Battle at the Black Gate

Rating: PG

Warnings: Violence

'STOP THE AVATAR! I AM COMING THROUGH THE BLACK GATE NOW.'

The words had not yet finished booming through the chamber when the five Fellowship leaders turned to face us.

"Avatar, stop where thou art! Thou shalt not succeed in thy quest to destroy the Black Gate! Art thou mad! The Guardian is much too powerful for thee! He shall crush thee like an insect!" Batlin shouts, "The fate of Britannia now belongs to him and to The Fellowship. The Guardian is the land's true ruler. Bow down to him, Avatar, and perhaps he shall give thee a place at his side. Bow down to him now!"

Hook retorted, "I say kill the Avatar! He is dangerous! Cut his throat! I say we attack now!"

"To kill! To kill!" Forskis screamed as Abraham replied, "Let us make fish bait out of him!"

"Death to the Avatar! Long live the Guardian!" Elizabeth shrieked.

"So be it! The Fellowship hereby sentences the Avatar to immediate death! Kill him now!" Batlin sneered as a Death Bolt arced from his hands at me.

I dropped to ground and rolled up, face to face with Elizabeth. As I drew the Blacksword and began my attack I saw my companions take their places in battle formation.

I ducked under Elizabeth's clumsy swing and came up close. Too close -- my sword was next to useless. With Abraham, her twin brother closing on me, I didn't have time to step back, so I smashed the fist that clenched the sword hilt into her face. I felt the bone give and she stumbled back with a moan. She landed unmoving on the floor, blood pouring from her face.

Abraham swung his cutlass and I stepped back, grasping the flat of the massive blade at half-way between the hilt and the tip. In such a fighting situation, this technique, known as half-sword, more or less turns the sword into a bladed staff. His next two blows were easily parried, and he dropped to his knee, clenching his sword arm from the cut I'd given him.

He forced himself up and came in fast, swinging the cutlass in almost wild circles. He stopped in his tracks, an arrow protruding from his neck, then fell over dead. Tseramed nodded as he nocked his next arrow.

A massive starry explosion in my head drove me to my knees, then a second hit forced me flat on the ground, and I felt someone heavy standing on my back.

A gargish voice hissed, "To gain revenge on the False Prophet for the Gargoyle people."

Just as quickly, the weight on my back was gone and I pushed up to my hands and knees, and looked over to see Dupre pulling his sword out of the back of the gargoyle.

I reached out my hand and called, "Arcadion!"

The sword teleported from it's place on the floor into my hand as I strode forward. A death bolt came my way and I held the sword in front of me, the blackrock blade taking the strike.

"Revitalizing," the demon murmured as the sword and jewel absorbed the spell. I stood as I saw Jaana trying to get to Spark, who had fallen. She tripped trying to dodge a death bolt, and I started to run toward Batlin to draw his attention.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Iolo fire his triple crossbow at Hook, and saw the pirate collapsed with a gurgle as the bolts embedded in his chest.

Batlin watched Hook's death with icy resignation and time seemed to slow as he turned to me, "This battle is not done, Avatar. Dost thou imagine thyself immortal? The Guardian is far more. Return to your precious Earth and rest. Sleep, that he may visit your dreams with countless visions of death in the belly of the Great Sea Serpent."

Then he grinned. "As for me, I shall begone! Thou shalt never find me! Farewell, Avatar!" he taunts, then intones a single spell, "Kal Ort Por!"

With a flash, he disappeared.

A rumble came from the black gate, and I dug the three prisms out of my belt pouch.

"Shamino, Dupre, catch!" I cried as I tossed one toward each of them.

I ran up to one of the pillars and tried my prism, "Cube!"

I ran to the next one and my prism fit in. The force field immediately diminished.

Shamino fit his prism into the slot next to mine, and Dupre in the one I'd just left.

The force-field dropped.

"So, Avatar, the moment of truth has come! You can destroy the Black Gate but you will never return to your beloved Earth, or, you can come through now and go home. It is your choice!" the Guardian taunts me as I search for the Wand.

"Hey, who has the Wand?" I cried, frantically searching my pack

A massive red hand appeared from the gate and finally, Iolo tossed me the wand we had gotten from Rudyom of Cove.

"NO, YOU CANNOT DO THAT! YOU MUST NOT!" the Guardian cried as he pulled himself half-through the gate. I caught the wand, willed a surge of power through it and the bolt hit the gate.

The Guardian pushed himself back through the gate as it wavered. It exploded, shattering into a million pieces as he cursed me, "DAMN YOU AVATAR... DAMN YOU!"

Silence reigned, then I heard his voice, menacing and evil, "Avatar, you think you won? Think again. You are unable to leave Britannia, where I am free to enter other worlds. Earth... Perhaps your puny Earth shall be my next target!"

The full-blown maniacal laughter that followed was heard by all in the chamber.