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kaz

From the Beginning - UPDATED - 11 August 08

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cherry: thanks! i'll let barash know you're rooting for him. ;)

 

dis: that last chapter was indeed up before the site crashed. this one was, too. but, good news, after that there'll be brand-spanking-new one! yay!

i'm glad you liked the name, too. :lol: obviously i did that on purpose. actually, a lot of the names i came up with (the ones from the black speech, anyway) i did on purpose. gortag, for instance. and baalak (but you already knew about that one XD).

and thanks! i guess i just read/watch a lot of stuff on imaginary wars. :roll:

 

bryan_pasa: thanks! :)

 

******

 

Years passed. The Dominion Wars continued, though the battles became fewer and further between as the Elite Demons leading the armies were being destroyed one by one. While the demons, led by the daevas, began their attempts to rebuild the cities ravaged by war, the race of Men began to multiply and to grow in strength and power. The elder generations passed on their prejudices against all of demonkind to their offspring; and as their race became more sophisticated and organized, they began to gather into large, heavily-armed groups, flush out the weaker demons who had gone into hiding from the Elite, and drive them into the mountains or to deep places underground, sealing the demons inside with thier dangerously developing skills in magic.

The daevas tried to protect their people, but they found it increasingly difficult to do so, with their number stalled at four, and with the threat of demon extinction coming from both the fear and hatred of the race of Men, and the senseless, abominable violence of the Elite. Many demons were too frightened for their own and their families' safety to fight back.

But not all were...

 

 

His family was gone. His friends were dead. His life was in utter shambles.

Tawrich had just about given up hope. It had been so many years, and he was no nearer to finding the humans who had killed his sister than when he’d begun. It was almost ironic: the thing that made these Men so vulnerable—-their mortality—-was the very thing that prevented Tawrich from exacting his revenge. These Men were most likely very elderly by now, if they even still lived; so how was he to find them at all?

The worst part, of course, was that voice in the back of his mind that kept telling him not to kill every human he came across. He tried to argue with himself, “Why not?” But he would always remind himself that if he did, he was no better than they were. So he resigned himself to seek, to question...perhaps to torment a bit...but never to murder. Not without cause...

It struck him without warning: a group of armored, weapon-toting humans, sitting around a large fire, bragging to each other about how many demons they’d killed or forced into hiding. He was used to this sort of behavior, but this time was different. The Man speaking as he approached them wore around his neck a silver pendant, crescent-shaped and bearing Demonish characters. Fury welled up inside Tawrich like boiling magma upon the sight; for he quite clearly recalled the day his father had wrought that pendant and given it to his sister Arnal. He fought to keep his anger in check as he neared the ring of Men.

“You’re awfully bold to be approaching us, demon,” said the pendant-wearer derisively, as he and his companions rose and drew their weapons.

“And you are awfully bold to be speaking to me in that manner,” Tawrich replied calmly, “considering that you know nothing about me.”

“You’re a demon,” the Man snickered, and his companions followed suit. “What else is there to know?”

Men’s arrogance never ceased to astound and perplex Tawrich. He surveyed the motley group of humans for a moment, weighing his odds; none of them spoke, or even moved. Finally Tawrich asked the Man who had spoken, “I’m curious, human: How came you by that pendant?”

“It was my grandfather’s,” he replied with a glance down. “Not that that’s any of your business.”

“You would think that,” Tawrich returned. “But did he ever tell you where he got it?” The Man, confused, did not respond. “I believe I can solve that mystery for you. He stole it from my sister, when he killed her.”

The Man did not appear to know how to react. Finally he settled on a smirk, and said, “Should I care?”

“You might consider it,” Tawrich said quietly, “because I have sworn to avenge the deaths of my sister and her family. And as I am fairly certain I shall not find your miserable grandfather, I intend to begin with you.”

The Man stepped back in alarm and pointed his sword at Tawrich’s throat. The other Men raised their weapons. Then, to their horror, Tawrich smiled.

Virus,” he said softly.

The Man before him shrieked in pain and dropped his sword with a loud clatter at Tawrich’s feet. He fell to his knees, screaming; but at first, his comrades stood frozen, unsure of what was happening to him. Then, as he collapsed to the ground and lay wailing in a fetal position, they saw the cause of his suffering: the flesh of his face and hands—-and presumably the skin they could not see beneath the armor—-was being eaten away by some unseen and terrifying thing. Flesh dissolved into raw, red muscle, and then to bone; the Men who dared to continue watching were transfixed, horrified. The screaming finally stopped, and all that remained of the cursed Man was a bloody skeleton in human clothes and armor. Tawrich reached down and removed his sister’s necklace from the dead Man’s neck, then stood up and addressed the others.

“My original intention was to destroy the lot of you. But I have since decided against this, for several reasons. The first is that I—-unfortunately—-have no proof that any among you are the ones upon whom I seek vengeance. And I will not stoop to your level. The second reason is that if I killed you, then you would not be able to give my message to your brethren: the violence you perpetrate against the innocent shall not go unnoticed...or unpunished."

The Men looked at each other for the briefest moment before quickly collecting themselves and retreating as far as possible from the fearsome demon and his victim. Tawrich watched them go, and then looked down at the Man he’d cursed. His grim satisfaction slowly turned to resigned defeat, and he sighed heavily. There had to be a better way. He just wished he knew what it was.

 

Zurvan grinned, nodding to himself. He was, admittedly, disappointed that the young demon hadn’t done away with all the pathetic humans; but the way he had disposed of the one nearly made up for that entirely. Perhaps, he thought, Abathur had been right about this one.

Tawrich looked up quickly when he noticed the demon coming toward him, and he tensed: this, he could tell, was one of the Elite; and it was never a good thing to be approached by an Elite Demon. The Demon, however, sensed Tawrich’s apprehension, and put up his hands as if in surrender.

“I mean you no harm, boy,” said the Demon. “You are, unless I am much mistaken, Tawrich?” Tawrich nodded, but did not speak. “Abathur has told us about you.”

“Abathur...” Tawrich said, as the memory swam to the front of his mind. “Then...you are one of the daevas?”

The Demon nodded. “Zurvan, I am called. And I must say, that spell of yours...Virus, did you call it?...Very impressive. Create it yourself, did you?”

Tawrich nodded and looked away. “Think I overdid it, though,” he muttered.

“Nonsense!” Zurvan assured him. “It was quite brilliant. And you did show a tremendous amount of restraint back there; I doubt I could have done so.”

Tawrich shook his head and sighed. “Not enough.” After a slight pause, he said, “The daeva Abathur asked me to consider becoming one.” Zurvan nodded again, and Tawrich went on, “I cannot help but wonder what it is that makes me stand out amongst all the other demons that you have seen over the years.”

“Your skills, for one,” Zurvan told him. “And your restraint, as well. For too many years, too many daevas destroyed one another because they were unable to control themselves, and each other, for that matter. You have a great deal of talent, my young friend, and self-discipline. You may be, as Abathur most likely told you, just what we have been looking for.”

Tawrich was silent for some time. Elite Demons were, by all accounts, cruel and insidious and horrifically evil; and yet Zurvan, as far as Tawrich could see, was perfectly civil, and complimenting him besides. Perhaps there really was more to being a daeva than simply being an Elite Demon without an army. Still, after all he had been through, Tawrich felt that the last thing he was prepared to do at this point was begin a grueling training session for a position he was not altogether sure he wanted. Finally he looked up.

“I do sincerely appreciate the offer,” he said with a small nod, “perhaps more so than last time. But I am afraid I need more time to consider it, if I may be allowed.”

Zurvan sighed. “Abathur said you would be difficult to convince. Very well. The fortress outside of Dur Maufulug is where you may find us, should you change your mind.”

Both nodded, and Zurvan departed, shaking his head. Tawrich looked down at the dead Man one last time, sighed, and then began walking, entirely uncertain now of his destination.

~~~

Abathur sighed. He hated the very idea of what he was about to do, but he did not see what other choice he had. The Dominion Wars continued, taking so many lives with them, and the daevas were in little position to stop them. But they had to stop the imminent destruction of the demon race. They had to protect their people, and—-though begrudgingly—-the other races as well. They had to do something.

He knew he would only be able to go so far; and truthfully, this fact did not upset him terribly. Soft, green grass; strong trees that reached the bright blue sky; clear running waters and growing things: all the marks of wasted time and effort. But he supposed this attitude was what forced the Elves to keep the demons out.

He came to a wide circle of trees, and was stopped abruptly by what at first he mistook for shadows. The shadows revealed themselves—-tall, fair-skinned Elves dressed in the colors of the landscape—-and pointed at him finely-made sword or arrows fitted to long bows. He raised his hands to show they were empty.

Ni selyëa tye lá nwalma,” he told the half-dozen Elves around him, and they were taken aback, though they did not lower their weapons. He continued in their language, “I have merely come to speak with your king. I do not doubt that he has been expecting me.”

“Indeed I have,” said a clear voice in the Elvish tongue from behind the guards. They half-turned and saw approaching them their king, taller and fairer than most, with long, dark auburn hair, robes of pale green and silver, and a circlet of silver and gold upon his head. He strode across the clearing within the ring of trees and called off the others, who lowered their weapons but not their guard. “Abathur,” he said with a small bow of his head.

“Elsevier,” said Abathur, also bowing his head. “I trust you know the reason for my coming, then.”

“I could hazard a guess,” the king replied. “But I dare not claim to know the mind of a demon lord.”

“I shall come directly to the point,” said Abathur. “Our races face extinction. We cannot stop the Elite. We need—-” He took and released a deep breath. “We need assistance.”

Elsevier surveyed the demon before him for some time. Then he sighed heavily. “What would you have me do?” he said at last, an air of defeat about him. “My people have suffered as much as, if not more so than, yours at the hands of the Elite since first we came from the West.”

“Then surely you can see the gravity of the situation. Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

“I will not subject my people to torment and death,” Elsevier said sternly.

“I do not ask you to fight,” Abathur told him. “I only seek protection for my people. There must be something—-”

”There is nothing,” Elsevier stopped him. “I can hardly protect my own people from these abominable wars. And now Men come demanding our aid, not in shelter but in weapons.”

“Not so innocent as you took them for, are they?” Abathur said derisively.

The king sighed again. “While I do not condone the violence of any race against another, it seems clear to me that the only way to finish this is to destroy the Elite. The Elves are in no position to do so. And until this can be done, I am afraid there is nothing I am willing to do that might even remotely endanger the lives of my people.”

Abathur merely nodded, and the two men parted company to return to their own lands. Abathur understood, of course; and he also knew the full well that the other daevas would have considered what he’d just done—-or tried to do—-nothing short of treason. But he could not help being slightly disappointed. The violence did need to stop—-the Generals needed to be stopped. If only he knew how...

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Wow! Great stuff, kaz! This one was new for me. I got really busy in December, and must have missed this before the site crashed.

 

Poor Tawrich. Finally got his revenge, and now he doesn't know what to do with himself. I'm guessing he'll figure it out somehow. ;) Can't wait to see what happens next.

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You know, I didn't remember the chapter until Tarwich used virus. Ah, sweet revenge. :evil:

XD Though, it's great that time has passed and us humans are beginning to push the demons into a corner. :evil: jk (whoops! did I say that? XD)

 

Anyhoo, can't wait for the update, kaz! :amaranth:

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cherry: yeah, he probably will. like, now. :)

 

dis: ah, virus...one of my--i mean tawrich's more dastardly inventions... :evil: i'll have to see if i can get him to use that one again.

 

all: that's all there is. oops, i mean, that's all there is from the old site. XD this chapter is entirely new! woo hoo!

 

******

 

He knew what he had to do.

Barash had tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible, especially after being the sole survivor of the battle with the daevas; and thus far, he had been successful. Verethragna hardly even looked in his direction anymore. And this was precisely what Barash wanted.

Certainly, most of the troops in Verethragna’s army felt this way, hoping to remain unnoticed until the wars ended, or they could escape with their lives. But Barash’s aims were different. He was no longer going to be the unknown soldier who gave his life so his power-hungry General could control the world. He was no longer going to stand by and watch wave after wave of soldiers—-many of them his friends—-perish at the hands of other soldiers who were just as frightened as they were. He was no longer going to wait for the wars to end.

He was going to end them. And he was going to start with Verethragna.

The chief trouble was Verethragna’s watchfulness. The General needed rigid order; but there would always be the odd soldier who would finally crack under the pressure, who would need to be taught a lesson, of whom an example would need to be made. And Verethragna was always there to take care of it immediately. But Barash knew there had to be some way to distract the General, even if for a moment.

There were the women. Barash had seen many terrified women fleeing Verethragna’s company, looking much worse for wear and with tears in their eyes—-another thing for which Barash despised the General. But Verethragna found them just as insignificant as he did his troops, and anything else that wasn’t himself. And terrorizing female civilians did little to keep the General’s mind off of his army.

There were the other Generals. While many of the other Elite Demons had perished in these wars, there were still a few who were causing trouble for Verethragna. Apaosa was among the worst of these: anything Verethragna did to strengthen his army, Apaosa would copy, if he had not already thought of it himself. If things kept up this way, they would reach a stalemate, and these miserable wars would never end.

Then there were the daevas. Barash knew that Verethragna feared them, whatever he tried to make others believe, and he knew that the last failed assault upon them was still fresh in his commander’s mind, however long ago it was. The very prospect of three Elite Demons working together against him was more unsettling that the largest army of any single Elite; because in truth, if all Elite Demons could combine their efforts, there would be nothing to stop them ruling over all things. It was, ironically, only their natural desire to rule alone that kept the Elite from their ultimate goal. And this was why Verethragna had made destroying the daevas his top priority.

And it was in this that Barash saw his best hope, and also his greatest obstacle. The daevas were the key—-that much was clear—-but how was he to appeal to them? Whatever the General’s attitude toward him of late, he knew that Verethragna had not forgotten him. There was no way he could seek out the daevas without getting himself killed.

A thought occurred to him then, a memory as if out of the distant past. He recalled a young demon he had met during the last siege at Grothdursh...Tawrich, if he remembered correctly. He had spoken to Tawrich of the daevas, of how he felt they really were the only ones with the power to stop the Generals. And perhaps, he thought—-or hoped, rather—-Tawrich had taken his words to heart.

Barash sighed and shook his head. That meeting had happened nearly a century before; Tawrich most likely had forgotten him and his words. If only there were a way for him to know...

~~~

He knew what he had to do.

Tawrich looked up at the fortress on the hill silently, thinking. He had spent the past hundred years roaming the world over, from one black ocean to the other, seeking his purpose. He had seen and appreciated many things: the vastness of the world itself; the strength of the mountain ranges; the deceptive size and lavish green of the realms of the Elves, and the stark contrast between them and the lands of demons; the unmeasurable numbers of Men that were beginning to populate the world. He had seen many families of all races living in relative calm and solitude, which always saddened him, as it reminded him of that which was taken from him. But mostly, he noticed the lands of demon, Man, and even Elf ravaged by war. No corner of the world seemed to be untouched by the Dominion Wars, unless it were an Elvish city where demons could not enter, and even these were heavily guarded.

And now, after all his wandering, he found himself outside the city of Dur Maufulug, one of the few demon cities left in the world that had not been utterly ruined in battle. The chief reason for this, he didn’t doubt, was the fortress on the hill, from which the daevas made all their decisions, watching over the city and their race as best they could.

Tawrich stared up at the formidable edifice for a long time, as though waiting for it to respond, to make the decision for him. For even in all his years of traveling, he never forgot the young soldier he’d met in Grothdursh, and the demon’s words regarding the daevas and the Wars. Tawrich was never entirely certain that Barash’s hope was anything more than a fool’s hope; but what choice did anyone have anymore? Hope, or death.

Perhaps he wouldn’t have thought much of what Barash had told him had the daevas not approached him before the two had met. Perhaps he’d have gone into hiding, into the mountains like many other demons were doing. Perhaps he would have forgotten the whole thing, and spent his existence underground, waiting, until he was driven to insanity and death by his self-imposed confinement.

But such was not to be his fate.

He knew it could not be. The daevas apparently thought him an asset to their cause, and somehow it would be selfish of him to hide. He was not a daeva; but somehow he felt a duty to his people—-to the world—-to do whatever he could to help the daevas end the Wars.

He breathed deeply, resolved, and began the long march up the hill.

 

Abathur, on his way into town, stopped just outside the main gates when he saw the young Tawrich ascending the steep slope that led to the citadel. He had to admit to himself that the boy was a welcome sight, even after all these years; the daevas had tried to find other demons with similar qualities, but had been disastrously unsuccessful. Perhaps, he thought, things were going to take a turn toward good fortune.

When Tawrich reached the gates to the citadel, he and Abathur looked at each other for a moment, but neither spoke. Finally Tawrich said, with a touch of humility, “Does the daevas’ offer still stand?”

“Have you come to accept it?” Abathur asked him knowingly.

Tawrich hesitated. He looked up at the fortress, at the high wall of black stone surrounding it, then down at the city, then back at Abathur. “I probably should have done a long time ago,” he said with a sigh.

“No matter,” said Abathur with the slightest of smiles, and reopened the gates. Tawrich looked back one last time before he followed Abathur inside, and left behind the life he had always known, hoping that the next would be better.

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Tch! >.< I wasn't going to comment after what you said about Devin! Just evil! :evil: All I have to say is: Long Live King Devin and Die All Daevas!!! :evil: Muahahaha! XD My new motto, you like? :evil: jk XD

 

You know, I get the feeling when you're playing Av 1, when it's time to kill a daeva you purposely let Rhen and them all die a few times before you kill the daeva? Am I right? :roll: XD

 

Anyhoo...fantastic update, kaz, as always! :blink: So the demon is going to become a daeva now? Good. One less century before Devin is born and before his offspring kills/traps them all. XD

 

Can't wait for the next update!

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Wonderful, kaz! XD. You didn't disappoint me... though I think you'd have to TRY to disappoint me... but no matter. :P Thanks for telling me there was new stuff! XD. A humbled daeva... I like it. XD

Added to my notifications now.

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Cool! Tawrich finally does it! Great chapter, kaz. :)

 

I like the parallel structure between Barash and Tawrich. I hope that means that Barash is going to do more than hope Tawrich is doing something. ;)

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Sorry... I just realized you updated. I really should pay more attention...

Anyway... No blood. That's fine with me, good with me actually (since I said that there will probably be a lot in the next chapter...) Nice! (can't think because school has zapped everything from my mind at the moment...)

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sorry it's taking so long, everyone; i've hit kind of a road block. okay, it's more like a 'transportation' issue: i know where i'm going, i'm just not sure how to get there. anyway, this one is disappointingly short, but hopefully it will tide us over until something really good comes to me. :roll:

 

thanks, everyone!!

 

******

 

The years, and the Wars, went on. The daevas, absorbed now in the training of their newest, found much less time to contend with the Elite generals; their hope was that hiding and protecting their people would be enough for the time being. Ever present in their minds, however, was the awareness of their disadvantage: consumed as they were in other matters, they made themselves vulnerable to surprise attacks by the war-mongering Generals.

The generals, though, were not so foresighted as this. Most of those who remained saw the conspicuous absence of the daevas as a sign of their weakness, others of their apparent deaths. Whatever the reason, it only meant that the daevas would stop interfering in their Wars.

But there were some Generals who thought otherwise.

 

 

Apaosa was silent, deep in thought.

He spent much of his time this way of late, in his study, alone and thinking. His forces had been occupying Trafstazg for some time, and had gone unchallenged for most of it. Still, he was troubled, which was unusual in and of itself; but even more perplexing was the reason for it. Certainly there was the depletion of his army: hundreds of years of war would do that to an army, though. And certainly there was Verethragna, deadliest of all the Generals. But what concerned him most was that there had been no reports of daeva activity for years upon years. Those miserable daevas were always attempting to end the Wars, most likely, he thought, so that they might seize control of the world. But there had been no such movement on their part for so long; and even the unit he had sent to Dur Maufulug had not been able to draw the daevas out.

So where were they?

"Sir!" a voice interrupted his pondering. "Sir! My lord!

Apaosa groaned and looked up, annoyed, to see a soldier hurrying down the long corridor to his study. "What is it, lieutenant?" he snapped, stopping the soldier just inside the door with dread.

"I...I have news...from...from Dur Maufulug," the lieutenant stammered.

"What sort of news?"

The lieutenant swallowed. "None good, sir."

Apaosa sighed irritably. "Out with it, then."

The soldier hesitated. "The unit y--that was sent back there," he began at last, stopping just short of daring to accuse the General himself of making his own order, "they, um...they did not arrive at the fortress first. Verethragna's men were there, as if waiting for ours. Yours."

"I see," said the General with a nod. "And?"

"There--there was a--a skirmish. The men are...are..." He quailed under Apaosa's glare.

"Are...?" Apaosa prompted.

"Dead, sir," the soldier finished with great difficulty. "All dead."

Apaosa rose from his chair menacingly. The demon before him cringed. "Unacceptable," the General said in a soft, malicious voice. Then he bellowed, "Disintegrate!" The soldier had no time to react, even to scream; he was instantly reduced to a pile of coarse gray powder at the General's feet.

A small gasp sounded from the doorway. Apaosa looked up to see a second soldier, staring at the remains of the first and looking mildly ill. "What?" growled Apaosa.

"It--uh--n-nothing, sir," said the officer uncomfortably.

"Good." Apaosa glanced at the floor, then back at the officer. "It appears you have been promoted, soldier. I need another unit sent out. No, make it two."

"To--to Dur Maufulug, my lord?"

"No. The daevas can wait. My business is with Verethragna tonight."

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THere's nothing wrong with short. I've seen shorter. And no one's seen anything from me lately either, and I'm having the same problem (though time is also up there in my excuse list...)

So, sounds like a couple of the generals have problems. At least their occupied with each other instead of innocents such as those poor humans which probably aren't going to stay oppressed for long...

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Great! New stuff! Or shall I say gray dust. :evil:

 

Those miserable daevas were always attempting to end the Wars, most likely, he thought, so that they might seize control of the world.

 

Quite an accurate prediction, eh? XD

 

Nice update, kaz! I kind of feel sorry for that soldier, though...:(

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marian: thanks! and thank you for understanding. XD

 

basset: yeah, you have been MIA for a while. ;) but thank you. as for the 'oppressed' humans...guess we'll have to wait and see. (though the 'regular' demons are just as oppressed as they are...)

 

dis: lol, i guess apaosa is the elite demon version of nostradamus. XD and yeah, i felt kind of bad for him, too. good thing i didn't give him a name; 'once you name it, you start getting attached to it.' :D

 

phoenixalia: thanks! :)

 

cavernsoul: thank you! nice to see you back! hehe, all bones. hopefully he doesn't break any more. XD

 

 

btw, all, i'm still stuck. some really good stuff happens in, like, a thousand years, but i'm not sure what to do until then. :roll: bear with me!

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ome really good stuff happens in, like, a thousand years

 

:laughing:

 

Ah, that's OK kaz. I know how it goes. I've been stuck for ages, it seems. It'll come.

 

I liked the new chapter. I was starting to feel some sympathy for Apaosa until he went and distengrated that poor solider. Not a smart move in the long run, I'm sure.

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sorry everyone! i know it's been a LONG time since i gave you a new chapter, and i appreciate your patience. :) i have been extremely busy (haven't we all?...) with work, the kid, and planning our trip to disney. (woo hoo! :D ) which, by the way, begins on sunday (30 march).

which brings me to my next point. i'll be MIA starting saturday (most likely) for at least a week. but i shall return.

and now, to reward you for your patience...XD

 

******

 

The plains outside the city of Dur Maufulug, now devoid of residents and their homes, were ordinarily still and silent, resting in the shadow of the great fortress on the hill.

But not tonight.

Tonight, fire rained down from black clouds upon the ruined hillsides, staining the bloodred sky a hazy orange. Tonight, the fields were crawling with dark figures, from north and from south, each side simultaneously trying to avoid and to destroy the other. There was shouting, mostly indistinct, and much of it was overwhelmed by the sounds of thunderous explosions and great crashes of lightning. Swords rang from their sheaths, weapons clashed, soldiers fell. And just above the battle stood, each upon a hill nearly opposite the other, two Generals, sneering in amusement and cold defiance of one another’s efforts. Each was thinking precisely the same thing: that this battle, as all those before it, was futile; because his opponent could never truly defeat him, no matter how many demons, or humans, raised their arms against him.

How many men do you believe it will take, Verethragna? Apaosa wondered to himself.

It does not matter, thought Verethragna, as if in reply, guessing the other’s mind.

And now, under the cover of battle, was the time to do it.

All Barash had to do was get near enough to his General to catch him off-guard with a powerful spell; the rest would take care of itself. The only question was whether or not Apaosa’s army could provide enough of a distraction to allow Barash to slip out of line unnoticed. He stayed as near to the hill as possible, slashing with his broadsword at any soldier in the ash gray armor of Apaosa’s men who came near him, glancing up from time to time to see what Verethragna was doing. And Verethragna was doing relatively little, as was his way: watching with infuriating satisfaction as those he commanded were slaughtered in furtherance of an entirely worthless cause. Barash, who knew he had the element of surprise on his side, only needed the briefest of moments. Killing a pair of Apaosa’s soldiers, he crept stealthily around the back of the hill, until Verethragna’s back was to him. Slowly, furtively, he made his way toward the General, sheathing his sword in favor of his magic, which Verethragna would never suspect he use...

Barash, no!

It was the only warning he received before he was shoved violently to the ground by a blur of black armor. He groaned and threw the demon off of him, drawing his sword once again as the battle pressed in around them.

“Hasum!” he hissed furiously. “What are you doing??”

“Keeping you from being destroyed!” Hasum replied, running an enemy soldier through before the soldier could deal him a fatal blow.

Barash disarmed two more soldiers before he went on, “I nearly—-” He shattered an enemy shield. “—-had him—-” A gash across an enemy’s chest. “—-What—-” He pierced an enemy leg. “—-were you—-” A hard elbow to an enemy face. “—-thinking??”

“He would have—-” Hasum wounded a soldier in gray and ducked under the retaliatory strike. “—-killed you—-” He lost his weapon, and kicked the offender hard in the stomach. “—-without even turning around!”

The two, almost involuntarily, glanced up, and saw that Verethragna had one eye on the pair of them, if only for a moment. Hasum shot Barash a meaningful look, and then began throwing punches at the enemy soldiers nearest him. Barash continued fighting off as many soldiers as he was able while also attempting to assist the unarmed Hasum. But the two were quickly becoming outnumbered, and even Barash’s blade was no match for the gray wall of Apaosa’s men behind which Hasum disappeared. Barash yelled to him, still fighting, but heard nothing of his friend over the sounds of war. By the time Barash had cleared himself a path, it was too late: Hasum was dead, blood still flowing from deep wounds in his chest and stomach. Barash clenched his fist and shook his head.

Another friend was taken by the Dominion Wars.

It was with this knowledge that Barash turned his focus entirely upon those he had been commanded to destroy in the first place. His newfound rage sent him shredding through scores of Apaosa’s troops, his fury at his own General entirely forgotten.

And from his hilltop, Verethragna observed Barash’s assault with an approving eye. Perhaps he had underestimated the boy; perhaps he ought to keep a closer watch on this young demon...

But all was ended, as quickly as it had begun. A deep rumble from beneath the hillside stilled every soldier in his tracks. And then, before a single move was made, an explosion, the like of which had never been seen by any except the Generals, rent the earth with the force of a volcano. The explosion tore a vast divide between the Generals’ vantages, scattering the troops that had survived it. Each with a sigh, the Generals called a temporary retreat, giving one another a small nod and thinking, This is not over.

~~~

Abathur watched from a high tower window as the battle on the fields below unfolded. He sighed and shook his head sadly; what was the purpose of it all? And what was the point of having the power to stop the Elite—-which the daevas surely had—-if they were not going to use it? He was perfectly aware that he had not the power of his Elite counterparts, and so forcing an end to the battle was not something he could accomplish on his own. He also knew, however, that his position was contrary to that of the other daevas, who believed that Verethragna and Apaosa would best serve the world by destroying one another. And despite Abathur’s objections, decisions were made by majority vote, outside of which he nearly always found himself.

As he stood pondering, he was joined at the window by Zurvan, who was passing by him down the corridor. Zurvan glanced out the window. He chuckled softly, then folded his arms and stood back to watch with amusement.

“They make it too easy, do they not?” he said. Abathur looked at him, and Zurvan nodded toward the scene below.

Abathur shook his head again. “We ought to do something.”

“We are doing something,” Zurvan replied. “We are standing witness to, I should hope, the ends of both Apaosa and Verethragna.”

Abathur turned to him. “And what of the soldiers? What of the innocent lives that are being spent?”

A smirk flashed across Zurvan’s face. “You cannot save them all, Abathur. Besides, if this spells the doom of those Two, think how many more lives will be spared.”

A brief silence fell. “I suppose,” Abathur said at last. “Though it does not put me any more at ease just to stand aside.”

“Your capacity for pity never ceases to amaze,” said Zurvan with a sigh.

“I do not call it pity, Zurvan. We are charged with the preservation of the demon race. What purpose do we serve by standing idly by allowing it to obliterate itself?”

Zurvan betrayed his impatience with a groan. “Ending this battle serves only the purpose of delaying the deaths of the two most powerful Elite outside the daevas. And the end of the Elite is the only way to bring about the end of the Wars; is that not what Elsevier told you?” Abathur looked at him wide-eyed, taken aback. Zurvan sneered and went on, “Yes, I know all about that. Really, asking humans for help? What did you suppose that would accomplish?”

Abathur did not answer, but turned away, mildly uncomfortable. It was then that Gandarewa entered the hallway, followed closely by Tawrich. The two demons stopped at the window, and Gandarewa grinned at the battle he now saw.

“Looks like they really are going to do it for us,” he commented. He glanced back and forth between the other two daevas, and his eyebrows furrowed in his bemusement at Abathur’s resigned sigh and Zurvan rolling his eyes. “What is it?” he asked of them.

“Abathur thinks we ought to ‘do something’ about this,” said Zurvan disdainfully.

Now Gandarewa rolled his eyes. Tawrich, a bit removed from the daevas, wholeheartedly agreed with Abathur, but did not say so; being still in training, such was not his place. Still...wasn’t this why he had agreed to join the daevas in the first place, to eliminate the Elite Demon generals and thereby the Dominion Wars? Shouldn’t they do something?

Gandarewa turned to him. “Well, Tawrich, since you shall one day be making these decisions alongside us, what say you? What are your thoughts on the battle at hand?”

Tawrich looked carefully from one daeva to the next, creeping very close to the edge of concurring with the majority; instead, he upheld his own conviction. “I believe Abathur is right,” he said solemnly.

Gandarewa and Zurvan looked at each other; the latter shrugged, and the former nodded grimly. Gandarewa went to the window and said, “End.” A deep rumble came from the very core of the earth, and with a cataclysmic force blasted from underground through the fields, ending the fight and sending the armies their separate ways. Zurvan exhaled with a touch of disappointment.

“Unfortunately, it is not the end,” he addressed the others, “only a reprieve.”

“Be that as it may,” said Abathur, “it is our duty to spare the lives we can, when we can.”

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I don't think it's been that long compared to me... *Thinks about un-updated Never Wanted and Like Father Not Like Son* Really, it's not all that bad.

The Daevas don't seem all that bad there. I know, they're not dealing with humans at the moment, are they? Then again, Abathur did, didn't he?

You do write amazingly, Kaz!

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Ahhhh!!! How come I didn't know this has been updated???

 

Since Tawrich is the oldest of the younger Daeva genearation (the ones in AV1), how many years older is he from whoever-comes next (Zarich or Aesma, I don't remember)? I want to see them coming or else this would be Tawrich's Saga instead :lol:

 

PS: Zurvan doesn't seem like the child-beater as described in Agas Saga

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basset: thank you! i suppose the daevas don't seem 'all bad' there because i'm trying to differentiate them from the Generals, who are a lot worse. (and for the record, they sort of are dealing with humans; there are humans in the battle too, they're just insignificant. :evil: )

 

bryan and marian: thanks so much! :amaranth:

 

daeva_agas: tawrich is almost 3000 years older than aesma, who's the second oldest. don't worry, they'll all be there; i wouldn't call it 'the history of the daevas' otherwise. XD

and yes, i suppose you're right about zurvan...of course, he doesn't have any children at this point.

(in other words, that's the idea. ;) )

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