Guardian of Fear
The mag-drain left the ancient black fallen against a boulder. His opponent, in the ancient Dragon Booster armor, approached him and his shadow fell over the warrior.
“I defeated you now Armeaggeddon.”
“Then why don't you kill me now?” Hissed the fallen warrior.
The Dragon Booster looked down at him and frowned. Then, he looked over his shoulder and whistled. From the surrounding ruins of Ancient City emerged more mag-warriors. The Lightning Booster, the Fire Booster and the Power Booster. Of the five Boosters, only one was missing. The Shadow Booster. More emerged with them. The holders of the ancient armors of Drakkus and Mortis, plus the most important members of the crews, descendants of the old Empires. The dragons snarled at his sight and the once powerful warrior wished he had his League under his command to shut them up. But he hadn't. They had been defeated and ridden off the bonemarks' influence.
“Where is he?” Asked the Lightning Booster.
Of what Armeaggeddon knew, the Booster was still a child, of twelve at the most. He had a bond with the Shadow Booster and was the Dragon Booster's brother.
“Where is he?” Repeated the Fire Booster and the Power Booster nodded.
The Fire Booster was a fiery woman of humble origins that had not chosen her partner. The Power Booster was a friend of the Dragon Booster as well as the Fire Booster. His stubborn side made him a worthy opponent. But the Power Booster was always stubborn, he reminded himself.
“Damn it! What have you done with Moordryd?!” Exploded the Dragon Booster.
Moordryd, the Shadow Booster. He knew him quite well, or he thought so. He was the son of Drakkus and his weakness. Marked by a life of suffering, like the original. Secretive, arrogant and a very good actor. Armeaggeddon thought he was no threat until that day.
“I've done nothing...”
The Dragon Booster mag-pushed him further into the rock.
“I've done nothing!”
“Then where is he?” Asked the Power Booster.
“I don't know.”
The Boosters didn't believe him, nor did the crew leaders or the oldest warriors who watched impassive from their titanic dragons. He remembered a time when his dragon was as powerful as they. He'd give his bonemark the younger Paynn and now...
“Then say what you know.” Hissed Drakkus.
The father was worried, somehow. Did he care? Not even Armeaggeddon knew. He cared yes, but was it in fear of losing his son or another important weapon?
“He came to me, not a long time ago and fought me.”
The Boosters tensed. They thought he had killed him. They were so wrong. No, not in a million years would have Armeaggeddon would have killed him. He wasn't capable of so.
“But before he gave me this.”
He threw the objects he had been hiding in his hand to the Dragon Booster’s feet. The Boosters gasped and the ancient mag-warriors flinched. The objects that gave the power to the Shadow Booster laid at his nemesis feet. Broken. The gauntlet had a crack that ran up its full extension, making it useless. The amulet no longer had that characteristic light of mag-charged objects, a beautiful light vaguely noticed Armeaggeddon. A trail of deep dents crossed its once polished surface, it seemed like a dragon had bit it. The Dragon Booster picked up the amulet from the mud with trembling hands after a meticulous examination of the amulet, as if searching for any proof that it was fake, he turned his attention to Armeaggeddon. For him, it was a proof that he had killed the Shadow Booster. Oh no, he hadn’t.
“For the last time...” He trailed off.
“And he defeated me.”
Now, he had caught them. Not even the mighty Dragon of Legend had dreamed of it and not in it’s wildest nightmares had Drakkus even thought of it. It was like receiving a mag-blast full in the face. Armeaggeddon had actually received of those. It had hurt him a lot. Hell, it had burnt his face! The Boosters hadn’t noticed he was wearing his full helmet yet. He had vaguely conscience of it as well.
“He then said he was going to face a stronger opponent since he could defeat me easily. He said the only thing he had to say was: Look out with the wraiths.” He smirked when he recorded the battle that had changed his perception of the world.
Moordryd fighting with hollow eyes. And Decepshum. Decepshum had a hole where the Visox should have been. He reminded himself of a rule about bonemarks. When a dragon separated itself from a absorbed bonemark by another mean than death, he didn’t of any thought, the bonemark would disappear into raw mag-energy.
“The Visox is no longer. The Vision Line has faded. The Time of Wraiths has come.”
When he defeated Armeaggeddon, he wasn't really thinking. He had thought much before. Now, in front of the Shadow Track, he thought about it. About what he left behind, nothing, and about what the future wanted for him, probably nothing. The Shadow Track waited for him. He had discovered when exploring his father library that the Shadow Track also opened when the moons were the farther away from each other. But the door opened during a very short time. It was said to be impossible to get out. He looked at the Decepshum and she nodded.
She had the Visox no longer but they still understood each other. Her rebel face had faded leaving the Decepshum. She was still a pure black draconium and had somehow absorbed some of the powers of the Visox. In the moment, she was in her pure form, as she should have been. They walked calmly through the wasteland. The keyhole of the Shadow Track looked at them through its empty, by-dimensional holes. They looked furious or sad or hungry or simply nothing at all. He decided to stick to the last one. The door to the Shadow Track during this period was invisible. He touched the wall of stone. His hand went right through it. He smiled.
They entered the Track. The Track hadn’t changed much. Better yet, hadn’t changed a bit. But the glow that once enveloped the dark place was gone. It was black, not shadow. He sat, waiting for the day to pass. The gate to the ultimate challenge would not open until midnight. The ultimate challenge. He smiled. He had researched during hours and finally found the true purpose of the Shadow Track. A long time ago, a powerful warrior, a god almost, had chosen this cave to build the test that would rid the warriors that submitted themselves to the test of all their fears. But no warrior managed to complete his test. Some warriors managed to advance some levels but always came back, more fearful than ever. The Track had begun to be seen as a curse. No one that entered it could get out. The part he had been stuck during a short was just the first test. And the easiest. It angered him to know that he’d failed the first test. He wouldn’t fail now. Suddenly, vein of energy appeared on the floor. The veins were supposed to take the fear essence to their master and show the way to the challengers.
“It seems like we can finally begin the test.” He said emotionlessly. “We will not fail.” He mounted Decepshum and slowly walked into the second challenge. The challenges were endless and a warrior needed an eternity to pass them all. Like he cared.
What do you fear little one? Your father? The figure standing over him, claws in one hand, whip in another. The cries from the child under it. ‘Failure.’ You disgraced your family little one. They’ll punish you. They’ll hurt you. Aren’t you afraid? You should. You are.
No. Why should I be afraid? Soon, I’ll be stronger than him. And he’s not even my family. He should be afraid. I’ll be him to a pulp, I’ll crush his bones, rip his organs from his body, burn him to ashes. He’ll live hell first handed. I’m not afraid.
‘Save me!’ The woman needs you. She can’t survive those beasts. But you can’t save her. You’re too weak. Weak, weak and weak. Pathetically weak. You can’t save your mother, or girlfriend or friend or whoever. Because you’re too weak. You’re afraid to be weak aren’t you? I know you are.
No. I’m not weak. And yes. I may be afraid to be weak, but it won’t change anything. I’m strong and I’ll prove it.
Imagine you passed little one. Now what? You’re the strongest but centuries have gone through since the time you entered the Track. Now you’re all alone in this world. Don’t you want to run, to escape this destiny? You do. Don’t deny it.
You’re wrong. I wish it to be like that. I have nothing in my time. Anything is better than the life I had. I will pass and I’ll not regret it!
You hear her scream for you. You’re all alone. Your dragon is dead. You couldn’t stop it. You are alone now. More than ever. Everything you cared for is gone. You fear her loss. You know it and you can’t stop it.
I do fear losing Decepshum. Yes. But it won’t happen. I’ll protect her and she’ll protect me. We are one and we are strong. If someone kills her, I’ll kill him; beginning by the ones he loves the most.
He stabbed you in the back. He vowed loyalty to you and betrayed you, for your father. Now you stand there, dying, knowing that your best friend betrayed you. It hurts as much as the knife plunged in your heart doesn’t it. You can trust no one. You’re afraid they’ll betray you. All of them.
Yep, and what? Do I look like I care? I know the dangers of friendship. And I’m ready. If they betray me, it will be the last thing they’ll do. I’d be sad or furious, that’s it! I dare them!
Death is here for you. You died. Now what? Your spirit trembles as the reaper arrives to collect your soul. Death is the ultimate fear, don’t you agree, little one?
I don’t think so. You see, death is just another trip. It’s being released from cruel worlds that never wanted you and go to somewhere else. You see, even death is welcomed by someone like me. I’ve wondered many times if you’ll have the pity of finishing me in the end if I fail. I hope so.
Are you afraid of being afraid? Of letting fear grab you and drag you into its depths? Isn’t that why you are doing this test? Fear is unavoidable and you know it. Don’t resist, you can’t!
Afraid? Yes, I am. So, I’m not afraid of fear ‘cause I welcome him as a proof of my humanity. You are fear and I am here to defeat you and take that power for myself and for the other. You should be afraid of me. I have nothing to lose and you have everything. Now I ask you. Aren’t you afraid?
You are afraid! Don’t deny it! You are afraid of losing against me and be trapped forever in your deepest fears! So why don’t you run, run away while you still can?!
Deepest fears? Where? Only if they are yours. I can feel the fear in your voice; I can sense the panic hidden in your words. I will defeat you and are afraid of it. The fear is afraid. Get ready. Soon, you will be no more.
“You have faced all the challenges and proved worthy of the title of champion. No one has ever come this far. What do you want more?”
“I want your bonemark. I want to defeat you. I seek to become fear itself.”
“Fool! You cannot defeat me! I am anterior to your civilization! I am here since dragons and humans first communicated! And you seek to defeat me. Fool. This is your end!”
“Bring it on.”
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