William Slade, Shadow Slayer, Episode Six: The Shadow Spawn's Son
—by Nathan on March 25, 2011—
Previously: William Slade, having come to peaceful terms with a mysterious attacker, is led to the Temple of Terrm. The attacker goes by the name of Orto, and his job is to protect the splendid temple and the powerful object that lies inside: the Rod of Rojulles. Convincing the sentry that he has come to see the temple, William ponders how he will exactly continue on with the quest given to him by Shadow Spawn, Zazek. There will come a time where he will have to attack his new companions, but he doesn't want to. While going over this dilemma in his mind, the Shadow Slayer is led through the Temple of Terrm. The two come upon a shrine to the Creator, Gollion, where the Rod of Rojulles is kept. The masquerade is thrown away, and William knocks Orto out. Grabbing the Rod, William is stunned as it begins to glow. As it grows blinding, someone thumps William across the head. The world goes dark.
William, his head burning with pain, opened his eyes. He was in a dark room, drenched in shadow. The only light came through a barred door, the glowing flickers of a torch's flame. The Slayer heard a sound, a low whisper. Words being sung, the song unmistakable. "Yolay's Return", the national anthem of the kingdom of Grizale.
"Yolay, Yolay, Son of the Great, Gollion, the God, He who creates, Fell to the darkness, the black, the shadow, In a way unfitting a man of battle.
Killed and buried under the earth, Three days after, bursting in new birth, Yolay, Yolay, come once again, Save us from the darkness within"
William could see nothing of the singer, save two eyes, burning red. "Who...?" he asked quietly, leaning forward, hissing and clutching at his head as it erupted in a new spasm of pain. Chains scraped along the ground as he moved, confirming the fact that he was bound.
The eyes blinked in the darkness, compassionate. "I am sorry for your pain, yet I cannot offer relief. I, too, am shackled and bound in this accursed place, the reason being unjust and spiteful. You cannot see me in the dark, but you have no need to worry as to what I may be. Even if I were free to move, I would not seek to cause you harm."
Rubbing his sore head, William met the gaze of the eyes. They looked at him, and he stared back. Neither of them spoke for a time, and William partially relished in the silence as it gave him time to wonder the identity of this fellow prisoner.
"Who are you?" he finally asked conceding to defeat, having racked his mind and being unable to discern the who the captive was. "Are you a man, like me? A guardian of Terrm, tossed her for some crime? A fellow Slayer? No, that would not make since. I know most of the Slayers, and none of them have the color of eyes you possess."
"Please," the creature spoke, its tome seeming like a plead. "Do not mention the eyes. They have marked me several times over the years, being like my mother's, may Gollion punish her forever. Worse than my father, she was. A terrible being whose guiding impulses were death and destruction. My heart floods with shame whenever I'm reminded that I am her offspring.
"Knowing who my father is only increases the weight of shame in my soul. Times have come where I wished I was dead, or never born to such cruel, heartless parents. Ha. Parents. If such a word could be used to describe them. Monsters, perhaps. Beasts. Inhuman creatures that should never have been given the breath of life."
He cursed them, closing his eyes, and William could see him no longer.
"I have no intention of being rude, but you still have not answered my question," William urged, scooting closer. "What is your name?"
"DO NOT REMIND ME OF WHO I AM!" the creature raged. There came the sounds of chains scraping along the stone floor as the eyes rose, indicating that he stood. The creature stopped when his eyes were ten feet above the ground. "I KNOW who I am! I need not be told again, and again, and again! Ask me anything but that. Please."
"Who is your father, then? Your mother?"
The eyes hovered closer. The answer was as William expected.
"That is another question I will not answer."
The eyes hovered the lower, the chain moved again, indicating that the creature sat. The eyes stayed on William, and the young Slayer stared back. Silence ensued, an uneasy silence between two pairs of eyes that blinked every so often.
William broke the quiet, with another question. "Can you at least tell me your name?"
The eyes looked around, leaving William's gaze. They glanced up at the ceiling as the creature spoke. "Kazez. My name is Kazez."
"It is nice to meet you, Kazez," William said, staring at him.
At that, there came the clanging of metal. The cell door swung open, allowing light to spill into the prison, and a burly man dressed like Orto had been stepped into the room, a sword strapped to his waist. His hand hovered over it as he gave a gruff command. "Follow me. Both of you. It is time for the Slayer and the Shadow to face judgment, together. How odd that such hated races would die together serving as allies."
William watched Kazez as he stepped out of the shadows into the light...shivering with recognition. He looked exactly like Zazek had, perhaps his ears were a little less-pointed, but he seemed to be a copy of the Shadow Spawn.
"You're a..." he began.
Kazez whirled his arm, backhanding the Slayer. "DON'T!"
Without a word, he followed the guard out into a hallway, William right behind, and the large man led them through a series of tunnels until they stepped into a huge arena.
It was a giant, domed ring filled with thousand of roaring spectators. They seemed to have ventured from every corner of the world, displaying features of every race. They jeered, hissed, and booed and the two as they stepped out.
A door lay at the end, a massive, iron gate. What lay beyond William hoped he never figured out.
A platform extended from one part of of the stands. A man dressed in white robes stood on it, hands raised towards the ceiling. "This," he called out, "is a day of judgment! Today, these two criminals shall be judged fairly. The first is a Slayer, one who dared to attack one of our very own guardians. On top of that, he attempted to steal our most sacred relic: The Rod of Rojulles. For that, he shall face..."
"DEATH!" the crowd bellowed.
Nodding, the man quieted the screaming crowd down before continuing. "Our second evildoer is here on account of his father. For this Shadow, this Kazez, is the son of the heartless Zazek. It may seem harsh that we punish his son, but we say we are justified. Zazek has caused so much pain. Does it not seem right that we offer some in return?"
"And, so, with your consent, Gollion, we begin this trial so that both may see..."
William looked at Kazez, who silently fumed and looked back.
"They shall all pay for this," he promised. "Don't stop me, Slayer. I have a quarter of my father's power. Even so, I could destroy you if I so wished. Stay your hand when these fools pay."
William shook his head. "I cannot promise that."
Kazez scoffed at him. "Then you shall die like the rest."
Their conversation was put to a abrupt end as the gate at the end began to rise. Out from it stepped a two-headed Dragon. It snorted fire at the two and let out a fearsome roar.
In a flash, two swords were thrown at the prisoners' feet. Kazez instantly hefted his and charged the monster, replying its challenge with his own guttural scream. William, however, simply watched, scanning the Dragon. He knew that this would be a difficult fight. Nearly impossible, perhaps. Besides, Kazez was the son of Durele's greatest enemy. Why should he help?
Still, he had to live...
With a sigh, he picked up the remaining blade and joined Kazez in his desperate, perhaps suicidal, charge towards the flamed-tongued beast.