The tears brushed my cheeks, as I stood over the cleansing table. The long curved ceremonial knife was shaking in my hands. Darkness surrounded the camp, and not just from the night sky. Never before had my heart felt this heavy. The eighteenth birthday had always signified a rite of passage. My task to perform was a burden I couldn’t bear. They always knew I was weak. I could feel the elder’s eyes glaring daggers into my back as I prepared for the heinous ritual. It required three sacrifices from the purest of auras. One just had to be him.
The Darkmore clan always thrived on their pure demonic bloodlines. Father himself is of Jinn decent, allowing him the usual control powers, but also freedom to shift from animal to human form. My father, Ridley Grimsbane, became Chieftain, after ripping the beating heart out of his father, Ilza, when he learned of my existence. Ilza wanted to dispose of me, for I’m an abomination. That’s something I must never forget, and father never lets me. The child of demon and fae has never been done before. Ilza feared I would take his power, while father thought he could use me to gain it.
Since then, father’s had a tight grip on me. A week ago, I was eager to gain his approval, instead of the usual beating, so I took to the village just beyond the Mountain View. There sat more mortals than even my wildest dreams could imagine. I thought they were something out of fireside tales. Pinning my ringlet cinnamon hair back out of my face, I allowed my bright lavender eyes to be exposed. When mortal’s eyes connect with our own it allows us to latch onto their free will like a leech to exposed skin in a lake. Part of becoming a full-fledged demon was mastering the art of mind control. Most demons had red eyes, and mortals learned not to trust the crimson gazes. But since I’m half fae, they were dazzling lavender. It was easy to hide my demonic heritage, when I’m flaunting my fae parts.
I felt the village people draw to me, just as father said. Only instead of fear, it was as if they were drawn by my very essence. Many mortals with wrinkly leather faces made offers of warm fire, and food to fill the belly. One gentleman even offered his home as shelter for the evening. Smiling to myself, I pranced on towards the market. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Men helping other men sweep their floors, and women watching the children of other women. Laughing, I shook my head, what a strange life these mortals lived. My clan would maim each other over a smaller offense.
Hearing has always been a strong skill of mine, since both fae, and demons have heightened abilities. So when commotion hit my ears, I followed with my gaze across the way. A small boy knocked over a basket of bread in front of his mother. I anticipated him to be struck thrice from the blade the bread was cut with, like father would do. I skimmed my fingers along old wounds in anticipation of this punishment. The boy sat shaking from the yells of his mother. Letting the boys fear fill my nostrils, like the smell of baked ham to a grown man, I let out an excited giggle. When the woman did little more then pull the boy up onto his feet, and dust his clothing, I sighed in confusion. Why would anyone fear that?
“Were you interested in some bread?” A soft voice spoke.
Turning around, my eyes settle on a tall man before me. His warm eyes and honey colored hair made him hard to look away from. A small smile inched at either side of his mouth, showing the chiseled jaw that sat just below it. His gaze and smile sent a feeling of kindness through me. An emotion I’m not used to absorbing.
“I’m Delwyn Buckmohr,” He holds his hand out to me. “You must be new to town.”
Cautiously I extend my hand to his. “Odessa Grimsbane,” I answer.
Amusement plastered at the corner of his eyes, as he bent down to kiss my hand. The honey colored hair that sat atop his head was tied in the back to keep from falling in his face. Without meaning to, my eyes slipped towards his broad arms. As if the temperature went up a few degrees, I felt the heat rush through my body. It was strange that a heat spell would come before me with winter harvest well underway.
“What brings you to Aberith?”
Rehearsing the story multiple times through my head, I answered with confidence. “My father wished me to buy some turmeric, and rosemary. Winters peak is about to set in, and we don’t want to be caught unprepared.”
Turning on my most charming of smiles, I asked, “If you would point me in the right direction, I would be most grateful.”
“Point a lovely maiden so she’s stuck walking alone?” He linked his arm with mine, and began walking. “I think not, I should stick with you to ensure you make it there safely.”
The memory made me weak in the knees. Father was growing impatient. It was pure luck that I was able to conceal my emotions from him, just as the fae can. The elders began chanting and swaying. I am to purge the blood from three mortal bodies. Our clan has waited years for someone with enough power to create immortality. Father was to be the first immortal demon to rule the land.
Never before has anyone had, or been able to handle all the power that surged through my veins. Father tried several times after me to recreate a child of both fae, and demon blood. He forced himself into the beds of several fae by hacking each of their family members apart and violently thrusting his manhood upon them. Each time the child was born still of heart. That created a raw rage through him. While the fae lay sleeping, he slaughtered all the babes by severing their heads from their bodies.
I looked down at the three chosen auras. It should be pleasing to fulfill the wish of my chieftain, and bring honor to the clan. The thought of taking their lives made my stomach turn. Estella Nightingale, a young woman just of child baring age, was chosen because of the love she showed animals. Her aura displayed the loveliest colors of green. It’s one of the brightest auras I’ve ever seen. Father had her locked up for the past few weeks in preparation. Kain Mizor was chosen for his fascination in how our abilities worked. He spied on the clan from afar for two weeks thinking he’d gone unnoticed. The aura surrounding him burst with a vibrant orange, it was hard not to spot him. Mizette Shadowwalker toyed with him like a cat and mouse before finally throwing him in the holding cell.
My head turned towards Delwyn. His body engulfed in a lovely white aura, meant to display the good in his heart. Using the air element, I created a whirlwind surrounding us for a moment. It was my fault he was here. When I traveled to the village, my time should not have all been spent with him. I was addicted to his aura, but drawn to his kindness. A part of me craved the gentle way he had about him. For three days I sucked in every ounce of him I could. It wasn’t until the last day when I saw the black wolf that I knew my father had spotted him too.
Grabbing Delwyn’s hand I clutched to the desperation that he could feel me. My free hand swiped the remaining hairs from his forehead, and let them rest against the table. He looked like a babe having nightmares from a troubling past. Tears fell from my cheeks onto him. Lowering myself down, I brushed my lips against his pink cheeks. The only man to show me compassion, and I must end his life.
“I will find a way to fix this,” I promised in words quitter than a whisper.
The wind died down. Father’s expression was hunger. His blazing red eyes fix on me. Doing what is expected of me, I hold the ceremonial knife. Starting with Kain, the knife is sliced along the throat and wrists as he hung upside down to let the blood drain from him. Without drawing attention, I sent pain relief to him. Mizette grins malevolently in my direction. Though we grew up around each other, comfort would never be found in her presence.
I went to Estella, and again sliced along the neck, and wrists. Estella’s long beautiful blond hair shined magically as she hung upside down. Like me, Estella was part fae. The thought of her lavender eyes shine going out, made me place a protective enchantment over her. Faint noises could be heard escaping her lips. Father licked his lips in her agony. He was trying to feed from their pain from afar. The demons struggled to remain where they were. Auras were like sweets to demons, and tasting it through the blood made the effects that much more potent. Father hissed at three young demons that lunged forward. Taking the scathe he held in his hands, he crashed the blade into the first demons neck. Nothing would detour my father from his desired fate.
Finally, I closed in towards Delwyn. My body shuddered as I approached him. Father knew I grew fond of the boy, and this was my punishment. Tears that could fill rivers flew from my eyes. The elders began to murmur of cowardice, and disappointment. Calling upon air, I pushed his board into the air allowing him hang upside down. Pausing a moment, I turned towards the crowd to see the blood red eyes thrusting for their cure to death. Guilt panged my gut, could I subject this fate upon the world?
Uproar sounded from the edges of the charm hold. Servillah, my father’s sister, broke through the barrier. Without time to react she lunged towards me knocking the ceremonial knife out of my hand. Her irises are pure red. The veins on her face began to darken as I felt death on her breath. She is no longer acting by her own will, but by the call of the beast that resides within all of us.
The others shook rapidly as they fought their own demons from taking complete control. A flash crossed the corner of my eye. Without a second to process, I watched as Servillah plunged the knife deep within Delwyn’s throat. She drank some of the white aura from him, licking the blood from his gaping wound. I cried out on instinct. Then the demon in me started to stir. All I felt was rage. Words flew out of my mouth, in tongues I’d never heard before. Though the demon in me felt rage, the fae felt revenge. It was if the inner battle in my head was allowing my fae side to take over.
My hand extended towards Servillah. Watching from outside my own body, I saw the force from my hand fly her against a board. Threats of my death were sung from her lips, but I couldn’t hear it. All I could see in my head was her blood drained from her body. The knife moved as if it heard my thoughts, and sliced along her wrists. Terrifying growls came from outside the charm hold. All I had to do is think stay back, and a barrier appeared around us. In my opinion the blood didn’t drain fast enough from my dearest aunt, so I willed it to drain faster. The screams of her agony brought a wide grin to my face.
The smallest of noises caused for me to lose my attention. Estella was still wiggling her fingers. If she were moving surely the others had too. I grabbed the drained blood from under Servillah and began adding the herbs of the land to it. Drawing from the stars in the sky I began humming and chanting. Stopping in front of Estella, I scooped up a cup of Servillah’s blood. A thin prick along my palm allowed for tiny drops of my blood to lace with the malice’s blood.
“Spirits of Bagithdrad hear my prayer. For this one a life of no despair, for each animal she touches she can shift, allow her a chance to be cunning and swift. Take this blood I offer her as a grace, and in this demon run world allow her family a place.”
Pouring the cup into her mouth, I felt her pulse grow strong and steady. Her eyes opened, and the lavender color now gave a feral gaze. Sensing her freedom, her body began shaking expeditiously. The fear that I had done something far worse than death came over me, as I watched her body convulse into something else. A bird now lay where Estella sat moments before, and she flew off beyond the trees.
Father’s disapproval could be heard louder than any other noise. Kain was but a few feet from me. I dropped to my knees in front of him, and began the chants again. Words flew from my mouth before I even knew what was said.
“Spirits of Bagithdard hear my prayer. For this one a life of great possibility, all he needs are matching abilities. Allow this blood to fill his body full, and give him the power to make his life whole.”
After the cup of blood was drained, movement stirred in his right hand. A small speckle of blue light could be seen before all. He looked at me, and nodded his head before disappearing out of sight from a light bluer than the sea.
Next was Delwyn. I feared what I would be able to do. There was no pulse coming from his hands. Fae, and demon magic are strong, but they have not yet been used to bring back the dead. My vision blurred as I scooped up a cup of blood, and dripped drops of mine in it. The tears that braced my cheeks fell into the cup. I hoped Delwyn could feel my sorrow, and desperation.
“Spirits of Bagithdard hear my prayer. For this one’s life flame is no longer lit, please return him back to me however you see fit. Allow him to heal of his pain, and never allow his life force again to drain.”
I poured the cup desperately into his mouth. My arms wrapped around his lifeless body as I allowed the hurt inside me to release. Moments later nothing happened. I moved over to look my father in the eyes. All the pent up emotions transmitted off of me. The grin that was plastered on his face made me realize he thought he’d won.
Running over to what little blood was left, I scooped it up and poured it down my throat. Again the ancient words that flew through my head, and I continued the immortality ritual. My body felt stronger ready to take on each and every demon that waited just outside the circle. The need to avenge Delwyn’s death surged through me. A tireless body has awoken, and I’m ready.
Letting the guard drop momentarily, I allowed only my father to break through. His face was almost pure black from anger, except for the crimson gaze of his eyes. Standing tall amongst the trees he stormed at me. I am ready. With no more than a thought of my mind, I squeezed father’s brains in as far as I could get them. His face contorted as he felt the weight of my magic against his thick skull, forcing him to the ground.
A roar erupted from his throat as he willed himself to get up. Humiliation never went over well with demons. Though I knew the only way to ensure death was to cut off his head, or rip out his heart, I am not yet agile enough in my energized body to fight my way close enough.
All the magic I used tonight for the ceremony and events after left my mind with exhaustion. My body could continue the fight, but my mind wouldn’t let it. With as much energy as I could muster, I threw a ball of fire at him.
Exhaustion overcame me, and my knees concaved. The out of body experience returned. I watched as father lunged towards me, now in the form of a colossal wolf. He was a mere foot away when I saw another demon tackle him. No, not a demon, it was Delwyn. His sun kissed skin was now pale as winter’s snow, and his masculine features were more dominate than before. He thwarted father down with little more than the strength in his body. It was if the spell I casted brought him back with godly vigor.
Delwyn punched the wolf square in the muzzle. My ears could hear the sound of each bone breaking. This enraged the wolf, but it didn’t stop Delwyn from continuing. Spinning his foot in the air he kicked the wolf back against the trees, knocking it unconscious. It looked like Delwyn plunged his teeth into my father’s furry neck.
Wiping his hand across his mouth, he turned in my direction. The tree line stood a mere 70 yards away from me, but yet his soft gaze fixed upon me like he was taking in the delicate features of my face. Sprinting faster than a demon could blink, he rushed over to me.
Fighting my eyelids to stay open, I tried to ask him what’s happened to him. Sensing my questions he shushed me. Two strong, ice cold arms wrapped around my body. The protective barrier began to slip from my grasp. The weight of the demons against it was too much. Taking only a moment to watch the oncoming demons, he bolted through the night until we reached a small town many landmarks away. Struggling to stay awake, I reached for him.
“Sleep now my love, I’m here. Nothing will come of you. Everything else can wait.” The most majestic tone I ever heard escaped his lips. Unable to fight any more, I allowed myself to sleep.