Black Saint: Chapter 5 – The Tournament of Valor

Image from a free photosharing site

Image from a free photosharing site

By Taran Mehta, Staff Writer

8:00 AM | Tournament Of Valor | Border Of Kingdoms


“YEAH!!”

“WOO!”

“I BELIEVE IN YOU RHINESTONE!”

“YOU GOT THIS TARSINGSTON!”

The crowd was roaring as the Tournament Of Valor was about to start, as all of the teams were ready at their gates.

“Welcome everyone! Today is especially packed for an especially good reason! Today marks the hundredth anniversary of the tournament! We are holding the largest prize pool of all! Each king from each kingdom has chosen a group to fight for them! Who will win, who will come out of the arena in one piece? We will just have to see! Get ready for the Tournament Of Valor!!!” announced the announcer.

“You weren’t kidding when you said there was money in it,” Wallace said.

“If we die… Do we really die? No one told me that!” Galahad complained.

“Calm down, it is not like we can die anyway. However, you might be a problem. What did you expect anyway, magic isn’t allowed – so if you die, then you die forever, no spells to bring you back.”

“We haven’t even studied the field yet!” Galahad responded.

“Wait, it is about to start. Good luck out there, I will be rooting for you,” Arkand stated, shutting them up as he headed to the top of the viewing deck where the four kings sat.

“REMEMBER, NO ONE CONQUERS WHO DOESN’T FIGHT! LET THE TOURNAMENT BEGIN!”

And with that, the gates opened. There were four teams. One for Rhinestone, another for Tarsingston, Galahad with Viprin, and the final being Imperium Secrotis. The Tournament Of Valor had been going on for a hundred years now. However, almost fifty out of the hundred years had been snagged by Imperium Secrotis alone. The other forty-nine years had been split between Tarsingston and Viprin, Rhinestone without a single victory. Viprin was known widely as the mightiest, but even as they stood, no one had the roots of warlike Imperium Secrotis. They had been practically undefeated for fifty years, and only suffered one knight’s death to Viprin each time. There was no doubt that Viprin was the strongest outside of the arena, but for some unknown reason, the Imperium Secrotis always outclassed everyone in the arena.

“Rhinestone is making the first move! They head for the hill, gaining a high-ground advantage with their two archers! This is a new strategy, we have never seen more than one archer on a team! This could either go good or bad while the Imperium Secrotis are still in play! Ha!” declared the announcer.

“Head for the tree, we will have shelter from the archers on the hill, I will stay back and watch for the other two kingdoms,” commanded Tania, as they made their way to the tree.

“What is this? It looks like Viprin is hiding in the trees! It seems they are oblivious of the giant tree serpent, guardian of the tree!”
When Galahad thought he was safe for even for a split second, Wallace shoved him.

“What was that for? Wait, look out!”

A sharp tail soared through the air and grazed Wallace’s cheek, who was in the position where Galahad would have been.

“This poison is strong, it could kill me in seconds. Galahad, do one thing for me,” Wallace said, struggling to stand after just a few seconds.

“And it seems a member of Viprin has been injured already! I mean what were they thinking? How will this play out?” the announcer told the audience, filling them with suspense.
“No, you are not dying like this. Tania! Wallace is dying!”

“Would you shut up for a second? God, I wish I did kill you there on the spot. I will not die if you listen to me. I have heard of the tree serpent, and there is an antidote. It is very hard to obtain it, but, if you could, you could save me. Go, quickly,” Wallace told Galahad.

“What do I do?”

“Because the arena is built on sacred land, underneath the tree is probably a crushed Miol Flower. If you could find a way to turn that into a liquid substance, then I should be good. But the serpent still stands as a major problem,” Wallace explained as Tania had just entered the room.

“The poison isn’t too deep yet, you should have a minute.”

“A minute?!” Galahad shrieked.

“We do not have time, we have to go now,” told Tania as she ran out from behind the trunk of the tree.

Galahad followed her, only to get cut off by Tarsingston.

“Face the wits of Aaron the Barbarian! Hold it, Galahad?”

Galahad’s face blew up red, knowing inside that he was no match for Aaron’s berserker momentum. Meanwhile, the other two members of Tarsingston eventually caught up, and it made the battle a two versus three.

“Galahad, my friend! Even if I have met you only once, I shall respect your death! Now, die!” screamed Aaron.

Aaron leaped almost six feet into the air before crashing down with both of his battle axes. Galahad was able to leap away, but Tania was cornered at the arena walls.

“Arghhh! Nickle, it is your time to shine! Get them!” screamed Aaron.

Tania and Galahad were so focused on Aaron that they let Nickle, a member of the Tarsingston knights, a good friend of Aaron, flank them with his sleek movement and inaudible footsteps. Even with Aaron’s warning, both Tania and Galahad weren’t prepared for a flank attack.

But history was about to take place that would change Galahad’s world forever. He felt a click in his body, and he realized he wasn’t in control anymore.

“The Spearow shines in light, the assassins hidden in the dark. Meor dre feo tren, geo moq sepe bera darka!” Galahad chanted.

Red waves blended with black began to circle Galahad, creating a vortex that propelled everyone away from him. His aura changed to an unexplainable power, and his glow became more immense. The floor started to crumble, splitting the arena into two. Even a glance at Galahad became blinding to the eyes. His eyes became black and his body glowed black like the night sky. The waves suddenly dispersed, revealing Galahad with two black and red gloves and armor made of ancient material. Off in the distance, in the stands, was Flako. He was watching, and at that very moment, he sniggered.

“So that was their plan. They made Arkand create a dome around the entire arena to hide his magic. Something like this won’t stop people like me of course, but I like the way they think. I doubt it was intentional, but Arkand was always a smart one. At least I have seen what I have been looking for, looks like I am done here. All we have to do now is wait for him to come back looking for answers,” murmured Flako.

Flako got up and headed towards the exit where two Spearow members were concealed in the shadows. Back in the arena, Galahad looked more intimidating than before, and his aura even scared Aaron enough to back off.

“Wa- was that… magic?” said Arron, astonished.

However, no response was returned from Galahad, and his emotion only grew more intimidating. Tania did not know what was going on, so she returned to the tree.

“Magic or not… I am still here for a battle!” Aaron screamed in a battle cry.

“Your motivation was impressive, but here it led you to your demise,” Galahad said in a calm, deep voice.

Aaron jumped towards Galahad, but he was suddenly halted mid-air. Blood came rupturing out of his mouth. His body became limp in just a few seconds. A small groan came out of Aaron’s mouth as he dropped both of his axes.

“Wh-” Aaron was not able to finish his sentence with another burst of blood that gushed out of his mouth.

“Where did that come from…”

Galahad hadn’t moved a muscle, yet he was holding a spear that impaled Aaron right through the chest. The spear had a red and black theme, just like the rest of his armor. The tip was inexplicably sharp with a blue tint to it, and the material did not seem to be recognizable by anyone.

“Who else? Not like it matters, you are all going to face death today,” Galahad said in the same, deep voice he acquired.

The third member of Tarsginston’s three knights, Torbian, was not fazed by Aaron’s death as he didn’t know him and didn’t care too, so he took his opportunity to sneak up on Galahad while he was facing the other direction. But Galahad was in a state that only Flako and the Spearow could understand, and Torbian was not prepared for what would play out in the next couple of events. When Torbian thought he was just about to end Galahad, he was impaled by a sword through his heart.

“You seem to underestimate me, I do not like that,” Galahad stated, stepping over Torbian’s body that was flopped on the ground.

“Ah, of course, Nickle. I am aware that you were close to Aaron. In brute force, I think the two of you could have taken out armies together. However, you chose to participate in the tournament, taken over by your greed for money. Therefore, greed led to your death, and I am glad to end it with my hands,” Galahad explained.

Nickle was already running for his life, hoping he could escape as fast as he could.

Nobody runs from me, Galahad thought.

Galahad stuck his hand up high and in the blink of an eye, Nickle was lying on the ground in a pool of red. He struggled to get up, but an arrow was lodged into his knee and he couldn’t move. He attempted to snap the arrow, but the unknown material was too strong. Galahad was casually making his way over to Nickle as he attempted to crawl away.

“What a bold move. You and Aaron were good fighters, I hope to see you again in heaven,” Galahad stated, ending Nickle’s life on the spot.

In the near distance, Tania and Wallace were hiding inside of the tree, hoping to be safe. But while their minds were focused on Galahad, they had forgotten about the tree serpent.

“Wallace, hang in there a little longer for me. I know it has already been three minutes, but I know you are strong enough,” told Tania, as she picked herself up and summoned Black String.

Tania bolted for the exit, but the serpent had already wrapped around the entire tree, closing the exit with its thick skin. Tania held up her crossbow towards the skin and shot a bolt.

“Since Galahad is already using magic, I do not see why I should not. The tournament is over anyways. Now it is just a matter of escaping. Multi arrow!” whispered Tania.

The bolt that Tania shot split into a hundred, shredding through the skin of the tree serpent. The serpent hissed and quickly slithered up to the top of the tree, the safest spot. Tania was able to run to the bottom of the tree and shot her way through until he got to the roots. On the corner of her eye, she spotted a Miol Flower. She quickly grabbed it and headed back up. Thankfully, Wallace was still breathing and Tania started on the remedy. Meanwhile, Galahad was working his way up the hill towards Rhinestone.

“Archers! Fire!” commanded the swordsman of Rhinestone.

Galahad put his hand in front of him and blocked the volley of arrows fired with a large shield.

Where did that come from, am I seeing things, thought Roulsh, one of the archers for Rhinestone.

Galahad proceeded to climb up the hill until he reached the archers. He put down his shield and summoned a crossbow. He aimed at the commander of the group and fired a bolt. The commander, Truffle, was a swordsman and put his sword up to deflect the bolt.

“You are fast enough to be able to deflect that, I cannot deny that I am surprised. But let’s see just how powerful you are with a sword.”

Galahad put his hand up and summoned a sword with a red and black theme, however this with a blue blade. He took a stance and began to circle Truffle. Truffle was not an ordinary fighter; he was gifted with a talent that surpassed any swordsman in any kingdom. This was his first time in the tournament of Valor, but he had trained for almost ten years.

The two archers wrapped around the hill, cornering Galahad inside their triangle. Galahad hadn’t planned on attacking, but he did so anyway. He maneuvered from left to right, fast but silent. The archers could not get a clear shot, so they stayed back and waited for a chance to shoot. However, Truffle did not make any move; in fact, he was completely still. His focus was not on Galahad, rather it was the sound waves that were produced from Galahad’s footsteps.

“Sacred Concentration, Stance Eight!” announced Truffle.

“You think words will scare me?”

Truffle began to take a stance. His right foot was carefully positioned in a specific spot behind his left foot. He set his blade across his body and pointed towards the ground. He took a deep breath and then opened his eyes. His eyes were white. Truffle, with all of his experience and expertise, was blind. But it did not stop him, it made him stronger.

Galahad sprang off of the ground, heading straight through the air and high up into the sky. When he reached the top of the arena, he noticed something off. There were no spectators; in fact, the entire arena was covered in a dome.

Arkand, you hid it all, Galahad thought.

He boosted himself off the dome and straight at Truffle at a blistering speed. Truffle shifted his body and altered his sword stance in response to Galahad’s attack.

“Ragh!” cried Galahad.

The sound of metal echoed through the entire arena. An enormous blast filled with red, black, and blue textures proceeded to consume the hill. Once the blast dispersed, Tania glanced through the leftover debris only to find Galahad and Truffle in an intense battle.

“You have a sense of swordsmanship I have never sensed before; I like the challenge!” yelled Galahad as he continued to pound more hits onto Truffle.

“Do not underestimate me, Tr’a Fe Da!”

Truffle’s sword began to glow even brighter than it already was, signaling the magic that was already embedded in the sword. The yellow light was able to match the glow of Galahad’s swords.

“I see, you can use magic as well. That must explain why your sword doesn’t break on impact with mine. No matter, I shall overpower you as I shall do with the rest,” Galahad stated calmly.

Truffle had proper training, and combined with his magic, it gave him the upper edge in the battle. Truffle was able to dodge and parry all of Galahad’s attacks, but Galahad never gave Truffle the chance for a proper attack. The battle continued as they traded hits and attacks for almost a minute until Galahad fell to his knees.

“You… you are more powerful than I thought,” Galahad told Truffle, struggling to get up.

“You as well, I have never fought someone as powerful as you.”

The grass was gone and only soil was visible. The two archers had been killed from the blast, including one of the members of the Imperium Secrotis. Blood was splattered across the ground, including Truffle’s face and hands. Gruesome scars were sunk deep into Galahad’s skin.

“I will let you in on a little secret, Galahad. The Imperium Secrotis do not just win because they are trained. They can do magic, and they are the strongest. I know I cannot defeat them, no one can. The only reason I came here was that I wanted to die fighting, though I doubt I even stand a chance,” Truffle informed.

“You are a maniac,” Galahad responded.

Galahad was able to get back on his feet, but his attempt to summon a weapon was futile. He ran out of mana, and his majestic glow started to fade away.

“What’s happening…” Galahad murmured as he dropped to the ground.

“Wallace…Wallace…Wallace! Wake up! We have to go help Galahad!” Tania yelled, attempting to wake Wallace up.

“Wha- oh yes. I will meet you there,” Wallace stated as he laid up against the tree bark.

Tania bolted out and started to make her way up the hill to where Galahad had laid. She looked up and caught sight of Truffle raising his blade, about to follow through with the final blow.

“Black Arrow!”

Tania positioned her crossbow with Truffle and shot an exploding bolt with a black trail behind it. It zipped through the air, so fast that Truffle didn’t even notice it was shot. On impact, it exploded into a black fire that surrounded the area. Galahad was trapped inside with Truffle who was on the ground with a gushing wound in his head.

“Galahad… you might not be the strongest… but I sense an overpowering aura of teamwork. You are lucky to have such caring friends… keep it that way…” Truffle mumbled as his heartbeat came to a stop.

“Wallace, you are up!” announced Tania.

Wallace emerged from the ground beside Galahad and grabbed his hand.

“Hold on tight: if you let go you fall into the abyss,” informed Wallace.

Wallace and Galahad moved like a shadow through the fire and eventually made it back to the tree. When they materialized back into their skin and bone, Galahad started to cough blood. His wounds were dangerously deep, some cutting through his bone.

“Lay on your back,” Tania said.

Galahad struggled to turn over but with the help of Wallace, he was able to lay on his back.

“Ahh!” Galahad screamed in agony.

“Hang in there,” Tania stated as she took a deep breath. “This is going to hurt a lot more than anything, I am sorry Galahad. M’or d’me got d’ker rwa fort, showa uo’k fa do’rme!”

Tania chanted the same words as before, the mysterious healing spell. The spell was called Black Healing. The spell was banned because it has a high percentage of killing normal humans. However, Galahad was not so human, and the Spearow used it when necessary. Only Tania and the healing users were able to wield such a sacred spell, making this spell extremely powerful.

Galahad let out a large gasp as he sat up. His wounds hadn’t completely diminished, but they had regenerated quite a bit. His legs, a couple of seconds ago having many gashes, had mended back together and gave back his ability to move again. He slowly got up and sauntered around. Everyone in the room was quiet, and they were still unsure of what was going on beyond the dome. However, the Imperium Secorits members were still present.

“It is opening! The dome has opened! What has come of the battle? Is this the power of magic?” the announcer rambled in the far distance.

The dome around the arena started to submerge back down into the ground. Then, a horn started to blare. The horn was so booming that it could be heard throughout the entire arena.

“THE HORN IS BLARING! THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET MUCH MORE EXCITING; if the contenders are still alive…”

The colossal, tungsten gates began to unlatch. As they raised, scratching sounds began to become prevalent. On the spur of the moment, a booming roar could be heard from the cave that reverberated throughout the arena. It shook the floor, creating a minor earthquake under everyone’s feet. The stands shook, but more importantly, the land split. Two vehement steps could be heard, then a loud silence.

“Did you hear that?” Tania said, shivering in fear.

Yes,” Wallace and Galahad responded in synchronization.

“Galahad, can you run?”

“Barely, but we do not know what is going on outside yet. The dome is open and if I am correct, no one saw anything. They do not know if we used magic so let’s keep it that way.” Galahad responded.

A loud hissing sound could be heard from above them. The tree serpent had woken from its short slumber. Its body unraveled itself down the tree and slithered along the floor. The sun was going down and fog started to rise around the arena. It was getting hard to see through, so Galahad, Tania, and Wallace decided to stay put inside the tree.

“What a mystical event! Fog now covers the arena, following with the king of Viprin being found flopped down on the floor near the lavatory!” the announcer broadcasted.

So it was Arkand who created the dome, Galahad thought. The power you need to hold it for that long and that big, I wonder how strong he really is. 

Suddenly, a long series of cracks could be heard from an unknown location in the arena. Its whereabouts became unknown with the fog, and the noise was innominate. A shriek came from another unmapped location of the arena, sending shivers down Wallace’s spine.

This is a bad idea, there is no way we escape this place with whatever is out there, thought Wallace.

“There is one way, but it is risky,” Galahad responded as he read Wallace’s thoughts.

Tania already knew what Galahad was planning, but she was ready to take the risk. She stood up and looked at Wallace.

“We kill it,” Tania stated.

“Look, I know that we cannot die. That is what makes us who we are. However, I am not worried about getting hurt, even though getting my limbs cut off would be a pain. Since the dome is gone, we will be seen using magic. We have already been through all this, so I would like to get this over with without magic. We do not even know if Galahad cannot die, he felt the pain while in a state that is not yet understood. Going head to head with whatever beast is out there is just a way to get us to lose the money and a friend who risked his life for us,” Wallace explained.

“Also,” Galahad added. “The fog is thick, we will not be able to see out there.”

“Was this not your idea to fight it? We have to do something,” Tania remarked.

“I say we make a run for it,” Wallace blurted.

“Wallace, you are just asking to die. That’s worse than the idea I proposed. The point is that we cannot see anything. It looks like you are blind to the outside too,” Galahad observed.

All of a sudden, a snake came hurling towards the tree, striking it with such force that made the tree’s roots snap and fall over.
“Brace yourself!”

The loud sound of the tree striking the ground made the stands tremble. The opening of the tree was facing upwards, displaying light into the tree. Galahad’s eyes opened, blinded by the small stream of light that reflected onto him like a spotlight. He slowly stood up, but it seemed as if he was on his own. Tania and Wallace were nowhere to be seen, and all noise from the outside was cut off. He crawled out of the exit, but the fog had completely devoured the arena.

“Psst, Galahad. Over here, quickly.”

Galahad turned around, but he still couldn’t catch sight of anyone.

“Follow my voice,” said an angelic, seductive voice.

Galahad crawled around, discombobulated, and had a massive headache. The fog was thick, making the search for the mysterious voice particularly hard. That was until the voice found him. A girl was staring directly at Galahad’s eyes and into his soul. Galahad’s hair stood up, and his body froze in place.

“Hello, Galahad. It truly has been a long time.”