A metal dagger vibrated menacingly after embedding itself into the wooden bedpost, less than an inch from Mors' head, causing a red line appeared on his check as a small trickle of blood leaked out.
Ethemeusa, who had thrown the blade thinking Mors was a revenant, upon hearing him speak, had corrected the trajectory at the last moment, causing it to barely miss his head as she let out a sigh of relief.
Letting Ryen, drop to the floor, where she promptly curled into a ball and started quietly sobbing, Mors snarled at Ethemeusa. "What do you think you're doing?"
"I assumed you were a revenant, unable to let go of your grudges." said Ethemeusa, still in shock.
"Revenant... no. Unable to let go of my grudges...What do you think?" snarled Mors as he raised his hand to wipe away the blood, letting out a small sigh of relief when he saw it was red and not black. "I'm not even an undead."
Ethemeusa's eyes turned misty. "How? Your heart... it wasn't beating?"
Mors winced in pain, his head feeling like it was about to split open as he relived the memories from Adam's life almost instantly. A single tear fell from his left eye, catching on the white, scared skin as a weird, indescribable, feeling washed over him as he felt as if something had changed deep within him. Remembering Grim's warning, he could only let out an irritated sigh. "Great..."
Ignoring Mors' behaviour and before he could even react, Ethemeusa had slid over and picked him up. Pulling him close to her chest and wrapping her tail around them, before releasing a few tears of her own. "I'm so glad. I thought I had failed again."
"What are you doing?" hissed Mors as he tried to push away from Ethemeusa, only to realise his muscles had no strength and were shaking pitifully.
Ethemeusa squeezed tighter as Mors continued to hiss in annoyance. "Shhh, don't struggle. Your body had shut down from the cold due to your thermoconforming nature... because you're cold blooded like me. You need to keep warm and regain your strength. Right now, even a newborn could overpower you easily."
Mors stopped struggling as he thought about what had happened, the feeling of slowly getting colder, heavier and the overwhelming exhaustion that assaulted his body and mind. Feeling like Ethemeusa wasn't trying to trick him, Mors instead found her behaviour weird. "Why do you care so much?"
"Does it matter?" responded the Lamia, as she looked down into Mors' eyes, a warm smile appearing on her lips. "As long as you're OK, everything else is irrelevant."
Her words were so shocking to Mors that he could do nothing but stare dumbly, finally snapping from his daze by a glowing yellow crystal embedded into the Ethemeusa's leather armour.
The yellow light pulsated in time with a familiar, feminine voice. "Eth, The branch families have found out about the demoness's submission and have started to move. Markek's called in favour. Secure the demoness and get her to point C. Rock is on his way. The rest of us are running decoy. Do not injure or engage them unless necessary."
Ethemeusa put her hand to the crystal, causing it to glow. "Captain, you won't bel-"
"Acknowledge the command," interrupted an unmistakably irritated Verz. "I do not want to be dragged into demon politics any more than I have to."
"Affirmative Captain." Ethemeusa's vision flickered down to the floor where the demoness was still laying as she quickly retrieved her knife from the bedpost.
The crystal flared back to life, this time Verz voice had a hint of sadness. "Try to bring Mors' corpse but if it is not possible, abandon it."
A deep, rumbling growl emanated from Mors at Verz's words as Ethemeusa placed him on the bed, her tail slowly unwinding. "Don't worry; I am not leaving you behind. I promise."
Wiping away the trails left from her tears, the bottom half of Ethemesua started to contort, the green scales turning to a light green, smooth skin and splitting in two as her single tail transformed into legs. Mors once again staring dumbly, only now realising that she had a snakes tail.
Spotting his gaze, Ethemeusa chuckled as she grabbed her leather pants and, after putting them on, sitting on the bed to equip her boots. "You look like you have never seen a Lamia's natural form before."
Mors shook his head. "Nope, and after seeing it, I have to ask. Why would you ever want to appear human? Your natural form looks so much better."
Nodding in agreement. Ethemeusa stood up and started extracting many of the red, heatstones in the wall, filling her pockets. "Although these ape legs look disgusting, they are a lot easier to move around in, most of the time."
"And why isn't ther-" Mors started his next question as Ethemeusa wrapped Mors in the bed sheet that had the same red stones, although much smaller, embroidered in it.
"We mate and do our business in our natural form so have no need for any extra human anatomy," responded Ethemeusa matter of factly as she continued to wrap Mors in the sheet, pinning his arms to his sides. "Not that I have ever done so but apparently it makes it... quite interesting, mating with other non-reptilian, humanoid species."
Mors' head still hurt and he had a lot of questions, lamia mating practices not being one of them, and struggled against the restricting blanket. "Hey, I can't fight if I am like this."
"That's the point. The moment the demoness's pursuers realise you are still alive, you will be their target as you are technically part of the main family due to her submitting to you," responded Ethemeusa. "Knowing you, a small taunt and you will be flying off the handle again, so I think it's best to restri- keep you safe."
"So why are you stopping me from defending myself?" growled Mors, understanding what Ethemeusa's true intentions were. Even though it irritated him, at the moment, he could feel how weak he was so could let it slide. However, he really didn't like the idea of not being able to move, feeling a slight sense of panic welling up within him.
Ethemeusa pushed Mors lightly. And although he tried to resist, he fell backwards onto the bed. "Because your body is only starting to work again. If you were to fight and use a single darkness skill, you could kill yourself. Darkness naturally absorbs most energy types, that includes your bodies heat. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but as you are cold blooded and have such a high affinity to it, it could be fatal. When you evolve, it should be fine but for now, just do as I say."
"So I am to lay here and wait for them to kill me? Do you want to paint a target on the blanket? Why not just cut my arms and legs off? Hell, you could just kill me now and make it even easier for them," raged Mors.
Ethemeusa smiled. "As I stated, I won't leave you. Even though the captain said that we should avoid combat, that is only for the demoness. You are a different matter and for all purposes, one of us."
Noticing her reassuring gaze, which irritated him, Mors glared back. "Seriously, what is with you? Why do you care so much?"
Sadness flickered across the lamia's eyes momentarily as she realised that without divulging some information, Mors would not trust her and was likely to do something stupid. "Due to a dumb decision, I lost those that were important to me to the cold. Your situation reminded me of that time and, at least until we get you somewhere warmer, I will treat you as if you were my own."
Mors wanted to tell Ethemeusa how ridiculous that was, that they were not even the same species but knew it would be pointless. He had the feeling that she was not only telling the truth but she would probably take on every demon in this citadel if she had to.
"Not an island but a fortress huh," said Mors as Adam's words started to make sense and he felt himself relax a bit, only to feel a cold chill creep down his spine.
The door exploded open, and Rock marched in, picking up the sobbing demoness and throwing her over his shoulder before looking at Ethemeusa, who had pulled a dagger, seemingly out of thin air, and was poised to strike. "Sorry should have knoc-"
His eyes landed on Mors who was staring back. "What the fu-"
"SHE'S DOWN HERE." A male voice, still a fair distance away, echoed down the corridor, causing Ethemeusa to grab Mors and, holding him close, ran out the door and in the opposite direction, quickly followed by Rock.
"Where's Beth?" hissed Ethemeusa, irritated that Rock would make so much noise. "If I hadn't sensed you at the last moment, I would have ruined one of my good throwing knives on that thick skull of yours."
"Vel has her. She wasn't pleased that we had to leave the feast midway and ended up filling her clothes with food," chuckled Rock, his large frame almost taking up the entire corridor. "She must have the sin of gluttony or greed. Anyway..." Rocks tried to look at the bundled blanket Ethemeusa was carrying. "Is he undead?"
New voices now reverberated down the hallway, causing the foursome turned around a corner sharply and up a flight of stairs.
"That's just goblins for you and no, he's not," responded Ethemeusa as Mors felt her muscles slightly relax. "I don't know what happened, but it looks like he was in some sort of stasis."
Mors was wrapped too tightly and could only frown, pushing down the building panic he felt from not being able to move his body. "Who the hell is Beth? And I swear to whichever god you follow, I will pay you back for this."
Mors' threat caused Rock to laugh. "Already back to his old, threatening self... The Captain will be relieved."
- 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]