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From the Beginning - UPDATED - 11 August 08

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just in case anyone was looking for this...:lol:

to refresh your memory (or in case you're reading this for the first time): this is a prequel, if you will, to 'the agas saga'. where the daevas came from, etc. it promises to be VERY long. italicized text is sort of narration (like a voice-over in a movie). the wavy line means the scenes are happening at the same time.

on with the show!

 

******

 

FROM THE BEGINNING: THE HISTORY OF THE DAEVAS

 

When the world began, eons ago, all was darkness. Out of the darkness came the demons, and in the darkness they lived, and ruled over lesser creatures for many years. The demons evolved, and this evolution gave rise to the Elite Demons.

The Elite Demons were vastly stronger and more powerful than other demons, and quickly seized control over the world. But with their great power also came an unspeakable evil and malice, and an insatiable greed for total and solitary dominion over all things. Each Elite Demon felt that absolute rule was owed him; and so began the Dominion Wars.

Elite Demons amassed great armies of lesser demons, whose sole purpose was to destroy the forces of all other Elite Demons. The world was scourged with the horrific battles for thousands of years: demons annihilated each other in immeasurable numbers; the dark waters of the lands flowed red with the blood of the slaughtered; the world fell into chaos.

As the Wars raged on, light found its way into the world at last, and with it came the Elves. Where demons were content with the darkness, with destruction and ruin, Elves sought the light, and life. The first Elves sailed from the West in the midst of the Dominion Wars, seeking only a place for themselves in the world. Their power was as great as, if only different from, that of demons, and most demons recognized that no good would come from beginning a battle with these powerful new beings. Elite Demons were far too entrenched in their own affairs to concern themselves with what they considered lesser beings; and so the demons and the Elves reached a tentative truce, agreeing to co-exist, if not in friendship, at least without bloodshed.

And still the Dominion Wars continued. The forces of the Elite Demons began to wane, and more and more lesser demons were recruited to fight, many of these unwillingly. It was not long before the Wars found their way into the lands that the Elves had claimed and had made inhabitable for themselves. The things that were green and growing withered, the clear skies and waters darkened once more, and many Elves lost their lives. But the Elves were a peaceful people, and their numbers were in no way comparable to those of the demons, and so they salvaged the land they could and placed powerful enchantments over it, sealing themselves off from destruction and death.

Many demons, even some Elite Demons who harbored less of a desire to destroy and to control, decided then that there was need for some semblance of order amongst their people, and the daeva was created. Daevas were extraordinarily gifted demons—-at first, only Elite Demons-—whose influence would gather demons together under a universal set of laws, established and enforced by the daevas, to help eliminate the chaos and wanton destruction of their race. For the most part, the daevas were successful in stemming the flow of violence, especially against humankind.

Yet still, despite the obvious futility of their endeavors and the imminent extinction of their species, many Elite Demons continued to do battle...

 

 

The world was in chaos. The demon race faced extinction. That was why the Council of Daevas was created. They would be the ones to stop the violence. They would bring order to their people. They would fix everything.

At least, that was the way it was supposed to be.

Their first mistake, of course, was building a Council that consisted solely of Elite Demons. Certainly, these Demons were not as bloodthirsty and vicious as many of the others of their kind; but malice and torment had become their nature, so that even the members of this once great Council began to destroy one another, and in horrific ways, at that. Torture and mutilation were nothing to the Elite Demons, and it hardly made sense for demonkind to attempt to restore order through such beings.

It was these brutal killings that forced the Council to appoint a “regular” demon, Abathur, as one of their own. And as he thought these thoughts, he wondered how long it would be before they destroyed him, too.

When he joined the Council, he had made it an even dozen. And he had reveled in the mighty company by whom he was surrounded: Elite Demons, though cruel and evil beyond comprehension, were strong and powerful and shrewd; and these particular ones were among the greatest the world had ever seen. The first killing Abathur witnessed began as a simple argument between Burijas and Akhtya, and ended in Akhtya’s beheading. And the violence continued, despite the fact that there were no Elite Demons left who were not entirely immersed in the Dominion Wars.

And now there were four, remnants of a once-great council of Demons: the powerful Gandarewa, the vicious Buyasta, the cunning Zurvan, and Abathur himself. And he continued to marvel at the fact that he, being the only one who was not an Elite Demon, had not yet been destroyed. But at the same time, he recognized that a Council of four would never repair the damage of the Wars, and that more daevas would need to be found.

“There are no Elite Demons from which to choose any longer,” the others had argued. “From where shall we find anyone worthy?”

“From among other demons,” he suggested. “I am no Elite Demon, yet I was deemed worthy. Why could not there be others?”

They could not argue this point. Abathur had shown power and resilience comparable to any of their own, and a level-headedness that the daevas sorely needed. Perhaps demonkind could be saved after all...and perhaps it could save itself.

“But where do we begin looking?” Gandarewa wondered. “And how will we know if a demon is worthy?”

“Determining if a demon should become a daeva is easy enough, I should think,” said Zurvan.

“We test them,” Buyasta agreed.

“Of course.”

“I see...” said Gandarewa slowly. “Perhaps through a duel?”

“With each of us,” said Zurvan with a nod.

“And if we are ‘defeated’...” began Abathur.

“If they survive,” Buyasta corrected, grinning wickedly.

“Of course, we cannot just test any random demon,” Gandarewa pointed out.

“No...” Zurvan said thoughtfully. “Abathur, you are our resident ‘expert’, as it were. How would you suggest we select our candidates?”

Abathur considered this. “That, certainly, will not be an easy task. I think observation will be our best method. Not, of course, that we shall be able to watch every single demon who crosses our paths; but I believe here there must be a way.”

“What about a tournament?” offered Buyasta. “Have them compete against one another; then we can watch them destroy—-that is, we can choose the winners among them to test.”

Abathur could not help rolling his eyes. Even though Buyasta had caught himself—-barely—-he had made it perfectly clear that the bloodlust of his race was the greater part of his disposition. Abathur feared that this was an omen of disaster for the daevas, but he said nothing, lest he incur Buyasta’s wrath.

“That, I think, will do to be going on with,” said Gandarewa. “In the meanwhile, the Dominion Wars are still of utmost concern. Battles rage unchecked; and the more demons that perish, the more desperate the Generals become. Most are now taking demons unwillingly into their armies; Verethragna is taking boys as young as twelve.”

Abathur sighed and shook his head, and Zurvan said, “A boy of twelve can do a great deal of damage, properly trained.”

“That is not the point, Zurvan,” Abathur found the nerve to say. “Children should not be fighting in these Wars.”

~~~

There was a knock at the door. Stargush knew precisely who it was, and why they were there, which made her all the more anxious. She made sure the door was locked, and hurried up the stairs.

There was another, louder, knock. They were soldiers, fighters in the army of an Elite Demon. The wars had raged for so many years, and so much blood had been shed, that more soldiers were needed once again. At first, all fighters were volunteers, those who were willing to die for whoever they believed ought to be their ruler. As these fighters began to die in increasing numbers, the Elite Demons would send some of their high-ranking officials to drag unwilling males off to their preposterous wars.

Stargush had lost her three elder sons, as well as their father, in this way. And she was not about to let it happen again.

“Tawrich!” she hissed as she threw open his bedroom door, startling her young son with her blind panic. “Quick! Come with me!”

“What’s wrong?” the boy wondered, dazed.

“Just come! Quickly!” She fled back through the hall and down the stairs, her son hurrying along in her wake. She did not speak again until they had reached the darkest corner of the basement, where she performed a complicated spell which opened a concealed passage. From above their heads came the sound of furious pounding.

“Who are they, Mother?” Tawrich wondered.

“Soldiers,” she whispered hurriedly. “They’ve come looking for the men of the house. Now get in here, and do not make a sound until I’ve come for you!”

Tawrich did as he was told; Stargush sealed the passage and ran back up the stairs, arriving at the front door just in time to prevent it from being broken down.

“What do you want?” she asked sourly of the half-dozen heavily-armed soldiers attempting to force their way over the threshold.

“You know why we’re here,” sneered the apparent leader of the group.

“Well, you are wasting your time,” Stargush shot back at him. “Unless your ‘master’ is recruiting little girls now. But be warned: you’ve already taken all my men; you won’t be getting my daughters.”

The leader glanced up over Stargush’s shoulder and saw two young teenage girls cowering on the stairs behind her. He grimaced, then looked back at Stargush. “Wouldn’t mind if we searched the premises, would you?”

“As if I had a choice,” she muttered as she stepped back to allow them entry. The girls rushed down the stairs to their mother’s side as the soldiers began tearing open doors and turning over furniture. The elder of the girls said, “Mother...” but Stargush quickly hushed her.

After a thorough ransacking of the house, the soldiers left, but not before the commander told Stargush, “We’ll be back.”

“Don’t bother,” she said darkly. “Your ridiculous wars have taken from me the chance that I might provide you any more victims.”

Stargush made quite certain they had all gone before she returned to the cellar to release Tawrich from his hiding place. Once she had, he said, “They’re going to find me someday, Mother, aren’t they?”

“Not so long as I live,” she told him fiercely.

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thanks! if you like this one, you'll probably like 'the agas saga' too, if you haven't read that one yet. (yes, that was a shameless plug. :D)

 

******

 

As the Dominion Wars went on, and demons and Elves made their separate attempts at peaceful existence, another race of being found its way into the world, like and yet so unlike both Elves and demons...

 

“Look sharp, you maggots! The General’s on his way!”

A collective intake of breath went up from the ranks. When one served in the army of an Elite Demon, one merely hoped to survive one day to battle again the next; and most times a fighter’s fortune lay in the fact that the Generals never bothered themselves over the lowly foot soldiers. But in the army of the merciless Verethragna, one’s best hope was to pass under his penetrating gaze unnoticed.

As he swept through the ranks, surveying the forces he had amassed, with his first lieutenant hurrying along at his side, Verethragna smiled maliciously. There was no better General than he, and no better soldiers than these. True, his numbers were considerably smaller now than they had been before the battle at Grothdursh; but then, so were Apaosa’s.

“Apaosa’s forces are weakening,” said the lieutenant jogging alongside Verethragna. “His army is a third the size of yours, my lord.”

“Not enough,” said Verethragna shortly. “Send out another unit. Apaosa is our most dangerous opponent right now. If his troops cannot be swayed to our side, then they must be disposed of, thoroughly.”

“Yes, sir,” said the lieutenant. “But sir, what of the daevas?”

Verethragna snorted. “The Cowards, more like. Their inability to gather forces and unwillingness to fight does not pose a threat to me. Besides, they have gone from fifteen to four in less time than it took to defeat Atar’s army—-and one of the four is a commoner. They shall all destroy each other eventually; it is merely a matter of time. Do not trouble me with such trivial matters.”

“Yes, sir,” the lieutenant muttered again.

Verethragna stopped. At first he thought he must be mistaken; but there again: movement within the rigid ranks of his army. A pair of common demons, fighting or messing about or whatever they were doing—-did they think him a fool? An example, of course, would have to be made.

“You there!” he shouted. The two soldiers stopped their silent argument, but no one else in the entire company so much as batted an eyelash. There was utter silence and stillness for a long while. Finally Verethragna made his way back amongst the troops, who parted like the darkness when the light finds it, to stand before the cause of the disturbance. The soldiers surrounding them withdrew from them as though they carried a deadly poison. The pair of demons stared up in terror at their General, but neither dared to speak.

“So,” Verethragna drawled, “thought you would get away with it, did you? Though you could step out of line, and no one would notice? Well...you thought wrong, didn’t you?” He stepped back a few paces from the two demons, who cowered in fear, and addressed the entire unit. “The Lord Verethragna demands nothing short of perfection...unwavering focus...and total compliance. And when one fails in that...one must be prepared to face the consequences.”

One of the soldiers began to weep, but Verethragna did not notice it as he bellowed, “Annihilate!” A thunderous explosion rent the deathly silence hanging over the troops, and blinded the ones nearest, knocking many to the ground. When the dust and chaos settled, where the two fearful soldiers had stood was now a smoldering, bloodstained crater and a few unidentifiable body parts. The rest of the troops reformed ranks immediately, and were as still as if made of stone.

“Let this be a lesson to the rest of you,” announced the General, and he left it at that. No one moved or spoke.

Within moments of this, a second lieutenant came hurrying toward his commander, slightly out of breath. “My lord!” he gasped. “News from Grothdursh. Apaosa’s army is expanding. He is taking females now.”

Verethragna frowned. “Females? He must be getting desperate indeed. Still, we cannot afford to be complacent at this juncture. How do we counter this?”

“If I may, sir,” said the first lieutenant, “what of these new human creatures that have been seen crawling about the cities? They are not nearly as strong or powerful as demons, but their numbers are increasing at an alarming rate.”

“Which makes them highly expendable, my lord,” the second officer pointed out.

“Humans...” said Verethragna pensively. “Certainly they could be coerced to fight.” Then he laughed. “What choice would they have? And I daresay Apaosa has not thought of this yet. Have these humans any magic wielders among them?” Neither of his officers could answer this, but he waved a dismissive hand at his own question. “No matter. Magic does not win wars...as Apaosa will soon see...”

~~~

“...And they look like some demons—-you know, the strange kind, the ones that the Elves look like.”

“Have you seen them, Arnal?” Tawrich asked his older sister. The two young teenagers were sealed in the hidden passage beneath the house, waiting for the end of another raid by the Recruitment Officers. The armies of the Elite Demons had been so drastically reduced that they were now taking any who could fight, including the eldest of Stargush’s remaining children, her daughter Leeran. Now she had to hide not only her youngest son, but his other sister as well, who by Recruitment standards was certainly old enough to help their “cause”.

“No,” she said, “but Leeran has; she told me. But she says they’re mortal, like animals. And she says they have souls.”

“Souls? You mean like the Elves have?”

Arnal nodded. “It’s wild, isn’t it? The Elite Demons hate them, as much as they hate the Elves. But these others...they don’t have nearly the power of the Elves. Most of them don’t have any powers at all. And,” she dropped her voice to a dramatic whisper, “there are the illnesses.”

“Illnesses?” Tawrich repeated, also speaking in hushed tones.

“Diseases,” she went on, “tiny little creatures you can’t even see. You know how animals can get sick, and even die, and we haven’t even done anything to them? Same goes for them.”

Tawrich was fascinated. How was it that a creature who clearly had some common ancestry with Elves could be defeated by the same minuscule pests that could conquer mere beasts? “Did she say what they are called?”

“Men, I think.” She tutted impatiently. “How common, just to call yourselves ‘the race of men’. They will never last.”

“Indeed...” said Tawrich thoughtfully.

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i've read the Agas Saga before!! i read it before the site crashed, but i'm going to reread it. actually i started to yesterday, but then kinda forgot about it! sorry about that! i'll go check it out right now!

yay! can't wait for an udate!! and i didn't even realize you brought the daeva Tawrich into your story until now! wow, this is going to be very long and interesting! can't wait for more! and i will check out the Agas Saga! and i love the name for it too!

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Yay! Hurry up with those updates, kaz! XD jk Take your time. In the mean time I'll be off to a corner playing cards in the dark. ;)

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*copy and paste* into Words.

read it off-line ^^

 

Daeva_agas's artworks caught my attention back then and I was about to read this before the site sort of crashed.

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aww, thanks, everyone! :) i'm so glad you're all enjoying this; i love writing it!

 

 

******

 

The race of men, at first, had no direction of their own, and so they gravitated toward the established races for guidance. The Elves, fearing that Men would be turned to the ways of the terrible Elite Demons, did their best to aid and to protect mankind; but their numbers would defeat them again. Elite Demons seized their opportunity to recruit more fighters in their waning armies from this fledgeling race.

 

 

Outside the burning village of Trafstazg, an army was gathered, one fresh from battle, one that had grudgingly—-as far as its general was concerned—-had to retreat. Apaosa sighed heavily. He was tired. But he was also fully aware that if he was to win this war, he would have to continue to fight to the end, to push his troops to the limit, to do whatever it took to eliminate his most deadly opponent, the fierce and terrible Verethragna.

Of all the armies of all the Elite Demons still fighting these Wars, only those of Apaosa and Verethragna were consistently victorious, killing the other Generals and swallowing up their troops or destroying those who opposed them. But when these two mighty forces met, the battle always ended in a standstill, the troops diminished but not defeated.

The only trouble, Apaosa thought, was that for every soldier killed, another two would need to be found, or they would be no match for Verethragna, whose army was vastly larger than his own. He had thought recruiting females to fight would help his numbers, until this last battle, when he saw creatures in Verethragna’s army, the likes of which he had never seen before. What puzzled him most was why his enemy had taken these beings—-these Men—-for soldiers: they were smaller and weaker than demons, and most did not appear to have possession of magic at all. Yet they fought, as though their lives depended on it, which Apaosa was certain Verethragna had them believe. Apaosa knew he would have to do the same, before Verethragna had taken them all for his own.

Now, he thought, where to find them...

~~~

When the knock came at the door, Tawrich and Arnal both started. Their mother came flying down the stairs and said, “Quickly!” and the two followed her to the basement, knowing the routine perfectly. But when Stargush had opened the hidden chamber and ushered Arnal inside, Tawrich stopped.

“Why have they come again?” he said. “You gave them your last child five years ago, as far as they know. What are they here for now?”

Stargush gave him a sad yet determined look. “I am afraid you have just said it, my son. I have no more children for which to care.”

“Mother?” said Arnal, frightened, stepping back out of the chamber. “You cannot mean—-”

”I’m going,” said Tawrich forcefully.

“No!” his mother said angrily.

“I will not let them take you in my place.”

“And I will not let them take all that I have left in the world,” she said. “You are going to do as I say—-”

”I am not a child, Mother.”

“Nor am I,” said Arnal, joining her brother at his side, though her tone was a bit less confident. “And I agree with Tawrich. We cannot let them take you.”

Tawrich looked at her. “You are not going, either.”

“Oh, please,” Arnal groaned; but before another argument began, a crash came from above, signaling that the Recruitment Officers had broken down the door.

“Shock!” Stargush hissed. Both her children were blasted back a few feet and rendered unconscious. She quickly dragged them into the secret chamber and sealed it, whispering, “Forgive me, my children. And take care of each other.” She then straightened her dress and marched up the stairs, prepared for the fate she knew was hers, and hers alone.

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Many more lives, both demon and human, were spent in the Dominion Wars. And even though most demons had little if anything to do with it, Men came to believe all demons were as horrifically evil, cruel, and sadistic as Elite Demons. Men followed the examples of the other races, appointing their most powerful magic wielders to lead them, and eventually began to persecute demons, in the hope that the violence against themselves would stop.

In the early stages, Men did not pose much of a threat; but as their numbers and their strength increased, so did the random assault and often slaughter of many innocent demons. And even as the Elite Demons’ numbers decreased with their battles, and the daevas were beginning to contain the fighting, Men still continued to attack demons, choosing only those who would not or could not fight back, fearing retaliation...

 

 

Tawrich wandered the streets of Trafstazg wearily. The town had seen more than its share of the horrors of war, and was, by demon standards, a ghost town, little more than a shell of its former self. This, he hoped, would mean that the last of the battles had passed through here, and would soon be at an end. In the hundred years or so since his mother had gone to fight, Tawrich had done his best not to squander her sacrifice: to stay as far removed from battle as possible, and to keep watch over Arnal, the only family he had left. And now she had a family of her own, and he tried to consider this a mark of his success thus far.

The main trouble, he felt, was not the Eltie Demons or their Wars: combat was easy enough to avoid. But these humans—-these Men—-who were severely lacking in direction and leadership, were so easily swept up into the Armies; and those who weren’t went about attacking and even killing demons, and not merely the warmongering Elite Demons, as though the entire race was the cause of their suffering.

And they were crafty, too, creeping into villages in the dead of night, preying upon the meek and virtually powerless. If Men did not learn to control their tempers, he thought, or at least direct them at those who were truly to blame, then they were going to have a serious problem on their hands.

His wandering thought brought Tawrich directly to his own front door before he remembered to check on Arnal. He sighed. The town was awfully quiet; but he would not be doing his duty if he did not ensure that his sister and her family were safe. He turned back and made his way through the darkened streets to Arnal’s house, which was only a few blocks from his own.

The house was dark, which was not surprising, given the time of night. He tapped lightly on the door, to no answer. But the moment he placed his hand on the doorknob, he had the unsettling feeling that something was not right. He tried the door, but found it locked. He crept around the perimeter, and at the back of the house he found that the door to the cellar had been forced open. He leapt down through the open door and raced up into the house itself, which was nearly pitch-dark, except where the windows let in the flickering light of the high torches lining the street outside. As he made his way cautiously through the first floor, he stumbled over a few pieces of overturned furniture. When he reached the stairs to the second story, he flew up three at a time; the long corridor at the top was as dark as the rest of the house, and all the doors save the one at the very end of the hall were wide open. He glanced in each room to assess the damage, and at the third one, the sight pinned him back against the open door.

This was his nephew’s room. There was no disturbed furniture, no sign of a struggle whatever. The bed contained a small figure hidden entirely by bedclothes; but even through the gloom, the dark, shiny spot that had soaked much of the blanket was unmistakable. Tawrich turned away in despair, and was unable to move for several minutes. When he could finally drag himself away from his grief, he staggered further down the hall, and peered, almost unwillingly, into his sister’s bedroom.

There were signs of a great struggle in here, and in the midst of it was the boy’s father, also senselessly murdered. A brief scan of the room revealed only one other body, but it belonged to an adult human male. Tawrich growled in fury, then drew the long, curved sword which had once been his father’s and plunged it pointlessly yet brutally into the Man’s chest. Then he withdrew his weapon and left the room, leaning against the wall and sliding to the floor in misery. He yelled again and slammed his fist against the wall; and just after he did so, he heard a small, curious noise issue from behind the closed door to his left.

He rose slowly to his feet and approached the door which, if memory served him, hid a small closet. He carefully pulled the door open, and a large pile of old clothes on the floor gasped and slid further back into the shadows.

“Arnal?” said Tawrich quietly, both dazed and relieved, as he crouched down and pulled a few articles of clothing off the pile to reveal his sister’s face.

“Tawrich?” she answered weakly, and she launched herself forward into his arms, knocking him to the floor, and began to sob uncontrollably.

He gave her a few moments, then drew her away from him and asked, though he was already painfully certain of the answer, “What happened?”

She shook her head slowly, and continued to do so as she spoke in a small, anguished voice. “We never heard them coming. Men—-at least a dozen of them. Ushdun heard someone in the hall...he...he told me to hide...they broke down the door...” She began to weep again, making it difficult for her to speak. “I...snuck out...Ushdun dis-distracted them...I went to get Gazash...but he...he was...he was already—-” She broke off and wailed in agony, burying her head into Tawrich’s shoulder.

He patted her head consolingly, but suddenly felt strangely disconnected from everything around him. His blind rage at the Men who would murder a small child was both consuming and confounding all his senses. It was several moments before his mind returned to the scene, and he asked, “Why?”

Arnal sat back against the wall, staring at the floor and shaking her head once again. When she spoke, it was with cynicism and resentment. “Because we are demons. Because demons are evil, and Evil has no place in this world.”

“Is that what they said?” Tawrich muttered.

She nodded. “I know they saw me. They will come back for me. Not that it matters. I have nothing left to live for, anyway.”

“Arnal...” Tawrich began, but he could think of nothing to say that would ease her pain. He shook his head. “Forgive me.”

She looked up at him, but now he was gazing at the floor, apparently holding back tears. “I should have been here. To protect you. I should have been here to stop them.”

“Oh, Tawrich,” she said gently, taking his hand in hers. “None of this was of your making. And they would have killed you, too.”

“What did they look like?” he said suddenly. “Can you recall?”

“Vaguely,” she replied morosely. “Whatever for?”

“Because I am going to find them,” he said savagely, “and make them pay.”

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yeah...poor tawrich...oh, man, cherry, just wait till...oops. i shouldn't have said that. nevermind. ;)

 

******

 

The Dominion Wars continued. The daevas moved more and more demons—-and even humans—-out of harm’s way, to places the Generals would not go, and placed powerful spells and soldiers of their own around the innocent. But some of the more powerful and devious Generals still somehow managed to expand their armies, for the sole purpose of destroying one another. This forced the daevas not only to forgo their search for new demons to add to their own ranks, but also to remain nearly constantly in council, attempting to determine how to preserve their race, receiving their news by messenger rather than in person.

“Karshipta has been destroyed by Apaosa’s forces,” reported Abathur to the other daevas after one such messenger had given him the word.

“And Sraosa was killed by his own troops yesterday,” Zurvan told them.

“Perhaps all we need do now is wait until the Generals all have eliminated one another,” said Buyasta, sighing in a bored sort of way.

Gandarewa shook his head. “I know you would prefer to be in the midst of it, Buyasta,” he said. “So would I. But think on this: if we allow the Generals to destroy the race of demons, who takes over control of the world? Elves. And Men.”

“And we do not want that,” Zurvan growled darkly.

“Buyasta does have a point, however,” Abathur agreed. “Each of the Generals is bound and determined to be the last remaining. If we can manage to keep our people safe from the Wars—-”

”But how much longer can we do that?” said Zurvan. “No, there must be another way to stop the Generals from—-”

He was cut short by a sound like thunder just outside the door to the chamber where they sat. They all stood up from their chairs and turned toward the sound, tensing as though for a fight. A harsh voice came from the other side of the door, and then an explosion blasted it off the hinges, and a small batallion of soldiers began forcing their way through the narrow doorway, most with shields raised and swords at the ready. The daevas were quick to note that all the soldiers’ armor bore the same symbol: a snake-like dagger upon a Demonish “V”, the sign of Verethragna. The apparent leader of the troops shouted something unintelligible; his men replied in kind and rushed forward swinging.

“Motion Freeze!” Zurvan shouted, and every one of the soldiers was stilled in his tracks.

“Is this the best he could do?” Gandarewa said with disdain, drawing a pair of long, heavy swords he kept strapped to his back.

Abathur looked around, almost sadly. These demons were young...inexperienced...and most had probably been taken into this army against their wills. He shook his head, but could think of no words to express the regret he felt at what he knew would be their fates.

Buyasta leapt up onto the round table in the center of the room. “Release them, Zurvan. Let us see what their precious General has taught them.”

Zurvan released the spell, and the soldiers, after a moment of bewilderment, charged forward again on their commander’s orders. Buyasta yelled, “Detonate!” and a dozen or so soldiers nearest him were enveloped in a bloodred light and then exploded, sending body parts flying all over the room. The troops, trained not to feel remorse for their fallen comrades, leapt over the bodies and continued in their assault, slicing with their broadswords at any part of a daeva they could reach. Gandarewa tore through half a dozen demons without so much as a pause, impaling three upon each of his swords in succession.

“Reality Shift!” said Zurvan. The four soldiers nearest him immediately collapsed to the floor, shrieking and writhing in pain as their bodies were bent and twisted and contorted in agonizingly unnatural ways. Even over the din of battle, Abathur, who was attempting to subdue the demons without killing them, could hear the sickening crack of bones breaking from Zurvan’s spell. It distracted him long enough to receive a sword to the gut; he staggered back and choked, “Scald!” A jet of boiling water shot from his outstretched hands, striking the one who had attacked him and several others around him and sent them reeling backward, angry red blotches and blisters covering any skin they had exposed.

By then, Gandarewa had decapitated another pair of soldiers, and dropped many more to the floor with various injuries ranging from wide gashes across the chest to severed arms. Buyasta, still on the table and now joined there by five of the braver troops, said, “Shredder,” with a fiendish grin. The soldiers were lifted off their feet, and began to spin at a dizzying pace, becoming a blinding blur of black, and then red, as the walls were sprayed with blood. When the whirlwind stopped, the only trace that they had ever existed was the blood which soaked the room and many of the other soldiers. Zurvan was conjuring enormous balls of fire, filling the room with screaming soldiers engulfed in flame. Abathur, having had enough, Scalded the demons nearest him before they could attack, then bellowed, “Tsunami!” At once, a devastating tidal wave crashed through the room, extinguishing the flames and sweeping the bodies of the dead through the hole it made in the back wall.

In the relative calm the wave left in its wake, the daevas staggered to their feet and scanned the room for survivors. Only two of the soildiers had lived, and as Gandarewa drove a sword deep into the chest of one, Buyasta and Zurvan dragged the other to his feet.

“Today is your lucky day, boy,” Buyasta growled at the reeling, terrified demon. “Last one standing gets to live.”

“Last one standing returns to his General,” Zurvan corrected. He took the demon by the throat. “You will report everything that happened here. And you will give him this message: the daevas are not to be trifled with. Understood?”

Understood?” Buyasta repeated forcefully, giving the soldier a hard fist to the back when he hesitated. The soldier nodded quickly. The two daevas then released him, and Buyasta shoved him out the door.

“I have to wonder,” Gandarewa mused as he cleaned his sword with a casual air, “if the point of this was actually to attempt to destroy us, or to see whether we could be caught by surprise.”

“Verethragna knows us better than that by now,” said Zurvan.

“Perhaps he is trying to draw us out,” offered Buyasta, kicking aside the heads Gandarewa had severed.

Zurvan shook his head. “I don’t know. Whatever the reason, he is going to have to do better than this.”

“Most definitely,” Gandarewa agreed.

“What I have to wonder, is why none of them bothered to use magic,” Zurvan said thoughtfully.

“Well, that isn’t how Verethragna does things, is it?” said Buyasta. “Can’t have his own men outshine him. They might start to think they are better than he.”

Abathur sighed and shook his head, losing track of the conversation after that. He had known it would be like this—-after all, daevas though they were, his companions were still Elite Demons—-but it never made it easier to witness it. And a small part of him sincerely hoped that they would find new daevas soon, if only so that rationality and good sense would no longer be outnumbered by such reckless hate.

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(lol if you haven't read my comment in Agas Saga story)

 

Update! Update! Update! :D lol (okay, that's annoying XD)

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Ah, yes... Shredder. *shudder* You know, these demons are distrubingly comfortable with blood and guts and dismembered heads. :)

 

oh man, cherry, just wait til...

 

You know, kaz, you're going to have to give me a little bit more than that! At least tell me who you're going to torture. :lol:

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dis: i still don't even have all the stuff up from the old site yet! give me a break! :lol: (but on the plus side, once i DO have that taken care of, i do, in fact, have a new chapter! yay! XD)

 

cherry:

these demons are distrubingly comfortable with blood and guts and dismembered heads
that's the idea. ;)

and the real question is, who am i NOT going to torture?...*rubs hands together in a diabolical way*

 

******

 

Tawrich walked alongside his companions in silence. He was vaguely aware of the other two having some sort of debate, but was not really listening, lost in his own thoughts. He had promised Arnal that he would protect her and her family. And when those wretched Men had killed her family, Tawrich promised his sister that he would never let anything happen to her. But he did. The humans found her, too, and he could not stop them. And now, after twenty years of searching fruitlessly for those Men, Tawrich felt he was doomed to failure.

But Gortag and Maalaath understood. Well, Gortag did, at least; not terribly surprising, considering that he was seeking the very same humans. Maalaath seemed merely to like to have powerful friends. Still, Tawrich was not sure what he, or really any of them, would have done these past twenty years if they had had to go it alone.

“Who do these humans—-these Men—-think they are?” Tawrich demanded of no one in particular, when there was a lapse in the conversation. “Killing random demons for no reason...and children besides.”

“They’re going to be sorry when they run across us,” Gortag growled darkly.

“You know what the problem is,” said Maalaath matter-of-factly. He glanced around them furtively, then lowered his voice. “The Wars. They are recruiting humans now.”

“We know that, Maalaath. How is that any concern of ours?” retorted Gortag. “That is entirely the Elite Demons’ doing. So take it out on them.”

“But that’s it, isn’t it?” reasoned Tawrich resignedly. “Most demons are afraid of the Elite. Why shouldn’t humans be?”

“So the solution is to kill innocents to take out their frustrations?” said Gortag, exasperated. “We don’t do that.”

“Which is why we are going to find the Men who killed Arnal and Zamira,” Tawrich assured him, “and make them suffer.”

“And the rest of mankind along with them,” Gortag agreed.

“No, not all of them,” said Maalaath. “Then we will be no better than they.”

Tawrich sighed. “Of course not all of them, Maalaath. We do not harm the innocent. Do we, Gortag?” Gortag muttered something incoherent, but did not argue. Silence came between them, though it was not long before they were stopped in their trek by a group of armored human males, standing in a tight conspiratorial circle.

“Demons!”

When the human shouted, his half-dozen comrades immediately drew their weapons, rushing forward to attack the three demons who were slowly approaching them.

“Why do they always immediately rush at us with murderous intent?” sighed Tawrich wearily. “Why does violence always have to be the answer?”

“Who cares?” muttered Gortag. “Besides, these could be the ones.”

“Are you sure, Gortag?” said Maalaath.

Gortag shrugged. “Doesn’t really matter, does it, Maalaath?” He turned to Tawrich and said, “They do outnumber us more than two to one. I think we ought to start them out with something...unpleasant. What do you think, Tawrich?”

Tawrich grinned and nodded, then turned calmly to the advancing wall of flesh and swords and said, “Poison.”

Three of the humans stopped in their tracks, turning a pale shade of green. Two of them dropped to their knees, and the third fell down on all fours; all began to retch violently, as the others watched in bemused panic. Before the other Men recovered from the shock, Gortag shouted, “Scourge!” The weapons were ripped from the humans’ hands as with an unseen whip, and they howled in pain.

“You’ll have to teach me that one,” Tawrich joked.

One of the Men that Tawrich had Poisoned had collapsed to the ground, shivering and breathing rapidly; the other two, clearly made of stronger stuff than that, were back on their feet and charging at Tawrich swinging their swords forcefully. Tawrich drew his own sword and defended himself easily, while to his left Gortag had produced his long axe and was making ready to slice through any human who dared come near him.

The humans who had been Scourged had recovered their weapons, and had now paired off, two to attack Gortag and two for Maalaath. Gortag laughed as he quickly sent both his enemies to the ground, unarmed and wounded. Maalaath carried no weapon, relying instead on his fire spells; the human warriors were immediately surrrounded by a ring of intense flames. Tawrich’s foes were down again, just in time for him to see Gortag’s careless laughter and the two Men regaining their composure; before they struck, Tawrich cried, “Plague!”

At once, large boils covered in a thick white crust began to erupt all over their skin, and beneath the boils the skin gradually turned from the natural flesh color to red and then to black. One of the Men began to cough convulsively, until each cough produced a large amount of thick, dark blood. The boils began to burst, secreting a thick yellow-green substance which coated the humans’ armor and weapons, and even the Men nearest them. The coughing Man doubled over, while the other fell to his knees, moaning in agony and beginning to cough himself. Gortag pushed them both to the ground and stood over them, sneering maliciously.

“That doesn’t look like very much fun,” he said with mock sympathy. Tawrich came and stood opposite him, peering down at the humans searchingly. One of them tried to speak, but Gortag kicked him in the stomach, and said, “Do not act as though you don’t deserve it. Enjoy killing women and children, do you?”

The humans looked up at the demons standing over them in terror and, Tawrich noted, utter confusion. Gortag went to strike one of the Men, but Tawrich stayed his hand.

“These are not the ones,” he told Gortag.

Gortag said, “And?” He moved to strike again.

By then, Maalaath had approached as well, and also tried to hold Gortag back. “No more,” he muttered.

“They attacked us first!” Gortag roared.

“Be that as it may, they are not the ones for whom we are looking,” said Tawrich firmly. “Maalaath is right; let them go.”

“Damn you and your restraint!” Gortag spat resentfully at Tawrich. He then bent over one of the Men and said, “Consider yourselves extremely fortunate, scum.”

“Let’s go,” Maalaath said quietly.

The demons departed the scene, leaving the humans more than a bit worse for wear, but nonetheless still living. After a few moments of silent walking, Gortag turned to Tawrich and said, “I must admit, I am a bit disappointed. You said you had a new spell, and I was hoping to see it.”

“Ah, yes,” Tawrich replied. “Virus. It is a difficult one, and not nearly as pleasant as Plague. But that one I am saving.”

“Saving?” Maalaath repeated.

Tawrich nodded. “For the bastards who killed my sister.”

~~~

Abathur nodded approvingly to himself. He had happened upon the scene, but decided to stand back and watch, to see how these young demons handled themselves. One had a knack for fire spells, but was far too cowardly. The second reminded him a bit of Buyasta, which, he felt, was certainly not the best thing for the daevas. But the third was the one who impressed him the most; this one could inflict disease upon humans, a gift he had never seen, nor thought possible. Not only did this indicate a brilliant mind, but he was quite sure Gandarewa, Buyasta, and especially Zurvan would be nothing short of delighted by it. And apart from that, the demon had shown restraint, which was something the other daevas lacked on a grand scale.

Still, it was too soon. This demon was young. Abathur would have to keep an eye on him, to see how the boy’s skills developed. And of course he would have to bring this to the other daevas’ attentions. But perhaps, he thought, the long search was over at last.

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And apart from that, the demon had shown restraint, which was something the other daevas lacked on a grand scale.

 

Great line, kaz. Actually, there are so many great lines in here. But I do love that one.

 

Looking forward to a new chapter! *yay* ;)

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Ack! :Tongue: >.<

“Plague!”

At once, large boils covered in a thick white crust began to erupt all over their skin, and beneath the boils the skin gradually turned from the natural flesh color to red and then to black. One of the Men began to cough convulsively, until each cough produced a large amount of thick, dark blood. The boils began to burst, secreting a thick yellow-green substance which coated the humans’ armor and weapons, and even the Men nearest them.

 

Tarwich's spells always make my skin crawl. XP Shouldn't have read this after I ate. lol

 

Nice! I'm eagerly awaiting the new chap, kaz! :blink:

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cherrywine: thanks! :)

 

dis: hey, you had your warning before the site went down. :evil: and get the jam ready for this next one...

 

******

 

The city of Grothdursh was one of the largest in all the world. On any given day, the streets were alive with activity, filled with demons rushing about in all directions, each on their own business. Buildings appeared to scrape the sky itself, strange beasts drew carts along the wide roads, and even the race of Men had found a place for themselves, a small neighborhood within Grothdursh to call their own.

But no more.

Now, the city was in utter ruin. The Elite Demons and their wars had ravaged most of the villages and countryside, and even the great city of Grothdursh had not escaped their malice. The tall towers and dwellings had been assailed, gutted, or destroyed. Many of the demons, and nearly all the humans, who once dwelt or did their business in the city had been recruited into the armies, or killed in the crossfire of battle. Grothdursh was a shadow of its former self, a near-empty collection of the skeletal remnants of a once bustling metropolis.

Tawrich knew they were in bad shape. Gortag had been dealt a heavy blow as the three of them were seeking cover from Apaosa’s army in the ruined city, and was lying near death; indeed, Tawrich felt only Gortag’s maniacal need for vengeance was keeping his friend alive. Maalaath now feared to leave the building where they had taken refuge, leaving Tawrich to search the city himself for the necessities. But Tawrich himself was in little condition to wander these dangerous streets alone: his right arm was broken, as were several of his ribs. Still, he knew that if the three of them were going to survive, he was the one who would have to take the initiative.

As he slowly but steadily made his way back to their makeshift dwelling, Tawrich had the unsettling feeling that he was being followed. He did his best to keep to the shadows of the deserted back-alleys, but as there was so little movement around him, he knew it would not be long before his pursuer caught up with him. It was a demon—-that much he knew—-and an extremely powerful one at that. But something told him that this was no Elite Demon...so why would the demon be following him?

He decided to find out.

He stopped walking, and waited for the echoing footsteps to subside. When they didn’t, he quickly drew his sword, and then turned in their direction and shouted, “Scourge!” There was a small gasp of pain, or perhaps merely surprise, and then the hunter revealed himself. Tawrich did not recognize the tall, thin demon before him, but he had been right about one thing: he sensed tremendous power, far greater than his own. But this could not be an Elite Demon, because he, Tawrich, would already be dead. Tawrich watched warily as the demon drew back his sleeve to reveal a raw, shining whip mark: the effect of Tawrich’s spell, which Gortag had only taught him days before.

“Not bad,” the demon said slowly, “being injured as you are. Might I offer some assistance?”

“I am fine,” Tawrich said at once. “I do not need any assistance, especially from someone who has been stalking me for the past six blocks.”

“Ah,” replied the demon in comprehension. “Of course. I suppose I ought to explain myself. My name is Abathur, and I am a daeva.”

Tawrich looked him over, a bit puzzled. He knew all about the daevas, or their purpose and their aims, anyway. But something did not seem right about this one.

“But...you are not...are you...I thought only Elite Demons could become daevas,” Tawrich managed at last.

“A common misconception,” Abathur told him. “The original daevas were made up solely of Elite Demons, and desired only other Elite Demons to join them. But as I am sure you well know, the numbers of the Elite have...dwindled. Quite dramatically. In truth, it is no longer feasible for the daevas to make themselves so exclusive.”

So Tawrich had been right about that, as well: this Abathur wasn’t an Elite Demon. And yet he had managed to become a daeva...was it possible, Tawrich wondered, that the tyranny of the Elite Demons was drawing to a close? “So...what exactly does any of this have to do with me?”

“To the point, then,” said Abathur with a nod. He noted that the boy winced as he sheathed his sword, and asked once again, “Are you certain you would not like some assistance with your injuries?” The young demon shook his head, and Abathur continued, “First, what may I call you?”

“Tawrich.”

“Tawrich, we—-that is, the daevas—-have been...let us call it ‘keeping an eye’ on you for some time. Please, do not be alarmed by this. We feel you may be exactly what we have been seeking.”

“Seeking?” Tawrich repeated blankly.

“As the Elite have become scarce, so have the daevas. We recognize the demon race’s desperate need for some semblance of order, and as such we are looking for ‘non-Elite’ demons to appoint alongside us as daevas. We would like to make you one of us.”

Tawrich narrowed his eyes. “And what would I have to do to become a daeva?”

“Face each one of us in a duel,” Abathur explained, “but that would not be for some time. You would have to be trained first, of course.”

“I see,” Tawrich said thoughtfully. He had to wonder what the daevas could possibly have seen in him to find him suitable to help them regain and maintain order amongst all of demonkind. But his curiosity lasted very briefly; his thoughts wandered back to his friends, and to the Men they sought, and his decision was made.

“I appreciate your...inexplicable faith in me,” he told Abathur with a slight bow of his head, “but I am afraid I must respectfully decline. There are...affairs to which I need to attend, for which training to be a daeva would, unfortunately, leave no room.” He nodded once more, then swept off past the daeva without a look back.

Abathur sighed. He had had a feeling the young demon would be difficult to convince, but a small part of him had hoped it would be easier than he imagined. Still, as long as they had waited to find just the right demon, what was a little longer?...

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Something was not right.

Though his army was vast beyond measure, Verethragna could still sense a tiny ripple of dissention among the ranks, and it made him uneasy. Normally he would find the culprits and make an example of them. But this time, he could not determine precisely who was at fault, which was what unnerved him so. Verethragna had prided himself on the fact that his soldiers felt nothing except undying loyalty to their commander; yet clearly there were a few who were getting disturbing ideas into their heads, ideas like independence and free will.

Something would have to be done about them. He was going to make certain that this terrible virus did not spread. And he knew that most—-nearly all—-of his troops would fall directly back into line.

But not all of them.

Barash had served in this army for years, because he had had no choice. He had been sent with his previous unit on many dangerous missions, the last proving to be the most perilous. It was merely by a lucky chance that he had survived it, had been the last one standing, as all around him he watched his comrades fall at the hands of the daevas. The only reason he had survived, he recalled bitterly, was to deliver the news to the General of what had transpired. And what had Verethragna done then? Commended him for having managed to live through the ordeal? No. He had punished Barash severely, leaving disfiguring scars on his face and both his arms, for not staying to destroy the daevas.

As the General passed through his current unit, peering down at each soldier as though attempting to read his mind, Barash stood at attention, rigid and impassive. But his mind was racing. What was the point of it all? Verethragna did not permit his troops to use magic, which, despite the General’s beliefs, always put them at a tremendous disadvantage, as Barash had tried to make glaringly apparent after their battle with the daevas. Wave after wave of Verethragna’s soldiers marched blindly off into battle, many of them never to return: men with families, children—-something to which to go home. And the women, and the humans: what was the purpose of making them fight? Not that Barash cared much for humans; but all the same, didn’t the Elite Demons realize the resentment they were breeding amongst their own race and the race of Men? And what would be the consequences of that?

Verethragna swept by Barash with only the briefest pause. He remembered the boy well: the one the daevas had left alive in mockery of his efforts. But he had taught that boy a lesson for not carrying out his orders. No, thought Verethragna, here was not one who would dare to cross him again.

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wow! hehe i'm lonelyAngel.... everybodys posting stuff on here so i just thought that i'd just look around here! and look what i found1 If anybody ever needs help tell me! nice to meet you anyways! byebye for now!

 

hehe ~LonelyAngel~

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(nice to meet you too, lonely angel, but please don't post in stories unless you'd like to comment on the actual story. thanks!)

 

******

 

A vicious bolt of lightning rent the night sky, bringing with it a crash of thunder that shook the earth to its roots. Enormous balls of fire rained down upon the streets, the buildings, the homes, devouring in flame all they touched. The shrieks of evil winged creatures filled the air as they swooped down in an attack upon the townspeople—-or what remained of them. Thousands of foot soldiers stormed through the streets, destroying everything in their path.

The final assault on the city of Grothdursh had begun.

Citizens ran, screaming in terror, from the forces of Verethragna from the east and south, and Apaosa’s troops from the western end of the city. Most of the soldiers had no real clear idea of what they were doing or why they were doing it, only that their respective Generals had ordered it, and that it was death not to comply. The armies each had one—-and the same—-objective: to annihilate their opposition. Not a single soldier should be left standing, no matter what it took.

Civilians were expendable.

A fireball struck a tall, mostly gutted building, and consumed the top three floors almost instantly. The force of the strike shook the building to its foundation, and fiery debris from the upper floors showered down upon the lower ones. It seemed the only serviceably stable part of the building that remained was the basement.

And in this basement, three demons were crouched in waiting.

Tawrich looked at his friends. Gortag had recovered, for the most part, from his mortal wounds, and his fanatical rage was stronger than ever. Maalaath had remained unharmed, but his fear had increased so dramatically that it was amazing that he was still standing under its weight. Tawrich’s bones had healed, as well; but as a second fireball smashed into the side of the building and sent half the ceiling crashing down around them, he began to wonder if it had all been in vain. They had survived a lot, it was true, but this...this truly did seem to be the end of the road.

“Well?” growled Gortag. “We aren’t just going to sit around here and wait for them to come to us, are we?”

“But they aren’t looking for us,” said Maalaath with a hint of a whine in his voice. “Are they, Tawrich?”

Tawrich shook his head. “But that does not mean they will not strike if we happen to be in their way.”

“Right,” said Gortag. “So again, what are we waiting for? Let’s get out there!”

“No,” said Tawrich firmly. “First of all, Gortag, you, for all intents and purposes, are still healing. Second, we have no stake in this war, so it would be nothing short of foolish to enter into it. We still have shelter, at least until the building collapses; let us not tempt Fate unless we are forced otherwise.”

Hundreds of footsteps thundered by on the street outside, shaking loose the few remaining pieces of ceiling over their heads. There was shouting, a bit of screaming, and then a lightning bolt struck the building, and what little remained of it fell down into the basement around the demons within, knocking them all to the ground. Gortag staggered to his feet.

“That does it. I am through hiding.”

Tawrich shouted after him as Gortag bounded up the fragments of stone steps that led to the ground level, then groaned and followed him up and outside. Maalaath hesitated, then hurried up the steps behind his friends.

The only way out of the wreckage was through a doorway that led to an alley beside the building. The three stood back, watching as the soldiers marched on without a glance in their direction. Gortag started, but Tawrich pulled him back.

“What are your intentions, exactly, Gortag?” he asked quietly. Before Gortag could respond, Tawrich went on, “Because we are, as I recall, on a mission of our own, are we not? It would not do for you to get yourself killed before we have found the humans.”

“What makes you think they are not in there?” Gortag returned, waving his hand at the army passing them by.

“Tawrich is right,” said Maalaath. “Let us just wait until they have gone, and then get out of here.”

Gortag relented, and the three of them stood in the alley until the soldiers had passed out of sight before venturing out into the relative yet eerie calm the troops had left in their wake. Gortag ran ahead of the other two and turned a corner at the end of the street. There was a great deal of shouting, a flash of bright red light, and then a second battalion of troops came storming around the corner and down the street, directly at the place where Tawrich and Maalaath stood. Maalaath whimpered and then fled without a look back. Tawrich, with no time to ponder what was happening with his friends, ran back to the alley and watched as hundreds more soldiers poured by him. He hated himself for not going to Gortag’s aid; but he also knew it would have been useless to try to get by the army unchallenged.

As the last of the soldiers passed, Tawrich made to leave his hiding spot and find Gortag, but was stopped in his tracks as one of the last of the troops entered the shadows of the alley just ahead of him. Tawrich yelled, “Scourge!” There was a gasp of pain, and the sound of metal hitting the ground. The soldier stepped closer, out of the shadows, rubbing his right forearm.

“I mean you no harm, citizen,” the soldier told Tawrich. Tawrich looked him over—-the vicious scars, the battered armor, the air of defeat and weariness about him—-and decided that most likely, he meant it.

“What is it you want from me, then?” Tawrich asked him.

The soldier sighed. “To apologize, I suppose. The demon who ‘menaced’ us back there: was he a friend of yours?”

Was. The soldier had used the past tense. Tawrich had suspected as much, but he was still saddened to hear it. He nodded slowly, then shut his eyes and turned away, indicating that no further words need be said on the matter.

“I am sorry,” the soldier said quietly. “While I am not permitted to speak against the General, it ought to be known that many of his men—-the ones in my unit, at least—-do not take actions of their own choosing.”

“I do not doubt it,” muttered Tawrich. He took a deep breath and released it. “I am Tawrich.”

The soldier nodded. “Barash.”

“You do not seem terribly pleased with your arrangement,” Tawrich noted.

Barash shrugged. “I do not have much choice otherwise. Besides, one demon cannot change the course of war.”

“Are there no others who feel this way as well?”

“None who matter,” Barash laughed darkly. Then he sighed again. “As things now stand, unless the Generals destroy each other, the only ones with the power to stop them are the daevas.”

“The daevas...” said Tawrich thoughtfully. “Can they really?”

Barash nodded. “I believe it. I have seen what they can do.” Then he shuddered. “I have to get back before my absence is noticed. I am sorry for your loss.” He nodded again, then turned and went back to the street, only pausing to pick up his sword on the way.

Tawrich watched the soldier curiously. Whatever his motivations, one thing was clear: he did not agree with these wars any more than Tawrich did. Tawrich pondered what Barash had said about the daevas, and decided that perhaps he would put a bit more thought into their offer to him.

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o.0 Whoa, kaz, I don't remember reading this last chapter? Maybe it was up when the site crashed...Are we getting close to an update? lol :D

 

Oh, and I thought this was a cool name with all the As-- "Maalaath" :laughing:...Anyhoo, quite bloody. How do you do it, I mean write about war? It's so sad but you write it so well. :o

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