Okay, this one was a ton of fun to write. This is a set of characters I know really well, plus it employs a lot of the information I’ve been working on redesigning for the Aleruus Star System (a vast universe I’ve had since I was seven), so I got to employ both the new and the old. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)
Sarabrina, Sphene, and Chevon stepped into the amphitheater and saw Julen standing in the center of the grassy floor, hands folded in front of him. He smiled as they entered, as if he’d been waiting for them.
“Welcome back, Sarabrina,” he said. He turned his attention to Sphene and something seemed to soften in his eyes for a moment. “And Sphene. I didn’t expect to ever see you again.”
Sphene shrugged. “Sorry to disappoint.”
Julen’s attention shifted to Chevon. “And who’s the boy?”
“Why would I tell you?” Sarabrina asked.
Julen sighed and another man stepped into the amphitheater from a side entrance, harsh ice blue eyes giving him away immediately as Cordier.
“Father.” Sphene nearly spat the title, a ferocious glare focused entirely on him.
“Hello, Sphene. I thought you were dead.”
“What a way to greet your long-lost daughter.”
“Please. I melted your ring long ago.”
“Enough of the family reunion,” Julen said, rolling his eyes. “What do you want? ‘Hi, sis, I’ve missed you’? Let’s just get on with this.”
“And what exactly is ‘this’?” Chevon asked. “How did you know we’d be here?”
“Sphene was bound to need an anchor at some point. Since this place holds so many memories for her it seemed only fitting.” Cordier grinned.
Sphene muttered to herself lower than Sarabrina could hear.
“So, dearest, what do you say we have one last dance? Like old times?”
Sphene looked up at Cordier and Sarabrina saw deep hurt in eyes that matched Cordier’s.
Cordier stepped over to Sphene and rested his hands on her shoulders. Sarabrina stepped to the side, closer to Chevon.
“Dearest Sphene,” Cordier said, “won’t you dance with your father just once more? I may be cruel, but I’m still your father.”
“You haven’t been my father in years.” Sphene’s voice was strangled.
Cordier flinched as if slapped. “Fine. You want a fight, then? I’ll give you one.” He turned and walked back to where he’d stood, gesturing toward the ampitheater seats without taking his eyes from Sphene. “Have a seat, Julen.”
Sarabrina and Chevon both walked over to the opposite seats, sensing this wasn’t something they wanted to be close to.
Cordier flourished his hands and soil from beneath him swirled into a ball between his hands. “Careful, dearest. We wouldn’t want these roses to wither under the heat of that blue fire of yours.”
“Since when do you care about roses? You disregard life as if it were dust.”
“And it is. Dust that will be blown away in due time… Or perhaps undue time.” He grinned. “Now, won’t you call up that fire of yours? I don’t want to fire before you’re armed.”
Sphene swirled one hand and a blue flame hovered over it. “Let’s get this over with.”
Cordier threw his ball of soil, keeping it on a trajectory straight for her face, and Sphene threw her fire into a protective shield, the soil turning to motes of dust under its heat. A mix of grass and leaves met the same fate.
“You won’t beat me with your earth manipulation,” Sphene said.
“But I can keep you busy.”
Sphene raised an eyebrow and released her shield. It remained in place as she summoned another bulb of fire in her hand and threw it at him. He darted to the side and threw a ball of soil at her from his new side angle. The shield at her front slid to intercept it and she sent five more bolts of fire in close succession. He was too slow to evade the last two and they struck him, but the burns melted away in seconds. Sphene’s eyes widened and Sarabrina wondered how familiar the two of them were with each others’ powers in reality.
“Ah, didn’t know I had that trick, did you?”
Cordier grinned and tossed another ball of soil her way. It was as easily deflected as all the others and Sphene retaliated with a heavy stream of fire. Cordier planted himself and Sarabrina watched as he was garishly burned, turning away after a moment at the sight. When Sphene’s fire ceased, however, everything that had been burned was rebuilt.
“It won’t be that easy, dearest. You won’t make me vulnerable.” He raised his arms and bits of stone cracked from the ampitheater, urged toward Sphene from the front and sides with his will.
As the stone came crashing toward her, Sphene increased the power of her fire and heavily backpedaled, barely avoiding being struck. Cordier laughed and pulled apart more of the building, this time bringing stone from all sides. Sphene curled into a ball on the ground, throwing up the strongest flames she could around her in an already-futile attempt to protect herself.
Julen leaped from his place in the stands and lunged for Cordier. “Father, no! You’ll bring down the ampitheater on top of us!”
“Whatever it takes to get rid of this foul Dywen.”
“You’ll kill all of us!” Sarabrina was surprised to see genuine fear in Julen’s eyes as he looked at the quickly-crumbling ampitheater. He looked back at his father. “Would Mother have wanted this place to fall?”
Cordier turned to Julen. “Your mother is dead. The dead mean nothing.”
Julen stood stock still for only a moment before seizing his father’s arm and wrenching it toward him. Stones flew toward the far wall at the sudden change, crashing and shattering upon impact, blowing a hole in the wall and causing a section of it to fall. As it struck the front seats, Sarabrina was almost surprised to find that she was glad Julen was no longer sitting there.
Chevon grasped Sarabrina’s arm and she looked over at him, eyes wide. “We need to get out of here,” he said. He tugged her toward the nearest exit, but she resisted.
“No. What about Sphene and Julen?”
“It’s too late, Sarabrina! They’re gone.”
Sarabrina wrenched her arm away and Chevon screamed after her as she ran toward the crumbling walls and the three people in the middle of it all. She felt like someone else’s voice was yelling as she told Sphene to let down her shield and collided with Julen, grabbing his arm and pulling him toward an exit.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Saving you.” Sarabrina risked a glance over her shoulder and saw Sphene running after them. Chevon was just disappearing through an outer door, and the ampitheater was beginning to crumble from its very foundations as Cordier, mad with rage, threw the stones he still had control over in all directions and struck the supports. She looked back at where she was going just before she would have been smashed by a piece of falling debris and pulled Julen through a door out into the forest beyond. She kept running for several feet before turning back and looking to see where Sphene was.
As Sphene appeared in the doorway, the ampitheater crumbled, leaving her pinned underneath. Sarabrina’s breath stopped and she shrieked, still gripping Julen’s arm.