The Story of Adiana and Tessian Vansen
“What have you done Tessian? How could you have done this to us?” Adiana Vansen stood at the top of the stairs to the keeps dungeon, he had ignored his brothers off behavior for so long he had lost track of what the man was truly doing. He had utterly no idea who his brother way anymore. A request for space, for some distance, was enthusiastically met. A plague had beset the Vansen lands and Adiana needed all of his attention to keeping his people alive and the less energy he had to spend on his brother the better. This though was folly.
“As if you care Adiana.” Tessian’s voice was not his own, it sounded as if a dozen people were speaking all at once. “You are too absorbed in keeping a name, keeping a legacy, but this is all temporary. I am going to give us Eternal Lands, with an Eternal People.”
Adiana drew his sword, the Smokey glass blade was a piece of history all on its own. The Witchblade known as The Devourer, it had been used for hundreds of years and the magic in it has never faded. Witchblades were already rare and for a sword to exist for so long with so much use was unheard of.
“What? Why can’t you see what I am doing Adiana. Why can’t you just understand, this is the only way.”
Adiana looked down and gave a heavy sigh. Tessian seemed almost hopeful in his brother’s relaxed position, he took a tentative step forward.
“You’re right Tessian. This is the only way.” He put his eyes on his brother and the love between them, the bonds of blood and the gods was no longer there. Tessian had seen the look before, during their small conflicts with orc war bands, he looked the same way. Adiana didn’t let another breath pass between them and he bounded down the stairs, both hands on the blade as he used the downward momentum to carry more strength into his attack. Tessian quickly backed way and a brief handsign and a palm pointed at his brother was all it took, the Witchblade contacted not Tessian flesh but a glowing purple shield of runes that spiraled around Tessian’s outstretched hand. Adiana didn’t relent, he slashed again, beating back his brother with each blow, until the shield shattered. Adiana lifted his blade and swung it down hard into his brother but the cut was not into flesh but into a swirl of smoke. The blade contacted the stone floor of the dungeon.
“I’m disappointed in you brother, but you will see. In undeath you can be more than just a man. I will show you.” The voice came from all around him, but he wasn’t sure from where.
“Into Her Light!” Adiana yelled, and slapped his hand against his chest and the dungeon was awash in a blinding light that touched every corner. Tessian screamed as the light forced him from his invisibility spell. He was already at the top of the stairs. Adiana spun around and held out his hand to his brother and closed his fingers into a fist. The magic he attempted fizzled as it made contact with Tessian.
Tessian wheezed and looked back his brother. “Not all of your spells will work on me anymore brother.” He ran up the last few stairs and slammed the door shut behind him. Adiana was only just able to make it up the stairs to hear the latch shut closed.
The door parted hours later, Adiana expected some horrors behind it, but his men at arms were there. He practically growled. “Tessian is a traitor. Round up any of his men who have not fled with him. Put them to the sword.” His men at arms went wide eyed at the command, they had only been sent to find him to alert him to an attack of undead. “I said now!” His men almost flinched, they had never seen their lord so angry. They quickly stopped their lord to tell him of the attack. He groaned and turned direction.
“Jessina, my squire should be out there. She will lead the defense, pull everyone back to the castle and hold there. I am going after Tessian. If I can stop him this should be a tide that will at least have an end. Sound the horns if victory is afoot.” His men nodded and rushed off and he went off again. He stopped at the first armory his could get to. Chain, shield, spear. He couldn’t waste more time trying to find any plate that would fit. It was a blink before he was on a horse and riding off. He knew there was only one place his brother would go. A place they had found together years before. A shrine to a god neither of them knew, well now a god that only his brother knew. They had never thought it any more than pagan idolatry nothing to even speak about. It had become their own secret place.
The lack of attack, the lack of undead on is ride wasn’t lost on him. Did Tessian really believe that he could still turn him? Or was the cause so lost that Tessian didn’t even think to waste the manpower to overtake him?
“TESSIAN!” He roared as he broke the treeline into the ruined shrine. He jumped from the moving horse and fanned his legs enough to hit the ground still moving forward but it was too fast and he ended up rolling across the ground and losing his spear and shield. He got to his knees and then his feet drawing his sword in the same motion.
His brother wasn’t hard to find, he was standing on a newly constructed alter, it was made of stone blocks held up by dozens of zombies that were joined together to be some abomination of arms and legs and screaming faces. This was beyond what he expected.
Adiana charged again at his brother. A bolt of energy streaked across the distance and Adiana slashed at it with his sword splitting the bolt in two and keeping himself safe. He ran up a step of stairs to the top of the profane alter and his brother brought his sword to block the overhead swing.
The two traded blows, Adiana technically better but Tessian bore an infernal strength that seemed to grow with every attack. Adiana knew he had to end it quickly. An old tactic came to mind, something his brother had fallen for their whole lives in practice. He fainted high and came low, a knife was drawn by an unseen hand, pulled to his waiting palm. He ducked, spread his stance and slashed the back of his brothers knee with the knife making him buckle and drop. He brought the sword overhead looking down at the back of his brother’s head and slammed the smoky glass blade into his brother’s shoulder splitting him nearly in half with the blow.
Tessian dropped his weapon and crumpled to the side. Adiana released his grip on the blade, leaving it still imbedded in his brother. He dropped to a knee and held his brother in his arms. “I am so sorry.”
“You-fool” Tessian said through sputtered breath. How he was still able to speak was a testament to the strength of his magic.
“You-“ Adiana wanted to say more but couldn’t think of anything to say. He mourned and raged all at once. But Tessian was still his brother.
“You may kill me, but I curse you brother.” Tessian reached up and grasped his brother by the chainmail. Adiana tried to pull away but the strength still in his brother arms was immense. He feel the metal of the chainmail deform in his hand. “A child of your blood will do the same to your house as I have. A child of Adiana’s line will bring forth an eternal land and an eternal peoples.”
Tessians words hit him in every inch of his body, the curse as real as the sun and stars. Tessian’s grip weakened and then fell away. The Witchblade still in his chest flickered and the blade that was once glass turned to metal. To think the last soul it would sever would be that of a Vansen. Adiana pulled away and let his brother lay there. The alter fumbled and he jumped away. The abomination that had been holding it up collapsed into rotting flesh.
Horns blared in the distance. Victory.
There was no victory in this.