The Muslim raced through the inferno, slamming down his stone hammer, and smashing the crystallines in his path. The gemstones spit out red plumes as they splintered, the crusader relentless and unyielding.
“What is that fool doing?” Lord Vangley watched from afar as his field general’s coat caught fire. “Death has a special place for fools and heroes alike.”
Crystallines emerged from the fire, tightening its circle around Talmot, and cutting off his escape.
“One falls, many rise. Compounding the problem you are, nightwalker,” a voice whispered in his ear. “Is this all but a game to you? Then let me show you how it is done,” she sneered.
Undaunted that there would be no retreat, the vampire clenched his teeth and charged forward. He pounded the hammer, again and again, cracking the stone head on the crimson stones. Red vapor steamed off the stone mallet as Talmot paused to catch his breath. Indeed the crystallines had multiplied, hundreds of greedy mouths vying for his pale flesh.
“You shall not pass,” they said as one.
“And I shall not yield.” The hammer arced down, smashing the swarm to bits as it pounced. The head exploded in a cloud of white dust, stony fragments pinging off the dwindling trees around him. Talmot tossed the wooden handle aside, and unsheathed a dagger from his coat.
Fiery gems snapped together, forming a sinuous spine, and attaching to a thumping heart encased in crystal. Layers piled onto the burgeoning frame, filling out its angelic form. “Now you are mine.” Wings rose from her back.
“First you shall taste my blade,” said Talmot.
“Your tools do not faze me,” she scoffed.
“Then clearly you have nothing to fear.”
The angelic crystalline pounced, snapping at the crusader’s head. He stepped aside, pricking her chest with his blade before implying some distance between them. The dagger hummed, sharing its dark song with the crumbling angel.
“And to dust you shall return,” said the Muslim.
The crystalline covered her ears as the hymn sharpened. “What is this tragedy flailing my ears?” Dust and shards fell from her.
“A moon chime.” Talmot leapt forward and thrust it in. “One of the blades of resonance.” He carved out her heart, and snatched it from her.
The vampire cracked the crystal shell, taking her heart in his hands, and burying his fangs in the soft, warm flesh. Black hues dripped off his chin as he assuaged his thirst, and tossed the mangled pulp aside. The angel shattered, the red cast fading from her countless crystals. Her remnants burrowed deep into the soil, driven away by the excruciating hum.
Talmot took the dagger in his hands, and pondered. “‘Gifts from old friends continue to bear fruit.” He took a few steps, and returned the blade to its sheath. “Clear!” he called.