Author: TitanK PM
Kain Venator has been brought up in a ravaged world by Bynor. He may be the salvation the humans need to overcome their adversaries, the werewolves and vampires. *This is in constant progress, please contact me if you want a recent version or simply more to read*Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 22,292 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 01-29-13 - Published: 08-03-12 - id: 3047288
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter Three: Sanguinary Route
"I overheard your plans and I want to accompany you," she clarifies.
"But that was decided within the King's hall, how did you overhear that?"
"You only detected me because I wanted you to, I grew up in Evandia alone and on the streets. You learn things with a life like that."
"Why would you want to accompany us on such a dangerous quest? We cannot ensure your protection," argues Bynor.
"I'll keep you safe," I interrupt, half-smiling.
"Oh that's sweet…" the girl replies, "I didn't always live in Evandia, I once lived with a family in a small town just a few kilometres south of Gyrda, but when we were attacked, zero paladins came. I watched as everyone I knew was slaughtered. Help eventually arrived, but to only take me away."
"Oh, a revenge quest this is? Let's get back to basics, what might your name be?" Bynor inquires. I glare at him for his bluntness.
"I am known by few as Sienna Anemoi."
Sienna, the name drifts around my mind, scattering my thoughts. The girl tucks her jacket into her bag and asks, "And you two are?"
"Bynor Atrum. My friend here is Kain Venator."
"Uh, hi," I backup, waving.
I step between the two and face Bynor.
"We can't send her back now," I whisper in argument.
Bynor folds his arms, "Well, she's basically a complete stranger. We don't know her fighting, her experience, if she's got any experience or training. And most importantly, we don't know her. If she's from Gaiod, I might consider, but Evandia is a Southern fort that rarely sees any action, despite our earlier experience."
"Who's to say she's stayed within the walls her entire life? She has Korith, hunter grade weapons, not easy to get. And we both know she can fight. I can see it and feel it… she can fight. You can see and feel it too. Also, I'll keep an eye over her, you won't have to worry about her."
"You are one of the very few that can truly read me. Humph, I admit, she does have that sort of warrior's spirit around her, but can she channel it properly? I don't know and neither do you."
"I trust her and you trust me. Therefore you can trust her. Plus, revenge, it's a great motivation. The two worlds have collided, everyone can fight and kill demons."
"Very well," placing a hand on my shoulder, "Just for you, you mooning fool."
I spin around and announce, "Welcome to the band!"
She snatches my hand with cool and slender fingers and gives me a strong and enthusiastic handshake. Bynor scoffs as he turns around, "And to Kerdas we go."
We walk for about a half hour and enter more dense forest. We have to zigzag and sometimes even backtrack to continue. Tree branches wind up each other and tree roots reach up to attempt to trip us. Red tents poke through the greenery and we sneak into the bushes. It's an offensive werewolf camp, all trained to simply attack Evandia or Gyrda.
"It's probably 'bout thirty werewarriors and a dozen-ish wereknights," Bynor estimates. We slink into the bulk of tents, staying low and moving quickly and quietly. We silently kill three werewarrior guards that are at the East side of the camp and then the six werewarriors that are on their border patrol.
We creep past the smaller storage tents and rest against the sleeping quarters. We cut openings in the sides of the tent and crawl in to find two wereknight commanders. We stand up and go into ninja mode. Bynor grabs one around the mouth and locks his elbows into a chokehold. He breaks the wereknight's neck with a jerk as I quickly dart over and secure my hands over the mouth of the other commander. Sienna reaches around and slits his throat before the beast bites my hand off. Then we comb the sleeping quarters, slaying the werewarriors in their slumber. Unfortunately, another eight wereknights walk into the tent, waking up the six surviving werewarriors.
"Oh shhi…" Bynor and I groan as the eight commanders charge right at us, snarling as they brandish hand axes. Bynor pushes us to the werewarriors while he takes on the commanders. Bynor kills slices one open as we turn around and I motion for Sienna to stay behind me, but she runs forwards killing one with her daggers. I draw Gladion in gladius form and swing around, slicing through another. Sienna moves to the third one while I dash low forward and cut through the sides of the werewarriors. The last one looks at Sienna and then at me in confusion, not sure who to attack. Sienna darts out, but feints back as I leap past her and I shove Gladion up into his ribcage. We turn around to find Bynor already dragging the bodies into a pile. We bring all the bodies in this particular tent, unhook it and light it up. We scour the camp to find the head tent and find zero information inside it.
We check the supplies to find raw meats and cloudy water. The armoury tents are full of steel and iron weaponry so we leave this for passing paladins to clean up.
Our trio slowly treks through the cypress tree forest without any words spoken. We eventually encounter a post-vampire ghost town. After checking that it is completely abandoned, we break into one of the houses by kicking down the door. Bynor rests against the far wall. He strips off his wereblood-clotted singlet and shirt and throws both into the fireplace, he lights a fire on his singlet and the wereblood burns black smoke. I throw my blood-matted shirt into the fire and take a clean one from my bag.
Sienna asks, "What's that?" pointing at a small web of scars covering Bynor's shoulder.
"Uh, well um, I've had to break down a few doors in my time and not all of them wooden."
"That would have put some stress on your shoulder alright".
"Yeah well, whatever, come on, lets get some sleep."
And with Bynor's word we lay down our heads on our backpacks and rest our tired bodies.
I wake to a nudging in the back. I turn and see Bynor standing over me, his boot in my back. I grumble, barely awake, and ask, "What now?"
"We have a mission to perform. A single minor deviation from our path to Kerdas."
I stand up and stretch, yawning in the process and I quickly shut my mouth, as I realise Sienna is beside me.
"Morning Sienna," I acknowledge her with a smile. She nods and returns the greeting with equal cordiality. She hoists her bag onto her shoulders and waits for Bynor. I pull my bag up and grab my water bottle jutting out from the front pocket. I take a swig and shoulder my bag as well. Bynor starts walking and we follow him.
"What exactly are we doing?" asks Sienna.
"Apparently, performing a rather important errand, which to what it is about, I have no idea."
We follow Bynor as he walks briskly eastward, towards the Ruins of Wokscape. We stomp through the foliage, weave through trees and oddly dodge a werewolf encampment. In the distance, illuminated by moonlight, are the Ruins of Wokscape, an abandoned hunter city. Before The Fall,it was a simple factory city for metalwork, but the majority of the city structurally survived the solar blast wave from the Sun's explosion. Most civilians were killed by a combination of the apocalypse and demons, but hunters took it as a base of operations. They congregated at Wokscape, formed plans, trained a new generation and constantly watched westward, so demons couldn't pass the supposed dead man's land into the human dominated South. These hunters eventually moved from this coastal refuge as demon forces charged southwards along the coast. They fought and fought, but lost the outpost. It was ravaged, looted and made into a bonfire.
Bynor steps through a tall, lush, green bush and his crunching footsteps cease. I shove my arm into the bush and pull it aside, allowing Sienna through. I keep my eye on Bynor's shaggy, black hair as I follow after Sienna, who steps beside him. I walk up to Bynor's other side and look up at him, "Sooo?"
"We're waiting on Fenri."
We're standing on the edge of a small clearing with luminescent pine trees surrounding us and in the middle of the dirt clearing is a manhole. A three metre wide, rusted, manhole. The shadows dart together from the tree branches, forming a door and Fenri steps through, the door dissolving behind him. He's dressed appropriately in full, black and glinting silver, hunter gear, but appears to be unarmed.
"Bynor," he greets, "Kain. Who's this gal?"
"I'm Sienna, friend of these two."
Fenri steps forward and presents his hand. Sienna grasps it, after a quick thought, and they lightly shake hands.
"So Bynor, after you?" he offers, standing back. Bynor indulges him by kneeling beside the manhole, jamming his fingers into the lock mechanism and twisting. The iron disk grinds against its shell and pops out, revealing a panel of dull buttons and loose wires. He pulls Lozia from his jacket pocket and forms a dagger, which he splits into two.
He cuts through three wires, flicks out a button, fuses his daggers into one and jams it into a socket. He forces it down and Fenri reaches down to assist. He grabs onto the wheel crank and turns. Bynor slowly extricates Lozia whilst slightly twisting and Fenri continues to turn the crank. The secondary manhole turns in its socket for a moment, but jars. Bynor slams a fist against the panel, it shudders and the manhole looses again. Loud metallic booms reverberate beneath us, the sounds of cogs turning, pistons shifting through years of rust and the manhole falls.
He morphs Lozia into a long sword, points it towards the sky and drops into the darkness. Fenri waves for us to enter next and we comply. I take Gladion from my pocket and form a gladius, Sienna leaps in and I follow after her. Gladion's blue and Lozia's orange illuminates the tunnel. Fenri floats in after me, clicks his fingers and glows indigo. I examine our new environment. We're inside a four-metre high tunnel, it's about six metres wide, there's steel grating beneath our boots and solid iron and lead walls. Several ladders, panels, levers and cranks for different intents line the walls. Our radiance still leaves pitch black behind us, but in front of us is a pair of giant black metal doors and they've been already forced apart. Claw grooves mark the edges of the doors and its immense handles.
We squeeze through and I'm hit with the distinct musk of werewolves. I study the walls to see dozens upon dozens of holes clawed through the metal, each about a single metre wide. Tunneling werewolves, slender bodied werewolves with sturdy and muscular arms, must have dug the holes. As we slowly stroll down the tunnel, I realise the werewolves shouldn't be our major concern, the smaller incisions in the metal indicate scythe spinners. They are demonic pests, mosquitos of werewolves. They are small crab-like demons with four back blades, like scythes, and they spin extremely fast, which means they are highly dangerous and can also reach high-speeds. They're also made of an unknown demonic material that is similar to Korith, but also tougher to crack.
Bynor rests Lozia on his shoulders with his arms draped over the blade. I mindlessly pass Gladion hand-to-hand as we reach some sort of underground air hanger, walls of metal panels and a ground of tarmac. We're obviously in the Core Caverns, the abandoned underground Hunters' bases, connected by tunnels, of the hunters of old. These underground sectors were partially abandoned by the thirtieth century and inhabitance further declined with time. Now only the Marauders, the remaining hunters with proper hunter training, use Omicron sector, which is a far way North from our position. Although, I'm not sure which part we are actually travelling through.
Three ruined flying vehicles, jets I believe, lay before us. Their wings in tatters and their hulls cracked. The rust is easily visible with our light. We skirt around them, Bynor in the lead, Sienna and I behind him, and Fenri watching our back.
We slither through another set of two metre high metal, sliding doors. Bynor is pulled into the darkness suddenly, dropping Lozia and the small hallway is filled with the sounds of Bynor scuffling with his attackers. Sienna and I quickly dash forward with Gladion lighting the way and we find Bynor rolling on the ground with a scythe spinner, his hands holding onto two of its back blades and barely able to avoid the third and fourth. I split Gladion into two, throw a gladius to Sienna and charge forward. I drag Gladion low as I slide past Bynor and carve through the spinner. Several pour into the hall from openings and vents in the walls. Fenri and Sienna join us as Bynor regains his footing. Several werewolves turn the corner and steam towards us.
Fenri claps his hands and the shadows seal over the gaps. Sienna hands back the duplicate Gladion and retrieves Lozia for Bynor. She brings two long daggers from within the folds of her shirt and Fenri forms a sword with dark energy. I fuse the two gladius together and we brace for the fight. I quickly perform a head count, nineteen scythe spinners and eight werewolves. I revise my weapon choice, examining the environment and opponents, and I change Gladion into a twenty-centimetre, straight dagger and divide it into two. Bynor and Fenri storm forward, avoiding the spinners with swift, speedy steps and engage with the werewolves.
Sienna and I slowly move forward, step-by-step, stabbing and slashing with our daggers. We roll sideways, bounce off the walls and hoist each other through the air. Bynor and Fenri dispatch all the werewolves with singular, elegant and well-placed blows. Sienna and I nimbly avoid the twirling and spinning blades of the miniature scythe demons and stab through their hides with our daggers, coating our hands and forearms with their black blood. It's easy work, but I take no comfort in slaying these pathetic creatures.
I hook my arm through Sienna's and throw her over head. She hacks at the scythe demons hanging from the roof and their dead corpses tumble around us. Her boots clang onto the metal behind me and I sprint forward. I then break into an offensive slide. I bend back and scythe blades breeze over my face. I spin my arms as I settle into a kneeling position, my daggers cutting into the sides of the crab-like demons. Sienna runs to my side and I rise from my knee. Bynor whistles and I snap around, alert and into a lowered position. Two werewolves have managed to ninja past the two men and I jump forward, slamming my arms into the chest of one. We tumble over the ground, dead scythe spinners crunching beneath us and I quickly slash my arms. My daggers mince the chest of the werewolf and Sienna kicks the other into the wall, proceeding to stab it in the back a second later.
I can still sense the presence of more demons underground with us… these demons were only the preliminary fight. There are also two huge entities beneath us, excluding the power emanating from Fenri and Bynor. Fenri strikes down the last werewolf and allows his sword of shadows to fade. Bynor flicks Lozia to the side, sending blood flying and continues onward. I clean my daggers with my fingers and reform Gladion into a gladius. I wipe the sticky blood on the hem of my shirt and follow behind Fenri with Sienna watching the rear instead.
We pass several doors with lineage labels clearly visible. Soren, Qiao and Pardus to just name a few. The last door before the T-junction is marked for Forsol, no wonder Aehn and Bynor know each other, they both descend from hunters' bloodlines. That would means Fenri would classify as a hunter himself too. Bynor stops instantly as he turns the corner, the blood drains from his face and he freezes. Fenri quickly throws up his hands and braces. I wriggle around Fenri and scan the hallway for whatever is striking fear into Bynor.
"Fen," I whisper, "What is it?"
Fenri gestures at the next door on the right with a thumb. Dile… half of it is covered by moss. I step up to the door, scratch at the moss with my nails and wipe my palm across the panel. Dilectio. It's just another hunter bloodline. Sienna steps up beside Fenri as I wheel around.
"What's the deal?" I murmur.
Fenris' eyes dart to Bynor then back to me. He whispers, "Bad memories. Emotional stuff."
I nod and snap to Bynor's side with a single step. I give the hem of his sleeve a quick tug and he looks down at me with reddened eyes… eyes of grief and heartache.
"Bynor? Should we get moving no?"
Bynor wipes his eyes, sniffling and blinking, replying "Of course Kain. I'll lead with Fenri. Watch the back you two."
Bynor commences walking and Fenri takes his side. I allow Sienna a head start and I slowly trail behind, keeping an eye on everyone. Opposite to the average person, the adrenaline still buzzing through my veins is allowing easier concentration. I can still the blood several hundred metres behind us, although we are somewhat caked with it. I can hear the scratching of claws against dirt as the tunneling werewolves continue to dig. I can hear the clinking of metal as scythe spinners whirl through the ventilation and tunnels.
Wait, Dilectio? Evandia Dilectio! He must have known her from The Fall, possibly more intimate, but they were close. It was recorded that Evandia was killed during the initial strikes on Dierce, which Bynor was a part of. I guess two hundred years of life isn't enough to overcome loss.
We're nearing the two powerful entities as well.
We descend down a wide flight of stairs with dried up water features on either side, angelic creatures holding chalices. A large and generic looking, wooden door waits us at the bottom of the stairs, which opens to a long chamber. The walls have been torn at and reveal a secondary layer of white metal beneath the initial layer of black metal. The Vault's door has a giant wheel to open it, but the ground is littered with the battered and torn apart corpses of werewolves. Their blood paints the floor and their shredded flesh and broken bones are scattered about the entrance to the Vault. Small shards of the white unknown material, of the scythe demons, coat the floor, indicating several scythe spinners have been eliminated within the vicinity, possibly the larger cousins, pure breed scythe demons. Someone is protecting, guarding, watching the vault and we have to contend with them.
The Vault's door seems to be made of dark silver metal and it sparkles of Korith dust, I can't imagine how much a mighty beaut could have been forged. I can sense one of the powerful entities with the room, with us, and the second inside the Vault. There's a single hand pad to unlock the Vault.
"Fenri, watch these two," orders Bynor as he strides down the chamber. He stands three metres from the door and clears his throat with three flamboyant and deliberate coughs.
"Vault Guardian! I command you to reveal yourself." Bynor demands loudly, ignoring the fact that we are in hostile territory.
A relaxed, but also unnerving, raspy voice fills the room, "Who are you to command me? Who has the balls to order around a guardian spirit?"
"I am Lord Bynor Ferox Atrum. I am one of the few surviving hunters of old. I command a legion of executioners and have two fully trained apprentices present. I carry with me the training and knowledge of Hunt Theta and, I said, reveal yourself."
A dusty cloak drifts to the ground, appearing out of mid-air, and dissolves to white dust upon its impact. A spectre floats out of the shadows and confronts Bynor.
"Ferox?" it murmurs as its form settles, a face forming, "Latin for fierce. Atrum, Latin for dark. You are of the darkly fierce bloodline and thus more than worthy."
The spirit studies Bynor from head to toe and briefly scans his gaze over us. He seems to comprehend Bynor's words and believe in us.
"Damn right," scoffs Bynor, "And with all due respect, I must enter the Vault."
"Oh that's on a completely different level."
"Is that a yes… or no?"
The panting and light growling of werewolves hit our backs and Fenri forms a blade. The grey dust spectre lifts his hand, "Oh don't worry young ones. I am the Vault Guardian. I've spent centuries defending this room from demonic forces. Oh, and I guess I never introduced myself," he says, landing on the ground, "I am Leran Hocen, previously a hunter of this sector, but now a spirit guardian. Specifically, of Gamma Sector Vault."
"Yes Leran, I'd already knew that, but can you let me in or not?"
"I can, but will not."
"So shall I need to fight you then?"
"No, you only need to prove yourself. You have said you are Bynor Atrum, but provided absolutely no evidence. I can smell a strong odour of demon blood from you, it would indicate you have killed a mass of them or… you are one of them."
Fenri quickly steps past us and to Bynor's side. I split Gladion into two and I slip the dual to Sienna.
Bynor wheels Lozia around his hand and over his shoulders, into his left. He inhales deeply and commences, "I was born in the hunter city, Atlanic, now in ruins, and was trained by Sir Ryon. I had two squad members. Rize Ryon, who is now a mercenary. And Ev-Evandia, Evandia Dilectio, who is no longer with us-"
"Alright, alright. I know the Dilectios and Ryons. You're legit. I believe we have a problem behind us. Just let me handle this and then I'll open the vault."
Leran glides around Fenri and Bynor, passes between Sienna and I, landing at the bottom of the stairs. The werewolves tentatively crawl down. Leran slams his hands together and a wave of dark energy rushes down the corridor. The wave of shadows crushes the werewolves and the crunch of their bodies echo through the tunnels, sweeping away their cadavers as well.
"Huh…" we all exclaim softly.
"Yup, being a spirit does have its downs, but some perks as well," beams Leran as he glides back to the vault door, phasing through us on his little journey. He waves a hand over Bynor, like he's blessing him and the shadows flicker. Several tendrils tap against the panel and a lone snake curls around the arm of Bynor. And with a click of Leran's fingers, the shadows settle. He looks to Fenri and asks, "Forsol, so just from observations, you could repeat this process?"
"Maybe," replies Fenri, "I do trust a blade over my veneficus powers, but that's how I'm trained and how I fight, and as you say, I am a Forsol. My father should already know how to do this, don't know why Bynor brought me instead."
"Your father suggested you should get out more. Your father is nearly older than me so he's had a full life already," interrupts Bynor, "Now let's do this."
"I warn you," alerts Leran, "Vee has changed a lot. He's a lot more active than the others and he is more powerful than me."
Bynor nods as he passes around Leran and places a palm against the black, green lined, panel. The vault door shudders in the wall, metallic groans smash my ears and the door creaks open. Bynor grabs onto the wheel and pulls. We all rush forward and assist him. The door scrapes against the floor. All sorts of grime, dust and blood gather at the bottom as it rubs across the floor. A sudden surge of heat slams into me and I'm instantly in a sweat. Bynor cries out, "Viriatix? Control yourself!"
"Well, good luck," farewells Leran, "See ya."
And he disappears. We all retreat several metres down the chamber and the second entity floats out from the inside the vault. It's another spectre-like figure, but its orange instead of grey. I peer around it and glance into the vault. The walls are lined with shelves of equipment. Dozens upon dozens of weapons and armour locked inside glass cabinets. Blue sparks emit from specific pieces, black from others, green from others, but the glass seems to be able to contain the energy. All those pieces of equipment must be imbued with demonic spirits, both hunter and demon allegiances.
In the centre of the room is a rack, a stand for a suit of armour. Alas, a suit of armour does not hang from the metal forks. A billowing silver cape hangs off the torso. Twin arm bracers dangle from the arm branches. The bracers continue along the arms to knuckle-studded gloves, which are also fingerless at the middle joint. The air inside the Vault almost seems to be red, like fire. The spirit bears down on Bynor and booms, "Who dares disturb Viriatix!"
That one question blows me back, sliding back a metre. Bynor, on the other hand, stands his ground and shouts back, "I am Bynor! You are a hunter's spirit! I am a Lord! Therefore you must comply with me!"
"You can burn in hell for all I care!"
I have a feeling he's holding his tongue just slightly, as there is a host of worse words available.
"You dare argue with your superior?" questions Bynor, calming himself.
Viriatix breathes deeply, spewing hot air over Bynor and laughs, "I have been left in there, active and awake, for several centuries. What do you think happens to one's mind if they are alone for several centuries?"
Viriatix seems to have stepped down to Bynor's level, but there's an astonishing amount of hostility remaining in his voice.
"I cannot apologise for the negligence of previous hunters, but I am sorry I could not have come sooner."
Viriatix sighs and lands his ethereal form. He claps his hands together and clicks his fingers as he brings them apart. The heat is leeched from the air and Viriatix's spirit settles, his face appearing.
"I assume you have some job, a mission of some sort for me?"
"Yes Viriatix," smiles Bynor, "Firstly, I ask of your permission to collect your spirit gear."
Viriatix rubs his face with a hand and flourishes the other in submission. Bynor points to Fenri and he trots into the Vault. He weaves through the cabinets and plucks the gauntlets and cape off the frame. He drapes the cape over an arm and cradles the gauntlets in the crook of the other. Fenri returns to Bynor's side, as Viriatix involuntarily floats backwards, and throws his long sleeved jacket to me. I catch, whirlwind it around in my hand and tuck it beneath an arm.
Fenri obtains a hold on the two locking rings of the cape and swings it over his shoulder. Viriatix tsks and snaps his fingers. The cape soars from Fenri's grasp and into the ghostly hand of Viriatix. The gauntlets rattle as they attach to the forearms of Viriatix.
"I never said you could do that."
Bynor narrows his gaze and crosses his arms in amusement, smiling.
Fenri throws his arms up in the air, "So now we have to fight you?"
"Not we. I. You all should back up, fire is never safe."
Bynor ushers us to the back of the oblong chamber, standing in between the duelers and us. The dust and wispy essence of Viriatix whirls in a vortex as Fenri slowly forms a suit of armour for himself, plate by plate. A stick figure forms within the haze, spindly charred torso rod, arm and leg branches, and a circular band as a head. The dust alights and fire engulfs the ominous entity. Fingers divide at the ends of his arm sticks and Viriatix appears to crack his knuckles when he brings his hands together.
Fenri is within a sealed suit of heavy-looking armour: huge spiked shoulder guards, a hawk head helm, a thick torso piece, arm and leg guards, and plates connecting in between the major components. Fenri stretches his arms somehow and adopts a stance. He levels his sword at Viriatix, bends his knees into a strong defensive position and signals with his left, subdominant, hand, bring it. Viriatix chuckles manically and his voice echoes down the corridor. He waves and dances his arms and hands through the air like an orchestral conductor. The embers flutter and fires spout. The fires form whips that whirl around Viriatix as he slowly steps towards Fenri.
Fenri gorilla pounds on his chest, shouting, "Let's do this!"
Viriatix twirl his arms around him and the whips crack repeatedly against the floor. Bynor kneels down and stabs Lozia into the ground. The blade turns into a clear crystal and extends, forming a transparent barrier in front of us. The few murky patches fade as Viriatixs' whips latch around Fenri's sword. Viriatix attempts to hit Fenri's head and shoulder with his elbows, but Fenri head-butts Viriatix's elbow and the shadow helmet cracks. He catches the other elbow with a second, quickly generated, shadow sword. A growl vibrates from the armour, from Fenri, in frustration.
Bynor cries out, "Careful Fenri! Don't shadow guardian down here!"
Fenri throws Viriatix against the wall and slashes at him. His swords slice through the wall, but shatter as they pass through the concentrated inferno of Viriatix. Fenri retreats back several steps and snarls. Viriatix clenches his fists and smashes his knuckles against the ground. The metal splinters open, the edges of the rupture melting and a red blaze surges out. The fire condenses into a fist and flies into Fenri. He crosses his arms crosses his face and the fist collides with his forearms. The fist bursts into a star of fire and shatters his bracers, also shredding through the shadows covering his chest and face. Fenri cries out in pain as he reels back.
Viriatix brings his hands to his chest and quenches the fires with a flick of the wrist. Fenri slides his hands from his face, revealing a charred face and neck. He grunts and growls from the bottom of his throat, the deep rumbling forces the barrier to vibrate. The burnt skin peels and drifts from Fenri's face. New skin regrows beneath and fangs protrude from his mouth, indicating his werewolf halfer side. Fenri waves stiff arms through the air, snakes his hands and twitching fingers around his head. The indigo shadow energy darkens to a deep purple as his armour is restored. He touches the ends of his fingers together. The shadows seep through the walls and form new layers over his armour. His head dings against the roof and he starts to contract and condense, the shadow armour becoming black.
Wolf ears poke out from his helmet, a tail sprouts from the bottom of his chest piece and two eyes blink open. The two slits of glowing blue stare directly at Viriatix.
"Oh wow, lookie here," Viriatix chuckles in admiration, "You're really something."
Fenris' arm bracers lengthen to arm scythes. Viriatix allows his whips to dissolve and forms arm blades of fire. They stamp their feet and charge at each other. Their blades clash together, embers and shards of shadows spark everywhere. Viriatix's blades deflect off Fenri's armour. Fenri's blades melt within the inferno of Viriatix, but he reforms them in a split second. Sienna and I watch in awe and excitement. Our mouths parted slightly. I can barely keep track of their blades' paths and their movements.
Fenri picks Viriatix up, the armour of his gauntlets and bracers slowly dripping away. He slams Viriatix against the ground, holding him by the leg and then throws him against the wall. Fenri slams his palms together and a slab of shadows crushes Viriatix. The slab melts away and a wall of fire races towards Fenri. He brings his arms together, then he brings his arm blades down to slice through the centre of the wall of fire and it parts around him.
Viriatix relaxes and lets his arms rest lazily. Fenri stops moving and slouches over. I can hear his heavy panting through his armour and Lozia's barrier. Viriatix releases himself and returns to his spectre form of pure dust. The crack in the ground seals over and all the heat and fires to absorbed into him. Fenri allows his shadow armour to fall apart and soak back into the ground. Fenri falls to a knee chucking lightly. Viriatix claps his hands as Bynor brings down the barrier.
Bynor taps the bright orange topaz set into the cross guard and the shield fades away. He slides the blade from the ground and collapses Lozia, tucking it away. He quickly strolls over to Fenri and helps him up. Bynor, with arms around Fenri, looks to Viriatix.
"Truly a magnificent duel Fenri I believe," praises Viriatix, "I haven't had this much fun in ages. You have definitely proved your worth." – he unnecessarily takes a deep breath – "Oh, and just call me Vee."
The gauntlets and cape reappear in mid air as Viriatix fades out of physical existence. Bynor heaves Fenri off him and Fenri plucks the set out of suspension. Bynor pats Fenri on the back and withdraws a step. Fenri slides the bracers on, wriggling his hands into the studded gauntlet and then clicks the cape around his shoulders. Fire bursts from his chest and engulfs him. We all jump back in shock, but the fire swiftly dies, leaving three red lines marked on Fenri's right cheek. He clicks his fingers and small flames spark at the ends of his index fingers. He chuckles, "Look at this! Fire is considered life and death, and for good reason. This is an amazing ability."
Bynor throws an arm around Fenri, "Good, good. Now it's time to get serious. Remember, we're living in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by demons."
"Yes sir!" acknowledges Fenri, "What is my next task?"
Bynor brings his hands together behind his back and says, "I want you to return to Evandia. Keep Viriatix's Garbs safe, but close. Aehn and Sahrie will not be staying much longer and the paladins will hopefully be mobilizing soon. That leaves you as the fort's main defence. I want you to stay and protect the city. You know how much it will mean to me personally, plus there's about a thousand civilians. In case if you need to leave, free Viriatix from the garb and allow him to take control of his armour. Advise him that he will need to stay and fight in your stead. Appoint a trustworthy paladin trainee, I'm sure you must have befriended at least one, as a watcher of Viriatix and to report anything out of sorts to you, then to me."
"Completely understood. I will not disappoint you."
"Thank you Fenri. You may take your leave. We'll take the sightseeing route out."
Fenri snaps his boots together and brings his left arm to his right shoulder in a salute, tilting his head down, just Bynor to the Evandian paladins. He flourishes his arm and the shadows warp around him. They settle and he's gone, shadow jumped to Evandia. Bynor sighs as he extends Lozia again. He wedges the blade beneath the Vault's door and we scurry over to help. We slide the door shut and several pistons sound off, indicating it's locked itself.
"So back track now?" asks Sienna, waving her half of Gladion through the air carelessly.
"Seems so," replies Bynor.
We hike up the stairs and pick our steps carefully, treading through a salad of werewolves, blood, organs and insides. I can still hear scythe blades whirring in the distance and scratching against metal, so I stay on high alert, paying attention towards all directions, angles and to all movements and sounds. Our boots leave blood prints and trails as we continue back through Gamma Sector. Bynor slows as we pass the quarters for Dilectio, but continues onward unfazed.
We slip through the pair of doors and cross into the air hanger again, but find the second pair of doors drawn shut, claws marking deep into the metal. Bynor looks up and scans the roof, which is more metallic paneling, and the dark corners of the room. I watch the vents as Bynor strolls around the room. We're not alone… actually… we're being watched. We both can feel it, the presence of powerful demons, not a spirit. Leran is out of contact now.
"Kain. We are in extreme danger right now. Danger that could probably kill us three," calmly clarifies Bynor.
I stammer, "So, uh, what are we going to do? What, uh, is it?"
"Scythe spinners are the little ones. There are the bigger ones, which are simply called scythe demons. The Vampire Lords have somehow brought them into our world, even after they were decimated by Al'Shep."
"So," intrudes Sienna, "Are they like giant crabs or something?"
"Ranging from a metre to three metres high. I can't tell how many are surrounding us at the moment either."
"And we are going to do what now?"
"Well, I'm going to fight them. I'm not sure whether you should Kain, but Sienna will have to hide in the wreckage of one of the planes. No offense," focusing onto Sienna, "but you won't last against them."
Bynor walks silently to a vent, one that's further from others, and sticks Lozia through the grate. Orange light fills the shaft and shows emptiness. Bynor pries the grate from the wall and sticks his head into it. I can hear him inhale deeply and mutter incomprehensibly to himself. He quickly strides to my side and looks down to me, "Estimation, fifteen scythe demons, five to ten spinners and about twenty werewarriors. Three lithins I think too."
Werewolf is the broad term for a halfer with lycanthropy. Werewolves are half humans, but lycans are true canine demons and they have spread their strains into humanity. There are also many classes of werewolves. Weresquires are the runts, the weak servants of those in authority and power. Next in line are the werewarriors. Simple, battle-trained and disciplined fighters, mindless warriors. Then there are the wereknights, which are physically larger and stronger. Wereknights are command squads of werewarriors and can been seen as a sort of lieutenant.
Furthermore, there are the werewarlords. They are yet again stronger and larger, but they give orders to the knights. They can be related to captains. They also have a higher degree of intelligence. Afterwards are the alphas. Alpha werewolves are very big and strong. They have a very fine battle sense and watch over specific regions and the packs of those regions. Also, different species and types of werewolves have evolved as different colonies adapted to their environments, from the underground dwelling werewraiths to the swimming weresarke.
Lastly is the Alpha WereKing, or Queen, a nameless werewolf who commands all. He, or she, has the very best battle instinct and fought his, her, way to the top. He, she, may not be the strongest, but he, she, would have proven their loyalty and worth several times over.
Lithin are true vampires. Dierce is the only known true vampire on Naerdi. All the vampires and lords are halfers, half vampire and half human. Lithin cannot hide their fangs within their mouths as they would rip through their own faces and their wings are always extended. Lithin are also born with the natural ability to activate their nightmare forms. Halfer vampires must learn, or adapt, to become nightmare vampires. When a lithin ascends into their nightmare mode, they undergo major physical change: their skins become pale grey, their veins easily visible, their hair becomes colourless, their thin and bony, yet strong, wings extend, they have pupil-less eyes that can become any colour depending on the individual. They form fifteen to twenty centimetre long claws and their fangs grow past their chins.
Even we humans have our own classes and types. There are the easily distinguished few: hunters, paladins, civilians and royals. Hunters are demon-killing machines. Paladins are merely the generic army. They can both be split down to freelancers, mercenaries, paladin trainees and hunter apprentices. Freelancers are mostly paladins who have left the company of other paladins and roam the land, travelling city to city and slaying demons to their liking. Mercenaries can be both hunters and paladins who provide services for food, drink, housing and possibly treasures. They can both stay in an area or be a wanderer.
The expected lithin burst through the metal walls already in their nightmare forms and fly to the roof, where they hang from the chandeliers. Several tunneling werewolves shove through the floor and scurry back into their tunnels to make way for the werewarriors. The scythe spinners accompany them as they surround us. Bynor shouts, "Kain! Take care of Sienna!"
The lithins pull away several of the panels covering the roof, falling a chandelier that smashes on the ground causing glass to splinter everywhere. The scythe demons, huge and bulky crab-like demons with huge scythe blade arms of the unknown material, drop from the ceiling and add to the problem. I perform the head count, "Eighteen werewarriors, three lithin, seven spinners and twenty-one scythe demons."
"Shit… Kain, take Sienna into one of the jets as I entertain our guests, then join me."
I take my gladius from Sienna and fuse them together as one, and then I grab her arm. Bynor shouts, "Well come on then! Did you animals not hear me? Let's dance!"
He rushes forward and slams into the mass of demons. Lozia clashes against the scythe blades and he knocks back werewolves. The lithin wait and watch patiently from the ceiling. I drag Sienna with me as I slash a path through the werewolves, although they generally ignore me as I pass them, focused on Bynor. I kick through the side of a jet and help Sienna inside.
"Stay here and quietly."
She nods inappropriately cutely and I block the entrance with several panels of jet steel. I examine the scythe demons from a distance. They're main body is a large lump encased with the unknown material and the surface is blotched with orange, and irregular. They have two thick arms with metre long scythes. The inside edge is serrated, but the outside edge is extremely sharp. They have four frail legs ending with points. They must be extremely lightweight if their legs can support them. Their faces are on their chest, two small black eyes and a small toothless mouth of froth. They have two barely visible antennas, which I assume to be either their hearing or smell.
Bynor has already dispatched six werewolves, crushed two of the spinners and sliced open one of the scythe demons, leaving twelve werewolves, three spinners and twenty scythe demons. I grab the shoulder of a werewolf and jam Gladion into its spine, announcing myself as another fighter. Bynor has the attention of most of the scythe demons luckily, so I pass into full throttle fighting mode. I split Gladion as I jump over the falling dead werewolf and start hacking away. I instantly fall three werewolves, but another grabs me. A scythe demon swings at me and I block its arm blades with my gladius, leaving me pinned. Bynor notices and hauls a scythe demon through the air, which knocks us all over.
I kill three more of the werewolves as I rise and crack my gladius against the scythe demons, smashing through their hide and allowing their green blood to spill. A scythe spinner whirls at my ankles and I kick it away, shredding the tip of my boot. I slam the flat of my blade against it as it wheels toward me again and that seems to end it. I can hear Bynor crush the other spinners as he fights the scythe demons. Two more werewolves fall to his blade as I decapitate one. There's only one remaining wolf, seventeen scythe demons and the three lithin. I gut the last werewolf as Bynor breaks the shell of another scythe demon.
It's eight each left and the vampiric demons. The scythe demons stumble over each other, knocking against each other as they rush towards me. I run and drop down into a slide. I swing my gladius around me as I pass beneath the demons and annihilate their legs. Five fall as the other three swing at me.
I parry four scythes and catch the other two on the hilts of my dual gladius. I slide my blades along their scythe blades and cut off their arms. I twirl and slice open their chests. Four fall dead as I eviscerate the disabled five. I flick clean my blades and face Bynor, who points up and as I look up, the trio of lithin dive down. I leap to the side and roll onto a knee. Bynor tackles one down as he throws Lozia at the second. The third tackles me and I'm barely able to defend myself against its claws. I slice off one of its arms and stab its other palm. It utilizes its wings to pin me against the hull of a jet and it attempts to bite me. It's fangs tickle against my ratty fringe as I steer my face from side to side in effort to avoid my face being chomped.
I glance over the shoulder of the lithin to see Bynor has enabled a lithin to be able to see behind itself and is now struggling with the second. I thrust a gladius upwards and slice through the bottom jaw of the lithin. Amazingly, the roof of the lithin's mouth manages to stop the tip of my blade. It screeches at me and disgustingly covers my face with its spit. I catch the ends of its wings and head butt it. Lozia scratches against the back of my lithin as Bynor and his demon opponent stagger around the room. I can see Sienna watching from a glassless window. The gladius slides from the lithin's mouth and when it hits the ground, the two slide together like magnets and form one again.
I bend the lithins' wings torturously and it bites at me in agony. Sienna leaps through the window, rolls past Bynor and the other, and snatches Gladion from beneath us. She sends the blade through the chest of the lithin and we fall together. I release its wings and reach behind it as Sienna wrenches it through the lithin's shoulder. I pull it free and decapitate the thing with a swift blow. Bynor slams the lithin against the ground, spears it through the chest with Lozia and crushes its head beneath his boot. He wanders groggily over to me and murmurs, "Damn, I've always hated these ugly things. Bah… let's go."
I nod to him and we clean our blades as we confront the door. Bynor obtains a comfortable hold on the handle and I turn the wheel as he pulls. The door slowly slides across, but once the gap reaches a large enough space for Bynor, we enter the next tunnel. We walk down it with the illumination escort of our Delta Korith weapons. As Bynor takes the lead, I whisper to Sienna, "Thank you, but I did have it handled."
She chuckles softly, "Of course you did."
I stick to her side to provide her light and to watch over her. Comfortable we've thinned enough of the demons, I allow myself to relax and calm down a few notches, leaving the task of attention to Bynor. We're back inside the first tunnel now - we must have spent at least three hours down here – the first tunnel with the metal grating covered floor of stone and sporadic buttons and levers on the walls. Ahead, I can spot bright light, the light of the trees and moon. I peer over my shoulder just in case and I see a speckled trail of gleaming red. I follow it past me and to Bynors' boots. He turns back to me and says, "What?"
"You're hurt aren't you? That's your blood on the ground and you've been bleeding out since the fight, right?"
"It's only a scratch… don't mind me."
"Bynor, we have to examine it and bandage it before anything worsens."
He sighs serenely and submits, "Fine, I'll even let you tend to me, but wait until we're above ground again."
He throws Lozia through the manhole and it lands softly on dirt and grass. He leaps up, catching the rim and heaves himself through. I fit Gladion into a slit in the grate and kneel down. I place my hands onto my knee, palms up, as a launch pad. Sienna takes the hint and backs up several steps. She jogs forward, leaps and I propel her upwards. She whistles through the air and clears the manhole easily. I shrink Gladion and tuck the hilt away. I run to the wall on my left, bounce off it and spin, catching the rim of the manhole and then backflip onto the surface. I bump against Sienna's backside inadvertently, but manage to control my balance.
We wander northeast through forest for half an hour of peace and settle down by a low stream. We sit down on the small boulders lining the stream and I place Gladion onto a flat rock. We all splash water onto ourselves in an attempt to clean the blood. I manage the clear away most of the black and brown stains covering my arms, but that leaves my legs and chest, which I abstain from cleaning whilst in the presence of Sienna. On the other hand, Bynor peels off his jacket and shirt. He douses them in the stream and lays them out on the rocks.
He twists himself, showing me his injured back. The lithin must have scored a hit while they tumbled around. Three, long gashes are marked diagonally on his lower back. I lean over and he winces as I prod the wounds. The blood has stopped flowing, but the wounds are ice cold. Surprising. Korith wounds on werewolves leave cold flesh. Lithin often have Korith tipped claws, if not full Korith claws. Bargh, I push the mindboggling thoughts to the deep recesses of my mind and swing my bag around. I pull open the first zip of two and pull out the first-aid packet. We've run out of medicine, drugs and medicinal substances, but we've got plenty of bandages and cleansing materials. I pick a cleansing ball, five strips of bandage, two short and two long, and two pins.
I dab at Bynor's wounds and he grunts in pain as the alcohol burns the bacteria. He leans down and I place the three short bandages on top. I wring the two long lined cloths around his waist and pin them.
"Satisfied Kain? I'll clean, replace, remove the bandage myself," says Bynor, a touch of lightheartedness to his voice. Sienna has taken the time to clean her many daggers of the green scythe blood and now that we've given our feet a break, we're good to go.
"Bynor, what is our destination?"
"Northwest, Gaiod and then Kerdas."
We slip into a comfortable silence as we travel. We maintain a medium pace, so we are quiet with our steps, but we're not slow to be caught. We bypass a small pack of slumbering werewolves. We're forced to crawl beneath bushes and roots because of a thick foliage. Eventually, we enter a less dense forest area and we are confronted with the wooden huts of young vampire trainees and wereknights. Bynor persuades us to evade and dodge this fight. Vampire trainees are simply not worth the time and wereknights make it too much of a hassle. Submitting to our protests, Bynor promises we'll hit the next campsite.
We pass by a large, black stone mansion with gates, stables and everything that it encompasses. Bynor steers us around left of it and we hit a vampire tower with a small weresquire party scouting the area. We tackle down two weresquires each and throw our weapons in dagger forms at the remaining two. We break the feeble necks of the struggling weresquires with easy arm movements and then we roll over to retrieve our weapons. Unfortunately, several ascended vampires just took flight off the tower. They screech in alarm and vampire knights drop down. They're decked in full armour and are lashing their twin ended whips. Bynor tries to fend them off, but the lesser lithin are piling onto him.
I deflect away two whip ends, but a third and fourth lash onto my wrists. More latch onto my legs and around my torso. They throw me through the air and drag me through the dirt. Whips are tied around my wrists and neck as Sienna is slammed into the ground dreadfully. I cry out and tear through my wrist bonds. I launch myself at a vampire. I bash my fists against the vampire's steel chest plate, but I'm pulled off him. I throw elbows and fists at the other vampires, but a steel boot rams straight into my face and I'm out.
I stir on my knees with iron cuffs. I blink dazedly and look side-to-side. Sienna's cuffed on my left and Bynor on my right. He must have surrendered himself. The original vampires are surrounding us, but behind them is a table of grey haired vampires in robes. They're muttering with themselves, probably deciding our fate. I glance to Bynor who seems to be completely calm and then to Sienna. She's concentrating, staring at the vampires and darting to and back around the room. We're in an excellently lit room of simple black stone. I turn my head to see the wide stairs. I remember Grayghost's paper and I pull on my wrists, breaking my feeble bonds. The vampires bare their fangs and slowly move in on me as I stand up.
I take the note out of my pocket and hold it out. One of the knights snatches it from my hand with distaste. He opens the note and stares at it and he looks at it shocked and accusingly. A vampire wearing a short blue cape takes it and looks at it.
"Well, if Lord Grayghost wants us to deliver the humans to him, then we will oblige the Duke."
And with that, we are freed and escorted into a horse-drawn carriage bound for Grayghost's mansion.