Making his way back down the long, spiral staircase Kharadin mulled over ideas of what the disturbance in Pandema may actually be due to. He had dealt with forces before that had laid cities and civilisations to waste, but the thought that one person or thing could command the power that Fareng described to him was quite disturbing.
The way Kharadin imagined it the power this thing wielded was like no other he had witnessed. Clearly there was some form of magic involved but to make flames erupt from the ground was far beyond the proficiency of any practitioner or the arcane arts. He was familiar with the spells one could perform with knowledge of the arts, for he himself was taught as part of becoming a Xenoch Knight and at no point did he recall flames bursting forth from the ground being part of his learning. Even Rynn, his tutor, never displayed such ability. The more he thought the more perplexing the problem became, who or what exactly was causing all of the trouble in Pandema? More importantly though, would he ever have to deal with it?
The grand hall of Nemda Nieth was silent. No soul inhabited the room as Kharadin entered it once again. The great stone statues of warriors passed all seemed to glare at him as he headed for the outside, as if judging him as a Knight, debating whether or not a memoriam to him may join them. When Kharadin drew but paces from the entranceway the doors burst open suddenly, the wind rushing in through the open passage. The Xenoch knight clasped the hilt of his sword and waited to see who he was facing, readying himself to slay anyone who may walk trough the now open doors. No one stood close enough for him to identify, the only thing he could detect was footsteps coupled with the rattle of a heavy scabbard against armour. Kharadin’s muscles tightened as he began to draw his blade, ready for battle. A shadowy figure approached, features hidden by the darkness outside, his footsteps still echoing throughout the hall. The figure slowly drew into the light of the torches in the room, as more of him became visible Kharadin began to relax. The man was clad in black armour the same as his and a black cape hung down around him, dripping with rain water. He had a large sword attached to his belt and heavily armoured legs. As he stepped more and more into the light his face became visible. The man had long silver hair that ran down his back and cyan blue eyes that glowed in the torchlight of the hall. He approached Kharadin, who was still holding his sword, albeit now without the readiness for battle he had just mustered. The man stopped and spoke as he drew to Kharadin’s side, not making eye contact at all. “You may fight me if you wish, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I would kill you.”
Kharadin sheathed his sword and replied “Apologies Volghen, when somebody makes a dramatic entrance like that I have to be ready for anything.”
Volghen sneered, unbeknown to Kharadin he detached his sword and scabbard from his belt. He spun round and struck Kharadin in the back of the legs with it, sweeping the knight of his feet and leaving him to crash to the ground. Volghen drew his sword and held the point between Kharadin’s eyes. “Ready for anything? Your awareness has a lot to be desired Kharadin.” Volghen sheathed his sword and lifted Kharadin to his feet. “I shan’t bother asking about Pandema.” He began to walk away.
Kharadin rubbed the back of his head, trying to disperse some of the pain of falling back onto it. “Why might that be?” Volghen glanced back at him.
“Because Kharadin, I really don’t care, I’ll kill who I’m ordered to kill. I don’t give a damn about details.” Volghen began to walk off again.
“I will.” The Xenoch commander said loudly as he headed for the staircase
One of the things that made Volghen the fearsome warrior that he was, was the complete lack of any compassion or caring for his fellows. He didn’t need it, he had no family and no friend he would ever sacrifice himself for. He was a ruthless cold-blooded killer. He rarely spoke about himself and as he had just told Kharadin he had no care for details when it came to battle, he just killed who he was meant to.
Kharadin had both watched and experienced Volghen’s skills in swordsmanship. Recently he bore witness to the Xenoch commander fight 5 soldiers all at once, embarrassing and slaying each one methodically without even breaking a sweat. Kharadin ran his finger across the scar across his face remembering the day he sustained that wound vividly, for that was the time when he experienced Volghen’s skills first hand. He had asked to accompany Volghen to train that day, at the summit of Mt Endra. Volghen knew of many beasts that inhabited the caves that riddled the mountain and visited it frequently. Nothing thrilled the silver haired warrior more than the rush of battle, however what he had in store for Kharadin was something entirely different to what the Xenoch vice commander had expected.
The summit was clear, which surprised Kharadin as he expected to join Volghen in fighting the numerous monsters that inhabited the mountain. Instead Volghen drew his sword and challenged Kharadin to fight him. Knowing he couldn’t back down Kharadin drew and they fought, never before had he experienced such and intense fight, each blow in the flurry of Volghen’s swipes that he parried sent a shockwave through his arms. Every slash of his own, Volghen batted away with ease. The embarrassment came when Kharadin attempted to side-step a blow and strike back, the dodge worked but as he reared up Volghen launched a ball of fire straight into his stomach, knocking him back dazed. As Kharadin fell, Volghen spun round and with a backward slash wounded him, leaving a large cut from the corner of his left eye, down across the bridge of his nose and ending in the centre of his right cheek. Blood covering his face and with an intense feeling of shame Kharadin asked for Volghen to yield, almost regretting having ever asked to train with him.
Outside Nemda Nieth the wind still rushed strongly over the hilltop, the flames in the torches danced as if they were alive. The wind was not only strong but bitterly cold, it carried the icy chill of the Xandathian winter, nevertheless Kharadin walked on, back onto the path leading back down to Thanados, where his family were sleeping.