Loque stirred, rolling to lay on his back and stare at the sky. Clouds, stained gold and pink, drifted through the sky. Pushing himself into a sitting position, Loque rubbed his eyes. A flash of red crossed his vision, startling Loque.
Pulling his hand away, Loque paused as he spotted his hand. Rather than seeing his natural skin, Loque found himself staring at skin stained the color of blood. Slowly turning it over, Loque silently stared at his hand without blinking.
Sighing, Loque slowly rose to his feet and yawned. Glancing around, Loque spotted another figure, skin stained blood-red, lying on the ground. Poking the man with his foot, Loque pushed him onto his side. Starting at the man’s face, Loque froze. The man’s face was familiar, a nagging sensation at the back of his mind, but Loque ignored it.
Turning away from the man, Loque stooped down collecting the Bloodstones that had fallen from his pocket. Loque turned all but one to dust, collecting the energy inside of his body. Looking back to the North, Loque reformed his Oathseeker, watching the golden sword twist from the Bloodstone into his hand.
Leaving the man behind, Loque began to walk forward and down the hill. Before he’d made it very far, a wave of power washed over the hills. Loque braced himself against the stirring winds, looking at the mountains as they slowly began to shift.
The entire continent, from the North to the South, rumbled as the mountain range pulled away from the ground. Climbing out from below the towering mountains, a giant figure rose. Letting the mountain range collapse back to the ground undisturbed, the giant, an Okkenan, straightened to its full height. The God’s head reached far above the clouds, drawing the moisture in the air into a swirling vortex around their head.
“You lived,” a deep voice said, echoing from the giant standing in front of the mountains. “How unexpected, though you’re nothing more than a husk, so it makes sense.”
An inhuman smile, one of sheer delight, crept across Loque’s face. He remained standing, simply raised his sword to the sky in a challenge. A rumble, a laugh, roared in Loque’s ears as the giant slowly began to take large, rumbling steps forward.
“You’ve really been overtaken by the illness, haven’t you,” they said, speaking in a softer voice as they looked down at Loque. “But thinking you could slay a member of the Imikka as a mere human, that’s just crazy.”
Loque let out a laugh, ignoring the Okkenan’s ominous figure. “Ukkan,” Loque shouted, calling the Okkenan by name. “Named the greatest Imikka of the Cycle, but here I am to slay you.”
Ukkan smiled, his dirt-coated face forming an amused look. “Human, I could squish you without a second thought.”
Loque didn’t falter, taking the threat in stride. “And I could turn you to dust, if you’re not careful.”
The Okkenan laughed again, the sound thundering across the island. “I’d like to see you try. My kind are immortal, unlike you pathetic mortals.”
Loque didn’t respond, closing his eyes as he tried to quench the energy building up in his chest. All of the stolen Bloodstones had built up and, rather than sustaining him, was itching to be released.
“Did you know that it’s said your blood can curse this affliction?” Loque asked, his voice softer and strained.
“Even if that were true, you’re far too gone to care anymore,” Ukkan replied, boredom scorching his tone. Ukkan lifted a hand, speaking once more, “In any case, thanks for being entertaining for a bit.”
As Ukkan brought his hand down over Loque, the energy building up in Loque tore free. Restraining the sudden influx of energy with all of his willpower, Loque’s back ached as red light, the color of the Bloodstones, seeped into the air.
Turning water to flame, the energy blasted outwards. Flames erupted around Loque, spiraling upwards into the sky and turning the clouds into fire. Ukkan pulled his hand back, the flames scorching his palm.
“What is that?” Ukkan asked, a slight waiver in his voice. “Humans don’t have that kind of power on their own power.”
“I’m not a normal mortal anymore,” Loque replied with a small laugh, his gaze cast beyond Ukkan to the flames stirring in the sky. “This power is enough to slay you, but I want to do it with my sword. I want to do it myself.”
Ukkan took a small step back, the hills shifting below his feet. The ground rippled underway, knocking Loque over as it settled. Pushing himself back up, Loque didn’t pay any attention to the bleeding scrapes.
“So you do want to fight,” Loque shouted, running towards the Okkenan standing hundreds of meters higher than Loque. Ukkan shook his hand, Loque’s momentum instantly halting as he was casually lifted into the air and tossed back.
“You’re a pebble, little more than a nuisance. I’m not going to waste my time with you,” Ukkan replied, scowling as he clenched his fist. Exerting his own power, pulled from a stone embedded into his chest, Ukkan watched as Loque’s body began to compress.
Loque didn’t seem to mind, a psychopathic laugh erupting from his chest as he began to stir the settled dark energy in his chest. Blood-red energy leaking from his eyes, like ribbons in the air, Loque pressed back against the overwhelming power of the Okkenan, managing to straighten his body.
Offering a single counter-attack, Loque leveled his sword at the Okkenan. As the arcane energy poured out of Loque's body and into his blade, the land around them began to heave as the flowers and grass wilted, their energy lifting and collecting around Loque.
“What are you doing?” Ukkan cried out, stepping back against the plants beneath his feet turned grey, the energy that gave them life, appearing as green smoke, rose into the air and collecting into a cloud below Loque’s feet. “You’re a human, this isn’t meant to be your power.”
Loque didn’t listen as Ukkan continued to talk, letting the energy build up before releasing it. The blast of energy, everything that Loque had left, released in the form of blue-fire flames. Spiralling out of his hands, the vortex of fire pulled Loque’s Oathseeker out of his hands and drove it towards the Okkenen.
Reacting with all of the energy he had, Ukkan raised his hand before the spinning Oathseeker. A wave of power, invisible yet perfectly tangible, met the Oathseeker as it leveled towards Ukkan’s chest.
The two powers, energy enough to destroy the continent, met, stopping as they combatted for the upper hand. The power of stolen death, seeking more power, and the power of endless life, looking to be immortal.
Held at the standstill, the powers flared as they pushed to move forward. Each flaring with all the energy it had been gifted, an explosion of red, blue, and gold turned the sky to smoke. As the wind lifted the veil of flames away, the sky of fire turning blue once more, the Oathseeker was gone.
The clearing smoke revealed both the humans and the Okkenan lying on the ground, unmoving. The Oathseeker was embedded deep in Ukkan’s chest; Loque lay on the ground, his body broken and twisted in imposible ways; Wendol, an unmoving bystander, had also been destroyed, the slight flicker of embers highlighting his lifeless body.
Despite each’s assurance of success, the two powers had found their match. Neither lived to see their success. The God who plagued the Oath Born was dead, just as the human who had Broken with the force of a thousand storms was no more.
The sun lifted itself fully above the horizon for the first time that day, bringing a new light over the two fallen foes. The day had begun, all signs of the night fading the world was reborn anew, the second cycle spinning into motion.