Chapter 2

Revenge and Retribution

As Ulrich got to his feet the demon wasted no time. A black fist came bellowing into Ulrich's stomach sending him flying through the wooden wall of a nearby house. Before the demon could pursue his prey into the building he was brought to a halt. A claw came slashing across its chest and it looked up in disbelief to see another demon covered in blood.

"You'll pay for what you did to my face you wretched pest. Don't think for a second...that I'm going to let you live...and prosper...with the gift...of being one of us." This new demon spoke in short raspy breaths; its throat was badly ripped and damaged. Hate filled its yellow topaz eyes. The black demon cocked its head in confusion for a moment then spun with a roundhouse kick. The injured demon merely ducked and laughed. "I am Cirr, the great Night Demon of Doble. You think a simple flurry of kicks or punches will vanquish me?" Again the black demons' head cocks in confusion. Before Cirr had time to do much else, the black demon bolted forward through the hole in the building, having spent enough time with this new blue distraction. Ulrich then greeted the demon with slash of fire. Cirr starred wide eyed at what he saw. "I know that fire, that's Bremen's axe. That old fool's been dead for a decade!."

"And his revenge comes a decade too late Cirr." Ulrich stepped from the rubble that was left of the building wall. The black demon writhing in the street was fully forgotten by both parties now as they prepared to engage. "You have terrorized this town for too long. It is time for you to repent for your sins." A fury glazed over Ulrich's eyes. Tonight was the night he'd been looking forward to for the past ten years.

"My father was a great man. He watched over and protected the people of Doble for many years. Though he was the only Demon Hunter here, he was strong and brilliant in battle. He drove demon after demon either away from this town, or to an early grave. He even helped build some of the monuments that rest in this town today. The church next to the old school house, the new market place east of the blacksmith's shop. Bremen Dreick was a man of integrity and honor. Ten years ago, he had just finished eradicating a Night Demon by the name of Brix and had come home to his family a victorious man. His two young sons had prepared him a miraculous dinner, and by the time we had finished our meal he had told us yet another brilliant story. He climbed the old stair case leading up to his room and laid his head down to rest. There was a thunder storm that night, His younger son Áedán being only seven at the time had become frightened and so I took him up to our father's room to be comforted. As we opened the door we witnessed a new Night Demon of deep blue color with its right claw embedded in our father's throat. Murdered in his sleep he had no time to defend himself. You are that demon Cirr, and I have spent the past ten years waiting for the day to come where I can exact my revenge. That night he was slain was the night he had given me this axe. I had come of age to join the Demon Hunting Academy and he wanted me to excel as much as possible. And now this axe, ten years later, will be what brings you to justice." When Ulrich had finished his tale a triumphant look of determination had dawned across his face.

"Now see that was a touching story and all kid...and I'd be glad to see if you're up to it...but if you don't mind... I was in the middle of my own revenge on this disgrace here." Cirr replied as he waved an arm over towards the black demon.

"What nonsense do you speak?"

"You see this thing, that lays here before us is no more demon than you are. You see... I was feeling a little hungry I went out for a stroll right? To my surprise... I find a small human walking all alone at night in a graveyard. But when I went to play with my food it struck back, creating this awful wound in my mouth here." Cirr paused to open his mouth three times greater than any human could and Ulrich watched cautiously. There was a hole drenched in black blood in the back of Cirr's throat and Ulrich could see right through the demon."Stupid our blood all mixed up and now look what he's become. A daedra...unworthy of a place in neither your world...nor mine. What I'm simply asking is...for you to let me exact my own revenge...upon this thing first, then we'll see about our little dual."

"You're telling me that the beast that lay in the street here is a daedra?" Ulrich was amazed. He'd heard stories of such things, but never believed them to be true. It was supposed to be legend that if your blood becomes mixed with demon blood that you'll be cursed to wander the earth as neither human nor demon. He'd always shrugged them off as impossible stories told to scare children, but if this was living proof than this changed everything. The daedra seemed to see its opportunity. With a single leap the daedra flew from the streets and on to the rooftops once again, to disappear into the night. The chase went on, with Ulrich on his right and Cirr following close behind. The daedra ran for its life but the two forces weren't exactly working together. Every chance he got Ulrich swung his axe in Cirr's direction sending wave after wave of searing flames towards the night demon. Cirr would return with tooth and claw. As the hunt between the three parties progressed the night slowly faded. The daedra had escaped, but the battle between Ulrich and Cirr continued. Cirr had him on the run now, and they're fight had been taken to the mountains. Bounding over rocks and rolling through the dirt, Ulrich never ceased the assault, if this was his end, he would meet it with honor.
I came to with a headache. I tried to open my eyes but the sun was too bright. The light forced me to keep them squeezed shut. I felt like sleeping for days. Everything hurt. Finally I sat up, leaning back on my hands, propping up my back. My mouth stretched open for a long yawn. Everything felt different. My jaw cracked as it shut and when I stood my knees and joints popped. I looked around confused. Where am I? What happened to my clothes? The shredded remains of my tunic lay all around me. My pants weren't much different though the bottoms were frayed and covered in dirt. I felt at my ribs, still bruised but not broken. I had thought for sure I had broken them. My knuckles; cut and bruised. Dried blood surrounded the hole in my right shoulder. I noticed now that I wasn't wearing shoes. I was in a small cave, barely enough room to stand. It was damp and there was a layer of moss covering most the walls. I shivered due to my lack of clothes; it was in the dead of winter after all. I stepped out from the cave onto a small ledge. I saw that I was in the side of a cliff overlooking Doble. The marketplace was awake with townsfolk, meaning that it should be close to high noon, but how would I get down? The cave I was in seemed inaccessible to any normal human being. The surface of the cliff was completely flat, I saw nothing to grip or hold onto, and on top of that a small layer of frost had fallen across the land overnight. I couldn't slide down, I was too high up. I couldn't climb to the top of the cliff either, due to the lack of holds. What was I to do? How did I get up here? Slowly I began to remember...
As Kai sat in the mouth of the cave he didn't realize that he was being watched. Perched in an evergreen tree a green scaled demon licked his lips at the sight of prey. A human had managed to trap itself in his cave. How, he had no idea, and he didn't seem to care. It had been weeks since Cirr brought him anything to eat and he was too afraid to venture into town due to the Demon Hunter. He had been forced out of Doble years ago by a man named Bremen and has lived among the cliffs of Keffner ever since. This was his home now, and any human that dared venture here was fair game. But Brix stopped to think. How could a human get in his cave? It was too far off the ground to jump, and the flat smooth surface of the rock made it impossible to climb. He'd made sure only a demon such as himself could get in his hiding spot, that way no Demon Hunters could find him. So how did this human get in? He had to investigate. With a leap Brix hurled himself at the cave, his clawed bracer stuck in the cliff and he hauled himself up to meet Kai.

"Whoa, what the hell?" Kai yelled astonished. The green scaled night demon stood before him now, teeth sharp and eyes gleaming. His tail was void of spikes unlike Cirr's, but the claws on his feet seemed to be more prominent. Talon's almost, like an eagle's. The demon had a wild head of hair, deep blue like Cirr's, but much more untamed. Again topaz eyes starred him down with a look of hunger.

"Hello human," Brix answered with a sly grin. "No, I'm not going to eat you, or at least not yet anyways. I have come to ask you a few questions. For example, how did you manage to get yourself stuck up here? How is it that you're not just a pile of blood and bones? Cirr was running through these mountains last night, no human escapes his grasp." Kai continued to back away from the demon. The three razor sharp steel blades jetting from his bracer looked as if they could tear a tree to pieces.

"I-I'm not quite sure what you're talking about." Kai's memories weren't completely back yet and his recollection of the past night was foggy. "Wait... Cirr. Cirr attacked me last night. I remember...he chased me here, to this cave...I jumped up here from.... that rock over..." As Kai's arm rose to point at the massive rock at the base of the cliff he noticed that it must've been twenty five meters away. "There?" Brix turned to look in confusion.

"Don't play games with me human. It is impossible for you to have jumped to here from there. Only a demon could've ..." Brix stopped and thought for a second. The human had said Cirr attacked him...Cirr always finishes his kills, unless...unless the creature standing before him that he thought was human was actually a daedra. "Tell me human," Brix spoke again with squinted eyes, "Tell me the entire story of what happened to you last night." Brix had a sly tone in his voice; he was fishing for information, anything that could explain the thing he saw before him.

"What's it to you demon?" Kai was becoming suspicious, any normal demon would've attacked by now, but this one was different. Then something dawned on him. The demon was wearing clawed bracers. It was obvious that it was a Night Demon, and Night Demons had the most feared claws in the land. But when Kai peered closer at its hands he noticed that it didn't possess claws, only scarred fingertips. " Demon..."

"Brix." It replied squinting further.

"Brix then, where are your claws? You are a Night Demon aren't you? What kind of Night Demon has no claws?"

"I don't take kindly to taunts. I could rip you apart where you stand!" Brix's eyes flared up in anger.

"Then why haven't you yet?" Kai took a step forward. What did he have to lose? He was stuck up in a cliff anyways. In a week he would only starve to death.

"Foolish creature. You don't even realize what you are, do you?" Brix took his own step forward. "Have you heard the tale of the daedra? A daedra is a creature who is part human, and part demon. Once a demon's blood has become mixed with a human's a change takes place. The human shifts into a demonic form, or dies trying. The original shift can be dangerous, most daedra are killed before the first change wears off. They behave like wild beasts killing and rampaging through cities. Demon Hunters slay daedra on the spot; they assume it's a nothing but a savage demon. Humans are quite stupid that way."

"You're saying that I could be one of these daedra?" Kai stammered in disbelief.

"How do you think you got into this cave?" Kai realized that Brix had a point if nothing else. There was no possible way a human could've gotten into this cave. The cliff was too steep and the cave was too high off the ground for someone to jump in. Cirr's blood did fall into his shoulder wound the night before. It was my shoulder... I can almost still feel the burning.

"So the reason you're not attacking me is because you think it will trigger a change? You're afraid of me aren't you demon."

"I wouldn't say afraid. Just cautious is all. Ever since that wretched human destroyed my claws I've had to be a bit careful." Brix's feeling of despair over his lack of claws was obvious.

"How about I make you a deal Brix. You get me down from here and I promise not to kill you. In fact, I think I'm going to have to move to the next town considering what must've happened last night. Why don't you travel with me Brix?" Kai's proposition was a bit sudden, but he didn't like the idea of starving to death up in this cave."Nelan is a town just a three day's walk north from here. I've heard rumors that demons actually live in the town, among the humans." Brix pondered the thought. Living alongside humans would be difficult. He'd treated them as prey his entire life."In fact, why haven't you traveled there sooner? It's got to be better than living up in these mountains."

"Cirr would bring me a human every week or so. If I live in Nelan I would be forbidden to touch human flesh. I would have to eat deer or even worse, pigs. Such vile creatures. At least with deer there is some lean meat." Brix had a look of disgust on his face. The thought of eating pigs and deer for the rest of his life made him sick to his stomach.

"Then how about this. We travel to Nelan, but every two weeks or so we sneak into the night and break into the prison. I'll let you feast upon one of the prisoners. They're horrible men anyways, not many people would miss them. Unless of course you want to be dependent on Cirr's catch for the rest of your life, hiding up in Mt. Keffner afraid of Demon Hunters?" Kai made a good point. Brix had never thought of this. What if Cirr gets killed by a Demon Hunter and he was left to starve in the mountains. This daedra was a clever one. It's true that it didn't matter which humans Brix ate. Good or bad, they taste the same.

"I'll help you down from this cliff and travel with you to Nelan. But don't think this means I've given up on eating you. We'll talk more about our "partnership" later..."

"Kai. My name is Kai."

"Well then Kai, brace yourself." Brix snickered; he thought he was so clever. Before Kai had much time to react Brix scooped him up by the remnants of his shirt with his bracer and leapt through the air. When he landed on the frosty grass below he set Kai down so he wouldn't dangle by his shirt. After taking a moment or two to get his bearings Kai started down the hill toward Doble. Looking back he said,

"I need to return to my house for a few things. The clothes I'm in now are shredded and bloody. It would be a bit conspicuous if I show up in Nelan looking like this. You can wait here, I'll return in an hour or so."

"You'd better. I've never eaten a daedra, but don't think I won't try." Brix wasn't quick to trust such a creature. After all, it was still part human, and Brix learned to never trust a human. They'll stab you in the back first chance they get. Sometimes quite literally Brix thought. Ha, I'm a genius I swear.

Kai returned as he said he would, within the hour: hiking up the hill with a backpack over his shoulders. He had tried to get in and out of town as quickly as possible. He got strange looks through the streets and alleyways, which was expected considering the way he was dressed. Dark blood stains ran down his arm and his clothes were tattered and shredded. Once in his home he had grabbed only the essentials; a new set of clothes, a blanket for sleeping on the plains, enough food to get him to Nelan, and all the money he had, 8,500 coin, seventy golds, a hundred or so silvers and the rest in coppers. What he wore now was mostly black. A black leather coat covered by a black cloak and hood. His shirt was dark gray but his pants and boots were also black, making his silvery white hair and fair complexion stand out against his attire. He'd always seemed to dress in dark colors. Yellows, reds, and oranges weren't really his thing. Bright colors annoyed him and he didn't think he looked good in them anyways. It was mid-day as the new party set off to Nelan. A path of long rolling hills awaited them. A small battered dirt trail weaved through the hills and lead to Nelan, but if any human caught sight of Brix they were doomed. Demon Hunters would be alerted and it would only be a matter of time before they were being chased. The frostbitten hills didn't offer much cover though, so it seemed they would have to keep quite a distance between themselves and the road.

"We'll stay away from the path." Kai said as Brix came up to walk beside him. "I wouldn't want to be caught with you until we're within city limits. I'd be killed by association."

"You don't have to tell me twice daedra. I have no problems avoiding Demon Hunters. All those bastards care about is killing demons, not all demons want to destroy the world you know. Some of us actually like living here in Avalon. You wouldn't understand. You've never had to live in the Nether World. A couple days in that place and you'd be on your knees thankful that you can walk through Avalon without the risk of having your throat slit by some self righteous human. I admit, killing and devouring innocent humans is my favorite pass time, but I'm still a person, not some savage beast."

"Yes well, some of you are savage beasts, that's the problem."

The two unlikely pair began their journey. They walked alongside the mountains, staying several hundred meters from the road. They marched across the rolling plains until nightfall. They climbed over the occasional pile of rocks and stumbled down the steep hills. When the sun had decided to set Kai and Brix took rest under a shady tree. Kai threw down a blanket for himself and sat down. He took a bite out of a loaf of bread and watched as Brix stacked a few boulders on top of one another. The end result was a makeshift cave. Brix crawled inside and fell silent. Kai finished his late supper and lay his own head down to sleep. Another long day of marching was ahead.

[10 pages in word docx]