I haven’t shown much of the other villains within War of Nytefall: Ravenous. Two that I really enjoy showing off are Kenneth Decker and Archillious. One is very serious while the other is insane. They’ve kind of become the Nyte version of Bob and Luther Grathan. I gave them a great scene that I’m going to partially share here. Although, things seem to be off with them now.
Trudging through the forest, Decker stops when the toes of his boots hit the edge of a strange weather pattern. He looks over his shoulder to see that it is still sunny along the path he has been following for half a day. With a tired sigh, the soldier faces forward and stares at the billowing snowstorm that never expands beyond its borders. The blizzard makes it impossible to see very far, so he cannot tell if it is a small patch or a vast swath of nature driven mad by the Great Cataclysm. Decker puts his hand over the line, which is where the knee-high drift meets the frosty ground of the more stable forest. He pulls back and wiggles his fingers, which are only slightly chilled from the snow that evaporates within seconds. Taking out a flask of blood, he sips at the light snack while considering his choices. A glance to his left and right give him no indication that either way would be faster than pushing through the howling storm. With a shiver, he ignites the head of his axe and holds it over the boundary, but the magical flames are yanked off the rusty metal. He watches as they seem to disappear into the distance, but a gentle crackling gives him enough of a warning to duck the ejected spell. It strikes a tree that the solider puts out with a blast of ice, the damaged plant falling over with a loud groan. A flock of birds erupt from the forest and pass into the storm where half of them cross unharmed and the others are slammed into the snow-covered ground. Their bodies are shot out of the gale as if the blizzard is aiming for the solitary vampire.
“I hate these chaos patches,” Decker mutters while he tosses a fallen branch ahead. He chuckles when it falls in the snow with a muted thud and stays there. “No consistency or explanation for what you do. I could walk for hours in either direction and never find a way around you. Could take minutes or weeks to get through if you decide not to throw me out on your own. What do you do when it snows on this side? Can’t believe I’m talking to a magical storm. This is why I need the others back. The loneliness of Nyte is getting to me. Maybe I should return to Clyde and Mab. No, I don’t have the time to witness whatever tragedy is going on there.”
A barely audible rustling in the branches causes Decker to pull his hood further over his face and roll to his left. He calmly comes up on his feet and wipes the dirt off his night cloak as Archillious lands where he had been standing. The assassin grins and plucks his poison-coated knives from the ground, which releases puffs of violet gas. When the soldier shifts his foot towards the blizzard, the Dawn Fang hurls a handful of open vials into the storm and takes a bow. The older vampire curses under his breath as he watches the swirling gales take on a noxious green hue and any trees that are touching the barrier melt into steaming puddles of toxic muck. Decker makes several gestures with his hands and catches Archillious’s gaze to deliver a paralysis spell. He can immediately tell that his attack has failed and he sidesteps a lunge at his chest. Drawing his axe, he smacks his opponent in the back with the flat side and drives him to the ground. Before the soldier can deliver a second blow, he is forced to leap away to narrowly avoid getting his ankle grabbed by the assassin.
“This is more of a challenge than either of us expected,” Archillious claims as he gets to his feet. He calmly shakes his jacket clean and turns his head to spit a fang that the cautious soldier swiftly deflects. “My new master wants to complete her collection. Something about things getting too difficult and she needs to clear the board to help her think. I’d say she needs to get laid to relax, but that’s not a problem for her, especially now that she has Titus and Chastity at her beck and call. By the way, you should be thankful that I convinced her to send me after you alone. If she had sent Renald then he’d probably kill you because nobody is sure if an old-world can be infected. Now, you face the deadly Archillious who has to take you in alive while you try to match me in kindness.”
“I’ve been told that I can severe your head and reattach it later,” Decker says, his eyes lowered to the ground. Hearing the telltale inhale, he ducks and rolls away from another tooth and goes flat to avoid a third. “Not that I would do so because I need you conscious and able to share what you know. I have no guarantee that knocking you out and reviving you later will bring you back to your senses. Although, you’ve already told me a lot. Care to give me a name, friendly Archillious?”
“I would, but I’ve been told not to say it,” the assassin admits before taking a fourth shot that is blocked.
“And that stops you because?”
Archillious grins as the dwarf deflects and dodges ten rapidly fired fangs. “You understand how orders work.”
“I do, but that isn’t how you operate.”
“True . . . Ever feel like parts of your mind have been removed?”
“Was that last miss your sixteenth or seventeenth shot?”
“Eighteen because I tried one when the lethal Archillious pounced from the branches at the very beginning of this fight.”
Decker nods and charges with his axe whipping through the air to knock away the fangs and crossbow bolts that sail in his direction.