Sunday, March 13, 2005

Grudge Match.

Episode for Mar 10, 2005, Thursday. The Ravena Sugo was the first to strike. He produced a ball of fire in his hand and cast it at his opponent. Aguiluz dodged the blow easily and ran into the apartment building for cover. Gabriel pursued him, firing at him with his inexhaustible supply of flaming ammunition. In the ruins of that building there were plenty of rooms to run and hide in, and their fighting now resembled urban guerilla warfare. Hiding himself behind a doorway, Aguiluz formed a shining sphere of bluish light between his hands, and returned fire with it. Startled by this new weapon, Gabriel retreated into a corner. Aguiluz blasted the wall repeatedly with blows that had the power of a rocket-launcher. Red and blue flares lit up the air as the powers of the two Sugo clashed. Gabriel had underestimated Aguiluz. He knew a lot of things intuitively, but Aguiluz was the more experienced fighter, having trained as a warrior since childhood. Sensing this, the Ravena prince turned to flee. As wrathful Achilles had chased noble Hector round the walls of Troy, so Aguiluz now sent his rival scurrying through the corridors, and rushing up and down staircases away from his vigorous assault. At last, he cornered Gabriel into a lone standing wall outside the building. No one would ever know what the wall had once stood for. Gabriel leaned back on it, breathing heavily. Quietly he unsheathed his sword, curved and ornate, with a red jewel gleaming on the handle. Aguiluz did not see him, but he knew the enemy was there. He ran up to the other side of the wall and took a few breaths himself. With his left hand the Mulawin Sugo drew his own sword. The moment had arrived. Swinging their swords overhead, both Sugo made an about-turn and struck with all their fury. The sound of clanging metal rang through the air and the swordfight began. Aguiluz wielded his blade with such skill and finesse, but Gabriel was not to be outdone. And the tide was about to turn in his favor. When the two Sugo took their battle to the sky, Alwina joined them. She had come to fight for Gabriel. Then Aguiluz recognized her and said, “Stop this nonsense and come with me! You’re not meant for him! I’m the one you love!’ Gabriel then maneuvered himself behind his adversary. “Sugo, meet the new Princess of the Ravena: Alwina!” “Don’t touch me!” she snapped. “It’s Gabriel I love and not you!” Aguiluz shook his head, forgetting Gabriel for the moment. “That’s not true!” Then treacherously Gabriel struck with his sword. With one bloody sweep he cut off Aguiluz’s wings. The latter plummeted to the earth screaming in pain, crashing through the roof of an old warehouse into a heap of wood. Then Ravenum, Gabriel and Alwina gathered around him. As Gabriel was about to pluck off Mulawin’s ugatpak, his father stopped him. “There is something you two need to know,” he told him. Habagat rejoined his son to find the lad’s mother there. But Habagat knew better. He drew back Mulagat and said to him, “Stay away from her. She’s a Ravena now.” “He’s lying to you!” Linang cried. “Are you going to believe him more than your own mother?” ‘Now I’m confused!” Mulagat complained. “But all the women in Avila became Ravena. You must be one now too!” “I cannot be mistaken,” Habagat told him. “I saw her change with my own eyes. I used to be a Ravena myself. I know their tactics.” “If you don’t believe me, Mulagat, you will pay for it!” Linang fumed. And Habagat told her, “If you are a Ravena now, I will fight you to death for the sake of my son, and to keep him from becoming like you!” Anger betrayed Linang’s true nature now. Her eyes went ablaze and she reassumed her Ravena shape. But she did not fight them; she withdrew in a hurry and flew away. Meanwhile, Dakila was preparing his men for battle when Makisig (Kuwak) spoke up. “How do we do that, sir?” he asked. “No offense, but if you haven’t noticed, you can count on both hands the number of men there are left of us.” Dakila was only beginning to reflect on this problem when the flapping of raptors’ wings overhead alerted them. The Ravena women had come for them as Savannah had bade them, and the whole affair turned into a grudge match: the Taguba women versus their men, Tuka against Makisig, Mayi taking on Dakila, and Aviona confronting Aramis who said, “I can’t fight the woman I love! Don’t you remember me? I’m Aramis!” “I remember you all right,” Aviona replied. “I remember how you lied to me!” But Dakila had no time for this. “Stop it, Mayi,” he shouted at his erstwhile messenger. The elder did not wish to harm the child; this was now one of the few instances when he resorted to his occult gifts. He conjured a massive ball of yellow-green light and lit up the whole area with it, just in time to save the men. Blinded and distracted, the Ravena women dropped their victims and fled the scene, but vowing that there would be a return bout. “We’ll finish you off when we get back!” Maningning swore at them. They retreated back to Halimhim where Lourdes had also gone. The trio of Rasmus, Bagwis and Veronica had let her go. In Encantadia, two fairies were keeping an eye on the battle. The evil influence of Ravenum and Perena made it difficult to do so, however; the waters of the magic well darkened ever so often. “I see Aramis in danger,” observed Muyak. “Isn’t there anything we can do?” “No,” Florona replied. “Don’t be like those other Diwata who meddle with human affairs!” In Halimhim, the fighting dragged on. Niwalum felt himself weakening. He could feel Aguiluz’s injuries and he knew he was in danger. He and Gus had seen the Sugo fall from the sky and they were about to help, when Wis signaled to Gus from afar. Pagaspas followed her and asked, “What do you want?” “I want a fight!” she replied wickedly, stretching out her arms and twisting Gus’ wrists. But Niwalum came to his rescue. “I gave you that power,” he told her. “Now I will take it back!” He drew back his gifts from the Ravena child and released Gus from her grip. Then the two young heroes left her to see Aguiluz. Back at the warehouse, Aguiluz was down on his stomach, and his back was bathed in the blood of his severed wings. “You can easily put an end to your suffering, Aguiluz,” Ravenum said to him. “You just have to do what I tell you and join us.” “I’ll never do what you want,” the Sugo answered weakly. “I’ll never betray my own kind, not even if you kill me!” Ravenum almost chuckled. “That is where you are wrong. Right here is where you need to be, Aguiluz. Beside me and Gabriel. Yes, here beside me… my son.” Then Aguiluz looked up at him with failing eyes. “What did you say?” “Yes, you heard that right. I am your father.” Now it was Aguiluz who almost laughed. “Is that how desperate you’ve become, Ravenum? You’ll make up an outrageous lie like that?” Gabriel looked at his father. “Are you telling the truth?” “I cannot be lying,” he told them both. “The Balasik cannot lie.” Then Aguiluz summoned his rapidly fading strength and stood up. “You’re just trying to poison my mind,” he told them. “You are not my father!” Now Ravenum became angry with him. “We’ll see if you can still get away!” He yanked off his son’s ugatpak. Aguiluz hollered in pain and collapsed.
 

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