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 Chapter 5: The Reply

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 5: The Reply   Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:45 pm

A dark figure walked into the camp of the Demons of Hell. It was a gloomy setting, thick with gnarled, wizened trees that rarely let a glimpse of sunlight through. But the camp itself was easy enough to find. Great, wide avenues had been carved out of the undergrowth by the comings and goings of the giant demons that made up the backbone of the army. All this led up to a cluster of tents, surrounded on all sides by a host of demons who kept watch day and night. These demons now glared down upon this dark figure with baleful eyes, daring it to make a move. The figure stepped forward.

One demon grunted, hefting a makeshift club in its arms and advancing menacingly. But before it could even think about swinging, a sharp voice cut through the darkness. The demon growled and stepped down, leaving the dark figure solitary, waiting. It didn’t wait long. Out from among the tents stepped a lean, hooded figure, long bow and quiver strapped to its back. A red gleam came from beneath its hood as this figure stepped forward to survey the first. Then, almost casually, the second figure flung back the hood, revealing the partial features of Bremen, hole gaping in the side of his head.

“Well now, what do we have here?”

“A messenger from Requiem, asking to speak to the leader of the Demons of Hell.” A man’s voice. That was all Bremen could deduce from this person. The rest were folds of black cloth draped over a figure.

“Just one moment.” Bremen was gone in a blink, leaving behind a hiss of dust. The demons kept close watch on the figure, slowly but surely encircling it as they awaited their leader’s reply. Moments later, the leader himself came striding out of a nearby tent, complete with a full entourage. The leader took one glance at the shadowy figure and stopped cold.

“Who the hell are you?” One could almost smell the fear in the air. It was the kind of fear that drove dogs mad and brought ravens circling in overhead. Fear of imminent death. The figure pulled back just enough of a muffler to reveal a chilling smile.

“Feeling guilty, Casadin?”

“Shoot him!” Bremen readily complied, sending an arrow singing through the air. For once, Bremen missed by a mile. The arrowhead bit into the ankle of a demon, which groaned, shuddered, and collapsed upon itself. The black figure was on the move, a silver shortsword in each hand.

“Take him! I want him alive!” Casadin barked out these orders as he retreated back to the safety of his tent, escorted by a thin, pale man. All the demons entered the action, pressing in to cut off the figure’s escape, while Bremen kept up a solid stream of arrows. The dark figure ran up a demon’s leg, leapt off when another demon deigned to swing, and moved out of the way as the first demon crashed to the ground, leg shattered. Three more clubs thumped together, narrowly missing the figure, while arrows whizzed over his head. He ran up one club, crawled onto a shoulder, and made it onto the demon’s head, hanging on between its horns while he stabbed downwards repeatedly. Four clubs came swishing down, and the figure was gone, leaving the contents of the demon’s skull to spray the ground. Bremen looked around, sniffing the air. The smell of blood was overwhelming, but death had not dulled Bremen’s ability to track down his targets. He blinked into a nearby tent, catching the demon in the middle of wiping his blades clean on the body of a soldier that had been sleeping and was now dead. The figure moved, blades flashing, but Bremen was gone, reappearing behind him. An arrow was nocked and fired, deflected by a shortsword that was swung into reverse-position to guard the figure’s exposed back. Bremen merely blinked again, appearing by the figure’s side, arrow already leaving his bow. The figure snapped his head backwards just a fraction of a second earlier, the arrow whistling through the space just under his nose. The arrow’s feather tickled the figure’s nose, and he sneezed, giving Bremen time to nock another arrow. But the figure wasn’t distracted for long, leaving the tent with the flash of a blade. Bremen was waiting outside, blinking there ahead of the figure, and had his arrow shoved in the figure’s face before he let go of it.

The air seemed to rip itself apart and swallow the arrow, then close up with a sound akin to a burp, leaving behind empty space. The mercenary just stared, bow going limp in his hands. What kind of magic was that? Bremen tried to make sense of this even as he felt a silver blade entering his stomach. He tried to teleport, found that he couldn’t, and kicked off his opponent, ridding himself of the blade before blinking away in mid-air. The dark figure shrugged, sheathed his blades, and kept moving.

Inside the largest tent, Casadin was visibly shaken as he downed a glass of strong liquid. Casadin was a big, burly man with a persistent red complexion that made him somewhat resemble the demons he commanded. Legend had it that there was some demon blood in him, and that he had swiftly gained power through his ability to summon giant minions from the otherworld. In reality, he had a crack team of summoners working behind the scenes, lured to his clan by promises of wealth and power. Many of them had never heard of a clan before, much less been in a decent one, and to them, Casadin seemed like their best shot at the moon. Right now, Casadin was busy wondering whether the summoners were busy summoning, whether Bremen had caught the intruder yet, whether the intruder really was Requiem’s response to his assassination attempt, and whether or not monkeys had wings.

“Protector.” Casadin blinked and looked up at the man attending to him.

“What is it, Cool?” The companion winced slightly at the name. It sounded so childish, coming from Casadin’s lips.

“What are your plans for the war? Staitus has yet to come back, and Boomfus has sent us no report lately.”

“We’ll wait for Bremen to catch the intruder, then act from there.”

“And if Bremen doesn’t capture the intruder alive?”

Casadin stood up, the full force of his fury clearly visible. “I don’t care if...I mean I do care if the intruder is captured alive or not because I specifically told Bremen to capture the intruder alive so I can bring him in and torture...I mean interrogate him and get the truth out of him so we know what Requiem is thinking and if Bremen fails to bring him in alive I will have Bremen killed again and failure is not acceptable and where is Staitus isn’t he supposed to be back yet with a reply from Requiem and what is Requiem doing attacking us if I asked them to join the Republic of Lore and why did they kill our demons up north anyways and why are they so angry about us killing two of their members when they killed off one of our best demons and...and...and monkeys don’t have wings!!!”

Cool rolled his eyes. Casadin’s rages were infamous, and there was no stopping him once he got started. The running record was five hours nonstop. Supposedly that one had been managed on a single breath. Casadin’s other habits were just as peculiar. He loved to be called “Lord” or better yet, “Protector”. Anyone who named him as such was given extra points in his eyes. And those with plenty of points were put in high places and given huge salaries. That was the only thing keeping Cool there, in the tent with a madman.

Cool himself had been picked up off the streets by this man. He had been a thief, slitting throats and running off with whatever he could carry. It was easy for authorities to identify him. One eye was green, the other red. His thin, gaunt features were an instant giveaway in the dirty city where he lived. But his ability with a knife was good enough for him to get by on, and he always had a katana strapped to his back for the toughest situations. Casadin literally walked up to him on the streets and asked him to join his clan. Lured by a stable life and clean quarters, Cool signed up, starting off in the midst of multiple wars and cramped tents. But he worked his way up through the ranks, using his growing salary to fund himself a new, snakeskin suit and new daggers, until he became Casadin’s right-hand man. Now, anyone could have gotten to where he was by saying the right words. Cool merely said the right words first, and made sure to silence anyone else capable of saying them. Now, as Casadin’s breath came in labored gasps, Cool timed himself. Three breaths, then speak.

“Protector...” Then the tent flap rustled.

“Who’s there? Show yourself!”

The dark figure stepped into the tent. No swords drawn; maybe that was a good sign. Nevertheless, Casadin glared and Cool drew a pair of daggers. But the figure pulled back his head, revealing the silver hair and gleaming eyes of Seth. He showed both hands to Casadin, palms open. No harm was intended.

“That attack back there was uncalled for. I just came here to deliver a message.”

“Then what was with the guilt thing?”

“You know what I mean. You killed two of our members...”

“...retaliation for a demon your clan killed...”

“And you attempted to assassinate our leader, Priest.”


“Don’t play innocent...”

“I never sent any assassins to your leader!” It was Seth’s turn to blink. He was stunned by both the honesty in Casadin’s voice and the ramifications of his words. If he didn’t send the assassins...

“Then who sent the assassins?”

“Hey, don’t ask me. Here I was, trying to get you guys to join my Republic of Lore...”

“A cheap organization.”

“It is NOT cheap! If you guys don’t want to join, that’s your business. Don’t come to me trying to get me to stop that thing from happening, because it’s happening! We’ve already got...” Casadin paused for a moment, completely at loss for words. He only had one clan in the Republic of Lore: his own. What happened to the messengers he had sent to the other clans?

“Yes? Go on.”

Casadin growled. They were playing tricks with him. Requiem was playing tricks with him! He could see it all right now. They were trying to be all nice to him while attacking his members behind his back. The thought never occurred to him that he had done the exact same thing to Requiem in the first place. He was on a roll again.


“No need, I’m here.” Bremen swished into the tent, blinking to Casadin’s side. Seth had seconds to plan his escape. His solution was a simple one. He merely twitched his palms, tearing open a hole in the air right in front of Casadin. Cool reacted in the exact same instant, grabbing Casadin and dashing out of the way as the rift swallowed the spot where they had just been. The chair Casadin had been sitting on had now completely disappeared. Bremen filled the tent with arrows, but his target was already long gone.

Seth made his way to the edge of the camp, remaining unseen by all but one guard, who was sure he was just seeing things. Hidden in the shadows of the forest just beyond the edge of the camp, Seth found who he was looking for. He walked up to a dark figure standing at the base of a tree.

“Good job on playing your part. I saw everything from right here.” Seth smiled as he heard Saint’s voice up in the tree. The figure he was facing was nothing more than an elaborate dummy. Clever.

“They’re on full alert now.” Seth climbed up into the tree to join Saint.

“Why, did you try to assassinate him?”

“Yeah...I tried a cipher spell, but Casadin’s right-hand man saved him.”

Up in the tree, Saint smiled. “So they’re not all demons after all.” He cycled through several variations of the battle plan, selected the one he liked best, and went with it.

“Anyways, we’ve taken out all their scouts and messengers. Maybe I should have sent you in with a few heads just to show Casadin we mean business...” Seth looked up, a shocked expression written over his features. “Just kidding. You did well, bought us the time we needed. Phase two begins now.” Suddenly, someone in a nearby tree cleared their throat. Saint looked around, saw Staitus looking right back at him with an even gaze.

“Made up your mind yet?”

Staitus shook his head. “I’m not ready to fight against my own clan.”

“Well, sit and watch then. You can make your decision based on whichever side you like better. I still don’t get why you chose to join my team. You’d be better off elsewhere.”

Staitus continued to stare at Saint evenly. “I could kill you, you know. I came to your clan as a diplomat, and technically I’m still representing my clan.”

There was the sound of blades being drawn throughout the forest, but Saint laughed lazily. “Kill me if you can. You’ll see what Requiem is made of.” Staitus didn’t blink as Saint went back to formulating his plans.

Saint looked around the forest. Several pairs of eyes gleamed back at him from various hiding places. He pointed at one of them. “You, run along to Dye’s position and give them the go-ahead. I won’t risk a flare right now, that would give away our position and...”

An arrow sang through the trees, going straight through the dummy’s head with a dull thump. There were several gasps, but Saint’s smile just grew wider. He pointed a finger skyward, letting off a jolt of electricity that lit up the sky.

“It looks like they found us anyways. Prepare for battle guys. Remember, we go for the summoners first, then find Casadin. Dye will provide cover. If you see an undead sniper by any chance, be sure to give him my best regards. Let’s go.”

At the front of the camp, a surge of warriors broke into the Demons of Hell camp with a chorus of war cries. From the back, various, shady figures stole into the camp under the cover of the ensuing confusion. Everything was going according to plan.

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Chapter 5: The Reply
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