325 Bloodline Memories
"You uh... know of me?" Tycondrius asked.
The aged human warlock stood from his chair and lowered his body to get to his knees... Somewhat expectedly, he lost his balance and fell painfully upon the dungeon stone.
Tycon pursed his lips. Should... should he help? He stood up and approached. He felt like he should help.
Pyraxis took the opportunity to grasp and grovel at Tycon's feet, "Sssssnaaake blood.... courses through this old man's veins.... my bloodline memories... they know you are who you claimmmm to be...."
Bloodline memories. Of course. Concerning mundane creatures, a snake is born knowing how to hunt. They are born understanding they must seek shelter from the cold and to fear predators like hawks and owls. Humans have an instinctual fear of heights and a love of clear, reflective surfaces that resemble clean drinking water.
For magical beasts like flood dragons, medusae, nymphs, unicorns, the knowledge is greater. A nymph is born understanding she will die if she leaves her tree. Without trial-and-error, a unicorn understands how to utilize their innate magic to impart healing miracles upon their allies. Medusae and elves can speak in their bloodline tongues without needing to be taught... as well as sharing an inexplicable hatred for creatures resembling dragons.
If the old Warlock had bloodline memories, the serpentine blood within him was quite strong... It was also possible that that was the poison that was killing him.
Tycon grimaced, turning up his nose, "Please... get up. It's unpleasant having an old, unattractive human trying to win my favor."
"The Ssssnake god has sent an EXARCH... to RECLAIM the artifact that BELONGS TO USSSS!!" The Warlock praised, running his tongue along Tycon's boots.
That was enough. Tycon grabbed the blade of his sword and started jabbing at the Warlock's wrinkled face with the pommel, "Wonderful. What-portent-could-be-greater? Release-me-at-once."
"P-please, Ivory Princccce!!! Recover.... the ssssnake skulllll.... from Houssse Vanzano..."
"Fine. Just... let go."
"And please take me AS YOUR SSSTUDENNNT!!!"
"No. Absolutely not."
The old man sobbed loudly, hugging Tycon's calf, "But whyyyyyy notttt?! I have been faithfullll ALL THESE YEARRRSSSS!!! I have killed.... SO MANY ELVESSSSS!!"
Tycon covered his face with his palm, "I... that... that has nothing to do with me... or with the Snake Cult, for that matter. The last time I met with your god, he had no issues with the elven peoples."
"Wh-wh... what?" Pyraxis looked up pitifully, tears running down the age-lines on his cheeks, snot and... blood running down his nose and over his mouth.
Tycon crossed his arms and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath while trying not to directly smell the old man. Once again, his careless words had inflicted psychological damage upon the fellow.
"No... that.... that cannot be...." Pyraxis stared in shock with quivering lips.
Ignorance was bliss and Tycon had been unintentionally cruel with his truths.
No! The old man was clearly a villain! A murderer! Tycon was pretending to be a hero of the Church! He should have no compunction in violently purging this man along with his great sins!
This... mewling... whimpering... defenseless, old human, sobbing pitifully to himself... he'd wasted his life on a crusade he mistakenly believed would please his cruel deity.....
"Hey... it's... it's not so bad," Tycon prodded the old man with his sword pommel... reassuredly. "The snake god... he... he loves cruelty? I'm sure you inflicted more than enough... pain... regardless of the peoples you inflicted them upon..."
"I could... I could have tortured so many more... humans... There's so many humans! So... so fewwww elvessss...." Pyraxis cried.
Tycon grimaced... "Well... yes, this is true."
"I have... sssssooo much to learn..." The Warlock sputtered, again devolving into a coughing fit. "Please.... Ivory Prince.... Acccccept me.... as your faithfullll disciple...."
"What? Come on, now." Tycon scoffed, "Tss. What use would you be as a disciple? You're going to die soon, especially considering you've been poisoned for the last several years of your life."
Oh. Oooooh. He didn't know, "No. Nevermind. Let's arrange a contest of a sort. If you win, you can become my disciple."
Pyraxis wore a look of terror in his milky-white eyes, "Wait, what... what was that.... about... me..... being poisoned?"
Tycon took several steps back, creating distance between him and the unpleasantly smelling Warlock, "Martial contest. Disciple-hood. How about it?"
The old man struggled to his feet, wringing his hands nervously, "Y-yess... Please go easy... on me... Teacher"
What a ridiculous request. Tycon was not planning on honoring it.
Mana glowed in Pyraxis' hands, culminating in roiling green flames. He was a proper Iron-Rank Warlock, well versed in his craft, "Princcce.... I shallll make the firsssst move...."
Tycon felt his mouth twitch, "R-right. Go ahead."
The ancient Warlock took a deep, snot-addled breath, "⌈Eldritttch..... BLAAAAAST!!!⌋"
Placing his wrists together, Pyraxis pushed the unnatural mana forward, allowing fiery tendrils to surge towards Tycon... While the spell's speed was lacking, the mana concentration was focused-- domineering in power.
Tycon lowered his sword. Sheathing only his hand in mana, he slapped the sphere of dark energies away. The eldritch orb crashed into a wall, bursting into violent green flames as the Warlock watched, white-eyes shocked at his failure.
Tycon closed the fingers of his steaming hand. He had grown far stronger since he'd last fought a Warlock. He'd end this farce of a fight quickly. Besides ⌈Venomous Shadow⌋, Tycon had also developed a second offensive move... one he'd chosen specifically to counter spellcasters.
"⌈Shadowfang Strike,⌋" Tycon whispered. He dashed forward, utilizing his movement technique to appear from nigh-invisibility behind Pyraxis.
He poised his sword to strike down the warlock's raised arm.
« System, activate ⌈Echo Seal⌋. »
⟬ Echo Seal. Offensive ability. Target takes severe weapon damage and is magically inhibited from repeating skills or abilities used within the last 100 seconds. ⟭
⟬ Activating. ⟭
Magical runes floated above the surface of his stolen short sword, signifying the skill's effect. Quickly and precisely, Tycon pierced his blade through the Warlock's right bicep. The runes flashed white, disappearing and reappearing in bloody black script upon the Warlock's forehead.