Takanuva leapt to the side, grabbing onto the pillar and using it to propel himself further from the attack. The blast of shadow whirled through the air behind him, howling and twisting in a vortex of darkness. Takanuva activated his light powers, solidifying it and desperately throwing it towards the wall as he was sucked towards the blackness.
“Having fun yet?” his foe called.
Takanuva didn’t reply, yanking himself towards the wall. His opponent responded by blasting it down with shadow; Takanuva had just succeeded in pulling himself even closer to the vortex as he stumbled backwards, dazed.
“Ha!” a voice yelled.
Takanuva’s head was swimming, yet he leapt up just in time to escape the ball and chain; there were two of them.
As he landed, two hands roughly grabbed him, trying to pin him into the pillar. Takanuva desperately reached behind him, grabbing his newest foe and slamming him to the ground before tossing him into the vortex of shadow. His enemy was torn to pieces instantly; Takanuva didn’t have time to worry about that as he dodged, kicking away from the pillar to avoid a staff directed towards his neck.
“You’re pretty good at this, aren’t you?” the newcomer chuckled.
How are there so many?! Takanuva cried in his mind.
Wordlessly, he turned to escape, tripping on some of the rubble from the wall as a blast of shadow shot overhead.
“Come on, join us!” one called. “It’s not that bad!”
Now a laser of light had fired past him.
Great. Light and shadow. Takanuva groaned inwardly.
“That’s it. I’m out.” A voice called.
“GET HIM!” another roared.
Takanuva rolled to the side, dodging the ball and chain once more. He grabbed the chain, using it to propel himself up, shoving the being to the ground before jumping away, towards another wall.
He was dangerously close to the vortex once again; if the other wall had still been there, Takanuva would’ve been cornered.
It had started to rain; thick drops began splattering on Takanuva, as thunder rumbled over head. Puddles rapidly began to form on the ground, sliding towards the ever-prevailing whirlwind of shadow. Takanuva jumped to the side as another enemy lunged towards him, flying out of the room and sliding down the now muddy hillside, staining his armour brown.
He came to a stop against a boulder, his head swimming and his vision blurry. As it began to sharpen, the howling of the vortex halted, and another figure leapt out of the temple they had been battling in, a sword visible in his hands, ready to stab Takanuva.
“No!” Takanuva cried.
He tried to get out of the way, but his hands and knees slid around in the mud, causing him to fall flat on his mask. Desperately, Takanuva pulled himself overtop the rock, flipping over just in time to get out of the way of the sword. As he slid onto his feet, Takanuva took two giant steps before jumping as far as he could, landing with a squish seconds later, fifty feet lower. He collapsed upon the impact, spinning around so that he was once more facing his opponents, who were now sliding down the mountainside towards him.
Gotta... get away.... Takanuva thought wearily.
He glanced down, to see that the mountain dropped suddenly into a cliff below.
This is just great....
He pushed himself up to his feet, nearly toppling over before coming to a stop. He grabbed his light staffs from his back, pulling them out and putting himself into a defensive stance, waiting for his opponents to reach him.
A shadow bolt clipped him on the shoulder before they reached him, causing Takanuva to stagger.
A split second later, one of his enemies arrived, sliding right into him, sending them both tumbling towards the edge. They grappled for a few seconds, before Takanuva grabbed the other being and threw him over the edge.
Takanuva desperately grabbed his staffs, stabbing them into the ground to stop himself from falling; he wouldn’t survive the drop.
You've... got... to be kidding me....
He could see them; eight of them, all jumping and running and sliding down the mountainside towards him. There was no way he would win this.
Takanuva’s eyes narrowed; as his opponents were within yards of him, whooping with triumph, he sent a huge burst of light at the mountain; it caught three of the figures, incinerating them instantly. Each time, Takanuva began to feel as if he was killing himself.
Shaking his head, Takanuva slowly climbed onto the edge, continuing the blast. When he finished, he nodded, satisfied, as his opponents glanced around in fear and confusion.
“What did he do?” one asked.
Takanuva smiled grimly as, a second later, the entire mountain shook.
“WHAT’S HAPPENING?!” one of the figures screamed.
The mountainside then exploded, as lava spurted out of the mountain. The long dead volcano had risen once more, turning the battle ground into a desperate gamble to stay alive.
Takanuva leapt onto a boulder tumbling down the volcano as the flood of lava engulfed the area, and completely burning two more of his enemies to ash. The remaining three jumped from rock to rock, making their way to Takanuva.
Takanuva himself waited, exhausted, his elemental energies spent.
He shook his head, slashing at the closest being, striking him in the chest. The being stumbled backwards, nearly falling into the lava.
Takanuva was about to continue his assault when everything was turned upside down; they had gone over the edge.
It was now a desperate game of survival; dodging the swords, staffs, and razor sharp blades of his enemies, while lava poured down around them, burning everything it touched. Takanuva ignored this, doing his best to remain alive.
One of the figures leapt at him; Takanuva threw one of his staffs at the foe, who smacked it away into another rock. With his empty hand, Takanuva grabbed his enemy while stabbing his staff into the rock beside him. With both hands now empty, Takanuva slammed his foe into a falling boulder, sending the rock flying across to hit another of the beings.
“Having fun?” the figure in his fists croaked.
Takanuva punched him in the face, sending him flying away. Takanuva had just grabbed his staff when the figure with the ball and chain swung his weapon into Takanuva’s head. The toa of shadow laughed as Takanuva stumbled backwards, sprawling into another rock.
Takanuva desperately shoved himself up, only to find himself trapped in freefall. He stabbed his remaining staff into the mountainside, using it to swing himself up onto another boulder, just as the wave of lava swept over where he’d been a moment earlier.
He caught the figure with the staff by surprise, tackling him off of the rock and sending him into the lava. Takanuva ignored the sight as the rock began to spin in mid-air, jumping onto another, finding his other staff. He yanked it out, and was immediately smashed off by the ball and chain once more, flying to the largest chunk of the volcano falling.
Can’t... give up....
Takanuva slowly pulled himself to his feet, dodging to the side away from the sword of the second remaining foe. He swung his staff, using both hands as he and his foe began duelling fiercely.
How long will this last?
The staff and the sword clashed with a clang; a moment later, both fighters and the approaching third were all thrown clear, slamming into the muddy landscape; they had reached the bottom.
This is not good.
Takanuva desperately scrambled clear as the wave of lava slammed into the chunk of rock, hitting the figure with the sword and incinerating him instantly.
What’s happening to me?!
Takanuva clutched his chest as a feeling of emptiness hit him in a wave. He continued to trudge through the mud, desperately trying to avoid the lava.
He had reached a giant tree; he grabbed on and began to climb up, grabbing whatever he could as he hauled himself higher. Several clinks told him that his last enemy was right behind him; he sped up.
Can’t hold... for much longer....
“Hey, come on!” his foe called. “Not that bad, trust me!”
Takanuva ignored him, climbing onto a huge branch and standing to his feet, gasping for breath. After a moment, he turned to continue climbing; that second, the chain wrapped around his legs, yanking him down.
“NO!” Takanuva yelled, wrapping his arms around the branch.
“There you go!” the figure yelled. “Now save your dark side!”
Takanuva held on tighter; a second later, he felt twice as much weight pulling him down; his foe was climbing up.
The toa of light tried to kick his feet, to no avail. Heaving for breath, everything in his body aching, Takanuva slowly pulled himself around the branch, until he fell off the other side. His enemy cursed, before kicking him in the gut. Takanuva went spiralling through the air towards another huge branch; he grabbed onto it.
The world was spinning rapidly, showing no signs of slowing down. Takanuva could feel the edges of darkness creeping into his vision, and his body rapidly giving up hope and strength.
He slowly pulled himself up, his muscles screaming at him to stop. Grabbing his staff, he sliced at the chain, snapping it into two. He then collapsed onto his back, coughing.
He was about to give in to exhaustion when a hand roughly grabbed him by the mask, yanking his staff out of his hand and throwing it to the solid but hot rock below.
“You almost killed me.” The being hissed. “Almost isn’t good enough. Now you’ll pay the price.”
Takanuva grabbed onto the arm as he was swung, hanging off the edge. The rock below was hard enough and solid enough that he would surely die from the drop.
No... it can’t... end like this....
“Now what?” he could hear the sneer in the voice. “You killed the rest... but you can’t kill me.”
Takanuva recognized the tiredness in the voice; his opponent was as exhausted as him. That knowledge gave him some adrenaline, which Takanuva used immediately to pull the figure towards him.
“You fool!” the being cried, as he stumbled off the edge.
Takanuva fell, grabbing onto the branch. His foe grabbed his foot, and they fell down to the ground. Both hit several branches on the way down; Takanuva felt himself smash into something halfway; the world went dark.
He did not expect to wake up. Yet wake up he did.
He was still there, collapsed over the branch of the tree he had hit, his back bent at an odd angle.
How am I still alive? He wondered.
Takanuva slowly sat up, his muscles aching. His entire body hurt; his armour was burnt, bent, dented, scratched, and above all else, dirty. It was no longer white; brown and black were the prominent colours.
His staffs were gone; his Avohkii seemed to have avoided any serious damage, as it appeared to be functional. Takanuva slowly leaned over, to glance down; sure enough, his final foe had fallen to his death; he was half in the rock. Clearly the part beneath them had still been molten.
“Nice.” He muttered.
He had managed to stay alive against ten enemies.
Then again, I was only fighting myself. He thought wearily. But my elemental energy is depleted; and I still feel exhausted.
He slowly began to make his way down. He broke off a small stick near the bottom, pushing it into the rock. Nothing.
Wearily, he place his feet on the ground. Everything was calm and quiet. The area smelled slightly of smoke. Takanuva stepped over to his clone- no, that wasn’t right. This wasn’t a clone. This was a real Takanuva, from another universe. All of them had been. And he had caused their deaths.
He sighed, crouching down to face the final shadow Takanuva; his eyes still glared, and his mouth was open; probably snarling defiance at death. He sighed again.
It was time to go. He’d done what he had come for; to investigate the strange figures that had been wreaking havoc on the neighbouring islands. He was glad he had come alone; he couldn’t bear the thought of someone else knowing what he had done to himself.
No, these thoughts... these memories were for him, and him alone.
Takanuva slowly made his way to the coast of the island, where his boat was waiting; it was time to go home.
I wrote and posted this on BZPower back in February; I still consider it one of the best things I've ever written, though obviously my writing has improved somewhat.
I plan on entering the current short stories contest; it may end up being a sequel to this!