Well Hai!

Disclaimer-Two of the villains are based on characters I do not own. Their names and appearances belong to their respective copyright owners. As does what little remains of the canon here.

Tales of the Blade Chapter Eighteen-The Fallen Nine-Relentless

"We do not rest."
"We do not sleep."
"We do not show mercy."
"We do not give second chances."
"We leave no survivors."

* * *

Ellen awoke with a jolt, covered in sweat.
That was… strange.
Not scary, no…. no… Ellen wasn't afraid. She was never afraid.
But…

She looked right. Her erstwhile teacher was there-she'd finished today, and he'd finally accepted her advances.

The victory seemed hollow.
There would be no joy for her in Hearthome, not any more.
"Are you ok, Jen?" he asked, clearly awake. "You… you were shifting and turning for a minute there."

His hand rubbed tenderly against her side.
Her hand went to his cheek, touching gently.

"They're hunting you. Kill him. A flare from your palm, now. Painless. And you'll be safe." hissed Nemezure. "The flames will melt the bone and boil the blood in an instant… beautiful."
Ellen held her hand there.

It would take just a moment, and she could leave… no-one would know…

She'd know.
"Just a nightmare." she said quietly.
He went to kiss her cheek, and she flinched.
"Something wrong?" he asked again.
"Just… not used to this." she said, meaning the tenderness, the closeness.

"Aww, you like him and he'd kill you if he knew who you were." mocked Nemezure. "Kill him now. Save the pain later."

Ellen mouthed the words 'Fuck you.'
She could have sworn she heard the demon roll his eyes.

"Are you sure you're okay?" asked Adam, worried.
Ellen nodded silently. He put his arm around her, and she put her head on his chest.

As soon as his breathing slowed, and he fell asleep again, she ghosted away from him, gathered her things, and left.
A single tear was wiped from her face as she woke Gabrielle up, in the next room, holding a finger to the 'girl's' lips. Gabrielle nodded, standing.

"Is he dead?" she asked, curiously, via telepathy.
"No." replied Ellen shortly. Even Gabrielle, who was certainly not an expert at understanding emotions and subtext, didn't follow it up.
Gabrielle picked up the couple of things she had in a few moments, and nodded. They exited the room, running, silently, through the corridors, opening the door without a noise, and stopped dead still.

"We found you." said a white haired man.
"No hiding from us." grinned a beautiful, red haired woman.
"Today… I will taste blood, and you will taste defeat." said the black haired male, eyes growing bright.

Ellen froze. Her skin went pale.
Those were the voices from the nightmare.

"Give in now, and it will be easier for everyone." said the white haired one.
"Hell no." growled Ellen, gathering herself together. She was the best swordsmaster ever.

She wouldn't be affected by some crappy mind tricks and head games.

"Good." said the other male. "I've been looking forward to this."
He drew a pair of short swords, one black, one gold.

Ellen was suddenly at ease.
She could deal with swords.

She drew both the special, golden sword of hers, and the other, modified with the dagger point of the Sonai.

A mind touched hers.
"You are locked into this duel." said the voice of her opponent. She knew him in that instant-his name was Decado. And she knew that he knew her.

She felt him spring forward, and instantly did the same.
He was faster than he had any right to be-and she was faster than normal.

Something about the link made it harder. Faster. More dangerous.

And Ellen realised with a jolt, within the first touch of their blades, that he was her match.

She concentrated, drawing on the power of the Sonai-the Demon Shroud.

And before it was even fully formed, she knew that that too was useless. He exulted in the fear, fed on the risk, drew power from knowing that everything he thought, she knew, and everything she knew, he knew.

She moved on from mindgames. With a pair of diagonal slashes, she formed a blast of devastating energy-a Jaster technique. He flipped over it, seamlessly integrating the dodge into an overhead attack, which Ellen blocked, turning her defence into a pirouette, dancing around him and lashing out for the legs, simultaneously Shifting into her combimorph form.

Decado laughed in delight as she formed a sphere of black flames, launching them for him. They disintegrated in a flash of focussed might from the swordsman.

Ellen hissed, her back flaring up with purple flames.

"Hellfyre Wave!" she began.

A wave splashed over her. Water.
She roared in pain.

Decado smirked, looking round at the female for a second, who had her hands up, as Ellen cringed in agony.

"I… can't lose…" she said to herself, in shock.
"You just did." said Decado in amusement, holding his blades at her neck. "Submit?"

Her eyes flashed at the reference to her past-something he had no right to, yet she knew that was why he said it.
She checked.
There was no way out of the position she was in.

And there was a dark type aura surrounding the area. Stronger than she could deal with. She couldn't teleport.
Maybe a strong psychic pulse into his brain..?
But as she considered every option, they were blocked off, and the link shut.
She was hurt… couldn't even hold up her illusion anymore. Her false appearance faded. Not that it had helped…

"Shadow IMPACT!"
A black blur flashed into her opponent. He went flying, and a boy with brown hair, and green eyes, landed on hands and feet.
It was the boy from the rocket base. Who had called her beautiful.

"Brandon Wolfe saves the day!" he boasted, grinning widely.

"…you're Ellen Lorn." came a voice form the house.

A chill went through Ellen.
She turned.
It was Adam.

She knew from his face that he'd seen her change.
Her heart sank.

But he didn't have time to do anything.
"Flamebreak." said the other man-the white haired morph. For a moment, rainbow coloured wings appeared on his back.
Flame blasted outwards.

Brandon was knocked unconscious, Adam too.
Ellen was burnt, but not knocked out. She was a fire type, after all…

Ellen was the best fighter to come from the Lorn family. Full stop. She outclassed her family, and likely all the others. And she did so with speed.

Yet she couldn't move in the time it took the white haired man to walk-more like flow-over to her, wings forming again as he lifted her into the air by the neck.

They floated to about a metre up.

"Phoenix Embrace." he whispered.

Her body lit up in an explosion.
And everything went dark as she fell to the ground.

* * *

She's not dead.