By Ishin 6 Comments
The Grim Pasture, Black Hallows
The sky was wrapped in the murky hands of darkness, and the air thick with the cheerless mist of a wretched abyss. The Grim Pasture was home to nothing but ghouls and the shambled graveyards, burial chambers and mausoleums built on it's barren terrain. And there in the mist stood a nightmare creature, a native of the Black Hallows - a monster masquerading as man. "Sorry to keep you waiting", the Mad Strix said, his voice soft and sweet, his smile stretching wide till his bones were pushing out against his rotted skin. Turning round to meet Ishin's eyes with a corpse's smile, Ezra stood still, his body motionless as though he'd been turned to stone.
"I know you've waited long for me to relieve you of that sweet girl, your daughter. Sweet little Hanna", the Mad Strix giggled, his mouth never opening yet the laughter echoing clear as purple lightning flared in the skies above. "You should be pleased", Ishin answered, the top half of his face draped in the shadow of his conical straw hat, "That it'll be by my blade that you die", the Black Dragon claimed, voice colder than the blade he drew from it's sheathe. There, surrounded by trees of black bark carved with the wailing faces of trapped souls, the Grandmaster of the Keijijo would do battle with the Mad Strix. "But I only want what's best", Ezra grinned, his voice growing more feminine, "For our dearest daughter", he smiled, the flesh falling from his skull to give way to - Nikoleta's face, the mother of Ishin's child. "I'll be good to her. I'll sing her songs...".
"Mr. Sandman, sow her a seam"
"And give it the color she sees in her dream"
"Tell her my promise, that she'll never grow older"
"And that's because her days alive.. are... over"
Ezra laughed, and Ishin scowled. The grandmaster's blood boiled, and his heart swelled with a cold fury. "Many have tried... dear Ishin. You are not the first", Ezra taunted, his smile widening to the creaking sound of wood. "Then consider me the last", Ishin growled, teleporting with a step - and reappearing an inch in front of Ezra with another. Body low and his knees bent, Ishin swung his sword and the wind howled as the sharp edge of his blade arched it's way to Ezra's torso. Yet as Ishin's blade met flesh - it cut nothing. Ezra burst into a flock of crows and vanished. Eyes wide like saucers, Ishin's chest heaved, his heart clamored, and his scowled deepened. An apparition, his mind realized, his ears catching the unmistakable whisper of the power Ezra had just used to elude even his metaphysical senses.
Senses that swore they'd felt Ezra's soul in the Grim Pasture. "The soul lavaliere. He has it".