“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to these things.” Raizure sighed.
“You made the choice to be augmented.” Rhune snapped
“Not all of us can be blessed with the death of a Rhune, Panzer. Besides if it wasn’t for that little friend of yours I would never have lost my hands.”
Rhune’s face twitched slightly. His better judgement told him not to feel guilty, despite the clear split between to two houses Rhune was still unsure where his loyalties lay. His actions spoke for the hardline of Morpheus yet with the power of Rhune taking control of his body and dominating his mind he found himself loyal to Vensindal. He looked at Raizure’s hands and where the metal joined the scarred flesh. He recalled all the times Roteus had saved his life. He gave up trying to make sense of his life and just shook his head, returning his focus to the task at hand.
“Can we be sure Ghost is here?”
“If you were saving the souls of those Morpheus and Vensindal sent to the Inquisitors could you think of a better place to hide out?”
“You two should have taken action by now!”
Raizure instantly recognized the voice that taunted them spinning round a hundred and eighty degrees he launched his metal talons. Roteus side stepped them easily and drove his foot into Raizure’s chest. Raizure’s shoulder hit the cave wall as he fell back, Rhune stepped forward with his sword drawn. Roteus raised his gloved hands and backed down.
“Hold on there, old friend. We’re on the same side.”
“Not from where I’m standing.” Rhune hissed.
“You miss understand, Morpheus wants Ghost out of the way and since Minion messed up I guess I was the best choice.”
Raizure gnashed his bloodstained teeth as he rose to his feet. For the first time Roteus got a good look at the result of the damage he had inflicted. He gave a thin smile as he slowly lowered his hands.
“They certainly patched you up well.”
“All the better for ripping out your throat!”
Raizure went for him again. Roteus drew and raised his gun inline with Raizure’s head just as Raizure’s talons wrapped around his neck. Roteus’ eyes narrowed as Raizure’s light grip still managed to draw blood.
“Shall we see how well they are at skull reconstructions?”
Rhune spun his sword in his hands and held the blade in front of their faces. Rhune looked at Raizure then at Roteus and then back to Raizure.
“Stand down we’re all here for the same reason.”
“I’m not working with his kind! I want my pound of flesh!” Raizure snarled.
Raizure’s grip tightened, Roteus smiled and managed a slight chuckle. Suddenly a cold wind blew. Roteus’ smiled disappeared, a swift kick to Raizure’s chest broke him free him his grasp with minimal damage. He spun round ninety degrees. Rhune dove out of the way as Roteus opened fire. From the shadows Ghost emerged and with one wave of his hand the bullets vanished.
“You should not have come here!” Ghost bellowed.
Roteus pulled back to reload as Raizure leapt at Ghost. Ghost sidestepped and Raizure’s claws tore into the rocky wall. Ghost grabbed him by the throat and threw him back over to the others.
“Minion knew not to come back here, why could you not learn from his mistakes!”
“Just shut up and die!” Roteus snarled as he brought the gun back round.
Unloading another full clip accomplished nothing. Ghost merely waved his hand again and the bullets ceased to exist. Ghost moved to strike but was suddenly forced to go on the defensive as Rhune brought his sword down. Ghost evaded barely evaded each one of Rhune’s attacks but then with one backhanded swipe Rhune found his target. The blade sliced into the soft flesh of Ghost’s side just below the rib cage. Ignoring the slight wound Ghost drew back and steadied himself.
“A Halas Templar!”
“Not just any, I am Rhune.”
“You’re not Rhune, you’re not Troy let alone Endura.”
“Troy is dead as you will be.”
Ghost seemed to relax. His demeanour shifted but his facemask hide the emotions of his face. His body remained motionless, as he looked over his three would be attackers, moving his head only slightly in either direction.
“Speak your name Templar!”
“I am Rhune! Panzer was my name!”
“You are but a shard, Panzer Rhune! A mere fraction of the warrior you claim to be!”
A great pain suddenly gripped Ghost. He doubled over as it first swept through him. He then threw his arms out as he rose to his feet. In a blind rage he ran past them knocking them all off their feet. He dove down along the waterfall into the crystal waters below.
“What the hell was that about?” Roteus asked dumfounded.
“Does it matter?” Raizure snapped. “We have a job to do we don’t have time to philosophise. How do you want to handle this Rhune?”
Rhune returned his sword to it’s sheathe and moved back to the waterfall and looked down into the waters below. He couldn’t see Ghost, he knelt down to get a closer view but still nothing.
“We must follow him.”
“Great plan.” Roteus sighed.
“He bleeds, he can die!”
With those words Rhune stood up and launched himself out. A few feet from the cave mouth he began to drop. Rhune spread his arms to slow his decent, but his weight combined with that of his weapons made him hit the water with incredible force. He surfaced near the water’s edge and emerged unscathed.
“Impressive.” Raizure mused.
“Remember when he was just a chopper pilot?”
“Yeah, but now its your turn to fly!”
Raizure grabbed Roteus by the arm and shoulder and threw him down the waterfall. His decent was rapid. The force sent him straight to the bottom. He felt some of his ribs give way as he struck the rocks. He sprang forth from the water taking in a massive gulp of air. His first attempts to swim were interrupted when Raizure dove into the water next him. Raizure dragged himself and Roteus to the water’s edge.
“I shouldn’t have stopped at your hands.” Roteus hissed as he wiped the blood from his mouth.
“You’ll heal.” Raizure replied coldly.
Rhune had already moved on, he began investigating the first of a series of small wooden shelters. The wood was old and sections were rotten. Before taking his first step inside Rhune drew his sword. There were signs of the place being lived in and recently. A slight shuffling on the rotting floorboards caused Rhune to spin around. An emaciated grey figure was trying to sneak his way out of the door. Rhune swore under his breath for not seeing him earlier. When the creature realised he had been spotted he reached out for a narrow blade that rested near him. Without hesitation Rhune surged forward. Rhune drove his sword into the aged wood between the blade and the creature’s shaking hand. Rhune kicked the weapon away and stared down at the pathetic life form.
“Waste of flesh.”
Rhune raised his sword and poised for a death strike. It raised its sickly thin arms to cover his head giving off a feeble whimper. Rhune backed down and called to the others. Raizure and Roteus entered quickly. Neither paid any head to the cowering life form bar a casual glance.
“Ghost betrayed us to protect the likes of this.” Roteus muttered.
“We have no idea what the Inquisitors did to him, he may have even been a friend of ours.” Raizure replied.
“We’ll deal with him and any others later, first we must find Ghost.” Rhune ordered.
Rhune stormed out. With his sword still firmly in his hand he cast his gaze around at the other crumbling shelters. He drove his sword into the soft earth in front of his feet and held out his hands. His muscles tensed as he focused his power. His hands clenched into fists as they began to glow. With a quick side step, he grabbed his sword with both hands and unleashed a wave of energy. Staying close to the ground it scorched the once green grass on its way to one of the shelters. The decayed wood exploded and shattered with such force the shelters around it grumbled also.
“Ghost, show your self and end this!” Rhune yelled. “The time has come to answer for your crimes!”
Roteus and Raizure bolted from the shelter they were in and took up positions behind Rhune. They instantly relaxed when they realized Rhune was just posturing.
“Nice one Rhune, that pointless expenditure will just reduce your fighting capacity.” Raizure snarled.
“If Ghost thinks I’m an easy mark he is more likely to come out and face us. After all you two couldn’t even scratch him.”
Ghost appeared behind them. His very presence sent chills down their spines. They spun round with their weapons at the ready but Ghost merely stood there with his hands out stretched.
“Why can’t you just leave us in peace?” Ghost bellowed.
“It may have something to do with your extraction method.” Raizure growled.
“You all intended to kill those I wished to save, my actions were justified! Yet I see you are capable of mercy, to your detriment.”
From nowhere the emaciated figure attacked Roteus. Striking with the blade with such precision Roteus was unable to mount and effective counter attack. Leaving Roteus to his own devices Raizure and Rhune went after Ghost. Although their attacks were swift Ghost evaded them easily, occasionally driving them back with an open hand attack. Rhune changed his tactic, using an energy blast from his sword to decimate the ground at Ghost’s feet. The explosion sent Ghost backwards where he staggered and fell. Raizure lunged and managed to drive his talons through Ghost’s right thigh. Ghost roared in pain from beneath his mask. With pent up rage, he sent a clenched fist into the side of Raizure’s head. Raizure rendered unconscious fell to Ghost’s right, his talons inflicting more damage as the exited at a different angle. Fuelled by his rage Ghost managed to stand and squared off with Rhune.
“Resourceful I grant you but I will not be killed by a whelp!”
“I don’t think you have a lot of choice.”
Rhune swung his sword over his head then brought it down diagonally slashing Ghost from his left shoulder to the muscle wall above his appendix and then spun the sword in his hands to deliver a backhanded swing across Ghost’s chest. Ghost once again roared in pain and slowly fell to his knees.
“Quin!” He bellowed.
The emaciated figure that had been dealing with Roteus looked over to Ghost. He then looked down at the batter Roteus; he had stopped using the blade some time ago and had just been beating him with a clenched. Dispatching one more blow from his bruised knuckles Quin broke Roteus’ jaw. Leaving Roteus for dead Quin picked up his blade and began to advance on Rhune. Rhune smiled and spun round to face Quin while delivering a quick round house kick to Ghost sending him to the ground.
“You will not survive the last of Vensindal’s Forsaken.”
“Well aren’t you keen, but judging by the size of Ghost I’d have to say you were the bitch.” Rhune scoffed allowing the mindset of Panzer to temporarily resurface.
“I owe him my life I will die to protect him.”
Quin raised his blade and assumed a battle stance. Rhune again spun the sword; reversing his grip he rested the blade on his right shoulder. He then beckoned with his left hand for Quin to attack. Quin adjusted his stance tensing the muscles in his legs, ready to attack.
“Quin, no!” Ghost gasped as he fought to get back on his knees. “We must concede this day to them.”
Quin nodded and launched his blade at Rhune. Rhune snarled at dispatched the feeble attack with one downward strike. In that moment of distraction Quin leapt over Rhune’s head and grabbed Ghost. Rhune came around with another downward strike, but Quin with the massive bulk of Ghost leapt to safety and began climbing the rock face. Rhune tried to focus his power but slumped forward to drained to unleash another energy blast.
“This isn’t over.” Rhune spat as he recovered from his failed attack.
Rhune sheathed his sword and picked Raizure, slinging him over his shoulder. Rhune walked over to Roteus and nudged him with his foot so that he would turn over allowing the blood to flow out from his mouth.
Rhune turned his back on Roteus and looked back at the rock face. His muscles ached just looking at the distance he had to climb. He looked around for Quin, but he had long since made his escape.