Grana was nothing but smiles on the outside, but on the inside he was seething. "Ohhh, I beg you, please attack me! Find out what happens when you play with fire!" Grana kept up the smile through his speech, though the words and his face were at odds with one another. "Who am I? Thou asks such a question without revealing thine own name? But no matter, Iston of Life's End, I shall answer thine question. I am Grana Rei, Duke of the North. Remember it, insolent whelp." The North was famed for producing some of the best trained soldiers in the country. Grana was sorry for the lack of courtesy he showed his fellow knight, but it couldn't be helped, not with an enemy at the wait in front of the two. Grana's fingers danced upon the hilt of his blade.
Despite Grana's smile, Iston could tell he had angered the champion. And he did so love when he succeeded in mocking someone. Deciding his fun wasn't over yet, Iston slowly approached Grana and continued to speak in his mocking tone. "Perhaps thou hast misunderstood. I care not who thou art. My wish is to know why thou art so concerned with the affairs of strangers."
Iston stood within striking distance as he finished speaking and looked Grana in the eye. In one quick movement, he raised his hand and extended it towards Grana offering a handshake. "But since thou have been so kind as to introduce thyself... A pleasure to meet thee."
Grana continued smiling, trying to rein in his emotions. "The bastard is trying to aggravate thou. Do not give him the pleasure, Grana. Control thyself!" Grana then decided to turn the aggravation on its head. "The pot calling the kettle black, no? Thou seems to be as concerned with others as myself, judging by what thou attacked yonder knight for. I care because thou art in my way, and thou wert the aggressor in the conflict." Grana felt the influence of Igneus welling up within him. "What are you waiting for? Burn the fool to ashes; give him a taste of what's waiting for him on the other side!" Grana quietly agreed with Igneus, but knew he would be little better than the maniac in front if him then. Grana sneered at Iston when he offered his hand to shake. "Perhaps I would be more amenable to greeting thou if thou wouldst but remove thy glove from thine arm." Grana saw Iston's face and knew he had struck the nail on the head, so to speak.
Iston was growing bored with this little verbal exchange, although not bored enough to start a fight. He could tell that Grana wanted to kill him. All he needed was a little push. Iston left his hand extended towards Grana. "My gauntlets? Should thou desire them, thou must take them from my cold dead hands." He said with an eerie grin as the amulet around his neck glowed brightly, enticing Grana to let loose and do as he pleased. You're getting rather bold with that amulet aren't you? Don't blame me if you bite off more than you can chew. Reynard said to Iston.
"Oh shut up.. Just sit back an enjoy the show like you always do." Iston muttered under his breath to Reynard.
Grana could feel his emotions sway like a boat in a storm. "Kill him... You know you want to. Just kill this mockery of a human being, and be done with him." Grana shook his head. "Who- what the hell art thou? What art thou doing in my head? I can't attack him- then I would be little better than he!" "SILENCE! It matters not! Kill the wretch and be done with it!" Grana moaned silently. "Quiet, Knave! Remove thyself from my head!" Grana gritted his teeth and began to address the Knight. "Sir Knight... Flee. Find the old hag down the road, and take her with thou whilst thou runs. I shalt find thou after I deal with this knave." Grana took a step forward, removed his right hand glove, and used it to slap Iston across the face with enough force to leave a welt. Grana dropped his glove. "Misbegot knave, I do challenge thou to a duel, for the slighting of mine honor and for attempting to twist mine mind against me." Grana's speech was slightly weak after his mental battle with the demon, but by and by was quickly gaining strength.
Zyphe nodded toward the man that had been facing Iston, and quickly grabbed the girls hand and led her on down the road, toward the "Hag" he spoke of. "Hopefully we shall meet again, It is very rare to meet someone of morals on the road." Zyphe added quickly before leaving. He basically was carrying the girl now, as he got to moving fast down the road, hauling his heavy gear along with him.
Ahead of him, Zyphe spots a figure hidden in an dark cloak. It hold up a hand, whose skin is black as midnight, and points back the way he has come.
"Hold, knight. Stay with me a while, for I must see this battle to it's end"
Iston hadn't been expecting the slap and a challenge to a duel. He had been ready for an all out attack. It was much tamer reaction than he was hoping for but it would do for now. Iston began to chuckle. "Twist your mind against you? Oh, you mean like... THIS?!" Iston's chuckle turned into howling maniacal laughter as he poured more power into the amulet which began to shine even brighter.
"You want a duel? Fine, you'll get one! Now, bring it on Grana Rei!!! I'll show you exactly why they call me Iston of Life's End!"
Zyphe held the girl close to him, the shield covering her body. He stood to the side and watched the duel. He knew he couldn't intervene at this point, and he wished his fellow knight the best. He silently watched the duel start as he wondered who the older person was behind him. He turned his head and spoke "Who are you, that you need to see this fight through to the end?" He inquired, as the battle went on in front of him.
Grana roared, the smoke billowing out from his mouth like the dragons of old, even as the cigar fell from his lips. "And I'll give thou a taste of hellfire for it! Now come, Iston of Life's End!" Grana drew Twin Fire even as his signet ring glowed. The serrated blade caused friction against the greased sheath, igniting the blade when the heat overcame the burning point of the fat. Grana slashed twice at Iston, launching twin arcs of flame towards the man. Even as the flames races towards Iston, the same fires danced around Grana, coating his shoulders and arms like some infernal mantle. Grana looked one of the diabolical Dukes of Hell, Behemoth the dragon, more than a man. "Behold! I am the chosen of Igneus the Alchemyst, the Immortal of Fire. Oppose me and burn for it!"
If Grana's display of power frightened Iston, it surely did not show on his face. If anything he seemed to be enjoying himself even more now. He had forced Grana into the very situation Iston had wanted him in after all. Grana had attacked him with magic, and now he would learn the special property of the Gauntlets of Life's End. "Why should I care who has chosen you to die? I think you'll be the one burning... One!" Iston called out as drew back his right hand and punched the first arc of fire to reach him.
An unearthly howling let loose as his gauntlet met the flames and the attack was turned back on it's master. The flames, now turned black having been corrupted by Iston's madness rushed towards Grana. "And two!" Iston called out again as he struck the second arc with his left fist for a similar effect. Iston then paused for a moment before charging in towards Grana, ready to strike after the flaming champion was forced to deal with his own attacks.
Grana stuck his right hand out, his blade behind his back in his right. "Fool. Fire is my domain." Grana realized the fires had been corrupted, having been turned by Iston. "Oh? Thou art better than I imagined." Grana's blade flicked forward, switching to normal style on the upsweep, and was brought around to parry the second arc of flame as well. Once more Grana flipped the orientation of his blade, holding it like a dagger in his fist as he stabbed towards Iston. Grana's infernal mantle kissed the ground, turning up the heat as the area around the duke was set ablaze. "Dance, peasant!" Grana roared as he dropped his lower jaw. The pilot light from hell flickered in his throat, becoming a roaring pillar of flame that started from the lit end of a single cigar. Grana had noticed that Iston had to punch the flame, and wondered whether the man would prefer being impaled, suffocating from the flames, or being roasted alive. Grana held his breath as he turned up the Intensity of the fires around him.
Iston managed to parry Grana's stab with his left hand, and just as he was about to strike with his right hand he saw Grana's mouth open. Iston instinctively leapt to the side, just narrowly dodging the pillar of flames that resulted. He jumped back outside of the area Grana was firebombing and took a moment to consider his options. I really should have taken the crossbow of Life's End not these silly gauntlets... Well, I'll just have to make do I guess. Iston thought as his foot bumped a rock on the ground. It was not a large rock but it was big enough to do some damage. With a shrug, Iston picked the rock up and began spinning with it to build up centrifugal force. "Why don't you show me how noble dances instead?!" Iston yelled as he let go of the rock, sending it flying towards Grana's head.
Grana's eyes opened wide as the block of stone hurtled towards his head. He realized that the stone could do some serious damage if it even touched him at those speeds. "He hath strength. Be it his own, or his items?" This path of though was abandoned as Twin Fire swung around to meet the hunk of rock. Grana spun himself around, using the boulder as a pivot point, elegantly avoiding the improvised projectile. "Fine. Thou hath turned mine own magic against me. But let us see how thou fares when the earth turns against thyself." With a diabolic smile, Grana aimed his right hand at the ground near Iston's feet. The ruby signet ring glowed brightly before launching a jet of flame where Grana was pointing. Quickly the ground began to heat up as Igneus' flames caressed Mother Earth. Iston and Grana's battlefield began to look positively apocalyptic, surrounded by fire, scorched earth, and melting rock. Grana's fire-resistant shirt, nearly overcome with the flames, would have fallen off if not for the protection of the rose in his breast pocket.
With lighting quick reflexes, Iston managed to roll out of the way of the initial burst of flames. Nothing could have gotten him out of the way of the collateral damage, however. As the very earth around him burned, the temperature rose to nearly unbearable levels almost instantly. His silk clothing began to smoke and eventually light aflame. As Iston felt his skin burn, he let out a bizarre cross between a scream and howling laughter. It had been difficult to tell before but he had clearly seen the fires come from Grana's ring this time.
Despite the pain and insanity overcoming him, his course of action was clear. With a mighty leap, he propelled himself into the air towards Grana. For a moment, he was free of the oppressive heat. It was enough. He landed back in the middle of the inferno directly on top of Grana and began pummeling wildly with blows from his heavy gauntlets. "HYAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!!!!!!!! DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE!!!!!!!!" His mad cries echoed throughout the entire village of Kant as continued his relentless assault, occasionally throwing the odd blow at Grana's right hand. Enough to hopefully disable the ring, but not enough to make it seem as though he were targeting it in case he failed.