This is simply me messing around with a magic system. Catch is I cannot figure out the 'cost'. Concentration? Too simple. Faith? Huge issues, and Brooks kinda already hit it. Dunno. 'Fatigue and natural limitations' seems to generic. So we'll see. Other than that, I like the scene, Levinti's character, etc.. I do need to go back and deal with the 'camp' part at the end, how no one actually enters the shed during / after the confrontation.
Levinti could feel his muscles quiver, the tension refusing to leave despite his best efforts to slow his breathing. In the quiet dark of the woodshed, the sound of his heartbeat, a beast that railed in fear within him. He could hear the shouts in the distance as the camp roused itself, a beast that had been roused. That he had roused.
What was I thinking?
The shouting grew nearer, and Levi forced his heart to slow, recalling his training.
All is known.
The words of hope that had been ingrained in him, braced against the wave of doubt he knew would accompany the coming chaos.
Eyes opening, he unclenched his fist, to reveal the goal of this endeavor. A small leather pouch rested quietly in his hand. Was this really worth the cost?
Levinti hoped it was. And then knew it was. The practice of calming complete, doubt was gone, sealed off to the recesses of his mind.
A change in the air. The door opened, and doubt attacked him. Wave after wave it assailed him, as he knew it would. The doubt that accompanies every dark one. Levi was not caught unprepared.
Under his breath he began the chant of earth, in the ancient tone. A change began to occur.
In the old woodshed, the dust that had coated everything, began to rise. To a normal human, the change would have been inperceivable, especially in the deep black of the early hours, the two moons having become hidden behind the veil.
His stalker was no human. Levi could feel the being tense with the sudden realization that its prey was within reach.
Before it could signal its companions, Levi, still chanting, changed its tempo and he drew more deeply into the authority given him.
The ancient words still flowing, a form of beauty that danced in his mind, he formed an image in his mind, hardening it against all doubt.
And the dust obeyed.
The harmless particles that had rested in the air slammed together and bonded instantly into a rod. His opponent seemed stunned at seeing the chanting. All knew the monks of the age were gone. Levi didn’t give him the chance to reform that belief.
Whirling out from behind his cover with impossible speed, he slipped his fingers around the newly formed staff with his right hand, continuing to spin as he crossed the distance of the shed in a single step.
Never stopping his chanting, he raised his voice in earnestness to enhance the strength of the staff. The staff slammed into the head of the opponent. The dark one shuddered at the blow and fell to his knees.
But Levinti knew he was in trouble. The blow should have ended the fight.
Rising to its feet, the warrior unsheathed its bronze sword, a deep laughter coming from its throat, chilling the night air. The bulwark of certainty in Levi held. Barely.
The attack came. Blow after blow slammed into Levi. Desperately he parried with his staff. The foe was impossibly strong, and he could feel the melded staff begin to weaken from the blows of the bronze blade.
The fight grew increasingly difficult in the confines of the smaller shed. Shifting his chant between blows, he dropped the tempo for a moment as he forged a new image in his mind. The staff became two.
The dark one grunted, changing its attack. Slamming the sword down, Levi was forced to bring both rods together to block the attack. The dark one slammed its left fist into Levi’s exposed stomach, knocking the wind out of him.
The bulwark trembled under the strain of doubt.
Defeat was inevitable. It always had been.
Sword drawn, the dark one stepped forward, kneeling to Levi’s level. He reached a hand, pulling the monk’s face up to meet his own. The hand was as cold as ice. Its voice colder.
“Tell me, singer. How did you escape the inquisition?”
Its tone was distinctly curious. And demanding.
Dawn was coming, the faintest light seemed to leak into the shed. The being had left the door open. Levi forced himself to meet its eyes as he continued grasp for air, in a vain attempt to fill his lungs. Fear…the certainty of death, raged in his soul.
What was the point?
The dark one gripped Levi’s chin, bringing the tip of the sword to bear on his chin. He could feel the cold metal slit open the skin, the warm moisture of his blood dripping down his throat.
The dark one’s eyes bored into Levi. “Tell me.”
All curiosity was now gone, replaced by a heartless authority.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the mist of early morning seeping in through the doorway. Hope surged, within, and doubt gave way. The dark one felt it, and glanced in surprise to what had caused this change. This was all the monk needed.
Levi silently chanted the song of morn, drawing the mist to himself. It raced to him, feeding hope, seeping into his skin. Giving life. Lending strength. Taking the chant, he shifted to combine the melody of morn with the harmony of dust.
The fallen rods had left two piles of dust at his side. They leapt towards his hands, coating them, gauntlets of dust as they melded.
All of this took place in a momentary glance. When the dark one looked back, he saw the steadfast hope in his victim. Knowing his mistake, he drove the sword home.
But it was too late. The chant rhythmically holding sway in his mind, Levi grabbed the blade with his left hand. The sword sliced his cheek open as it passed. Clenching his right fist, he brought it up with all his might into the chin of the dark one. With the force of both chants it lifted the being into the air, throwing him across the room.
Blood dripping from both wounds, Levi pulled himself to his feet and walked to the broken body of the fallen.
Keeping his vow, Levi let the sword lay where it was as he approached. He maintained the chant in his mind, as he leaned forward to the angel of night. “The answer, demon, to your question, is simple. I was questioned. And I lied.”
And with all of his self hatred, the monk slammed the fist into the stunned face of the demon, sending him into oblivion.
And then, Levi wept.