1

Broken Down

It's damp and dark. Opening up my senses, I can hear better, taste the musty cave air, feel every crack and crevice beneath my fingers and smell the sweat and fear dripping off the stalkers following me not far behind.

My hand goes to my belt where a sword hangs deadly and sharp.

I reach into my sleeves and finger the daggers hidden in the satin–like cloth.

I keep my eyes closed, for there is no light to see by.

My ears pick up a slight shift of positions, and in a flurry of movement and shouts, my stalkers move in for the attack.

I whip around, my eyes glowing green in the dark, dazzling and stunning the solders from the palace, clad completely in red and silver, the National colors that represent Dyven.

I smile a devil's smile and speak for the first time in a decade.

"What, never seen green eyes?" The sound of my own voice surprises me, it sounds nothing like the voice I had ten years ago.

I flash a wicked grin, delighted that I can once again have freedom.

If only these infuriating soldiers would leave me in peace!

My smile drops and I draw my sword, lopping off the head of the nearest red and silver–clad soldier, as if his neck were made of melted butter.

A cruel and maniacal laugh rips itself from my throat and rebounds off the cave's slick black walls, working its way through the numerous tunnels I had passed by previously in an attempt to escape.

I swivel my head to capture the remaining soldiers in the luminous green glow of my eyes and stare at the petrified men standing in front of me, their eyes bulging out of their sockets, jaws dropped and faces filled with terror.

I size them up, estimating how many there are and long it would take to kill them all before the reinforcements came from the mainland.

Hmmm… By the looks of them, I'd say they'd take about…nnn…let's see, 5 minutes? Yeah, that'd be enough time to thoroughly kick their asses.

Still grinning, I bend down and poke the decapitated soldier lying dead in front of me with the butt of my sword, his clean–cut stump of a neck still gushing crimson blood all over the stone floor, making the footing even more precarious than before.

I chuckle inwardly as a man with a gold medal hanging around his neck–probably the captain of the squad facing me–snaps out of his reverie and orders the others to attack.

Taking note that he, the captain himself, hides behind his troops, I dance through their ranks, twirling, swinging, hacking, decapitating, dodging, kicking, and laughing; a non–stop cackle of glee as I slice through the bodies of my captors that held me imprisoned for a decade, prodding me with cold metal rods, herding me like livestock and injecting serums into me until I became like this.

My laugh of insanity stopped as I struck down the last of the royal guards' men. Slashing him across the chest, I bathe in the blood that spews from his carcass and revel in the power that the royal family unwittingly gave me.

"HA!" I leer at the captain. Taking in his bulbous nose, puffy cheeks and bulging stomach that's barely contained in his ceremonial dress pants.

Dropping to the cold rocky stone floor, slick with blood, he lands on his knees, shaking uncontrollably, sweat dripping down his face, the expression he wears is of utter disbelief and under the thick layers of fear, a trace of expectancy of his impending death.

I smirk then, and make my way to the captain's trembling body, making every step heavy, deliberate, and menacing. The captain looks up, panic apparent on his features.

"S-stop! P–p-please! Please! I b-beg y-you! Pleeeaaassee!" The captain threw himself at my feet, sobbing, choking, begging and groveling.

Pitiful, ignorant bastard. You have no idea what I have gone through. Why should I spare you? You all have been given divine retribution. All you dirty mutts of the queen deserve to die.

Rage fills my mind and my darkest, deepest, filthiest desires make their presence known throughout my brain, filling my entire entity with anger. I struggle to retain reason within the cloud of fury obscuring any rational thoughts. "You… you remember, correct?" I whisper into the stale air of the death filled - cave.

"Huh?" The man at my feet pauses in his stream of pathetic pleas and looks up with a puzzled face. "R-remember ew-w-w-what?" He stutters uselessly, thinning my patience further than it has ever been in the decade that I was taken.

"SPIT IT OUT MAN!" I yell in his face. I bend down and let a viscous snarl leave my throat through clenched teeth. "Recall what you did to me. You, and your men. RECALL IT!" I roar.

"W-what are you talking about! I don't remember nothing!" The captain, Charles Frank, if my memory served correctly, was the man who had brought his squadron to my cottage, burned down the poor house and kill my parents, just to make me into the monster that I am now.

"Really?" I ask slyly, "Do you really not remember anything?" I flip him backwards with a kick of my boot, and land of his back, pinning him to the floor and placing the cold, harsh metal tip of my sword against his throat. "Let me help you remember. This is how you killed my parents! With your own hands, you murdered them." I pull him to his feet by his greasy hair, digging my claws into his scalp. "Oww!" He screeches.

"And this, my good fellow, is how you dragged me off to be tested on to see if I was a suitable vessel for the Ivy witch." I pulled him along, walking him like a dog, his leash, a tangle of hazel hair.

"Aaaahhh! S-stop it! It-it hurts! Stop it!" he struggled in my grip only to find escape a vain consideration. "Hmpf" I swing my arm and release his hair, throwing him against the cave wall. "Escape. Go. Now. I will give you ten seconds. Then, you shall be fair game to whatever horrible fate awaits you."

Like I will actually let you escape, Charles. Ah, the thrill of the chase, the hunt, how it exhilarates me! I smile the sweetest I can to a man who ruined my life and encouraged him to run by starting the count down of his life.

"Ten…" He scrambles to his feet, his jiggling fat bouncing up and down as he moved his tubby legs as quickly as humanly possible.

"Nine… eight…" The sound of crashes and curses float back to me and I continue to count down, the seconds of his life ticking away, his fate in my palm.

"Seven… six… five… four…" My muscles tense up and I envision how I will slay him, the sight of his round form being slit in half like a water melon by my blade excites me and makes me feel impatient, but I keep the tempo of my counting consistent. I believe in letting a person live all the time they are worth. I will not speed up the death of another faster than they are due.

"Three… two… one." Ignorant fool. Ready or not, here I come! A smile stretches across my face and I walk, calmly, anticipating the wonderful kill to come.

I stretch out my hand in front of me and speak the Latin words controlling magic. "Ignis." Fire, flame, beacon, watch-fire, light.

A green orb of light takes form in my hand, the flames it emits turn every shade of green, giving off light and then disappearing into the air. "beautiful…" I whisper.

"transvenio" Move, cross, shift, pass. My entire body becomes intangible and I pass through the cave walls to my right with ease, eyes peeled for any sign that the bumbling oaf had been here.

I close my eyes and airily whisper, "circumspicio." Look around, look about, be cautious, watch, examine, find. In my mind, a scene swirls and then calms, like the water on a lake. I see the silhouette of Charles, the so called "captain" running for his life, sprinting carelessly, ramming into rock piles in the dark. I laugh lightly amused by his frantic behavior. Okay, enough of this. Time to start the hunt.

Still envisioning the plump silhouette, I raise both arms and exclaim to the cavern walls, "PERSEQUOR!" Follow, go, follow out, persecute, pursue, overtake.

In a flash of green light, I was transported across matter, the particles of my being shifting constantly, making me a green mist to humans' eyes. My fog-like body zoomed passed pillars of rock, through fractures and gaps, twisting, winding, swirling; a furious entity, untouchable to most.

Still using the spell "circumspicio", I envision the man I am hunting for, and rely on my magic and "persequor" to find him, to overtake that bloody bastard. My eyes closed, I once again focus to sharpen my senses.

I feel his presence, I can hear the labored breathing, smell the terror and dread covering his body like a blanket and taste the turmoil of his frightened soul. He fears his life and is correct to do so. And then, I see him. He is there, bloody and beat up, panting heavily, eyes wide open, taking in what little he could see in the black, inky shadows that surrounded the cave's interior.

I stare sadly down at him, drinking in the last of his appearance so that I may remember what he actually looked like before I mauled him. "haaaahh…." I sigh, making the subtle noise needed to grab the Captain's flimsy attention.

"Restituo." Reshape. My body is dragged back from in the air and put together like a puzzle, the matter of my being becoming solid once again. "Ignis." The same green orb is ignited in my palm, the exquisite green colors lighting up my face, matching the ivy green of my eyes.

"Aaaaaahhhhh!" A screech fills the damp atmosphere of the cavern, and I look down at the man with cold ivy-green eyes, baring into his soul and breaking him down spiritually and mentally. "Shut. Up." I snarl. His gaping maw is instantly clamped shut with his own grimy hand.

"I have given you your ten seconds of life. Now you have run out of time. Meet your maker Charles, Captain of the royal guards." I whisper in a sinister way. The man scrambles to his feet and makes a desperate dash for his life.

Hmph. Trying to play hard to get now, are we? Sorry, but that won't sit well with me. I like men that are straight forward. "Charles, I'm getting tired of playing this game of hide and seek, it would be a lot less painful for you and me if you just gave yourself up and died." I called out. A minute passed, maybe only seconds full of eerie silence. "Haahh… Fine, have it your way."

I sneer and turn the corner to see the pitiful coward with his back against a dead-end and a jagged rock - sharp enough to pierce skin - clutched in his hands desperately. "You, sir, are dead meat." I drag a slender finger across my neck to show how he is going to depart from this world and flash him my signature wicked grin.

"Uuh! … S-stop! D-don't get a-any c-c-closer!" he stutters stupidly.

"No can do Mr. Frank. I had promised you a certain time to escape, and you failed to do so, that is why I shall finish you with my own hands. Take this as a repayment for what you did to me ten years ago."

"Uh… please spare me; I have a wife and seven children. Who will feed them if I die?"

"That is none of my concern. When I begged you to spare my parents' lives, did you pause at all to consider the consequences? Idiot. I am your consequence. And now, you pay with your life."

I move in closer then, brandishing my sword eye-level to his hunched figure. "Goodbye." I whisper to him. I lift my sword upward and swing downward, aiming to slice him neatly in half. A shower of sparks fly into the air as stone clashes with metal and I look up to see Charles standing up and laughing.

"Ha! Who do you take me for?" His voice is confident, but behind the false facade, he betrays signs of fear, his hands tremble and his eyes shift, constantly looking for a possible way to escape.

"I am the captain of the royal palace guards. I will not go down without a fight! So come Ivy Witch! Come at me! I will take you down and boast my power to the queen by presenting her my wounds and your head!"

I flinch at that cursed title that I was branded with, The Ivy witch. The country of Dyven has five witches. Each with a unique color as their title; followed by the label of being a witch.

North was the Crimson Witch, where volcanoes covered most land. East was the Pearl Witch's territory, where the castle stood majestic and pearl colored. South was home of the Aqua Witch, where the ocean sparkled against the white sand of the beaches. West was the Violet Witch, where there were grassy plains and the night sky took a purple hue and seemed to be alive with stars. And of course there was my home, Central. Right smack dab in the middle of Dyven, where the densest forest of evergreens grew, making a sea of green and ivy colors throughout the year.

I looked down seething at my name. I was never a witch before! Never would I have wanted to be, until the savages of the royal palace took me away, and tested on me until I possessed the magic of witches and sorcerers.

It was the same for the other four of my kind. They abduct a child from each witch's territory and test on them until they are either able to accept the crazy amount of magic injected in them, or died trying. The one that survived would be titled as the next witch and would look after their territory. However, from then on, they were forever to be branded an outcast, and looked down upon and feared by the very people they protected.

I couldn't hold back any longer. All traces of sarcasm left my voice and in its stead, irritation became apparent. "Never. I never want to hear that cursed name EVER AGAIN!" I bellow my opinion to his stunned face and slash at him wildly.

He swings sideways, aiming for my ribs and I block his attack with the flat of my blade then duck, slicing his shin down to the bone. He grits his teeth and continues his maneuvers. He feints at my left to get me up on my feet to dodge, then swings skillfully at my neck, trying to decapitate me like I had with the first soldier.

I hop backwards and then thrust with my blade forward, aiming for his stomach. He parries with a flick of the wrist and swings at my sword wielding hand, making me twirl it in my hand so that I hold the handle upside down; the blade aligned with the length of my forearm.

He strikes upward on the blade, knocking me off balance and takes the advantage to put his makeshift weapon in between my sword and my arm and with a wrenching twist, flings the sword from my grasp. I hear the clang of metal somewhere behind him and clench my teeth, mind swirling. I had used up too much magic just finding and getting to the oaf. It was choosing this time of all other possible times to take its toll on me now.

My mind raced to find a way to kill him without using anymore magic. A sudden thought came to my brain and I slipped a hand into my sleeve where half a dozen daggers rested, filed and sharpened to a fatally deadly point.

With deft movements, I threw three at once: the first one aimed at the head, the second one at the torso and the third one, well, you can guess.

Luckily (for the Captain) the third dagger missed, and he managed to avoid the first projectile, but for the second dagger, while he twisted to dodge the first, it hit him in the shoulder, failing to hit his heart, but making him drop his stone sword.

"Ha! Not bad for a Witch!" I twitch at his comment, but otherwise retain a poker face to prevent him from reading my next actions.

"I was wondering, who trained you? Another witch?" Grating; that is what it felt like. Him and his remarks grating on my nerves.

"Could it be that it was your parents that taught you? Too bad they didn't teach you proper form. You should ask them if they can teach you how to hold the sword properly. Oh! Wait! That's right! Their dead."

That was it. The last straw in the hay stack, the final push off a cliff, the snapping of a thread. My patience was used up; gone. Not a trace of it left. I had considered letting him die by my sword. As the saying went, born on the path of the sword, die on the path of a sword. But not for this man. Not for Charles Frank. Not today, not now, not ever. Let him rot in his own skin for a thousand years, see if I cared. He had said the taboo phrase: "Their dead".

My blood boiled and I screamed out the three death words of Latin's magic language. "Denascor!" Dwindle, lose vigor, perish, die. "Emorior!" Die, die out, pass away, fall dead, perish, fall. "Intereo!" Pass away, go under, become lost, die, go by, perish.

A terrible shriek filled the dark cave, elevating the hairs on my neck and giving me goose bumps despite the warmth of the adrenaline and blood pumping in my veins. The captain had his mouth open, his face frozen in time, his posture that of a horrible pain.

I continued watching the scene that unfolded in front of me, eyes hard like stone. There were no distinct pleasures in watching someone die, nor was there pleasure in watching someone corrupt go about their business in front of you.

The man standing in front of me was no longer standing; he was, literally, not even a man. All that remained of him was a skeleton. That too, fell away to sand as the magic worked its way through his entire being, disintegrating him to nothing. He had perished, and I was free. Officially free. "Hah! Ignorant fools. You build me up, and I break you down." With that final thought, I collapsed.