He gasped. For the briefest moment he saw a flicker of horror in Geoff's eyes. It was gone so quickly he wondered if it had just been his imagination, then the shaman ordered his brother forward.
Davy looked around desperately as Geoff and the shaman's other victim began moving in on Kenny.
He was getting desperate. If Kenny fell, there was no hope of defeating Spiral, of undoing the damage he'd already done, but the only other option was to have the General's men take them out. At least then, it would be clean.
He was about to give up all hope when the woods seemed to come alive. A band of Lakota warriors suddenly made their presence known, sending the General's men into momentary chaos.
They recovered quickly though, focusing on the new threat– secure in the knowledge that Spiral would deal with the captives.
Davy glanced at the shaman and realized that there was no way their rescuers would arrive in time to save Kenny. It was up to him. With a determined growl he lowered his shoulders and charged, intent on propelling Kenny away from Spiral's creatures.
Creatures. Minions... Even as he moved Davy tried to convince himself that the thing shambling towards Kenny wasn't Geoff. Geoff was gone- in his place was a thing that just looked like Geoff, but it was a thing- a thing that would destroy him and the others without a second thought.
He hit Kenny with a flying tackle, pushing him out of the way of the attacking creatures. He allowed himself a sigh of relief as he rolled onto his back, and found himself staring up at them. He had only succeeded in taking Kenny's place. Resigned, he looked up. He could still see the rage and hatred in the creatures' eyes. Geoff's eyes...
"Tendown..." Davy's voice was barely a whisper.
He watched as Geoff staggered towards him.
"Ten..." Something in his voice reached Geoff, Davy could see it. "You have to protect the others..."
Geoff paused for a fraction of a second and Davy could see him trying to fight his way through-- to regain control of his own body. Geoff shuddered slightly as the other creature reached out for Davy.
Davy watched, afraid to breathe, afraid to move. Then he saw the change, Geoff was once more in control.
"NO!" His voice was gravely- full of pain but unmistakably Geoff's.
Davy struggled to get out of their way, but with his hands cuffed behind his back his struggles had little effect.
Then Geoff was there, pulling the creature away from him, away from his brothers protecting them with a ferocity Davy had never seen before. Davy couldn't help but notice the look of fear in his brother's eyes-- he knew there was no way he could win this battle-- all he could do way give them a chance.
"Get them out of here."
Davy sat, stunned for a moment, as Geoff's words sunk in. The tone was so alien, so hoarse that he could barely understand. Then Davy forced himself to move. Geoff had bought him the time he needed to get the others out. It was up to him to see that Geoff's sacrifice didn't go to waste.
Witashnah was closer now, she could feel her brothers as they fought the enemy and his allies, she could sense the changes in Geoff-- the desperation, the fear were so strong now that they almost felt like her own. She had to move faster– Geoff's time was running out.
Then she felt the other. Spiral– she could feel his blood lust, his rage. It was so strong it almost overwhelmed her she reached the clearing. She quickly surveyed the area– trying to find him.
Spiral looked up at her, his hatred piercing the coolness of her world. She could feel the fire he craved, the acrid smells that would fill the land and finally the nothingness that would forever remain when he was done.
She could feel her heart race as he snarled and pointed at her. She felt his rage as it took form, or tried to, in front of her. Then the forest and grasses enveloped her like a protective cloak, shielding her from his attack.
Davy forced himself first to his knees and then to his feet. "Boom, cover Tommy, get him out of here– I've got Kenny."
He turned to see his brother processing his orders. They were all in serious danger, but for the first time since this nightmare began, they had a chance to do something. He could see Boomer resist for a moment– wanting to say either all of them got out or none of them did, and then realizing the truth of the situation.
If they stayed– all of them would die.
The inner battle lasted only a few seconds before Boomer nodded and accepted what had to be done. Then Davy did the hardest thing he had ever done in his life-- he turned his back on Geoff and the others and concentrated on Kenny.
Geoff's fate had been sealed the moment Spiral cast his spell. He had to rely on Boomer to take care of himself and Tommy, just as they had to rely on him to take care of Kenny. There were no other options.
He moved in along side his brother. "Kenny, its me.. Davy... we gotta move. I need you to stay with me..."
Davy's eyes widened as Kenny shrugged him off, staggering slightly to his left.
Davy swore. He'd forgotten about the white noise generator built into the mage hood. It wasn't enough to deprive the man of his sight, no, they had to make sure he was completely at their mercy-- couldn't take any chances...
"Great, just great," Davy growled as he began scanning the frequencies wired into his comm-unit. He had to find the generator's frequency- once he did he would be able to modulate his signal so that it would use the hood's white noise generator as a transmitter for his signal-- maybe even overload it.
Davy forced himself to ignore everything else around him and concentrated on locating the white noise generator's signal. He could feel his heart racing as he lost precious seconds trying to find the signal and override it.
He was rewarded with a startled yelp from Kenny as the generator fed him Davy's signal- and a heavy dose of feedback.
Davy winced apologetically then dialed the signal down.
"Clearwater, let's move it."
Kenny winced again, but this time didn't struggle when Davy leaned into him.
"Just follow me," Davy urged, lowering the gain further.
Kenny nodded, but even with him cooperating, it was slow going. Without the use of his hands, Davy was forced to guide Kenny by leaning against him and giving him verbal direction.
He could only imagine how it was for Kenny- no vision, no sound except for his brother's voice. "Just hang in there- we'll get out of this."
Davy looked around, trying to find some sort of cover, but the General's men were everywhere. He started to lead Kenny away from the fray, keeping Geoff between them and Spiral.
Spiral snarled as the forest resisted him, choosing to defend her. He scanned the area- if he couldn't hurt her physically, he'd go for the next best thing. He smiled as he saw her brothers trying to get to him.
If he couldn't get the maiden, perhaps one of her brothers...'or one of his'... he thought as he looked at Geoff.
He smiled at the thought and began searching for them.
She had prevented his creature from becoming- but if he could take one of its brothers, it might be enough to tip the balance in his favor. All his creature needed was a little push in the right direction.
Then he saw them-- the 'patriarch' leading the shaman away- 'Perfect...' he thought.
He was beyond thoughts now. Half mad from the pain and the curse, Geoff fought. He couldn't allow the one he fought to harm another. He was the only one who could fight him now. Fire all but consumed him as he finally got the man-beast into a headlock.
The man-beast clawed at him frantically. The pain only added to his own madness. This was what he would become-- what he had become.
Man. Beast. Friend. Brother. The words were hard to understand at first, but then he could feel her presence again. She was trying to help him restore order in his mind. As she reached out to him, he felt only shame at what he'd become.
He tried to hide from her, but she was there constant and unyielding. There was no judgment in her mind-- only love
He could hear her in his mind. Telling him it was all right, that she understood. He was half crying as he tried to shield her from what he must do, but she would not leave him. She was with him as he choked the life out of the creature that had once been her brother's best friend, comforting him, refusing to let him give up.
'He is free.'
He smiled at the sound of her voice in his mind- returning at least a modicum of sanity to his fevered mind. Then he saw Spiral....
Davy tensed as a completely inhuman howl echoed behind them. 'Geoff... no...' He turned, afraid of what he'd see. His eyes widened as he saw his brother charging towards him, his eyes wild rage and pain. As Geoff neared, Davy realized he wasn't attacking, but trying to protect them from Spiral.
Davy felt a cold chill at the base of his spine. For a moment, all he heard was his own heartbeat as he fought to protect Kenny. He herded his brother in front of him, then turned, facing his tormentor. He knew there was no way he could defeat the shaman, not with his hands still cuffed behind his back- but maybe- he could still protect Kenny.
Then everything fell back into focus around him. Davy glared at the shaman as he slowly moved closer.
"Proud, proud patriarch," Spiral chided. "You cannot win- here you can only lose..."
Davy shook his head. "You will die- and the suffering you've caused will be accounted for."
Spiral shook his head. "Fool! I don't fear death... I am death. The only thing that separates us is the fact that I embrace it."
"We are nothing like you," Davy answered with a snarl.
"You will be- I will remake you in my image. You'll come to me- they always do..."
Davy tensed as the shaman prepared his spell. There was nothing else he could do.
There was no time to think, no time to worry- only one thought now: he had to save Davy. Geoff forced himself to move- forced himself to act. Witashnah was with him. Guiding him- protecting him, but there was no protection from the thing inside him- he could feel it taking over. His own rage was feeding it now and it was growing stronger.
As he threw himself into the shaman, he felt the creature rip loose again. He was falling, fighting it, fighting the enemy fighting himself... and losing. Still he fought until no thought existed, only the desire to destroy the one who had done this to him.
Spiral bellowed in anger and frustration as the one that should have been his, defied him one final time.
"You are mine," he screamed as he unleashed the spell. "Mine!"
The creature screamed in pain, but momentum carried it into its master. Spiral screamed at the contact- even with his power coursing through the creature, he could still feel her inside as well and the contact with it, even indirectly was agonizing.
He threw the creature off and ran. She was still too strong for him to defeat, but he could feel her power waning over this one. It was only a matter of time. She would lose this one- and then she would lose everything.
Davy watched in horror as Geoff slammed into the shaman and the his spell was released.
"No..." he groaned as Geoff screamed in agony. He swallowed hard, grateful that Kenny couldn't hear any of it.
"Kenny, stay down," he urged over the comm unit. He turned it off as he fell to his knees next to Geoff. Kenny didn't need to hear this.
Geoff was still writhing on the ground, his screams reduced to moans.
Davy started to move closer and froze. Geoff turned towards him, but when their eyes met, he knew Geoff was gone. The look of pure hatred the creature gave him was too much for Davy to bear.
Davy bowed his head and waited for the blow. Spiral had ripped out his heart... it only made sense to let this... thing... finish the job.
Nothing made sense anymore. There were flashes– glimpses of what he'd been but the images were so disjointed. Pain and hatred radiated from the center of his being– and he knew it wasn't him. Even as Geoff fought the images and feelings that belonged to the creature he could feel himself losing any sense of self. He fought it– but it was too strong.
‘You are weak...'
Geoff trembled as he realized the thought had come from his own mind. The creature was indeed taking over and he was fading.
The creature laughed cruelly. ‘Watch-- learn... The weak... DIE! I kill... WE kill...'
‘No...' His mental scream of denial was more of a whimper.
He could sense the creature's pleasure. ‘Him first.'
Geoff froze as it showed him what it saw– Davy... horrified, surrendering.
Again, the creature laughed, savoring his helplessness and what was to come.
Geoff realized he'd become the monster his father had feared. Had he known? Was this always... inside of him– waiting...
‘Pain?' It asked focusing once again on the one who refused the master's gift. ‘Pretty pain... SHOW!'
As it demanded to know his pain, Geoff felt himself being ripped apart. It forced its way though his memories– forcing him to relive them as it watched, as it savored his pain.
‘Pretty pain....' it repeated as inside, Geoff screamed.
His only hope was that the creature would be too busy tormenting him to hurt Davy. The only problem was– he knew he didn't have anything left to stop it if it tried.
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