"What's the trick behind this deal?" a hooded man asked to the darkness that engulfed him, the space was devoid of light as was his heart. Salazar Dreix was known to be a great and dangerous black soul hunter, feared by both his peers and the criminals. He always had been a violent man, with no compassion nor tolerance in the black hole he had for a heart. The hunting community aggravated him with their complaints on his unmeasured and unorthodox ways of his hunting. He didn't hunt for the economical and rewarding retribution, he hunt for the fun of killing. Most of his preys are the most dangerous and sought after criminals... they never see the light of day again once Salazar was assigned to hunt them.
"The Scroll of the Elders," a voice rang from the shadows.
Salazar's eyebrows were knitted together in amusement and interest. "The scroll of Elders?" his voice was quavering with enthusiasm. His enhanced trained vision allowed him to see in the pitch darkness, he knew where the owner of the voice was. "Interesting... why would somebody give away such a precious relic?"
"That is none of your business," the voice continued, "is this a deal or not? We might as well look for another hunter."
"Not so fast, you are an impatient man," Salazar's voice drawled, he began pacing around the place, keeping a distance from the dealer, his hidden weapon always ready to any offense from him. "How can I trust you if I don't know you? Perhaps a name?"
"Names are unimportant, Dreix," the voice mocked, "I know you far too well Salazar. You are not interested in names, you want power and I can offer it to you. I give you the scroll and you exterminate the black soul hunter's community, including those future hunters from Candravar's academy..."
Salazar stopped in his tracks, his ears must have mistaken the words coming off from the darkness. "You are talking nonsensically," Salazar said, his heart was beating excitedly in his chest. The idea of possessing supreme power will be his but... "if I accept your deal, it will take me years to kill every hunter in this world..."
"Greed takes you far, Salazar," the voice continued, "you are an intelligent man, strong, and feared. You will find a way..."
Salazar mused over his words, "It's a deal then." Salazar concluded and clasped his hands together, "why are you so keen in killing the hunters?"
"A greater and grimmer future awaits the strongest," the voice said, a streak of golden appeared from the dark. It was the scroll that had been hidden underneath the man's cloak, during the short period of illumination Salazar could catch a glimpse of the dealer's face. It was masked, a ghastly spectre.
The scroll was tossed at him and he caught it in midair.
"As to how to open it, you must figure out by yourself..." the voice disappeared, leaving Salazar alone. He walked out of the precarious meeting place and into the sun. He eyes the scroll closely, it was sealed, magically.
For nearly three years he has been trying to open the scroll, but every attempt ended in failure. However, he did not gave up. After the third year, almost close to the Hunting Examination, he finally figured out what it takes to open the scroll. That was when he decided to set forth his part of the deal.
It was like killing off two demons at the same time.
Salazar's fairly slanted eyes followed Aldrest as he stormed away from him, seeking Candravar most definitely. During Aldrest's accusations he had clenched his fist tightly, his nails pierced his light colour skin. How had the kid known? he thought in displeasure, I explicitly told them to kill and hide. Salazar was fuming at the failure of the convicts and criminals he freed and recruited for the hidden massacre taking place during the Hunting Game he had set up.
Everything was going well, during the first challenge almost one third of the entire hunting community and students from the academy were killed. In part by the violent forces of the water and the poisoning they suffered by drinking the water. Salazar still hold, underneath his robes, the bag of white powder he poured into the waters. Right now, his accomplices must be taking the corpses out of the water and tossing them in a god forsaken pit.
During the second challenge half of the hunters would be gone, leaving the most adept and powerful to reach the final stages of the meticulously planned game. His hands felt bathed in blood, he was not directly killing the hunters and students but he could mentally picture their blood draining from their bodies and their glassy eyes staring into the nothingness of the sky. How he wished to witness their death and be the last thing they remembered from their lives on Azahla.
He glanced at the hourglass set on the flat rock beside him, the time was almost coming to an end and many hunters were still inside the forest. Salazar cursed under breathe, maybe this challenge was far too difficult for their simple minds. He wasn't surprised to see which hunters finished first: Candravar, Aldrest, Shizuma, and a few others. All of the ones who finished first had some relationship with the Elders.
He hoped against everything that Neil wouldn't fail like his father did. Such a shame that a full fledged and experienced black soul hunter would lose to a kid from Candravar's academy. Neil's father suffered the dire consequences and Neil knew better than to follow his pathetic father's example.
I had to be careful now, Candravar and his students will be watching me closely...
Their spiritual energy will be highly appreciated and useful to the scroll.