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JujuTheDruid

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About JujuTheDruid

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    Learning to draw and listening to music for story motivation :D also gaming but I can be shy about that.

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  1. Luno The three strangers pull Tobias into a room. They are most likely going to plan out how to get that necklace. I am not entirely sure how a necklace is supposed to help us bring back all the humans, but if the Mother Goddess says it will, then we had better get it. While they brainstorm over all of that, I am left wondering why the Mother Goddess did not bring the necklace herself. Nor did she say why we needed the necklace. Surely she would have told someone how it works. Now that I think about it, why did Drulai bring herself here? Mother used to say that the Goddess keeps to herself. That she never speaks with anyone. Why is she speaking to humans of all things? It is strange. I am not sure how I feel about that. Not only is that whole situation weird in on itself, the family tree that Vlad’s family was trying to show us brought strange memories. This...Laneer feels familiar. Just the name on my tongue feels as if I have said it plenty of times before. It is just...I know for a fact that I have never even seen or heard that name before in my life. Yet, I feel as though I have met him. Frowning, I stare at the letters placed into the family tree made of stone. This man died over a thousand years ago. I was never born back then. I am barely over three hundred years old! I am just standing there staring at the name in confusion but then someone speaks behind me. “Your friend is not very friendly,” Vlad says behind me with a laugh. “He must have taken a liking to you. That, or he is a very loyal bodyguard.” I turn to him and raise an eyebrow. “Well,” I say. “People have made their threats against him for if he were to fail. I personally hope I am not making it hard on him. He really is a nice guy! You just have to get to know him better!” Vlad nods in thought and juts his chin to Laneer’s name. “You find Laneer’s ending confusing as well,” he says more than asks. “For all we know, he could have started another line of family. There could be more with the Bancroft blood out there.” I tilt my head in confusion. “Why is your family so obsessed with your blood? It makes you all sound full of yourselves.” He shrugs. “Trust me, it was not our decision. If anything, we were hoping to change our ways with that. Unfortunately, so many of the common folk are still in love with Violette.” “Why?” I ask. “It is quite strange in all honesty.” Vlad laughs and nods. “You’re not wrong. My guess is that it has something to do with how she unified the kingdoms to defeat many evil forces. She took over in the Serendian war, the war with the Hollowed, and a war against Demons.” I frown. “Hollowed? What is that? And Demons? Why?” “Well, the Hollowed are a strange beings who are created by raw magic. They are pretty much as smart as a walking corpse, but their numbers were massive once upon a time. Nobody is sure where they came from.” “And the Demons?” I ask. He actually looks a little uncomfortable with this topic. “The Demons were teaming with the Serendians,” He says. “When the Serendians lost, the Demons were angry. So many of their contracts had ended against their will. They chose to attack us in retaliation.” “In the end we won,” He grins. I can only frown at how he says that with enthusiasm. You should never be happy that war has or had taken place. “Is this all you humans know,” I ask. “War? Pain? Even against your own kind, you still bring more of the two. Why? Why must you do such things? You act as if the Serendians were so different from you, when really, they simply lived further away.” Vlad actually looks sympathetic in my small outburst. He almost acts like he understands. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he gives a sad smile. “Believe me, I wish it never had to happen. My cousins are not as open minded about it, but they also agree that sometimes, it just is not worth questioning it. I imagine like yourself, the Gods look down at us with a crease in their brow.” I shrug. “I guess so. Did Raiyo not say that was a thing? I imagine he did. He tends to say a lot of things. That is what I have gathered recently.” At the mention of Raiyo, Vlad’s face becomes a bit grim. “What is it like,” He asks. “Working for him. Is he as cruel as the stories say? The only time he ever seems peaceful or kind is when it comes to the truly underprivileged people.” I can only shrug again. “In all honesty,” I say. “It can never tell. I have only just met him recently, but I can tell that it is more of a guessing game with him. I thought he was nice, but then I did not for a time. Now after what you have just told me about Halehigh, I do not find him nice in the slightest.” Vlad gives a sad smile. “Yeah. I figured it would be somewhat complicated on your end. Did he really send you both here to bring us back? Forgive me if I find that hard to believe.” I nod. “He really did. That was not a lie. We were pretty much ordered by him to bring everyone back to life.” He hums and pinches his chin in thought. “Do you think he is planning something?” He asks. “Surely there is something he is planning with all of us.” “I think so,” I say. “I think Tobias does as well. He told me that he was seriously doubting the leadership he brings over the Demons.” Vlad looks surprised by that. “Really? A Demon is questioning his master? My, the world really has gone crazy, hasn't it?” He chuckles. Another shrug from me. What else do I say to that? I still blame a lot of the people, but the Gods are definitely making it worse, even if they probably think otherwise. “Would you like to join me in the war room?” He asks while holding a hand towards the doors that Tobias and the other King and Queens entered. The last thing I want to do is enter a place called ‘The War Room’. It sounds awful in there. Do they make mini versions of their armies fight one another? Yes, I would rather not go in there today or ever. Shaking my head, I glance over my shoulder to the entrance of this room, ready to leave. “Sorry, but I need to feed my friends. I promise to be back in an hour or so.” Vlad looks a bit confused but in the end, he bows to me and walks through the War Room doors. ~~~ The city is so strange. It feels empty. I get that it is cold, but there is not a single soul out here. Sure, every now and then there is a guard, but I mainly find them close to the little bonfires that are littered across the city. I do not want to be here. I want to be back out in the woods where it is safe. In here, I feel trapped. Unfortunately, it is freezing right now. When did it ever get so cold? With a loud whistle, I look up the skies, hoping for Enfi to come down. I could use her warmth. It would be perfect honestly. Instantly, a bundle of red feathers can be seen flying my way. I smile at how majestic she looks in the sky. Enfi flies down and lands on my shoulder. She chirps and rubs her face against my cheek. “Thank you, pretty bird,” I smile and make her a strawberry out of thin air. A gasp to my right grabs mine and Enfi’s attention. At first I think it is nothing but an empty house, but when I look closer, I see that there is a small child standing behind the window. She is trying to hide behind the curtain. I smile and walk closer. “Hello,” I wave to her. “I’m Luno!” She stares wide-eyed at Enfi. “Oh don’t be afraid,” I say. “She is harmless! She might try to cuddle with you honestly.” Shrugging her off my shoulder, I make Enfi drop onto the window. She shrinks down a bit more to make herself not seem like a threat to the little girl. Her idea works! The little girl slowly peeks out and stares at Enfi. She looks up at me as if she needs permission. I only nod with a smile. “Go on,” I say. “She won’t bite.” Hesitantly, the girl holds her hand out to Enfi. At first, she backs away when Enfi looks up at her, but eventually the girl is able to have her hand rubbed on by Enfi. She giggles and looks up at me with a smile that shines in her eyes. Okay. So maybe the Humans are not that bad. It has just been awhile since I have met some nice ones. A long, long time. Not wanting to stay here any longer, I wave goodbye to the girl before whistling for Enfi to get on my shoulder. Doubling checking that Kulu is alright, I walk back the way that I got into this city. Don’t get me wrong, the little girl was nice, but she feels like only a small light in this city full of war and violence. I can practically feel the tension on the walls of each of the homes. It is not right. To be fair, their anger is most likely towards what has been happening to their people. It is just strange that even with something as awful as that is happening, they still continue to have wars with one another. The day that Tobias met me on that cove, I was fixing the damage from one of those human wars. Was it really worth killing all that life for some stupid problems that can be solved without such violence? With a sigh, I push open the gates and walk out onto the road for a few minutes. I only want to put some distance between me and Halehigh. After awhile, I walk off course and trudge my way through the snowy woods. It is pretty out here. I will admit that. The snow is nice and bright, the trees are tall and covered up in the white sheets. The green pine needles smell especially good right now. Not a lot of creatures out here right now. That is...until I look behind me. A small family of moose are following me. Two adults and one baby. They are rather silent and when I notice them, they bow their heads. The father’s antlers are especially big. Smiling, I make small piles of catkins for each of them to eat. Maybe they were following me for food? Best to give them some just to be sure. A small rush of air comes up behind me. At first I get scared than an Angel is about to attack me, but then I feel the familiar vibration that Mother gives off. Recently, I learned that Raiyo does the same. I guess that means that I can sense all of the Gods? Or maybe just those two? I turn to her with a small smile. It is nice to smile right? “Hello, Mother,” I say. “It has been a long time.” “Yes, yes it has,” She says with a sigh. It is moments like this where I wish I could see her. I can’t quite tell how she is feeling at the moment. She sounds...sad? Bored? Angry? Maybe a little happy? I do not know. If I were to see her face, maybe I would have been able to tell. With a flick of my finger, a drop of light falls into the snow-covered ground. A sapling begins to grow at an astonishing rate. It grows green and then as it thickens, it turns brown. It’s hard bark twists around until it makes a small bench. One for me and Mother to us. That is, if she wants to use it. She could always just fly. That is what I assume she does. Or maybe she floats? I sit on the bench and hug myself. Enfi sits next to me, providing warmth from the fires of her wings. “How do we even begin this talk?” I ask. “There are so many things to ask. I don't even know where to start!” Mother sighs again. Her energy becomes stronger in the empty space next to me. Surprisingly, a warmth can be felt on my shoulder. “I know,” She says. “I never should have kept so many things from you. I just-...I never wanted you to experience the dark, twisted ways of the world. You are so innocent and kind. I did not want you to lose that about yourself.” Shaking my head, I stare hard at the ground. “That was never your decision! Let me choose who or what I want to be!” A small pause from her. “I will not stop you now, Luno. You can do whatever you want. I only wish I had done so sooner. Forgive me and my...harsh rules. I only wanted what was best for you.” Now it is my turn to sigh. “Mother,” I say. “You were harsh at times, but I knew you cared for me. Do not think I am completely angry with you. You taught me so many things. You taught me how to be careful and also how to keep my magic under control! I only wish you did not have to keep so many secrets from me. For instance, I finally learned what I am! Unfortunately, I learned it from another God.” At that, Mother scoffs. I guess I should have known bringing up Raiyo would bring her attitude out, but it is true! He did tell me these things. “Yes, you are a Star,” She says. “A Star that my...husband...had brought down from the skies. I am sorry that happened to you, Luno. You did not deserve this life filled with so many things to taint your purity. You should be up there. Not here where all the filth beckons for you.” I tilt my head. “Why did Morgoren bring me down here?” I ask. “What did he want to use me for?” Mother’s energy seems to vibrate at a faster pace now. That usually happens when she becomes angry or agitated. “He wanted to use you as a way to replicate what he lost,” She says. I frown. What he lost? What does that mean...he lost Raiyo? That does not really make sense to me. “Morgoren was going to use you as his champion,” Mother continues. “Raiyo was originally his champion, but things had changed. Most likely because of me. You were to be Raiyo replacement. Morgoren tried to make you as close to Raiyo’s resemblance as possible. Raiyo was his favorite after all.” She clears her throat. “You were to do all that he wished. He tried to taint you with the vilest of spells, but I happened to come across his experiments.” A shiver runs down my spine at that. This makes me more scared of Morgoren. “When I saw your face, I thought you were Raiyo. I wanted to kill you right then and there, but then I looked closer and saw that you were not an Archdemon, but a Star. A Star that was carved to look like Morgoren’s whore.” Well...hearing that does not exactly make me feel better, but I guess it is good to know why I am here. “In a way to keep you from harm, I brought you to the Sanctuary,” She says, her vibrations calming down. “There, you awoke for the first time. I hated you. I hated you with every fiber of my being. I wanted to kill you myself so many times, I lost count.” I hug myself a little tighter, not exactly liking this talk anymore. “But then,” She says after a time. “I realized that you were so different from any other being I know. You were genuinely kind and caring. Never doing things to gain from it like so many others do. It amazed me just how different you were. How much you were the opposite of what Morgoren wanted.” A warmth wraps around me in a small squeeze. Mother is hugging me. “I grew from hating you to loving you,” She says. “I know I was harsh, but I just wanted you to stay safe. You were so carefree, I was only a bit worried for your safety.” I would argue that I would have been fine without her worrying, but that is not entirely true. I had learned that I was not ready long ago. “Thank you for everything,” I say. “For giving me a home. For sparing me. For loving me. Even for teaching me how to control my magic. That night, back in Varen. It still haunts me from time to time. I wish you had taught me how to control it back then. Maybe Viktor and Monie would have lived.” “Oh Luno,” Mother’s voice trembles. “I have kept another thing from you.” I am not entirely surprised about that. I have been with her for quite a long time. “On that night in Varen,” She says. At that I sit up and look in her direction. She continues. “You never burned down that home. You never did anything wrong. You did not kill the two Humans. You have never lost control before that night. The only time that you have was when you let your anger get the better of you.” Not really able to keep sitting, I stand and pace back and forth in front of the bench. “Morgoren was there,” She says. “He knew you were staying in that village because we did not know we were supposed to hide back then. He started the fire. He made the river drown the little girl. He spread whispers through the people that you were doing magic and that you were a demon. It was all him.” I shake my head while walking back and forth. This...this cannot be true! I was so sad and angry with Moni’s death that I started the fire in my sleep. I had to be me! I never even felt Morgoren’s presence. I did not feel anything. I start breathing too fast and I cover my eyes. Anything to not think about those images. The darkness should help me forget. “I’m sorry, Luno,” Mother says, her warmth surrounding me again. “I truly am. I never should have kept this from you.” All these years, I have been trying my best to ‘perfect’ my magic, when really, I never lost control? I never killed Viktor and Monie? I have felt guilty for two hundred and fifty years for nothing? “Is there...is there anything else?” I ask, my voice shaking. Mother is silent for a few moments. No doubt thinking over her lies. “No,” She says. “That is all. I am afraid I must also leave as well, my child.” Frowning, I look up at where she should be standing. She has never called me her child. “Just know,” She says, almost as if she is about to cry. “I have loved you more than anything in this world. You were a beckon of love for me. I can never thank you enough for that.” For some reason, hearing that makes tears start to fall. Maybe it is because she has never told me she loved me until today. Maybe it is because she has called me her child. Either way, it leaves me so incredibly happy, that I can’t help but cry. A portal opens in the air. It has a pretty white glow that does not blind me. I feel Mother’s presence slipping away into the portal. Just as she passes through, I forget how to breathe. There, on the other side of the portal, stands a woman. Her skin does not have one color, but thousands. Strands of colors that I have never even seen before dance across her skin and hair. Her eyes are a solid blue color that glow. Behind her is a set of great wings that are both color and see-through, they remind me of stained glass. All too soon, Mother and her portal disappear. Why...why has she allowed me to see her true form?
  2. Luno “Did he really do that?” I gasp. Vlad has been sharing the story of the Circle of Wolves as we have been walking to Halehigh. It is a bit strange to learn about the story of the city as you are on your way there. “He did,” Vlad says. “He really massacred all those innocent lives, just to prove a point to some rulers.” I frown and look up at Tobias. Surely he would have something to say about this. Unfortunately, he holds a steady face that hides any emotion. He just stares at the back of Vlad’s head. “Are you sure that is what happened,” I ask. “I mean, that was so long ago? The details could have been changed! Hundreds of people dying seems overdramatic. Right, Tobi? Raiyo would never do something like that!” Tobias does not say anything. He looks at me from the corner of his eye and lets out a small shrug. Seeing that alone makes something in my chest hurt. Not exactly an angry hurt, but more along the lines of, ‘this seems too insane to be true’. “Not even the Demon knew his master could be so cruel,” Vlad chuckles. “Well is that not just pure irony.” Surprisingly, Tobias does not even get angry with Vlad. He just stares forward as if he is in a daze. I could tell that Raiyo was not entirely good. Well, it is also based on my knowledge that Demons are apparently evil, so hearing that he was the King of Demons, I just assumed the worse. I never expected it to be so bad that he murders innocents for no reason at all. It has pretty much changed how I think of him entirely. “Don’t be so bummed out, my friend,” Vlad winks to Tobias. “I come from a line of sketchy rulers myself. The Circle did deserve to be put in their place, just not the way that Archdemon chose to do it.” Biting my lip, I stare at the ground as we walk. This is just wrong on so many levels. Who in their right mind would think that causing harm to those who are innocent is alright? Just look at now! There is some force out there that is killing all these innocent humans just to place them in the Middleplains? Is this another God at work? I know that Raiyo is officially bad on my list, but I also know Morgoren is as well. That much mean that there are countless other Gods who cause harm for no reason. Would Mother be like one of those Gods? Would she ever cause harm to innocents to push some kind of ‘lesson’ onto them? Just the thought of that being true makes something in my gut twist. “What has you down, little flower child?” Vlad smiles over his shoulder at me. “Did the story make you realize you were on the wrong side?” Looking up at him and then Tobias, I sigh and let out a pitiful nod. “Well, there is still plenty of time to join us,” Vlad grins. “The both of you could! The more help, the better; and we could use a lot of it.” Tobias frowns in confusion. “Even me? A Demon?” Vlad shrugs and offers his hand. Oh. I remember learning about that. “Sure, why not?” He smiles. “Demon or not, I see that you are trying to help us. That is enough in my book to trust you.” Tobias hesitantly accepts Vlad’s handshake. He looks over at me with a hint of uneasiness in his eyes. It must be strange learning just how messed up your King could be. You pretty much look up to them and are ready to serve under them, only to find out that they are actually a monster who preys on the innocent. Tobias clears his throat and reaches for my arm. “We will keep following,” He says to Vlad and his spies. “We just need a moment to speak together without others listening.” They nod to us and we step a few paces behind them. I am guessing this has to do with the whole, ‘wrong side, right side’ thing that Vlad said. “So,” Tobias says slowly. “That was...an eye opener. Wouldn’t you agree?” I let a short laugh. “Yeah that is a bit of an understatement; don’t you think?” He lets out a shaky laugh and nods. “Yeah. Yeah, it is.” Frowning at his strange new mood, I link my arm with his. He should know that I will be here for him! “Talk to me,” I say. “What are your thoughts about it? Should we really just...change sides like Vlad said? Would that even be safe? Raiyo would probably attack them and kill us if we ignore him.” Tobias shivers and nods. “Ye-yeah. You might be right.” Taking a deep breath, Tobias stands a little taller with his head held high. “Well, that should not stop us from using his help. We might not agree with his...choices...but we cannot just abandon this quest. We still need to bring back the humans. That is at least where I am willing to draw the line with working with him.” My eyes widen at hearing that. It is rather bold of us to be saying such things out loud in all honesty. One of Raiyo’s wisps could be lurking in on our conversation. Because of this, I whisper. “So,” I say. “We keep in touch only for this quest. We use his help with the other Demons, and then we bring everyone back! What do we do after we are done? I do not want to just leave you alone after this!” Tobias frowns and looks down at me. “What are you talking about?” “You said that ‘this was where you draw the line with working for him,’” I say. “Would Raiyo even let you go? You would still be a Demon, right? I thought he has control of all Demons.” He nods in understanding. “Well, that is true,” He says. “Raiyo has control over all of us, but he has never used that power. He has never forced us to fight for him. Never made us do things that we did not want to do. He respects us...at least I think I do.” “So,” I say. “What can we do to reverse it? How can me make you not a Demon anymore? Like a...Un-Demon?” Tobias laughs and shake his head. “Sorry, Luno. I am afraid no such thing is possible. This is it for me. I am stuck as a Demon.” I cross my arms and pout. Why does everything have to be so unfair to everyone around me? First Viktor and Moni; now Tobias and apparently every human in Thymestrys. Maybe the Angels too? You know what? This world is just messed up. Why must the Gods rule over everything? They are not needed! They only seem to ruin everything they touch. These are surprisingly hateful thoughts by me. I need to calm my anger down. Glancing up at Tobias, I see he is staring down at me with a smirk on his face. “What?” I narrow my eyes. “Why are you smirking?” He shakes his head and turns to face the road. “Oh nothing. Just nice that you care enough to be angry about me.” I groan and pull my hood on. He saw my flowers changing colors again. I never realized they were so annoying and make it easy for people to read me when they know what the colors represent. My guess is that Tobias saw they were red for anger; and why can’t I be angry? Everything is just going badly for everyone else. I just wish I could make it all go away. ~~~ ~~~ Tobias I must say, it really nice seeing someone show genuine care for you. Those cute,little, red flowers that are on Luno’s head showed me that really does care for me. Thanks to what Vlad has revealed to me, I do not think I can say the same to the King of Demons. Sure, he has never harmed us in extravagant ways. At least not like he has with the Humans, but that does not mean he wouldn’t. For all I know, Raiyo could choose to massacre us all if we did something against him. He sacrifices those he sees unfit to apart of us. The ones who break his rules. Is that not a bad sign already? Sure, Demons and Angels need rulers to pretty much exist, but what if Raiyo decides that he is annoyed with us or something? I called him a loose cannon before, but I was just being dramatic! Never have I heard of this. Does anybody else know? How has this information not spread among the other Demons? Raiyo has told us time and time again, never attack the humans unless they ask for it. Never harm the innocent. How am I supposed to follow him if he is going to break his own rules? It is not right. One thing I can say, learning this has definitely changed how I view things. Mostly how I looked up to Raiyo, but basically towards everything. I know it is possibly considered crazy to look up to Raiyo, but there is just something there between us. Nothing romantic of course, or at least I think, but something else. I just can’t tell what it is. Learning that he murdered so many innocents is really messing me up. While it is making my head feel like it is being pulled like a rope in tug-o-war, it makes me want to help the humans even more. Once again, their history has a God putting their stain on humans. Why should I be surprised that Raiyo is one of them? Vlad has said we could join their side in this time of death. I believe that Luno and I should accept his offer. Obviously I already accepted when we did the handshake, but we could easily just run away whenever. We will not be doing that. Unfortunately, there is the risk that Raiyo will try to kill us and all of the remaining humans that have survived this culling. Because of this, Luno and I will still have to work alongside Raiyo for his quest. While I really do not wish to do that, the overall end game of it is in line with the Humans’ side. We will simply have work with both. Mostly with the Humans now, but Raiyo will still have to be kept satisfied for this to work. Honestly, the Humans want the same thing as him so this will actually be quite easy. Luno’s fear for the aftermath of this quest is something that I share however. At the end of this quest, when all the humans are revived, Luno is free to go back to his sanctuary and no doubt live the rest of his life in peace. What about me? I will be stuck as a Demon under Raiyo’s control. Not only him however, also Morgoren’s. Lucky for us, that bond has pretty much been broken as soon as Raiyo was created. The pull of the Archdemon’s bond has made him the true King of Demons. I bet if I was under Morgoren’s rule, I would have done many, many things I would have never wanted to do. Just the thoughts that come to my mind of all those possibilities sends a shiver down my spine. Luno’s hand rubs my back. It leaves warm trails that somehow reach through my armor. It leaves me feeling warm inside. Pushing his hand away, I side-eye him as we walk back closer to Vlad and his spies. I know the little Star has been using magic to calm me down. As much as that angers me, I can agree that it has kept us from getting into too much trouble. Having said that, I still believe that Vlad needs a good knock up the side of the head. “We’ve arrived,” Vlad calls over his shoulder. ~~~ Well, it is pretty weird to see the place that Raiyo unleashed the Circle of Wolves. You know, I have actually met the Circle. Raiyo never killed them off after...all of this. He calls them his pets. His little things that he uses on those who have truly crossed the line. Now that I know where they came from, the thought that they were once humans leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The fact that they are still here seven hundred years laters as a punishment for being full of themselves just does not feel right. They would have learned something by now. Let us hope that whoever is in charge of this place is not incredibly bitter against Raiyo or other Demons. That may be too much to ask for in all honesty. “Hey,” Vlad catches my attention. “Before we go in there,“ he knocks on the top of his head. “You think you can hide those at all?” Huffing out a breath in annoyance, I run my fingers along the sides of my horns. They slowly fade away, making me look as normal as I can be. Looking down at Luno, I jut my chin at him. “How come he can keep his flowers, but I can’t keep my horns?” I roll my eyes. Vlad chuckles before shrugging. “Flowers would not be entirely looked down upon, my friend. Also, they are not quite as noticable.” I grunt and stand close by Luno, ready to protect him from any assholes past the city gates. Luno bumps against my arm before beaming up at me. “You still look just as handsome without your horns, Tobi! You do not need to worry about anyone thinking otherwise!” Looking up at Vlad, I see him raise an eyebrow before he turns around with a smile on his face. Rolling my eyes at Luno, I grab his arm and pull him with me past the metal gates. Before we get any further, we are stopped by some guards. Vlad tends to them. “I did not know you could hide your horns,” Luno whispers next to me. “Are you hiding other parts of you too?” Before I can answer, Luno gasps and grabs my arm in a tight grip. “Does that mean you have a tail?” He whisper-shouts in excitement. I give him a dead-panned stare before turning to face Vlad and the soldier. “Aww, Tobi please!” Luno says. “I just got a little excited. Can you answer my question though? You can just choose one! I would prefer the tail question however.” Maybe it is because it is him, but it weirdly pulls a smirk onto my lips. “No I do not have a tail,” I whisper, still keeping my eyes on Vlad’s back. Taking a chance, I look over at Luno and I see he has a pout on his face. Shaking my head, I decide to at least answer his other question as well. “I do hide my actual Demonic features however,” I say. “I...I doubt you would want to see that. You have already seen how ugly the rest of us are.” Luno looks up at me and he frowns. “You have no right to believe that I would think you all are ugly,” He says. “I actually find you all pretty in your own way. You are all very different from one another. That cannot be said about everyone else.” Huh. I never really expected this. Most consider Demons hideous. Even I consider us disgusting. I made sure to learn the magics that are needed to cover it all up. I even went back to my original human face. For the first time in forever, I actually feel a push to share my true self with someone. I just...I am a monster. I truly am. I look like an actual monster. Surely if Luno were to see that, he would see that he was wrong. Not all Demons are ‘pretty’ or ‘different’. That I am the ugliest thing he has ever seen. Still, the way he smiles that caring smile almost makes me think otherwise. Vlad turns to us finally. “Come,” He says. “The Royal Family wishes to see you.” Royal Family? Perhaps these people did not learn from Raiyo after all. Vlad leads us through the streets of Halehigh. They are full of cold stone streets, cold high stone walls, cold stone builds, and large bonfires every few paces. Snow sits in random piles along the walls of the city. The streets are left empty because of this I’m guessing. I can see the firelight in most of the windows in these houses, so obviously this place is filled with humans. It is just too cold to come out. Looking over at Luno, I see he is shivering and hugging himself to keep warm. Making sure nobody is looking, I quickly summon a cloak out of thin air and toss it around his shoulders. Luno looks up at me in surprise before his face breaks out into a smile. “Thank you,” He says while his teeth are chattering. I nod and keep us following Vlad. ~~~ We reach a great castle that is built into a tall mountain. Supposedly it is the tallest mountain in Thymestrys, but I do not really believe that. It does look old in some parts, but it also looks as though it has been rebuilt in some areas. Some of the stone looks nicer than the other parts. We are quickly pushed into what looks like a throne room. Instead of one chair, there are four that face the door, side by side. There are only three sitting on the throne. Two women and one man. Who could be the one that is missing? “You may go,” Vlad nods to his spies. They quickly scurry away into another room. Vlad turns and nods to the three royals in the chairs before walking up and sitting in the fourth chair. Oh. Alright then. Luno looks up at him wide-eyed before looking at me. “Did you know?” He asks. I only shrug in response. Maybe I did? I honestly do not really care for this. It is not like we could easily kill them or something. Oh wait...we can. “Sorry, my friends,” Vlad smiles. “Just wanted a small surprise on ya.” The other royals rolls their eyes and smile at his actions. Still not entirely sure if they ignored Raiyo’s lessons. I would not be entirely surprised if they went against them in spite. “We are each from the long line of royal blood,” A woman says. “Are you familiar with Violette Bancroft?” Before I can answer, Luno speaks. “I saw a poster of her,” he says. “And a doll. That is pretty much all I know about her. Tobi here told me that she was a warrior. One who brought everyone together to fight evil.” The Queen nods at his words and stands from her chair. She circles behind her and walks up to a wall. It holds a stone tree that lays sideways. It’s branches hold hundreds of names. At the very top, I see Violette’s name and two men. “We have made sure to keep track of everyone in the family,” She smiles. “You could say we might even be obsessed.” She laughs at her joke, but I would actually agree with her. This is seriously weird. “After the deeds she did for all the kingdoms, Violette’s bloodline was to be tracked. Her blood was to kept in rule. It was the people’s wish!” Luno leans in at the base of the tree. Right where Violette’s name is etched into the smooth stone. “Why is this branch so short?” He asks. “Laneer Bancroft? What happened?” Vlad comes up behind Luno. I quickly shove my way between them and send him a glare. “Just was about to give a history lesson,” He chuckles with his hands up in surrender. “Nobody knows what happened to Laneer,” He says. “He was Violette’s first son but sadly there aren’t any records that tell us what happened to him. Some believe he died in the great Demon attack on Avelin. Others think he might have simply run away and changed his name? Other than that, nobody really knows.” Luno has a frown at that. “That name seems familiar in some strange way.” I sigh and turn to Vlad. “Is there a reason we are getting a family history lesson?” I ask. “I would rather die than go through each of these sorry souls who died in unknown ways.” Vlad chuckles before nodding. “Very well. There is something in Avelin that we believe will help us. Drulai herself has gifted us with that knowledge. She told us someone in our bloodline has placed a necklace beneath the city ruins. We could use your help getting it.” I sigh and lean my head back in annoyance. “You were going into a dumb monologue just to tell me that the Mother Goddess has found something that could help us?” I say. “Thank you for almost wasting time in my life.”
  3. 700 Years Ago Villie - The Servant Boy My name is Villie. I am sixteen years old and when I was an born, I was found by the former Queen of the time. She allowed me a place in her castle. There, I became a servant. I live in the great city of Halehigh. A city that sits at the base of one of Thymestrys’ tallest mountains. Halehigh was once ruled by a Queen. Six years after she took me in, her castle was infiltrated by another kingdom. A kingdom full of Bancrofts. I never quite understood what was happening in the world. Even now, I still do not care to learn it. All I know, is that the Bancrofts treat me the same as the Queen. A servant who is never to speak. With the Bancrofts came a new age of ruling. Instead of a King or Queen, they created the Circle. A Circle of Wolves is what they call themselves. They must have been hoping for the intimidating factor. The Circle consists of five Wolves. Three men and two women. While their power is meant to be shared, one man definitely has everyone under his control. Nobody else seems to realize it however. I do though. I see everything that goes on in this castle, but I never share it with others. There is no reason to. Well, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. The dead Queen had cut my tongue out as a lesson in speaking when I am not supposed to. You could say that her death was a little satisfying to me. They placed her head on a spike and fed her body to the pet bears she kept in the throne room. Oh, the throne room was completely redone by the Circle. Instead of one chair staring at the doors, there are five chairs that are spaced around a large table. The middle of the table is cut open, leaving room for people to be judged or just to have a simple audience with the five Wolves. This morning, the man in charge of the castle’s stables stands in the center of their attention. “My lords,” He bows his head. “I have come to ask about the traveler that will be arriving today. Is there anything I should prepare? Are we aware of what he may be arriving on? I would like to get the proper necessities if needed.” Lady Amora sighs and face-palms. “Is this really what you came to us for?” She asks. “About his damned animal’s preferred meal?” The Stable Master’s usual cheery smile slowly begins to disappear. “Honestly, could this not have waited for until the Serendian had arrived?” Amora asks before turning to me. “More wine, boy.” Walking quietly to her side, I pour halfway up in her glass goblet. When she brings it to her lips, I back away to stand by the wall again. “I am sorry, my Lady,” The Stable Master says. “I will be sure to ask the Serendian when they arrive.” Amora nods and takes a sip of her wine. The Stable Master leaves. With another sigh, Lady Amora stands from her chair and walks towards one of the windows next to me. I keep my eyes forward, staring at the table. “Still no snow yet,” She says before taking another sip of wine. “Perhaps that Serendian will be somewhat comfortable here.” The Circle have been asking for a random Serendian mage to come south and help them commune with the Gods. I am not entirely sure as to why they feel the need to do that, but more power to them I guess. “The others are lucky they do not have to deal with all these ‘problems’,” She says. “Don’t you think the same? They probably did this on purpose, huh?” I only blink and keep my eyes forward and keep the wine bottle in my hands. Amora sighs before turning back to sit in her chair. “Go and fetch me something to eat, Boy,” She says. “If I am going to be here until the Serendian arrives, I would rather not starve to death before I see him.” Before I go, she has me leave the wine with her. Leaving through the back door, I walk through the courtyard and the stables. One of the horses sees me and they bob their head as if they are dancing. Smiling, I reach out and pat its neck before walking on to a building that holds the kitchens. A cook sees me and she gives me a smile. “Lady Amora asked for food, Villie?” She asks. I nod. “Very well,” She pats my cheek. “You sit yourself down and I will prepare the meal.” Moving to one of the stools in a dark corner, a cat comes and rubs against my leg. I scratch at its back and it flops onto my shoe. This would be Masie. A pretty tabby cat who just recently had some babies. ~~~ The food takes about thirty minutes and I quickly make my way out. Passing the stables, I find a strange animal. It reminds me somewhat of a horse except...its chin is hairy and it has weird humps on its back. How could anyone possibly ride it? Walking as far from it as possibly, I quickly make my way to the Room of Thrones. Not only is Lady Amora there, but so is everyone else in the Circle. All eyes turn to me when I close the door behind me. Lady Amora rolls her eyes before motioning for me to bring her, her food. “Beautiful timing, boy,” She says sarcastically. Walking back to my spot near the wall, I stare at the man in the middle of the Circle. The man has dark brown skin and a beard. His hair is black with a few greyed out strands. His hair is braided into his hat. His hat and clothes are strange colors. They hold reds, yellows, and oranges. He has kind eyes so he must be a good man, right? This is probably the first Serendian I have ever met. It might actually be considered rare. Most of, if not all, Serendians are considered nomads now. Many, many years ago, the Serendians had lost their last royal family. They blamed a city called Avelin. That led to a great war between the armies of the desert and the armies of literally everyone else. At first, the Serendians were winning thanks to their expertise in magic. Soon though, other kingdoms looked to the help of other mages who were able to bought to their side. That led to the end of the Serendian cities and most of their people. The remaining Serendians are considered Nomads. They do not live anywhere. They simply exist. “Welcome to Halehigh,” Lord Torian says. “We are pleased to finally have a volunteer.” The Serendian chuckles. “Yes. I can imagine. Most of the others have mentioned your calling, but most do not wish to work so far from home.” Lord Torian nods. “Yes. I can imagine that being an issue. We thank you for using your time to get here, Sir Andul.” Shaking his head, Sir Andul steps forward to offer his hand to Lord Torian. “Please, just Andul is fine,” he smiles. ~~~ Five Days Later Andul is a strange man. I have been tasked with helping him whenever needed, but he never asks for anything. All he ever does is tell me to keep out of his room while he studies. Studies what? I have only seen glimpses of his room and it is packed with scrolls and all kinds of books. Most look so old, I am surprised they are not piles of dust for me to clean later. Every night, Andul will speak with the Circle over dinner. They talk about everything but the Gods. All they ever want to talk about is how different Halehigh is from the desert. That is, until tonight. The Circle and Andul were eating away at their stews and drinking their wines, when an elderly woman came in. Apparently they forgot they had set up an appointment to speak with the common folk. They were about to throw her out, but Andul stopped them. “Do not forsake your own people simply because I am here,” He says. “Go on, listen to the woman.” The Circle all look at each other, a bit confused with being told what to do by an outsider. Lord Torian eventually speaks for them. “Very well,” He says. “What is it you wish to tell us?” The old lady looks confused. Unsure of whether or not she should speak. Given the reputation the Wolves have, I am not surprised that she is a bit scared to. “Speak!” Lady Amora shouts. It causes the old lady to jump and straighter herself out. “I-I have news,” She says. “The children in the orphanage, I heard them talking about something that I felt needed to heard by you.” Lord Torian nods for her to continue. “They were speaking to one another; asking about each other's dreams,” She says. “Eventually, they all realize they dreamt of the same thing. A dark spirit was speaking to them. Telling them all the same message. They were not allowed to say the message out loud, but they know they were all told the same thing.” Lord Torian hums. “Did you ask them what it is they said? Surely one of the orphans would have spoken. There are about twenty of them there. I would not doubt there was at least one who shared.” The Elder shakes her head. “I am afraid not. They were too scared to. They feared the dark spirit would have hurt them.” “If I may,” Andul speaks up. “Did they describe what this ‘dark spirit’ looked like? Did it have horns?” The Wolves all look between each other, clearly annoyed that Andul has spoken when he was not supposed to. “No they did not, Sir,” The Elder says. “They would not share a single detail. They only called it a dark spirit.” Andul nods and reaches into a bag, pulling out a book. Lord Torian rolls his eyes and asks the Elder to leave. Once she is gone, Lord Torian turns to Andul. “Serendian,” He calls. Andul looks up from his book. Eyebrows raised in question. “Speak again without our permission, then we will have some problems, understand?” Andul’s eyes widen before nodding frantically. “Forgive me, my Lords. I am accustomed to the ways here. It will not happen again.” “You may return to your room,” Torian says. “The Circle has business to discuss. We will call for you when we are ready to proceed with what we were promised.” Andul nods before standing and walking out of the room. As soon as he leaves, Lady Amora sighs. “I guess Serendians really are the animals people say they were,” She says. “Speaking without permission. You would think after all these years they would be used to all of our ways.” The Circles nods and murmurs their agreement. Knowing this is my time to provide drinks, I quickly grab the wine pitcher and walk around to each member, filling their goblets. “You know,” Lord Torian speaks. “Maybe those children in the orphanage provided us with a sign. Possibly from the Gods.” Lady Rofida shakes her head. “I doubt it. They spoke of a Dark Spirit. No God would want themselves to be called that.” I grab the meal tray from Lady Amora’s table since she has finished. “There are the two Gods,” Lord Torian says. “Raiyo and The mysterious God of Darkness. It could be one of them. They are considered dark, are they not?” Everyone sips on their wine in thought. Walking with the tray over to the door to leave, I am met with one of the cooking assistants. “Oh good,” He whispers. “I was hoping I would have come on time.” He takes the tray and leaves. I go back to my place at the wall. “What if it not a God?” Lady Amora says. “For all we know, it could be a Demon playing tricks.” Another sip in thought. “Does this even matter?” Lord Osiwalder groans. “When are we going to perform the ritual? I am ready for whatever comes next. Our enemies are getting stronger everyday. We need to act now!” Lord Torian sets his Goblet down and glances at me. I quickly make my way to fill it. “Calm down, my friend,” He says. “We are to perform the Ritual tomorrow. That is what Andul told me. I was going to tell you earlier, but we had a little distraction with those orphans.” Everyone looks at Lord Torian in surprise. “Tomorrow?” Lord Osiwalder breathes. “Are you serious? That soon? I thought this was going to take a week at most.” Torian smiles and shakes his head. “Fear not my brethren,” He says. “By tomorrow night, we shall become Gods!” I frown for a small moment upon hearing that, but I quickly wipe it off my face. The Circle wishes to become Gods? Why? They are already one of the most powerful leaders in all of Thymestrys. What more could they possibly want? Also, a ritual? What ritual? What is Andul going to have them do to make them become Gods? This is a Serendian we are talking about. I have heard the stories of how they would use magic and do things with Demons. Is that what is going to happen tomorrow? Everyone decides is it that moment that everyone should go to bed. I grab all the empty goblets in a bin and carry them out to the kitchens to be washed. When I was to go back to the servant’s quarters, I walked by Andul’s room. It was not really considered a detour from my usual pathing, but I would not like when I say that I was curious about him. I hear the sound of glass breaking and then sounds of crying. Frowning, I press my ear to the door. “Gods dammit,” I hear Andul say; voice shaky and breathless. “What am I going to do?” Raising an eyebrow, I wait for another voice to answer him, but I only hear him sobbing once again. Why is he crying? Is it because he is nervous? Not entirely sure what to do, I decide that knocking might be okay. Instantly the sobbing cuts off. I hear him clearing his throat before speaking. “W-who is it?” He calls. Since I cannot answer, I knock again. I hear him sigh before the locks on the door starting rattling around on the other side. Soon enough, Andul swings open the door. “Oh,” He frowns. “You. What are you doing here? Will you not get in trouble?” I shake my head and glance past him. A broken glass is on the ground. Is that why he was crying? Surely not. That was recent. Andul’s eyes are far too red and puffy for something so recent. He follows me gaze to the glass shards. “Oh!” He turns back to me. “You do not have to worry. It was my fault. I will be sure to find a replacement. I promise. If you wish to take it with you, I will not stop you.” Nodding, I make my way inside the mysterious room. After five days, I can finally see what is in here. Unfortunately, I am let down. There is nothing out of the ordinary in here. Just scrolls and books piled up everywhere. All of this is for a ritual? I imagine it would not require this much information. “Sorry for the mess,” Andul says behind me. “I swear I know where everything is.” He chuckles and smiles at me. Not knowing how to respond to that, I turn to the glass and use a small towel to scoop it up. “You do not talk much, yes?” he says. “Is there a particular reason why?” Looking up at him, I give a small moment of thought before deciding that it does not really matter if he knows. Using my fingers, I create a scissoring motion over my mouth. At first, Andul does not get it. He gives me a look of confusion but after a few moments, he gets it. His eyes widen and his mouth gapes open. “Did they do this to you?” He gasps. I shake my head. He frowns. “So they wouldn’t do that to me? I thought I was going to lose my head today.” I shrug. Andul looks down at the towel I am using as a knapsack. “I had better let you be on your way,” He moves aside to let me out the door. “Apologies for that and also about bringing up your...problem.” Nodding, I walk past him and head back to the kitchens to drop the broken glass off there. What a strange man. Unfortunately I could not ask why he was crying. He never brought it up so I guess I will never know. A small part of me thinks it has something to do with the ritual tomorrow. ~~~ The Day After Well, today is the day for when I learn if Andul’s ritual will work. Will the Circle actually become Gods? That seems too good to be true. Not only that, but how would a simple Serendian be able to do that? Whatever the case, I believe the Circle is being foolish, but my thoughts do not matter. Everyone is back in the Room of Thrones. The Circle is in their chairs, I am standing at the wall, and Andul is preparing things in the middle of the room. He is using sand to form circles into the stone floor. First a giant circle, then four other circles put together like a square inside the giant one. “Alright, my Lords,” he says when he uses the last of his sand. “We must capture the Demon. If you can control a Demon, then you have earned the first step to becoming Gods.” Everyone in the Circle looks at each other with mischievous grins on their faces. Capturing and controlling a Demon? An actual Demon? Just the thought of seeing one sends a shiver down my spine. It appears to have done the same to Lady Amora only, I feel she may be shivering in excitement. “Do you all have your bowls of prized possessions ready?” Andul asks. The Circle of Wolves each pull out a bowl with different items inside them. Some have gold, one has paintings. Lord Torian has his own crown inside. Andul nods and takes their bowls. He places them on different sections of the outer circle. Each in their respective place like the chairs. One he has finished that, Andul pulls out one last jar of sand to make a circle in front of the larger more complex one. “That will be the prison for the Demon?” Lord Torion asks. Andul nods and smiles. “Excellent guess, my Lord.” Narrowing my eyes, I stare on, a bit uneasy. For people who frolic with Demons, Andul seems perfectly fine with trapping one. Andul walks over to me. “May I have a drink?” Nodding, I pour water into a glass and give it to him. He drinks it in large, quick gulps. He takes a deep breath, pushing the glass back into my hand, and then walks back to the center of his strange giant circle. “Very well,” He nods to himself. “Shall we begin, my Lords?” With a nod from Lord Torion, Andul starts the ritual. I cannot say that I have ever seen magic at work before. You hear about how dangerous and scary it can be. It only occurs to me now that magic will be put to use right now. Andul stands in the middle of the large circle, he holds his hands together as if he is in prayer. He begins to chant in a language I do not understand; most likely it is the Serendian language. The sand begins to glow like wildfire. It does not burn anything, nor make a smell, but I just know that if Andul wished to, he could make that fire hurt every one of us. “Hellel fa Drej us Enfierna,” Andul chants. He says that over and over again. The sands burn brighter and brighter. I press myself closer to wall, wanting to stay as far away from the magic as possible. Andul’s hands lift into the air as if he is embracing the wind. “Creature of Enfierna,” He says in a loud voice. “Join us at once!” At that, the fires in the sand die down. Everything goes quiet. Nothing happens as all. The small circle that was meant to keep the Demon capture has not glowed even once. Not even a little bit. The Circle is silent; waiting for whatever is supposed to happen. Andul stares up at the ceiling, his breathing is hard and his skin is sweating. Does using magic take that much of a toll on the body? Everyone stays completely still. Everyone is too scared to move or speak. All except Lord Torian of course. “Nothing is happening,” He says with a frown on his face. At that, Andul begins to scream. He grabs at his head and pulls at his hair. His screams echo around in the room. They make my blood run cold. I so badly want to run but I can’t. My feet stay planted in their place. The Circle all stand up in their chairs, they are all too scared to stay sitting. Lord Torian does not rise however. Fire erupts from Andul’s feet. It spreads up his legs and up the rest of his body. He screams loud in pain. His pitch goes higher, just like the fire spreading across his body. Andul falls to his knees, he tries to roll around to get the fire off, but no matter what happens, it just won’t leave his body. Just as his face bursts into flames, his body goes completely still. The sand that he used to trace is ruined from him rolling on the ground. The fire does not go out; nor does it grow. His body just burns. The smell of his flesh fills the room. I gag and almost have to turn away. Something stops me however. Something stops everyone from turning away or leaving. The burning body slowly begins to stand. If I am not mistaken, it looks as though Andul has gotten shorter. The fire slowly begins to die down. It slips into the new body that has formed. The fires turn into smoke, and then that smoke solidifies into leather. A new man stands in Andul’s place. They wear a...exotic outfit. They look as though they are trying to show as much skin as possible. Their hair is dark and it swirls around in the tips like smoke. A cape made of smoke trails behind the new arrival. For a moment, I think this is a regular man. Another Serendian perhaps; but their eyes tell me a different story. They glow orange, but they do not sit on a pool of whites. Instead it is black. “Is this the Demon?” I hear Lady Amora ask. “How are we supposed to capture it without Andul?” The Demon chuckles. His voices bounce around the room. Or my head? “Do you not just love when someone betrays their own kind?” He smiles. “When someone who struggles as everyone else decides to throw everyone under, simply because he wanted a few gold coins?” Everyone is silent as this Demon speaks. “A real shame that someone would decide to use one of my people for their own good. They have already struggled through life. Why would I allow humans to make it worse after?” The Demon glances at each of the Wolves. His gaze lingers over Lord Torian the longest. “Who are you?” Lord Torian asks. “You act all high and mighty. Tell us your name.” The Demon laughs. “My, aren’t you demanding?” He makes his way to Lord Torian’s spot on the table. “Tell me, Wolf, What is your name?” He sits on the table and reaches out to run the back of his claws along Lord Torian’s cheek. Never have I ever seen that man tremble in fear. Today is that day. “T-Torian,” he stammers. “Torian Bancroft.” “Bancroft, eh?” The Demon smiles and slowly back away to stand in the center again. “You know me as Raiyo, the God of Persuasion, Seduction,” He says that one in a suggestive manner, “and of course, Vengeance.” Everyone looks scared now. They had wanted to become Gods. I do not think they wanted to meet one just yet. “You know, I have been keeping an eye over this city,” Raiyo says and he walks in a slow circle. His footsteps somehow make this all the more terrifying. “The amount of prayers I get is more than I can even count. Yet, out of all of them, this city is the only one where almost everyone prayer is spiteful and for their own good.” People pray for him in this city? “Yes, your people pray to me,” Raiyo smirks and looks over at me for a small moment. “They call for my vengeance. To bring an end to their foes. That is not at all how I work so of course I would never help, but it is just astonishing that an entire city could be so full of...Wolves.” “You five have been fearsome leaders. You have won over many wars. You have held your kingdom together to points that no other Kings or Queens could even imagine. Yet, you have forgotten to teach your people to be humble.” I can practically hear the gulps from the Circle. “It is rather fitting that you call yourselves wolves,” Raiyo chuckles. “Wolves prey on the weak. You all prey on the smaller kingdoms and their people. You act all high and mighty, but really, you are just weak children to me.” Lord Torian is starting to look angry now. “You know, I had planned to teach your silly little Kingdom a lesson,” Raiyo says. “I even told the orphans to run away. To hide out in the wilderness where it will be safe. No. Not anymore.” “Stop!” Lord Torian says. Raiyo raises an eyebrow and turns to him. He has a smile on his face. “Oh?” Raiyo chuckles. “Am I scaring you, dear wolf? You all have been loving your power so much. It has clearly gotten to your head if you think you could talk to me like that.” He looks around at everyone in the room and nods to himself. “Yes. Yes that is perfect! Just the perfect form of punishment!" With a snap of his finger, everyone in the circle begins to scream in agony. Their bodies can be heard crunching and grinding. Their bones dislocating and growing in ways that should not be possible. The only one who is not changing is Lord Torian. He stares on in horror. I must have the same expression on my face. The clothes on the member of the circle begin to tear off of their too large bodies. They are naked but their bodies no longer look human. They are tall and wide. Their skin begins to burst with different colored fur. Red, brown, grey, and black. They...they look like wolves! Horrifying wolves! Their faces have turned into wolf heads with sharp teeth far too big for their mouths. “Now you may truly call yourselves wolves,” Raiyo laughs. “You four shall live the rest of your days as my pets in Enfierna. Just wait till we get home. You are in for centuries of discipline.” The wolves rear their heads up into the air and let out loud howls into the room. I have to cover my ears because it is so loud. “Why are you doing this?” Lord Torian whispers. Raiyo turns to him. “It is a lesson for you and your people. I am keeping you alive so that you will tell them yourself. Let them know of your humiliation. When they see that their leaders can fall just as easily as everyone else, then they will know not to be so proud of this disgusting place you call a city. If you do not, I will send the very same Circle of Wolves into the city to cause mayhem.” Lord Torian narrows his eyes. “You wouldn’t dare. You claim that they pray to you. That means they follow you with their heart. A God would not attack their own people in such a manner.” Raiyo lets out a sinister smile. “Oh really?” He stands and glances at me for a moment. He smiles before turning to face the castle doors. With a wave of his hand, they blast wide open. “Stop!” Lord Torian shouts, but it is too late. The Circle has already sprinted out of the Room of Thrones. Raiyo then follows. He walks right out the front doors with his head held high and a smirk on his face. All that can be heard that night is the screams of terror and death as the four Werewolves massacred the people of Halehigh. Men, Women, Children. The death count was in the hundreds. Lord Torian and everyone in Halehigh did in fact learn their lesson. There are always things out there that have more power than you. You must respect that for it may cost the lives of everyone around you.
  4. Tobias Luno’s eyes are wide open in fear. I do not think I have ever seen anyone so scared of Angels. Most people think they are good; that they are protectors of the living and those who will safely bring you into the afterlife for “trial”. No, not this time. Luno knows the truth. I have warned him enough about them. Not only has he heard these warnings, but he has listened. Most will hear from us, telling the humans of how dangerous the Angels truly are. Yet, they never listen. They continue on as if everything is fine. They will become Angels, and not even realize that they are to spend the rest of their eternity finding souls to add to their ranks. Angels lie to one another. They tell each other that they are doing the Gods’ work. In that regard, they are not wrong. They really are doing the Gods’ work. Unfortunately, nobody knows which God will be in control of the leash. When Angels are sent to attack, they have no choice in the matter. A pull in their bodies forces them to attack like rabid dogs over meat. I remember that quite well. You could be sitting down for dinner with your family when all of a sudden, you feel the cold touch in your head. You gain a thirst to touch a soul; to bring it back to your masters, the Archangels. It is when I had fallen and become a Demon that I learned that the Archangels have as much power as the rest of us. That would be next to none. Now the Angels are ruled by a handful of Gods. Those would be the God of War, the God of the Sun, the Goddess of the Snow, and of course, the Gatekeeper of the Heavens. I would say that the Gatekeeper has the most power over the Angels, though she never really uses them; especially now. At the moment, she would be busy with caring for all the souls that are no doubt crowded around the gates. The souls in this city might even be some of the ones standing there with her. Now wouldn’t that be interesting? “What are we going to do?” Luno whispers. Shushing him, I peek around the alley entrance. Angels in gold armor are walking around the hundreds of bodies that are piled together in what looks to be the townsquare. There must be around thirty or so Angels. I know I would not be able to fight them on my own. Where are the Demons that Raiyo sends after us? Should they not be here by now? As if on cue, five portals open up in the alley across from Luno and I. It is the usual same four Demons, but it appears that Raiyo has sent one of the Ancient Ones with them. Well that is awfully generous of him. I do not believe I have ever seen one of them away from Raiyo. Not even once in the hundreds of years that I have known him! “Tobias I’m scared!” Luno pleads next to me. I cover his mouth with my hand and glare at him. “You want us to get caught?” I grit out. Luno shakes his head. “Then shut the hell up! Deal?” Luno nods frantically though his breathing has started to pick up. Oh gods. He is going to be the death of all of us! Breathing in deeply through my nose, I look down at him and squeeze his shoulder. “Just stay behind me. Understand? You will be fine if you just stick with me.” Luno nods again and starts taking deep breaths to calm himself down. Something tells me that he will be quite useless in this fight. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but with his magic, I know he could make this all go faster. Looking over at the other group, I see them staring after me. They are waiting for the go ahead. Well, there is no use in waiting here. The Angels are not going anywhere. Peeking in their direction, I see that they are looking at all the bodies. They are trying to find their souls, but they cannot do that because they are not here. Based on what Luno told me, they are all in the Middleplains. A realm that leads to the Gates of Heaven or Hell. Unfortunately, oraybe not so fonrtunately, they are trapped. The Angels here will find these bodies useless. What they will do with them however, I do not know. I will not let them get the chance to try anything. Nodding to the group, they immediately run out of the alley and straight for the Angels. Their warcries can be heard. Turning to Luno, I grab him and pull him to stand behind me. “I will protect you,” I say. “I promise. You may choose to help us or not, but whatever you do, do not leave my side. Understand?” “Okay,” Luno says in a shaky, small voice. “I understand.” I nod and then pull my weapons out. As soon as I jump out of hiding, I aim my pistol for any Angels that are closest to me. Instantly they explode into golden ash as one of the demons sends a lightning attack that takes out six Angels at once. Luno is pretty much attached to my back. His hand keeps ahold of the back of my armor. Good to know he is actually listening. I would hate to lose him over something this early on for this quest. Aiming my pistol towards a group of approaching Angels, I pull the trigger. Orange glowing strings of magic begin to fly from my pistol at high speeds. Most of the Angels need to only be hit twice by them before they die. Raiyo gave me this pistol. I cannot lie and say that I do not love the improvements he gave it. Angels flying behind the ones I am shooting start coming our way. They hold bows and immediately begin to rain us with golden arrows. Quickly, I reach for my belt to pull out my shield stone. It holds a rune that can shield me from all projectiles. Before I can hold the stone forward, Luno’s hand opens in front of me as if it is pressed against glass. A glowing white shield comes to life from his palm. All the arrows that were coming our way simply bounce off of the shield. Wide eyed, I look back at Luno for a moment before aiming my pistol at the flying Angels. More strings of orange magic fly out and kill the Angels. Their dust rains down like snow. Turning to look at Luno, I nod to him. “Thanks for the shield.” Luno is not looking at me however. He is staring wide-eyed at the other Demons and the Ancient One. They are slaughtering the other Angels with ease. Since they are causing most of the damage to their numbers, the Angels are focusing on them at the moment. I was going to take this as a moment to try and calm down Luno, but before I can reach out to touch his shoulder, he jumps into the air and bolts straight for the demons. He creates more shields to protect them from any arrows or spears being thrown at them. Since I don’t want to be completely useless, I run over to join them. As soon as Luno sees me, a shield is created around me as well. Well, for someone who did not want to bring harm to any living being, he sure doesn't seem to mind now. To be fair, he is only creating shields I guess. Soon enough, all the Angels that were in the village disappear. They either die in puffs of dust or they fly to retreat to their masters. It was not a hard fight in all honesty, I did not even do much. The fact Luno thought it necessary to provide special shields was rather kind. Maybe I will not bother with telling him it was not needed. The Demons nod their thanks to Luno, no doubt they are thinking the same thing. Raiyo’s Ancient One does not even acknowledge Luno nor any of us. It simply summons a portal and steps through it. It most likely was missing its master. Before all the Demons can step through their little portals, Luno stops one. She is a demon with tall horns and with skin that has a cheetah fur resemblance. She wears a long dark robe. Her lips are so thin, they are unable to hide her razor sharp teeth. I believe I can’t place a name on this Demoness. “Excuse me,” Luno flashes his usual bright smile. I believe the Demoness smiles back? It is a bit hard to tell in all honesty. “Yes, your grace,” She bows her head. “How may I be of assistance?” Luno looks a bit surprised by the way she is speaking to him. I somewhat was? Maybe at first. It hit me a moment later that now that everyone knows he has been identified as a Star, he would be considered royalty to everyone, not just Demons. Angels as well. Possibly Humans but they have never met a Star. “I-I have a question for you,” He stutters, trying to compose himself again. “Did you attack us a few days ago? I was riding his tiger form when a few Demons covered in shadows chased us. One of them used lightning magic like yours. Is there a possibility that it was you?” The Cheetah Demoness’ eyes widen to the point that I fear they might actually pop out of her head. Good on Luno to notice her magic from the previous time. I completely forgot all about it and I was the one that got struck! “You must forgive me!” She drops to her knees and grabs onto Luno’s hand. “I swear we were never trying to attack you! We only felt this great need to protect you...from him!” She points a finger to me. I narrow my eyes at her. “What do you mean you ‘felt’? You didn’t even know what he was. I should bash your head in for using your magic on me!” She shakes her head and stares me down. “You feel it too don’t you? The Pull? The need to protect him at all costs? The desire to ensure he is safe? His presence alone makes you feel brighter inside, yes?” Looking up at Luno, I see he is confused and possibly a bit scared? He is looking at me as if he is scared so that is my guess. “I…,” I pause and look between the both of them. They are both just staring at me. One is scared and the other is trying to force her ideas into my head. Shaking my head, I turn to the Demoness. “I don’t know what you are talking about. I do not feel whatever fantasy is in that ugly head of yours. Go on back to Raiyo. You are wasting our time here.” She chuckles before standing. “You may lie to yourself all you want; I know you feel the same thing as I do.” She turns to Luno. “Again, forgive me for the misunderstanding. I had no idea you both knew each other.” Luno does not speak, he only nods and slowly makes his way to stand next to me. The Demoness bows to Luno before turning to step through a portal back to Enfierna. Now there is an awkward silence. Great. Thank you random Demon who decided to attack me and dump all this information out into the open. Thank you so much. Bitch. “I’m,” Luno’s voice pierces the silence. “I’m going to bring the humans back now.” Turning to him, I see he is smiling up at me before he walks towards the pile of bodies. Apparently the Demons felt it was fine to leave us before he brought everyone back. I guess the chance of another attack is fairly slim anyways. Sighing, I turn to find an empty building to stand under. The light that Luno shines hurts my eyes. I try to get away from it. Not even bothering to check on Luno, I kick open a door to what appears to be a tavern. Perfect. Hopping over the counter, I look for something to drink. If I am going to think about what that Demoness said, I am going to need one. After filling a glass with beer, I sigh and sit on one of the stools. So...a pull? Is that what I have been feeling? I thought it was something else. Something deeper than just ‘a Pull’. Sure, I guess it is a bit crazy in the head to immediately find myself willing to sacrifice myself for Luno. Honestly, I did not think too hard on that. It felt...natural? Does the Demoness feel the same way? Is that why she is here with us? Did she volunteer in helping us with our quest? Solely to protect Luno? I imagine the others might actually be feeling the same thing as well. Well, everyone but the Ancient One. I know for a fact that, that thing only cares about Raiyo and his orders. It must have hated being told to protect someone other than its master. The Demoness did not even say much but it felt like she just slapped me with crazy amounts of information. How would she even know about this...Pull? She has never even spoken with Luno until a few moments ago. Okay, I guess I cannot bash on her too much for that. When I first saw Luno, I wanted to rub my scent against him immediately. Looking down at the new arm that Luno gave back to me, I clench my fist and sigh. I still have not thanked him for that. I doubt he knows that he even fixed my arm. He brings things back to life and heals so much; this would probably be considered a small thing to him. No wait, of course it is. He is literally bringing hundreds of lives back from the dead! Bringing back a severed arm is probably considered child’s play to him. I should really tell him about it when he comes back. That irritating human and his spies can wait a few moments more. A sonic boom can be heard outside, I do not even move when I hear it. Sure enough, Luno’s light appears as bright as ever. Not even the windows could hold it back enough. Covering my eyes, I grunt and move to feel my way to a back door. I am pretty sure there was one. I need to get out of here at least. Being around Humans is not exactly something I like to do. They annoy the fuck out of me. Trying to take a peek through the harsh light, I find a wooden door that opens up into an alley. Luno’s light has pretty much melted all the snow in this village. The stone roads shine back the light, making my eyes burn from it. Covering them again, I depend on my ears and hand to get as far away from the humans as possible. There is the small fear that Luno will not find me, but I know that dumb fire chicken will find me for him soon enough. You know, I used to think a Phoenix would be some almighty creature that must be treated with respect. Luno treats it like some kind of pet, and she loves it. Wait, forget about the Phoenix, Luno had a full on dragon in his Sanctuary. A dragon! Nobody has seen one of those in forever and there is just this random water dragon in his backyard! Luno’s light disappears, leaving the world feeling a bit darker. Shaking my head, I kick at a stone in the middle of the street. He is unbelievable. I am almost certain he is not real. None of this could be real. For all I know, I may be in a coma from that fight I lost my arm to. Frowning, I see something in the middle of the road. Walking over, I bend down to inspect it. It is a wooden sword? A short one as well. No doubt it was for a child. I wonder if it were for a boy who wanted to become a knight, or maybe a girl who wanted to become a warrior princess. Warrior Princess? Where have I heard that before? It sounds awfully familiar yet...I cannot quite place what is so familiar about it. Is this another memory I am remembering? Another fragment? Raiyo did not use his magic this time so did I find this out on my own? A girl who wishes to become a warrior princess...Yes. That does sound more and more familiar the more I repeat it in my head. For all I know, it might unlock more to my dreams. Would that not be just lovely. I could really use more headaches on this quest. Maybe the Gods have not gifted me enough by now. Bitches. “Tobi!” A voice calls behind me. Turning to Luno, I shoot a glare at him. “I already told you my thoughts on that ridiculous name.” He laughs and skips his way to my side. Yes. Skips. “You did not get too far this time around,” he says. “You want to go back and say hi?” I shake my head. “I’ll leave that kind of business to you. Think of that as your new job. I do not do well with others anyways.” Luno pouts and crosses his arms. “Okay. If you say so.” Since we are about to see Vlad again, I might as well tell Luno. “Hey, I never really told you this, but thanks,” I say, giving him a nod but not maintaining eye contact. He gives me a confused smile. “You’re welcome...I think?” Chuckling, I hold my new arm out in front of my chest and point to it. Since my armor has been modified to only dealing with one arm, there is only chainmail that covers my bicep. The rest is bare of any kind of protection. I am a bit surprised he has not asked about it earlier, but then again, he thought kissing was as normal as a hello. “Back when we first met in Shurow Bay, you brought back all the life there, remember?” I ask. Luno nods. “Well, not only did you bring back all the nature and animals, you also brought back my arm. I lost it to some Angels a year back. Your healing magics fixed my arm.” “Oh!” Luno blinks at it before reaching out to touch it. His fingers lightly trace over the veins underneath my skin. “Well, I am glad you were there!” He beams and pats my arm. “I believe you are the bestest friend I have ever made!” Now that leaves something feeling weird inside. I do not think I have ever been told that before. Most call me a dick for the attitude I use with them. I guess this is a nice change. Footsteps can be heard behind us. My chest instantly tightens at the possibility of being confronted by humans. Well, I was not entirely wrong. Vlad and his spies approach us. “So it is true,” Vlad grins. “You must join us! Let us help you! We have all the manpower you could ever need. As you revive more people, that manpower will only grow.” Personally, there really is no reason not to accept the help. If they were to try something against us, they will have to face the wrath of Raiyo and most likely the Gatekeeper. Plus, these are humans. They tend to know their place when the Gods are mentioned. Luno is about to speak but I cut him off by stepping in front of him. “We will accept your help,” I say. “But if you try anything funny, just realize that the Gods are watching over us. Ones that you would not like to cross with.” Vlad narrows his eyes and looks me up and down. “And exactly which Gods are you working with then, Demon?” I smirk before answering. “Raiyo.” At that, he and his spies eyes all widen in fear. Good. The next thing that comes out of his mouth surprises me however. “We have had history with that Archdemon,” Vlad says carefully. “It will...cause some tension if it is mentioned to my leaders.” Raising an eyebrow, I turn to keep walking. “You will tell me what it is that happened as we make our way there.”
  5. Oh no! Ya got me! ...or did you? You'll find out soon
  6. Luno As much as I did not want to, I had to interfere with that whole encounter. Tobias was just itching to pull the trigger on his pistol. For all I know, Vlad and his spies could be dead right now. Tobias’ entire energy was on edge and ready to attack. Of course I had to do something! It is not like a put a whole bunch of calming magic into Tobias. It was only a little bit! I swear! Now we are being followed by Vlad and the two women. Those two look rather scary. Especially for people who have not said a word. Vlad has been doing all the talking for them. He called them spies so I can guess they are not supposed to talk. Still, it is scary. Vlad has asked if they could watch us bring back another village. He wants to be sure that it is truly us who are bringing everyone back. I see no reason to lie, but he wants to see my gifts for it to be true. Tobias walks behind me, making sure that I am always in front of them. He does not seem entirely happy with how things are playing out. I am not sure what I am more scared of. The three strangers, or the time when I am alone again with Tobias. Possibly the second one. “So where are you from?” Vlad asks behind me. Tobias only lets out a huff. “I know where you are from, Demon. I was asking the one with flowers in his hair.” “He does not need to answer any of your questions, Human,” Tobias almost snarls. Vlad chuckles. “I do believe he can speak for himself. Unless he is a slave to you,” He says in disgust. I feel Tobias’ rage ignite and I quickly turn and grab his arm, sending wave after wave of calming magics. Anything to keep him from ripping Vlad’s head off. It almost was not enough. Tobias tries to shove my hand off but the magic goes into effect. His grip on my wrist loosens and his glare turns into a frown. Vlad and the two spies have their daggers out with worry in their eyes. It appears humans have not changed much at all since I last saw them. That is quite a shame. Tobias did not even do anything wrong! He was only looking out for me. Raiyo told him to after all. They are pretty much poking a bear with a stick. “Leave him alone,” I frown at them. “You are being a bully for no reason.” Vlad raises an eyebrow at me and then puts his weapons away. The two spies follow his actions. “So you are a mage,” Vlad nods to himself. “Though, I do not know of any mages who can do something like calming a Demon.” I shake my head. “I am not a mage and you can leave it at that. Let us just go and bring back the other humans. I hope they are nicer company than you.” Vlad purses his lips before giving me a small nod. I grab Tobias’ arm and pull him with me. This time I will not be letting him go. I do not want any more trouble. I just want to bring everyone back. Why do we need to fight when we are doing something good together? Letting out a small sigh, I have Tobias help lead with the map in his hands. He knows how to read it better than me so what use would I have with bothering to even try. I am just the one who gets called on when others want the humans brought back. That is what Raiyo made it sound like. At least Tobias made my gift of life sound meaningful. “This is not a good idea,” Tobias whispers to me. “For all we know, you could have led us into a trap.” Glancing over my shoulder at the three humans, I turn back to Tobias. “Something tells me that they will not do anything,” I say in earnest. “Their people are dying! Of course they would not try and stop us from doing that. Why would they try and stop the end of their species?” Tobias snorts and shakes his head. “Species?” He chuckles. “You make them sound like wild animals.” A flash him a grin and shrug. “They sure seem to act like it. You as well, though you were human once, so I guess it shows.” At that he rolls his eyes. “Now you are starting to sound like all the other Gods,” he says. At first his words do not really hit me. It is when we see the village in the horizon that I realize just how much I do not like what he said. I do not want to be like Raiyo or Morgoren. I do not wish to be like any of the Gods; even if they claim to be good. Not even Mother. When we first started this quest, a part of me actually thought that maybe Raiyo is one of the good ones. Maybe the Gods were not all bad. Not at all spiteful or careless with their power. I truly thought that I could trust him, but then something Tobias told me came back to my mind. Most of the Gods only do things because they will gain something in return. What could Raiyo be doing? Why has he placed this quest on us? Obviously I will not stop doing it only because the quest giver is not entirely trustworthy. I am just feeling a bit cautious. Today more than most. Due to recent events, I will blame the three strangers at the moment. At least Tobias is being nicer. He is not glaring at me. Instead he is glaring at Vlad and the two spies. If anything, I would even say he is being gentle with me. He is gently nudging me forward so that I am further away from the strangers, but I know that he could definitely do more than that. It is that little thing that makes me think that maybe I really can make him nicer! As I thought before, he just needed a friend! “Are the Demons going to come out this time?” I whisper to Tobias. Surely with these humans present they would instead choose to hide. All I get from him is a shrug. Well that is not entirely comforting. What if they try to attack each other? I do not think I could handle being around that much violence. I just know Vlad and the spies would get absolutely ruined. ~~~ The village we arrive to is larger than the last one. Most likely should be called a city. It sits in a pretty valley covered in a blanket of snow. It reminds of an ocean of snow; if that was at all possible. When we reach the city gates, Vlad and the spies stop following us. I frown at them. “Do you not wish to see your people come back?” I ask. “It will only take a moment.” Vlad chuckles and shakes his head. “It is not by choice, my friend. We are unable to enter.” To prove his point, he sticks his hand out to pass the gate. A thump can be heard. His palm sits against the air as if he is pressing against glass. “I guess this shows me that you are a Demon as well,” He gives me a small smile. “I am a bit surprised. I had never known a Demon to look so normal.” Tobias huffs and pulls on my arm. “Come on,” He says. “Let’s get this over with so that they can leave us alone.” I glance over my shoulder at Vlad as Tobias pulls me away. I am not entirely sure how to take that. Vlad seemed...fine with the thought of me being a Demon. Obviously I am not a Demon, but the fact he was fine with it should show that more Humans can be open to real ones like Tobias, right? Although, Vlad was very rude to him earlier. “You should not tell them what you are,” Tobias says as we walk through the city streets. “If they were to figure it out, they might try to hurt you.” Tilting my head, I look up at him in question. “What else am I supposed to say?” I ask. “That I am an Angel?” The look of disgust that comes up onto his face makes me laugh. That somehow earns me a small smirk from him. “Please do not joke like that again,” He says. “Though, we could go with the lie of being a Demon. Your human friend seemed to believe that was true. We might as well just keep playing along with that.” I nod and smile. Compared to what he said earlier about acting like a God, I prefer being called a Demon. I like Tobias. If people were to mistake me as his kind, I would not even think twice about being mad about it. “You are not as annoying with the humans as you are with me,” Tobias says with an eyebrow raised. “Why is that? You seem more...calm. I am not sure how I feel about it.” Pursing my lips, I think back to when I was in the village of Varen. All those memories of how mean the humans were come back to life. How even their children would be mean and throw stones. Of course, that brings memories of Viktor and Monie. I have never really talked to anyone about my time there. Not even with Mother. She knows I was there and every now and then she would ask what happened, but I always dodged around the subject. Some things you just do not want to share with someone you see as your Mother. Or Father I guess. “I…” I start, biting my lip. Not entirely sure how to tell Tobias this memory. “The first time I ever left the Sanctuary, I came across a man.” Tobias and I stop walking. We stand over a bridge. Underneath, the river that flows under has frozen solid. Tobias leans against the bridge fencing as he listens. “I had never met anyone else before. All I had were the animals. When I met the man, I was excited,” I smile at finding Viktor in the woods. “He was awfully sweet. So kind and caring, I automatically assumed that all humans were like that.” Tobias nods and runs his fingers along the snow that sits on the fencing. “He had offered to take me to his village. To bring his little sister blueberries. She was the cutest thing I had ever seen. A small human who was just full of so much joy,” I say. “Just another thing that added to my reasons to believe that all humans were kind and joyful.” “Things...happened,” I say, “Things I did not understand. I wish I had known back then. Maybe it would have made me leave sooner.” Tobias has a frown on his face now. His brown eyes are staring me down. “Remember when I asked you about kisses?” I ask, my cheeks feeling like they are turning pink. He nods. “Yeah,” I say. “I never understood the meaning behind those. I just assumed they were a normal thing, you know? I saw the other humans kissing each other as well. It felt good, but just thought it was some kind of custom that they all did!” Tobias chuckles and shakes his head. “You really are stupid.” I grin and sit on the fencing next to him. “Maybe you are right about that,” I say, “I still wish I left that village sooner. “Why?” he asks. “What happened?” Just the memories of everything crumbling one after the other is making my stomach feel queasy. “Everything just started to become worse,” I say, my smile going away. “Mother had told me that the Humans do not like magic. Did you know that?” Tobias nods. “Sadly that is true in most places, but recently, they have all become a bit more open to it.” Well that is good to know. If only that had happened sooner. “The man and little girl I met loved my magic,” I say. “They constantly wanted to see all the things I could do. I am still learning myself, but they had as much fun with it as I did.” “Well, one day, somehow someone must has seen me. I had tried my hardest to keep it a secret. I even made Monie promise to keep herself from telling her friends. Perhaps I was just sloppy.” “Word of my magic spread fast. With that came the insults,” I say with a sigh. “The rest of the humans in the village were not at all like the two I met. They were mean and hateful. They called me a Demon as if it were a bad thing!” Tobias gives a small smirk at that. Now comes the part where it all just went terribly wrong. “One night, just before dinner, we had heard news that the little sister had been swept away by a angry river. As soon as that was learned, all fingers were pointed my way. It got too much to the point that I almost agreed with them.” Tobias frowns and rests his hand on my shoulder. “I stayed in the house with the man. Viktor,” I say his name. No use it hiding it really? It is not like Tobias could do anything to him. “He...he said he was going to go and chop some firewood. I just wanted to sleep. I was too sad to do anything.” “As soon as he left, all the villagers came to the house. They were screaming at me, calling me names, blaming me for the death of Monie,” My voice shakes as I tell Tobias the next part. “Somehow, possibly in my sleep? I lost control. My magic must have come to life from my sadness.” I wipe my face with my arm. “A fire had started. The house was burning down outside of our room. I-I didn’t know what to do! There was so much going on. I only curled up in the corner of the room and tried to ignore all the noises going on.” “Somehow, Viktor had made it back. He had to use an axe to break into the house. The villagers had boarded up the door and windows to keep me inside.” Tobias’ hand on my shoulder tightens. “Viktor found me in the room and picked me up like I weighed nothing. He tried to run out of the burning house, but it had burned too much. The roof creaked as it was about to collapse in on itself. Viktor did not even think twice before throwing me out the front door. The last thing I saw was the roof collapsing right on top of him.” I swallow on the bubble that has formed in my throat. I blink a few times to keep myself from crying. “Just when you think it ends there, the villagers began to blame me for the death of Viktor. They blamed me for burning down the home. They called me an evil Demon. They hated me. All their hate had pushed me to my limits.” Biting my lip, I glance up at Tobias. His face is filled with concern. Seeing that makes me feel a lot better honestly. “I used my power,” I say. “I used my power in a way that I swore never to use it again. It almost killed them all. Mother had to be there to stop me. She reminded me that, that is not who I am. I am not someone who wishes to bring pain or death; even if the humans wish to spit their hate onto me.” Tobias nods and glances back at where the gate’s direction last was. “I guess I can see why you are calmer with them,” He says. “You are scared of them?” Nodding my head, I sigh and stare down at the ground. “You would probably think me as an even bigger fool because of that. I am a star who is afraid of humans.” “No,” Tobias says, lifting my chin up to look into his face. “You are not foolish for that. If anything, you are smarter than most because of it. Most of the Gods, Demons, and Angels are foolish for thinking humans are beneath them. You are humble enough to realize that anyone and anything can be dangerous.” I shrug. “That is not entirely a good thing. I should not have to be scared at all!” Tobias laughs. “Yeah you are not wrong sadly. In an ideal world, you would not have to be scared of anything. Though I guess with the amount of power you have, I doubt you need to be scared anyways.” Raising an eyebrow at him, I shake my head. “I mean everyone else would be too scared of you,” He says. “Just wait till they see you up there shining in the sky. They will be scared soon enough.” Now I am frowning. I would not want people to be scared of that. Tobias nudges me with his arm. “Hey don’t be so sad about that. In the world we live in right now, being someone with power is something everyone would want.” “But I don’t want power,” I say. “I just want to fix things and then go back to my sanctuary.” Now Tobias is frowning. “After everything you have seen and learned, you want to go back to the sanctuary?” He asks. “Oh course I would,” I grin. “All those creatures are my family. I cannot just abandon them. They feel safer there and I am the one who keeps that place alive.” Tobias shakes his head. “I guess after all this is over, it would be goodbye, huh?” I guess that would be true? I would not really want to come back out. The humans are still mean and the Gods are super greedy. Not to mention it is a bit harder to hide from Morgoren when I am out here. Wait a minute! Tobias actually sounded sad about me going back after all this! Does that mean he will miss me? Does he already consider me his friend? That makes me feel all giddy inside. “You could always come over,” I beam. “Mother has already seen you before. I am sure you would be allowed in again!” Tobias smirks and shakes his head. “I do not think you remember, but she kind of blasted me away from you the last time she saw us.” Oh gods that’s right. She found Tobias kissing me for the first time. Just the thought of that is making my face burn. He does it quickly, but I do notice Tobias’ eyes trail up to my flowers. That makes me pull my hood on tight. “What about you?” I ask. Tobias stares at me for a moment before blinking. “What?” He asks. “Was distracted for a moment.” Pulling his arm, I try and bring us deeper into the city to find the bodies. “I told you my secret,” I say. “Want to tell me one of yours? I bet you have millions!” Tobias is silent for a moment, no doubt thinking things over. Instantly I realize he might feel pressured. A good friend would never do that! “You do not have to share,” I say. “It is fine if you don’t.” “No I want to,” He says. “I just...don’t remember. I don’t remember anything from my past life. Sorry to disappoint.” Missing memories? A lot of the spirit creatures had that problem. I noticed it when they be happy with their friends one day, and then they would all of a sudden turn into the biggest loners. They forget where they are and think they are trying to survive in the wilds once again. Too scared to interact with the other animals. Mother taught me how to bring back memories. I have to reach into their soul and find their greatest memory. Usually for the animals, it is when they are full on food. I always found that rather cute. I am about to tell Tobias this information when he stops me from talking. He covers my mouth with his hand and pulls me into a weird space between buildings. Looking at him in fear, he brings a finger to his lips to tell me to keep quiet. “Angels,” He says. Oh gods. Are we really going to have to fight them off? I do not know if I am ready for that.
  7. Luno Thankfully, I do not have to search very far for Tobias. He is standing just across the frozen lake. Since he is alone, I can only assume the other Demons have retreated back into their portals. To my surprise, Enfi is perched on his shoulder. She is rubbing her face along the places his horns and hair meet together. He looks particularly annoyed by her affection at the moment. It makes me laugh to myself when I see that. Tobias said that the horns were made from splitting the Angel halos in half. Did that ever hurt him? I hope not. The whole process of going from an Angel to a Demon sounds like it could hurt. “Let me guess, they were useful for once?” He asks, shaking his shoulder to get Enfi to fly off. She does not move away at all. I give a small shrug. “Kind of? They added more questions to be honest. Their final memories have been wiped away. All they remember was living their normal lives and then boom...it all turns black.” He frowns and stares at the village across the lake. “So they die and stay stuck in the Middleplains,” He says slowly, most likely to himself. “That only makes things more frustrating to figure out.” He sighs and pulls out his favorite map once again. “We are headed for the next place already?” I ask. Tobias does not answer, he just nods to himself and turns to move towards whatever black dot could be next in line. Groaning out loud, I grab my bag off my shoulder and pull the winter clothes out. Is it weird I actually started missing them? The cold air is starting to get to me for once. I am not entirely sure how I feel about that. There is a small hut that sits in the middle of the open. With a quick knock to see if anyone is inside, I open the door. There is nothing in here? Well that is not entirely true. There is a small chest inside. Letting my curiosity get the better of me, I decide to check what could be inside. Inside the little chest sits three items. A doll of a girl with armor, an old owl skull, and a drawing of the doll. The drawing is a bit more grown up in my opinion. Is shows an older lady with flowing dark red hair coming from her helmet. Her armor is silver and menacing looking. She stands on a rock with her sword piercing it. A snow owl is perched on her shoulder. Flipping the paper over, I see a name has been written in the corner. It is a bit faded out but I can read it just fine. Violette Bancroft Is that the name of the artist or is that the name of the armored lady? Either way, I have no idea who this is. She seems interesting. I am not sure if she is alive or not however. For all I know, she could sitting in a pile of bodies like many others. Well not sitting...you know what, this is a bit dark and depressing to think about. Putting all the contents back into the chest, I close it and start putting my winter clothes back on. This time it does not feel so stuffy. Something tells me this little hut was made for a child in the village. A little place to hide their things. They must be a fan of whoever Violette Bancroft is. My only question about her is if she is someone from the past, or was that poster something from the present? Perhaps Tobias could answer this for me! I just hope he did not get too far from me. He tends to keep walking since he knows that Enfi will find him for me. There have only be a few times that I have gotten lost. They were mainly my fault. I saw some furry faces that needed my help. Tobias just moves on without me since he gets tired of that pretty quickly. I can’t help it! Everyone deserves help. Not just the humans. They are not the only living beings in this world. Yes, that would include the Demons. Pushing open the door, I almost run into Tobias. He has an annoyed look on his face. One that is starting to seem like the regular look. “What are you doing in here?” He almost yells. “If you are going to go somewhere else without telling me, then what is the point of us working together? For all I know, an Angel could have swooped down and taken your bitch ass to Morgoren!” My eyes widen at the sudden tone of his voice. If I was not mistaken, I would think he was worried. “I was just changing into my winter clothes!” I say. “I wanted to get back into them because the air here feels like it has gotten colder.” Tobias rolls his eyes and grunts before turning to leave; not before grabbing my arm to pull me with him. Since I am back with him, I might as well ask him about the stuff i found in the chest. “Do you know anyone named Violette Bancroft?” I ask. “There was a chest full of things that were about her. I think one of the village children must look up to her.” He hums in response, not at all sounding like he is paying attention. “She seemed important if someone was willing to make a doll and poster of her, right?” I ask. “That seems about right, right? Have you ever heard of anyone named Violette? I have never heard of anyone like, but you are a Demon who has been out here in the world a lot longer than me, so surely you would know who she is.” As soon as I finish talking, he glances at me with an eyebrow raised and a small smirk. “You done talking?” He chuckles. “If you would have taken a small pause, you would have given me time to answer.” Oh right...that probably would have been the smart thing to do. “Hey, I would like it you did not let those flowers of yours droop because of me,” He says. I guess they were wilting because of my mood? “To answer your question, I have indeed heard of Violette Bancroft. She was a human. A powerful human.” “A powerful human?” I frown. “Powerful how?” He shrugs. “She had a lot of friends. Friends with armies. She managed to bring everyone together to fight against an evil group of humans that were in Morgoren’s favor. She slew countless foes and managed to survive many, many battles.” Tobias smiles to himself. “I would say she was one of the good Humans in this world. She was more open-minded to working with Demons. More than most living in the mountains.” So this woman lives way up here where we are. I do not know any people from here, so it is rather interesting to learn about them now. I guess there are more humans here that are more open to magic then? “Was she a mage?” I ask. Tobias shakes his head. “No. A full warrior with her sword and shield. Apparently she was to be some King’s wife, to only be a source for children and a warm bed. She did not want that at all. She had trained in secret with the King’s guard, one of whom, she had grown to love.” “Is she still alive?” I ask. “I have not heard of great wars like that. Especially with all the humans in the situation we are in at the moment.” “Nah, she is not alive,” He says. “She died over a thousand years ago. That was back when they did not have to worry about whole cities dying in piles. She lived a long life with her husband and children.” I smile. “Well that is sweet. I am glad she found love.” Tobias chuckles and shrugs. “If you are into that sort of thing, I guess.” “What do people in love do?” I ask, a bit curious about it. I know next to nothing. All I have read are stories about how a wife and husband are pretty much in love, but I never understood how. Everyone just says it as if it is a fact. That does not tell me what love is. Tobias looks at me for a moment, most likely thinking things over in his head. “Kiss, fuck, and have children if you can I guess,” He says, his eyes hardening and turning back to keep walking forward. Frowning in confusion, I reach out and grab his arm. “Kiss?” I ask. “I thought...I thought that was what people did for greetings or just for close friends and family.” He chuckles and shakes his head. “There are different types of kisses I guess.” Tilting my head, I walk beside him in silence. Different types of kisses? What could that possibly mean? Viktor gave me kisses on the lips. Does it mean different things with where you place the kiss? Tobias has kissed me on the lips a few times now, but I do not think both of them meant it in the same way. Monie gave me kisses too! They were only on the cheek though. Did that kiss mean something different? I just assumed that kisses were some way of communicating. Sure, I tended to like Viktor’s kisses more than Monie’s, but I did not know they meant something like love! Now I am...conflicted. Have I been doing this wrong? “Tobias?” I say. Tobias looks over at me. “What do our kisses mean?” If I was not mistaken, I swear I could see his skin turning a shade of pink. “N-nothing,” He almost chokes on his words. “Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all! Those were just mistakes. There was no feeling behind them. Just forget about them!” Frowning, I nod along to his words. I guess it would be best to listen? After all, he is telling me to forget about the kisses. I was probably just overthinking it anyways. For all I know, they were spiteful kisses. Tobias has made it clear that I annoy him after all. He said there was no feelings behind them, but I am sure there must have been something there. Honestly, I can’t say that I have ever heard of angry kisses, but maybe Tobias did those? They did not feel angry though. They were actually quite gentle. This is confusing me now. I should distract myself with something else honestly. Maybe I should look on the map for our next place to sleep for the night. ~~~ ~~~ Tobias I think that may have been the worst question he could have asked me. How the hell am I supposed to know what kisses mean? Why can’t he just be like everyone else and understand how the world works? Gods it is so infuriating how stupid he can be. Okay, okay. He never really grew up around normal people. He was busy jumping around with giant wolves with moss on their backs. I cannot entirely blame him. I will just blame the Gatekeeper. Still, he apparently learned nothing from whatever books he has been reading. I find it a miracle that he can read at all to be honest. Now I know why there was no feeling in those previous kisses. He thought they were a normal thing as if they were a handshake between strangers. Guess I cannot be too mad about it now. It would be foolish of me. I am a bit torn about them still though. Who knows, maybe it was just a few moments of weakness for me. Sure I find him irritably attractive and nice, but he is also a huge pain in my ass. Looks like I will let this be my true reminder that I should not get attached. Absolutely no reason to. Especially with some crazy, nature person. Glancing at him, I see he is a bit behind me now and has snow twirling above him. Snow shaped into butterflies fly around for Enfi to chase down. Luno laughs when one particular butterfly ends up exploding above him, splattering snow into his hair. Yes. Crazy indeed. The next village or city we are visiting is only a two hours away. We will have Luno bring them back and then we should find a place to stay. There is a clock on the map that slowly moves, telling me how much time is left before the moon comes out. We have about six or seven hours. We should be fine. There are a bunch of abandoned buildings. Well, I guess they are not entirely abandoned. The humans are simply unable to walk back to said ‘abandoned buildings’. It is never best to think about such things, however. I would say that we are borrowing their homes for a time. It is not like we are doing it for nothing after all. In the end, we are paying the humans back with their lives. “Tobias?” Luno’s voice says behind me. I inwardly cringe at what other frustrating question will come out of his mouth. I sigh, waiting for another unnecessary this time. “What do you want this time?” Luno bounces in front of me, walking backwards as he speaks. “I am only curious about you,” he beams. “Since we are friends, why not learn from each other? I would like to know what made you...well you!” I roll my eyes and glance at the map, doing a once over of all the past places we have gone to. No black dots have reformed. “Please?” He practically sings. “Come on! What have you got to lose?” Huffing in annoyance, I finally look up at the smiling idiot. “I have nothing to share with you,” I say. “Nothing that would be of your interest, that is.” He shrugs and keeps walking in pace in front of me. “With you, I will take whatever you can give me!” Luno grins. I let out a small chuckle at his wording, but I know he has no idea how his words could be taken. That may be one of the few good things about him. He is too naive. Perhaps too much for his own good. This brings me back to my own problems though. I barely remember my past. All I have been told was that I may have died in my home during a war. Nobody tells me anything else. The only one who has hinted anything was Raiyo. One day, Raiyo said he could feel my confusion. I had questions that not many of the others had. For some reason, I had gained enough favor with him to grant me a fragment of a memory. Not just any memory, however. A memory that affected the entirety of my human life. When he said it was a fragment, he really was not even close to joking. All I get every three days are those dreams of being in some room with other children and straw. It confuses the hell out of me. “I am afraid, I can not share because I am not able to,” I say. “I lost all of my-” I trail off when I look over Luno’s shoulder. Grabbing him, I push Luno behind me and pull out my pistol and sword. “What are you doing?” Luno exclaims. Hushing him, I glare at the thick trees to the right of our path. I know I saw someone sneaking around there somewhere. Thanks to Raiyo, I know when my mind is being played with, and I know it isn’t now. “I know you are out there, Human,” I shout. “Come out now unless you wish your soul to burn in Enfierna!” “Tobias!” Luno smacks my back. “Do not scare them like that! They could just be looking for help!” Grunting at his words, I keep my eyes on the woods in front of us. At first, nothing makes a move to come out, but a few moments later, I hear footsteps in the snow. They are coming our way. I tighten my grip on my sword and pistol, ready for whatever danger could be headed our way. A hooded man slowly comes out from behind a tree. His hands are held up in the air in surrender. He wears fur under leather armor. A pistol and axe are strapped to his sides. “I did not mean to scare you,” The man says. “We were simply curious if the rumors were true.” Narrowing my eyes, I keep my pistol trained on him. “We?” I ask. “How many more of you cowards are hiding in that forest?” More footsteps can be heard. There are not many people with this man. They will not be a problem if they try and test me. “There are three of us, Demon,” The man says. “We do not wish to fight you.” Two woman in the same hooded armor step up behind him. They both have bows and daggers strapped to them. “Forgive me if I made the wrong decision,” The man says. “You did,” I glare. He nods along and removes his hood, revealing his face. “My name is Vlad,” he says. “These are my spies in training.” This Vlad has dark red hair and a freckled face. He looks like a human in his thirties. A few scars are scattered along his face like mine. The difference between him and me would be that he still looks like a friendly face. That only keeps me from trusting at all. He is a fighter, but who does he fight for? “Why are you spying on us, Human?” I say, not at all moving my pistol. Luno is standing behind me still, he has his face pressed to my back, no doubt scared of the intruders. The human laughs. Laughs. “News of people coming back from the dead tends to reach high places rather quickly,” he smiles. “Your little friend behind you has gotten the attention of my clan.” My jaw clenches at his last sentence and I back up slowly so that Luno can get further away from this spy. “Oh no!” Vlad laughs. “I mean no threat to you both. What I meant to say was that, we could use your help. We are more than willing to try and help you on your journey.” Raising an eyebrow, I say, “What do you know of our journey?” Vlad shrugs. “Well to me, it looks like you bringing all the humans back. Unless your actions are for something else?” Luno peeks up over my shoulder. “We are trying to bring you all back to life,” he says in a small voice. Vlad smiles and gives a nod. “My thanks to the both of you then. It would be an honor to help your in your cause.” Frowning, I slowly put my weapons away. This is strange. They see my horns. He has already made it clear that they know I am a Demon. Yet...they gave me their thanks? I’m conflicted. Luno’s hand massages into my shoulder. For some reason it is calming the tension that has been in my chest this whole time. “We would like that,” Luno says with a smile. “Right, Tobias?” A bit confused, I nod along. Weirdly fine with this agreement.
  8. Luno “We should pull them out of the hole right?” I ask, a bit unsure, and still feeling gross and nasty. Tobias nods while looking down at them. I feel a bit bad about feeling grossed out, but you can’t exactly blame me right? I just fell on top of cold, dead bodies. Shivering again at the thought, I wrap my arms around myself to calm my nerves. What kind of evil thing dumps all these people into a hole? Why were they even in a hole? It is strange. I am pretty sure a small spell was placed to keep the snow from caving in, so that must mean that whatever is doing all this damage is someone able to use magic. I doubt it would be a mere human. So many people have fallen on a large scale. How could a simple mage have that type of power? Since I am ruling that out, could it be an Angel? Of course there is the possibility that a God is behind this. Perhaps even more than one. Peering over the edge, I cup my hands in front of me, spreading them out slowly. The hole opens up more, making space for all the people underneath the earth. Once it is wide enough for everyone to safely be lifted out, I rise my fists to the sky, lifting the ground the village people are resting on. The earth trembles as it lifts everyone up to our level. Once they are with us, Tobias leans down to inspect the bodies. I frown at that. I know he must do that to figure out what is happening, but this feels wrong. I can feel their spirits. They are weak and they want to be brought back to their bodies. Oh gods they are so scared! They have no idea what has happened to them. The sound of snow being stepped on grabs my attention. Looking for the source, I see demons coming out of portals. There are four of them and they do not speak with it. They only give a nod to me before leap high on top of the village houses. I guess they are ready to protect us again. How do they always know when we arrive at a new location? It is slightly concerning. Eh, then again, Raiyo has his wispy messengers. No doubt one has been sneaking around, keeping an eye on us. That is oddly comforting in a way. Knowing the God is keeping watch over us. Even if his name has a rather intimidating feel to it now. “Luno,” Tobias says. “Are you ready to bring them back?” Looking up at him, I bite my lip before nodding. Checking once more at the other demons, I realize that it might be a bit concerning that I surrounded by them at the moment. Most would be scared I’m sure. I guess I can say that one good thing about this little adventure, I learned that the Demons are not entirely bad. Unfortunately, I also learned that the Angels are not entirely good either. “I need to change,” I whisper to Tobias. He lets out a small sigh before nodding. Giving a little smile, I retreat into one of the homes. I do not want to change my clothes in front of any of these Demons. Each layer of clothing that I pull off feels like a breath of fresh air. I missed having less clothes. Sure, it has only been about half a day with the new clothes, but I hate them. They make me feel super claustrophobic. Shivering at the cold air touching my skin, I quickly summon my traditional attire. It is what I have always worn. Tobias says I am wearing a skirt, but I am not! A skirt covers up both sides of the legs as well. The most important pieces of my outfit is the jewelry. They were gifts from Mother. She had given them to me to properly control my deep rooted magic more. Going without them tends to lead to trouble. For instance, the day I burned down the home of Viktor. It was my fault. I just know it was. What else could have possibly done that but me? I like to think that my sadness somehow sparked the magic needed to unconsciously set the home ablaze. Frowning to myself, I run my fingers over my left bracelet. There is a red ruby that is being held there by the silver metal. The fire ruby gets its own separate piece. That was my choice to make. Never again will I create such destruction with fire again. I have always missed Viktor and Monie. Lately I have been missing them a little bit more than usual. Surely that is never a good sign. Especially when I am the reason they died. A knock on the front door grabs my attention. “Luno, are you almost done?” Tobias asks. “We need to get moving soon.” “O-ok!” I say. Swallowing on whatever air was stuck in my throat. Is it never best to focus on the past. That is what Mother always said to me. It was the only way she knew how to comfort me whenever the subject of Viktor came up. Taking a few deep breaths to calm myself, I check out my surroundings. This little home is rather nice. It is like a small cabin. A fireplace has been set up but the wood is covered in snow. There is a large green couch with a small table in front of it. On the table is a small bird that has been carve of out some wood. The little shavings scatter along the table and have even fallen off of one side. The knife that was used to carve has fallen over onto the floor with the shavings. Strange. Did the carver drop the knife when the attack happened? I frown when I look at a table with half eaten food on the table. Some of the food has fallen out of the plates. One of the chairs lies on its side. The people who were living here were pulled out of their home. Surely it was not just one person who could have done this. It must have been a group of people. An idea pops into my mind that makes me rush out of the house to find Tobias. As soon as I step on the snow, it sends a shiver up my spine. Perhaps I have gotten too used to the warmth those clothes were offering. A small part of me is actually a bit excited to get those shoes on again…shame on me. When Tobias sees me he rolls his eyes and crosses his arms. “Ridiculous choices again,” He sighs. “More power to you I guess.” I ignore his comments and tell him my idea. “I just had a thought!” I grin. “What if we were to ask the humans what happened to them? They were the last ones that saw whatever killed them, surely they would answer some annoying questions.” The more I speak, the deeper Tobias’ frown becomes. “We cannot do that,” He says, a bit agitated. “As soon as they see us, they will be scared and think we did something wrong.” I shake my head and frown. “No they won’t. We can tell them that we saved them! Then they listen to us. You just have to have a little bit of faith!” Tobias shakes his head and steps away from me. “Maybe they would to sweet, little you, but they sure as hell won’t to any Demons,” He glares at the bodies. “Go ahead and bring them back.” He turns his back to me and goes to stand under a house. I frown at his retreat and glance down at the bodies. Now I am not sure how I feel about humans. I have only met them once before, but I have met their destruction many times over the last few years. Varen was just an absolute nightmare, but being on the sidelines and seeing what the humans do to the world is not entirely nice to stomach either. They constantly have wars with each other. Constantly destroy the homes of all these innocent creatures that just want to live their lives. Why must they cause so much hatred? They always leave their mark no matter where they are. Maybe that is why they are being killed. Someone sees how much of a parasite the humans can be and now they want are taking action against them. No...calling them parasites seems awfully dramatic. I did meet some nice humans. It was only two out of a whole village, but they are proof that there are some good eggs out there. Lately I have been thinking of Viktor a lot. That is not really a good thing when I need happy thoughts to bring all these people back to life. Taking a deep breath, I try and clear my mind of any depressing thoughts about Viktor, or any mean thoughts about humans in general. There is also the most recent stuff that has been bugging me, but not is really, really not the time. Using magic to control the winds, I fly high into the air. I believe this is my favorite place to be. It is so refreshing and clear up here. It was cloudy earlier, but the skies have opened up to show off its pretty blues. I swear the air feels and tastes so much better as well. That could just be my imagination however. A screech comes up behind me and I see Enfi flying around me, her wings burning from excitement. She does a few tricks like rolling around and doing little flips. Laughing at her, I shake my hand at her. “Go hide your eyes, Enfi!” I call with a smile. “I don’t want to blind you!” She chirps before diving down towards Tobias. Well she brought my mood up already. I should bring her some raspberries as my thanks. She loves those to death. Literally. She has died multiple times for raspberries. Thank the gods she can rebirth herself. I guess it is a bit funny that she was willing to go so far for them. Taking a deep breath, I close my eyes and think about how funny Enfi is and how she likes to splash everyone with water when she goes for a drink. Like always, the air around me goes silent. The usual brush of the winds stops and it stares. The sky waits for what I will do. It senses my magic coming to life. The life in everything always pauses in this moment. The magic within everything can see that I am about to do something. It tenses up in fear. Thymestrys has gone through many things throughout the years. Even when I have brought life back into the world, it still freezes up thinking it will be hurt once again. Crosses my arms over my chest, I concentrate on the magic within me. Given the things I learned from Raiyo, I guess I now know what is inside me. It is a Star’s energy. My energy. I am glad it can bring things back from the dead. It actually makes me feel like I am helpful in some strange way. Like clockwork, the spark that I feel inside begins to grow like a small flame building inside a campfire. Well, I guess technically that would be like Raiyo, right? Great. Now I found another thing that is supposed like him. Not only was I supposed to look like him, apparently I feel like him too. If he could feel that is… Stop it, Luno! Happy thoughts. The spark is becoming dull. Now is not the time to be bitter about Raiyo or anything else in that whole situation. Just think about Enfi and how funny she is. How sweet Kulu is. Just think about the Sanctuary. Think about home. That pretty much does the trick for me. The spark feels like a small burn. A happy flame that feels like a bird spreading its wings for the first time. Reaching forward with one finger, I trace a large circle in front of me. A small portal that swirls with fuzzy rainbow colors materializes. I have always wondered what this does to me. I knew it brings out a special magic onto my skin. Magic strong enough to bring back old or even new life. Now I guess it is the innerstar of me that is being brought out. Shining my light on everything that can see me. Slowly, I ease my finger through the large portal. Instantly a sonic boom goes off before a ripple of power surges across the sky. My hand begins to shine a light so bright, I have to shut my eyes. I keep easing more of myself into the portal. I always keep it at a slow pace because pushing it too fast tends to leave me a bit too tired. It does not really feel like anything. Only the air brushing against my skin. That is pretty much the only reason I know I still have some kind of solid form. Mother told me that I had used this form for evil when I was in the village of Varen. The fact that, that is even possible is scary. How could something that brings life so beautifully be so dangerous? I call it ‘something’ but it is me! I am dangerous. Was a star always able to be evil or is this possible because the Moon God has tainted me? Huh. I never really thought of it like that. Tainted. Am I just some random star that has been corrupted? It makes me feel dirty. Thank the Gods I have passed through the portal already, otherwise I doubt I would have been able to bring the spark back. I do feel nasty now. Am I like a Demon now? Or an Angel? Capable of being evil. Obviously both sides could possibly argue that they are good, but to me, based on how nature reacts to them, they both are not good. They could be better. There are groans that can finally start to be heard. Most sound confused; others sound tired. The humans’ spirits are returning to their bodies! Thank the Gods. Not going to lie, all this negative thinking just now had me a bit worried that maybe it would have ruined the magic. Not entirely sure how long I should do this. There were a lot of them in that hole for such a small village. Maybe a few minutes longer just to be sure. I do not want anyone to be forgotten. Especially not even the animals. Tobias said that we should not bother with trying to speak with the humans. I still think otherwise. Like the other times, he has probably already ran away to hide from the humans. That is okay! I will just speak with them myself. One thing that I will definitely tell them is that Demons helped in bringing them back. Honestly...they are not really doing much, but they are wanting to bring the humans back. That says more than what the Angels are doing. They are doing the opposite apparently. Giving it a minute or two, I finally bring myself back through the rainbow portal. The light that shined from my body dies down instantly, the world going back to being lit by the sun. Looking down at the humans, I see them sitting up or trying to stand. They all look like they just woke up from a long, long nap. Most of them look confused. Others are in a daze. Staring off at whatever could be in front of them. In most cases, it is a house. I almost panic when I realize they have possibly noticed the Demons who were perched up there, but I see that the Demons have already disappeared. Glancing at the house Tobias was standing under, I see he has disappeared as well. That brings out a small frown from me. I was hoping he would have listened to my idea and stayed to ask questions with me. I do hope he realizes that I am going to ask the humans about what happened. I would not want them to just leave me here. Enfi will find him if he tries to anyways. Drifting down to the ground with them, I look for someone who could have recovered better than the others. There is one man who does not look quite as confused or dazed. I walk over to him. I regret it when I get closer. He smells like fish. That does not exactly make me happy to speak with him. Still...he might have information that could help us. “Hi there!” I smile when I stand in front of him. “I’m Luno!” The man narrows his brow in confusion and looks anywhere but at me. Tilting my head, I try and get into his line of sight. “Hello?” I reach out and touch his arm. That manages to get his attention finally. His eyes dart to my face and they widen in shock. He backs up a bit too quickly, running into a woman who was struggling to walk on wobbly feet. Quickly, I go to help her up before approaching the man once again. “Hey, hey, hey!,” I say, holding on his arm, pushing calming magics into him. “Everything is alright! Nothing to afraid of.” Instantly his scared expression disappears. His breathing calms down and he takes deep breaths as well. I have to use this magic sometimes when there are babies who are either too fussy, scared, or sad. Good to know it does not only work on animals. “What is happening?” He asks, looking back at all the people in the street. “Why is every in the middle of the street?” Putting on a smile, I move him to sit on the steps to a house. “You had all died,” I say. “I brought you back.” “Died?” he exclaims, his emotions starting to freak out again. Frowning I put more calming magics into his arm. “You do not remember? Nothing at all? It would really help me and my friends. We are trying to help others like you.” “Other?” He narrows his eyes. “What do you mean? There are others who are dead?” I nod. He bites his lip and wraps his arms around himself. It is strange seeing such a grown man do something like that. It reminds me of a child holding themselves. “Do not worry,” I grin. “Everyone will be better soon enough. I will make sure of it!” He nods and lets out a shaky sigh. “I-I would like to thank you and your friends for bringing my village back,” he says. “We could never be more thankful.” I smile and give him a quick hug. “You are quite welcome. You can thank the Demons as well. They helped me bring you back.” His skin somehow pales even more at that. “Demons?” He almost shouts. I nod. “Of course! They have been working hard to save you humans. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to come back.” Yes, it is a small lie, but I do not want humans thinking Demons are all evil. Tobias is nice after all! ...Sometimes. “I...I guess that is nice of them,” he blinks and stares at the ground. I pat his shoulder and then move to go and find another who can tell me what happened here. Fifteen minutes later of lots of calming magics used, I end up with nothing. Nobody remembers how they died! They only remember what they were doing before it happened and then nothing. Blackness. Their spirits just floating in between the realms, unsure of where to go. Moving to find Tobias, I leave the village. Whatever is killing the humans apparently wants to erase the memories of said killing as well. How strange.
  9. Luno - The Star “What is wrong with the nickname?” I pout. Sadly Tobias can’t see it because he is walking ahead of me. He huffs and shakes his head. “It is a stupid name. Do not call me it again.” Smiling, I glance up at Enfi. She soars above us in circles, keeping her eyes open for any danger. I like to think that deep down, Tobias secretly likes the nickname I gave him. I would think it was normal. Viktor and Moni had both given me a nickname. I will forever cherish it and will only go by Luno. The fact Tobias thinks Tobi is stupid must be a lie! It is a cute nickname! Surely it would grow on him. I pull at the front of my jacket, trying to air out my neck. It seriously feels like I am being choked by this clothing. It is awful! At least Kulu seems to love it. He really likes the fluffy sheep fur in the hood. Oh I know! What if I were to tear the hood part off and use it as a little pouch for Kulu to sleep in! It would be perfect! Wait nevermind. Tobias would be cross if I were to do such a thing. He did go out of his way to summon these clothes. I might as well take care of them. I sigh and kick at stones as we walk along the rocky road. At least the snow is not so steep here. Most likely from all the humans using these roads. Hmm...if the roads are not fully covered in snow, that must mean their deaths have become recent. Biting my lip, I try and come up with reasons as to why anyone would want to do this. I know humans can be hateful and mean, but they are not all like that. If anything, some are incredibly sweet! A small smile plays on my lips are the memories of Viktor and Monie. I do miss them greatly. Sighing, I kick at more stones and skip along the road. Moving around a lot in these clothes seem to help with getting used to them. Perhaps skipping the whole way will be a good idea? Nevermind, I have already learned that my feet will hurt soon enough. Sighing again, bow my head down in defeat. Already I am bored out of my mind. Where are all the creatures that live out here? “Could you please stop sighing,” Tobias says in irritation. “You are just going to attract every Angel in Thymestrys before we even get to the next location.” “But I am so bored,” I groan. “Can I not just fly us over there?” He gives a mocking laugh. “You think you could lift me up? You are barely taller than Raiyo. I doubt you could even get me off my heels.” Rolling my eyes, I fold my arms. “Fine then. You could always let me ride on the back of your tiger form again.” He scoffs and looks back at me. “You must be joking, right?” He smirks. “Why would I let you do that?” Narrowing my eyes in confusion, I tilt my head. “We’ve...we have done this before,” I frown. “You offered your back for me to ride on and you saved me from those demons...remember?” He smiles and shrugs. “Can’t say that I do,” He says. This is hurting my head. I am so confused. I could have swore I did not imagine that. I am fairly certain I know when I am seeing stuff that is not truly there. I ate some bad mushrooms once on accident. All of a sudden he starts laughing. Frowning, I hurry to his side and touch his arm, I try and feel for any problems in his body. He feels pretty healthy to me in all honesty. “Are you okay?” I ask, a bit worried for my new friend. “Yes, you dofus,” He chuckles. “I was messing with you. You should have seen yourself. I could see the gears grinding in that head of yours.” Oh. He was playing with me. Yet again, I find myself preferring the company of creatures once again. “Demons are strange,” I say, mostly to myself. “At least you all smell good.” Tobias snorts and shakes his head. “Do you even hear yourself? And you say I am strange. ‘At least you all smell good.’ You sound insane.” I shrug. “Maybe I am. I chose to leave the sanctuary with you, did I not?” He shrugs as well. “Yeah, you are a bit of a weird bastard, aren’t you?” Sighing, I roll my eyes. I let Tobias walk ahead of me again. No point in talking with him for now I guess. He seems to be in a bit of a bullying mood. Having to remind myself that he is just a lonely person is pretty much one of the only things that is keeping me going. The other would be the fate of the world being pushed into my hands. Why am I the answer? The gods created the world. At least that is what everyone, including Mother, has said. Now, I do not have the greatest knowledge of the Gods. Mother made sure to keep secrets from me. Only recently have I met a Demon and an Archdemon. Well, a God mixed with an Archdemon. That part confuses me. Apparently nobody is like Raiyo, but how was he created? Did a God and an Archdemon create him together? I am not so sure. If they did, they sure make a scary combination. Scooping up some snow, it make it melt in my hand. A small bit of water for Kulu and Enfi to drink. Kulu’s tongue sits inside the water, not at all trying to drink it. Smiling, I gently tip the water into his mouth. Enfi swoops down and perches on my shoulder. She dips down to drink the water as well. She also twitches her head around, splashing water everywhere. I laugh and and drop the rest of it onto the ground. Look up, I find Tobias watching me. As soon as he notices that I see him, he turns back around and keep walking with the map in his hands. He sure is interested in that map. Enfi stays on my shoulder to rest her wings. I look around for anything that might need out help. There are not many creatures around here. Most are sleeping probably. I can tell they are out there, hiding in the snow or inside trees. None of them seem to need our attention. It is a good thing the wild seems perfectly fine. The thing killing all the humans only seems to focus on them and their own animals. Nothing wild. The creatures in my Sanctuary are wild. Hopefully they will stay safe? It has been a few days. I miss them all. I miss them, but this is also for them. Raiyo said the evil source could turn to my friends after it finished with the humans. I will not let that happen. Swinging my hands with each step, I sigh to myself, a bit quieter than normal so that Tobias will not get onto me again. This is so boring. It really does not help that it is so unbelievably quiet. You would think the end of the world would be a lot louder. Well I suppose it is not the end of the world, but when the humans are threatens to cease to exist, you would think the world would be louder. Maybe the world wants the humans to disappear? No of course not. I just wish I could know why this is all happening. I wish I knew how bring all of the humans back would weaken the source. What even is the source? It is all hurting my head again. I am conflicted. If I do not think about what is going on, I end up boring myself to death with all this walking. Nothing else grabs my attention, so nothing else will cure my boredom. It makes me feel guilty for having the lives of others keep me from being bored. There are other things I could think about. Mother said she would explain those things in proper detail in the next time I see her. Ever since Raiyo told me what I was, who brought me here, and how important I can be, my mind has just been on a wild ride. Sadly it is not the rides I particularly enjoy. Why does this seem to happen to me? The first time I left the Sanctuary, I found the little town called Varen. That was just an absolute mess. ...I guess it was a nice mess as times. This time when I venture out without Mother, I learn about some scary thing is out here killing humans, how I was made, and I learn that Mother is married to the scary Moon God. Still very strange that she wants me to hide from him. Could she not just tell Morgoren to leave me alone? She is married to him. She must have a say in the matter. However, Raiyo made it sound as though Morgoren does as he pleases. That is not very comforting to think about. Again I am reminded that Morgoren and Raiyo have slept together. Maybe those things he said about Morgoren are true. If he is willing to sleep with others behind Mother’s back, why is she still with him? It is all stupid and could easily be fixed in my eyes. Either he stops and remains faithful, or Mother should leave him. I have read a few stories written by humans so I am aware of their choices and dramas they tend to create. This thing between Mother and Morgoren feels just like one of those said dramas. Even just reading those stories were tiring. I imagine all the other Gods are quite annoyed as well. Gods do not seem that different to humans in my eyes. Based on the two I have seen, they seem very human. Sure, they have various degrees of power, but their thoughts seem to betray them. That alone makes me feel a bit better about myself and the situation I am in. If they can complain, I could too right? The only reason I am here right now is because the Moon God tore me from the sky and chopped into a form that was to resemble Raiyo. If it were not for that, I would be...doing star things. Whatever that may be. “You are awfully quiet,” Tobias calls ahead of me. Looking up at him, I see he is watching me while walking backwards. I shrug. “Just thinking about everything I have learned in the last few days. It is quite a lot.” He grunts and nods. “Yeah it must be a nice change to finally realize you were living a lie. Well, not exactly a lie, but a fake world.” “I knew it was not real,” I say. “I was just shielded from everything that was going on out here. That does not mean I was living a lie.” He hums and turns back around. I jog to catch up with him. “Would you not be so confused if you were to find out you are not what you thought you were?” I ask. He nods. “Of course I would. Just what exactly did you think you were?” Biting my lips, I look up at Enfi flying above us. “I thought I was the Gatekeeper’s son,” I say, my voice shaking a bit. “That she was my actual birth mother.” I can tell Tobias is getting a bit uncomfortable, but I have to tell someone these thoughts! It is bad to keep too many thoughts to yourself. Viktor told me that. He said piling it into the brain will eventually cause everything to come crashing down. “Sure, I have never seen her physical body,” I frown, “but I still thought she was my Mother. She was always there for me, you know?” He turns to me with a look of confusion. “I find it really hard to believe she could care for someone who looked like Raiyo,” He says. “Also, you have never seen her before? How the hell did you develop a bond like that?” Maybe it is because of the way he said it, but that makes me giggle. Shrugging to myself, I pull my hood on tighter. “It just happened. She was the only person I had to talk to. Maybe it was bound to happen. I know she was very mean to me at first, however.” He raises an eyebrow at me. “She never really talked to me in the beginning. Mother would keep herself quiet, never thinking out loud. She was trying to hide from me, but she also wanted to keep watch. I always knew she was there though. I could always feel it.” I smile at the memories. Mother was a good mother in a way. She kept me safe, brought me food and water when needed. She always watched my back. Not once has she abandoned me or done anything that would make me think she would try and hurt me. Sure, she can be mean sometimes, but she has her own way of loving. Knowing now that I am supposed to look like Raiyo, I can see why she was the way she is. Why would she want to raise someone that looked like the God who slept with her husband? Actually the better questions would be, how did she find me, and why did she decide to raise me? I do hope she comes back soon to tell me these things. She said she would tell me the next time she saw me and I took that as a promise. “Must be a miracle that you grew attached to her,” Tobias grumbles, looking down at his map again. I grin. “Yeah I guess it was. I am glad for it.” “I know someone who would not be so enthusiastic as you are,” He says offhandedly. Frowning, I tilt my head in confusion. “Why would someone be mad about that?” I ask. “You would think that everyone would be happy that others can find happiness in other people!” He chuckles and shakes his head. “Yeah, yeah,” He waves his hand. “Whatever you say.” Hmm...Now I am going to make it a goal to make Tobias like me. He needs a friend to turn to. Something tell me that no such thing exists for him and that is not right. Everyone deserves a friend! I walk a little closer to him and look down at the map. I can’t exactly read it, but it is interesting to look at. I just do not see why Tobias is so interested in staring at all the black dots. “Why do you stare at the map for so long,” I ask. “It is not like the dots will be going anywhere.” He shrugs but keeps walking. “It is comforting to see the places you brought back have not died since we’ve left,” He says. I nod and see that we should be reaching a new village fairly soon. I can tell that it will work, but I do have the fear that maybe my magic will all of a sudden be unable to bring the humans back. That is not the best thing to think about when you are about to arrive there… ~~~ ~~~ Tobias We arrive at a small village; though I doubt it can barely even be called that. The village sits on the edge of the lake. About three cabins circle along the shore while six other cabins curve around behind the first three. At first the humans appear to be missing. The map shows black so I assume that everyone here should be dead, but where are the bodies? Luno pushes his way through the snow. It is rather deep here. Almost touching his knees. I follow behind him, staring at all the houses in confusion. All their doors are open so obviously none of them are in there. There are by the doors that tell me that the humans were hauled out of their homes. Unfortunately, the trails end rather quickly. The snow piled back on top. “Where are they?” Luno asks, his face scrunched up in worry. I shrug and look towards the lake. It is completely covered in ice. No life can be seen on top of it. “No idea,” I frown. Luno decides to start searching house to house. He walks in through the doors, trying to find any sign of life. Enfi flies above us under Luno’s directions. She is to find where any of the humans could have gone. I keep walking around the village, peeking into a house every now and then. I find a house with dog bowls sitting just by the door. Some snow has managed to fall in, but there isn’t even a sign of any animals around here. This is so strange. Is this what happens if we are too late? Raiyo never said that the bodies could go missing! Does he even know that such a thing is possible? Something tells me he wouldn’t. Perhaps I should call for the Spirit Sailor and travel back to Enfierna with this news. This could change everything. If the bodies can disappear without the map knowing, then how are we supposed to save everyone else? “Tobias?” I hear Luno call out from the other side of the village. “Where are you?” “Over here,” I shout. “I’m on my way!” Since nothing seems to be on the left side of the village, I make my way back to Luno. I see he is jogging through the snow to get to me. Rolling my eyes at how he is wasting his stamina, I glance up at the bird. She is still circling above us so no signs of the humans. A yelp comes from Luno’s direction. When I look back at him, I see he has disappeared. My eyes widen and I pull my sword and pistol out. “Luno?” I call out. Hesitantly, I step to where he was supposed to be while keeping an eye on my surroundings. He was there just a moment ago! Where could he have gone? “I’m down here!” I hear his voice yell from below me. Frowning, I walk over to where I last saw him standing. A hole has formed in the middle of the “road”. It is not a big hole, though it opens up as it goes deeper into the earth. Maybe at most, that Yeti from the sanctuary could have fallen through. Somehow the snow had covered it up. Luno is standing near the edge of the hole. In front of him are twenty humans piled up with snow resting on top of their bodies. “I found them,” Luno shivers and hugs himself. “Or maybe they found me.” Oh gods he fell on top of them. That must have been disgusting.
  10. Oh oops! Thanks for letting me know! Also thanks for reading ❤️
  11. Wow! You are just in luck that I am starting this story now haha Thanks for reading! ❤️
  12. One Week Earlier Tobias - The Demon “Rise and shine!” A voice sings. Groaning at the intrusion, I turn into my pillow and pull the blanket up to hide myself from the light. “Aww, come on!” The voice calls. “We’ve got lives to save!” I grumble out an excuse to stay in bed longer, though I doubt Luno would be able to understand me. “No wonder you can turn into a tiger,” He laughs. “You try and sleep all day like one.” At that I lazily open an eye at him. How dare this idiot be able to look adorable first thing in the morning. No doubt it has something to do with what he is. I close my eye again, refusing to be woken by this person. This is only our third day into Raiyo’s quest and already I am growing tired of the Star. He talks too much, especially in moments where I need silence. That happens to be all the time. Not only does he talk too much, but he is also nice. Too nice. So nice in fact, that he feels the need to help every living thing that so much as looks our way. Oh god. I wish I could be joking. For a good two hours, Luno had me carry around a baby deer who was “walking funny”. We learned later on that it simply had a weird walk. Wasted two hours of our life! “Should I let Kulu clean out your ears?” Luno says in a teasing tone. This time I glare at him. “If that thing gets close to me,” I say. “I’ll pull it’s dead tongue out.” Luno laughs and holds the winged blue serpent up in his hand. “He wishes he could do that, doesn’t he?” Luno coos to the snake. It stares up at Luno with that dead looking blank stare. Its tongue hanging out of its mouth. I roll onto my back and stare up at the ceiling. The phoenix is perched up there. She looks down at me with her head tilted to the side. Gods. It feels so crowded in here. It is definitely taking a while to get used to. Before I met Luno, I would always go out alone when I was hunting Angels. If a group was necessary, Uncle would always assign other people who were just like me. They knew exactly what they were supposed to do, never really spoke more than a few words, and they one hundred percent did not create unnecessary banter. Not only did they not create unnecessary banter, they also did not make me want to kiss them. Never have I ever wanted to kiss someone as bad as I do with Luno. The best part is that he lets me! I could simply ask at random and he will let me. I did that for a good while, but then I realized something. There was no feeling coming from the other side. It leaves me feeling conflicted. I stopped asking of course, but I do not know how to bring the topic up. Oh well. I guess I will have to wait a see when it will come up again. “You can’t go back to sleep,” Luno says, though he sounds as though he is speaking to Kulu. “We shouldn’t waste any daylight! Now stop being a lazy kitty and lets get a move on.” With a sigh, I toss the blanket off and pull myself off the bed. We had found an old hunting cabin. There were four beds inside which was lovely. We have not been on any beds in quite some time. Unfortunately, we have to go out and search for more unfortunate souls who have mysteriously died. “Call me a kitty again and I’ll pluck those flowers out of your head,” I glare at Luno. He just grins and sticks his tongue out. “Good luck,” He says. “I have tried and nothing works.” Rolling my eyes, I grab my armor then start buckling and shoving it on. He is so infuriating sometimes. What could possibly be holding me back from punching him square in the face? If it were anyone else, I would have done so earlier. It really does not help that I want to kiss him. Ugh! Gods I hate him with every fiber of my being. “So where are we off to today?” I ask. “Perhaps we can go somewhere warm and sunny. This snow is getting annoying to walk through. Maybe somewhere near the coasts.” Luno scoffs and swats my arm. “You can’t just pick and choose which lives we are supposed to save. That is not right.” I groan and fall back onto the bed. My armor ends up digging into me so I sit back up. “Besides, there are only a few more places here that need our help. We should be able to move on soon enough.” Great...I love the snow. It is not at all annoying. It absolutely does not make everything too cold or too wet. Not at all irritating. Sighing, I unfold the map of Thymestrys that Raiyo gave to us. The map shows around fifty black dots that represent the strange magic that is killing the humans. Based on what this shows, the few cities that Luno has brought back to life seem to be safe. None have fallen back into a black dot so maybe this is all working? The southern mountains have about sixteen dots left. That does not even compare to the green middle of the map. There are thirty four dots there. What could possibly be killing all these humans and why? What have they done to deserve this. They are simply living their lives! I do miss when times were simpler. When all I had to worry about was the random Angel that would possibly get too close to humans. Now I can’t even go to these dots alone since there could be a hoard of them. Would Luno be safe if he went on his own? I imagine he would. Though, he has said he does not wish to ever bring harm to any living being. As noble as that might be, it is just not possible with what we are doing. We are bound to run into danger sooner or later. “Your face is worried,” Luno says out of nowhere. I look up from the map and see he is frowning at me. Shaking my head, I look back down at the map. “Just confused. I want to know what is happening in this world. Wouldn’t you be curious as well?” He hums in response. When I look back up, I see the blue flowers changing into a dark purple. My guess is that, that would mean he is worried, nervous, or possibly sad? It is a bit confusing at times to figure out what mood they represent. “We will figure it all out soon enough,” he says. “I am sure of it. We have Raiyo on our side after all, right? That should be good.” I just shrug. I am not sure if that is a good thing honestly. Yes, I believe he is the true leader of Demons, but that does not mean he is right on all counts. If he was interested in this, maybe there is something else at play here. He does not just go out of his way to help the world. He is looking to gain something. The main question is what it could be. There is the chance that I could just be reading into it too much, but Raiyo is never one to be so simple as that. Based on my knowledge, he loves to go for that dramatic flair. With one look at him, I grunt at Luno’s attire. “Go put on your new clothes,” I say with a scowl. “I bought them, you’re wearing them.” Luno scoffs and crosses his arms. “Who says I have to listen to you? I can wear whatever I want,” He says. “I told you before, the cold does not bother me. I will be fine!” Honestly, there are people that wear way worse. I mean look at Raiyo, I always see him in thigh high boots and underwear. Don’t even get me started on the Succubi and Incubi. It is just really, really distracting to see him in his usual short as hell toga, or gods forbid, that weird two sided skirt thing. Besides the distraction point it brings, it is not at all fit for this quest. We must be ready at all moments for any kind of danger and any weather conditions. I could care less if “he can’t feel the cold”. “You either put them on, or we will go back to Raiyo and tell him we are giving up on this quest,” I say in a stern voice. Luno’s eyes widen at first but then they narrow. “I don’t believe you,” He says. “You would not do such a thing!” Raising an eyebrow, I lean down to get into his face. “Try me,” I glare. Luno holds the stare with me for a few moments, before they actually start to water. Just as I think that he might actually cry, he turns away and grumbles a bunch of words under his breath. The flowers in his hair have turned orange. “Fine,” He grumbles. “I will wear your stupid clothes. Happy?” I smile at the small victory. “Quite happy,” I say, not at all bothering to hide my grin. He groans and grabs the bag full of new supplies. He takes them into a closet before closing the door. “He’s such a jerk,” I hear him say, no doubt talking to Kulu again. Glancing up at the phoenix, I see that she is watching me still. Creepy fire chicken. “Stop slithering into the arm holes!” I hear Luno shout. Then I hear him groan. I would have checked to see if he is alright, but seeing as he is a Star, I am more than sure he can handle whatever issue is at hand. In the meantime, I pack up all our things. Well...my things. Luno does not exactly own anything. I have bought some supplies for him, but he ends up using mine! Once again, he proves to be the most annoying person I have ever met. I doubt there was someone worse for when I was truly alive and human. Frowning at that, I try and remember anything about my past life. There is only one memory that comes to mind, it is always the same one as well. It is me and a bunch of other children. We are trapped in some kind of jail house. It is dark and wet. Was it raining? Maybe it was raining. The floor of the room only has straw as our bedding. The main source of light is a lantern hanging above us. That is it. That is all I can remember. No matter how hard I try, I can’t see anything else. Pursing my lips, I get back to packing. Whenever I think of the past, I concentrate to try and remember more. To remember as much as I can. Of course, it is all for nothing. Never more, never less. Always the same amount. It is frustrating to say the least. Most of the other Demons say they do not remember their past as well. They only remember their time as an Angel, and that is as far as it gets. No one else seems curious as to what their past lives were. They ignore it as if it never happened. I am not sure how they can do that. It bugs me to no end. Was I truly a good person or was I forced to become an Angel like so many others? Now it is getting to the point that these thoughts are giving me a headache. I already have something else causing me headaches. I would rather not add onto it even more. The closet door swings open and a defeated looking Luno steps out. His bottom lip sticks out a bit more and his nose is all crinkled in discomfort. The outfit I bought him was some dark pants, socks, knee-high boots, an undershirt, a regular shirt, and a black jacket with the inside trimmed with lamb fur. Anything to keep him from the snow. He was angry at first with the jacket, accusing me of the sheep possibly being harmed. I can personally say they were not at all harmed in any way. Surprisingly enough, he trusted me. Good thing I was not lying. The sheep were, and still are, fine. I also offered him a small blade for his protection but he said that he would never ever want to use it. That did not really come as a surprise unfortunately. Perhaps that is a good thing. It means we would not be wasting time with trying to train him. With how I have been handling things, I do not know if I would be able to train him because that requires getting up close and personal. Luno waddles up to me like a penguin. It looks cute to be honest. Especially with the pink flowers in his white hair. I’ve gathered that is his shy or embarrassed emotion. “I feel icky,” He says. “Is this how everyone else feels?” I laugh and shake my head. “Icky? Never heard someone say that about clothes before.” He sighs and wiggles his arms around. “Seriously,” He groans. “How do people live like this? I feel like I am being choked to death. Maybe it’s a sign! The sheep were hurt!” Chuckling, I pat the top of his head and open the front door. “I can promise you that no harm came to any animals with that jacket,” I smirk. “Stop being such a baby and let’s get a move on.” He sighs, gives a small glare, and then walks out the door with his head down in defeat. “The outfit is not even that bad!” I say. “That is pretty much what the common folk wear nowadays. At least up here in the mountains.” Luno waddles around in the snow before turning around to face me. I see Kulu is already wrapped around his neck. Peeking into the abandoned house, I call for the phoenix. Enfi chirps before flying past me and straight for Luno’s shoulder. It is strange seeing a firebird with the snow in the background. Even next to Luno’s hair! Speaking of Luno, he still has a face that shows he is uncomfortable. Oh well! He’ll get used to it. “Stop fussing so much,” I pat his shoulder and walk past him. Shouldering my pack, I pull out the map and look for the closest dot from our location. It looks like the closest is around six or so miles away. Looks like we are going there. Another dot is about ten miles from the first. Two dots today sounds pretty nice! Maybe this all won’t be so bad after all. Raiyo said we could not go for the source of all this death. Does that mean he knows what it is? Or at least an idea of who or what it is? What could he be doing to stop this madness? I would imagine it has something to do with Morgoren. If that is the case, then he must be putting all his effort into stopping this. “Where are we going?” Luno calls behind me. Glancing over my shoulder, I see he is still walking a bit weird. The shoes must feel rather uncomfortable. I wonder what that must feel like. When I met him he was barefoot. When he put on better attire, he chose to put on sandals in the snow. My guess is that he is around a few hundred years old, so that means years and years of going barefoot. Now to finally put on some proper shoes...it must be extremely weird. “Stop walking like some newborn fawn,” I frown. “We are going further south. It looks like small city near a lake of ice is our next stop.” He nods and bites his lip, concentrating on walking properly. Turning back to walk again, I try and remember any key map markers to help us make our way there safely. The last thing I need, is to not find shelter from the moon. I don't even want to think about what would happen if Morgoren were to find Luno. Not only would I be scared of him, but also of the Gatekeeper. Of course, Taisla does not have to worry about Luno’s safety. Not only do we have a bunch of Raiyo’s followers watching over us, but I just know I would lay down my own life for this person. Some could say it is because I might have feelings for him, not that I entirely know what that could mean, but in reality, it is because of his abilities. More specifically, his ability to resurrect all the life back into Thymestrys. Yup, that is the only reason why. Well, I guess I should add that of all things, I would be scared to fail Raiyo. That will most likely see to a slow end on my life. He never really gave the assumption, but knowing him, he will most likely do so. No pressure! Actually there is not that much pressure at the moment. This seems like the easiest quest I have ever been given. We have not fought anything. The last time I saw an Angel was days ago and it never showed itself again. Something is not right. All these dead humans should be like a buffet to the Angels, yet their bodies are not being touched. Aside from them being piled up like trash, the humans and their animals just lay there, not even decomposing. There is more at play here, but how the hell are we supposed to figure it out when Raiyo says we should try to revive them first? With a sigh, I fold the map up and keep walking for the next dot. If we are lucky, there could be some clues as to what the hell is going on.
  13. Picking up from the ending of Part 1, Luno and Tobias must work together to defeat the great evil that threatens the lands of Thymestrys. What could stand in their way? An Angel? A Demon? A God? A mix of the two?
  14. The Ancient Ones - Servants of Raiyo Master Raiyo has been called by the Mother Goddess, Drulai. Normally he would never answer to such callings. He does not like the other Gods. He hates them. Lately, Raiyo has been planning things. Things he will not share with us. We think we have some idea of what it might be. Of course, we will never ask. Raiyo does not really speak to us like he used to. Not how he did before he died. He does things without ever discussing them with others. He likes it that way. He is used to the loneliness now. We are just simple slaves for him to use now. It hurts something inside us. Something big. Nevertheless, we will serve the Master no matter what happens. It is our duty. As soon as the Star and Demon had left eight days ago, Raiyo received a whisper from the dark wisp messengers. Drulai herself had personally spoken to the wisp, asking for an audience with Raiyo. Again, he would normally ignore the call and carry on with whatever planning he has been making as of late. This time however, he chose to answer. Drulai never asks to meet with anyone. She is almost on par with how Raiyo keeps to himself. Of course that does not mean that Raiyo particularly likes her. We do not know why he decided to listen to her call. Perhaps it was because she is the Mother Goddess? Maybe it was because she was present at his rebirth. For all we know, Raiyo could have been bored and decided to just say, ‘why not?’ Whatever the case, he is headed to her realm today. Even if the last time they met was that fateful night where Yinx became Raiyo. Drulai stays in the mortal realm. Technically everything there is made of her, but that does not mean she likes to keep a home to herself. She lives in a grand palace that floats above the sea. None are allowed to enter without her permission. Due to her blessing, Raiyo will be allowed for now. Raiyo walks out of his castle, ready to follow the trail leading to the black water that surrounds his island. Before he sets off, he stares down at a glowing blue jewel attached to a bracelet. A bit of seaweed is stuck in the chain. The jewel seems to have captured a spec of light for itself. It is a rather nice prize to be given. Raiyo smiles and flicks it into a small portal, sending it into the rest of his hidden belongings. We are not even sure as to where that could be. The sand on the coast is black. There is a lot of black here now. Black and orange. Not only on the land and sea, but also on Raiyo. We remember when his hair was white. Or even his eyes. Now the whites have turned black as night. His orange eyes forever glowing like a two candles burning in the darkness. We still wonder what happened to him. We are aware of what he has become. A mixture of a God and an Archdemon. Yet, what has that done to him physically? What has made the whites in his eyes turn black? What makes his eyes glow? Is it the Archdemon inside him or is it the God part? It makes watching him hard to handle for long periods of time. Even after all these years, it is still disturbing to see how he has changed. There are things he does now that really makes him seem like a walking corpse. He never seems to blink. Sometimes he will not move at all, as if he is like one of us. An automaton that can be frozen in time. The most bizarre thing would be that he does not breathe anymore. Has he forgotten how to do that? The only time he does is after he has eaten a soul, but even then, he only breathes in a handful of times before stopping. The special effects of taking a soul seem to get shorter and shorter as the years go by. Not at all as long as it used to be. We used to worry that he would possibly drop dead at any moment. That he would pass out from possibly becoming light headed. No such thing has ever happened. He has no reason to breathe. He does not feel the strain on his lungs. He does not feel the need for air. His body knows that it will not die. Perhaps he has simply forgotten how to breathe entirely? Either way, it is still rather disturbing. Like most Gods, Raiyo could easily teleport himself to Drulai’s realm, but also like most gods, they would rather take their time. What rush do they have to make? None. Especially one that has been cursed to never be able to embrace the kiss of death. A boat materializes out of thin air. It is big enough for us and the master. Two of us steady the boat to keep it from moving, the last offers a hand to Raiyo. He places a hand on our large finger, nods his thanks and steps on the boat. After the three of us stand behind him, Raiyo waves his hand.The boat pulls away from the shore and moves further into the dark water. “I trust you all have everything you need?” He says, his voice echoing about three times over. We nod our heads. “Yes, Master,” We say. “We are prepared to protect you at all costs.” He chuckles. Everytime he does that, his voice seems to bounce around in our heads. Not sure how he is able to do that. “Cute.” If we had lips, we would have frowned right there. We are aware that he is unable to die. It does not mean he must think our protection is unnecessary. True, we have not shed blood or taken part in any violence in over a thousand years, but that does not mean he will not need us soon enough. We do not voice our opinions of course. We are simply servants for Master Raiyo. Even if it leaves us with nothing to do. Our oath to the Dunbrali family still stands strong. When we are pushed out a fair distance, we reach into the water and row with our hands. Due to the width out our palms, this makes moving rather easy. Everytime we glance down at our master, we see that his gaze stares off in front of him. His chest does not move so the familiar dose of anxiety festers in our chest. He does not blink. Does not fidget when the boat dips along the waves. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Thankfully, some life comes back into the master when he holds his hand forward. A great portal opens in front of us. It looks like we are looking into a mirror, except the other side is shining with daylight on a beautiful blue ocean. If only we had this type of magic before Raiyo had changed. That would have possibly prevented all of this from happening. Oh well. There is no point on brooding over the past. Two of us row with our hands, the third stands tall behind Raiyo, an immovable guard that is ready for anything. We must say, the Dunbrali family has never given us gifts. None have ever tried to improve us in any way. Raiyo has. He has infused us with his dark magic. We are stronger, faster, bigger, and definitely more powerful. While we keep to our usual appearance, Raiyo’s magic has allowed us to take shape in many forms. We could look like the average human. We could split into thirty birds each. We could even mimic the form of Raiyo. They are great skills that we are eternally grateful for. It is the kindness that Raiyo still has kept that keeps us hopeful that maybe, just maybe, we could have the old Yinx back? “For a bunch of servants who claim they will protect me at all costs,” Raiyo speaks, “You all sure do have a lot of opinions.” Of course. He can hear our thoughts. “Yes,” He speaks again. “Yes I can.” We bow our heads in respect. “Forgive us, Master. We should not have thought such things.” He hums in response. “Just think quieter next time. Perhaps about other things going on in the world. Constantly hearing about myself is rather tiring.” We do as we are told. We take in our surroundings to distract us from thinking such things again. The bright blue ocean surrounds us. It is rather calm. Clear skies. Hot sun. Perhaps a tad too hot. Lucky for him, Raiyo will not have to worry about getting a sunburn. The corner of his mouth quirks up. Far across the water, around half a mile, a moving island sits on the surface. It is a somewhat small island, but it holds a great palace. That would be Drulai’s home. Trees of many colors circle around the rocky ground. The palace is made of a white stone and gold. They shimmer in the sunlight. It is rather far and should take a bit of time to bring ourselves there. We could simply teleport there if we wanted to, but that is the thing. Raiyo does not want to. He prefers to take his time. Everywhere else is surrounded by the blue sea. No land can be seen on the horizon. Nothing at all. We are just in the middle of nowhere. We imagine that any humans on ships who happen to sail by would not be able to see Drulai’s home. Perhaps it has the same magic that once hid Raiyo’s human home back in the Serendian desert. There is...something strange about this place. Not coming from Drulai’s home, but something else. The air feels as if it is buzzing. It drums along our metal plating but what is the source? Is someone watching us? We look to Raiyo, wondering what his thoughts are on the matter, but he just stares on, watching the water move. He reaches over and trails his claws along the surface. Of course. He would not be able to feel the buzzing. He cannot feel anything. “Master,” We say. “There is a disturbance in the air. Something feels out of place.” He smirks and looks ahead of us. “That must be nice,” He says. “I am sure we will be fine with whatever comes our way.” We stop rowing as the buzzing grows. As soon as we stop, a white light pierces the sky in front of us. A familiar golden scar pierces the sky. Instantly, Angels begin to pour out of the scar. For a moment, the Angels look as if they were sent by Drulai, but her home summons an icy shell to protect itself. The Angels begin to fly straight for us. They wield their golden swords and bows, their warcries can be heard. We immediately stand in front of Raiyo, ready to lay down our lives to protect him. He chuckles behind us. We ignore him and ready ourselves. We each summon a large sword and shield, gifts from Raiyo himself. This is giving us flashbacks to the day the Angels had attacked the desert city. This time however, there are only four of us. Gripping onto our swords tightly, we get into our battle stances, ready to lay our lives if need be. Looking back at the Master, we see he is just sitting on a chair that he summon out of thin air. He smirks as he watches us. How could he be like this at this moment? An army of Angels are coming our way and all he is doing is watching? Turning back to the Angels, two of us swing our blades forward. A thin line of fire flies forwards. It travels far into the air and cuts through six Angels. Their faint cries can be heard. We swing multiple times, the third of us, keeps his shield ready, blocking any arrows aimed for Raiyo. Who has sent these Angels? Surely it was not the Sun God. He has not even spoken once to Raiyo. What other god sent them? A shimmer of light shines beneath the portal. That should be the Archangel. How are we supposed to get to the Archangel if we are stuck here? A hand drops on our arm. Looking down, we see Raiyo. He steps on the edge of the boat, his eyes glowing more than before. His leather outfit begins to give off large amounts of smoke. This causes it to not be as solid as it usually is. Because of this, we can see the tattoos that he hide underneath his clothing. Not perfectly, but we can faintly see the glowing orange lines. The one over his heart that is shaped with a wolf head glows the brightest. We imagine it is in memory of Laneer. Does Raiyo even remember who Laneer is? We never told him about his dead lover. We never had it in us to tell him. That does not mean that others may have told him without our knowledge. Raiyo steps forward and off the boat. He does not sink into the ocean. In fact, he does not drop down at all. Raiyo steps onto the air as if it were solid ground. Ripples of fire and smoke come from the bottoms of his boots. They swirl around like ripples on water as he takes another step forward. Strangely enough, he does not even touch the ocean’s surface. The energy around him vibrates. It echoes in our heads as if it is inside a cave. Our Master gives a bit of an sinister smile before he starts forward, straight for the army of Angels. Even now and then he would take a step higher, as if he is climbing stairs. The Angels keep coming, they drop closer to stab and cut at Raiyo. Before they can even touch him, they burn. They burst into flame and they instantly disintegrate into golden dust. Smoke and fire erupts from Raiyo’s body. All the Angels burn and scream, their bodies dropping like flies. Even after all their brethren have fallen before them, the Angels still keep coming down on top of him. Why? It is as if they are asking to die. Who is their Master and why are they making the Angels sacrifice themselves for nothing? No, of course it is not for nothing. Someone sent them to attack Raiyo. What other reason would they be here? As soon as Raiyo leaves his realm, he gets attacked? It is not a coincidence. Raiyo does not stop with getting closer to the Archangel keeping the portal open. Raiyo spreads his arms out and his power surges forward. A line that causes everything it touches to wither away into dust. Our Master is doing this as if he has always done it. It is making us nervous now. We are simply standing on the boat watching him. What is the use of us if he can do all of this without any effort? Master Raiyo has not been in combat for years! The most he does is execute the ones who truly deserve it, but never an army. How has he managed to gain this much power? He truly does not look like he is straining himself with this power. We know the other gods can hurt themselves, but that does not appear to be an issue for Raiyo. If only we had this during the Serendia attack. So many lives could have been saved. That would include Raiyo’s parents, Laneer, and Raiyo himself. Another pang in our chest fills us with guilt at our incompetence. The Angels have apparently decided that their lives now matter. They try to fly away. Some even manage to make it back through the portal, most do not. Of course they couldn’t. They chose to go against a god who truly can not die. A few try and fly off into the distance. That was a grave mistake on their part. Thin, swirling lines of crystallized smoke materialized out of Raiyo’s cape. They swirl behind him like snakes before surging after the Angels who try to fly away. They strike out and impale the poor Angels. They never even had a chance. Their dust gathers onto the growing line of golden dust that sits on the surface of the ocean. Raiyo keeps his unrelenting chase after them. More and more continue to die to his magic. None of them could have possibly expected this much power. We did not even expect this and we are always at his sides! Just as the Archangel moves to make his escape as well, Raiyo creates a gigantic blade that is three times the size of us. As he pushes his hand forward, the blade flies forward as unremarkable speed. Before the Archangel can even touch the portal, the blade splits right down the middle of his body. Golden blood spills out for a moment before the Archangel explodes into a raining cloud of dust. At the death of the Archangel, the portal closes. How...how does Raiyo have this much power? We have been with him for the entirety of his lifetime. Where has he gained this power? When he was Yinx, He and his family and friends had all struggled with the attack of the Angels. The entire Serendian army had to be there to defend itself. Now he could simply wipe them all out in minutes? It is both amazing and terrifying. Amazing because we have never seen someone with that much power, but terrifying because we are not sure where this all came from. Raiyo slowly drifts back down to us. His clothes solidifying back into the usual leather. He sighs and sits back in his chair. “You may continue rowing to Drulai,” He smirks. He says that as if none of this just happened. As if his display of power did not matter. If he wishes to play it off as such, we will oblige. “Yes, Master Raiyo,” We say.
  15. JujuTheDruid

    Reignited

    Haha I'm glad you loved it! Still makes me all excited that people still like Mekaias I really should add him to another story or make another adventure for him entirely. Maybe both!
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