From…The Seeds of Dissolution by William C Tracy
In the Dissolutionverse, maji can alter the Symphony of the universe with their notes to create physical changes. Only rarely do they fight this way…
Rilan plunged her fist down, but it hit nothing. She blinked, realizing she was tumbling to the ground. Her notes came back with a snap that almost made her eyes cross. The edge of a dark cloak brushed past her vision.
She rolled, coming up on her heels, hands out. Vethis was on the ground, cradling an elbow out of joint, pale white and deep blue misting around the fingers of his other hand, his face pasty. In front of him was a smaller figure, clothed all in black, with its cowl pulled down. The figure raised its head enough for Rilan to catch a flash of light on predatory teeth.
“I look forward to dancing against you,” the figure said, sibilant. “This, I have long been waiting for, to show the Nether maji their weakness.”
Rilan flicked her eyes once more to Vethis, and then all her attention was on the newcomer. “So be it, Snake,” she said, trying to goad the Sathssn.
It didn’t work. She feinted forward with a wrist strike to the cloaked head, intending to follow up with a reverse punch augmented by her song. Neither strike landed. Arcs of sapphire blue and a dark, bruised purple swirled around the Sathssn’s feet and he was out of her range. She moved again and he was behind her, slipping past in a waltz-step. A strike to her kidney staggered her and she grunted.
Rilan whirled, barely catching Nakan’s arm with her fingers before he could slip away. Shiv’s dagger, he’s fast. She added notes to the melody of her fingers, turning major chords to minor, fixing her fingers in claws, dragging herself along with the Sathssn.
He moved a step, then spun, tilting her off balance. She felt a knee buckle when he kicked, and turned piano to forte, strengthening the tendons.
Must get on the offensive.
No time for her mental tricks. This would all be physical, and she had to make changes to Nakan, not herself. She recognized some of his steps, had fought against them before.
“Zsaana can’t have taught you all his tricks,” she said. Her fingers were still on his arm, giving her a connection, and she burrowed into his music, turning solid measures into trills, loosening his tendons in a flush of white and olive. Nakan stumbled, but his aura pulsed against hers, blue and purple against white and olive.
“Old Zsaana, he was my teacher as he was yours,” Nakan said. His movement was drunken with his loose tendons, but he used one arm as a whip, flicking the fingers of his glove out to her temple. She stepped back, looping an arm around his attack, but he stepped in with a strike from the other side. “He recounted your matches many times. This, I have been excited to see for myself.”
Rilan countered with a double arm block, and muted notes, intending both his arms to go numb. Not enough time to grab my knife. Something went wrong when she did and Nakan snapped upright, stable again. She shook tingling fingers, eyes wide. There were extra notes in her song. He had made her reverse her change to his tendons. She didn’t know the House of Grace could do that.
Her foot came up to knee Nakan in the gut, but the Sathssn moved fluidly around it in a flash of blue and purple, flipping over her head. His hands caught her shoulders, pulling her backwards. She made quarter notes into eighth notes, then sixteenth notes, adjusting the curvature of her spine. She accelerated his motion and slammed him into the floor with a crash. Rilan rolled over, pinning his arms across his neck, choking. The majus growled as blue and purple fought against her white and olive, but she locked the joints in her elbows, shoulders, and fingers, pressing down.
“How’s Zsaana’s training going for you? The old bigot must have forgotten a few things.” She breathed into Nakan’s face.