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Running with the Demon Part 1
Hitching the reins to the post, Viola stepped toward the house. Dawson scratched his horse behind the ear as he took a bite of the bright red apple in his hand. Elizabeth, daughter of the demon lord Azazel, lit her torch as she drew back her hood. Her long glossy black hair tumbled over her shoulders and her red eyes seemed to penetrate the darkness. A chilling breeze brushed Dawson’s exposed cheeks and the smell of autumn was strong in the air. The moons’ rays stretched across the land, shining its silvery rays for all to see. The stars were like a herd of flaming horses, galloping across the night sky.
Dawson glanced at the small home and noticed something peculiar in the window. He squinted as he gazed at the window. After a few moments he passed it as nothing and continued caring for his fatigued horse.
A loud explosion erupted from the house, shattering the silence like brittle bones. Fragments of glass soared through the air and flames climbed the walls. Black smoke poured through the windows and splinters of wood lay smoldering on the ground. The horses reared, tugging against their restrains. Dawson and Elizabeth instantly raced toward the blazing inferno. Worried thoughts ran through Dawson’s mind as he and Elizabeth searched for Viola.
“Stay here.” Elizabeth ordered. Dawson was reluctant to stay behind, but he knew it would be foolish of him to follow Elizabeth into the flames. He would burn while Elizabeth remained unscathed by the flames, thanks to her demon lineage. His heart pounded and his stomach churned with nervousness. I should have gone with her. Dawson thought. Over the time he had been with Viola, he developed deep feelings for her. Every protective fiber in his body screamed to leap into the blaze and save Viola. But his sense triumphed over his heart and he patiently waited for Elizabeth to return with his beloved.
After a few grueling moments, Elizabeth returned, but not with Viola. Dawson’s heart lay in his mouth and emotion constricted his chest. Where is she?! Dawson wondered.
“Is she....?” Dawson couldn’t bring himself to say the word. His breath was caught in his throat.
Elizabeth shook her head.
Dawson sighed with relief, though the feeling of nervousness was not vanquished.
“There was no trace of Viola.” Elizabeth told Dawson.
“Do you think she escaped?” Dawson asked, hope glimmering in his voice.
“No. I believe she was taken.” Elizabeth said. Dawson’s heart sank to his boots, the answer coming to his mind almost immediately.
Viola was different. Since she was a young girl she was always on the run from demons. Her mother died when she as five years old, slaughtered by a ferocious demon. The demon only killed her mother was because she was in the way of the target: Viola. The only reason she survived the attack was because of her father, the great god Stormbourne.
Stormbourne was the ruler of the gods and lord of the sky and weather. Viola was a demi-god, the product of the union of a god and a mortal. Being a demi-god was already high risk for demon exposure, but being the daughter of the ruler of the gods made Viola public enemy number one in the demon world.
After her mother’s death, Viola was always on the run, fleeing from town to town at the slightest sign of a demon. Viola knew well the stabbing pains of hunger and the horrid nibbling of fear eating at her. Viola begged for food and constantly fought to keep it. She was always able to escape the clutches of evil, except for once.
When Viola was ten she stumbled upon the tiny village of Hawkwood. It was quiet and grey and the villagers seemed to shuffle about, their eyes keenly watching. Viola wanted to leave the moment she entered the village, but she found herself staying. Viola managed to get a full loaf of burnt bread from the baker, for which she was extremely grateful. She was able to keep the ravenous dogs of hunger away for the day and she found a comfortably dry alley to sleep in. As she rested, she could dimly hear a low growling growing nearer and nearer. Viola ignored it, believing it was a part of her dreams.
She woke up to a pair of piercing red eyes peering down at her. The eyes belonged to a demon.
Viola gasped, knowing death would soon be upon her. Tears of sadness and regret began to stream down her face. The black dog stepped toward her slowly, bearing his long fearsome fangs. Saliva dribbled from his jaw and splattered onto the dirt. The flames of hell seemed to dance in his blood eyes. His dark coat was slick with gloss and his muscles flexed with each step.
The dog howled as a quick figure slashed it. Viola could barely comprehend the scene before her. In a moment of seconds the dog lay dead before the figure. It stared at Viola with similar red eyes.
“Please don’t hurt me!” Viola pleaded. The figure chuckled softly, calmly. Viola frowned slightly, her fear soon melting away. Her curiosity was peaked and she brushed the tears off her face.
“I won’t hurt you. I’m here to help you.” The figure said as it slowly shifted into the form of a girl. Viola stared with a mixture of wonder and horror. Why would a demon want to help me? She wondered.
“What’s your name?” Viola asked.
“I go by many names, but my favorite is Elizabeth.” From that moment on, Viola and Elizabeth traveled together, Elizabeth defending Viola from the clutches of evil. They eventually met Dawson, a guardian of nature, who joined them as well.
Viola awake cold, damp, and sore. She lay in a field of thick dark green grass and a calm chilling breeze brushed her as it flowed to the distant lands ahead. The sky was bruised by thunder clouds and it rippled by frequent strikes of lightning. Viola stretched her stiff muscles as she rose from the ocean of green. A small village laid a few paces away and appeared to be completely deserted. Viola glanced in many directions, for any life form. Nothing.
She stepped with caution toward the village. The last thing she remembered was the house and a dark, massive form looming over her. Where are Dawson and Elizabeth? Viola wondered as she peered into a small home. How she got here, she knew not. The tiny hovels were clustered together and the streets were narrow passage ways, twisting in confusing directions toward the small market district. Viola paced through the settlement, examining each building thoroughly. Her vigilance rose to its peak and the sense of foreboding was not far away. Viola’s hand clutched the hilt of her sword, Thunder Edge, as she scanned the market district.
Viola whipped around, the tip or her sword at the boy’s throat. Electricity crackled on Thunder Edge’s smooth golden surface and the boy eyed the ancient sword with worry. The crystal dagger dropped from his hand and hit the ground with a thump. Sweat trickled along the side of his cheek as sparks leapt off Thunder Edge. The boy raised his palms in surrender.
“Who are you?” Viola ordered.
“Billee. Billee Creel.” Billee stuttered.
“Kick the knife away.” Viola demanded. Billee tentatively shuffled toward the blade, booting it into nearby alley. Viola never lost eye contact with him.
“How did you get here?” Viola asked. Billee shrugged.
“I don’t know. The last thing I knew I was running from a demon and then I woke up here!” He said. Viola lowered her sword slightly.
“Yes!” Billee shouted as he whipped his head up and down. Viola considered something for a moment.
“Are you a demi-god?” Viola questioned. Billee nodded.
“I’m the son of Armello.” Billee told her. To prove this, he twisted his hand. An ivy vine poked up from the dirt, snaking its way toward Billee’s hand. Viola sliced the plant in half, the electricity igniting the ivy. Billee flinched at this and wiped the beads of sweat off his brow.
“I take it you’re a demi-god as well?” Billee said. Viola nodded.
“I’m Stormbourne’s daughter.” She told him. Billee’s eyes widened, his jaw hanging limp. He gazed at her as if she was a rare animal he had just captured. Viola rolled her eyes as she sheathed Thunder Edge.
“We might as well work together, considering we’re both on the same side.” Viola said. Billee bobbed his head, striding off to retrieve his dagger. He held the small blade in his hand, the dagger’s name “Shimmerstrike” etched along the side. He strapped Shimmerstrike to his hip and joined Viola’s side.
“Why do you think we are here?” Billee inquired.
“I don’t know.” Viola said.
“Maybe we should see if there are others here.” Billee suggested. Viola nodded, striding toward the nearest street.
They wandered the village; only the pattering of their footstep and the occasional question from Billee was all that was heard.
The sunlight streamed through the window, the sun’s rays directly hitting Elizabeth’s eyes. She groaned, squinting against the light. She rose from her bed and shifted back into her human form. It would not do to have mortals screaming at the very sight of her.
With the snap of her fingers a fire began to crackle in the fireplace. She placed a kettle of blood on the fire and she listened to the liquid bubble and pop. Her mortal friend, Dawson stepped inside the room, glancing at the steaming blood. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes with the heel of his hand as he sat down in a chair beside Elizabeth.
“We got a raven last night.” He told her. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“Really? What did it say?” She questioned. Ravens were sent among people, usually high of rank, to send messages to one another. Rarely did the trio receive a raven, and when they do, they knew it was from Coakley Wichander.
Coakley Wichander was the uncle of Dawson. Coakley was the High Scholar to Lord Ryder of Malbourne. He knew much about demons and the world in which they lived. Coakley would update them every once and a while, telling them demon activity.
“It said we should return to the castle. Immediately.” Dawson explained as he handed the letter to Elizabeth.
Dear Dawson Froezi,
This is an urgent message for which you need to reply immediately after receiving
this. I have discovered something very disturbing which involves your friend Viola
and others like her. Please return to Malbourne as soon as possible and I will explain
to you my research.
Your Uncle Coakley Wichander
Elizabeth emitted a deep “Hmmm” as she passed the paper back to Dawson. Elizabeth poured herself a cup of hot blood and took a sip of the drink. The thick liquid slowly slithered down her throat, scalding the sensitive tissue. Dawson rose from his seat and snatched up Elizabeth’s leather rucksack.
“We should leave now.” He said. Elizabeth nodded in agreement.
He could barely slide off his saddle once he and Elizabeth arrived at the Gates of Malbourne. Dawson’s thighs were raw from the hard galloping and every muscle in his body ached and complained. The drowsy guard opened the gates, greeting the weary Dawson and Elizabeth. The guard lit a small lantern, its small light flickering.
“Lord Wichander asked for me to escort you to his home. You are his nephew, Dawson Froezi, am I correct?” Guard questioned. Dawson nodded. The guard motioned his hand to follow.
The horses’ hooves clip-clop as they walked down the abandoned streets. Silence blanketed them like a cold embrace and the houses were eerily dark. Dawson could narrowly recall the city, having not returned in seven years.
They arrived at a large stone house. Candlelight glimmered on a few of the windows and ivy climbed up the walls. A high iron fence lined the perimeter, the iron coming to a sharp point at the tops. A bell lay beside the gates and the guard rung it three times.
A few moments after a servant came rushing out as he wiped the sleep from his tired eyes. Dawson began to wonder where Viola was right now, if she was safe and warm, and if she missed him as much as he missed her.
“You must be Master Coakley’s nephew. He has been expecting you.” The servant notified him as he opened the latch. Dawson handed the reins to the servant as he made his way down the bricked pathway leading to the large oak door. Dawson glanced at the yard, recalling all his childhood memories and the day he left to enroll in the School of Magicka. He pulled back the door and entered his uncle’s home.
Dawson and Elizabeth were first greeted by a large marble stairwell that wound upward. The floors were waxed until you could see your reflection and large pictures of landscapes hung on the walls. The smell of oak was in the air and Dawson allowed himself a smile as he recalled all the times he complained of the smell. The hallways were dimly lit as the servant directed Dawson and Elizabeth to Coakley’s study. Dawson noted that nothing had changed since he had been there last. The servant tapped on the door before allowing them into the study.
Coakley sat on a large leather chair and his hand fumbled with some papers. Coakley rubbed his drowsy eyes and muffled a yawn as he gestured for Dawson and Elizabeth to sit. Coakley frowned as he noticed Viola was not among them.
“Viola was taken, wasn’t she?” Lord Coakley said. Dawson nodded grimly. Coakley drew in a deep breath as he reclined into his chair.
“When was she taken?” Coakley asked.
“Two days ago.” Dawson told his uncle. Coakley laced his fingers together as he sighed.
“Well Dawson I summoned you here to warn you about the sudden demi-god disappearances. Unfortunately my raven came too late and Viola was stolen. But I think the information I am going to give you will help you and Elizabeth find Viola.” Coakley explained. Dawson perked up at these words. Coakley yawned once again, placing a hand on his mouth.
“We will talk in the morning Dawson. I am quite tired and I’m sure you and Elizabeth are tired as well. My servants will prepare your rooms.” With this, Lord Coakley disappeared into the darkness of the long hallway.
“What I don’t understand is why the demon brought us here.” Malcolm, the son of Nyra, the goddess of love, beauty, the moon, and the hunt said. There was one child of each god here, Viola noticed. They listened to the thrumming of rain pattering on the windows. A thick coat of dust blanketed most of the floor and dust motes drifted in the air. A small fire burned in what was left of the fireplace. The eight demi-gods rested in rotten wooden chairs as they warmed their hands by the fire.
“I don’t know why a demon would bring us here instead of killing us immediately.” Syrah, the daughter of Cadier, god of the sea, pointed out. Billee shrugged.
“Maybe we should search for signs. The demons must have left some clues.” Billee suggested.
“I think this is a good idea.” Viola said. The group agreed.
Viola pushed the door open, tugging the hood of her cloak over her head. The pounding rain had not let up in the past few hours and the streets were slick with mud. The roads were riddled with puddles and thunder clapped continuously. Viola breathed in the damp air. She terribly missed Dawson and Elizabeth and wished for their company greatly. Viola wanted to return to them soon, but she had the feeling she would never step out of the village ever again.
Quit thinking such things! Viola scolded herself. Her patched boots squelched in the mud and water seeped into the thin leather. The cold seemed to sink into her bones and chilled her from the inside out.
A scream rang out, echoing across the village. Viola sped off in the direction of the shriek. She slipped, scrambling up. Another scream broke through the loud thunder. Viola wheeled into the building, shoving the rotting door aside.
Jaylee, the daughter of Shiria, the goddess of war, wisdom, and battle strategy lay bleeding on the floor. Huge slashes marked her body and her face was distorted beyond recognition. White bone peaked through the skin and Jaylee whimpered quietly. A deep pale colored Jaylee’s skin and her eyes had a faraway look to them. She glanced at Viola, her lips trembling as she opened her mouth.
“A demon...Go Viola...tell the others...” Jaylee sucked in a last gulp of air before her eyes drooped close. Then the daughter of Shiria remained still.
Sadness attacked Viola’s heart as she gazed at the young demi-god’s corpse. Did the demon kill Dawson and Elizabeth when it took me? Viola thought.
A noise like metal scraping metal emitted from the next room. Viola drew Thunder Edge and stepped toward the sound.
The walls were covered with writing; the ink was Jaylee’s blood. A small creature scaled the wall, baring its dagger-like fangs. It hissed at Viola, sending thick globs of spit in her direction. The spit disintegrated the wood beside her feet and the demon inched closer and closer to Viola. Viola picked her way carefully, never taking her eyes off the creature.
The demon leapt at her with a great speed. Viola reeled to the side, the demon hitting the ground with a thump. It wailed in pain and shot Viola a dangerous look. It spat at her again, the blob landing on her boot. Viola kicked it off as she swung Thunder Edge. A fork of electricity zapped the demon, leaving a smoldering mark. The demon swung its arm, tearing a cut into Viola’s forehead. Viola grunted and gritted her teeth in pain.
In one swift, fluid motion, Viola raked the head off the demon. Its head spun in one direction while the body landed in another. The demon lay in a pool of its own blood.
Viola dropped to one knee, taking in deep breaths. How tired she was of this, the fighting, the running, the hiding. Why couldn’t she lead a normal life? Why was she stuck with this?
Viola stared at the wall and her stomach began to churn with utter disgust and horror. She vomited as the words on the wall danced in her mind. Your soul is mine to take.
The End of Part 1