Wounded

“He’s not the warmest travelling companion, though, is he?” Danyel asked, taking a bite out of a piece of crusty bread.

He lay back and let the warmth of the suns wash over him. Nerui lay next to him, running her fingers through the long, soft grass. They had moved from the forest patch that Deadrick and Bruad left them in, to a grassy plateau that gave them a panoramic view of the whole city.

“Well, no,” Nerui agreed, “But he saved your life,”

Danyel turned his head to her and narrowed his eyes.

“He also managed to force me into hiding for regicide,” Danyel snapped. For that, Nerui had no answer.

She gazed out across the skyline of towers and domes- beautiful constructions that dominated the area. The humans called it the City of Kings- the other races called it a monument to the human race’s colossal ego.

“When we visited your clan… a few days ago- why were you so eager to get away?” Danyel asked rather forwardly.

Nerui narrowed her eyes and looked away.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,”” She said sternly.

Danyel pushed himself up to a sitting position, balancing on his palms.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” Danyel told her.

Nerui sighed.

“Why do you want to talk about this now?” She asked him.

“Why not?” Danyel replied, “You couldn’t wait to be out of the camp the moment we stepped into it,”

Nerui got to her feet, but didn’t walk away.

“Me and my family haven’t seen eye to eye in a long time. A long time,” She told Danyel, “I left there when I came of age- to become a mercenary. An assassin. I tried my best to avoid Rillwyn, because I knew there was no way they would accept me back. And I managed it for a while. Until Deadrick came along… I knew that they were the only ones who could help us,”

Nerui looked up at the sky.

“I’ve been on my own for so long now. Why would anybody accept a mentally warped Elf who can kill them in three hundred and twenty seven different ways?” The question was rhetorical, obviously. But Danyel got to his feet and went to her.

She turned to him and they looked into each other’s eyes.

“We accept you,” He said, “You’re accepted by a deeply disturbed demon hunter… a werewolf-”

Nerui smiled.

“And me,” Danyel finished.

They stayed like that for a few moments, looking into each other deeply. Nerui opened her mouth to speak, but they were interrupted by a whistling sound coming from the distance.

They turned to the cityscape, to see a red object burst upward into the sky and open into a spray of sparks.

They turned back to each other, and without saying a word, collected up the food and climbed into the Windglider. Nerui lit the flame and it lifted into the air, Danyel twisted the wheel, and they headed towards Gaelwynd.

 

*

 

One of the demon guards smiled- his long, inhuman tongue flicking around his mouth, running along his teeth and against his dry, broken lips.

Deadrick reached for his gun, surveying the four men in front of him.

They were possessed- that much was certain. Their eyes illuminated the dim alley. But they seemed mindless somehow. Not so much controlled- but hypnotised.

None of them had spoken, Juhra had been inside their minds- but he wasn’t there anymore. They were just foot soldiers; they had been told to hunt them and sent on their way.

They were wary, obviously sensible enough to know that if they attacked Deadrick and Bruad with brute force, they would most definitely be destroyed with ease.

Deadrick resisted the urge to kill as well. If he shot them, he would be killing a human, whichever way he looked at it. They were just vessels. And even if he could consider killing them, there was no assurance that there weren’t thousands more of them between them and the city gates

But the demons stood their ground, as did Bruad and Deadrick.

Deadrick scanned the walls either side of them. They were brick, which stretched at least twenty metres above them. He thought for a moment, and was suddenly hit with an idea.

“Bruad,” Deadrick whispered.

Bruad glanced sideways for a split second, signaling that he was listening.

“I think I can get us out of this…” Deadrick continued, “But we need to act fast, I don’t know how much longer they’ll resist,”

Deadrick knew that eventually the urge for blood would overwhelm the seed within them, sending them into frenzy.

“On the count of three, transform and climb up the side of the building to the left,” Deadrick explained slowly. Bruad had managed to scale a cliff face using nothing but his claws- twenty metres was no obstacle.

“But they’ll kill you…” Bruad told him.

Deadrick nodded.

“Most certainly. Do you still have the rope… from before- in the canyon?”

Bruad’s eyes lit up, he slipped his hand into his robes, pulling out the long kength of rope that they had planned to use on the Clawrets only a few days ago. It was easily long enough to cover most of the wall to their left.

“Get to the top of the building, and throw it down, as soon as you feel me take hold of it, pull,” Deadrick told him, “I’ll hold them off,”

Bruad gave him one last doubtful look.

“Do you have a better idea?” Deadrick growled. Bruad scowled, and threw his head forwards. No more than five seconds later, he had become an eight foot tall tower of fur and fangs.

Bruad dived onto the wall, his long sharp nails cutting into the brick. As he began to scale the building, the guards- seeing the biggest threat leave- launched forward at Deadrick.

Deadrick smiled as he drew Danyel’s sword. He swung it, but with the flat side facing forwards. The first guard caught the brunt of the powerful attack, the thick steel catching him on the side of his head. The force sent it barreling backwards, into another guard. They rolled away as another jumped towards him, snarling like a rabid animal.

As it got within a foot of Deadrick, he grasped the blade itself and sent the hilt with immense force into the stomach of the guard.

Before the fourth guard could launch any kind of attack, there came a yell from above. The rope fell towards the ground, stopping just a few feet from the floor.

Deadrick jumped at the wall, narrowly missing a slashing attack from the last guard, he bounced into the air and caught the end of the rope.

Bruad felt the weight on the end of the rope and began to pull Deadrick up as fast as he could- but it wasn’t fast enough. The guard bound after Deadrick. He caught hold of Deadrick’s leg and sunk its long, sharp teeth into his flesh.

Deadrick yelled as he felt the demon tear away at the skin.

Bruad didn’t stop pulling, and couldn’t see why the rope had suddenly become so heavy.

Deadrick looked down at the guard, roaring as he lifted his one good foot, and brought it down heavily onto the guards face.

The guard’s nose exploded, spraying blood in every direction. It lost it’s grip, falling away from Deadrick, who watched it as it fell and hit the ground with a dull thud.

With one final pull on the rope, Bruad heaved Deadrick over the edge and onto the roof.

Deadrick collapsed to the floor, gasping. He looked down at his leg. The skin was torn to ribbons, blood poured freely from the wounds. Bruad knelt beside him. Without hesitation, he tore a length of fabric from his robe and went to wrap it around the injury.

Deadrick held his hand up, stopping Bruad, who looked at the wound again.

His mouth opened in shock as he watched the skin begin to bubble. The blood stopped trickling, and the dead flesh fell away.

Deadrick grunted with pain, balling his fist and growling.

Bruad could only watch as the skin began to ripple, and close in on itself. After only a few seconds, the wound had healed over completely, with not even a scar to prove that it had ever been there at all.

The End

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