Demon Sa'ruul attempts to devour all life on this primeval earth.
|Sa’Ruul had come to the world.
He’d passed between the demon realm to the realm of humans, his hunger for blood allowing him to pass through the barrier that had once separated them.
Sa’Ruul was feared even by other demons for his bloodlust. Sa’Ruul resembled a human in shape. His fingers were blackened claws that were stained blood red on the tips; his eyes were hollows, black holes that drew your soul down into infinity. His mouth looked as if a dull knife had cut a hole where his mouth should be; his teeth were in jagged rows, pointing in every direction.
Sa’Ruul had come to the world.
Sa’Ruul swept through the land like a wildfire sweeping through dry grass in summer; he decimated the human population in a matter of days, such was his hunger.
A last stand was formed by the humans. Their hope was that they could trap the demon in a box that was covered in runes. The people made their stand in a clearing, near the major city. The demon came through the forest charging the group of people, as he passed over the box, an intense light burst out, enveloping Sa’Ruul in its glow. He quickly disappeared, the box’s glow quickly dissipating. A couple of the men ran forward to check the box. Sa’Ruul broke out of the box suddenly, grabbing several of the men as they tried to scramble away.
Upon further inspection later, the people would find a minute hole in the box, a flaw big enough for Sa’Ruul to exploit. Knowing that containing Sa’Ruul was the only way to stop him, the person who’d written the runes on the box, now wrote them on a sword. Swinging the sword mightily, the man charged Sa’Ruul, letting out a scream. Sa’Ruul smiled, that this man thought he could stop a being as powerful as himself, the thought was laughable. The man met Sa’Ruul; the sword burying itself in through the demon’s flesh, a drop of black blood flowed down the sword. Utter darkness spread out from the point of impact, the world went dark and even the sun went dark. When light returned, the man had been turned to stone; the sword had changed too, its simple shape had changed to a demonic looking sword. It was black and had serrated edges down one side. Sa’Ruul had been contained in the sword, the people had been saved.
The remains of the human civilization took what strands of life had been left to them and restarted; the memory of Sa’Ruul faded into history, becoming less than a myth.
Krejen was the master of the now non-existent Galfen civilization. The people of Galf revered the sword and worked hard to make the sword an extension of their selves rather than just a weapon. And while they had the ability to easily wipe out and conquer the other two civilizations Valziin and Hareel, they preferred to let the two civilizations fight each other, and hired out their services as mercenaries. This way they made more of a profit then if they’d just conquered them.
The two civilizations eventually came to realize that Galfen was gaining too much power and wealth. The two civilizations became jealous and conspired against Galfen.
Valziin hired out the service of the Galfen, while the Galfen soldiers fought a false defense, the combined force of Hareel and Valziin stormed Galf, murdering the women, children, and elderly. The soldiers showed no mercy, whoever they came along was brutally murdered.
The Galf soldiers returned home to a red city. The walls and buildings had all been painted with the blood of the people who’d been killed.
Krejen watched from up in his room. His soldiers Mourning Song drifting up to his ears. As he looked down upon his ruined city he heard someone yell. A massive force was running through the city, slaughtering his men as they held their children in their arms. Krejen recognized the soldiers; they were Hareel and Valziin men.
Krejen’s vision turned red and a fury took him over. Such was the fury that it tore Krejen’s mind apart. Now more beast than man, Krejen let out a bloodcurdling scream as he ran down the steps from his room. Drawing his sword he jumped into the middle of a group of men and started slashing. Every hit was a killing one. The image of his two wives and six children’s bodies cut open and crucified burned permanently into his mind.
The two groups of soldiers converged on the spot where Krejen was fighting. Krejen shrugged off any cuts that he received like flies on a horse. Krejen laughed maniacally as he cut down several more opponents. Blood ran off of him in rivulets.
Out of the thousands of troops sent in, barely two hundred made it out alive, as the men ran from the city, Krejen’s maniacal laughter followed them.
Upon returning, the soldiers reported what had happened. The two civilizations joined together to defend against Krejen should he choose to return to exact his vengeance. They renamed their civilization Nelficar. Over the next several years, a wall was built up and an army of archer’s was trained in the hopes that they could kill Krejen before he could get close enough to use his sword.
Aden woke up, the dawn’s cool light gently illuminating the upper portion of his face. He stood up, splashing water on his face to clear the sleep out of his eyes. Today was the day Aden went to join the city militia. Nelficar had decreased its military’s size quite a bit since the days of Krejen. There were rumors that Krejen was still alive, even three hundred years after the fall of Galf. There were even rumors that Krejen was heading this way now. Aden hoped that joining the militia would bring honor to his family and glory to him. When he arrived at the outpost he was surprised, he was the only person who had showed up. As his mind raced on about whether he’d confused day’s or times, he heard a voice behind him.
“You must be the new recruit, welcome to the Nelficar Defensive Militia.”
“Thank you sir, I’m Aden Resalyn. It’s an honor to meet you.”
“The honor is mine Aden, I’m Trey. It’s a shame so few people show up to join these days. Back when I joined people were still joining by the dozens. Never thought I’d see the day where we were lucky to have one. Okay, enough with the pleasantries, you are to go see Calys down in the yard.”
The yard was a good mile away, the whole out post stretched along the outer limits of the city. As Aden walked along the main path, he noticed an old trail that led into the woods. Drawn in by the mystery of the trail, Aden went down it. He noticed further along that the trees that had once looked green and healthy had started turning into gnarly bare trees. Aden was confused at one time, the change in the trees would have been enough to keep him from continuing down the trail; but now he didn’t care and was continuing along it. As he progressed the trees continued to become more sickly and frail, until they disappeared altogether. The path entered a clearing in the center was a statue. Aden ran to it, feeling the pulling sensation stemming from there. As he drew near the statue he couldn’t help but notice the detail in it. It was of a man, but had it not been in stone before him, Aden would have thought it human with the detail. The sculpture had the height of a normal man; every hair was separate and looked as if the gentlest wind would move them; the man’s face conveyed such emotion too, it looked as if he were screaming at something, his eyes wide and desperate.
Aden’s eyes looked over the piece, until he got to the arms. The muscles seemed strained, as if carrying a great burden. His eyes continued onto the sword. It was a thing of terrible beauty. It was a two sided blade. One edge had hooked barbs going both ways, the other side separated by a fuller, had gore holes to allow the blade to be extracted from a victim. The guard was spiked upwards giving the sword an even more sinister look. The handle of the blade was red, and near the top had a runic symbol. Aden was entranced by the blade; he slowly reached out toward it. Common sense screamed at him, telling him he shouldn’t even be here. But his curiosity urged him on ever faster, and right before he touched it, it seemed like his curiosity held its breath. His pointer finger alighted on the sword, the rest of his fingers following. The blade was freezing, even though it was warm out. Aden heard a cracking sound, he looked at the statue, it was quickly crumbling into a pile of dust. He didn’t know if he imagined it, but for the mere blind of an eye it seemed the face had turned toward him the face became drawn, falling toward the ground the eyes screamed, a thought was shot into Aden’s mind, Run. Drawing his attention back, the entire weight of the sword fell onto Aden’s hands. The unexpected weight caused the sword to slip slightly, his reflexes kicked in and his fingers gripped more tightly onto the blade. Aden screamed out as the flesh on his hand was sliced open. He grabbed the sword in his opposite hand and quickly inspected the wound. The cut had gone straight to the bone. As he looked the separated pieces of flesh reached for each other, coming closer together and closing tightly. Within a matter of seconds the wound had closed up and Aden no longer felt pain. Confused by what had just happened, Aden threw down the sword and ran all the way back to the original path. In a panic he ran in the direction of where he was supposed to practice, trying to leave the whole scene behind him.
He finally came upon the yard; a man standing at the front in a uniform looked up in anger, then confusion as he saw Aden running toward him, his face a mask of fear. Aden was stopped by the man who grabbed him bodily. Aden looked into the man’s eyes, raising the sword in his arm. The sword? He thought. He remembered throwing it down before he ran, but he couldn’t figure out how it had gotten back into his hand.
“Calm yourself boy, if you strike at me with that sword it’ll be the last thing you ever do. Now explain to me why you are running as if Krejen was coming after you.”
“I, I don’t know.”
“You are running madly from,” The man stopped his focus on the sword in Aden’s hand, “I’ve seen that sword before.” He said.
“I-” Aden started
“That sword is the one from back in the woods, when I was in training we were taken down that old trail. Our master of history back then said even he didn’t know anything about the statue or the swords history, the only thing he did know is that you weren’t supposed to touch the sword. And it would seem you did more than touch it boy, you took it.”
“No I didn’t mean, I didn’t want to; the statue crumbled and it fell into my hands.”
“It’s no matter now boy; the warning seemed to be based on superstition anyway. Now shall we get on with your training? I’m Calys, master swordsman of the yard.”
Over the next several weeks Aden trained with Calys. Learning had never come too easily to Aden; he’d always had to work at it. When he and Calys practiced with wood swords, Aden lost every training practice; but when he used his sword he was unstoppable. Every thrust and parry came easily to him. At first it concerned Calys and Aden, but gradually Aden just accepted it as him getting better.
At the end of a long week of training, Calys had Aden and a senior student start a duel. Aden had never met the student and had no idea how he fought. There were two rounds; the first was to be done with wood swords. As they started, Aden quickly found himself outmatched. The man he was dueling with seemed to have a natural skill along with plenty of experience. He quickly won the match. Aden feeling humiliated and frustrated pulled out Dark Wind. When did he name it? He thought to himself. The concern was forgotten as the match started, all his frustration and humiliation came rushing back in a moment.
A memory flashed through his mind one of him standing above the trees, his name was Sa’Ruul and he’d come to the world. Suddenly he felt humiliation as a man stabbed him, knowing he’d been defeated. He, Sa’Ruul, feared even by other demons had been defeated by a simple man.
The man charged forward expecting Aden to retreat and lose his footing. Aden stood still, sword at the ready. As the man came within striking distance Aden sliced upwards wanting to take the man’s arm off. Aden was suddenly confused, he had felt humiliated, but he didn’t want to hurt the man. At least, he didn’t think so. As he thought this, the sword continued upwards, drawing ever closer to the man’s arm. His eyes went wide as he saw what was about to happen. Suddenly Aden felt a stinging vibration sent through his arms as the sword was pushed away. Calys had seen what Aden was about to do and intervened. Aden let out a sigh of relief, but he could have sworn he’d heard a scream in his head.
His vision suddenly went black. He lost all control of his body. He’d become a blind onlooker to what was happening. He could vaguely feel his arms swinging the sword, the vibrating of his vocal cords as he let out a terrifying scream, and the rending of his flesh, which healed again in seconds. He felt his body moving faster, more panicked. His arms were flailing every which way; somehow he’d managed to grab another sword and could feel himself swinging them both. All of a sudden he felt the coppery taste of blood in his mouth and the smell of dirt filled his nostrils. He sneezed and opened his eyes; there were people all around him. He looked up and saw that they were all cut, some were seriously wounded. Aden started crying, sobs racking his body as he realized that it’d been him who had done this. His arms had been tied behind his back; they had tried to take the sword but he’d had a death grip on it. Calys ordered that they leave it alone instead of taking off his hand. As he was lifted bodily, Aden took relief in the fact that no one had died. Then he saw the man he’d been dueling, he’d taken the brunt of the beating apparently. His body cut all over, his stomach sliced open, looking like a gaping smile. Aden screamed and didn’t stop. He’d killed a living person, one who wasn’t even the enemy. But that wasn’t what had caused him to scream, it was that cut that looked like a smile. It was nightmarish; a horrible vision of something unnatural, and it had reminded him of his sword.
Aden was sat down in a prison cell, the door locked and only him inside. The other soldiers left, only Calys remained. He just waved them off as they tried to get him to leave and get medical attention. Calys just sat there as Aden cried holding himself, the sword still tightly held in one hand.
Once Aden had stopped crying, he looked up at Calys, a pleading look in his eyes.
“Look at yourself Aden,” Said Calys “What do you notice?”
Aden looked over himself, not noticing anything different. “You just fought thirty soldiers, killed one, and wounded the rest. Don’t you find it strange that you came out without a scratch on you?”
Aden looked over his body again, noticing that he was right. “I-”
“Don’t speak, I’m not done yet. In the match between you and that other soldier, with the wooden swords, you were beaten quickly. The other men suspect you had every intention of killing the man the moment the duel started, and that you lost the first match to lure him into a false sense of security.”
“But I-” Calys held up his hand stopping Aden, “I said I’m not done.” He said glaring at Aden.
“When you fought with your sword, you became different. And when you attacked your eyes were crazed, and you resembled a demon. That wasn’t you. At least not what I’ve seen of you. Now we need to decide whether you have been possessed, or if its something you possess that’s doing this.”
“Please, help me.” Was all Aden could utter.
“Now first things first, I believe it could be that sword that’s doing this to you. So give it here, and we’ll see if you change at all.”
Aden stood up and walked over to the bars of the cell. He dropped the sword outside of the bars. He smiled, he’d actually put it down. He’d constantly had the thing with him the whole time, never letting it go for one second. Even when fighting with wood swords, he’d strapped it too his back. Now he was free of it.
Calys called several men in as he put the sword into a stand. He ordered the men to take Aden out to the yard behind the prison. They did as they were told. Aden sat on the ground in the middle of the courtyard for several minutes. Calys came out holding two swords and a rope. He tossed the rope to several of the soldiers, having them tie an end to Aden’s waist.
“What’s this for?” Asked Aden.
“The rope is a fall back. If you are still possessed and come to kill me, my men will yank on the rope, giving me time to fall back. If you somehow escape, I have archers posted to kill you. Believe me, it’s not something I want to do, but I must first look after my men. As of yet, you are still not one of them.” Calys said, throwing Aden a new sword.
“Ready?” he asked
“Ready.” Aden replied. As he said it his vision went black again, he could once again feel himself screaming a blood curdling scream, and then he was struck on the head by a club. He came to on the ground, soldiers sitting on him, pinning his arms. Calys walked up holding a red hot piece of metal in front of him. He bent down next to Aden.
“I need you to hold still” he said. Another man stepped up behind Aden, holding his head. Aden’s eyes looked questioningly at Calys, “Precaution.” Was all he said. He knelt down next to Aden; bring the red hot metal ever closer to his ear. Aden could feel the heat radiating from it. Sweat broke out on his face. Panic filled his entire body and he started to whimper. He squeezed his eyes shut just before the poker touched him. He felt the heat as the hot metal touched his skin. He screamed out in pain. Calys moved suddenly pulling out a jar and placing something in it. Water was quickly thrown onto Aden’s ear, instantly soothing him.
“Look at this.” Calys said, shoving the jar in front of Aden’s face. He saw something crawling around in it. As his vision focused he saw it was a tick. But it wasn’t the ordinary color, it was red and a menacing purple. Calys brought his face down next to it. “Now, shall we try again?” he asked. “How’d you find it?” asked Aden
“When you were clubbed into unconsciousness I went to make sure you were okay, and while examining the bruise I noticed this little bugger in your ear.”
Aden and Calys stood up and took their positions. As the fight started Aden kept full control of himself. He was beaten within a couple of moves. Aden smiled, he was normal again.
Over the next couple of months Aden continued his training with Calys and he’d been given Dark Wind back. His skill grew enormously and he quickly became a respected swordsman. Aden entered the yard to continue his training and saw Calys standing in the center a note held in his hand, his head hanging. Aden approached him, “Is something wrong?” he asked.
“Something is very wrong. Krejen’s been sighted outside the gates, he’s out about a day’s journey. He’s come.”
“Are you sure it’s real this time, not just another crazed peasant?”
“This came from a patrol, not a single peasant. Fifteen men all saw the same thing. The same man, the same demented look in his eyes. He’s here to exact payment on our debt to him. We never should have invaded Galf, or killed their people.”
“But we must still fight,” Calys continued. “Because the people who did such traitorous deeds are not here today, these people are innocent.”
“But we are strong too, and we can defeat Krejen right?”
Calys looked at Aden with haunting eyes, “Know this,” he said, “A betrayed soul cannot be killed by any mortal means. We will fight in the morning, but only to give our people time to get away.”
Aden nodded, there was nothing more to be said. In the morning they would meet Krejen at the gates and defend their city.
Aden and the whole of the Nelficar Army stood out in front of the gates in the pre-lit dawn, the smell of dew filling the air. Under other circumstances Aden would have been comforted by this. But he’d heard of Krejen’s abilities. His broken mind had allowed him to become as strong as any demon.
A figure appeared on the horizon, only noticed by its darker shape than the surrounding air. The air went tense as the soldiers were getting their first sight of Krejen. He approached slowly, ploddingly as if he were trying to keep control of something. Then, he stopped. Aden was confused as to why he stopped, until an arrow was loosed and stopped right in front of him. He’d stayed out of range of the archers.
“Send forward your treacherous commander.” Krejen yelled, his voice sending the air into deep vibrations with its force. Calys stepped forward and Aden with him. Calys looked at Aden questioningly, “Extra protection.” He said.
Aden drew Dark Wind as he and Calys approached Krejen. Krejen spread his hands both as a gesture of being unarmed and in confusion. “Only those who show fear show a weapon before a fight.” Said Krejen. He turned his gaze onto Calys. “You are neither the Valziin nor the Hareel general. What is the meaning of this?”
“The Valziin and the Hareel are no longer separate; we combined the two cities to defend ourselves should this day ever come.”
“Well it has come and I am here. I only wish to have my vengeance.” Said Krejen.
“We cannot allow you to do that. We understand that you were wronged, but these are innocent people who had nothing to do with the fall of Galf.”
“Innocent?” Krejen spluttered, “Innocent. You dare to speak to me about innocence? My family was innocent. My people were innocent. We fought in a war started by your two rival cities. The fault did not lay with us. And you speak to me of innocence? I will have my revenge and I have come for it today. You will stand aside, or you will be slaughtered alongside the others.”
“I cannot do that.” Said Calys.
“Then I shall kill you all, one by one, and as I watch each of you die, I will take pleasure in it; because I know that for every one of you I kill, another one of my people will rest peacefully.”
The sun had peaked over the horizon shedding its light on the army. Krejen looked over at Aden, the broken tormented mind that was his clearly at the forefront now. A shocked look over came him. “Is that Dark Wind?” he asked
“Yes it is,” Aden answered confused. “How did you know?”
“I saw that sword many times on my way to each of the cities, its name always whispered as my men and I walked by.”
The sword grew colder in Aden’s hand. “I propose a deal,” Krejen said looking back at Calys. “A duel, between me and that boy with Dark Wind. If I win, your men stand down and let me through. And if you win, well it’ll be to the death, so you no longer need worry about me.”
Calys opened his mouth to speak. “I accept.” Aden said. Calys glared at Aden, “We do not-”
“Great, let’s get started then.” Said Krejen. Calys just stood there. From out of nowhere Krejen pulled a blade, holding it to Calys’ throat. “This is now an arena, and if you don’t leave now, your blood will be joining one of ours.”
Calys slowly backed out of the area, glaring at Aden the whole time.
“Great, now we can begin. Either way, my people will rest in peace once these people are slaughtered.”
“But that doesn’t make any-” Krejen swept forward starting his attack. Aden quickly blocked. Krejen continued striking, his movements becoming superhuman in their speed, Aden couldn’t keep up. “Come on boy, if you were going to agree to the duel you should at least put up a good fight.” Krejen said. He jumped back for a moment. Aden had taken a number of deep cuts; his breathing came hard as he fought to stay conscious. Slowly the pain started to decrease. Krejen’s eyes widened slightly. “So you heal too.” He said. He threw off the shirt he’d been wearing, allowing his skin to show. Aden looked up. Krejen’s body was a mass of scar tissue. Every where there were cuts, long healed over. It was the man’s madness that allowed him to move still. “Not quite in the same way it would seem.” He said. Aden looked down. His wounds were again healing themselves, but he had thought the demon had been taken care of. He felt a slice of pain go through his chest. Krejen’s sword at the source, he slowly withdrew it, increasing Aden’s pain. “Let it out boy, you can’t defeat me but it can.” Aden didn’t know what the man was talking about. His breathing rattled, as he straightened. Krejen struck again, this time at his arm, cutting clean to the bone. Aden screamed out in pain. Then a flash of red light right before Krejen’s sword struck the side of his head, breaking his neck. Aden collapsed to the ground. “A shame really. I had expected more.” He turned to face Calys, then heard a rattling breath shaking the air again. Krejen smiled and turned back to Aden. At last we meet, he thought.
Aden stood up. Once again he was no longer in control, he didn’t feel pain, but he knew it was there. The only thing different is that now he could see too.
Krejen looked on as Aden stood up his head leaning to one side while his arm hung limp and his rattled breathing shook the air. By all accounts he should have been dead; and by all accounts, he was.
“Now the fight shall truly begin.” Krejen said.
Aden’s head erected itself and his arm healed and the wound in his chest healed too, but the rattled breathing still shook the air. “Who is it that I fight?” asked Krejen.
Aden’s mouth uttered words not meant to be heard by man. The sky darkened and the ground shook. The language changed. “I am Sa’Ruul. Demon even to demons. I am feared by all.”
“Except by that man turned statue.” Krejen said. Aden sneered and the ground started to shake again. “Even that man feared me. He was foolish to think that trapping me in that sword would stop me. He learned to fear me in the end, a millennia of torture was enough for me to show him true fear.” With that the sword and Aden’s arm raised and he charged Krejen.
Krejen raised his sword smiling. They swung at the same time. Krejen’s sword sliced through Aden’s face. Aden’s sword sliced through Krejen’s mid-section. They both just stood there. Calys and his men looked on, wondering who had won not knowing which was the lesser of two evils. Krejen fell to the ground, dead. Aden turned to face Calys. His fingers had lengthened and become blackened claws that were stained blood red on the tips and his eyes had turned to hollows, black holes that drew your soul into infinity. His mouth was now a giant slash where Krejen’s sword had cut. His teeth had become sharp, now in jagged rows, pointing in every direction. Sa’Ruul had returned to the world.