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Rise of Evil IC

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Waiting to start when everyone has posted their characters.

Edited by HellFireSouLess

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The sun began to shrine in Saraph's room. He awoke for the light shining on his face.

"Man is it morning already?" Saraph asked not wanting to get up. He got out of bed and stretched.

"So it has been a year now since the cult attack." said Saraph recalling the events of that day.

"I wish she was still here." Saraph told himself. A tear ran down his face. he still could see her cold corpse on the ground. The woman he loved gave to him a gift to keep them both safe - the Maw of the Behemoth, the twin of the one she had given to her brother. Yet, it was not to be. Though it saved him, she was lost. Her death weighed heavily upon him and he could not face Gareth after that.

"How can I face him? How can I face my old friend, my comrade?" Saraph asked himself. Once he went into isolation he lost all contact with him.

He grabbed some clothes he had laid out the night before. These clothes were lose fit and combat effective. He grabbed his demon arms Maw and belted them to his waste. Once he finished he put on his combat boots.

He began to remind himself fighting alongside Gareth.

"I must find him and face him." Saraph said out loud to himself.

before walking out the door he grabbed his vest and put it on. One side of the vest had a sleeve. To hide his scar on his left arm. Since he got that scar from fighting the Behemoth. he put on his hood and walked out the door closing it behind him.

"I may not know what will happen once I find him. I do not care either. All I want to do is tell him I am sorry." said Saraph to himself clinching his fist.

We began walking the streets of Washington DC. Then something he heard caught his attention. A group of civilizations were talking about Gareth's guild. He heard they were somewhere north of Washington.

"Then that is where I will go too." said Saraph making his way there.


((For when my pistols transform Maw of the Behemoth sword form))

Edited by HellFireSouLess

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It's never a pleasant feeling, having to debate whether the man or woman standing beside you is truly your ally or not. Especially as of late with the demons running amok and causing all sorts of chaos. During these times, you really hope that that man or woman fighting beside you won't suddenly turn on you in a crucial moment and stab you in the back. Well, that was exactly the feeling one particular guild group was about to experience upon finding a stranded young girl during one of their expeditions.

As most of the group pulled guard, surveying the land for any possible incoming threats, another member performed a quick scan and then mended the few wounds the girl had acquired. Deciding they had been outside the safety of the city for too long now, the leader turned the group around and they began their trek back, stopping in a bunker a few hours later so they might rest for the night.

Bunkers were temporary settlements for travelers to reside in until it was clear enough for them to carry on to the city. Usually, they were fortified sections underground, but there were some shacks for those who wished to brave staying the night in one. Of course, most bunkers weren't safe when in large groups. Most of the time, the were used as safehouses for two man teams from the Destruction Guilds.

"Don't you worry now, we'll be back to the city be sunset tomorrow eve. You get some rest, okay little one?"

Such kind words came from a large, burly man that adorned a suit of demon armor. On his back, what appeared to be a buster sword, was the threat he carried. This was the leader of the five man group that had picked the girl up. Despite having a shaved head, under the light you could see just how fiery his hair would be. Beside him, a woman with long brown hair and brilliant blue eyes, with compliments of brown just around the iris' was also smiling with re-encouragement. This was the same person that had healed the girl of her wounds earlier and probably provided ability buffs to the rest of the group. Of course, the black jumpsuit she wore made her look more like an assassin. In the corner was a man who's Demon Arm had been converted into a long-range rifle, that seemingly complimented his cowboy get-up. A pair of sand colored goggles and dark lenses covered his eyes, a dust-colored scarf was wrapped around the lower half of his head and his neck, and an old black cowboy hat covered most of the shaggy blonde hair that poked out in various spots. He also wore a duster that covered everything besides the fingerless gloves and the black cowboy boots, with spurs and all.

As for the other two, the girl discovered they had been pick-me-ups as well, declaring their previous team had been tormented by a she-witch. To most, they seemed delusional and were suffering from exhaustion, which is exactly how it had been framed. They had grown tense, however, when the group had picked up the girl, but they refrained from letting such emotions show. After all, they were within a days journey of making it back to the safety of a city.

Suddenly, the large man spoke up again, his gaze observing the boots that the girl adorned.

"So, little miss, who got you those interesting boots you're wearing?"

Sighing, the girl looked into his gaze with red eyes, the flickering light seemingly forming a fire in her stare. Pulling a white tube that had been strapped across her back into her lap, she lightly rubbed a finger down the length of it before responding.

"I did."

"Hahah! You got some spunk in your voice, little miss, but those boots you can't just buy off the shelf, you know. Those belonged to a demon and I was just wonderin' who the person was that slayed it."

Stopping at the end of the tube, the girl looked back up at the man, a look of irritation now reflecting in her gaze as she stood. As she did, one end of the tube shifted into a black hilt, the guard forming into a star-like shape with red trimming along the edges.

"As I said before, I did."

"Ah, I see. Now I ask you this, little miss, what were you doing alone, outside the city? Don't you have a group?"

"I was hunting and I don't need a group. Now, I have a question for you."


"How slowly should I kill your wife?"

Upon hearing such words, the man perked up ever so slightly, a look of concern washing across his facial features. Looking back at the woman, when their gaze met, he realized he had just made a fatal mistake. As if in slow motion, his gaze was shifting back to the girl just in time to see a pair of red eyes just inches from his face. There was no time to react in such a cramped location and then the world went black.




Some time had passed, how much time exactly, the man couldn't be sure, but he began to stir. At first, he was surprised that he wasn't dead, but that surprised quickly transitioned to fear when he realized the situation he was now in. Neither his arms nor his legs had any feeling in them and there was a wave of drowsiness washing over him, but he forced himself to remain awake as he began to observe his surroundings.

They were still in the bunker, but the lamp had been shattered and in one corner of the room there was a fire. Upon closer inspection, the man realized it was the other two people he had picked up, their bodies writhing as they were being burned alive. As for his ranger partner, he found him bare and hanging from his feet from the ceiling, still unconscious, but the rise and fall of his chest showed he was still alive. As for the man's wife, she was directly across from him, tears falling from her eyes as their gazes met. Unfortunately, the girl was no where to be seen, but she quickly announced her presence when it seemingly clicked in his mind that she was right behind him.

"Your friend there was actually quite heavy. I went through two different ropes to get him hung up there like that. As for the other two, they were cowards that pleaded for mercy, so I lied to them and told them if they let me strap them down I wouldn't put them through any kind of misery... as I did with their team. Ah! I forgot that part, huh? Yeah, things tend to get all jumbled up in my mind sometimes. Anyway, your wife had a hard time meeting my demands, but I had her make sure you didn't bleed out straight away. You've got strong bones, by the way. Did you drink a lot of milk growing up or is that a common trait with you Irish folk? Or are you Scottish?"

This news alerted the man even further and he realized he should have inspected himself from the beginning. To his misery, the realization of why he couldn't feel his arms or legs was worse than the general feeling, for he no longer had his arms or legs.

"Now, I'll ask you again, how slowly should I kill her? I waited this long, holding off my urge to put her through so much torment, just so you could bear witness. For a moment, I debated on reversing the roles and letting her watch you get maimed, but you were asleep so it wouldn't have been as fun."

"Kill me."

"What's that?"

"I said, kill me!"

"One more time, I had something in my ear."

"Kill me, you %*$! Leave my wife out of this and kill me!"

"Aww, that's so sad. I was hoping you would beg for your life instead, but now I guess I'll just have to hear you wail as I strip her down to her bones. Look at it this way, though, you'll get to see even deeper inside your wife. To a place you never would've thought possible."




A month would have passed before the discovery of the gruesome scene, called in by a search group when word spread of the man and his wife's disappearance. Of course, the girl was long gone by that point with little evidence showing where she was heading. Although, once the bodies had been brought back and further examined, one member was able to put a name to the groups murderer. It had been posted in both major cities of the U.S., but as time passed on and the pressure brought by the demons began to build everyone began to forget about the girl.




In the current time, the girl sat on a bench at one of the old parks just outside the protection of the Washington D.C. safety site. In one hand, she spun her white tube around like a baton and in the other was an ice cream cone topped with strawberry ice cream. One of the local stores still had tubs in the freezer and she decided to help herself. After all, who was going to venture outside the safety of the field just to get some ice cream?

Smiling and humming to herself, she continued to lick the ice cream until a figure approached from behind her. Placing a covered hand on her shoulder, there was a pause inbetween her childish eating and the beginning of the conversation.

"I presume you're having a delightful day?"

"It was better before you showed up. Now my ice cream tastes sour."

As if to emphasize this point, she let the cone fall to the ground before she turned to face her adversary. His features were dark, and there was a dark essence flowing off his body, giving him the appearance of a shadow. From underneath his hood, pure white orbs looked out from the darkness, reflecting very little of what might be hidden under there.

"Pity. I request a favor of you, child."

"Just tell me what brings you out of the shadows so I can get a new ice cream cone."

"Very well, there's a man I wish for you to deliver to me. His essence is strong, but his will is close to breaking. Much has been lost to him, including his sister, whom he was very close with in the past. Slay his wife and bring me his broken body and I will reward you with my cloak. Go about it as you please, but I would prefer if you nurtured him first so that when you break him, he will be at his peak."

"In other words, you want me to play goody-goody with him for a little while. I can do it, but I'll need some time if you really want it to be juicy."

The beings white eyes merely peered at the girl for a moment before he sunk back into the darkness. Mina sighed and slung her pole across her back before jumping to her feet and wandering off. If the demon wished for it to be a quick task, he would have placed a time limit, but clearly he wanted this person's soul at the peak of its misery. In order to do that, Mina needed to learn of his past, get close with him, find his weaknesses, everything that would make breaking him so much sweeter. This would take time and there was plenty of it for the girl. So, for the first part of her task, she would need to find this person that matched the demon's description.


Edited by zakku_uchiha

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(( Okay, I'm pissed AF. Four times this stupid charger cord comes out and erases all my progress. God damn it.

EDIT: Finally posted after seven freaking tries and extra fixes. I had to write for over 4-5 hours for ONE post thanks to my stupid charger. *grumbles* ))



A lone figure walked down the ruined streets of Washington DC, its features hidden by a black, hooded cloak. It moved slowly along the street, taking short steps. However, his stance and the way he moved... though he looked wary, anyone experienced could tell he was confident and knew his way around. His steps were quiet and careful, making sure not to make any unnecessary sounds. Though the stranger was hidden by the cloak, his weapon was not. It was the only visible detail on its body - a large object, hanging from the back of his belt. It was a rather long sheath, possibly for a katana-like blade, as one would guess from the form. It was made of durable leather, which had been colored a dark shade of blood red. It was in a great condition, however, with seemingly no scratches and imperfections visible on the surface. A large, metal shape came out from the end of the sheath. It looked like a handle, made of a strange, black metal. The handle was covered by black bandages, with a single, long piece hanging from the end and swaying in the wind, and the whole thing was covered in large, dried patches, as well as fresh sprays of blood.

As the stranger walked through the streets silently, strange things started happening nearby. At first, it was simple things - scratches, shuffling noises and murmuring. Then, slowly, strange figures started appearing, moving along the buildings and slowly following the figure down the streets. Multiple sets of eyes followed every single step it took, watching... waiting. They were lesser demons, no doubt. Though they obviously had an advantage in numbers, lesser demons also got afraid extremely easily and anyone with an intimidating aura could keep smaller groups at a distance with ease.

The figure suddenly stopped, suprising the demons which had been following it and causing them to quickly retreat. It lifted its head up, revealing a young man's face. His dark red eyes watched the streets in front of him, paying no heed to the lesser demons around him and instead focusing on a strange presence farther down the street. The few strands of yellow hair that peeked out from under his hood moved in the wind.

As if on cue, a strange thumping noise came from the distance. Then, another one, and yet another one. Slowly, the sounds linked together into a rythmic set of thumps, which reminded him of someone walking. Something was coming this way, and it was most definitely not a lesser demon. The sounds grew closer, but the young man stood still, not even unnerved by the strange sounds which filled the once silent street. Then, his eyes quickly moved to the left, watching as a large head appeared behind a few buildings. He silently judged the height of the being as it slowly got higher and higher, soon towering over most of the buildings around it.

Finally, it had went around the corner and appeared on the same street as the young man. It had a large and strong body, which was covered in tough, demonic armor. The being had big, flaming red eyes, which stared at the young man silently. Then, its large maw, full of long, sharp teeth opened up, letting an extremely loud roar out before approaching the man. So, this was the might of an alpha demon.

"So, you're the one causing trouble..." The young man spoke, lifting his head to face the large demon. Their gazes met for a moment as the hood fell, setting his hair free and revealing his head. Then, the man's hand moved to his side, grabbing the handle of the sword and drawing it with a single move. The black base of the sword was in contrast to the bright, silvery edge, which reflected the sun's shining rays and glistened slightly. Then, he grinned widely, his eyes focusing on the monster in front of him.

"My mission, however, is one of revenge... and I'm ready to kill anything if it finds me the ones I have to make suffer." He finished, then watched as the giant lifted its arm before dropping it toward him.




Though it seemed like mere moments, Charles had been fighting for more than two hours. Having lost the coat from the start of the fight, he was left in his usual attire, which was slightly tattered. The strange titan had proven quite a challenge, as the sword was unable to pierce through the armor pieces even with his empowered strikes. However, the beast was too slow, and he had used this to his benefit. His agile body allowed him to quickly avoid its attacks and then climb up using the nearby buildings in order to deliver quick strikes. The beast endured a lot of pain until it died, as he had to literally disconnect the head and the neck before it ceased to fight back or move. Then, he quickly took care of the lesser demons, his large blade killing them by the dozens as the phantom blades repeated each and every hit.

"You were one troublesome guy," he spoke out, having leaned on the blade which still stood impaled between the demon's eyes. He was out of breath and though his passive healing helped, he had multiple wounds along his body. However, this was what his blade was called the Devil's Reverter. Rising slowly, Charles drew it from the demon's skin. Then, he quickly put his hand under the edge of the blade before moving the sword, cutting deep into his flesh. However, he kept the blade in the wound, then focused silently.

Suddenly, all the blood along the blade and his body started flowing down his arm, along the edge and into his own body. Blood from around him also moved along the ground, then up his body before entering the wound. The multiple wounds, which he had suffered, slowly started sealing themeselves up, replicating the way they had appeared, but in reverse. Objects, with which he had been impaled, got pushed out of the way by the blade's ability, the skin seemingly mending itself as the foreign objects left his body. Gashes and cuts shut themselves, as well as any damaged articles of clothing, shutting themselves close and losing any evidence of ever being ruined or bloodied. Finally, the wound he had applied himself shut itself, as well as the fabric he had cut through. The only things left normal were the blade and the handle, which were dripping with demon's blood. He swung the blade around on his left side, then sheathed the weapon, causing the blood along the blade to be absorbed into the leather.

I should return to the Washington DC bunker... If I'm lucky, I'll get a comlink and speak with Wolf... he did promise me he would give me the location of an old info cache with data linked to criminally-involved individuals and criminal rumors... if he doesn't pay up... well, his days will be numbered, and I'll be glad to take the title of Lone Wolf for myself. Charles thought, nodding to himself silently before drawing his blade yet again. Then, he suddenly thrust down, inserting it into the eye of the beast. This demon had a unique iris form, which would be his way of proving the identity of what he had killed. He spun the sword around before once again sheating it, then grabbing the skin of the iris that he'd cut off. He quickly rolled it up like a parchment before folding it and putting it into a free pocket on his backpack. Finally, he turned around before leaping off, landing on the ruined ground. He would have to stay at the bunker for the night - the Washington DC safe center was too far to get by foot, and finding a car with fuel would be too risky since he had attracted attention.

Edited by KuroKishi

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Blood and fire.

That's all that's been here for the past few years. Blood, and fire. The blood of hundreds of humans, thrown aside like refuse and the fire of a thousand, enraged demons, hungry for those weaker than themselves.

We were born in blood and fire. Blood gives us life. Fire gives us warmth. But this is not a loving fire. This is not pure blood. This is a fire of hatred. This is the blood of innocents. But this is also the blood of corruption.

We are not being punished. We are being tested. Perhaps it is God himself who saw fit to give us this trial. Perhaps, instead, it is an act of the Devil, or some other cruel beast of the underworld.

Whatever it is, here we are, and we are alive. Those who hear me still live, their hearts beating. You still have blood in your veins. You still have a fire in your eyes and in your heart - in your soul.

You have a choice. Whether you pick up a blade and go to war or stay behind and protect those close to you, that is your decision. Or, perhaps, you simply give up and walk away.

But your pride won't let you. In this great chaos, pride is not a sin. Pride is what will keep us alive. This is the pride which makes a man feel as though the world does not belong to those of a dark heart. This is the pride that makes a woman put armor upon her beautiful form and step out into the battlefield. This is the pride that makes a child wait patiently for the day he or she can join her parents in a war against an enemy we barely understand.

This is the pride of a warrior. The pride of a hero.

You may ask yourself: Do I have that pride? Do I have the strength to press myself forward? Do I have the will to seek out those of corruption and end them with every ounce of power I possess?

I say yes. You do. All of us do. That's why we are here. That's why we, as a unit, as a family, and as a guild, are even here in the first place. That's why we strode out into the battlefield, heads high, weapons drawn, and turned this blackened landscape into a place we could call home. That's why we grew farms with the same hands we slew those beasts with. That's why we built shelters and homes with those hands.

These hands are the hands of the brave, of the strong, and of the pure. These hands are hands we were born with to both create and destroy. In these dark times, what we destroy helps us to create - so the cycle continues.

These hands are the hands of the determined. They are hands which we choose to use, not them, and not even our friends and family. We are the ones who raise them up in arms against these foul creatures that assault us and we are the ones who strike them down with holy fire.

We are the ones who decide if we will let these fiery censorkip.gif***s take our livelihoods, our loved ones, and our very existences from us and what did we decide?


That's right. We decided they won't. And they still won't. As long as a breath remains in the mortal chest of any of those among us today, I am sure they never will. They are in our world, our home, and our life, and they are not welcome. We will show them the door and if they refuse to leave, we will place a firm boot on their corrupted arses and shove each of them out one at a time.

But remember, some of them can be redeemed. Like us, some of them are not truly evil but are only trying to live in the same apocalypse we are. If they attack us, you fight back. But should they truly seek redemption for their crimes, then allow them that opportunity. If they would raise arms against their own, then they are like us. We are all brothers and sisters in this war and we will act as such. There are no races, no species, and no histories that make us different in this time. Whatever you were before now means nothing. It's what you are at this moment that God is witnessing. Do you want him to see weakness?

Or do you want him to see a being worthy of being deemed a hero?




Father Charles closed the book and straightened his suit. A large, proud smile decorated his wise features, giving him the look of an honorable sort of uncle. He placed the book back under his arm and did a polite bow to the crowd before him.

"And that, my friends, is the true meaning of brotherhood, and of war." he said to them all. "It is not a punishment, it is a test. Now it is up to you all to see if you will pass it and see it through."

Several of the people in the audience cheered softly, though they knew that to yell too loud would be foolish during this time of day. There were several rules and customs unspoken that were followed out in this wilderness. One of the crowd members, however, raised a hand.

"Er, yes?" Father Charles said, turning to the man. It was a young man, barely twenty. Charles was sure his name was Anthony. His demon arm was a bracelet that decorated his right arm.

"Then why are we here and not fighting them right now?" Anthony asked irritably, sighing. "Why are the others out there and we aren't?"

"I'm certain our leader has already addressed this but it's called 'cycling the troops..'" Charles began. Before he could finish, a woman with hair of fiery red stepped onto the makeshift stage and walked to the podium. She had been standing to the right of the stage the entire time and had only recently made herself truly known - though most knew her already, and those that didn't would know soon enough.

The stage was sort of rickety (as it had only recently been constructed) but it was enough to make a loud form of stomping noise as the woman headed straight for the podium with the regal yet firm steps of a noble. Her armor clicked together loudly, especially since no one could bring themselves to speak out against it. In utter silence, she placed her hands firmly on the stand. Father Charles knew well enough to step to the side, not desiring to agitate her in the slightest.

"Who asked that?" she said once, her eyes closed. Her hair was over her face now, whether on purpose or not. In reality, no one could tell if she was staring at them or not besides those in the front row. For a long while, no one spoke.

"I will say again - Who asked that question?" she repeated, immobile. Her entire form was silent after that, without a single movement besides her body's natural changes as she breathed. Her armored hands were gripping the podium firmly but softly, without giving away what she truly felt. Though, for some odd reason, everyone could tell that she felt irritation. It was like a blanket of tension over the crowd that slowly began to grow in size until..

"I did.." Anthony repeated weakly.

"Anthony McHanson." the woman stated. The entire crowd turned to look at him, mainly just so they could avoid her gaze. Some of them parted away from him.

"Yes, ma'am?.." Anthony said after a moment.

"We have explained this in rigorous detail during the morning callings. This is not the first time you have heard this but I will be certain it is the last. The method we are using is one that I learned. It is called 'cycling the troops', and it is so simple and mundane that even a pup barely of age to hold a weapon could understand. I hope that this is simply you asking for the good of the group and you're not doing it for yourself. No, don't answer that. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

However, this method involves creating four distinct groups using a portion of our members whom are fit to battle. Just like a squad, you are a team. If I recall, most of the people in this crowd belong to Bravo and Charlie. Delta is currently over in the east, handling defense. Alpha, and my husband, are currently north, handling offense and trying to secure us more area to work with. Now, I'll ask a simple question - why do you think you're not there? Truly?"

"Because you don't think we may handle ourselves?" Anthony wagered a guess but also seemed to be trying to incite something. No one agreed with him though.

"That's funny." the woman responded flatly. "No. We are doing it in order to keep you from dying of exhaustion out there against the demon hordes. I don't know about you, Anthony, but I, personally, can't fight for more than three days continuously before I begin to feel a little exhausted and sleep deprived. Thankfully, that's not necessary because of this method.

We cycle between two of the four groups every two days. You fight and then you return. We check for wounds and casualties. We make the necessary arrangements. We send you out again. Your group - which I believe is Charlie - will be headed to replace Delta in roughly seven hours, which brings me to the question of why you're not even half-prepared to head out. You have no armor on, you don't have your kits prepared, and you certainly aren't equipped. I hope you're not depending completely on your demon arm in order to get things done because that's a fool's method of survival.

I trained each of you in the art of combat without your demon arms and with. Each of you, uniquely, understands how to fight in the event you were to lose your demon arm in combat. This is not because I think you're clumsy. It's because you shouldn't depend on these -" at this point, she held up her finger, showing a corrupted-looking ring shrouded in spikes. "- for everything. Before these came about, your predecessors fought the demons with nothing more than basic weaponry and a bit of guts. Though I admire your desire to fight, I'd appreciate if you were a bit more prepared for it before mouthing off at our dear preacher."

"I didn't mean... I didn't want to insult.." Anthony began, trying hard to find words.

"Oh don't worry, dear. I know you didn't. In fact, this never happened because you already knew what I just said, and were already in your room prepping for combat. All of you were, like you were supposed to be doing as soon as Charles' speech ended. So, none of you are actually here, and I'm talking to myself. I believe that's what's going on."

For a moment, the entire room was full. Then, in the span of what seemed to be a millisecond, every able-bodied man and woman of groups Bravo and Charlie dashed out of the room as quickly as their legs could carry them, leaving the elderly, wounded, and the young to stare at the woman with curiosity.

"Sugoi, Onee-san.." one of the younger children said, who knew very little English. He stared at the woman with fascination. Most of the children were doing the same. Though they knew the woman could also be kind and motherly, she was blunt and forceful when she needed to be. It was no secret that a lot of the children found it funny when they saw their parents being hounded by her.

"Thank you, Akio-chan." Ezrea said affectionately, bowing in a humorous manner. Father Charles chuckled but walked over to her and laid a hand on her back.

"You did quite well. You've gotten better at being a good leader. If we had more people like you, we wouldn't have as much problem handling those brutes out there on the front lines."

"Well, I'm trying. I didn't ask to be a leader but I'm not going to turn away from it either." Ezrea said, tying her hair back into a braid so that it no longer fell over her face.

"And that is the bravery and pride I was talking about. Truly." Father Charles said, pleased. He turned back to the audience and bowed one final time.

"Go back to your rooms, children. I'll come there soon to read you a few stories. I apologize again that we haven't finished the playground yet but we're almost there."

The children nodded, getting to their feet and heading off to their respective areas. A few of the elderly went with them to ensure they got there safely.

"Uh, madame Ezrea." one of the elderly men piped up before he left.

"Yes, Mr. O'riley?" Ezrea replied.

"Don't stress yourself too much. You'll get your pretty face wrinkled. Trust me, I know." the old man joked, chuckling. His wife pushed him out of the room as she rolled her eyes jokingly.

"I'll keep that in mind." Ezrea laughed slightly. As the entire room emptied, she stood in silence and waited.

Soon, the room was finally empty. When all of the observers were gone, she relaxed and looked at the ground. She adjusted her armor a bit, depressed. She then, after a moment, crossed her arms impatiently, a look of worry clear upon her face.

"Gareth?" Charles asked knowingly. She turned to him, nodding.

"He's late again." she sighed. "He was supposed to return with group Alpha about thirty minutes ago. I swear, he gets too involved in combat and forgets his own health. If he continues, he's going to die of exhaustion.."

"I doubt that. The man doesn't tire easily, for one. But... well.."

Ezrea looked at Charles with curiosity.

"Well, what?"

"Well, he's not actually on the front lines and hasn't been for about... ten minutes now. He's been standing behind you, waiting for you to notice."

Ezrea turned, confused, until she saw who had been speaking. Her eyes widened happily for a moment before quickly narrowing to agitation.

"You immature fool!' she stated boldly, a finger pressed into his chest. "Do you know how worried I've been for the past few days? You didn't even send back any reports of your progress! What happened?!"

Gareth, the large beast of a man, rubbed the back of his head meekly.

"Well, actually we found an omega and had a pretty rough time trying to handle him. Beast was about three times the size of a building."

"You engaged an omega without some form of heads-up?!" Ezrea whispered but the effect was much louder than the sound. Gareth backed up a moment, holding up his hands in surrender.

"It's not like we had much of a choice, dear. The beast had heard our fighting and decided we might be tasty, I guess. So I gave him a taste of our weaponry and showed him what human spirit is all about. Don't worry - we didn't have any casualties."

"I don't know what's more shocking! That no one died or that you did it in the first place!"

"Why be shocked when you can be relieved? You should calm down a little, honey."

"You're just using pet names to try and calm me down and I'm not in the mood for it, Gareth."

"Awww...What about a kiss then?"


"A hug?"

"No." Ezrea turned around, arms crossed. Gareth sighed.

"I am sorry, my beloved, that I took it upon myself to do something so dangerous in the name of human victory." Gareth said seriously, saluting to no one in particular.

Ezrea turned slightly, enough to see him. It took a lot for her to hide her amusement at seeing the large, burly man holding his hand up to his face in a humorous manner. However, she still didn't loosen up entirely.

"Oh no. That's not enough this time?!" Gareth said with mock surprise. "This isn't good. Charles, what do I do?"

"I'm not sure. This isn't my area of expertise. The heart of a wife is a hard thing to decipher. I think you can do it though, Gareth." Charles returned his mock salute. "I have utter faith in you."

"You can count on me!" Gareth said. He quickly reached around Ezrea and lifted her with little effort into the air, placing her upon his shoulders without warning. She gasped a moment with surprise before quickly turning to embarrassment.

"Gareth Victor!" she said, slapping his head lightly. "You are the leader of one of the most powerful Destruction guilds in our broken world and one of the strongest men that I know! Why can't you act like it, for once?!"

"Because if I did, I'd probably end up a stressed, red-haired woman with a fool for a husband." Gareth said sweetly, carrying her despite her complaints. He strode confidently through the bazaar that led from the audience stage to the main area of the makeshift "town" which the guild had constructed.

Roughly five months had passed since Gareth and his forces had first headed out into the wilderness north of one of the last bastions of human survival - Washington D.C. At first, it had been difficult to trek across the landscape. The demon hordes had left flames and destruction in their wake and thick clouds of smoke shrouded most of the terrain. After destroying the demon encampments which had sprouted in the territory, Gareth had then decided (much to Ezrea's chagrin) that they would make the possibly fatal decision to try and build a settlement here. In order to convince her, he had said that it would prove to the demons that humans could survive and rebuild anywhere and that they wouldn't let these demons have their lands for long.

Somehow, he had managed to pull it off. With the help of a few, minor demon arms from some volunteers in the guild and a bit of elbow grease, they had removed the dangerous smoke from an area of good land and built a small generator in the center of it all. After getting it up and running with some demon technology and metal scraps from a kindly demon donor named Zulfiqar, they had created the town of Hope here, as a testament to the glory and pride of the human race and those who helped them.

Since then, several other demons besides Zulfiqar had pledged their services to the Dichotomy of Deliverance, Gareth's beloved guild. These demons, either furious with their leaders for their senseless massacres, simply exiles from their clans, or just because they desired to fight those they once served, had joined with him after seeing the might his guild possessed. At first, he'd been slightly concerned about allowing them to join, worried that they may be spies for the demon hordes. Then again, he had finally admitted to himself, a lot of the people who served him had the possibility of being cultists anyway. If they had spies, they were most likely among him. Then, he realized he WANTED them to know what he was doing, what he was going to do, and what he had done. That made it more fun to do it anyway.

So, after a time, the demons who had joined him and the humans already under him had come to a form of agreement and had managed to work together despite their differences. Just like with any civilization, a few good words and some common ground could bring people together in any situation. That's how empires were formed in the first place.

Not that Hope could be called an empire but it was at least a fairly decent mark of honor for those who had helped build it and kept it alive. Since then, though, there had also been demons who wanted to destroy it. By crushing Hope in a literal sense, they could do it metaphorically as well. However, Gareth wasn't going to make it easy. With the help of his beloved wife - the tactician - and his childhood friend Charles - the pastor - he had turned a band of survivors and warriors into a family of brothers and sisters in war. They were unbreakable as a force and served with honor. In fact, he was a little surprised at himself every day for what he had accomplished with just a bit of hard work and the right words.

Now, as Ezrea sat upon his shoulders, Gareth moved happily among the townspeople, who knew very well of his antics. Ezrea lowered her head and tried desperately to hide her face as she rode upon his back. Gareth rolled his eyes.

"You know, you're supposed to enjoy it."

"How can I? People are staring at me. How am I supposed to be an honorable tactician if they see me like this? I'm like a weak, little girl!"

"You're definitely not." Gareth replied. "You're a beautiful, strong, young woman who I met and loved not for her skill or strength but for her very being. Don't worry about them. Just try and relax. How are you supposed to do anything if you keep worrying about everything?"

Ezrea raised her head a little bit but still kept her anxious aura about her. She looked at each of the townspeople in kind. She then began to realize rather than laughing at her or being rude, they were pleased to see their leaders in such good states. Many of them waved or pointed, telling others - as they smiled proudly - that this was why they were able to keep going on.

These acts of simple humor and fun were how they were able to survive. They were reminded of what life was, what it is. It's not sitting in fear each day, wondering when a demon will finally come and take everything from you. But it also isn't raising a blade against every single one of them, killing yourself by doing too much. It's being alive, being loved, and doing things not for yourself but for those who can't do it on their own. To do that meant that they were still free to live, even in these dark times. It was this sort of thing that reminded them that life was worth living, if just to see those you loved another day. If just so that you could say hello to them when you woke up in the morning and good night as you safely went to sleep.

Life was being here, in this moment, and enjoying every second of it.

Ezrea sighed. Though Gareth was right - which he normally was in this regard - she still felt slightly on edge. Something hadn't been right for the last few days and this omega only made this more suspicious. Omegas normally didn't travel far past their territories and she was absolutely certain they had checked to make sure omegas didn't live around here. They were dangerous foes who could destroy entire towns with little effort. When the apocalypse had first begun, they had strode out of the gates, hungry and filled with hate, and destroyed most of the large cities of the world like they were nothing more than little toy towns.

If it hadn't been for the generators, she knew they wouldn't have lived as long as they had. Thankfully, the very essence and power of the demons who plagued them could be used against them, for both defense and offense. That was the theory behind the demons arms as well and it had proved correct.

Though Ezrea didn't know from personal experience, Gareth had told her of his fascination with those armaments. Back when he had built them himself using the bodies of demons, he had only known how to do it but not why. He still wondered just what made it possible for those living creatures to turn into weapons of war that a human could use like any basic weapon. Yet, the most curious part was their powers and how they worked. Gareth's arm, for instance, could transform his living arms into twisted blades of bone and flesh which could absorb the bodies of demons around him to increase their power and cause them to fire projectiles. It was insane. Such weapons of war had never been heard of before the demons had come to the world. Not even an atomic bomb could do so much to civilization. It wasn't real but at the same time it was there, in front of them. It was almost akin to magic. To fantasy. Even Ezrea had been unable to believe it when she had first used her ring which Gareth had fashioned for her as a token of his affection. It was funny. In essence, it had been their wedding ring.

They weren't even truly married according to any real registry. Father Charles had married them together in front of the guild in a grand event after Hope had been constructed. But, to them, it was real enough in this apocalypse and it was something they could rely on.

When Gareth had began the guild after some unfortunate event (which Ezrea still didn't know completely about but didn't press him to tell her), he had been a good leader and role model but a poor tactician. As Ezrea put it, his "idea of strategy was run in and kill everything because if it's dead, then it doesn't fight back." Though it was true, it wasn't exactly wise, and it left a lot of room for failure. Then, much to Gareth's luck, Ezrea had shown up at the doors of the guild with nothing but hatred for demons in her heart and an empty gun on her back. It was revealed she had used the gun until the last bullet just so she could get back to some form of safety. The last bullet in the magazine (she had only told Gareth) had been meant so that she could end her own life if she had to. She still had it in a small box, as a memento of how bad things had been.

From there, things had seemed to happen as if in a dream. She had become the guild tactician almost immediately. Thanks to her military training in both simple commands and complicated operations, she had led Gareth's men to form groups and squads that could handle any obstacle. As their successes grew from there, so did their fame and size, as well as Gareth and Ezrea's love. He owed much to her for what she had done for the guild as well as for himself. He had lost a lot in that event before he had made the guild but she had been the greatest thing for him to find after it had all ended.

And now, it was as though there was no war happening outside the barrier of Hope. Here, there was no war or fighting. Everyone was working together for a common goal - survival, and living on. Oh, there had been casualties, as with all wars. Father Charles, a simple preacher, took care of both funeral and spiritual needs for those who lost loved ones. With his help, those who had lost someone could come to terms with it. He was just as important (in Gareth's mind) as any tactician or fighter in general. Though Charles despised fighting or demon arms in general, Gareth had convinced him to join the guild early on in a moment of realization. He knew that Charles would be able to assist in more ways than one and it had proven correct. The three of them, almost as a family, had managed to not only grow a guild but also a home. In this sort of time, a home meant more than anything else, especially for the next generation.

As Ezrea had put it, "We fight so that those who follow us don't have to." In truth, that was the main part of it. Parents, brothers, sisters, and then the sons and daughters of those before had followed that creed. Everyone in the town had a reason for wanting to drive back the demons, some more than others. It was this common goal that had held them all together.

Finally, Gareth and Ezrea arrived at the command tent, which also served as a small house for the couple. The community had built it for them after their marriage, using supplies that they could grab and scavenge from the surrounding areas. For what it was, it was a good place to live. Half of the building was open to the public for daily meetings and summons. That's where discussions for future war plans took place. The other half was private, for Gareth and Ezrea to live calmly and comfortably whenever they could. No one complained about that. Most of the community knew how hard it was to lead a group of this size.

Gareth, however, feeling poorly about being given something so good for nothing, had immediately begun using his demon arms and his own strength alone to head out in the wilderness. He had defeated a horde of minor and medium level demons so that he could get more land for Hope. Then, that land had become used for housing and farming, so that not just Gareth and Ezrea could live like that when they were able to. The farmers now provided a steady source of food in case of demon siege and made it unnecessary for supply groups to head back to Washington D.C. for items needed for such a large town. In the end, Gareth had yet again proven that he kept the best interests of the group at heart and not just himself. Ezrea was slightly jealous of his commitment and also wondered why it was so severe.

For the longest time, she had simply assumed he was a man who'd always wanted to be a hero and this sort of era had been perfect for him. But, as time had went on, his absolute nature when it came to any sort of decision or action that involved bad and good choices made her realize just how serious he took his morality. The man refused to use any tactical choice which would put lives in serious danger, even if it meant taking on a foe by himself. She didn't doubt he had lied about having the team help him kill the omega. The moment he had said it, she had been sure he had actually taken on the beast himself and allowed the rest of the group to rest and take shelter in one of the bunkers they had built out there. Still, she couldn't prove it, and now it didn't matter. He had returned alive.

It did raise a question to her that she always wished to ask but in order to respect him did not. It was just "why?". Why go to such a length to do things for the greater good? Though it was an honorable path, he followed it so determinedly, unwavering, that it slightly worried her each time she considered it. It was almost madness. She wondered just what had happened in his past that would make him so defensive of those who served him. Why he would do so much just to keep them alive, even if it wasn't the best choice for his own survival.

But, because it wasn't a bad way to live in the end, and because he always returned, she never questioned it. Why bother? He would tell her when the time came.






She came to with a start, blinking. She looked around the room, confused, and then sighed, leaning back in the chair. They were back at home. At some point, he had not only put her down comfortably in her favorite seat but had also brought her a drink. From the smell, it was coffee.

"It's been getting cold." Gareth remarked when he noticed her looking at it. "I got it about ten minutes ago but I didn't want to break your train of thought."

"It's fine. It was nothing important." she replied softly, taking a drink. "Just.. just musings. No plans or anything."

"Well, that's a relief!" Gareth chuckled. "I was worried that you were actually thinking about a final plan to end this war and I had just stopped you from doing it. How bad would that have been?"

"I doubt I'm capable of something like that. I appreciate the flattery though." she laughed in return.

After a moment, she put the drink down and pulled her legs close to her, eyes closed. This was a peaceful sort of pose for her. After walking around so much and speaking to so many, being able to close herself in any fashion was a blessing. Gareth knew well enough not to speak to her during this time as this was normally when she was considering important things that really mattered.

Yet, she suddenly spoke.

"What really happened out there, Gareth?" she asked, eyes closed. "You didn't let the squad help you fight the omega. I know. Don't try to deny it."

"I didn't." Gareth said blankly.

"Well, it was stupid."

"I know."

"And it was reckless."

"I know."

"You're a fool for always doing it."

"I know that too."

"I love you anyway."

"I love you too."

She continued to sit in silence again until she finally opened her eyes and leaned forward.

"Did you find anything else that we could use?"

"Yeah. Found a pretty decent sized area that the Omega had been laying on. I forgot to tell you - it had been disguised as a mountain. The damn think looked like a living rock. It's no wonder we missed it in the earlier scans of the area. I don't doubt there's others like it that have that kind of camouflaging method."

"That's... worrying." Ezrea said with slight anxiety.

"Not really. He stood up when we got at a good distance so I think they probably sense food nearby. I doubt we're close to any others. They don't seem to stay down for long either. It looked like he'd been standing up and laying down in the area for a while because of all the trampled ground."

"Ooh." Ezrea began to realize what he was going to say.

"Yep. More farmland. I was going to bring Zulf out there to see if he could make us some metal for it. I doubt he'll do it for free though so I brought back some shiny teeth and stuff from the Omega."

"You did grab more than that, right?"

"Oh, yeah. The rest of the Alpha team volunteered to drag the body back part by part. They're using that method you taught them for caravans. They'll be back soon."

"You left them behind!?"

"They told me to. Basically forced me. For once, I said they were right because I knew you'd be worried about me. Do you want me to head back out?"

He made a movement to stand but she waved her hands slightly frantically.

"No no! No. That's fine. I just didn't expect you to leave men outside the barrier. You never do that."

"Well when it comes to you, I do a lot of things I didn't do before now." he replied sheepishly. "Isn't that what marriage and love do to a guy?"

"I have no clue." Ezrea said, amused. "I'll just chalk it up to your normal insanity."

"Probably true." Gareth nodded in affirmative. "Where's Zulf?"

"Probably wandering about the lava pits we had put up for him and his demon friends. If he isn't, then he's doing what I said not to do again."

"I told everyone to keep their valuables in the storage room for a reason. I had it specifically made so that he could go in there and it was his horde. As long as he has a horde, he doesn't touch it, and it's left alone. No one else has access to it nor has had their stuff stolen since we did it. I doubt he's been a problem since then."

"He's still irritating sometimes when he leaves metal ... droppings? everywhere. I don't even really know what they are. And there's still the issue of the old woman he scared two days ago."


"You weren't here. She had a bracelet her husband had given her before he died and Zulf jumped up and tackled the poor woman to the ground. I didn't know if he was going to burn her or not but it took four men to pull him off her and get the bracelet out of his mouth. He's been sulking ever since."

"Enh. He's just messing around. Zulf doesn't sulk." Gareth stood to his feet. "You want to come with me to look for him? It won't take long."

"Not this time.. I need a nap." Ezrea sighed, laying herself down in the chair. "Just make sure you come back... again."

"Of course." Gareth waved slightly. He turned out the lights, covered the windows, and headed outside into the town. He walked among the townspeople once again, heading towards the demon section.

Even though the demons and humans got along, they didn't live the same way. Demons had been confused when they had first seen what homes actually were. They didn't understand settling areas and living in wooden bases. Zulfiqar had said it best.

"What the hell did you say they were? Shelters? Those ramshackle, half-made flammable things are supposed to keep you safe? Why?" the demon had said, utterly appalled. "Are you serious? And there's brick ones too? Why!? And why do they have to look good on the inside? You guys are some arrogant people. Stupid acts of pride. Building flammable toothpick shelters when we can spit fire. You guys are asking to be roasted. I'm gonna laugh when it happens. I'll say I told them and they didn't listen to me. Fargin' idiots. All a demon needs is a lava pit or something. You know what a lava pit is, meatsack? No, not you, the fat one behind you. Yeah. Lava pits. Fire. Can you do that? Or can you only build pencilshacks? I'm not living in a pencilshack. You can't make me. I will spit on it. I will make it burn and I will laugh at you for working on it in the first place. If you need me, I'll be rolling in my own lava until you guys man up and make me an actual place to live. That means you, fat man."

Gareth laughed heartily at the thought. Zulf may have been a good sort of demon, if mischievous, rude, and overly arrogant, but his most important feature was his sense of humor.

He finally approached the lava pits. The heat hit him before anything else. As he finally readjusted to it - because, no matter how many demons you fought, it was still hot as hell - he stared out into the homes of the demons and searched for Zulf among them.

"Zulf? Zulfiqar? Is he here?" Gareth asked a few of them nearby, confused. Demons had no real neighborhoods or neighbors. They picked a place and they lived in it for roughly an hour and then decided they liked the place next to it and took it instead, completely forgetting the original one. Zulf had explained this had come from their constant fighting among each other. As a form of defense, it was easy for them to simply say "Screw it. Whatever." and walk away from their homes. That's one reason they couldn't understand actual settling.


(( Sorry about the ninja, Neutual. I hope I did him justice. I would have made this longer but as I worked on it I feared something would happen and delete it all. I may add more later if I edit it again. ))

Edited by Thaelasan

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Zulfiqar was not sulking. Demons do not sulk, or mope, or brood, or any other word to describe the thing he was doing now. He was simply struck with the realization that he'd rather relax on the farthest side of the moderately acceptable lava pools the mushy-skins procured for the demons to use as a suitable habitat than deal with the walking sacks of tender meat. It hadn't been his fault that he couldn't resist the urge to lunge after something glinting out of the corner of his eye, knocking over an elder possible food supply in a mad grab for the metallic circle thing she wore around her wrist. He'd even managed to work it off her wrist and his tongue wrapped around it, before he'd been pried off the woman and had two of the four men hold his head while the other two took hold of his jaw to forcefully pry the piece of jewelry out of his mouth. Frustrated with the lack of a prize after all the work he'd done and literally manhandled (he would've bit them of he hadn't been busy trying to keep his glittery token in his mouth), he had stormed off and had been 'relaxing' beside the pools of molten rock ever since.

It was strange how long he had taken to staying in one place such as this. Demons were always fighting over territory, and Zulfiqar was never one to stay put for very long. When he first slunked away from the rest of his kind to venture off in the human wold, he had taken a more nomadic lifestyle, remaining in an area only if there was a supply of trinkets, odds and ends, shiny bits of metal and other things that he would gather and horde away in a hole or a room in one of those highly flamable structures that humans insist on living in. He usually forgot where he started his horde pile, as he tended to wander far away or secretly follow a group of talking meat or demons who just so happen to have a pretty thing he wanted to keep. There was no counting on how many hordes he had started and neglected to return to, but he was sure the majority of the goods would still be there if he ever found them again.

How he managed to become involved with this particular group of humans was a bit embarrassing to Zulfiqar, and would deny any mention of it ever happening. Truth be told, he had taken interest in a human's belt buckle and had followed the man and his patrol group all the way back to their base of operations, where he scouted around the area amongst the shadows. He'd sniffed around, found an opening in one of the structure walls, and managed to wiggle his way in. However, he hadn't been able to get very far in his quest for the shiny buckle, as there before him was the ugliest, scrawniest thing he had ever seen. It had big eyes, had thin tufts of hair sticking up all over the place, and reeked of spoiled items he related to that he found in a cold metal container in one of his prior searches of human structures. They were like miniature humans, only twice as confusing. If that wasn't bad enough, another one, a bit bigger but equally stinky, appeared and let out the loudest screeching noise that grated on his poor ears so bad that Zulfiqar decided right then and there he wanted nothing to do with these mini meatballs. However, his escape had been thwarted as the demon's large horns had gotten stuck in the hole he came in through, and was too busy trying to escape from the ear-ringing, smelly noise maker that he didn't make it out in time before the humans came running to investigate. They had the gall to laugh at him as he yelled out every horrible word he could think of, cursing the disgusting parasites as he tried in vain to free himself. The evil blighters even refused to let him free until their leader showed up. At least Gareth had some dignity in freeing him from the wall, which by then Zulfiqar was most definitely NOT sulking moodily.

Somehow that fated incident lead with Zulfiqar now a more permanent resident of Flamable Habitat Town, helping melt down metal and procuring more metal (both from scavenging up and from his own blood). Living amongst the humans and the handful of rebellious demons had its ups and down, such as that the humans actually GAVE him a horde rather than him building one up (he still adds onto it with items he salvaged from his excursions to get away from the humans for a bit, but Gareth made him come to him in order to help him pull out any bits that the human deemed unworthy to horde). However, he couldn't steal or attack the humans around him, which as a demon and a kleptomaniac, was very hard to resist. He slipped from time to time, such as the old human and her bracelet and that one time a human had the guts to insult him to his face to which he paid in full by spitting his scalding hot metallic 'blood' directly in the stupid meatsack's face. Gareth had scolded him for that, but Zulfiqar knew that the leader human commended the act.

Gareth was a strange human. He would come back from his patrols smelling like demon blood and sweat, but he seemed at ease around Zulfiqar. None of the other humans were. They acted like they were, but they were always hesitant around demons, especially Zulfiqar. Not that he could blame them; he had a habit of jumping out at them and leaving presents in form of small metallic balls around the walkways for people to slip on, or, in the worst case, step on them when they're still cooling. He was pretty sure Gareth's mate would have his head if he left needles and tiny spikes laying in wait for unsuspecting human foot traffic, so he stuck to spheres. Still, humans needed to loosen up some! If he was going to kill and eat them, he'd already done so a long time ago (except for the mini meatballs; they weren't worth it).

Zulfiqar lolled to his side, his fiery tail flicking side to side in irritation as the flames along his spine flickered a pale green. He needed to stop 'relaxing' and go escape this burnable no-fun zone for a bit. Perhaps find flaws and holes in the humans' patrols, of which he exploited greatly. The humans aside from Gareth found it suspicious when they caught him wandering outside the small circle of civilization, so to prevent the boring speech of "blah bah, you're not supposed to be here, blah blah", the demon simply waited for an opening to escape into the wilds to add to his collection. Not that he actually used any of the items he horded away- he just liked having pretty and intriguing things that no one else could touch.

The demon's ears twitched as a familiar voice called across the lava pools. He stifled a groan, knowing that the other demons were more than happy to point Gareth in his direction. Now he couldn't escape the scolding that would soon follow by running off into the wild on an excavation trip. Zulfiqar's throat rumbled with a lowly growl as he rolled to his other side, his flickering maned back facing Gareth. "Whatever it is I didn't do it," he stated when the human approached. "The other walking meat slabs are lying and no one died or seriously injured so there is nothing to speak about." Of course his words and his posture said two different things, but Zulfiqar couldn't do anything about his betraying tail as it swished from side to side in anxiety or the green fires now containing a flicker of dancing blue. "Also I did not chew the leg off of a table and tried to hide it by propping it up with those squiggle containers. Bookers or something."

Edited by Neutual Demon

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The demons had indeed pointed him over here. It was the far north corner of the Flame Caves, well, at least the parts that WERE caves.

Apparently, sometime before the apocalypse, this place had been a mining area. Catacombs and caves had sprawled across for quite a while, some probably still holding their hordes of precious minerals needed to craft various odds and ends.

However, the apocalypse had shifted the world. Lava now poured hot from the cave mouths in most cases. Others had fallen in or been destroyed by age long before the Armageddon had even begun. But, Gareth had decided not to let these go to waste the moment he had seen the demon's eyes when they saw this landscape. It reminded them of some of the best locations back home.

From them, he had learned that demons were to fire as moths were to light. It wasn't necessary thing, it was the fact that it felt warm to them rather than blistering hot. One of the demons, Calmeraq, had claimed that - in essence - a lava pit was just like a warm fireplace (although demons found fireplaces rather cold. They had used them as homes before the caves had been found). It was comfortable to them and also helped them clean off unwanted pests from the demon world. Smaller demons and strange insects the demons claimed Gareth was better off not knowing about were notorious for climbing all over demons that they could get on. They would bite them or absorb their essences, taking away their fire and leaving them chilled. Cold demons could actually die as well, being unable to move any molten blood through their body.

That was the most important part - their blood. When cooled, it was liquid metal. Gareth had witnessed this before. When a demon was frozen or chilled, the metal in their blood would solidify and make them almost like statues, frozen in whatever pose they had been in while moving. He didn't know if reheating them brought them back or not but he hadn't really been eager to find out.

But, in the end, the lava pits had been a blessing for both sides. When demons were happy and warm, they were more likely to help out and provide services that they could do. Some even allowed the children to play upon their backs, though most - like Zulf - found the children irritating. Gareth discovered that demon children didn't really stay with their parents for long. It wasn't necessary. Unless they were humanoid, they normally left the nest or even fought their own parents for dominance. In this way, only one or two demon children were born to any single demon. Only the strongest survived. So, when demons saw human children depending on their parents, it confused them.

The most important part in this was the fact that the lava pits were hot and stayed that way. The demons rolled in them and laid in them like they were beds. If they weren't lounging in lava, they were doing what Zulfiqar was doing when Gareth walked up - laying beside the molten magma in an almost sleepy state. This made Gareth a little happy in the fact that the demons were comfortable here. He had been worried that an alliance between the two species was impossible. But seeing Zulfiqar - though irritated at most times of the day - laying here calmly and peacefully as he could made Gareth a little pleased with himself.

"I'm not mad at all. I'm just surprised. But no one was hurt in the end so there's no reason I should be angry." Gareth commented, taking a seat by the demon. The heat was almost unbearable but thanks to his years of fighting the beasts, he had a little more tolerance than most.

"But, I do need your help again." Gareth said, sighing. "And this time it's not an easy one."

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Saraph made his way through the crowd and made it to the outskirts of Washington DC. This land was dry and dead as dust filled the air. Saraph knew tracking was not going to be easy. Yet, good thing for him he was one of the best trackers. Saraph walked into the dust looking for anything to help him find Gareth's group. He eventually made it to the barrier. If he took one more step he would be in demon territory. He looked down to see footprints and in large numbers.

"This has to be his group." said Saraph studying the prints. He drew his pistols ready to walk out the barrier.

"Even if this was not his group. I have to find them and help anyway I can." said Saraph as he took his steps out of the barrier. With great speed he darted in the direction of the tracks. Saraph could sense eyes were watching him. He did not care either for all he wanted was to find whose tracks these were. Hell hounds began jumping at Saraph.

"To easy you puppies." said Saraph grinning.

"Puppies?! Why you little human!" barked the hounds in anger.

Saraph stopped himself in his tracks and unleashed a barrage of bullets upon them. None of the hell hound were left standing.

"When you makes threats know who you are messin with." said Saraph as he continued to follow the tracks.

Saraph could feel the presence of the alpha close by. Saraph knew he had to find quicky. The alpha howled to any demons nearby.

"Really? Come on." said Saraph irritated.

He kept running ignoring the howl of the alpha. He turned back to see 100 hell hounds following him. Then out of nowhere his pistols began to glow.

"A general was close by." said Saraph to himself.

Then something came rushing towards Saraph. It was a demon general called Beraial. Saraph only heard of the general. Saraph smiled for now he got to face him. He immediately stopped and fused his pistols forming a sword. He began to put the blade on his shoulders and twisting the hilt with his hand. All the hell hounds suddenly stopped and turned into black essence. The black essence began to be absorbed by his blade.

"For all that you have done, for all that have been killed. You die this day by my hand." Saraph as he turned throwing off his hood.

"LETS GO!!!" Saraph said letting a battle cry as he rushed Beraial.

"COME AT ME HUMAN!!!"roared Beraial.




Beraial roared flames from his mouth incinerating everything. Saraph stopped as the flames came towards him. With a swing of his sword he blew away the flames.

Beraial could not believe a human had such power. He gazed upon Saraph's blade.

"No it can't be. The essence of Gol'tar?" asked Beraial in fear.

Saraph did not answer him. He just smiled back at him.

"How... how could a human kill him?" asked Beraial.

"He killed someone loved and for that I ended his life. As I will now end your's." Saraph answered him in pure anger and hatred.

Beraial charged him with his fists. Saraph easily deflected them with ease. Beraial lifted the earth under Saraph's feet. Saraph stabbed his blade into the ground as he did. As the rock turned Saraph held on and pulled out his sword.

"This is for all the people you have killed." Saraph said with eyes of murderous intent. He jumped towards Beraial landing on his head. With tremendous he stabbed his blade into Beraial's head. Then twist the hilt once more for that released the essence he gathered. Then Saraph turned towards Beraials back with his hand still on the blade. He then let out a powerful wave cutting the general in half. However Beraial was still standing.

"How?" wondered Saraph.

"You honestly think I would die that easily." said Beraial laughing.

Saraph jumped off him when he did Beraial punched him. Saraph deflected the hit, but he was sent flying to the ground. He landed on the ground taking little damage.

Saraph realized that not all the essence was used in that attack.

"You have got to be kidding? I have to do this the hard way now." Saraph pissed off at himself. He began running in the direction of the tracks see if more demons would follow. Beraial gave chase to him throwing fireballs at him rapidly. More and more demons began to follow as Saraph planned. He twisted the hilt again absorbing all the demons. Beraial could not believe what he just saw. A human sword with the essence of Gol'tar able to absorb demons.

Saraph run back at Beraial deflecting any fireballs that would hit him. Beraial punched the ground sending rocks in the air. Saraph used the stones as a ladder to get closer to Beraial. When knew he was close he cut a rock in half. Forming a dust cloud blinding Beraial. He landed on Beraial's head again. This time he twisted the hilt three times. Then rapidly slicing him as he made his way down his back.

He jumped off landed on the ground. Beraial fell to the ground in pain. Saraph was getting tired from this fight.

"Time to end this." said Saraph as he sent another shock-wave of essence at him. He did not know if he killed him. This was his chance to run. He followed the tracks getting away from Beraial.

"That human is strong, hope we fight again." said Beraial gravely injured. As he vanished.

Saraph sword turned back into his pistols. He knew that Beraial was gone. He then hurried as fast he could.




Saraph saw lava pits in front of him. It was another five miles till he reached it. He was already 30 miles from the barrier. He wondered why Gareth came out all this way. More demons showed themselves. He easily shot them down with ease. He finally reached the edge of the lava pits. Out of one maze and now in another.

"You got to be ****ing kidding me. Gareth why the hell are you here?" asked Saraoh as his face palmed himself.

He put his hood back on encase if he found anyone. With great haste he went into the pits. He shot down any demons that came in his way. He still wondered why the hell he was here. After what seemed like forever he found a group of humans. He looked into the group seeing if he could see Gareth. Then something caught his eye. A fire serpent demon about to strike a kid. Him took careful aim and shot the serpent in the head. The serpent retreated back as it died. Serpents began to surround him as they came out of the lava. Saraph smiled ready to fight.

Edited by HellFireSouLess

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Zulfiqar let out a small huff, smoke curling out of his mouth at the human's words. "What does it take to make you angry at me?" he said, finally rolling back over so he could pin the leading stack of meat with his pupil-less gaze. "I spit at people, I try to steal their things, I leave bits and pieces about where people can trip on them, and I may or may not have been the one to chew the corners off a few of those squiggle containers that your Fathered One keeps. Yet I can never seem to stoke the fires within you- not even when I find gaps in your patrols to sneak out." No, he was not pouting, although his tail- now curled up and unmoving- said otherwise. Even the other demons get irritated with him- but Gareth never seemed fazed at all with Zulfiqar's shenanigans. At least unitl he tried to kill someone, but the demon only did that in extreme circumstances. It wasn't like he'd rather not kill- in fact, he found it quite entertaining- but it was that he had better things to do for the most part. Like push all the buttons.

The demon cocked his head to the side as the human admitting to needing help, a wide sharp-toothed grin slowly spread across his features. "Oh? And what does the Great and Powerful Walking Entree want with me?" he asked, his tail uncurling to thump against the ground as he subconsciously shifted closer to the human, his head practically in his lap (but that was because his head was big- or so he convinced himself). "Do you need me to sneak out into the wilds and scavenged up some more metal? Or those little rattling packet-thingies with the strange pictures of plants all over them? Oh! Do you want me to spit at someone? I'll gladly make a metal cast of their face- for a small fee, of course." He perked up at the very thought, his fires flickering a bright scarlet as he practically wiggled where he lay, exciting himself over the mystery he made himself. "As long as it doesn't have to do with dealing with the mini meatballs, I'm set to plunder and 'bleed' for a price. If it does have to deal with the blighters, your Fathered One's going to have one less squiggle container and I may accidentally cut myself and leave a mess all over the floor and doorways that would unfortunately keep him and the blighters from escaping."

Of course he'd leave at least one exit open- the smallest, most inconvenient one- but an exit nevertheless. No need to get the leader's mate all in a tizzy. She didn't really like him as it was, probably because he didn't know the word 'behave'. Apparently all the other demons except himself who lived within this fire hazard behaved, which if that word meant 'being lazy around the lava pools', that didn't sound very fun to Zulfiqar. He could for a little while, but he always got bored and ended up mucking around with the humans or outside where he wasn't supposed to. And it wasn't like the others were always being asked to donate their molten metal blood- his was 'a special little cornflake', as he heard one of the blighters say. Whatever that supposed to mean, but he'll take it as a compliment and go with it. What were cornflakes anyway?

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Arethviil wandered along alone, as she did most days, through the haphazard streets that had been ravaged by the demons. Her sword lay at her side, hardly touched, as she strolled along.

"You really should't be going this way."

Not him again.

"Avar, I told you already- I'm fine."

"Avar? Who's Avar?"

"Alex. Sorry. A friend of mine named Alex preferred Avar due to a joke..." She played it off again. She couldn't risk it.

The younger male rushed ahead of her again, tripping over some more glass. "Seriously though Lyra, you can't go here. The government put it off limits. The Guilds-! They'll-!"

"What of them!? Hm!??" The snap shut him up. Quickly too. "The Guilds did little to help here did they not? Look at it. You see any help?" Arethviil swept her arms to show him. The rubble. The building just barely hanging on to their foundations by a support beam. That dangerous lean. They were going to fall- no doubt there- all you had to do was guess when. One was in the process of falling down as they walked past, upset just by the light walking. It crumbled quickly, shattering even more rubble as it rested in its final spot.

"What were the Guilds going to do... that horde of demons destroyed so much! There were too many of them!" Arethviil was still upset by this man's comment. He seemed to have gotten the hint.

"They help Lyra... just because you didn't join one doesn't mean you haven't seen that!" He seemed to almost be pleading with her. Almost. But a trip as he walked backwards ruined that effect.

Arethviil brushed him aside gently, not bothering to see if he was alright. His quickened footsteps revealed he had gotten up again. "I've fought with them all. For moments it seemed."

Alex paused, waiting to see if she would continue. When nothing came, he responded. "You fought with them all at a time. I doubt some of them even realize you existed then. There was too much going on... th-"

"There still is too much going on Alexander."

He stopped now, looking into Arethviil's green eyes as she stepped into his path. "You'll learn."

His eyes narrowed as she walked again. "What's that supposed to mean!?"




Arethviil stood, laughing a little. Her mind was at it again. The flashback wasn't too long ago. Only a mere five minutes before, but the building crumbling interrupted her reminiscing thoughts. It was a shame such an eager one lay under the other rubble.

The crackling got louder before the building toppled. Only one wall came crashing down in front of the girl, kicking up dust and debris as she waited for the wall to settle.

She walked through the cloud kicked up, coughing only slightly as she spotted what she was looking for. The faint glow was the tell-tale sign. She had found what she was looking for.


The flashlight barely had any life left in its batteries, but the flickering and dim glow of the light cut through the darkness that resided in the area she had wandered into. No noise was made after Alex had succumbed to his fate. Arethviil thought it almost too soon for the male, though, she understood it had been a necessary thing.

But where was she supposed to go again? She had gotten a hastily written letter to meet at a camp of sorts for work, yet nobody had signed the name for it or even gave directions to where it was.

"If only they could provide names for helpful things instead of being so very vague about anything actually important..." The annoyed tone in her voice subsided as a smile crept by. "Reminds me of me..." She chuckled a little, playfully jumping over a toppled section of a post. "They've learned quickly... much more quick than we wanted..."

Another wall creaked but didn't move, though it looked threatening enough.

She moved up closer to it, stroking it gently as it started to give way more to her touch. "Thaaaat's it... there there... you'll all meet your ends very soon...." She crooned, skipping away as the two walls toppled shortly thereafter. They sent dust and rock spewing a little from them in sync with the loud noise the action had created.

Arethviil loved it, though she had places to be and people to bother. Or help. Whichever came to her first.


"So where would everyone go..." She asked quietly to herself as she pulled out the torn scrap of paper from her maroon hoodie.

For Lyra Esher,


You are needed in a position I assure you you would be happy to fill. Details will be arranged when you arrive. Some pay has already been enclosed to you, as well as a small token should anyone give you trouble.

More word on your pay shall be worked out in person. Please do consider and take utmost care on being timely.

Bring anything you may need. We may be able to provide anything you may be missing.


In hope of our next meeting,

Good Luck.

Some note. The handwriting was horrible, the paper had been torn and crumpled already as if it was trash before it even got to her.

Her payment? What payment? She saw no money. No 'token' it spoke of. Nothing. Someone had gotten to this note before her. And whoever wrote the note wasn't aware of who they were talking to. Or trying to talk to at least. That would be the key. Trying. Everyone needed to try now and again.


Putting the scrap back in her right hoodie pocket, Arethviil wandered onward more aimlessly then with a plan. She seemed like a rather lost 18 year old woman than someone who had an idea of where she was going. Despite this, taking a glance at her would prove that she did indeed seem as if she had a place to be. If asked, however, she wouldn't tell you. She didn't even know herself.


Quietly she wondered who had written the note in the first place and if she would be able to properly teach them how to write 'summons' as she would call these. That's basically what they were. Summonings to go see whoever called you. Except, this time it was by paper and took much longer than by telepathy or a flyer. But she was managing, and managing fine she was.

Edited by Dragonhatchling

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Gareth shrugged.

"I've just seen a lot. There's not much that can irritate me more. I have a lot that many people don't. If I got angry over small things, I wouldn't see the big picture." he stated, staring up into the sky.

For a long moment, he didn't speak. He seemed to be in another world, thinking about something he had forgotten. Then, he blinked slightly, and turned back to Zulf, smiling.

"Anyway, you're not the only demon who wants to have a bit of fun. Everyone likes to play. Long as no one is hurt, I don't mind." he commented.

"As for the mission, yes, it's about your blood. As you know, you're the only demon with that ability with such strength. It's thanks to you we have armor that can keep us safe from strong demon attacks which would have ended us early on. We owe you a lot for not only saving Hope but also helping it to stay alive. I hope you understand that.

But right now we've found a really good area to expand our territory. We defeated an omega who had been covering up a fair amount of land that's amazing for farming. Yes, I know, you don't understand farming but we need it. What we need is to build another generator. I'll need your help for that. Your blood makes generators bond strong. They don't fail. Can we depend on you for that once again?"

He knew that Zulf could turn him down. If he didn't, though, they'd be on their way to making Hope even larger. More homes. More food. And more of a thorn in the side of demons who wanted Hope to fall.

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Several fire serpents approached him. He pointed his pistols and them. Yet, for some reason they weren't attacking him. He did not understand. Demons were meant to attack humans. Saraph began shooting wildly in front of the serpents. Not hitting them just to see if they would strike.

"Why?" pondered Saraph.

He knew that demons did not care for humans. He started remembering Allia Gareth's sister. Seeing her when she was alive and well. Now seeing her dead and pale as winter snow. Saraph could not grasp this fact. He stood motionless and lifeless. Then slowly raised his pistols aiming at the serpents. Yet something was preventing him from pulling the trigger. He saw Allia next to him with her hand on his left arm. He lowered his pistols putting them away. Then she vanished as a tear fell on his hand. Was it his or hers for Saraph shed tears of pain. He wants her back more than anything on the face of the earth. He walked into the camp and jumped on the roof of some house. He sat down then brought his knees to his chest. Then put his arms around them.

"All I want is to see her again. Hold her hand and never let go." said Saraph tried holding back the tears yet he couldn't.

Sitting on the roof began reminding himself of the times he had with her.

Edited by HellFireSouLess

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(I'm gonna call his teleporting "Blinking", so don't be confused when I refer to it as that."

Icarus crouched down behind the metal crate, just out of view. A group of humanoid demons wandered around, carrying black swords. From the back, they would be able to pass off as humans, apart from their pastel purple skin. From the front, most of them had tiny green horns, and massive jaws that could bite open metal doors. Keeping out of sight, Icarus waited for one of them to seperate from the group. The demons had been camping out in that area for a few months, killing and pillaging from human colonies nearby. He had received a rather well-paying contract to kill their leader. As the lone demon walked past, Icarus lifted his left hand, channeling the energy flowing from his weapon. With his right hand, he lifted his demon arm and pointed it towards the demons heart. Taking a deep breath, he teleported forward twice, thrusting forward straight on his second move. The Demon fell down instantly as it's heart was torn out. Before it even could scream, Icarus had teleported on top of it, thrusting a second time into his forehead. As he regained his balance, he dragged the corpse to a trench that the demons had dug.


Their base was pretty well made. Rolls of barbed wire surrounded the camp on all sides, except for the entrance, where a massive skull stood. There were trenches in front of the wire, with spikes driven into the ground in front of them. He had made his way in by jumping over the wire and teleporting into a shack made from sheets of scrap metal. From there, he had slowly made his way towards the centre of the camp, where the lead demon was. Opening the door a crack, he was greeted by a heavy boot to the chest. As he lay there dazed, a large demon stomped out, eyes filled with rage. He lifted his head high and roared, lava dripping down from his mouth. The demon was the same color as the others, except for being much more buff. He looked as if he had been eating steroids for every meal. A tooth necklace hung from his neck. Swaying as he stormed towards Icarus, swinging his large horns side to side. As he drew closer, Icarus lifted his hand and calculated the distance."I AM VULGRIM, LEADER OF THE BLOOD-RAISERS. YOU SHALL BE OUR NEXT-" The demon grunted in pain as he stared down at the weapon through his heart. "Yeah, try not to monologue while starting a fight." As more demons ran towards him, alerted by the death of their leader, Icarus grabbed a necklace from vulgrims neck, disappeared, re-appearing on top of the shack. Running on the roofs, he blinked from roof to roof, jumping off the south most building onto an unaware demon. He thrusted the weapon through his throat, before blinking through the fence.


Laughing, he adjusted his mask and walked away from the camp, holding on to the necklace. He would make his way back to Washington DC and claim the bounty. Walking, he whistled, obviously in a good mood.

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Oh, demon corpses, Gareth was getting sentimental. Zulfiqar didn't like it when he got this way. All quiet and thoughtful and most definitely thinking about the past. It made him more squishy than he already was, more boring too, and for that the demon didn't like it. He contemplated on unrolling his obnoxiously long tongue and licking the human with it just to get him all disgusting even more so than he was already, but the walking meal had started talking again. It was a slight improvement, so Zulfiqar didn't get his tongue out.

The demon had guessed right, though. The human was requesting for his blood again. He blinked and tilted his head to the side again at the mention of an omega though. Did he mean that ginormous one that's been pretending to be part of the landscape for awhile now? He had gone passed it a few times during his little escapes.

...Wait, shouldn't he have told the humans that was a sleeping demon?

Zulfiqar curled his claws, his tail now flicking a bit nervously- no, demon weren't nervous, it was just moving because he... he was bored! Yes, that's it.

To ignore his sudden uncertainty, the demon focused on what he was needed for, skipping all the thanks and gratitude spew again in favor of getting to the good part. "Oh! You need to build that thing that makes lightning that causes those three-holed things in the wall to make my tongue go numb again. And to...grow fuel for the fire?" He looked confused for a moment, sitting back to look at the human. "Why do you need lightning maker to help make edible burning material?" Why did humans have so many strange words and ideas?

He let out a small huff, rising up to all four as he stretched out like a cat; his tongue curling out of his mouth as he let out a jaw-popping yawn. "Fine, fine, whatever. I'll help. But only if I get something in return!" He straightened out from his stretch to turn a pupil-less eye towards Gareth, narrowing it slightly as he gazed seriously at the human. "If it is a personal favor, then I want a personal favor as payment." Gareth knew what he wanted- if he didn't, then he would find his legs pinned under him as the demon demanded for scratching. Sure it wasn't like getting items to horde or things to eat, but there were some places he simply could not reach and oh frick'n' hell, did it feel good. The human's tiny paws seemed to be good for something besides being an inconvenience. No, Zulfiqar did not care that it made him look bad- he demanded to be satisfied.

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Arethviil walked naturally among the rubble as the odd turns and twists of what was once a good street ended. She was in a better part of the city now, which seemed odd to her. There was a noticeable line here of carnage behind her, and pure, untouched, bustling and noisy city ahead. Too noisy. Too bustling. Why would anyone want to live in this kind of place!? It hurt her sensitive hearing more than she wanted, but lucky her; she learned to live with getting used to loud noises in cities.


So where would I be if I were a crazed person wandering around handing out odd notes to someone to pass along to someone who knows me. She thought, thumbing the crystal at the end of the leather cord on her neck. It pulsed a very faint bluish glow for a second at the touch before dimming. The shape might catch someone's eye. Usually it was the tell-tale sign Arethviil was indeed the person a Contractor was looking for. That very pendant was the defining characteristic on an otherwise normal looking girl- minus the sword at her side of course.


Who else had a clear dragon shaped crystal around their neck? Nobody she knew.


Someone called across a street as the girl wandered down a different one.

"HEY!!!" Arethviil ignored it, strolling on. Those rarely were for her.

"Hey!!!! I know you can hear me!!!" Someone started running, and from what she could gauge, they were getting closer.


Arethviil turned, stepping to the side as the younger girl ran past only to fall moments later. "What now?" It was Alexander's younger sister.

"He's not with you..." That didn't take long. The look of worry on the young girl's face didn't surprise Arethviil. "The deal go awry?" For a young girl of about 12, she definitely knew how to get to the point.

"Follow. Up slowly though." The girl complied.


There wasn't much places to really get away from anyone in the nicer parts of the city that hadn't been ravaged. It was Washington DC however, which was to be expected. But there were a few safe places Arethviil knew well that she ducked into after an hour of walking along. Her old home for one. The place nobody knew about and that she took extra care making sure nobody knew about- until now.

She unlocked the door, letting the girl rush inside first before shutting it behind her. They were in the residential area of DC in one of the rowed houses. Her's wasn't standoutish at all, minus that she still paid the rent and barely came here anymore.

"So where is he then Lyra!?"

Arethviil had forgotten about the girl for a moment while tidying up a few ends in the house.

"Dead. Deal didn't go through. They suspected cheat." She answered matter-of-factly, looking right at the small girl who didn't even bat an eye at the news. She was a strange one.

"Then what'd you d-" The 18 year old pulled out a somewhat crumbled baggie, setting it on the coffee table she was now near after straightening up the couch a little. "They suspected, so they didn't get it. Unfortunately, Alex got caught under some of the rubble too during the spat. I tried to get him out... barely made it out myself." She pulled up her left sleeve from her hoodie, showing a few scrapes and a larger gash that wasn't bleeding anymore. The girl winced.

"So no pay." That was a quick turn-about.

"Nope. And don't you think of taking it either." Arethviil masked the equally quick change, narrowing her eyes at the unusual girl.

"Alex only asked you to help since he was new at it..."

"Shouldn't've gotten involved then if he was scared. You don't go anywhere that way. The cutthroats saw right through." This was getting slightly tedious for her.

"You're not calling the shots either. You two came for me for help... sky knows why... and I'm being ridiculed for trying to help your older brother by you, a 12 year old girl who scarcely even knows what this is... not to mention what's going on- or what really was going to happen with it."

That caught the younger girl's interest more. "So who's getting paid then since you offered a fourth of the cut to us for the trouble. Which I don't think is fair..." She would grow up to be a feisty young lady no doubt. Shame she would probably die before then by the demons if they rampaged further into the city.

"Me. You weren't getting a cut. Your brother was to start him off since it was his task to begin with. I'm generous like that. I could've taken it then and done away with you both, but I obliged and tried to teach him. Things like this happen. Especially during these times."


Arethviil saw there wasn't much more to explain to the girl. She wasn't distraught that her brother was dead by a few rogue 'demon hunters' who had also perished in the rubble accident. She didn't flinch at the idea of what they were doing- granted it wasn't the worst in the world that her brother could have been given to start out, but it didn't help matters. What's more- they had come to her. Found her. Somehow. And come to her. She'd retired from this a few weeks ago and made sure everyone she had contacts with knew it. Yet, there they were, standing by her on the streets asking for assistance to get the other goons off their backs. She didn't even want to think on how such fools had gotten started on something like this. Someone probably wanted them dead. Well, now they only had to worry about a young feisty girl for the trouble.

"So what'll you do with it then?" Did this girl never stop asking questions?

"Probably still sell it. Someone's gonna want it." That much was true. There were lots now who wanted a few different things that she still knew how to get. The demon blight only made it worse.

"Like who?" That was it.

"Alright, enough questions... out please." The 18 year old started moving the young girl to the door. "But-" "Out. And if you tell anyone about this house- or me- I'm finding you. Got it!?" Stern. Stern worked. Usually.

The girl pouted, visibly upset and annoyed now. "Fine. But if I get more I'm coming back to you." She was ushered out of the house. "If you can find me. I'm not paying you though. What you give becomes free for me." The door slammed before she could say otherwise. That's how Arethviil worked on these types of things. Always when it came to 12 year olds who wanted to start. She'd eventually pay a bit here or there once they were older, but not having pay usually deterred the ones she had from ever coming back to her. Which helped- because then it wasn't her problem.



Three more hours passed before Arethviil left her home again for more than a few minutes. She'd cleaned up, locked everything up, tidied up more and did a few once-overs to make sure nothing was missing. Locking the last two locks on her door, she left hoping to not come back anymore for a while. It was the only safe place she had really anymore.

She was once again on the streets with nowhere to go too. Well, not really. She had a few people lined up for a check on her stock, but other than that there wasn't much she could do to decipher where it was she was truly meant to go by that damned note. It would take a few hours probably to get the stock sold too. Especially with word running that it might be cheat. You never could be too careful in that rubble. Ears everywhere.

That matter would be taken care of first, with a little added hype to the equation. Arethviil made word that as before, and even more now, her stock would help in the demon fighting. A few trusted contacts were tasked with spreading that as far and efficiently as possible. The fun part- it was true. But it also was more likely to kill you than help. Demon blood lacing was never a good combination for a human.

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Killing. That's a word that brings a lot of images to mind, I'd imagine. For you younger ones, it brings perhaps images of storybook heroes and great mythical beasts. For the older ones, thoughts of death and depression. Why is that?

Some say it's because that as we got older, we began to understand the reality of the world. People die. People live. But it's coming to terms with that and living knowing that that make humans what we are.

When we were younger, though, death was something foreign to us. When we are first born, we don't think about how our lives will end, nor the lives of others. We just think about enjoying the thrill of life. We ran outside, unbarred, into the great green of our backyards or even further beyond. We came up with games to pretend to be something we weren't. We built treehouses with our families and lived in them, feeling as though we were the kings and queens of the land we surveyed.

Then, as we got older, life began to affect us. We began to understand responsibility for our actions. Our treehouses decayed. Our backyards maybe weren't ours anymore because we had to move away. The friends we made became distant memories. It's something that most, if not all, go through. It's part of learning what life really is, for good and for ill.

But killing is different entirely. Killing ends a life, takes it from someone, regardless of reason. Some murder is justified, some is horribly not. There are those who can take it without any feeling of regret. There are those that do it on accident and can't live with themselves. It's the realization that you have ended an existence that can no longer feel or enjoy life. It's understanding that you took it in your hands to steal something irreplaceable - someone's existence.

But this should not stop you when you know what must be done. Look around you. Look at the person to the left and right of you. They, too, know that this is not the time to waver in your cause. We are still children, children of a God who is watching us now to see what we do. In this time of crisis and peril, we cannot falter in our goals. If we must raise a blade, we do it without question, without fear. Know that your enemy will not back down. They will come at you and try to take your existence, your life. They will feel something, perhaps. Others won't. But if a blade is raised, that means that someone will most likely die. It is not the best of circumstances but it is the way of this war.

Now, some of you know the demons we fight are also alive like ourselves. They have aspirations. They have dreams. They have nightmares. They have regrets. You have spoken to the ones who live in this village by now, I hope. Learned of their pasts, their world. And I hope you told them of your own. In this way, you understand more why we must do what we do.

We don't do it out of hatred. We don't do it out of contempt. Our guild was not made for revenge alone. It was made for defense. If they come at us, blades bared, flames hot as the hellfires of the underworld, teeth shining in the light, we will not let them go past. We are a wall of lives, lives that we will not allow to be taken easily. They will fight us and we will stand firm. Like a mountain against a tide of raging water, we will still exist, no matter what they do to stop it.

Until these demons who wish us dead learn that fact, we will continue to lift our swords, our guns, our staves, and our shields. We will lift our brothers on our backs when they are too tired to fight and we will fight for them. We will support each other in this time and live on. These beasts believed we were a simple, easy target for them. They were wrong. As God is my witness, I say to you - each of you here - that you have the potential to do great things for yourselves and those around you. You have the ability to turn the tide of this war with each strike you make against them.

But the most important thing you cannot forget is what you truly do it for. Not hate, but love of those around you. Not revenge, but protection of those who support you.

Remember Gareth and Ezrea, our leaders. They who, in this trying time, came together because of their love for each other. They always support each other regardless of how dire the situation is. Have you not seen Gareth bringing his wife simple cups of coffee during those long, strategical conferences? Or have you not seen Ezrea cleaning his wounds after a battle, her face filled with worry? That is what we fight for. That sort of love. I think you can agree it's important.

Do not allow the demon hordes to ruin how you live your life. When you aren't on the frontlines, remember to relax. You are safe here. This is Hope. This is a place where we may all remember how life was and how it will be once this evil has left our world.

You are not in a guild where fighting is all you are allowed to do. That's not what we were made for. We were made to live as well, live as we once did. Live as we shall again. We are humanity. We will live.

Now, commander Gareth will be coming out here soon in order to address you all before Ezrea takes you to the arena for sparring. Please do not start pushing each other to get there first. I believe we're all adults here....


Father Charles - Sermon on the day of Hope's first light.


Gareth noted Zulf's irritation. Oh right. He forgot. Zulf didn't really have a lot of memories he wished to ponder upon. He had made sure Gareth knew that he didn't understand "nostalgia" at all, or at least the human term for it. The demon term, "vaj'karul" meant "something which reminds you of another thing," rather than "something which brings to mind memories of the past." In a way, their word was closer to synonym than nostalgia.

Demons didn't really get pensive. As far as Gareth knew, a demon lived for the moment. They fought when their blood was hottest and earned their mates through both battle and flattery. The alphas apparently had to work for love. Omegas? No clue. He hadn't bothered asking if Zulf actually had any children. He wouldn't say it either but he doubted it. Zulf didn't seem the type to have any children even if he didn't deal with them.

Still, now wasn't the time to think about a demon's lack of desire to remember things. Zulf was asking him questions and of course asking for payment. Gareth nodded, grinning.

"Well, for starters, the generators aren't just for electricity, Zulf." Gareth said as he reached into a small pouch he retrieved from his side. "They also provide us a barrier against demon magic attacks while we're inside. Your blood is especially potent when it comes to the whole process. You don't have to listen but... well..

Basically, your blood is probably some of the purest demon blood I've ever come across. Yes, that's a compliment. It contains a lot of latent energy that seems to have many properties, one of which being a large amount of defensive magic. Now, when you turn that into armor, all it does is make armor. It gives you a little bit of protection against demon spells but it's better than kevlar. However, we discovered early on that when we use your blood to make demon metal for generators, the barriers the generators create are two - perhaps even three - times as strong as barriers created just with human materials. It's incredible. I don't know why your blood does it but it does. I'd go into the specifics of barrier creating and how it works but I'm sure you don't really care, right?"

He chuckled slightly as he finally pulled out what he'd been looking for. The entire time he'd been speaking, he'd been removing various, shiny objects from the depths of the pouch. There were shining demon teeth from the omega, polished until they gleamed (Gareth had done it himself. He liked to think he went the extra mile.); small bracelets and bands, still pretty from their years of use by those who probably no longer lived; a group of jewels, which appeared to have come from necklaces and other baubles; and then there was one last object which Gareth pointed at specifically.

"I made you these as a gift." he said proudly. "They're horn bands that you can wear on your ... well, horns. If you want, I can put them on for you. I thought about how you always leave hordes behind so I decided to melt down the gold from those necklaces and such and make you these. Now you don't have to worry that you won't have something shiny on you at all times. Nifty, eh? Of course if you'd like me to make something else.."

He paused, realizing what he was doing. Zulf normally didn't like long, idle conversation. So, instead, he simply stopped and then closed the bag back up, leaving the items on the ground for Zulf to peruse.

"You can have this bag too, if you want, so you can hold more when you go scavenging." Gareth said in an aside manner. He then, happily, began scratching Zulf's back and stomach in places he knew the demon enjoyed. Zulf may have been a demon but his leathery skin wasn't actually that hot. It had shocked Gareth when Zulf had first asked for this sort of thing. He had been worried about burns but - not wanting to insult Zulf - he had done it anyway.

Demon skin felt almost like you had placed a sheet of soft leather near a fireplace for about 2 minutes. It wasn't scalding. It felt nice. Add to that that their fur was normally bushy and soft because they needed the insulation and you have a fluffy demon to pet.

A very weird idea, to be sure, but Gareth wasn't complaining. Long as Zulf was happy.

"Well, if you are going to do it, we'll be leaving in about five hours, when Delta gets back and switches with Charlie. Bravo already headed out so all the caravans and cars used for troop movement are out on the front lines. Unless you want to walk out there, we can wait. There's no rush."

For some reason, though Gareth felt happy in this current moment, he kept thinking something was happening nearby. He couldn't see anyone but the serpent demons that normally inhabited one of the caves he was looking at had begun to trail towards a distinct direction. Normally, they moved as a single group wherever they went. Zulf had explained that the head snake was the only intelligent one and that the other snakes were actually his spawn, formed from his own body as he moved. They could create masses of serpents that numbered to fifty just from a single serpent. Thankfully, they were pretty docile, even outside of Hope. Like real snakes, as long as their nests weren't bothered, they didn't care about anything else. Gareth had learned, much to his enjoyment, that you could approach their nests if you did it carefully. Also, saying that you were there didn't hurt if the head snake heard you.

Zulf also said that the head snake was called a "Chandolar." It had actually come from the human word for chandelier. Before then, the snakes didn't really have a name. In fact, a lot of demons hadn't had names even in demon tongue before the demons had invaded. Gareth had come to understand this was because most demons didn't need to interact or know about the other species before the war. They never really met. You knew where the clans of each demon were and you avoided them if you weren't one of them. The clans didn't need names for themselves either besides a few sounds. Demon tongue was simple and blunt.


(( By the way, melo, I actually adored your post. The demon was awesome. ))

Edited by Thaelasan

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Gareth seemed more than happy in his attempt to explain to Zulfiqar about the generators, to which the demon listened with partial interest. Human technology was fascinating in physical form, but in theory and definition it was a giant twisted lump of confusion like his fur was when he snuffed out the fires along his spine. The rambling words strung together the depiction of his metallic blood. That did intrigue Zulfiqar, as he never really gave much thought upon his blood. He never took into consideration as to why his blood, when cooled, was stronger and more durable than other demons', whose blood tended to fracture and crumble when cooled. He had vaguely noted that his blood was also hotter and brighter than theirs, but before now he simply took it as a curious fact and nothing more. He did preen at the purity compliment though, his fires smoothing out some as his animalistic face turned smug as the rest of the explanation went over his head.

Zulfiqar's attention returned to Gareth as the human began to pull out all sorts of glinting, shiny items that Zulfiqar practically drooled over at the sight. Maybe he wouldn't have to go on a scavenger hunt after all, not with all these lovely... were those teeth? The demon stuck his snout close to the glinting items, sniffing intently. Yup, those were teeth. Bright shiny teeth they were. And he got to keep them! The fiery tail thumped against the ground in glee.

Zulfiqar's head snapped up from the curious teeth at Gareth's exclamation of making him a... gift? They were large, like the wrist-jewelry, only bigger. The meat leader said that they were horn bands. So...they went on his horns? He gave the items in question an appraising look. They were things that helped him show off? Well, if it was put that way...

He opened his mouth to speak, to tell the human that he should totally put those horn things on him so he could flaunt them off to everyone he saw, but the human had realized he had been annoying in rambling in idle conversation and had begun to administer scratches. All thought fled Zulfiqar's mind as the positively delightful human paws satisfied his flesh; a loud, deep, rumbling purr emitting from his chest. One of the humans who had heard his purrs before had told him it had been like standing next to a giant jet engine. Zulfiqar did not quite understand what jet engine was, but he took it as a compliment.

"Hmm," the demon hummed through his purring in agreement to the time frame, idly shifting so the human would reach a spot he deemed worthy of attention. "Then you must put those horn ornaments on for me. If they annoy me I will pin you under me until you remove them."

He was quite content in where he was, being scratched and getting tributes with very little effort on his part. This must be one of the reasons why he tolerated the humans. He idly watched the demonic serpents slither in some direction. "Huh, that's weird." Those little guys usually didn't act like that, but he brushed the thought away as some trivial anomaly. After all, scratches from human paws were way more important than the strange actions of stupid legless creatures.

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Gareth, after roughly ten minutes of the mutually enjoyed pasttime that he and Zulf shared, turned back to the treasure trove on the ground and retrieved the horn rings from the top of the pile. They were actually fairly impressive in their craftsmanship. It was nothing like what a professional jeweler was capable of but it at least did the job well.

They were circular, of course. In order to get the proper size, Gareth had been secretly using wooden measuring rings on Zulf when the demon was asleep. Of course, it hadn't been easy. Gareth was sure the demon had sensed him numerous times but since he hadn't been doing anything bad Zulf had probably just dismissed it.

One worry Gareth had had while making them was about the sheer amount of gold needed to make them not only big enough but also thick enough. Demon horns were used in battle often, even just for fun sparring. The bangles needed to be dense enough to withstand any possible blows they could take. Gold was notoriously easy to bend, especially when heated. So, he had come up with an ingenious method to strengthen the gold but keep the sheen - he had used some of Zulfiqar's excess bloodmetal and molded them together. Surprisingly, the merging had been a success - another practical application of this demon's incredible life force.

Gareth still didn't understand it. No other demon who lived in the lava pits - or, indeed, any he had seen so far - had blood as potent as Zulf's. It was an anomaly. But it didn't seem to bother Zulf nor cause him any health problems so he hadn't attempted to truly delve into it. All he knew was that it worked, it had many uses, and he'd be damned if it didn't exceed at being good protection. He wore it himself in his own armor.

Of course, when he had first suggested the idea after seeing Zulf's blood in action - which was also the day he had first found the demon boar - a lot of Hope's community were understandably hesitant to wear anything related to demons. But, soon, Gareth won them over after wearing a set himself and showing them what it could handle. Bullets, rockets, and even searing flame couldn't tarnish the metal.

So, he hoped the same things affected these hornrings now. He gently placed the two of them on Zulf's main two horns, the ones which gracefully spiraled from his skull. They were quite large, to be sure. One of the other demons had explained to Gareth that the horns were like those of some animals - they represented health and physical prowess. Those who could get the iron ore and other such mineral wealth that the demon world gave for food had great, beautiful horns. Those who couldn't win any fights had weak horns, since they couldn't get to the ore.

Zulf had quite a strong set. Gareth had come to understand he had been quite a fighter before giving up on it because it was simply too annoying.

"There. How do they feel? I don't know if you have nerves in your horns or not but I'm guessing no..?" he wagered, stepping back.

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Saraph wiped the tears off of his face. He knew crying about the past how not help. He stood on up of the house he saw a bunch of kids playing.

"So this is Gareth's group?" wondered Saraph.

Saraph did not to get involved with them if it was not. Yet, he could leave these children unattended. One of the fire serpents came up to him.

"Why did you shot at us back there?" asked the serpent.

Saraph turned towards the snake and then looked away fast. He jumped off the house roof onto the ground. He began walking around the camp seeing if there was anyone he knew. He knew no one here. Was this Gareth's ground or not. He wanted to know but did not want to ask anyone. He began the walk towards a hill. When he reached the top he saw a pack of hell hounds. They were heading in this direction. He drew his pistols for he knew these demons are enemies. He looked down at the kids.

" I will deal them. before they reached this camp." said Saraph darting towards the hell hounds.

The hell hounds saw Saraph as he ran. They howled and charged Saraph. He began shooting them one by one. Saraph jumped in the air. As he descended he let out a barrage of bullets. He checked to make sure none had passed him. He put his pistols away and walked back to the camp. As he walked back he pistols glowed.

"An omega or a general?"wondered Saraph.

He couldn't tell where it was. He jumped on the roof trying to see if he could see it. Then all of a sudden the glowing vanished. Saraph did not know why his pistols did that. Never before had his pistols done such a thing. They only glowed when omegas or powerful demons were around.

"What is going on?" pondered Saraph.

He slide off the roof and onto the ground. He was not taking any chances. Saraph walked the entire area seeing if his pistols would glow again.



After walking for 15 minutes his pistols began to glow again.

"What now?" wondered Saraph.

Five miles out something arose from the ground it was Beraial. Most of his wounds were healed. Beraial let out a great roar. Anything in 20 miles could hear it. Saraph could not believe he could heal that fast. Thisdemon was on omega or general it was something more.


Saraph looked back at the camp.

"I can't let them get involved. So I guess I have to fight him." Saraph sighed for he did not want to.

He fused his pistols into his blade. He ran towards Beraial with all haste. Beraial saw a figure heading towards him and threw a fireball. Saraph easily deflected it.

Saraph finally stopped running and stood underneath Beraial.

"So there you are.' said Beraial grinning.

"Lets take this fight away from here. I do not want to you and I to destroy that camp?" said Saraph with respect in his words.

"As you wish human." said Beraial.

Saraph led Beraial to what seemed a good spot to fight. It was 10 miles away from the camp site. Saraph twisted the hilt to see if any demons were around. several essences of unknown demons began feeding Saraph sword. The number of demons that fed it were unknown. Then his sword's essence began letting out its power showing Beraial it was go time.

"This time Beraial one of us dies here!" yelled Saraph.

Beraial from above punched downward at Saraph. The ounch was so ferocious that a giant dust could formed.

"Is that all you got human?" Beraial said laughing.

Then all of a sudden a precising cry come from Saraph's sword. A cry that cried for blood and for battle. Saraph blocked the punch.

"You should not have done that." Saraph said warning Beraial.

Beraial still could not believe what he heard for it was the cry of Gol'tar. Saraph saw Allia's dead corpse standing next to Beraial. Saraph could not what he was seeing.

"Why don't you fight back?" asked Allia's corpse as it vanished.

Saraph stood in shock of what he had seen. Beraial started to charge flames in his mouth. Saraph shook his head and saw what Beraial was doing. He quicky darted

as the flames spewed from Beraial's mouth. He twisted his hilt three times shouting essence at his mouth. Closing it as Beraial's mouth exploded.

"You little insect I will crush you!" exclaimed Beraial in pain. Beraial could not see Saraph anywhere. Saraph was behind Beraial as he lifted his sword with one arm to the sky. Another scream let out for this scream was ready to end this. Saraph saw Allia standing in front of him smiling. She walked up to him and took his hand that was holding his sword.

"Allia please forgive me?" Saraph said as he shed a tear.

Allia then vanished into thin air. Beraial to see Saraph standing still holding his sword high. Saraph rushed at Beraial cutting his legs. Beraial dropped as a stack of potatoes.

"How...How is a human like you so much stronger?" asked Beraial in wonder.

Saraph did not answer for he would not answer to the likes of a demon.

"ANSWER ME!!!" roared Beraial.

"Cause I will fight for those I once love. I will fight so one has to feel my pain, my burden. You demons took everything that loved in this world for that... I WILL MAKE YOU PAY!!!" roared Saraph with anger and hatred.

Saraph was done playing games now. Beraial could sense that he was getting serious. Beraial summoned his flames all around him. All of a sudden fire rained from the sky taking aim at Saraph. He ran quicky to dodging and deflecting the flames. Saraph rapidly shot essence at Beraial . He blocked using his arms to protect his face. Beraial lifted the earth underneath Saraph sending him flying. Saraph while in the air kicked a rock at Beraials eye blinding him.

"AAAAAHHHHH!!! MY EYE." screamed Beraial in pain.

Saraph landed on the ground elegantly. Beraial spewed flames for his mouth again. Some flames were heading for the camp. Saraph ran with great speed and deflected them as he jumped in the air. The tremendous force of the flames were to great and sent him towards the ground. He landed on his back.

"Ow that is going to leave a mark." said Saraph.

He jumped to his feet instantly. He wished Gareth was here so this could end quickly. Saraph threw off his vest as it flew in the air towards the camp. Then dashed in the direction of Beraial. Opened his eyes and saw Saraph running at him.

"YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT!!!" exclaimed Beraial.

He summoned all his flames in his mouth and unleashed them at Saraph. Saraph twisted his hilt five times. All the essence in that sword began surrounding Saraph and his sword. Saraph ran in the flames and cutting through them. he was still rushing towards Beraial. he began rapidly punching at Saraph. He deflected every punch that was being thrown at him. Beraial punched the ground sending a pillar of flame at Saraph. He stood his ground as best he could against the pillar.

"This is going to hurt." said Saraph as he cutting through the pillar.

His shoulder and left arm got burned a bit. He continued to run at Beraial for something changed about Beraial. His flames that surrounded him vanquished. He had lost all of his energy. Saraph was getting tired myself. Saraph twisted his hilt one last time. He could see Allia holding his sword with him. They both ran together and leaped into the air. Beraial fell to the ground out of energy. As he looked in the sky he saw Saraph in the air. Saraph landed on Beraial stabbing him in the chest. Then let loose all of the essence from his sword. The essence sliced through Beraial cut his heart in half. Allia vanished again from Saraph's vision.

"You are indeed strong young human. Now I know why you fight. If come across a demon named Vol'tar tell him that you have defeated me. For there might be hope." said Beraial as he died.

Saraph's sword transformed back into pistols. He walked five miles before he past out of exhaustion.

Edited by HellFireSouLess

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There was a pause in the almost divine scratching as the human decided to attend to the task of putting his horn ornaments on. Zulfiqar had to admit- they were pretty damn gorgeous. He only pondered on the amount of gold used to make such a pair of items for a moment, taking more interest in watching Gareth. The demon even did the human a favor and lowered his head somewhat so the giant bracelets could be put on easier. He didn't want to give the tiny-pawed meat paddy the chance to put the shiny accessories on crooked, after all.

He felt the human slip the metal items on before stepping away, asking how they felt. "I don't feel anything," Zulfiqar stated, but shook his head like a dog to see if the violent movement would dislodge the items. It didn't, so he attempted to twist his head around to get a good look at his...what was the word... "bling"? Of course he couldn't see his horns, so he sat there for a minute or two looking like an idiot as he almost turned in a complete and utterly useless circle in a vain attempt to see his horns.

"I need a image shiner," he grumbled, more to himself than to Gareth. Zulfiqar had been more than a little freaked out when he first encountered a mirror. The plane of existence that demons resided in did not have reflective surfaces, so coming face to face with...well...himself, he may or may not have stared at it for a second before head butting it because he had been insulted by the startled, confused expression on the face of the other. It had taken over two hours for the humans to drill into the demon's head that no, it was not an illusion or another demon, but himself he was seeing in the polished surface. It had been another three hours of him sitting there examining his reflection before he decided that he looked damn fine and came to accept the idea of mirrors and reflections. Now he needed one... and he knew exactly where one was.

His swishing tail was the only warning he gave before he leaped into action, his paws skittering across loose rock and ash as he bolted away, leaving Gareth in his wake. The human would catch up- it wasn't his fault they were too slow to keep up with him. Zulfiqar came flying out of the caves that contained the lava pools, nearly barreling over a pair of armor-wearing meatballs. He dodged between crates of flimsy stick habitats, quickly adjusting his path to slide passed two-legged roadblocks or simply jumping over them if they weren't moving fast enough out of his way. He slid to a halt only to push a door open with his head instead of careening right through it (they got mad at him when he broke entrances), and slipped inside the structure that he knew the Fathered One kept a mirror in. He wedged himself through several small doorways before finding the item of his search- the tall, slightly cracked mirror that was placed on the wall.

The demon stood before the polished surface, staring intently at himself, or more importantly his horns. He tilted his head to the side, then to the other, taking in the sight of the new accessories. His maw pulled back in a wide grin as he bobbed his head in satisfaction. "Damn, I look good," he complimented himself, looking quite pleased with his new appearance. The gold contrasted well with his otherwise dark complexion. And they didn't fall off during his race to get here either! Gareth did well in his gifting.


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As the young girl traversed the land, her demonic boots leaving distinct tracks in the dust covered asphalt she walked upon, she could hear the faint noise of combat filling the air. Piquing her curiosity, there wasn't even a pause in her step as she took off into a run in the direction the sounds had been coming from. Upon arrival, Mina probably witnessed one of the most intriguing battles outside of her own in a while. What she saw before her was a combination of glorious brutality and reckless masochism. A man, who wielded a blade that countered her own, this man could charge into battle without so much of a care for his own well being. For, after the battle was over, he merely healed his injuries as if they had never occurred.

This sparked a thought to the young psychopath. If she were able to obtain such a blade, the possibilities of what torturous methods she could accomplish with the aid of such a blade increased tremendously. Fatal wounds could be reversed, only to be inflicted again soon after. Fingers and toes could be severed and regrown, gashes and deep penetrating stabs could be inflicted just to revert to their healthy form again. What noises her subjects would make as she tormented them day and night on end excited her to the point her face flushed a deep red. To top it off, there was the possibility that this man might also be the target she sought. Of course, even if he wasn't the person she sought, there was a chance that he might be able to lead her to him. So, if that were the case, she would simply off him afterwards and use his blade to bring forth unbearable torment to the man that once his soul was ready to break, there would be a glorious moment when she would revel in his misery before sending him to the demon.

Stepping out into the streets, Mina made sure she was within viewable range of the man, but made no effort in approaching him. This was part of her ruse, inciting that she was lost within the dead city and that he would pick her up of his own accord. Through this method, Mina would be able to obtain the man's trust with less effort than if she freely approached him in such a dangerous area. To make the part more believable, she converted the demonic boots into a pair of knee high, combat-styled boots with a pair of buckles on the foot, a strap around the top, and a zipper that ran up the inner side of the boot to just below the strap. As for her weapon, it had always been conveniently disguised as a white tube upon her back.

Ensuring that her role looked the part, she went out to the street, sniffling and looking about frantically, stumbling to the ground at convincing intervals to further imply that she must have been travelling for a long time. This wasn't hard to act out, as she had done it once before when she was younger.

Having made her way from North Dakota to Sacramento, California alone and nothing but a piece of broken glass that she had been clutching tightly in her hand upon arrival. With that as her weapon and the brutality of her upbringing, Mina had been able to cross the dangerous lands with injuries that most would have succumbed to and reminders of the feats she had accomplished. Single-handedly, and with a piece of glass at that, she had slain twelve demons. One of them had been an alpha, she would later discover upon her entry into her first guild. With a splintered pole, other various objects in the area, and swift movements the small young girl was able to slay the beast.

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Icarus sat in an abandoned building, looking at the necklace he had taken. It was either a tooth, or claw. He couldn't really tell. Whatever it has come from wasn't that big. He poked himself with it, testing the sharpness. It was pretty dull. He sighed, putting It in his pocket. It wasn't very impressive, and he wondered why Vulgrim had been carrying it. It doesn't matter anyway, all I have to do is bring it to the guy to prove he's dead. Looking out the window, he spotted someone down below. He grinned and lifted his hand to blink.


He watched as the older girl made her way past. Jumping out of the window, he blinked into another building. He was playing a game he made up, where he would use his demon arm to stalk someone as long as it could before they noticed him. It tended to piss people off when they found out, but he thought it was fun. It was also good practice, and he usually stalked demons, killing them afterwards. Cities were the best place for the game, with a large number of buildings to hide in. He blinked into a building quite a distance in front of her to catch his breath. He closed his eyes for a second while he regained his balance. Opening his eyes, he stared at her closely. She was wearing something shiny on her neck. Continuing his game, he blinked onto a nearby buildings ledge. As he reappeared, he looked up and saw the ledge above him, just out of reach.


"Goddammit"He had messed up. Falling, he turned his body downwards, blinking onto the ground right in front of the girl. He landed on his feet and promptly fell backwards. He sat up, staring at the girl he was facing. Noticing the dangerous looking sword, he smiled through his mask."Hi. Please don't stab me."

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Arethviil wandered along, occasionally checking a phone now and again to see of the whereabouts of a few of her contacts. Of course, anybody else looking at her phone just saw pure rubbish. Nobody used "Cackstand" as a word. But it was fun. So she indulged.

Yet, she couldn't help but sense a naggng 'someone's watching you' feeling from herself. She was attuned to such matters, having survived the streets in a rather dangerous game- all the while hunting demons. Not to mention her natural heightened senses that never really went away.

But Arethviil dimissed it, not wanting to appear nervous in case it was a curious possible client whom she didn't exepct. Nobody would tell her it would be a teleporting one.


The girl drew her sword as quickly as the human appeared. She glared at him, looking him over to see if he was going to kill her. To her surprise she noticed the Demon Arm. Great. Another fighter. He was young and instantly reminded her of Alex by the form, and consiquently the younger sister of that foolish boy. She didn't exactly trust him with the gas mask on. But perhaps he was a client. She'd entertain him regardless, though, depending on how it went she might have to run him through.


Her eyes narrowed even more as her sword moved closer to the boy's midsection. Even with his teleporting powers she judged she could land a hit- probably even fatal- from the way he landed.


"What business do you seek." It wasn't exactly a question. More of a statement to tell her what he intended. She instinctively moved her free hand to her side where the stock was kept, in case he wished to see that before he tried his tricks.

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