me. ‘You have seen what happens, little by little your body will stop to move. Be proud, this is a trick I designed thinking of you. I will let you live, but you will be trapped in a prison of bone and flesh, unable to move, powerless to defend yourself.’ His laughter filled my mind, reaching every corner.
For a moment I fell in desperation, I couldn’t let this happen to me! It was a nightmare, it was being Sklave all over again. Caracalla was taking control of my mind, making me feel he was stronger, that there was nothing I could do to stop him. But it was a trick, there was no one stronger than me in my own mind, those chains were real only if I let them be real, Caracalla was only as strong as I let him be. I couldn’t let him win, I had fought too hard to let him win.
I felt weak and my body was vulnerable, with my double mind, I could see Caracalla in front of me, pointing his sword at me, letting me know that he could kill me if he wanted. I started to meditate, I needed to be calm, I was certain that I had enough power to defeat him in my mind. First, I forced the chains to vanish, and then conjured them around Caracalla. But Caracalla just disappeared and reappeared behind my mental projection, kicking it.
I felt the hit not only in my mind, but in my body as well, I fell to the ground, at Caracalla’s feet, he was just smirking at me.
I needed my most powerful weapon, I conjured the forbidden chest, the last trapped memory, the one that Kamose told me I would never recover, and I opened it in front of Caracalla. The explosion filled my mind with light and fire, a painful attack that dissolved Caracalla’s mental projection, leaving his body screaming and squirming on the ground.
“Are you alright?” Lamia asked. She held me and helped me up.
“I’m hurt,” I said, “but alive.” Lamia’s arms were still around my waist, I tried to move away but she didn’t let me get away.
I started to feel extremely tired, it was as if my strength was being drained from me, that’s when I realized that Lamia was stealing my energy.
“What are you doing?” I was confused, I tried to understand what was happening, then I tried to do what Kozlak had taught me. I needed to understand her power.
“You are not the right person to be in the throne, Pedres told me that you won’t have the Allied Clans support, you have too many enemies, you won’t survive.”
“Let me go,” I tried to resist her hold, but I was too weak. The injuries and my lack of energy were too much for me. I considered surrender, I just wanted to sleep, to rest, but I knew that if I did that I was done, I needed to fight. “I thought you were my friend,” I said, “I thought I could trust you.”
“We are friends, and we are family, but this is beyond that, there’s too much at stake,” she smiled sweetly at me. “The throne and the power behind it is greater than us.”
Lamia’s power was one I wanted to acquire, but she always had an excuse for not letting me learn it, her usual excuse was that nobody should have so much power, and that it was dangerous for me to try to know too much. I wondered if that was really the reason, or if she had planned to use it against me all along. But despite her excuses I wanted that power and I had had glimpses of it through Kozlak, that gave me enough to try to learn it and control it.
I started to see some weird ribbons of light running around us, I realized it was our energy moving out of me and going into Lamia’s body. Using my mind, I focused in the ribbon and started pulling it. She noticed what I was doing and tried to let me go, but I couldn’t let her get away with my energy, so I gathered what I had left of my strength and held on her. I pulled and pulled until I noticed the color of the ribbons changing.
“Stop!” Lamia asked, with panic in her voice. “You won’t be able to control it.”
But I didn’t want to stop, and then I realized that I couldn’t stop even if I wanted. I was feeling strong again, more than that, the feeling was intoxicating and I wanted more. I punch made me let go of Lamia, one of Caracalla’s followers had attacked me. Trajan was now fighting another heir, and those attacking him had come to aid their leader. While the man was attacking me, a young woman was helping Caracalla. Once she saw that Caracalla was still alive, she came to me, her partner held me while she prepared to hit me, but once I made contact with him I was able to see the energy ribbons around his body. I tried to recreate what I had done with Lamia, I saw the ribbons and pulled them. When the woman fist made contact with me, I grabbed her and search for her energy, then I started pulling both ribbons, stealing their energy, faster and faster until both of them collapsed.
I was feeling invincible, I had the energy of my enemies fueling me, but I was aware that I didn’t have much time, even if I was now empowered by the stolen energy, my body was still injured. I saw Caracalla retrieving his sword and walking towards me. Around us the noise was dying, most of the people were already down. Lamia was still alive, but unconscious. Geb, Inionri, Adze, Net and Trajan were injured and wouldn’t survive much longer. Isis, Agis and a couple of generals were still fighting, but their fights were not as impressive as in the beginning, they were getting tired. More than a hundred warriors had walked into the arena, just a fraction of them remained. And it was time to finish the fight.
Caracalla was getting closer and I could see the hate and madness in his eyes. I conjured my psychic wall around me, expanding it more and more, pushing everyone I found in the way, trying not to affect those already fallen. Surprised by the invisible force pushing them, some tried to fight against it, some tried to break it, but it was useless, I had more than enough energy to defeat them. In just a few seconds the warriors still on their feet were pushed against the walls of the arena. The only ones still standing in the middle were Caracalla and I.
“You shouldn’t have been born,” Caracalla told me, “you should have died like all of Sultana’s children, you shouldn’t exist, you shouldn’t be here.”
“I don’t know why you hate me so much,” I told him, “but I’m tired of trying to understand you. For a long time I tried to find a reason for your hate, for all that you did to me. But there is no reason, is it? You’re just mad.”
Caracalla tried to attack me, but I was ready for him, my sword stopped his, for a moment we were facing each other, our swords intertwined. Caracalla’s sword was longer than mine, giving him better reach, but mine was easier to move. I was waiting for his mental attack, but it never came, his mind was still hurting after his failed attack to my mind. Gathering strength I pushed him away and then I turned before he could react, giving him a nasty cut to his side. Caracalla screamed and attacked again. I dodged him and cut him in the back. He was angry and out of control, he wasn’t thinking, he was just fighting, he was sloppy and easy to read. His attacks were too fast at first and I could only defend, dodging and parrying until I was able to take his sword away from him. Even without his sword he didn’t stop his attacks, he came again and again after me and I cut off his arm, after he tried to punch me I cut his hand. Then he kicked me, the strong hit made me bend over in pain, but when he tried to kick me again, I captured his leg and hit his knee over and over until it broke. But Caracalla insisted in his attacks, he wasn’t going to stop. I took his sword and nailed him to the ground, through his stomach, breaking his column. He was still alive, but cripped. I thought about killing him, but it wouldn’t be fair to let him get away so easily, he still had a lot to answer for. He wasn’t a problem anymore, it wouldn’t be long before he lost consciousness.
I felt the warriors still trying to break my wall, the end of my fight with Caracalla only made them increase their efforts, the telepaths went after my mind, the telekinetics used their powers to throw whatever they could against me, but I increased the force of my wall, pushing them harder against the arena’s walls, forcing them to quit their attacks.
“You have seen what I can do,” I said to the trapped warriors, “I don’t want to kill you, I think you are too valuable to kill, so I’m going to give you a choice: You can swear allegiance to me and recognize me as your Empress or you can die by my hand. The choice is yours.
Slowly I let my wall pull back, I saw how some of them tried to see their possibilities, some were looking at each other, silently asking what the others were going to do. Inionri and Geb were the first ones to step forward and kneel in front of me, with a strong voice and without doubts they swore their allegiance to me. Agis and Trajan were next, then one of the generals. I could see the doubt and reluctance in Net and Isis, but they too let go of their pride and kneel in front of me. One of the heirs at my back tried to attack me, but I felt his approach and conjured a rock tree, like the one I had used against Rimsin. The branches grew, going through his limbs and body, leaving him immobilized and screaming in pain. After that, the others didn’t waste time in swearing their allegiance.
I had won, finally I had defeated Caracalla, and was finally and without a doubt the strongest warrior in the Clan.
Copyright © 2014 | Kaiserin Novel