The two Champions shared a nineteenth century grandmother, Linne, who was a Champion in her own right and whose mind was shattered by the power and passion she possessed. It was beginning to seem as though one of her grandsons might share her fate. Aricame had spent yet more years attempting to finally defeat his Other. He saw Cai-Ream lurking behind every corner and hiding under every stone. Paranoia increasingly took hold. He withdrew. For the first time in a long time, he felt cowardice, shame. He picked at his skin, forced himself to vomit, pulled at his hair. His body always healed itself, but only after drawing from the energy reserves of those around him. For perhaps the first time since Aricame was a young man, he (and this larger being that he had become) felt weak. In the past he had been outmaneuvered or had been at a relative disadvantage vis-a-vis the adversary, however he had never felt so weak within the world. Regular people, with all of their inferior attributes, made him fearful. He found himself unable to muster the strength to act. It was as if he had been made merely human, like everyone else.

This was absurd, of course. It was all in his head. He was one of the two most powerful beings to ever inhabit the earth. Yet Aricame had been irrevocably changed by the cohabitation of both Champions inside his former body. Their bonded psyches would forever carry the stain and stink of their nemesis.

Cai-Ream remained separated, spread out in all directions so as to surround his Other, making him feel claustrophobic. He knew this strategy was wearing down the rival Champion. There was advantage – at least for the time being – in floating in air as opposed to thrusting with steel. Rather than one solid fist, he existed as a barrage of whispers, sowing seeds of doubt and mistrust. Whereas previously he had evaporated into the ether, now he remained present, airborne, like an idea in search of a new host.

Broken clocks are right twice a day
Broken people with lots to say
Begrudgingly, we admire knowledgeable sayers-of-sooth
Belligerently, chaotic ramblings bring us closer to truth