Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.
The first thing Kythe and Kiran saw upon entering the room was the massive clock completely dominating the right wall. An equally impressive pendulum swung from side to side in the clock, tick tocking away the seconds, keeping time all the while. The repetitive clicking put Kythe on edge, slightly spooking him though he could not understand why.
The Rest of the room was equally perplexing. The far wall was covered in mirrors that immediately disoriented Kythe, making the room seem much larger than it really was. Kythe saw him and Kiran reflected a thousand times in all different ways.Kythe was slightly perplexed, but Kiran's gasp caught his attention. Kythe followed Kiran's captivated gaze up to the domed ceiling, about 5 meters above them.The Scene depicted equally attracted and repulsed Kythe. It was a complete debauchery; Man, Demon, and Angel joined together in a horrible, beautiful, ridiculous, and sometimes simply repulsive festival which seemed to exist to celebrate one thing, pleasure.. In the center of the work sat the purest corruption of the flesh. A seraphim, flaming wings spread wide, robe ripped askew revealing small and shapely breasts, sat entwined in the arms of a succubus, plainly naked and both clearly enjoying their tryst.
A figure stepped from behind one of the mirrors, really a cleverly concealed passage.The tall man was attired in the latest fashion, quite luxurious finery that would normally be more fit for a peacock then the demon lord wearing it. For this man, however, the black robes trimmed in a crimson that brought images of gruesome death to Kythe's mind fit this demon quite well. A cloak dangled almost haphazardly over his left arm, concealing both the arm and the cursed blade Kythe knew rest there. The most accessory was a skull brooch, made from a bloodstone easily the size of a child's fist, clasping the cloak on the man's right shoulder.
"Lucifer." The cursed name flowed from Kythe's mouth like venom, causing such displeasure to Kythe as he said it that he wondered if he had spit up spiders along with his snarled words.
"In the flesh. What have you come for?"
Kythe never spoke. One moment he stood there, Kiran leaning on him, the next he was dashing forward in a flash, sword drawn and with his tattooed runes giving off a pure red light. Kythe made a vicious downward slash toward the demons head, a slash which found itself interrupted by the demon-lord's own blade, drawn and put into position to parry in an equally short amount of time. Both men stood, faces inches apart, hands holding each other's blade, staring deep into each other's eyes.
"Now that's hardly appropriate gratitude for your most lavish host now is it?" Lucifer cajoled, mocking Kythe as he pushed off the ground, disentangling them. Before Lucifer even touched down Kythe had started a thrust with his thin blade, a thrust aimed where Lucifer was set to land, but instead he nearly tripped from his overbalance as his sword slashed...nothing? A stinging pain in his shoulder confirmed what Kythe's fast moving mind had already hypothesized. His runes all flared a angry green as they deflected Lucifer's sword. Sure enough, the Demon was floating above Kythe, simply defying gravity. Infinitely more wary, Kythe began to circle around the levitating Lucifer until his back was to the mirrored wall, parrying and dodging feints and thrusts the whole time.
Suddenly, a roar sounded from back the way they had come. Out of the door Kythe and Kiran had entered from came a running, gigantic, and extremely enraged giant of a man, brandishing a Great Axe half the size of Kiran as if it were nothing more than a toy. A empowered blow from the Axe was barely parried by the floating demon, yet even so knocked him sprawling through the air.
"Well now, looks as if I may be remiss in my hostly duties. Come in gentlemen. It's bad manners to leave guests on the front porch." The beautiful face cracked into a literally devilish smile and Lucifer floated back through a higher mirror, into a passageway leading the same way as the ground-level equivalent.
"Well met Tristan." Kythe said after he was sure Lucifer was gone, for the moment at least.
"Couldn't let you have all the fun could I?" The huge Vinnish barbarian replied.
"Excuse me, I know you're all used to ignoring me once you start fighting with those huge phallic symbols of yours, but shouldn't we be...I don't know...FOLLOWING HIM?" Yelled an irate Kiran, angry at having been suddenly abandoned by the battling Kythe.
Nevertheless she was right, and the group entered the passageway mere moments later.
The second chamber was austere, void of any kind of decoration, except odd carvings into the walls and the ground, even those looked more like wounds in the living stone then any kind of attempt to decorate. This view was intensified by the dripping of water from the gashes, colored red from the rich iron deposits this deep in the earth. Kythe eyed the gashes carefully for a moment, while both Kiran and Tristan ran out into the open room. Even as they neared the center Kythe's eyes widened in surprise, and he called out to his companions:
"NO! Come back! It's a tr-"
His warning was cut off by the release of a grand explosion of pure energy, the epicenter of which was the center of the open room. Kythe grimaced and shielded his eyes, but was otherwise unharmed by the blast. His companions did not fare as well, though. Kiran lay twisted on the ground, conscious but clearly out of commission, while the huge plainsman had part of a stone lodged in his ribs and was clearly unconscious, though his steady breathing proved he was not dead.
Kythe ran to Kiran's side, but as he got there another symbol lit up from the carvings in the stone and fired a beam of black light at him. Unprepared, Kythe was hit full in the abdomen by the assault, and he flew back himself. The beam caused no serious wound, but it had done serious damage to the Network of runed tattoos that protected Kythe and kept him alive.
A deafening laughter started, coming from above. Floating down carelessly was Lucifer, cackling all the time.
"What a beautiful trap. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Where are your powers now?"
Lucifer touched down on the ground and slowly began to walk toward Kiran. Seeing his intent, Kythe managed to fight himself to a sitting position, then gasped and fell back down.
"It's such a funny thing. You would die to protect this girl, this princess, yet she cares nothing for you. She loves that huge hunk of human waste over there."
At the accusation Kythe's eye's widened, and he turned toward Kiran, seeking the truth in her eyes. Her distant gaze, and then the way her head turned to refuse him access to her eyes spoke all the words that needed to be said.
"Ah, so you didn't know? What you thought you would just come down here after all you;d gone through together, kill me, then live together forever? Is that it? Nothing ever happens that way. You should thank me for destroying her now, for sparing you from that torment."
As he was speaking Lucifer raised his curved blade and held it over the incapacitated Kiran. Kythe gazed on in horror, then felt within him a new strength, renewed from the flames of his absolute hatred for this demon. Or perhaps it was something else he thought as he gazed into Kiran's eyes for a brief moment. Now she needed him and he would do everything to save her. His runes blazed to life, a Bright blue, a color which concerned Kythe as that was the color of breaking, the color runes turned before the structure failed and the bearer passed on. All this flew through his head, but it didn't dissuade him. He had no time to retrieve his lost sword, he only could bull rush Lucifer, using all of his newfound strength. He made contact, his fist catching Lucifer unawares and with his strength born of Sacrifice, he pierced straight through Lucifer's body.
For a moment they both stared at each other, Kythe's eyes full of conviction and unyielding passion, Lucifer's eyes filled with fear.
"Now we end it. It's funny. Kythe is my taken name. It means Protector in our language. But my given name was Satrich Threa. That name means Sweet Sacrifice in our tongue. Tell me how that feels won't you?"
Pure power crackled from rune to rune on Kythe's body, the very room seemed to shake from the suppressed force. Quickly he turned to Kiran and locked gazes, having time only to say one last thing:
"I love you."
Those were the Immortal known as Kythe's last words as the Rune on his body overloaded, enveloping Lucifer and Kythe in a ball of swirling,multicolored energy that carved a crater into the ground and destroyed both of them utterly.
No one remembered Kythe. He saved the land, and got nothing but a speech dedicated to his heroism. The speech was delivered by Kiran at her wedding. To Tristan. The world soon forgot the warrior who saved it from the greatest evil it had ever known. The man who destroyed the darkness not out of altruism, not out of desire to save the world, no even for fame, but for the love of a woman.