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.


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42. Chapter forty two

 The Reaper was starting to lose his patience. This was the third human city he visited, and he was now wondering if it wouldn’t be better for everyone to just let Death in the Wind come inside them and burn them with all their inhabitants. They were chock full of hypocrite noblemen pressing to stay in order to preserve their rotten privileges over a few acres of land and some lice-ridden peasants. Or the blind generals who boasted they could annihilate any army foolish enough to try and besiege their city. Fortunately, both kind of parasites became considerably more reasonable when Beast showed them how horrifyingly strong true demons could be.

 

 It was past noon, and the intense preparations for Kreutzheim’s evacuation were frantic. Still, he walked freely with Erandiril by his side: everyone knew about the man-demon, and gave a wide detour to avoid his gaze.

 

 “Beast should be here already,” the demon said “He was supposed to have parted a week after us.”

 

 “You’re wrong,” Answered Erandiril “You still think like the demon lord you were, commanding troops that know no hunger, sleep or fatigue. I have no doubt that, had Beast travelled alone, he would’ve arrived a few days ago. But he’s travelling with hundreds of infantry soldiers who must eat in the mornings, put up camps, march at a rhythm that doesn’t affect their combat abilities too much, stop at noon to eat again, and then march until sunset, when they must raise their camps once again. They’re not like the nordheim, who can eat while they travel, or like us, who can go for many days without sleeping, should the need arise.”

 

 “I still can’t believe a race as insignificant as this has put yours in dire straits”, the Reaper said smugly.

 

 “I remind you that two races that your people considered insignificant destroyed the empire that took you centuries to build, Reaper” answered the fae “The demons were simply unable to see our strengths in time. I hope we don’t make the same mistake with men.”

 

 The demon’s thunderous laughter came so suddenly that Erandiril took a step back “You’re absolutely right, little one,” he said, wiping a tear from his eyes “If the mouse treads carefully enough, he can sometimes kill the cat. Unfortunately, he will still be a mouse.” As he said this, he fixed his gaze in her and gave her a wicked smile.

 

 “The Dream Lords have sent envoys to the northern human cities,” She said, changing the subject “They’re taking measures to give sanctuary to all who wish it, in exchange of help fighting the demon horde.”

 

 Suddenly, the Reaper stopped walking “Something’s wrong. Death in the Wind wished to murder me, and has an invincible army that, as you said, doesn’t need rest or sleep. He could have reached us and slaughtered us long ago, but we hadn’t heard anything about his army.”

 

 Erandiril took a moment to consider the idea “Perhaps he wants to play with us, to give into fear. Or maybe it’s a matter of pride: if he considers himself as a warrior, he won’t want to face the divided armies of insignificant races, but a force on the top of its ability, to feel the true satisfaction of victory.”

 

 “No, Death in the Wind doesn’t think that way. He isn’t interested in glory, only in power.” He took a hand to his chin as he thought for a few moments “If he’s stepping back it’s because he has something that can give him an even bigger advantage. I will send the Night Prowler to find out what is it.”

 

 Erandiril nodded and walked away, leaving him alone with his thoughts. She needed to step away, to have some time to relax and recover her balance, but that was a luxury she couldn’t afford right now. Her travels with the demon lord had taught her that weakness and death were always near. None of the demons that joined the Reaper had complained during their travels, nor doubted when it was time to fulfill their duties.

 

 She wouldn’t allow herself to do any less.

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