“Oinula! Stay away from them!,” he swiped at the nearest krait, using his wings to propel him up and over their defenses. Now behind him, the krait guards jabbed at him with their spears, but the only blow to land is turned away by his armour. In front of him, the champion let go of his bleeding stump, the vile blue energies from earlier surging up his ravaged arm. “Do not let them reclaim it!”
“No worries, Master. I have no intention to-” A bubble of filthy water erupted from the energy, encircling Oinula before the young largos could react, causing her to immediately convulse and choke, even through the breather. One of the krait priests saw an opportunity and sprang forward, lunging for the staff. Focusing on the foul draconic magic, the champion did not notice Marazan before one of his blades was poised at the kraits throat. “Let her go, or your precious master loses a champion.”
The water-trap faded away as the priest put a hand on the staff. The hand is severed in a swipe of steel before it could pull the weapon away, revealing his apprentice to still be conscious and spoiling for a fight. after being subjected to the vile magic. She was pale, shivering, old wounds had reopened, but she could still escape. With a quick twist of his blade, the champion was nearly decapitated, the body slowly floating to the chamber floor as Marazan arrived next to his apprentice. They were utterly surrounded by the krait, the only way out would be up.
“Wha- *hrurk* What was *cough* that?” Oinula was barely upright as he frantically scanned both ways, keeping an eye on all the krait within the chamber.
“Dragon magic. We have to leave.” He would have to trust that his apprentice could regain her breath on her own. The krait were circling now, like sharks sensing a kill.
“The priests *cough* are cattle and the *cough* guards are -” Her speech was cut short by a racking cough. A quick glance showed Marazan that she was not fit to fight. Her skin was even paler now, her eyes bloodshot. The cough was simply further evidence.
“I am deeply sorry to say this about a Tethyos prodigy, but you cannot fight, Oinula.” He could sense that she was not happy about it, but over the last few years she had shown that she trusted his judgement when it was important. Luckily the krait priests were more cautious than their guards, so when the two largos leapt off the cavern floor, only the spears came for them. One blade failed to penetrate his armour, another was parried away but a third gained purchase, poking into his side. To his right, Oinula repelled all attacks against her, wielding the strange eel-staff with what seemed like practised ease. With a flick of his wings, Marazan surged forwards, burying his left blade in the face of a guard, the others shying away from suffering a similar fate. The largos jumped backwards, rejoining his apprentice who was likewise swimming for the break into more open waters. Ahead of him, Oinula had reached the edge of the hole when his momentum stopped entirely. Marazan looked down. The massive hand of the dragon champion was clamped around his foot. The gash he had sliced into its neck was glowing with the same vile blue draconic energies that it had displayed throughout their encounter, the energies surging around a body that should by all rights be still on the cavern floor. Around him, the krait were surging forward, one of them making a break for Oinula. He cursed under his breath. His protégé looked back at him, swimming as hard as her weakened body would allow. If he could buy her enough time, she would escape.
“You scaly wretches should really know when to quit.” Slashing his left arm out like a whip, one of Marazans swords was buried to the hilt in the back of the krait who had ignored him. His other arced out, drawing a crimson arc in the darkened water. The champion lost another hand as the largos assassin quickly swam backwards, gaining some ground for the most important fight of his life.
Oinula al’Fahrima tried to hold back another coughing fit. She might still be feeling like she had been poisoned, but that was no excuse for being discovered by lowly krait. She was almost home. The staff was still in her possession, the strange energies that had suffused and animated it had faded in the weeks since the battle. Marazan, her master, had not been of the Fahrima house, let along any Tethyos house, but she would make sure his legacy would be told until the oceans were no more.