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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40. Chapter forty

 After taking the city, Death in the Wind had to let a few days go by. Most of the demons the Vermin Lord summoned had already begun to snap out of the madness of Hell, but the arrival of the few new ones rekindled that spark. After they killed and burned to their hearts’ desire, they made a huge pyre and started feasting on the flesh of the fallen, be they demons or men.

 

 He smiled with satisfaction when he saw a few of them taking some spoils from the dead bodies and trying to wear them as well as they could. After almost a week of wanton bloodlust, the touch of the nether regions waned once again, leaving them a bit more obedient and docile. He had had to crush a few skulls and forcefully smash some attempts at rebellion, but now the demons looked at least partly like an army and not a senseless horde.

 

 A growl interrupted his thoughts. A small demon holding a spear was at his side “We found something in the castle” he said, before turning around and starting to walk. Intrigued, Death in the Wind followed him. As he strode through the streets, he realized it would soon be time to leave: the embers from the pyres were cold, the dead bodies were eaten almost to the bone, and even the ravens seemed to have quenched their thirst for blood.

 

 Once in the castle, the demon took him to one of the many cellars. One of the walls seemed to have collapsed recently, revealing a rough passage that went downwards. Taking a torch, Death in the Wind stepped into the darkness. As he walked, the walls became smoother, and he saw a few symbols engraved on them, which he could perfectly understand. Smiling to himself, he walked faster until he got to the end of the passage.

 

 There was a huge room there, completely empty except for two objects. The first was a stone altar on its center, with a few statues depicting strange creatures, never seen my mortal eyes. Despite the time he had spent on Creation, Death in the Wind couldn’t help but feeling a chill run through his spine: time had made them forget much about their origins, but those images still evoked a feeling of utter horror and defenselessness, of a time where there was only pain and a desperate struggle for survival.

 

 In front of the altar lay a huge set of armor, arranged in a position of devout prayer. It was made of rough iron and its shape was simple and powerful, obviously meant for usefulness over mere ornament. Death in the Wind smiled: his brother had always showed devotion for the strange lords they had left behind so long ago.

 

 Taking a deep breath, the former demon lord yelled “A time of change has come upon Creation! Three out of the Seven have fallen, and the demons once again walk the earth! The Reaper has come back, and I am marching to wage war against him! Will you join me, or shall you kneel for all eternity in front of these hollow idols?”

 

 A soft, creaking noise could be heard as the armor seemed to come to life. It slowly stood up, the screech of metal taking the place of cracking bones. It was almost as big as Beast, but the eyes that now shone behind the helmet didn’t show any signs of madness, only the cold arrogance of one who knows himself to be invincible.

 

 He turned around to face Death in the Wind. His voice was cold, laconic, as if speaking was an unnecessary waste of energy “I guess you have come to offer me something, brother.” His words, carefully voiced, seemed to boom slightly because of the hollow armor “After all, we both know you couldn’t stop me if I decided to join the Reaper, taking your mutilated corpse as an offering of good will.”

 

 “I know you wouldn’t do that, brother,” Answered Death in the Wind “For you place great value on keeping one’s word. You swore loyalty to me after I killed the Reaper, and it’s to that word that I bid you join me.”

 

 This seemed to set the demon at ease. He nodded slightly, accepting to obey Death in the Wind. They talked at the light of the torch for a long time, but not once did they mention past events: all that mattered now was the war and the conquest.

 

 And few could stand to Brother Battle in those.

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