I told you that next time we meet, one of us would have to die… so why did you follow me here? I know you’ve wanted me dead for many years, so don’t pretend you’re here to help me. I already warned you we would have to duel.
I see you out in the hills, searching for me. I will not give up my position so carelessly. “I just want to talk,” you’re shouting. Bullshit. If you only want to talk, why are you carrying your staff? Do you think you’ll use magic to kill me? Brother, this gift you gave us works both ways. Or did you forget I can use magic too?
“Fandley!” I scream your name once more, perhaps the last time I ever hear it. You turn to face me, and you finally see me in the dark. I want you to look into my eyes as you die. I point my staff at you and I channel my hatred. I think the words, and
Brother, I don’t blame you for what happened to us. I spent most of my life angry at you, but you’re still family. I was hurt when you disappeared, but now I just want to reach you. Our parents would have wanted us to make the world a better place; can we do that together?
“Randfey, don’t!” I block your magic with my own. I share your stare as you wanted- will this help you heal? I lose you in the trees again, but I won’t end my pursuit. I’m doing the right thing, not for me but for you. Even if you strike me down right now, the gods will know that I was
Selfless?! You bastard! Was it selfless of you to kill our parents? Don’t you dare use their good names to shame me! Every choice you’ve made in your ruinous life has served your own interests, it’s that simple. Does it help you cope to shroud your selfishness in charity? If I strike you down right now, the gods will decide your character, but you may not like the result.
I can still hear you hunting me through the trees, brother. Don’t think I’ll drop my caution so easily. You’re dredging up the past again; that’s a dangerous slope to climb. Fandley, I already promised to kill you, but if you mention them again I will make you scream the entire time you
Don’t you dare blame me for their deaths! You know what happened was an accident, and that we were both too young to do anything about it. You may wish I had done things differently, but my choices were best for everyone. You were the one who wanted me to be selfish. Don’t you know by now how wrong that is? I understand we’ve taken different paths, and you haven’t had the same time to mature as I have. But it’s time to grow up, Randfey. Meet me in the open and let’s take a new path together. Because if you keep hiding, I swear I’ll
You always act like everything is so final, like once the scene is set it cannot be unseen. Don’t you think that once you murder me, you’ll be done with this affair? The truth is, it’s not so simple. You had your chance to change things, and you passed it up. The only choice so final was the one you didn’t make.
None of that matters now. I can see you still. You probably don’t know I’m behind you right now. Just slip up, even once, and I will
Stop. If you’re so steadfast in your fate, come and fight me then. Stop hiding in the shadows like some scared prey. At least mark your finale with a storm.
But you won’t do that, Randfey. You’re a craven. That’s all you’ve ever been since the day you were born. I will have to run you down and butcher you as you are, alone and afraid… unless you change your mind.
Do you think I’ve been sitting idly all these years? I’ve been preparing, learning your tricks, and learning mine as well. I lay my traps as I walk, a fire rune here, a soul trap there. Behind this tree, a lightning rune; behind that one, a fear poison. Watch your step, Randfey. This forest is a dungeon of my machination, and you find yourself trapped.
I am still setting my snares even now. You’d best move quickly; it will only get worse if you hesitate, or if you
Great speech, but I’m not here to play your games. I envelop you in a stream of fire, but your magic does not fail you; you deflect and emerge unscathed. Now you know my position. I move quickly, melting into shadows, ascending into the trees. Was that trick in your book?
I materialize, and rain lightning from above. I’ve hit you, but villains never fall that easily. It begins to rain; a fitting backdrop for our final duel. Do you know what you’ve started? Duels between powerful wizards last ages, dragging on and on through the histories, solving nothing in the process. You’ve doomed us to fight indefinitely, until one of us makes the smallest mistake, and the other
Oh, don’t flatter yourself. I’ve been doing this much longer than you, Randfey. Your little magic trick all those years ago may have let you hide from me, but it also gave me the time to surpass you. I’ve seen so much of this world, I’ve dueled great wizards and trained others, while you just grew angry.
A well-timed gust of wind knocks you from the air. You scramble to your feet. I am not done. A spike of stone erupts from the forest floor; you dodge by a hair. You cast wards in the air, a shimmering shield protects you from my wrath. A fine trick, if you were facing a lesser wizard. My magic overcomes your wards, your concentration shatters and you are bathed in cosmic energy. Do you feel powerful now? I will an arkane blade into existence, and with a wave of my hand, it pierces your groin.
GAH! Is this what it feels like to bleed? You’ve killed me Fandley, haven’t you, unless… my vision fades, it’s so hard to think, but if only I get away from here,
“What’s wrong, Randfey?” I imagine if you can escape me, your magic can heal you… of course I can’t let that happen. Just lie down and
What are you doing?
Fool! We’ll die together if that’s what needs to happen. I raise my staff in defiance, and I choose my final spell.
You recognize the dark beam arcing toward you. If this hits you, your body will decay, your life will fall to pieces in an instant. I’ll finish what I
My own beam connects with yours, our wills in battle, two halves vying for the whole. Did you think you could overcome me?
You recognize the blinding light absorbing your beam. If this hits you, your mind will fail you, I will control your very psyche. I’ll finish what I
started, what I came here to do. You’ll die in these woods, in my arms, and I will walk away, unshaken! Just die, just die! You’re losing! Losing blood, losing control, I can’t
I win. My beam overcomes yours, your staff is shattered, and your mind surrenders to mine. Very soon you won’t be able to fight anymore. How will you spend your final moments?
You wave your hand in the air, tracing a rune that I have not seen before. What’s this? Have you discovered one final trick to escape death? Your wound glows with a white light, it illuminates the night, and grows. Soon your whole body is engulfed in light, and you are erased. I watch the light fade into nothingness, but there is something left behind; a stone falls into the grass, a sapphire as I see it, polished and cut. Is this where you’ve hidden your soul? As your body disintegrated, is this sapphire all that remains?
I cannot keep it. Why seal yourself in a stone rather than die boldly? You intend to escape someday. If I keep this sapphire close to my heart, will I have the courage to end your story when you return?
I cannot destroy it either. Randfey, you’ve muddied the narrative. I wanted so dearly to finish you, but now I can’t summon the strength to destroy you, not like this.
I am going to bury you. I’ll do it right here, beneath the earth where we duelled. If the gods are good, no one will ever find you under the forest. But if they do, I will make sure they can never help you escape.
Goodbye, Randfey. I wish you didn’t spend your short life so hateful, or we might have been brotherly. Now forever you will bide, beneath the earth, plotting, hating. Hours, days, years, decades… they’re all the same now. I wait, and you try to forget. But dearest Fandley, you will never forget me.