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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16. Chapter sixteen

 

 An indistinct noise, like the creak of a fire, and a song older than the mountains’ roots. The darkness was complete. Was he in the realm of the dead? No, it couldn’t be. He felt his body, incredibly heavy, submerged in a profound trance. He had to make a huge effort just to open his eyes, and when he managed to do so terror filled his numb mind. Just in front of him, a huge creature covered in tattoos looked at him with a frown in its horned face. At its side there was a big fire, over which stood the roasting remains of two of the abomination’s victims.

 

 Seeing he had awoken, the figure gave him a ferocious grin, saying “You are lucky you are still alive, boy. If I hadn’t been nearby, you wouldn’t have told the story.” He took a piece of meat from his victim and offered it to the terrified young man. Seeing he backed out in disgust, the creature shrugged and treated himself to a feast.

 

 After a long while, the surprised Holtz tried to stand up, feeling a terrible pain where the arrow had hit. Only then he realized that his wound had been cleaned and bandaged, and the arrow tip had been extracted. He looked at his savior, who said “Don’t worry, if I wanted you dead, I wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of saving your life. Luckily for you, I don’t usually feed on the innocent.” Having said that, he chewed a few fingers off the dead man’s hand, giving loud sounds as the bones broke.

 

 Holtz could barely believe what he saw. A being that looked as if it came out from the old myths had just saved his life, against all hope. Gathering all the courage he had left, he asked “Am I going to die too?” The demon’s laugh echoed for a long time before ceasing “Of course you will die!” Was his answer “Just like everything that lives and breathes in this world. But I am not here to kill you, but to redeem myself for the destruction that fell upon your city.”

 

 Seeing the human he had saved didn’t answer, he kept talking “A very long time ago, seven lords raised in this world, taking it from the Light Lords who, in turn, had taken it from the First Gods. I was among those seven, Beast of Agarod, Doom of Foes and Scourge of the Seraphim. We were ruled by one who was even more powerful than them, who made sure we didn’t stray from the road of conquest and domination. Powerful races bowed before his might, while those who resisted  were crushed and taken as slaves.”

 

 Holt felt his mouth dry as he understood the demon’s words.

 

 Beast smiled as he saw the terror he had caused in the human, revealing a glimpse of the madness that governed his soul “However, as I have said, nothing in this world lasts forever, and this great lord proved not to be an exception.” He shook his head as if to scare away sadness and continued “One day, when he returned from a tiring expedition, he took off his armor and gave his sword to the one on which he trusted the most, weary as he was after the long odyssey. Unfortunately, this confidant had his own ambitions, so he stabbed the defenseless lord with his own sword, claiming he was to be the new world. Stupidly, we followed him, obtaining humiliation and oblivion as our just reward. Now both lords have come back, and war will not be avoided.”

 

 Holtz stood looking at the demon, unable to believe his words. It was too much: everyone he had ever loved had died at the hands of the walking dead, and now the legends seemed to travel the world again, threatening to change it completely.

 

 The demon looked at the frail creature he had rescued, aware of the future that awaited him. If the humans didn’t want to be destroyed by Death in the Wind and those of the seven who joined him, they would need leaders to take them through the times of turmoil. If this pitiful thing was willing, Beast would make sure to turn him into the first.

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