Arbiter and Executioner

Shink!

The glinting silver light bounced from the sword as it sliced through flesh, pinning the vampire with long, silver hair and lifeless gray eyes helplessly to the ground.

Vergil stood, looming over Magnus, staring down at the vampire flesh that was still new, still white as a corpse, the vampire eyes that even now were lifeless as they had been when Magnus still lived. Blood gushed from Magnus’ heart and seeped through his silken shirt, trailing down to the ripped velvet jacket.

The complex by the sea, the ancient castle, burned in the distance. Smoke escaped from the barred windows, the flames licked at the towers of the ancient structure, sparks and embers flew through the air, the black smoke rising in a high pillar above the sea cliffs.

Magnus laughed, unsensibly, maniacally. He opened his mouth wide and laughed, and he coughed blood while he laughed, but still he continued to laugh.
In a fraction of a second four red, bleeding slashes appeared across Magnus’ white face, stretching from his forehead down to his chin, and Vergil seemed not to have moved whatsoever, though blood dripped from his fingertips. His expression was stone, his gaze was blank, his countainence rigid and unmoving. Magnus kept the smile on his face but narrowed his eyes at the vampire who stood over him.

“So they all died, then?” he asked, the pleasure in already knowing the answer to his own question seeping through his voice.

Vergil said nothing. Just stared down at him.

“The three lovers, together at last,” he said, and then burst into another high, shrill laugh the echoed off of the trees and bounced through the forest paths.

Vergil remained, unmoving, Magnus’ blood still dripping from his fingertips. He spoke. “You killed them, all.”

“They killed themselves.” Magnus’ voice was beginning to sound strained. The sword still pinned him to the ground, and though he squirmed, his body would not be moved, the sword anchored him into the ground.

“It is useless to move,” said Vergil, “The blade has power over vampires. It will keep you there until the end of time, should I leave it.” There was a long pause as Magnus stopped moving and stared into Vergil’s eyes. “You killed them,” he said again.

“We both know the girl wasn’t dead, and the two fools chose to become my assassin’s, to destroy those who had troubled me in the past, to carry out my vengeance upon the families of those who ridiculed my work and told me I was a madman. I succeeded! I became a god, as I knew I would.”

“You are no god,” Vergil said quietly, “You are the devil incarnate. You are all that is unnatrual and twisted in the world, a manifestation of madness, not even pitiable.”

“But look at me Vergil!” Magnus stretched his arms out wide, “I do not die, though a blade pierces my heart and blood runs freely from my body. Soon it will all be gone, but still my flesh will not decay. I will stay here, undying, forever!”

“Foolish newborn, do you not remember the sun?”

A flash of fear seemed to cross Magnus’ face, as though he truly hadn’t forgotten the existance of the sun.

“Soon,” Vergil continued, “The sun will rise, and it will burn you to cinders and wisps of black smoke. You will suffer the fires of hell and die in them.”

“And what about you?” Magnus asked, grinning. “If the sun is to rise soon, will you not too die from it’s light?”

“One as old as I does not die from it’s light,” Vergil said, “I will stand and watch justice be delivered. I am your arbiter and executioner, and you will be granted death that is too good for you. I would lock you up inside your castle, chain you to a wall and pin you there with the blade, so that you can live on forever, the thirst burning you until you are naught but an undead skeleton that cannot die, but lives on forever in the dark, tormented. This is a fate you would deserve. But I have to wish to live in a world with you in it. Your experiments are dead, I have killed them all, your sub-humans whom you poisoned and contorted. And now you will die, and all trace of your existance will be lost.”
Magnus laughed again, a short laugh. “It matters not, ancient killer. I achieved what I set to do, I learned to use the ancient magic.”

“Lies, ” Vergil said, “You became a vampire, and vampires cannot use the magic.”

“Vampires cannot use the magic I sought to harness as a human, no,” Magnus replied, stopping to choke on his blood again, and continued, “But there is another form of magic. Not creation, but manipulation of what is already created. The spell is promised the two foolish men would bring their beloved back to life would obviously not have done so, it was a spell designed to give me the life of those who died. With the ninety-nine lives they gave me, acting as my emmisaries, I would have the strength of those who had died, and they would nourish me without the passing of their blood into my veins. I would have lived for hundreds, thousands of years, without being harmed by the things our kind fear: fire, the light of the sun, the heat of hell flames. I would be protected from it. And then in hundreds or thousands of years I would cast the spell again, and again and again. I have come so close to becoming a god.

“But they ruined it. The final death was not brought about by either of their hands. The final death had to be the death of one the killer loved, and purposely killed. Then I would have had the power.”

“And Helena would have remained a vampire, because she never died and thus could not be brought back to life.” Vergil concluded.
Magnus smiled, a cunning smile. “Oh, but ancient one, I didn’t lie when I said there was a way to bring back the dead. There was a spell for that as well, and it was much easier to do. Even you could do it, if you studied the ancient texts hard enough. The dead can be brought back to life, even now your beloved Helena could-“

A whipping slash crossed Magnus’ face and left four more deep gashes, oozing blood. “Speak not her name,” whispered Vergil, “You fiend.”

“But it is the truth, Vergil.” Magnus said quietly, with no humor or madness in his tone. “And the texts are burning within my laboratory, the knowledge of the ancients is passing out of history by your hand.”

“Good,” Vergil said, “May no one like you ever be given the power to carry out sick deeds like the one you’ve done.”
Magnus closed his eyes and smiled. With a calm voice, he said quietly, “I achieved what I set out to do. I performed the magic. Even if it was not the magic I sought as a mortal, I still achieved immortality. I can pass away from this life knowing that my work was not in vain. Should my work dissapear, I would prefer that I dissapear as well.”

Vergil seethed. “Fiend.”

Out on the ocean, red streaks began to appear on the reflection of the water, the sky had already turned gray and now a faint purple loomed on the horizon. Somewhere out beyond the chill of the night, heat was coming. Morning was coming, and the light of the burning sun with it.”
Neither spoke. Magnus kept his eyes closed, his long silver hair splayed out on the ground around his head. Vergil kept his eyes fixed on the vampire, impaled by the sword, never to move from his spot.

Morning came. It came slowly, but soon the heat began to creep across the ocean ways and dance up the side of the cliffs, past the still burning castle and into the clearing where the two vampires stood. Magnus’ skin began to smoke. He kept his eyes closed and his face expressionless. The white flesh turned black, and then the sun itself began to finally rise from the ocean, orange surrounded by purple and pink and blue. It rose high into the sky, slowly, and as it rose, Magnus’s skin flecked and dried and cracked, and he made no noise as the flesh charred and burned and finally, he opened his eyes. One socket was empty, the silver hair burned away the skull, and the remaining eye stared, lifeless and unfeeling, into Vergil’s. The body of the vampire flaked and crumbled into ashes and wisps of silver smoke in the wind, and the clothes were picked up by a gust of wind and carried off suddenly, out over the cliffs and down into the ocean below.

Only the sword remained, rooted to it’s place in the ground.

Vergil stood by, staring at the sword. His flesh was red and black, his skull was visible, the muscle tissue clinging to the face, the eyes still the same beneath, his lips burned away, most of the hair gone from his head, and beneath the tunic and cape he wore, the flesh had been burned and knarled too. Finally, he turned from the spot and limped quietly into the forest, where he was to find a hole and dig deep into the earth, to sleep the sleep of the damned.

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