|So Even Demons Feel Pain
Author: inthesto PM
I'm no different from the generals, the foot soldiers, or the farmers. I'm only human, just like them. To tear down the empire, you'd have to fight through thousands of thousands of people. Just. Like. Me.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Words: 1,074 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 08-07-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2836056
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ghanis caught sight of his best friend. Armor and flesh shorn open, the body sat slumped in a corner, his interior organs forced to the exterior and trampled upon. The emblem on the sleeve remained untarnished, signifying the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Army. To the opposite side was the body of Ghanis' cousin. The head gone, the neck dangled into a crater in the stone floor, littered with shards of bone. A hand still clenched a spear, the spear belonging to the Imperial Captain of the Emperor's Vanguard. Ghanis looked to his feet and fell to the ground.
He swept his wife's body into his arms. Her face was twisted, paralyzed with shock. Her arms had been torn away at the shoulders, blood still streaming from the sockets. Ghanis bit his lip and stifled a sob. He forced her eyelids shut and set her mouth to an expression more placid. As he laid her body back down to the floor, he swept his hand through her flaxen hair, letting it sit as calmly as it had on their wedding day. Parting the sanguine hair from his eyes, the emperor rose to his feet.
"Demon," he roared. His voice echoed through the shrine, like gravel scraping along the stone walls. Ghanis drew his sword. The blade was angled just right, so all the torchlight shone upon it. The sword blazed. The emperor took a single step forward, his knuckles white from clutching his weapon. "You'll pay. I'll make you pay." The demon, clad in full armor and face hidden behind a horned helmet, did not deign a response.
Ghanis charged, his weapon arcing overhead. The blade made no contact with the demon, magic whisking him away to safety the moment the sword drew near. The stained glass behind shattered instead, exploding into a cascade of shimmering rose petals. Spying three images of the demon behind him, the emperor pivoted, snatching three shards of glass out of the air. He flung one at each visage, but none made contact.
"Fight me," he challenged. "Does your demon god only grant you cowardice?"
"You cross the ocean to invade my land, you bring chaos to my people, and you murder my subordinates." The demon kept his voice low and still. "Yet I am the demon?"
Clasping his hands together, the demon chanted a prayer. As his body grew to half again his size, a crimson aura emanated from his armor and wings sprouted from his back. The wings beat the air, stirring a storm of dust as he ascended. Another call to his god and the demon drew fire from the torches. Shaping the inferno with his hands, he bombarded emperor from above.
Ghanis held his sword before him. At the first blast of fire, he slashed, blade parting the flames. Again, the second burst he cleaved in two. When the third burning projectile drew near, Ghanis leaped. He soared through the blaze, tearing through the air, sword pointed at the demon. In midair he thrust, ready to pierce the heart of the demon, but another prayer and the emperor found himself paralyzed. He was bound by magic. Several more whispered words and he watched his blade shatter. Struggling to dispel the magic through force of will, Ghanis watched the demon tear a stone from the ceiling. It ignited in his hands, and the demon flung the burning brick at the emperor.
He felt the stone shatter on his armor. Caving in, the breastplate crushed his ribs. He wheezed for air, heaving up blood. The magic released and the emperor plummeted to the ground. On impact, Ghanis felt his body falling to pieces. The demon dove, a taloned hand aimed at the emperor's heart. Ghanis rolled to his side, feeling the demon's razors shredding his shoulder. He cried in pain to make sure he was still alive.
"Your empire falls with you, Ghanis." The demon invoked another spell, a sword of flame springing from his hand. He drove the point into the emperor's thigh. Ghanis did not have the breath to scream in pain.
"No," he spat, between coughs of blood. "Your empire would fall with you. You are special. You are chosen by your god." The emperor turned, shambling up to his hands and knees. "I'm no different from the generals, the foot soldiers, or the farmers. I'm only human, just like them." The emperor struggled to his feet, his knees nearly buckling out from under him. He lifted the hilt of his broken sword from the ground and pointed the shattered blade at the demon. "To tear down the empire, you'd have to fight through thousands of thousands of people." The emperor took a step forward.
"Just." The emperor charged.
"Like." The emperor pointed the jagged metal at the demon's chest.
"Me." The broken weapon barely scratched the demon's armor. Ghanis began to collapse, but the demon seized him by the throat, holding his broken body up with one hand.
"If they are just like you, then what hope do they stand against me?" The demon gnashed his teeth, spit flying out with every word.
"A million ants, working tirelessly, can tear down even the greatest mountains, Emperor Arden." Ghanis grinned as his voice faded and his vision dimmed.
"How can you recite your platitudes, how can you smile when you are at death's door?" Arden tore off his helmet, throwing it at the ground. His round eyes, broad nose, and puffy lips all pulled into a snarl. His face reddened; his lips peeled back. He tightened his grip around Ghanis' throat, squeezing the life out of him.
Ghanis let out one last chuckle, his hand slipping underneath his greaves. Out came a dagger, and Ghanis drove it into Arden's eye. He tore the thing out, claiming his prize as the demon shrieked in terror, dropping him to the ground.
"So even demons feel pain."
A/N: Slammed this out mostly to get over writer's block, partially to try out action writing. Yes, I very blatantly stole the last line from Valkyrie Profile, but what can I say? Suo is one of my favorite voice acted characters in gaming. I also drew inspiration from a few fantasy art pieces (and a lot of Bach organ solos) to get this done, check my blog if you'd like to see them.