Carnival Fantasia

Marana Scarlet is coming....what will you do? .....What will you do?

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18. Hollow-Bastion pt 2

Marana's eyes scanned the Cathedral. 

It's stain glass windows in shattered peaces. 

Paintings faded and eaten by mould. 

Broken benches and pillars. 

Shadows shifted like predators in the sea. 

"Wonder which gods they prayed to here?" Cage asked aloud. 

"Judging by that sacrificial alter up front and those tools, not a particularly nice god". 

Within the shadows star like eyes lit up and a psychotic yet comical grin with blunt white teeth floated to the surface. The spirit of the undead priest of Hollow-Bastion still lingers in the Cathedral and he is still looking for scarifies. He waits in the shadows, like a spider, he waits for his pray to fall into his trap. 

"It's too quiet here", Cage complained searching for a way out other then hay way they came. This darn castle was quite complex to get around, whomever had designed it certainly made it with making people get lost within in mind.

The shadow reached out with it's cold long arms towards Marana's shadow that was cast like a sheet along the floor and placed it's hands on her shoulders.

Marana shuddered as she suddenly got cold shoulders.

The priests of Hollow-bastion were greet Shadows manipulators, capable of bending shadows to their every whim. They would hide in their own shadows and use shadows as a means of attack, they could even swim through the night as if a shark through water.

The cold hands of the priest wrapped around Marana's shadow yet she felt them coiling around her neck with the strength to rip her head from her shoulders. 

She couldn't breath and the pain. Her eyes felt as if they were going to be burst from their sockets. All she could do was make a strange chocking noise and grip Cage's scarf. 

"I will purge this world of it's greatest evil," the Shadow priest whispered into her ear. "You Marana Scarlet the bearer of the Crown of the Worlds Hatred".   

"Marana!" Cage gasped with concern, he could see her chocking, he could see the marks around her neck but no hands. 

"Sha....dows", Marana gargled. 

Cage spun around and lowered his gaze to the floor, his shadow was laid out before him, Marana's shadow extended his own, he spotted the attacker instantly its hands wrapped around her neck. No hesitation he charged over, silver sword already in hand twisted the handle reverse in his hand and plunged it into the floor. 

The shadow swirled around the blade laughing wildly and swam away, "Too slow". 

Marana gasped for breath.

Cage readied himself, going down into a crouch. 

The priest leaped from shadow to shadow, to Cage it looked like a black cloak with a mind of it's own but in reality it was more like a shark jumping in and out of water, searching for weak spots. "To night is a good night, to night Marana Scarlet falls, tonight her blood will overfill the alter and run down the alter steps like a stream". 

"If you want her come out of the shadows and fight me like a man!" Cage taunted. "Coward!" 

"It matters not if I am a coward I am doing the world a favour by ridding it of evil, I am merely doing as the divines ask". 

"Don't you dare use the divines to justify you actions, she's just an innocent girl, she doesn't deserve to die!"

The priest crawled up a pillar and leaned around the edge, "How led astray from the narrow path you are, child allow me to illuminate, the child you carry on your shoulder is Marana Scarlet her infamy is legendary!" 

"I know of the evil she has done. I was there fighting on the front line twelve years ago!" 

"Then why do you protect that which is evil?" 

"I protect that which is innocent! I am protecting that which cannot be seen by eyes now enough talk get down here so I can imbed my sword into you gut or get out of my way!" 

The Priests cheeks pulled back into an ugly grin, "Poor little puppet, he does not realise that Marana is manipulating his every move and thought, tell me what is it that she's promised you if you help her, fame? Money? Power? You do know those are meaningless earthly products that corrupt the human heart and condemn them to the firry pits of endless oblivion? Trust me child it's just not worth it". 

"Shut your mouth, if your not going to come down and fight me then we're leaving, I see no sense in listening to you prattle on, nothing you have said so far has been the slight bit useful or even threatening!" 

"Typical meat head and just what I'd expect a puppet to say because deep down inside, you know I'm right". 

"He's getting on my nerves," Marana grumbled in annoyance, "Let me twist his face of with my magic so we can be on our way". 

"Quite you!" Cage snapped. 

Marana glared.

The Shadow Priest sniggered and leaped from his perch spreading his arms wide, down he came so fast that Cage only had time to defend before he was bowled over and crashed into a bench behind him, Marana was lifted from his shoulder by the priest and was carried across the room and slammed into a solid brick wall.

"Let her go!" Cage bellowed picking up his sword as he rushed over. 

"Tonight you die Marana!" The priest brought back his arm which extended in length, his fist grew in size as big and wide as Cages body. 

The fist collided with Cage and hit him so hard the he was sent whirling backwards his body smashed and bounced off a pillar with a gut wrenching crack.

"Judgement comes to all in time and tonight it is yours, on behalf of all those dead and all those alive I send you on to the after life, may the gods have mercy on your soul although I would find it difficult to believe if anything could show you mercy after everything you have done".

Cage scrambled to his feet, "Let her go!" he shouted furiously, "Un-hand my sister!" his feet tangled and down he went. 

Marana gave the Priest a dark sinister stair from behind her blood red hair. 

The priest brought back his fist. 

A fist imbued with the power of shadows and capability to destroy. 

But Marana had other ideas. 

"Don't!" Cage howled, scurrying to his feet and picking up his blade again, Cage thundered past the benches. 

"Die Marana and good riddanaarrrggg!" his voice twisted into a scream of agony as his body ignited into emerald flames. 

Marana kicked him square in the chest freeing herself from his grasp and ran to Cage. 

The Shadow Priest wailed as his flesh burned and his eyes melted. 

"Cover!" Marana barked and without a sign that he understood Cage dragged her behind a pillar just as the priest exploded into fairy flames. 

Tables and benches were blown backwards with the force and court fire. 

The room shock knocking them to the ground.

"Did I say you could use magic!" Cage growled furiously. 

"I nearly died!" Marana shouted back, "Besides that wasn't me". 

"If it wasn't you then who?" Cage put his back to the pillar and peered around the corner. And saw a figure, cloaked and cowled and wearing a mask. Cage gripped his sword as the figure hobbled forward, looking about. "Another enemy", he grumbled. 

"Or an allay," Marana injected, "That wooden mask looks familiar and he did incinerate that priest". 

"He made him explode, how do we know that attack wasn't ment for us?"

"I'm sure if he were an enemy, he'd have tried to kill us both by now, just let me confirm that he's not an enemy, if he is hostile, kill him, sound good". 

"No!" Cage said stubbornly, "Its too risky, I cannot let you put Violets body in anymore danger than it already is". 

The shady figure ebbed closer, taking one shifty step after another. "Marana?" he rasped. Marana's ears prickled, that voice was familiar, "Are you still here master". 

"Master", Cage mouthed. 

"Cruxus?" Marana called. 

"It is I Master Marana Scarlet, your humble servant, Cruxus the Necromancer is here". 

Marana then remembered, Cruxus the Necromancer the one whom had created for her her army of abominations using the remains of dead corpses and the living. She had thought that when she fell from her throne that all her generals and servants had died, yet, here was one of them. 

She came from around the corner. 

The Necromancer fell flat on his face bowing, "Cruxus humbles himself before you". 

Cage followed, not liking this one bit. 

"Rise Cruxus the Necromancer, I have questions for you" Marana ordered.

He rose, "Cruxus will answer all your questions but not here, not in the Cathedral of Shadows inside Hollow-Bastion, please follow my to my chambers, it is safer there". 

"And why should we?" Growled Cage. "How can we trust you?" 

"Cruxus is a loyal servant of Marana Scarlet and Cruxus would never betray Marana Scarlet, no, never". 

"That doesn't sound very convincing to me", Cage gripped his sword very tightly. "How did you even know we were here in the first place". 

"Cruxus sees all who enter the Plain of Ash and Dust. Cruxus sees you. Cruxus seas the one's who hunt you above. Cruxus silently manipulated the events above so Marana Scarlet would find herself here, inside Hollow-Bastion". 

"And the Shadow Priest?" Cage said sharply. 

"An unforeseen occurrence as it is unpredictable as to what might happen when Marana Scarlet walks across the land, thing die whilst others awaken, Cruxus was just glade he got here in time to save his precious master-",

Marana huffed, "You were here to save me this time but what about twelve years ago?" 

"Cruxus's and his heart ache's that he was not there when master needed him most but Cruxus is here now and Cruxus is here to help. Cruxus would like Marana Scarlet to follow him to his chamber were it is safe and well hidden from others, your knight is more than welcome, a friend of Marana is a friend of Cruxus as well". 

"Don't get the wrong idea," Cage lifted his sword, "I'm not her friend and I'm certainly not yours and I would like to make a point that I'm not here by choice".

"Cage!" Marana turned to face him, "I think it would be in our interests to follow him, we're stuck down here without many other options". 

"I'd rather take my chances but I don't suppose your going to let up on this, fine, I'll go along with this for now but if I think my sisters body is going to be in harms way, I'm bailing us out". 

"Thats fine with me!" Marana squinted her eyes. 

"If that is all follow Cruxus", the necromancer rasped, "Follow Cruxus....".                                 
                      
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