The Matriarch of Avernus
Disclaimer: Not mine. The Legacy of Kain videogames were developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon.
I- The Matriarch of Avernus
"Tell me, Lady Azimuth. Where are your children? Where are your pets?"
The voice was coldly sarcastic and loud enough to be heard everywhere in the large chamber. Azimuth, Matriarch of Avernus, shivered when he heard the taunt and it took all of her self-restraint to avoid giving away her position. Her enemy was hunting and she was weak.
Hidden behind one of the massive pillars that supported the cathedral's main hall, the sorceress could not see the creature mocking her. And even attempting to detect the creature's approach by hearing was futile. Her stalker was vicious and savage in battle, but he was also cunning and moving silently was well within his ability. He might be in the other side of the pillar, preparing for a surprise attack, or in the opposite corner of the hall. Too close in both cases, at any rate.
On his own, the vampire was already a mighty foe. Wielding the legendary Soul Reaver, the abomination had proven to be stronger than the hell spawned creatures that Azimuth had summoned to fight him. The strong natural armour had been no match for the Reaver's famed blade. The Matriarch had seen her protectors fall one after another, until she had been alone against her enemy.
Usually, the bloody show would have been much to her liking for the woman, whose madness had made her unleash a swarm of monsters with a thirst for death and violence against her own city, yet the promise of an impending bloody and painful death has the odd power of robbing even the worst maniacs of their joy.
"I can smell your fear, Azimuth. I can smell you, even with this disgusting stench. It is... quite pleasing, actually. Much better than those stinking demons and their poisonous blood,” continued the voice, reverberating in the walls. "It will be a pleasure to drink your blood. I'm sure that it will wipe the aftertaste."
This time, Azimuth failed to contain a whimper, followed seconds later by a cry of terror when a form appeared out of thin air in front of her. The vampire was a creature of pale skin and snow-white hair, who wore blood-red armour and held in his right hand the dreaded Soul Reaver. Azimuth felt in her very soul the power of the blade's malevolent spirit, a nameless thing that devoured the souls of those slain with the deadly sword.
"Matriarch. I bid you well in the afterlife," said Kain, bane of the Circle, preparing his weapon for the last strike.
The vampire's words and the image of the blade about to sever her neck, made Azimuth react in the last moment. Using her powers for dimensional manipulation, the woman teleported blindly. Unfortunately, she had drained her well of power early in the battle, summoning too many demons, so instead of ending in some distant place, safe and sound, she reappeared just a few meters away from her would-be killer.
The vampire, cursing violently, turned and advanced swiftly, with every intention of ending the battle for good. In a last, desperate effort, Azimuth grasped with both hands the great red jewel that rested on her chest and tried to locate a being strong enough to slow Kain long enough to make her escape. The gem was Azimuth's Third Eye, the focus of her powers and her connection with the Pillar of Dimension, that allowed her to see worlds beyond Nosgoth and to open portals between different realms.
Usually, her efforts would have been wasted, as she would have been hard pressed to summon even the weakest imp in her weakened condition. Thus, it was a most unusual event that she was searching at the same time that a dimensional tear was being opened elsewhere in the multiverse, a fracture caused by a power far greater than her own... a power that she was able to steal to restore her might.
Kain slowed, wary, when Azimuth's three eyes started to glow with a preternatural green light and her lips curved to form a mocking, cruel smile.
"What happens, vampire? Your courage abandoned you? I don't think that you will not have a chance to taste my blood after all," taunted the matriarch, while her hands moved, creating arcane symbols of green light in the air. "My power is renewed. And your fate is now sealed!"
But the vampire didn't really pay attention to her last words. Following the call, a new host had abandoned Hell to face Kain. Tall horned titans with burning breath. Agile creatures with the appearance of insects whose very touch was poisonous. Fast beasts that commanded lightning. The strongest creatures of the underworld had come and in large numbers. Larger than the first group that Kain had destroyed.
For a moment, Kain almost faltered. He had the mightiest sword in Nosgoth, he had strength and magical power far above most mortals, yet to face alone the denizens of Hell itself was still a tall order. For a time, he resisted, defending himself from the assault with all his skill and no reward for his efforts, as Azimuth simply called for reinforcements when he scored a new kill.
He had decided to leave, was about to cast a spell that would have taken him to a sanctuary far away from Avernus and its demons to heal and prepare the rematch, when the brightness of the green light decreased. He didn't know what that meant or why it was happening. But he knew that it had to be good for him, if Azimuth was no longer laughing madly. The magical power he had gathered to cast his spell, became a burning ray of energy that scorched the head of one of his closest enemies.
"Vae Victus!," cried the vampire, jumping against the largest group of his foes, already decided to die again or win this battle.
While Kain cut his way through the wall of devils, Azimuth was busy seeing with the Third Eye the closing of the portal that she had been using to feed her summons. That would not do. She was not sure of what it was, but she knew that the power that had opened the tear was the key to release her gods from their exile of millennia. The presence he had felt entering the portal, just as it began to close, was no doubt the answer to the whole enigma. Burning most of the power he had borrowed in the effort, Azimuth sent her will through the barriers between the worlds and removed the presence from the fracture, just before it closed completely.
When she opened her two mortal eyes, Azimuth felt her heart miss a beat as she found in front of her a pale face with golden eyes, touched by the black poison that coursed through the veins of her demons. Before she could react, she felt the Reaver cutting skin, muscle and bone. When it reached her heart, the world was swallowed by darkness. Then, she was falling towards something terrible and, finally, she ceased to be as her very essence fed the spirit of the accursed blade.
Kain took the Third Eye with his left hand and allowed the corpse to fall, before regarding with a puzzled expression the last thing summoned by the Dimension Guardian. If proof was needed of her absolute madness, that was it. What had she tried to do, bringing an unconscious human woman to the battlefield? Did she want to bait Kain with blood?
At any rate, it no longer mattered. The young woman was a bit smaller than average and her outfit was most unusual, but she was full of human blood. Better yet, her heart was still beating, so her blood would be much healthier than anything gained from Azimuth's already cooling corpse. Kneeling next to his victim-to-be, Kain raised the head to have a better view of the neck. But just as he was about to sink his fangs, the "victim" opened her eyes and understanding immediately what was about to happen, she reacted.
When the young lady flung him into the air with a single blow, Kain decided that Azimuth's last spell hadn't been exactly pointless, after all.
Notes: I don't know where this story will end. It might become a simple one-shot deal, because I have no grand plan for the story. But I wanted to get this scene out of my system and I think that it is fairly nice, despite being so short. If you agree, leave a review, please ;-).