by Keith Curtis ©2002
This is the vision as seen by Tira. It fades in and out, with the actual murder being the strongest impression.
ut Kanukka didn't seem to be calling for the guards. Instead she reached to her hip, where Annihilator hung. She drew it and Ningan's world instantly focussed on the blade. It was terrible. It seemed to bend vision around its edge. He had never seen it drawn but he had heard of it. It could cut through nearly anything, even spirit-enhanced steel. It conferred the anima of a master swordsman to it's wielder. Kanukka raised it and pointed it at his throat.
"Doddering old Ningan. Always wailing and moaning about the plight of beasts, of the riven, of mutants. Of... Trash!
"You saw something, didn't you, you white-livered nothing. What did you see? Answer me!"
"D-death. Death and fire."
"You saw right, old man. Tomorrow will see the arrival of reinforcements and the crushing of Trask. But tonight! Tonight will see the cleansing, the purification of Tallon. Tonight will see the burning out of our sickness, the blight of an inhuman disease. But even before that, tonight will witness the end of a worthless, spineless, old man!
The sword flicked up, seeming to cut the light from the room. Ningan struggled to move, but fear held him fast. The blade came down. At that instant the room suddenly lit with a hellish glow and the floor rocked with a resounding concussion. Shelves spilled their contents to the floor and both adepts were knocked from their feet. Annihilator went flying and cut through the lumina chandelier.
Though his fingers closed around it in a clumsy manner, once it was in his grasp he turned like a seasoned swordsman. Before Kanukka could draw breath for the guards, Ningan had passed the sword completely through her body. He had his eyes closed.
Ningan felt the body of Kanukka shudder and then slide off the sword. There was a muffled sound as she collapsed to the floor at his feet. He opened his eyes and looked. There was a surprisingly small amount of blood. He gazed around the room. Fire flickered outside. A flaming missile had struck the palace. Something clicked in Ningan's brain and thought began to flow quickly and lucidly. He knew there were only moments before the domo and Kanukka's Paladins came to check on her. Hastily he barred the door. That would buy him a few minutes more. He replaced Annihilator in Kanukka's scabbard; the blade showed no traces of violence.
Hastily he drew Annihilator again. he sword was more than tool enough for his purposes. With a few deft strokes, he slashed through the support beams for the chamber. Chunks of marble flew and plastered frescoes disintegrated. In no time at all, the room creaked ominously.
Now was the tricky part. He must avoid being killed when the room collapsed. He did not have enough time to enhance his body's natural resilience, so he had to depend on the reflexes provided by his heightened anima. Nevertheless he quickly took cover under a large and heavy table, oblivious to the pounding which now began on the other side of the door.
It was only now that he began to register what he had actually done. He had killed the Archon. The Archon, the keeper of the Word and the Way, the living disciple of Prometheus. It was unthinkable, evil, obscene. He had the blood of his sovereign on his hands. The floor cracked with a sharp retort.
Sure enough, the floor gave way first, followed by the outer wall and ceiling. The chamber and its adjacent rooms collapsed in on one another. Ningan was protected from the worst of it by the table, but he nonetheless felt a piercing pain as a shard of glass drove into his right thigh.
Using all his considerable discipline, he banished the pain from his mind. There was still work to do. Crawling from the shelter of the now broken table, he clambered over the rubble until he found the Archon's body. Once again he replaced Annihilator.