Now that Verz had backed away, Mors was able to struggle into a sitting position. Ignoring the few streaks of blood that were falling from his eyes, colouring his vision red, he could not stop thinking about the summoning pit and his conversation with Grim.
Now that he was thinking clearly, or at least not encumbered by crippling exhaustion, Mors realised that not only did he have a part to play in the destruction of his daughter's soul, but he was also powerless to do anything about it. If he had let her go, then, although she had been killed, abducted to a new world and enslaved, she would still exist. Doubts and regrets flooded his mind as he questioned everything, ignoring the six pairs of eyes that were watching him intently.
She was gone, and although he talked big, he knew he was too weak to do anything, especially in his current state. His steady heartbeat resonated in his ears as he looked into the fire.
Hatred, not only at those he deemed responsible, the Sun Clan and the black knights currently unknown fraction but at himself surged forth like an unstoppable tsunami, causing Mors to grind his teeth in frustration. Unbeknown to him, at that moment, the fearful screeches of birds erupted around him and the surrounding insects silenced. The only thing that was making noise was the little demonic goblin, cowering in Ethemeusa’s lap, trying to make herself as small and unnoticeable as possible.
“That’s one powerful debuff,” muttered Rock. “If we weren’t in the late stages of the Bronze-realm, I bet we would feel a lot more than just a chill.”
Verz placed her hand on Mors’ shoulder, snapping him from his spiralling, negative thoughts. “You need to control your emotions, little demon. Not only is it a waste of energy, hindering your recovery, but it makes it incredibly easy for people to track you and anticipate your actions.”
Mors stared blankly into Verz’s eyes for a few moments before closing his and taking a deep breath. He decided to focus on moving his individual muscles to distract himself as well as evaluate the state of his body. There were a few strange muscles that he didn’t really know how to control or even what they were for, but he decided he could work that out later as, by the time he discovered them, he had managed to calm himself to a decent level and now needed to confirm the situation.
Opening his eyes, he quickly scanned the surroundings, feeling slightly awkward as everyone was staring at him like some sort of sideshow.
The tyrannical, blood-thirsty aura had dissipated and the sounds of the night slowly began to return as Verz started speaking. “I know you probably have a lot of questions. I will start with why you are her-”
Mors was not in the mood for a long talk and decided to end the conversation as quickly as possible. “You and your huntsmen have abducted me from the Sun Clan and their allies in the hope that my unique ability, to be invisible to divination, the Sun Clan’s greatest asset, can be used against them. Lucky for you, my sole purpose in life is to destroy the Sun Clan and everything it stands for. I know I am too weak to face them at the moment, and so I have no other choice than to ask you for help, Verz Hekate, last of the Moon Clan. I need power.”
The other huntsmen who had been sitting in silence looked at each other in shock. Although they frequently talked and joked with each other, they would never speak of such information unless necessary, especially the second name of their Captain.
Verz shifted the partial mask covering the bottom of her face as she glared at the unflinching demon. “Care to share how you know so much, little demon?”
“Ask no questions, hear no lies. I have only met you and am already taking a huge risk revealing this much,” replied Mors in a tone that made it clear he would not elaborate further.
Rock sniggered, drawing the angry gaze of Verz as she resisted the urge to drop kick the boy. “Well, I guess that is fair enough. You knowing at least that much saves a fair amount of time. Let me introduce you to my team.”
Mors was currently flexing his hands, looking at the weird glint his nails reflected from the fire. “I have no interest in knowing their names. I am not joining the huntsmen, I am temporarily joining you in order to gain enough strength and knowledge to have my vengeance. I will not become one of your pawns.”
“This is what I meant by picking a fight with a something they shouldn’t,” sighed Kelora. “one gold on his sin being pride or wrath.”
Ethemeusa quietly chuckled. “I don’t know, the worst thing about taking care of another species is that they often think and feel so differently. At the moment, if you removed the exterior, those two are basically the same, apart from the demon being so weak it's almost laughable.”
Mors tensed at the insult from the woman but did not say anything.
After a few moments in deep thought, Rock joined in causing the others to shake their heads in pity. “That's no fair. You can only pick one if you want a bet."
Verz was shocked and slightly confused by Mors' response. “I am the leader of the huntsmen, by following me you are automatically one of them. Also, the Sun Clan isn’t a group someone can bring down alone. They have hundreds if not thousands of members and have existed for millennia. If it were that easy, do you think we would be having this conversation? Now I am going to introduce you to my team; it would be in your best interest to listen.”
Verz pointed to the short woman with long, pointed ears sticking out of her dark hair. Her completely yellow eyes were a little unnerving for Mors as he could not see any sign of her pupils. “This is Velcea, a dark elf and my partner. She specialises in assassination techniques and information gathering. When I am not around, she is in charge.”
The next one Verz pointed to was a hulking man in armour, or at least that's what you would assume by his shape. It was as if someone carved, roughly, a statue out of dark grey rock. The stone man smiled, his lighter grey eyes and teeth standing out from his darker skin. “Rock, earth elemental, our tank and resident gambling addict. It would be best to avoid him as much as possible unless you want to join him as an outcast.”
Rock shook his head at the poor introduction as Verz continued, now pointing at someone who would have been considered a beautiful woman, if it were not for her blood red eyes and wicked, almost mocking smile. Two small, black horns protruded from her flaming red hair, curving backwards. A small, black, whip-like tail danced in the air behind her, ending in a small triangle. When their eyes met, Mors subconsciously let out a deep growl causing the woman to chuckle. “Easy boy, you're a little too young to be invading another demon's territory, and I am not one to go easy.”
Surprisingly Mors’ action caused Verz to smile. “That’s Kelora, a demoness who loves close quarters combat, fighting in general and a terrible cook who always burns her food.”
“FUCK!” shouted Kelora as she pulled the incinerated piece of meat off the fire. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner.”
Ignoring the complaints of the demoness, Verz moved onto a slim, plain-faced woman holding onto a small green girl. Both of them were staring intently at Mors. “That’s Ethemeusa, the name is a bit of a mouthful, so most people call her Eth. She’s a Lamia Matriarch and the huntsmen’s mother figure. Her speciality is stealth and long ranged weapons. Eth is also in charge of the food and quarters at camp, so it’s best not to get on her bad side.”
The emerald green eyes starting directly made Mors feel extremely uncomfortable. “Got a problem, snake.”
Verz rolled her eyes as she asked herself why she bothered with trying to warn the demon. He was fearlessly standing up to her, so why would he cower in front of Kelora or Ethemeusa, beings that were two or three ranks below her in strength. A sudden thought came to her that maybe the boy's instincts were not functioning correctly and he had no clue to how much stronger they were than him.
“Only that a particular demon doesn’t know his place,” hissed Ethemeusa, her eyes narrowing menacingly.
Mors hissed back. Where Ethemeusa’s was similar to a snake's, Mors’ sounded like something emerging from the depths of hell. “Keep staring, and I will turn you into a belt.”
“BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.” Rock burst into laughter, falling backwards as he held his sides. “I love this kid. It’s like a smaller, less dangerous and funnier version of the captain. As I have to train the recruits, I want him in my group. ”
Mors glared at Rock but decided to keep his mouth shut. Even if it felt better to let off some steam, he still needed these people and making enemies now would only make things difficult. In fact, he was still having issues processing the fact that the individuals in front of him weren’t human as something deep down was telling him that it shouldn't be possible.
“So what should we call the little demon?” asked Kelora as she started her third attempt at cooking something edible. One of the biggest problems with a group compromised from different races was the fact that their dietary requirements were all so different, so they rarely ate at the same time.
“My name is Mors Letum. You will call me Mors, not little demon. Wait, why do you keep calling me that?” replied Mors, suspicion slipping into his voice.
Everyone looked at him as if he was stupid until Verz broke the awkward silence. “It’s because you’re a demon… well, a draconic demon.”
“I’m a what?”
“You’re a demon, haven't you wondered why you have horns and a tail Well, the tail is a more to do with your dragon heritage,” replied Verz, amusement evident in her eyes. "You seemed to know so much I completely forgot your only three days old and should actually know nothing."
Mors ignored the last bit. “My what?”
Mors was completely taken aback by this information, he never even considered himself anything other than human, even with the weird sensation like he could feel something attached to him at the base of his spine, the thought never occurred to him. Steadily as he could, he moved his hands to his head where he found two rough, scale-like horns, curled backwards and ending in an extremely sharp tip. Mors pressed the tip cutting his finger before bringing it down to investigate.
A large droplet of red blood beaded on his finger before dropping off and hitting the floor, where it hissed violently, burning a small hole into the floor causing everyone to look.
“Well… that’s weird,” said Ethemeusa. “Something tells me he is going to run through a fair amount of clothes and armour.”
"We need to trick a vampire into drinking his blood. It would be hilarious," added Kelora.
Mors didn't hear them. He was overloaded with new information, and the shock of his new appendages completely threw him. Analysing his thick, black, crocodile-like tail, which vicious spikes protruding from the sides, Mors ignored the huntsmen.
Noticing Mors’ reluctance to talk anymore, the huntsmen began to converse amongst themselves, initially about him but it soon moved onto subjects like the logistics of the huntsmen or other borings subjects that Mors could not be bothered to pay attention to. Initially, he felt relief at not being pestered, but without the distraction he found his thoughts drifting back to much darker places.
Shakily Mors stood up and started walking towards the edge of the clearing, drawing the attention of the huntsmen, especially Verz. “I am going for a walk, I know you can track my presence so no need to follow, it's not like.”
The group looked at Verz who shrugged. No one could escape her team's tracking ability, and they were relatively close to a village and Vonai's borders so there shouldn't be any dangerous monsters. "Shout if you need help."
"If I did, I would have already screamed myself hoarse," muttered Mors as soon as he was out of earshot.
- He who stares into the abyss
Bio: Company Director, Software engineer, gamer, snowboard instructor, proud father of two insomniacs and all round philomath. My Works: The Book of Mors: Summoned [http://royalroadl.com/fiction/8312/the-book-of-mors-summoned] The Summoned: [http://royalroadl.com/fiction/11348/the-summoned] The Forgotten Hero: [http://royalroadl.com/fiction/11721/the-forgotten-hero]