Sunday, September 22, 2013

Part II – The Peach and the Mage

The Power Array Saga

Tales of the Sword and the Peach

A dragon flew through the air. Momotaru lifted his head to the heavens hearing the shrill cry and caught a glance of the large flying reptile. He sat low on the brown horse galloping down London Street. Faces dashed by at a blur. Coming up in a few blocks was the popular, 21 Jump Street - nick named because of the youths standing on the corner dancing to music blaring from a portable stereo with large, square speakers.  
Several blocks down the street, a youth dressed in a dark blue robe with a large hood barreled around the corner. The blue cloaked youth slammed into one of the dancing performers. Colliding bodies collapsed to the cardboard spread across the cement sidewalk. Taller men with dark grey hoods covering their face in deep shadows floated after the blue cloaked youth who wore a piece of string as a belt. The grey hooded mage in front of the group raised his hand and the blue cloaked youth rose into the air as if picked up by an invisible hand.
Momotaru’s hand went to his sword, reacting on instinct. He paused, how could he fight magic, thought Momotaru. He could not forget the group of thugs hot on his trail.
One of the mages in the group whispered on the edge of hearing and they turned to walk away. The blue cloaked youth screamed out for help, hood falling away. He struggled against the invisible, magic bounds that held him aloft. Short, spiky, purple hair and large dark eyes met with Momotaru’s.
Momotaru rode past, ignoring the pleas for help. He was no hero; this business was none of his. It pained him to turn his eyes away and focus on steering his horse through the crowded streets.
The boy would surely be killed.
One of the young street performers that was knocked over by the blue hooded mage, stood and shouted to the retreating grey cloaks. A blood curdling scream followed. Momotaru looked over his shoulder to witness bodies exploding. The last young dancer stood shaking in his boots, pants reeking of feces, too stunned to move. The lead mage lifted his hand while his comrades wore a callous grin.
Against his better judgment, Momotaru found himself wheeling his horse around, the beast sneering and whinnying in protest at the abrupt change in direction. He wove between the pursuing street thugs sitting atop their tiger mounts. They swung at him with lazy sword thrust and rusted daggers that he deflected easily with his forty inch, pitch black, adamantite, straight blade. Momotaru swept past the mage, close enough to send his cloak billowing out in ruffles.   
The mage standing on the corner tried to cast a spell and destroy the last youth of the 21 Jump Street dancers. The mage tried to wiggle his fingers and cast a spell yet to his surprise, there was no response. His face held a questioning expression wondering why the young man was still alive. The mage looked down and realized his hand was no longer attached to his wrist; it lay lifeless on the dirt road.
Sending the horse careening off alone, Momotaru flipped off the back of the steed to land nimbly on his feet, sword poised defensively in front of him.
Mages pulled out daggers and sinuous Kris; meager weapons used for rituals that would prove futile. They rushed forward, shouting and casting arcane bolts that lit up the street with white lightening. Bystanders that had not fled the scene already stampeded away from the powerful combatants, turning the busy London Street into a ghost town.
Flipping through the air to avoid streaks of lightening, Momotaru cut his way through the first few mages in order to get the ones in back forming a summoning circle. Purple light glowed around the remaining mages who formed a triangle. A dark whole in the ground grew darker. A shadow crept towards the opening, accompanied by hellish sounds from the underworld. Before the mages could finish, one mage lost an arm and screamed before the sword plunged into his throat. The other mage broke into a mad dash but fell to his knees, only to look down at twenty centimeters of cold, dark steel protruding through his chest. Momotaru yanked the sword back on a thin string hidden in the hilt of the weapon. He let the last mage run.
The grey hooded man almost made it around the corner before a lance of white hot energy struck the retreating mage in the back. Following the line of the long, thin energy of light, Momotaru watched the energy beam dissipate from the outstretched palm of the young man with spiky purple hair. The young mage wore a coy smile and shrugged his shoulders.
            The tiger riding gang members watched the fight scene play out. Each of them looked to their leader for an idea of what to do next. They had no choice but to throw angry glances over their shoulder and follow when the leader galloped away in the opposite direction.
Momotaru put his green, conical hat back on his head that had fallen during the fighting. He stepped over the bloody mess. The one remaining dancing boy stood watching, shocked and silent until Momotaru lit a cigar. The young dancer collapsed among the dead, unconscious.
            The spikey haired mage ran to Momotaru, “My life is in your hands, kind swordsman.” The olive skinned youth with dingy purple hair wore a bright smile.
Momotaru looked at him, blew out a puff of smoke and continued walking.
The mage had no choice but to follow behind Thame. They walked along silently for many blocks. Finally he asked, “Are you heading out of town?”
“Shower,” replied Momotaru.
“They will come for you,” said the young mage, moving his legs fast to keep up with Momotaru’s long strides. His dingy, thick, cotton robe whooshed softly as the mage pumped his arms, trying to keep pace.
They won’t be the first or the last,” said Momotaru. “Whoever they are.”
The olive toned, baby faced mage paused for a moment, thoughtful expression before changing subjects. “Your sword.”
It sounded like it was more of a question yet Momotaru remained silent.
“If you help me take down the Mage Monolith I will enchant your sword,” said the purple haired youth. “They will come for you…, the mages. There is no doubt about it, when those Adept mages don’t come back they will scry the truth…,” he paused, licking his pink lips. “But if you help me to strike first and return to the Mage Monolith in order to gain the Knowledge Transfer spell; it will be worth your while.”
“Not interested,” responded Momotaru turning down an alley, trying to get away from the annoying young mage.
The purple haired mage scampered around to stand in front of Momotaru. He stopped with arms outstretched.
Coming to a halt, frustrated, Momotaru stared down at the stubborn child in front of him with a threatening gaze. The luck of the Gods was with Momotaru this day. He caught the reflection of two elven swordsmen in the young mage’s dark eyes. Like a ray of light, Momotaru turned and slashed through the lead swordsman. The other could not get his guard up in time as Momotaru sliced an X across his back that sheered through ribs, and backbone.
The dead swordsman hit the side of a building and slid to the ground. The Aver City Guards badge clanged to the floor.
The young mage voiced Momotaru’s thoughts, “You have to leave the city now.”