Author's Note: Long time no see! Anyways, enjoy a new chapter! It is rather short, and I apologize! But it does hold an interesting event :) Plus another NIGHTMARE! Mwuhahhhah! Enjoy! Read and Review! Thanks!
It's dark again. Completely dark. The world is engulfed by an ebony shadow, and yet, I can see perfectly well. Knee deep. A scarlet sea. I can see the blood reach out to my bare feet clearly. I take a step back, but my foot meets another growing puddle of blood. Soon, I'm surrounded. I take a step forward, knowing far too well that my weapon is still not with me. In fact, everything that was gone before, is still absent. However, the chains that pinned me to the blood covered ground are still missing, too. I'm thankful for that at least, but not for much else. This time, I can move freely. Nothing binds my limbs down. There isn't the body of a human child to drag me under.
Why? Why this again?
A ripple in the blood directed my attention to the darkness ahead of me, the only place it seems the shadows swirl about in an ominous and haunting way. I peered into it, narrowing my azure eyes, highlighted by the red mass below me. I took a step forward, the blood swishing and splashing about my knees. It gets ever more deeper as time ticks away, and I could only think of what is coming next.
As I reached out with one hand towards the swirling shadows, they seem to also reach out to meet me. I slowly withdrew my hand, but the shadows seem connected to it, drawn to me like an invisible but powerful magnet. I started to back away more quickly, the shadows calling out to me with dark intentions. They seemed to signify death and sickness, forever following me.
I gritted my teeth, my pulse beginning to rise as fear coursed through my veins. I took another step back, but my foot doesn't touch ground. It doesn't touch anything.
I began to fall backwards, losing my balance. I spread my wings just before I tumble off the edge and into the endless abyss of darkness. I gave powerful strokes, gaining height to where I had fallen off, skidding on the slick surface covered with blood as I landed. I sat on the red-stained ground, panting, as I attempted to calm myself, but no matter how much time had gone by, my heart still persisted to beat rapidly. Something was still there, lurking.
At once, I search the shadows for those pair of eyes, but it seems strangely less daunting now. Perhaps I've dreamt of this nightmare so much, it no longer affects me.
But if not a nightmare, then what is this?
My head spins instantly, my breath hitched in my throat as I stiffen.
"So many thoughts..."
The voice seems disembodied, and all around me. It's impossible to determine a single point in which it originates.
"Why, Baleon? Why so many thoughts in your head?"
The mention of my name brought an unsettling knot in my stomach to twist tighter. It felt as if a hand has ripped through my flesh, churning my insides harshly. I allowed myself to breathe, having not been aware that I was holding it in.
There was silence, but I could tell it was because of my unwillingness to reply.
"So many thoughts and not a single word," the voice chuckled throatily. "I expected more from you."
"One cannot answer to one that isn't present," I replied stiffly, my voice unsteady no matter how hard I attempt to control it. It was not from fear, but from my impossibly tense stance.
"One doesn't have to be visible to be present," the voice rumbled back.
I stood up, scouring the emptiness for another, but coming back with nothing. I was reduced to having to call out, so I did.
"Stop hiding and show yourself!" I growled, my panicked breathing echoing through out the endless space. My hand slid down to my hip where my scabbard would usually be, finding nothing but air. I momentarily blamed myself for even reaching, but I had done it so many times before, it was my instinct.
"Come out! Coward!" I clenched my fist, baring my teeth in a snarl.
"As you wish..." The booming voice pounded my ear, chilling the darkness into an icy atmosphere. The swirling shadows begin to form one shape, blood red eyes snapping open as the smoke cleared. I stood my ground, frozen in place. I could feel myself stiffen immensely as the figure took a large stride forward, an onyx blade in his grasp.
The being tilted his head, a malevolent smirk revealing his fangs.
"Are you satisfied now upon seeing your foe?"
I kept my eyes fixed upon the individual, my fear growing steadily of the unknown, but my face still showing no emotion.
"Who are you?" I asked, my voice unusually quiet, but firm.
The demon let his sword rest at his side, though keeping it within my sight, obviously intended to unnerve me further; and I had to admit—it was working.
"Names are merely words, plastered to someone's face," the figure's voice seemed almost ethereal, echoing throughout the endless darkness around me, repeating over and over in my listening ears. "It'll do you no good to know my name, Baleon."
I felt my breath catch in my throat at the hateful mention of my name. I spread my wings as I growled indignantly, an impulsive and desperate act to show no fear in my enemy's glowing, crimson eyes.
"Then why do you hesitate?" I snapped, my voice strong despite the sporadic pounding of my heart and ragged breathing.
"It's quite simple, Baleon. Fear has no name."
My eyes widened, his words like daggers as they sunk deeper into my flesh. They twisted and contorted themselves, painfully eating away at my mind and integrity.
"You are no fear," I whispered, barely audible as it passed my lips. The demon seemed intrigued by my answer, studying my expression only closer. "Fear itself cannot be conquered—only pushed away. Fear cannot meet death. It lingers in everyone," I took a brash step forward. I knew this was only a nightmare, and I intended to make the best of it.
My eyes narrowed into resistant and defiant azures as I glared straight into those ruby fires.
"But you... You can meet death. You will be defeated."
The devilish laugh that radiated from the shadows around me chilled me to the core. The body of the demon began to fade, the swirling mist clouding my vision once more. I felt my knees give way as the laugh seemed to vibrate deep inside me as the its volume increased. It became so loud in my head. I shut my eyes closed in an attempt to block the thundering voice out, but nothing that I did could yield any cure.
My ears ringed with the intensity of the menacing sound, and soon I could not even hear myself scream. As my voice stopped with the lack of my breath, so did the laugh and the ringing.
I was left in complete silence as I raised my head, my frantically beating heart resonating within this dark world. The blood had emptied itself from the ground, and bare, cold stone was left beneath my hands and knees. I swiveled my head as I scanned the area around me. There was not a single sound to reach my expectant ears.
I caught a glimpse of a growing gloom ahead of me. It appeared to approach slowly at first, then sprang at me with such speed I could not comprehend what was happening. My vision was suddenly gone and I all I could see was the blackness of the darkest night. My breath was labored as I awaited for what was to happen next.
A piercing scream ripped through my head with an agonizing pitch. I gasped in pain as it continued to bury itself in my mind, cutting cleanly into my consciousness.
My eyes opened in time with my gasp of shock. The scream persisted, but the voice was recognizable this time. I snatched my dagger from the table beside me and burst out the tent. A glowing fire churned skyward, its amber glow highlighting the retreating men as they fought for their lives. I was frozen in place, unable to move. Everything seemed to slow around me as the fire grew, and the glowing red eyes glinted in sadistic joy.
A pair of panicking hands grabbed me by the collar of my tunic, shaking me wildly.
"Baleon! Goddammit, man!" Fenidon screamed at me, his face covered and tainted with blood and dirt. "Baleon! Wake up! We've been ambushed!" A stinging slap is delivering across the side of my face, and at once my eyes latch onto his.
I tore myself away from his grip, and I shoved him away from me and towards the direction of the countryside.
"Run!" I shout at him, my tone urgent and forceful.
"Baleon! Come on!"
"No! There are still angels here! I must defend my army," I respond, turning back towards the fiery camp.
"Then I'm coming with you!"
"No! I am you're Commander! That's an order," I snap. His face clearly showed his shock and reluctance. He tightened his lips in aggravation, trying to hold back the words he would so dearly like to make me hear. With out another word, he turns and retreats with the others, flying high above the tree tops.
The sight before me was horrific and vengeful. Bodies. So many bodies.
I approached with extreme caution, not wanting to come across too many demons at once. That's when they were really dangerous. I took off towards a group of nearby trees, perching on a branch above the camp. I scoured the blood bath below me for any signs of living comrades, but terrifyingly, all friendly faces had seemed to disappear in the matter of a brief moment.
In a daring attempt to see if any still lived, I cupped my hands around my mouth and sucked in a deep breath.
There was no response.
There was nothing I could do.
I straightened my posture as I prepared to take flight when a hooded figure caught my eye. I stared at it for a moment, my eyes connecting with its hidden ones. My spine crawled with shivers as my gaze lingered. I quickly tucked the Sacred Dagger in its scabbard and flew above the treetops, disappearing from sight as quickly as I could.
I knew all too well that it had been Rikon.
He had led the assault against our camp. He had led the ambush.
As I soared higher and higher to reunite with my army, I swore to myself;
My lost comrades would be avenged.