by Eric J. Krause
The two master mages stared at each other, neither willing to give an inch. Their kings' armies clashed below in the valley, but the battle would be won and lost here on the mountaintops.
Power flowed from both. Each controlled a unique discipline, one not shared even with their most prized apprentices, and neither would tip their hand too soon. Both wove classic webs of magic with precise perfection, and that's how the majority of the war was waged.
Without a proper cue to commence, energy rained down on both combatants, enough to raze a small village. Neither so much as flinched. Kept to a strictly generic set of rules, this would prove to be a war of attrition rather than one with a knock-out punch. Once they realized this, that they were as evenly matched as could be, both fell back to their secrets.
The Master of Sunlight tore a hole through the smoke and haze, clearing a straight path for his magical life force to reach him. Once the power of the sun burst through, he readied a spell which would obliterate his opponent off the face of this world and any others he might hope to land on. Success, for him, his army, and his king would have followed if he hadn't hesitated that split second. The flash of crimson on the other mage froze his thoughts. A jab of pain deep in his skull drew forth a staggering fog, and then he felt nothing ever again.
The Blood Mage laughed, which was more of a wheezing sputter. His army took control in the valley below, and his king would enjoy the spoils of war that very night. He hoped his favorite apprentice could decipher the first clue to the quest to discover the discipline of Blood Magic and its almost limitless power.
As his life force bled out, he realized how limiting the magic really was. The most powerful, unstoppable spells could only be accessed by slitting ones own throat. It was a total victory, but with the cost of the Blood Mage's life.