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kaz

From the Beginning - UPDATED - 11 August 08

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Yay for Barash! :) I hope he survived that nastiness at the end. I was so bummed when his friend stopped him from attacking Verethragna... but I guess it probably would have destroyed him. :(

 

Nice update, kaz. I hope that you are enjoying Disney!

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Hey kaz! I hope you're trip to Disneyland doesn't spoil your taste for bloody wars and daevas. Have a great time! :blink:...He he, I wonder what the daevas would do to Mickey and Disneyland for that matter if they ever got to go (bet playing cards all day in the Demon Realm wouldn't compare)? wonder if it would still be the "happiest place on earth" after the trip? :evil: (jk lol)

 

Anyhoo, great and awesome update! So the war still continues...I wonder if Tarwich will be the one to help stop it? :roll: Then I wonder how the humans will beat them? :evil: Can't wait to know!

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surprise! no, i haven't dropped off the face of the earth (despite all appearances to the contrary). i've just had a rough couple of weeks.

but, at least there's an update, FINALLY. though it's kind of a talky one. once abathur got going, he just wouldn't shut up.

anyway, i hope no one's forgotten where i was going with this...because i almost did... :roll:

 

******

 

The daevas watched silently as their young protege matched swords with their eldest. The boy can hold his own, thought Abathur, as Tawrich parried a well-placed blow by Gandarewa. And it was not only in physical combat that Abathur had noticed this, either; Tawrich tended to stand by his own convictions, even if the other daevas did not agree with them. This, Abathur felt, was crucial, especially considering that Tawrich’s ideals nearly mirrored his own. But he would have to be certain.

When the mock battle ended, Abathur pulled Tawrich aside, far out of the earshot of the others. Only Zurvan cast him a suspicious glance as they left the room; though that, of course, could never be helped.

“Tawrich,” Abathur asked the young demon, “how do you feel your training is progressing?”

Tawrich looked at him curiously. “I did not imagine that my opinion was of any significance in that regard.”

“An astute observation,” Abathur replied with a grin. “At least, that is the impression the daevas tend—-and have always tended—-to give, even when I was selected many years ago. But a daeva not confident in his own skill does not make a very effective daeva, if you understand me.” Tawrich nodded, and Abathur went on, “While I am certain that a mere forty years is not nearly enough to prove, at least to the Elite, that you are capable of all that will be expected of you, I would like you to know that you have already proven yourself in my eyes. But how competent do you feel you are?”

Tawrich stood long in thought. There were many things he wished to express, but...how wise would it be to do so? On the other hand, Abathur was different from the others, perhaps owing to the fact that he was not Elite. Perhaps if he worded it just so...He breathed deeply. “Forgive me if I am mistaken, but...it seems to me that there is a great deal more that shall be expected of me than I am being told.”

“You fear you are being ‘held back’, as it were,” Abathur replied with a nod. Then he sighed. “I suppose I must admit that I have witnessed it, as well, and felt the same. The trouble is, the Elite are notoriously guarded with their ‘secrets’, if you will. But I think, in time, you will discover more with careful observation than through anything that any of us may tell you.

“Now, there is something else I would like to learn from you. How do you think we, as daevas, can better serve demonkind?”

Tawrich was silent. Did Abathur want to know what he really thought? Was this a leading question, or had it only sounded that way to his own suspicious mind? Either way, something told him that it would benefit no one for him to lie. “Well...it does seem the daevas could become more...involved in ending the Wars. And...I do not suppose it would hurt to recruit more daevas.”

Abathur nodded. He thought the boy might say something like this: honest, yet cautiously diplomatic. Not a bad strategy, he thought, considering the company they kept; but there was a time and place for delicate speech amongst the daevas, and the here and now was neither of those. “Both excellent suggestions. But there is a key point I feel needs to be addressed, and I would like you to be as honest with me as possible.” He fixed Tawrich with a shrewd, determined look, to be sure the young demon understood. Tawrich nodded slowly. “It has been pointed out to me—-and I am certain to you as well at some point—-that the only true way to end these Wars is to destroy the source: in other words, to eliminate the Elite Generals. Do you agree with this statement?”

“I do,” Tawrich replied after a pause of uncertainty, though not in regard to the validity of the statement, but rather how honest it was possible for him to be.

“I thought as much. Moreover, I have been told that at least one General has it in his mind that the daevas wish an end to the Wars that they might seize control of the world and all who dwell within it. Does this sound like something the daevas might consider?”

Tawrich looked Abathur in the eye, waiting for the elder demon’s expression to belie the fact that this was a test, but no such indication came. He had to believe that Abathur had an ulterior motive, one that did not include the Elite daevas—-at least, not on his own end. Whether it was bold or just plain reckless, he was not sure, but he heard himself say, “As a matter of fact...it does. Certain ones, that is,” he added quickly.

Abathur barely concealed a grin. “That,” he said after a moment, “was precisely the answer I was seeking. More to the point, logic would indicate that based on these statements, the Elite Generals may not be the only ones whose reign needs ending. Do you agree?”

Tawrich looked around the room suspiciously. Surely this had to be a test, of his loyalty...of his dedication...of...something. “You cannot be suggesting—-I mean, they are daevas.”

Elite daevas. And all that really means is that they have been able to work together without destroying each other longer than is ordinary for their kind.”

“Then you believe...that it is only a matter of time.”

So the boy understood after all. “Which leads me back to the point you made earlier, about recruiting more daevas. As there are no Elite left who are not entirely immersed in war, we have no recourse but to seek from amongst...well, the ‘non-Elite’, I suppose.”

“And...the more non-Elite daevas there are...the easier it would be to...override their decisions...”

“Which ultimately would mean a swifter end to the Dominion Wars. But even more importantly: with the Generals gone, the Elite daevas’ natures will almost certainly take them over; and unless we have a course of action to the contrary—-”

”Another war will ensue,” Tawrich finished gravely. It made perfect sense, of course. But what Abathur was clearly suggesting was, as far as Tawrich could see, nothing short of suicide. That is, unless the Elite never discovered it...which was nearly an absolute certainty. “Zurvan, though...”

“I know,” Abathur said with a sigh before Tawrich finished the thought. “He is cunning. But, it is this, perhaps, that may save him. I am sure the idea of being the Last of the Elite is very appealing to him, as it is to all Elite Demons. If we can make certain this is the case, then perhaps we can have him on our side. Not that he would not, in some small way, desire to seize control; but once we end the Wars and shift the world into a new age, as it were, I believe that he, if anyone, will be able to suppress that desire...at least, as long as we shall need him to do. In the meantime, I trust I need not tell you that this ought to be kept between us...”

 

Tawrich sat pondering the meanings, both clear and hidden, of Abathur’s words long after the two had parted company. He had himself, truth be told, considered the benefits of a world without Elite Demons; and again, the words of the young soldier Barash returned to him.

The daevas had the power to stop the Generals. But who, ultimately, had the power to stop the daevas?...

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Yays, an update! (finallys!) Great as always, kaz. I can stand more dialogue and less blood. At least I can eat while I read. :D

 

Well, I sense that other daeavas will making an appearance soon. And that's an interesting question at the end. I think humans control the daeves. :evil: That is all.

 

Can't wait to see what will happen to the skeleton--I mean Tarwich. (lol, his name rhymes with "sandwich" just realized that. Okay, don't tell him I said that. lol jk XD)

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tarwich and sandwich? lol.

 

story... interesting... not much more to comment as it was "talky"... but it was definitely interesting. I love a little intrigue and... er... mutiny/civil war. XD

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Wow, I don't know that I would have been quite that honest with Abathur if I were in Tawrich's position. I'd have been terrified that he had my death sentence already written up.

 

Great chapter, kaz. :) I love the intrigue. And I'm eager to meet the new daevas too.

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dis: i had a feeling you'd be okay with this chapter: no icky tawrich spells. XD as to the other daevas...at this point, tawrich looks to be...let me see...around 250 years old? so we've got about...2700 years before aesma's born. so i hope you can be patient. (hehehe)

 

marian: you know, i almost considering actually using the word 'mutiny' in there somewhere...but then jack sparrow kept coming to mind, so i decided against it. :roll:

 

cherry: yeah, me too. good thing we're not tawrich. :D

 

thank you all, my dears! (my daughter's been saying that a lot lately. i don't even know where she got it from.) you all rock! i just hope i can figure out how to get to the next 'stage', as it were, soon...

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surprise!! :D

i've had the first part and the second part of this one for a while now, i just wasn't sure how to tie it all together. so hopefully this works. XD

 

******

 

The General had been keeping an annoyingly close watch on him of late; but Barash could not decide if this was a bad thing or a good thing. Some small part of him wondered if Verethragna had gotten an inkling of his intentions—-even though he knew this was far from likely, as the only other person who knew of them was long dead. Still, the General’s newfound watchfulness was an effective deterent, so anything, he supposed, was possible.

On the other hand, the attention he was being paid also allowed him to keep his eye on the General, much more easily than he had been able to do before. He was beginning to see more clearly the inner workings of Verethragna’s mind, and more importantly, the things the General feared the most. Perhaps that was the reason Verethragna was watching him now: he had discovered too many of his commander’s secrets.

And that was primarily the trouble with what he was doing now.

He knew someone would come looking for him. He knew it would be considered nothing short of desertion, and desertion invariably met with death. But if he could only accomplish his task before he was discovered missing, he fully intended to return to his army. Because now, more than ever, he had to live. Not that he feared death; he learned long ago that death was always just around the corner.

But there was someone else who needed to die first.

As he crept stealthily nearer and nearer to the vast fortress on the hill, he could not shake the feeling that someone was watching him; though whether it was from behind, or from the fortress itself, he could not be certain. He looked up briefly, and noted a dark figure slowly pacing the battlement, and panic took him. Did he wish to be seen?

No. Not yet. Best to keep to the shadows for now...

Tawrich, walking the battlements alone in silent thought, glanced down when he caught sight of a furtive movement just outside the citadel gates. He thought he recognized the demon below, and if he was correct, he felt it best that he approach on his own. He managed to make his way down without passing any of the daevas, and slipped through the gate to intercept the demon who was clearly seeking to gain entrance without incident. The other spotted Tawrich, and seemed to recognize him as well.

“You are Barash, are you not?” asked Tawrich quietly. “You were one of Verethragna’s men.”

Am,” Barash grumbled, rolling his eyes. “And you are Tawrich, if memory serves.” Tawrich nodded, and Barash cast an inquisitive glance up at the fortress. “Have you been to see the daevas as well?”

“In a manner of speaking...Actually, they have asked me to join them, if you will.”

“Then...you are a daeva?” said Barash, impressed.

“Well...not quite,” replied Tawrich humbly. “I am still in training, as it were. But, I suppose, if all goes well...”

Barash nodded; when he spoke again, it was hurriedly and quietly, as though he feared being overheard. “I have come, as is probably apparent, at great personal risk. I know—-or at least, I hope—-the daevas wish to stop the Generals, and I have a feeling that ‘my’ General is the one giving them the most trouble. I have managed to keep close enough to him of late to discover his weaknesses, and I feel it a duty to my race to provide this information to those who would best be able to use it.”

Tawrich stared at him wide-eyed for several seconds. “Are...you saying that...” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “You know how to stop—-”

Barash held up his hand to stop Tawrich, and looked quickly about them. “Do not speak his name!” he hissed. “But yes, I believe that I do. Though it shall not be a simple task.”

Tawrich, his eyes still wide, nodded slowly. He glanced to his left, then to his right, and then opened the gate to the citadel. “Come. We have much to discuss.”

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Geez... I missed the previous update.

 

Wow, Barash is starting to get a tad more devious. I wonder if Tawrich will do anything about... whatever Barash will tell him.

 

I'm anxiously waiting for Aesma too. How long will it be until I see him around?

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Tawrich stared at him wide-eyed for several seconds. “Are...you saying that...” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “You know how to stop—-”

Barash held up his hand to stop Tawrich, and looked quickly about them. “Do not speak his name!”

 

Stop who? :Tongue: Voldemort? XD jk It's like Verethragna has become he-who-must-not-be-named. Okay...I'm exaggerating. Well, I think it's him, but I'm sure we'll find out soon....

 

lol, Man, I read this last week,kaz. I thought I had commented. o

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:o

 

that's the reaction i imagine i'm getting right now. because i do, indeed, have an update. it is quite lengthy (for me, anyway), and rather violent (yay, violence! :evil: ). and lots of big important stuff happens. so hopefully this will make up for my dreadful lack of update. for a little while.

 

******

 

All the effort, all the waiting and watching and planning, came down to this moment. Tawrich looked out over the darkened countryside, as he stood on the citadel battlement alongside the daevas, all still, all silent. He could tell that he was far more anxious than they, and it continued to puzzle him. Something in the back of his mind wondered how any of them could expect what they were expecting; any rational being should have seen directly through it.

And then, off in the distance, came a faint rumble, like the thunder of an approaching storm. As it grew louder, a shadow appeared on the horizon, swallowing up the land as it advanced. Soldiers in black—-thousands of them—-marched steadily toward the citadel, led by their terrible commander, Verethragna. They stopped as one before the gates, and Verethragna sneered up at the five demons on the wall above. Tawrich shook his head slowly in amazement.

The daevas knew the minds of the Generals well.

“What is this?” Verethragna called up to them with a hearty laugh. “Can the daevas not even greet their guests at the door?”

“The invitation, such as it was, was for the General,” replied Gandarewa with a cold smirk, “not for his retinue.”

The General returned the gesture. “Forgive me for being a touch on the suspicious side.”

“Oh, come now, General,” said Zurvan. “While it is no secret that we have been at odds in the past, the truth is, both we and you desire the same thing: an end to the Wars. The reason we summoned you here is to call a truce.”

Verethragna laughed loudly; his entire army remained silent.

“The terms are simple,” said Abathur quickly, depriving Verethragna of the snide comment that was forming on his lips. “Stop the fighting. Free your soldiers. We shall take care of the other Generals.”

There was a brief silence. “And?” said Verethragna at last.

“Join us,” Zurvan replied. “Become a daeva. Help us to eliminate the other Elite, that we may restore order, and take control of the world.”

Verethragna surveyed him thoughtfully, his eyes narrowed slightly. His gaze shifted from one daeva to the next, passing over Tawrich with barely a pause, and then came back to Zurvan. His speech was abnormally quiet and his tone unnaturally even. “And what sort of colossal fool would I have to be in order to accept these terms? Think you that I have need of the daevas’ assistance to rid myself of the other Elite? And do not deceive yourselves into believing that I do not know what comes next: I help you to destroy the Elite, and then you destroy me.” He shook his head and sighed. “I am rather disappointed, my friends. I had expected far more from you than this.

“Well, it appears now that we are at a stalemate, and so it is my army—-” He gestured behind him at the lines of soldiers awaiting his order. “—-against your little castle.” He sneered. “I wonder who shall come out the victor?”

Only one soldier dared even to move. At the front, just down the line from his commander, the young man chanced a look upward at the demons on the wall, in particular the one farthest left. The other met his gaze briefly, nodded almost imperceptibly, and then both demons averted their gaze hastily.

It was then that a sound like distant thunder was heard once more, this time from the east. All eyes turned that way, to see a thousand soldiers clad in gray marching toward the citadel. Tawrich shook his head again; the daevas knew the minds of the Generals, almost too well.

This, he supposed, was why they were daevas.

“Oho!” chortled Verethragna as the army approached. “Now I see. This was all a clever ruse, then, to lure Verethragna out into the open, in order to more easily lay waste to his army. Tell me, daevas: how long has the good General served as your lackey?”

“On the contrary, Verethragna,” said Apaosa derisively, now as near the citadel with his men as were Verethragna and his. “I have come to learn the reason I was not included in such an obviously significant engagement as this.”

The two Generals looked up at the daevas, and Verethragna said, “So that is your game? Bring us both here to watch as we destroy one another?” He then exchanged a look with Apaosa, and it was immediately apparent that each was thinking the same as the other. “Of course, I see nothing wrong with combining our efforts this once, when there is a common enemy.”

The silence now was long and tense. All eyes were upon the daevas, but no one, not even the Generals, made a move. Then, as if from nowhere, a large fireball came hurtling toward the citadel wall from behind Verethragna, missing Buyasta by less than a foot. Verethragna, wild-eyed, spun around to find the demon who had conjured it; it appeared, however, that the few—-if there were any—-who could have identified the culprit would not confess. Apaosa and his men were also looking with interest amongst the enemy’s ranks. The daevas, on the other hand, did not appear the least bit concerned.

“You seemed awfully concerned by that attack, Verethragna,” Apaosa said with a sneer, “considering it was aimed at your ‘enemies’.”

“Verethragna,” Gandarewa called down to him, “this is a tactic I do not believe anyone ever imagined of you: allowing your men to use their natural abilities.”

“Can it be that you doubt your own?” said Buyasta snidely.

Verethragna, enraged beyond all reason, growled furiously and bellowed, “Unleash Hell!” His men rushed forward, revealing tall ladders that they had concealed amongst their ranks. As the ladders went up against the citadel walls, Apaosa, having recognized Verethragna’s panic and forgone the idea of their joining forces against the daevas, ordered his men to destroy the opposing army; but Verethragna was entirely unconcerned with them.

As dozens of soldiers in black scaled the walls, the daevas calmly—-if brutally—-struck down every one of them. Tawrich did his best to defend the wall without casualties; he noticed that Abathur appeared to be doing the same, sending deluges of water down the ladders to clear them before pushing the ladders to the ground. The other daevas, however, were far less conservative. Each time a ladder was placed near him, Gandarewa said, “Incinerate,” and a seething white flame traveled from the top of the ladder to the bottom, enveloping each soldier like a fiery fog; after several moments of hideous screaming, the fire extinguished, sending charred and smoking and barely-recognizable corpses to the earth below. Buyasta cackled with fiendish delight as his “Razor Storm” sent raining down upon the troops torrents of piercing metal spikes, which drove through armor and flesh and bone and saw man after man throw himself from the walls or ladders to the ground in bleeding agony. Zurvan relished in his Reality Shift, whenever the soldiers were not near enough for him to dispose of them with his broadsword. And no matter how many soldiers scaled the walls, the daevas were never outnumbered.

The battlefield below was complete chaos. Half of Verethragna’s men were engaged solely in stemming the violence that Apaosa’s army was dealing; Apaosa, it seemed, was as concerned about the daevas as he was about humans. Barash had managed to avoid being called upon to fight the daevas, but his task of battling the enemy troops was no less difficult, if only marginally less suicidal. He cut down demon after demon, human after human, barely thinking about what he was doing. In the midst of the fighting, he glanced up at the wall; none of the daevas were watching him. Then he scanned the field for his commander, who was engrossed in both the battle on the wall and that on the ground. At last Barash caught the eye of a fellow soldier, and they nodded curtly to one another.

Within moments, a hail of fireballs of all sizes issued from the ranks of Verethragna’s army. There was no single clear source, nor, it appeared, a particular target. The sky filled with orange light as the fireballs flew in every direction, igniting demon, human, daeva, and General alike. Much of the fighting continued, though some soldiers, most Verethragna’s, ran to seek cover.

A psychotic fury took Verethragna then. His men did not use magic, ever. This was mutiny. This was treason. This was intolerable. “ANNIHILATE!” he bellowed, firing the spell directly into the ranks of his own troops, killing at least two dozen instantly and wounding nearly a hundred more. Those nearest who survived the attacked fled in terror; those who had not witnessed it continued blindly fighting anyone in their paths.

The daevas, even the Elite, recognized at once that this had gone too far. Abathur was the first down the wall by way of the nearest ladder, with Tawrich closely behind him. The others then followed suit, Buyasta opting to leap from the battlement to land on his feet on the ground, and the five of them parted the crowd to get as near Verethragna as possible. As they drew closer, they each began firing spells in rapid succession at the General, but his combined physical strength and the strength of his legendary armor were a solid match for them, even when faced with Zurvan’s Reality Shift and Buyasta’s Detonate spell at the same time.

The daevas’ attack, however, did provide just the sort of distraction for which Apaosa had been waiting. He immediately gave his men a new directive: Destroy Verethragna. Every one of his soldiers fought through the sea of black to get closer to Verethragna, and those who would retreat when they found themselves in his line of fire were cursed by their own commander, who was right behind them. Some of the braver demons—-and those who did not wish to face Apaosa’s wrath—-began casting their own spells at Verethragna and the soldiers nearest him; though, of course, if the daevas’ combined efforts were not enough to bring him down, mere foot soldiers stood little chance of doing more than irritating him. But, thought Apaosa, it made no sense not to take advantage of the obvious break down of Verethragna’s mental state.

And broken down he had. His men—-his own men—-had betrayed him, left him—-dared he even think it?—-vulnerable. And now they all must pay. Even the daevas were not a priority, despite their pathetic attempts to curse him. He deflected a powerful explosion from Gandarewa and screamed, “Volcano!” and thirteen of his treacherous men were doused with boiling hot lava, which issued from the ground beneath their feet. As the searing magma melted armor and flesh and bone and his victims shrieked in agony, Verethragna spun around wildly to find his next targets, attempting to slash at the daevas with his long, flat sword. The daevas, however—-curse them—-were cunning: they never came quite near enough for him to reach them.

And then, two things happened, so quickly that there were few who even noticed at first. Verethragna’s mighty armor, which was said to have been forged from enchanted dragon scales and demon scorpions, began to dissolve, as if by acid. The very moment the General realized what was happening, he heard, even about the din of battle, a soft voice behind him murmur, “Assassinate.”

He wheeled around, but too late: the damage was done, as a great and ghastly wound opened across his chest. He could feel his pulse slow as the blood poured from the wound steadily down his front. He looked blearily down at the demon now before him, a demon in black armor...a demon he would swear he recognized, though vaguely...

Barash stared up at his commander in cold defiance. He neither moved nor spoke, waiting for the General to understand what had just occurred. He waited for a curse, a strike, any sort of reaction from Verethragna, other than silent astonishment. Finally Verethragna, in an apparent haze, drew back his sword and swung it clumsily forward. Barash stepped back out of reach, but never shifted his gaze. His face twisting with fury, the General opened his mouth to cast a spell, but before the words were formed, he fell forward like a stone statue, upon his stomach at Barash’s feet, and did not move.

All but those within the immediate vicinity continued fighting; but it was not long before the waves of rumor rippled through the ranks, and weapons began to falter. The daevas remained where they stood. When at last Apaosa knew what had happened, he let out a long, triumphant laugh.

“Looks like you daevas are the only ones left in my way,” he shouted to them; and with this he sent his troops off in their direction. Verethragna’s men continued to fight Apaosa’s, if only to defend their own lives, but most did not attempt to approach Apaosa himself, which left him ample opportunity to cast spell after spell at the daevas. The daevas retaliated, but Apaosa was much quicker than they, and able to dodge their curses with ease. All save one.

“Virus!” a voice shouted from somewhere to his right. Apaosa looked around, but never saw the face of the one who had cast it; he all too quickly found himself in terrible pain as his flesh was slowly eaten away by some unseen beasts. Yet he continued to curse all within in sight, still searching for the creatures devouring his flesh and for the demon who had set them upon him; but then the final blow fell. His head was turned when the long, curved sword pierced his armor, thus he had time only to turn and take note of the skeletal demon he had seen on the battlement as the blade was driven through his heart. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he fell down dead.

A pronounced silence followed, interrupted only by the sounds of the fighting of those who had not yet realized what had transpired. The daevas overcame their surprise at once and strove to restore order. “Demons,” called Abathur, “and humans: your commanders are dead. You are free from the tragic fate that has bound you. Go now and be at peace, without the horrors of war.”

“The battle is over,” Gandarewa added, more loudly. “Leave this place and live as you see fit.”

There was a great deal of confusion at first, but soon the word spread, and the soldiers began to leave the battlefield; not, Tawrich noted, like free men, but rather as the walking dead. Centuries of war had hardened them, numbed them. Their movement were slow and automatic, as though not really even their own. But at least they were no longer killing one another.

“Well,” sighed Zurvan, “I must admit, I did have my doubts...Yet here we stand.”

“On a field of victory,” finished Gandarewa.

“Still, it never fails to amaze me just how uncannily predictable the Generals are,” Abathur added.

“There are still more Generals with whom to contend, you all realize,” Buyasta reminded them.

“Indeed,” replied Gandarewa, “but they are far less troublesome than these were. Now we have brought these two down, the others shall fall like humans.”

Buyasta grinned wickedly. “Of course. I was merely pointing out that the fun is not over yet.”

Barash, some distance away, stood solemnly over one of the demons whose spells had destroyed Verethragna’s armor, a battle axe lodged firmly in his gut. He looked up after a while and saw the daevas and Tawrich parting company, the latter coming toward him. They nodded to each other, and then both looked down.

“A friend?” asked Tawrich.

Barash shrugged. “A brave demon, nonetheless.”

Tawrich nodded. “One of many. If I might ask, the spell: your own creation? I have never seen it before.”

“No,” said Barash, shaking his head, “it is quite an old spell, actually. It does require rather close proximity, however. And a lack of enchanted armor doesn’t hurt,” he added with a chuckle. Then he sighed. “That really was the most difficult part of it: convincing half a dozen demons to get near enough the General to create a spell with the power to destroy that dratted armor of his.”

There was a slight pause. “Well done.”

Barash nodded humbly, then gestured toward the corpse of Apaosa. “And you. Especially considering that that was not part of the plan.”

“No. But the opportunity presented itself.”

“As we knew it would,” said the voice of Abathur from behind them. “The Elite, if you have not guessed, are all essentially alike: they each desire to be ‘King of the Mountain’, if you will. In any case, Barash, I feel I would be remiss if I did not ask: would you consider the possibility of training to become a daeva?”

Barash thought long and hard before replying, “It is truly a generous and hardly-deserved offer, but...I am afraid I shall have to respectfully decline. I—-I have someone waiting for me.” He then nodded to Abathur, then Tawrich, and turned and disappeared into the crowd.

“As I thought,” said Abathur, mostly to himself. “But there is something the daevas should like to discuss with you, Tawrich. Shall we?”

Tawrich nodded, and they made their way across the battlefield to the citadel, where the others were waiting for them.

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hmm...seems like my faithful followers have gone MIA. (not that i haven't...) well, here's a teeny bit more, anyway. i'm sure you'll be back...because i will find you... :evil:

 

******

 

In a dark cave, deep in a forgotten mountain, a woman screamed in pain. Her companion, an elderly woman, squeezed tight her hand and murmured words of encouragement. “One last push,” said the old woman; the younger did as she was instructed, shrieking, and then at last came the wailing of her newborn infant. The old woman, shaking her head, held the child for a few moments as his mother rested. At last the old woman began to speak, but the other interrupted her.

“Take it,” she said hoarsely. “Do with it as you wish. I do not want it.”

After a pause, the old demon began, “He is—-”

”A constant reminder of—-” The younger stopped, unable to speak aloud of the atrocity against her, and she turned away, angry, hateful tears in her eyes.

The old woman sighed, and there was another long silence. “They say he is dead,” she said, as though hoping to give comfort.

The young demon scoffed. “I care not. What is done, is done. Just—-just take it and go.”

“I cannot leave you here—-”

”Just go.”

The old woman hesitated, sighed heavily, and finally stood, taking the sobbing infant with her. She could not just leave it to die; after all, the child was not to blame for the circumstances of its creation. As she left the cave, she looked down at the child in her arms, who was now sleeping. “Well...I suppose, at least, you shall need a name...

“Zarzuel. That shall do to be going on with. Now...what to do with you?...”

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Great updates, kaz! The battle was awesome. And I still love Barash. He'd make a great daeva. Ah well...

 

Poor Zarzuel. I have a feeling that he is not going to take being abandoned by his mother very well.

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Okay... Sorry for how long it took me to read this.

Yes, very violent, but not violent enough to stop the fifteen year old from reading it. I'm hoping you won't go that far (I'm not sure how far that is, but...)

I think it's safe to guess the baby born is one of the daevas. (At least, I think...) I think I know which it is, but it only comes from name similarity.

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yay! :)

 

cherry: yeah, i like barash too. and he probably would make a good daeva. but he's got more important things to do...

and zarzuel...sometimes i get the strangest feeling that you can read my mind... ;)

 

marian: thanks! and i forgive you. XD

 

basset: don't worry, i'm pretty sure you've seen the worst of it. there'll be more violence, to be sure, but nothing as bad as what those elite have been up to. and the baby: interesting theory. i'll take it into consideration. :D

 

agas: are you asking if that was a typo? because it wasn't. i meant 'zarzuel'. i shall say no more at the moment.

(dead and decaying...XD)

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I reread this just because.

 

And yeah, I used to be under the impression that Tawrich's all bones because he's dead and decayed and he used to have some kind of form sometime ago.

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