Despite the fact that Andaleth's spell raged around it, Fel lightnig called forth from the very core of Andaleth's being, the Shaman, the beastial Gnoll, lunged forward. It was obvious from its gait that one or all of Andaleth's spells had wounded it, but still it rushed on, its lurching strides closing the distance between the two combatants quickly. Andaleth sneered as it pulled up in front of him, its staff brandished in front of it, the path of the human skull evident as the beast swung the weapon, its glowing eyes tracing out the arc of its swing. Andaleth took a slight step back, his swords leaping to his hands in one deft motion, one held high, the other low across his body. Lifting his gaze, laughter bubbling on his lips, his contempt for the creature before him evident in his piercing gaze, so much so that the Gnoll, despite all of its feral prowess, began to tremble. As Crimson lightning spat forth from the depths of the skulls eye sockets, Andaleth almost felt, lost so he was in the pulsing torent of magic that engulfed him, that time began to crawl, like a helpless insect through a pool of molasses. Thrusting his long sword into the ground below him, Andaleth raised his right hand and batted the spell, pathetic bursts of lightning, aside, its power no more than a nuisance.
Fear.... Fear laced the air, he could feel it, smell it on the air, wafting, seeping from the wretched beast before him. He had no respect for it, the creature was worth nothing, mattered none, but still he mustered an ounce of respect, admiration for the depth of its stupidity, as it rushed forward, using its arcane staff as a weapon of blunt violence. Clearly it hoped to crush Andaleth's skull with a lucky blow. With ease Andaleth withdrew his long sword from the earth, a flash of fire clearing the blade of detritus as it rose to meet the arcing staff. The second their weapons met, a flash of sparks, orange and red, blossomed into life, bathing the clearing in which they stood in stuttering light. Each of the beasts swings met Andaleth's cold steel, its wild strikes keeping Andaleth at bay, unable to mount a counterstrike. In the midst of the melee, Andaleth noticed, that the staff, despite the fact that it was born by a savage thug, was intricately made, the shaft carved with intricate lacing arcane script. This was not the work of a half-sentient beast, but scavenged from some sorcerer or warlock that had met their end at the Shaman's hand. Perhaps it was this arcane artifact that allowed the beast to channel magical power at all. Either way, this fight would see the foul staff destroyed and its bearer dead. Andaleth vowed to see to that.
The beast tired, Andaleth could feel that its strikes came with less frequency and far less accuracy. The time was his to strike. The forms of the sword, taught to him by Lady Xerxia sprang to mind, his own names given to each to help in rememberance. A surge in confidence, brought on by the thought of the mistress of the blades, her stern glare seemingly bearing down on him from the depths of his own imagination, drove him forward, graceful and deadly. The Heron in the Lillies flowed to the Kingfisher in Flight, as his blades flashed outward in a pattern to fast and accurate for the Gnoll to match.
His shortsword flashed out, a viper like slash to the right, and he felt the resistance as it took the Gnolls, left arm off just below the elbow. Blood flew as the beast screamed in pain, trying to bring its staff up to protect itself, only to have Andaleth's longsword meet it, the blade of the sword glowing orange with power as Andaleth infused his magic into it. A thunderclap, a noise loud enough to leave his ears ringing pealed as the blade took the human skull from the end of the staff. The backlash of power washed over Andaleth, coursing around him like the tide, and as his vision cleared from the blinding pulse of light he found the Gnoll, the shaman who moments before stood before him, so sure in its own power, writhing on the ground, blood pouring from its ears and mouth and the empty sockets where its eyes had been. The wailing scream that ripped from its through enough to pull at Andaleth's soul. With a grunt of effort, his long sword whistled through the air, and the sceaming stopped, the dull thud of the beast's head hitting the ground thunderous in the midst of the sudden silence.
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