I hate you.
I hate you more.
I wish I’d never met you.
I wish you’d never been born.
I wish I could erase every trace of ever knowing you from my mind.
I wish you were dead.
We stare at each other and the atmosphere in the room crackles.
Small explosions spark in midair.
At the most outside edge of awareness, I feel Delessa backing into the washroom.
I point at him and a trail of compact thin red fire comes from my fingertip, aimed towards the centre of his chest but is deflected into a lightfall before it reaches him.
What gives you the right to hurt me like this?
What gives you the right to lie to me, to seek to destroy me?
Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?
He shouts it out and throws a bolt of lightning at me and I block it and it breaks into a hundred streaming lines that rip and tear and gash the floor, the ceiling, the furniture.
Behind him, I see that the bed is on fire.
There are many small fires, on the curtains, on the tablecloth, on the rug under my feet.
I never want to see you again as long as I live.
If you cross my path, I will destroy you.
I laugh at him.
You can’t even destroy yourself, you maniac.
But I can destroy you, you good for nothing little whore.
We stare at each other and I am breathing heavily. I cast around for something to hurt him with, to hurt him back and wipe that expression from his face and I find the bird.
Inside it lies an entire glacier. I am going to show you who can hurt whom.
I reach into the patterns to unlock them with a will and clash against him as he blocks me from doing it.
I am stronger than you are!
I kick him aside and reach towards the patterns but he is back, and this time he is a furious, roaring energy of such force that he swipes me and sends me spinning as though I was nothing.
I stop the spinning and re-focus myself, dive for the ice state and once again, he blocks me and deflects me. I drop from the ice into an anger so all-encompassing, it rears up and smashes against his with such force that there is an almighty explosion that reverberates all through the layers and levels and throws us both bodily crashing in the Hard, me straight into the fireplace and him through the bed and halfway across the room.
The pain is excruciating and forces a silence in which you can hear a woman’s screams, loud and hysterical.
Across the room and through the ever spreading flames, there is movement and awareness and I throw a repair across my own patterns that jars me to the very centre of my being and I attack him again, before he has a chance to heal himself.
I batter him with fast and relentless pulses until he he is stuck to the opposing wall, shards of wood impaling him and his repairs are too slow.
I’m going to kill you. I am going to repay every single heartbreak, every single horror, pain and nastiness you have ever put me through. I am going to kill you and then I shall dance on your grave.
He falls back, wavers and I am momentarily unbalanced and unprepared when he attacks me back, harder and faster than I thought he ever could.
You miserable little bitch, you whoring, lying thieving little cunt. I’m going to put an end to you and show you who is the master, once and for all!
I shoot out through the layers and into Serein, localise his patterns and explode them.
Screams all around, violent screaming from everywhere, above, below, left and right, ahead and behind and these screams together form a ball that pushes me back into myself momentarily and that is all he needs to re-call the patterns with a vengeance and descend upon me with such huge and bitter venom that I think I’m going to drown in it.
Backing up and descending into the ice once more, I focus and I forge the sword, the very sword that killed the fabric and destroyed the light. I can beat you with ease, you clumsy bastard. I am your master now and you are nothing more than a hapless idiot stumbling, trying to keep up with me.
But when I turn to strike him, he has done exactly the same and with a force that nearly blows my mind apart the two swords clash, retreat, I have to fight to make myself do this again because this will destroy me but my volition is strong and we clash again. This time, the pain and reverberation is so profound I lose all sense of self for a time and regain it just in time to raise the sword as for the third time they connect and discharge themselves upon each other and that is it – an explosion in pure white and I lose cohesion and I swirl helplessly, undone, dissipated, powerless to ward of anything further and as weak as a newborn baby.
This is very much the state of affairs in which I find myself when forced by coughing and retching, I return to the hard. The room is utterly on fire. My clothes are on fire and I am nothing but a sea of boiling pain with sharp shard islands flaring intermittently. I cannot move and I cannot reach the patterns to restore myself, to cease the fires, to do anything at all.
There is no connection now.
There is one strand remaining.
You’re still alive, you son of a bitch.
The one who dies last, wins.
I choke and momentarily, the hard has me until it fades away again.
We’re both gonna be dead.
Can we get out of here?
I can’t do a damned thing.
Neither can I.
I can sense myself drifting off and phasing away.
Isca! Stay with me here! There must be a way …
… for one of us to make it out …
... you are closer … exit …
I can’t move.
… together, we can try …
My breath has stopped and there is no time left. I take everything I have, everything I ever was and with everything I have left, push it through the link.
And then I die.