Blood Oath (Book 2 of Alfireán age)


Goosebumps formed on Dy’Ixion’s skin as he watched the sun’s radiance triple in brightness. Long, dark shadows stretched over the plaza, and motes of rocks and dust danced on the ground. Then the honey golden light suddenly blossomed into pure white, and the sun’s shape twisted wildly as it began to collapse.

Something was wrong.

He had never seen an attack anything like this before, but every fiber of his being screamed in terror as his hairs stood on end. His sixth sense kicked in and he threw up his arm. Pouring his energy into a spell, he charged his shield, then cast it over himself just as the sun exploded.

The shield around the city shattered, and the entire horizon transformed into a wall of blazing light that raced down towards him like the judgment of God.

Instinctively, Dy’Ixion raised his hands to guard himself, and his breath caught in his lungs as he watched in disbelief and horror as the white light slammed into him and his army, evaporating all of his men in a single moment—their body’s turning into ash and vanishing before his very eyes as the light consumed them.


Rays of light massaged Alf’s face as he leaned backwards and basked in their warm glow. Letting the world around him fall away, he prayed as the stress from the last hour washed away. Then something tapped his back. Glancing backwards through the overpowering brightness, he could just make out the outline of Olivia pointing skywards. “Zaphaniea,” she whispered then lapsed into unconscious, her arm falling to her side.

That’s right, Alf startled. Olivia had fallen out of the sky after she’d cast the spell last time. He turned his head skyward and scanned the heavens, but only a blanket of pure white looked back at him. He knew she was somewhere directly above them, but he had no clue where, and while Olivia had had the strength to keep aloft until the spell had run its course, he doubted the grand champion did.

“Use a shield as a slide,” a bell-like voice said off to his left, somewhere in the endless white.

Of course, he thought as he flung his hands out and channeled a funnel-shaped shield high into the sky. Seconds later, the sound of wings rustling reached his ears and the shield vibrated as something landed on it. A tangle of white wings and red hair slid down the length of the shield and landed at his feet. Emerging from the light, the outline of one of the maids rushed to his side and carefully untangled the champion as her wings faded away.

“We beat them!” the prince shouted triumphantly, his voice coming from off in the distance where Alf had last seen their attackers. “They are nothing but piles of ash.”

Alf’s heart swelled within him. They had won, he thought as he turned his head towards the heavens and said, “Thank you, Jesus.”


A crack ran the length of Dy’Ixion’s shield, and he pressed his hand against it, channeling energy into the red barrier for all he was worth. Then another crack appeared, and a shaft of light bore threw, cutting a deep gauge in his side. He screamed in pain and pushed his whole body against the shield. Hate and anger boiled off him in waves; he ground his teeth and strained his muscles to their limit as he poured every last bit of his energy into the shield.

He would not die here!

Not when he was so close to his revenge.

NO! Never!!

The endless eternity of white emptiness pounded at him, every now and then breaking through his barrier and cutting into him, but he could not, and would not, yield to it. He fought it with every fiber of his being, even taking some of his own life energy and feeding it into his ever- hungry shield, until, at last, the glow subsided.

Dy’Ixion collapsed to his knees and his shield crumbled as the last of the light faded away, leaving the world in darkness. Flopping to his back, he gazed up into the cloudless sky as his eyes slowly readjusted to the night.

Cloudless? That wasn’t right. What happened to the Emperor’s storm? he thought.

The sound of multiple voices drew him out of his dazed state. Surprised, he glanced around. Apparently, he was not the only one who’d survived; hundreds of people stood around, staring at each other and whispering in hushed voices.

As he tried to wrap his mind around how anyone else could have survived such an attack, the whispers rose in volume till someone yelled, “Look! my arm’s back.”

“My burns, they’re gone!” another shouted.

“I, I’m alive! We’re all alive!”

Stark realization hit him. The survivors were the arena’s defenders—all those he and his men had utterly destroyed. The spell had healed them!

He rose from the ashes, dust and debris falling off him as his tattered cape fell away.

Suddenly, a blood curdling scream rang out and everyone turned to see a panicking older woman backing into an overturned stand. She pointed at him with her bony fingers, her wrinkled hands shaking in fear, and shrieked, “The monster! He’s still alive!”

Thousands of angry eyes turned on him, and a shiver of fear ran down Dy’Ixion’s spine. Faster than any of them could react, he threw out his hand and wind swirled as a wall of force slammed into a group of the survivors, plowing the defenders over and clearing a path.

Channeling a new shield around himself, he took off at a dead run as ice spikes and lighting spells impacted harmlessly against his new barrier. The ashes of his fallen army clung to his boots as he made his way through the plaza and towards escape. Then more cockroaches swarmed into his path, attempting to cut him off, but Dy’Ixion once again threw out his arms. The moon glowed and the air screamed as two, slightly visible walls smashed into the interlopers and sent them flying.

Breaking through their midst at last, he darted for the closest alleyway and disappeared into its dark recesses, leaving his pursuers in the dust. Reaching a safe distance, he slowed to a walk. This was ridiculous—he, Lord Dy’Ixion, powerful sworn blood oath, leader of all Vackzilian’s forces, forced into fleeing from a bunch of maggots.

He clenched his fist. He would utterly-

A hologram of Vackzilian formed in front of him, cutting off his thoughts.


Alf gently laid Olivia and the grand champion in the grass.

“How are they?”Drake asked as he strolled up from behind.

Alf took a deep breath and sighed, “Olivia,” he said, “I think is just unconscious from over exertion, but Zaphaniea… I don’t know. The muscles in her arms and legs don’t look too good.”

The prince kneeled beside the champion and removed his eye patch, revealing his dragon eye. After several moments, he said, “She tore them.”

“Is that bad?” Alf asked.

The boy shook his head. “The healers at Brockovich should have no issue mending them.”

That was good to know, Alf thought as an invisible weight lifted off him. His eyes drifted over to Olivia, and he smiled as he watched her sleep. Her long dark eyelashes rested against her cheeks, and her sleeping lips curled into a soft smile.

“She is certainly a stunning creature,” the prince whispered in awe.

“She sure is,” Alf muttered dreamily.

“All the other times, she’s just so scary looking.”

“No she’s not. She’s always looks like an ang…” Alf trailed off as he realized Drake was actually talking about Zaphaniea.

The prince gazed at her with an expression of half admiration and half …. well, Alf couldn’t quite figure out what it was, then shook himself and turned away. “Do you think you’re capable of carrying both of them? We should get back to Harold as soon as possible.”

Alf nodded and started to say he could when he felt a familiar pang in his chest. He looked back towards the city and the prompting grew. “I can’t,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I need to go back and make sure everyone else is all right.”


“Report ,” the Emperor’s hologram demanded.

Dy’Ixion skidded to a halt and bowed deeply, trying to hide the anger boiling within him. “Sire. I and my men had secured the arena and annihilated its defenders when a giant sun spell of some sort went supernova. It killed all of my men, and healed theirs.”

“Interesting,” Vackzilian stroked his goatee. “That must be why my scryings failed.” He raised an eyebrow at Dy’Ixion. “And how about the other two blood oaths I sent with you?”

“Their whereabouts are currently unknown,” Dy’Ixion answered, keeping his face as impassive as possible. “They were chasing after the grand champion as she ran away last I saw them.”

“Ah yes,” Vackzilian droned, “I saw the winged one flee. How many more men do you think you need to finish the job?”

“It’s difficult to say. My energy is almost depleted, and their forces are spoiling for a fight. If you send another blood oath, I’m certain it will be enough to crush them.”

“All the others are busy elsewhere, but I do have four-hundred worthless scum I freed from Victiles. I will send them.”

Dy’Ixion started to bow again as he said, “thank you Sire,” but the loud, screeching sound of steel on shield from right behind him cut him off. He spun around just-in-time to see an after- image of the man in charred green armor he had knocked out earlier—except now the warrior’s armor gleamed in the night, polished to a shine, and all signs of the fire that had charred it earlier were gone.

Vackzilian raised an eyebrow as his eyes followed the green blur the warrior had left behind. “It seems the flea you were paying so much attention to earlier has returned.”

The anger Dy’Ixion felt dissipated, only to be replaced with a tinge of uneasiness. Vackzilian’s apparent ability to spy on him without his knowledge might become a problem in the future. He’d have to keep that in mind.

“Capture him without killing him,” the Emperor continued. “I would like to personally examine him.”

The sound of a sword slamming against his shield echoed throughout his barrier once more. This time, he didn’t even bother to look in his attacker’s direction. “Yes Sire,” he said to the hologram and bowed deeply, “I will do as you say.”

Without so much as a nod, Vackzilian’s image disappeared.

As the light and water-based projection dissipated, the warrior appeared in front of him, leaned forward, and prepared to draw his sword.

Dy’Ixion tensed. Something about the man’s stance told him the oncoming attack was not one he could ignore. His flung his hands forward as fast and hard as he could and a magical construct swirled to life in front of him. Quicker than the eye could follow, it raced towards the green-clad warrior just as he drew his weapon.

As his blade emerged from its sheath, the windows in the buildings around them shattered into tiny shards, and a slicing wave of wind rocketed into Dy’Ixion’s attack. His barely visible wall burst into thousands of pieces, and he dived to the side as a deafening boom sent a hair-line crack through his shield, while the explosion from the resulting collision blew his attacker away.

The warrior shot towards a rock wall covered in a glass mural, spinning out of control. But instead of slamming into it, at the last possible second, he spun in midair and landed on the mural, crouched like a tiger, his left hand resting on the wall, and his sword pointed at Dy’Ixion.

Dy’Ixion snorted as he rolled to his feet and swung his right arm in a powerful strike. Another construct flew towards his target. Right before his blow landed, though, the warrior vanished, and the invisible attack crashed into the building, obliterating the glass mural, and sending rocks and debris flying in all directions.

Dust and rock obscured everything from view, and Dy’Ixion stared intently through the floating particles, waiting for another attack.

None came.

“I see the toad is a coward,” he chided as he waited.

In response, three fascinating voices in one overtone broke the silence. The singing sounded like nothing he’d ever heard before; it was magical, but as he listened, Dy’Ixion heard a familiar pitch, and his eyes widened. He had messed with sound frequencies before he turned to the dark arts, and now he distinctly recognized that tone. His opponent was casting a spell with his voice.

“Oh no you don’t,” he growled as he channeled energy into his hand.

A massive strand of electricity erupted from his bruised fingers and pierced into the sky. Splitting into hundreds of small lightning strikes, it rained down on the buildings around him, shaking the world with the sound of thunder and turning their lightning rods into melted slag.

In seconds, the roaring boom of thunder drowned out all other sounds.

After some time of no renewed attacks, Dy’Ixion closed his hand, and the lightning and thunder slowly faded away; then, channeling energy into his eyes, he activated Ra’avah. The dark energy coursing through his veins made everything darker and more indistinct than it used to be, nevertheless, it still served his purpose. He carefully examined the area around him, and after perusing the moonlit structures and shadowy alleys, found nothing.

Hmm, Dy’Ixion thought to himself, looks like he ran. Hopefully, he went back to defend the arena, and I can capture him later.

With that thought, he headed back towards the teleportation stone.


“There is no need,” Drake told him. “There is a thousand battle-hardened fighters at the arena. I’m certain they’re capable of taking care of themselves.”

Alf closed his eyes as he thought it over. “That’s true,” he said. “But something tells me I need to go back.”


“I don’t know. I just feel like I need to, and besides, there’s still a blood oath back there,” he said motioning towards the eerily quiet city. “If these two were any indication, I’m not sure even a thousand warriors are enough.”

Drake shifted uncomfortably for a second then stared up into Alf’s eyes. “Alright, I’ll be straight with you. I know the men at the arena have already been likely crushed, and it is my firm opinion that going back at this point and juncture would be suicide. Both Olivia and Zaphaniea expended their energy to defeat those blood oaths. Besides my father and you, these two are the strongest people I have encountered. The situation was almost perfect. Actually, it was perfect; we couldn’t have asked for a better one. Still,” he waved at the piles of ash, “with all this going for us, we barely beat them.”

Alf lowered his head and pondered his words. “You don’t think I can defeat him?” he asked.

Drake’s eyes turned steely cold. “I don’t think you can’t. I know you can’t. You’re not in the least bit ready yet. If you go back, you will die, and in doing so, you will doom both Olivia and Zaphaniea to be taken prisoner. They’ll be pressed into becoming concubines or blood oaths, and at that point, the entire Empire, if not the entire world, would permanently fall into Vackzilian’s iron grasp.”

The leader of the maids gently laid her hand on Alf’s shoulder. “I may have to agree with him.”

“Ya, I hate to say this,” the redhead said, “but this time I agree with the runt. Diving back into combat in our condition would be fatal.”

The shortest of the maids nodded. “It’s one thing to attack a blood oath when you have the upper hand and a plan, but to just charge into a fight without one…”

“He’ll crush you,” the redhead finished her sister’s line of thought.

“The ladies are right. I’d like to help them,” Drake said, “but that’s just not an option right now. We need to get back to Harold before Zaphaniea wakes up. If she lapses into consciousness in her current condition, she will be in excruciating pain. ”

Alf shook his head. “I know what you’re all saying, and in the natural it’s probably right, but God is far bigger than any man.” He took a deep breath and stood tall. “And my heart is telling me I have to go back.”

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