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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10. Chapter ten

There wasn't a single cloud in the sky that night, and the stars' light shone gently on the deserted streets.

 

Erandiril couldn't believe what was happening: until a few weeks ago, her life was calm and predictable... Or at least as calm and predictable as it could be when you were part of the logistics of one of the few units even the nordheim feared. Unfortunately, she had never been capable of fighting either armed or unarmed. However, this flaw was more than compensated by a keen mind and great talent for both tactical and strategic thinking. It was thanks to those that she scaled through the army ranks, her career ending abruptly when her unit was ordered to join the army that should have slain the Reaper.

 

“I can't believe our stupidity” she murmured as she fought to drag the huge man to the stables “We should have sent only one unit, Shadow Warriors perhaps, to deal with him. The human kingdoms have become too powerful to be taken lightly” Feeling her back was about to break, she managed to get the massive dead weight to one of the horses, tying him to the saddle and praying for the rope to hold.

 

Yes, it would've been better that way: right now the demon would be dead, and she would have been showered in honors because of that. But it didn't happen that way, and now she was forced to protect the one who had enslaved her race so long ago. She could kill him right there, slit his throat and laugh as his blood stained the floor, but that wouldn't solve anything: since the defeat of the demons, the Lords had never showed mercy to those they deemed traitors. Claims of innocence, proof, testimony, it didn't matter. They had decreed she was guilty, and nothing would change their mind. The death of the Reaper would doubtlessly benefit them, but Erandiril wasn't willing to wait a mercy that hadn't been shown in thousands of years. Thus, her only hope for survival was to take the Reaper to safety and hope his might was enough to keep her safe.

 

She galloped away from the city, holding in one hand the reins of the horse carrying the Reaper. Both of their lives were now in danger, and their survival depended on finding a safe haven. She cursed in the wind: at most in two days, it would be impossible. Once her brother informed the Dream Lords of his failure, they would not leave a single stone unturned in order to find them, and that would be the end, for the demon wasn't in any condition to fight.

 

Suddenly, her features shone as a sudden memory came to her. Yes, there was still hope, but only if they reached the city of the South Tower before the Lords made their sentence known. With a yell she whipped up the horses, going from a steady gallop to a desperate race for survival.

 

The skies were clearing when the exhausted animals passed the last hill. She could see the beautiful tower, the most ancient of the surviving buildings from the golden era between the demon's defeat and the terrible war against the nordheim, on which so many wonders were lost.

 

There it was, intact in spite of the eons, like a reminder of how great her race had been. The thick granite walls looked as if the stone had been cut that very day, and the colossal gargoyles that watched the horizon were still terrible to look at. With the passing of the centuries, men had managed to invade the southern edges of the fae empire. Knowing their full attention was turned north, they plundered the isolated villages and farms, murdering their inhabitants and salting the ground they trod on. Even so, they never went anywhere in sight of the tower, for in their superstition they thought that, should any of them step in that holy place, one of the Seven Plagues of ancient times would rise once again.

 

Smiling at the superstition of the primitive men, Erandiril gazed upon the prosperous city that had formed around the enormous structure. She could see the mansions on the wealthier neighbourhoods, with their elaborate gardens, their ornate fences, and the perfectly cut stone bricks that paved the great avenues.

 

The cry of a bird took her away from her daydreaming, and she remembered she wasn't yet safe. Cursing her carelessness, she hurried the horses down the slope, slowing down only so the terrified soldier at the gates could see her amulet and grant them access to the city.

 

The first rays of the sun shone over the city when she reached the discrete building that, officially, housed a prosper jewelcrafter. With no time for subtleties, she cut the rope that held the Reaper to the saddle, and he fell heavily to the floor. She shooed the horses away, so they wouldn't be tied to their location, and then knocked at the door in a very peculiar way: two short calls with her knuckles, then a kick. Immediately, she heard the sound of steps inside and locks opening. A boy opened the door, obviously angry at being woken up. He was about to yell at the interloper when he noticed the medallion in front of his face.

 

People was starting to go out in the streets and the young man's face had turned white when she told him “If you want to live until sunset, tell Barol Erandiril wants to see him. Now”.

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