Return of the Reaper

Thousands of years ago, the Reaper, Demon Lord and ruler of all Creation, was betrayed and his empire turned to dust. Now he has returned, and is looking for revenge on the one who betrayed him.


1. Prologue and chapter one.



The demon shook his head, thoughtful. How much time had passed since the last time he joined his legions in glorious combat? How many centuries had pased since that era of epic deeds in which his name was uttered in terror and fear by countless thousand beings? It didn't matter now. He was back, and Creation would once again feel the wrath of the Reaper.


He had been betrayed. His lieutenant, the one they called Death in the Wind, stabbed him in the back with his own sword, wounding him in such a way that thousands of years passed before he could come back from the burning hells.


Unfortunately, Death in the Wind wasn't as gifted a leader as he was a warrior, and couldn't unite the Seven Legions under his command. Chaos crept on Creation. The legions, each controlled by a Greater Demon formerly loyal to the Reaper, started arguing and bickering. At the beginning, these discussions weren't more than offensive words, quickly withdrawn at a glance from the new Demon Lord, but it was soon obvious that he wouldn't be able to hold such authority forever. Thus the disorders spread and the hostilities became more manifest until, one day, Death in the Wind took the forces directly under his command and tried to cut the insubordination at the root.


The resulting clash left Creation at its worst, turning lush forests into putrid swamps. The proud fortress-cities of the Seven Greater Demons were reduced to rubble where only the dead were piled in significant amounts.


The fae and the nordheim, two of the many races under the demonic yoke, were the only ones that were far enough from their power center not to be considered a threat. When they saw that the demons were too busy in-fighting to properly check on them, they started organising, planning the revolt that would at last give them freedom. To that end, they secretly created artifacts of great power, aided by divinities both ancient and terrible. The price they would have to pay, however, was dear indeed.


It was with these weapons that both races, united for the first and last time, reunited in the Great North. Despite being formed by slaves, the army was of such power that even the legions commanded by the Reaper would have had trouble confronting them.


But the Reaper had been betrayed, and in his place there were only a bunch of petty lords squabbling for control of the few crumbles that were left of their empire. Thus, the demons didn't pay attention to the rumors of the massive army that headed towards them until it was too late. Though the Nightmare Beasts ridden by the fae could be seen at a great distance and the war chants of the nordheim made the mountains tremble, there was nothing the demons could do. Without a chance of winning, both the Seven Lords and Death in the Wind fled and used their powers to hide from the view of the younger races. Deep in a slumber like the embrace of Death, they now waited for the only one who could give their race the power and glory of yonder days: the Reaper.


Chapter one:


Fighting the weariness, he opened his eyes to the darkness, momentarily unscrutable. Confused, he slowly moved his arms, finding them to be lethargic and tired, like he hadn't ever moved them. With a chill he realized that, in fact, he had never done so, for this wasn't his real body, but a new one instead, created the moment he returned to Creation.


With great effort he managed to stand up, feeling the pain through his cracking joints. He also noted with satisfaction that his eyes became quickly accustomed to his sorroundings. He was at the bottom of a narrow cave, naked. A few meters away, he could see a dim light, perhaps an exit. He started to walk clumsily towards the light, discovering another dimension of his new body: it wasn't of the shape of any of the demons of old. It wasn't infused with the speed and strength that turned him into the most feared of his kind. His eyes didn't shine with the reddish glow that revealed his true nature, and his hands didn't have vicious claws, capable of tearing a nordheim in half with a single blow.


Cursing the name of his betrayer, the Reaper kept advancing towards the light, stumbling less and less as he got used to his weak and clumsy body. He finally got to the exit of the cave, finding himself in a starry night. The light he had seen turned out to be a fire lit a few hundred meters beyond, where a group of perhaps a dozen humans clad in strange uniforms were drinking. Most of them sung and chatted in loud voices, while another two held a young woman from the slave race of the fae. Meanwhile, a third began to rip at her clothes with a knife, slapping her wildy each time she tried to resist.


The sight of such wanton brutality made the blood raise to the face of the reborn demon. The weak were always preying on those who were weaker, perhaps it would be appropiate to show them their true place in the world. As the thirst of battle surged through him once again, he stood tall and, filling his lungs, released a terrifying warcry as he charged the soldiers. His howl had a devastating effect on the men: as they turned around with their faces livid with horror, they saw the horrible savage charging them, his black hair flowing in the wind, foam spewing through his open mouth and hate glowing in his eyes.


More by instinct than by real courage, six of the soldiers readied their spears, while the rest slowly stood up. The one trying to force the young woman hit her brutally with the back of his dagger in the head, making her fall unconscious. Without doubting, the Reaper lunged against the nearest man, who tried to stab him in the chest. Grave error, that turned out to be his last: fast as lightning, the demon put all his weight on his left foot, pivoting to the right while raising his fist, hitting the soldier in the temple. His head exploded by the strength of the blow, his brains staining everyone nearby.


With a derisive snort, the Reaper took the lance of his fallen adversary and stood against the rest of the attackers. A wild smile adorned his face, decided not to let a single one alive. He charged them in a hurricane of swings and thrusts that quickly reduced the men to a pile of mutilated corpses. Possessed by the frenzy of battle, he released another howl more terrifying than the last, and saw how the soldiers started to run. Did they truly think he would spare their sorry lives? He would show them the extent of their stupidity. Almost without a thought, he pursued the men, killing the five of them with five brutal thrusts.


In that moment, he felt a noise at his back. When he turned around, he saw that the last soldier, the one who was going to rape the young fae, was holding her against his body, with a dagger pointing to her slender throat. With his eyes out of their orbits because of the terror, he said -Don't you dare give a single more step, you bastards, or I'll kill her, I mean it!- The language he spoke was the same the demons had thaught their slave so long ago, but the way he spoke it was absolutely bizarre. The Reaper, his thirst for blood sated, stood as tall as he was and, looking at the bold man, started laughing loudly.


Trying to give his words the same aberrant intonation of the man, he answered -What makes you think I care about her? I've already killed your companions and I will soon kill you. I will rip the skin off your flesh and then I shall drink your blood, no matter what happens to the girl.- The man, terrified, took one step back, easing his grip on the girl. This was more than the savage hunter needed, immediately running forward. With his free hand he immobilized the arm holding the dagger, while stabbing through his neck with the lance. Such was the strength of the blow that the head got separated from the body, falling to the ground with a thud.


With the menace taken care of, he centered all his attention on the young fae. She was taller than the dead men and, like most of her kind, was very thin. Her features were delicate, almost ethereal, topped by eyes as blue as the midday sky. She was now staring at him with a strange expression, between thankfulness and fascination, and that was absolutely devoid of fear.

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