The old guard smiled mercilessly as he smashed his armoured boot into Mors left arm, breaking the last of his limbs, completely incapacitating him, causing Mors to cough a spray of dark red blood high into the air as he winced in pain.
"For a being that's so weak, you're quite a tough one. I expected more from a reptilian demon who had managed to get past the fortress and across the border." The priestess, who had just returned from comforting some grieving relatives, swept a strand greying hair off her face as her eyebrow arched in surprise at Mors' resilience to pain and nonchalant demeanour at his impending doom.
Demons would usually beg, or more commonly threaten, for their lives at this point; however, the young imp in front of her looked even more defiant and unyielding, his eyes simmering with hatred and killing intent. This attitude infuriated the priestess, and she tried once again to elicit a standard demonic response out of him in an attempt to calm the gnawing feeling that something was seriously wrong. "Time for your final walk demon. Ah, you can't walk, can you? As that's the case, let my friend help you."
A young guard, his youthful face barely old enough to be marred with stubble, stepped forward and wrapped a hemp rope around Mors' neck and started dragging him along the dirt path, towards the centre of the village. In a small clearing outside what appeared to be the village's church, the remaining guards were hauling a large wooden stake into place and piling wood around it in a haphazard, rushed manner.
Villagers, including the children, hurriedly brought as much firewood and jars full of oil as they could, wanting to kill the demon, that threatened their village and had killed their friends and family, as quickly as possible. Being such a small village, with a population of a hundred and three, each loss tonight was devastating. The men that had died were the backbone and support of the community and more importantly, their families. Many of the villagers did not understand the priestess's reluctance to kill the demon immediately but knew that she must have a reason, especially when she said something about a curse.
The rough rope around Mors's neck dug into his flesh, tearing skin and drawing blood, that lightly hissed as it started to dissolve both his skin and the rope. After a couple of metres, the rope tightened, suffocating Mors, causing his vision to flicker as the villagers that were not helping the guards, gained enough courage to crowd around him. It started out with a single shout of hatred but soon turned into a full-blown attack as the villagers released their pent up fury for those they lost and the pains they had faced at the hands of demons.
"Filthy demon. Why have you come to our peaceful village," screamed one woman as she threw a clod of dirt, barely missing Mor's face.
A young boy, no older than fifteen appeared in the crowd and used a long wooden spear to pierce Mors' leg before being dragged away by an older woman. "YOU KILLED MY FATHER. I HOPE THE GOD OF DEATH DEVOURS YOUR SOUL."
"How many must be murdered before your kin are happy?” hissed one of the villagers as they threw a large stone, hitting Mors in the stomach.
“It's a joke that demons survived the Great Cataclysm. Demons should join the devils and dragons in extinction.” shouted another as he spat on Mors and delivered a crushing kick to his chest, causing the demon to hiss in anger.
A lump of manure smashed into Mors' head, causing it to flick to the side and as he tried to focus, he caught sight of the rapidly forming pyre and felt his blood run cold as vague memories started to force their way to the forefront of his mind. As if coming from the bottom of a deep well, chants of "Burn the Witch," started to get louder and louder as medieval-clothed, peasant phantoms started appearing around him, their faces twisted in a similar, hate filled rage to that of the villagers.
Locking his jaw, so he didn't scream out, Mors' skin erupted in pain as it felt like he was burning and the phantoms face's warped from hatred to sickening joy. Even though the lack of oxygen was making his vision blurry, when he looked down he could not see anything on his body apart from the injuries suffered during his fight with the guards confusing him greatly.
In his weakened, air deprived state, Mors started to lose control of his emotions and deeply repressed fears, those of being trapped and powerless, started to well up, overwhelming his senses, causing him to start hyperventilating.
Thinking that their actions were the cause of the demon's apparent despair, the villagers were further encouraged and became more brutal with their assault. It wasn't long before the guard was forced to step in to ensure Mors did not die prematurely, but not before a branch smashed into the side of Mors' head, knocking him unconscious.
Rough, splintered wood gouged Mors' legs as he was dragged across a wooden platform and dumped unceremoniously in front of a large wooden block covered in thick, congealing blood. Looking up, Mors gazed into the emotionless eyes of a black-hooded individual, his uncovered mouth twisting into a grim, morbid smile.
Seeing the large, blunt axe in the man's hands, Mors felt himself smile, and words that he had no intention of uttering came from his mouth. "Not very grand for a king is it?"
Suddenly, a pair of large, rough hands grabbed him from behind and forced his head onto the block as the hooded man got into position, his crooked smile growing. "Good enough for the likes of you."
Like a deafening drum, Mors' heart pounded in his ears before the whistling of the axe drowned it out and, with a dull thud, the world started to spin. As his view span, the scene before him blurred and Mors found himself standing in a dark, dank alley as rats scurried past him, deciding he was less of a danger than the group of seven men approaching with long, curved knives drawn. "So this is how it ends? Betrayal? HA. I would have thought that as a brother of the faith, you would have had the guts to challenge me with their heads held high."
The sandstone walls on either side did little to hide the filth that had built up through years of neglect as a prayer bell rang in the distance, and a deep, rhythmic chant rang out across the sleeping city.
"Sorry, but this is the way it is. Did you really think that your actions would not have any consequences?" said the leading figure, wearing an impeccably white tunic with a red cross fluttering in the light breeze. "Your policy of live and let live was tolerated until now because of your achievements and impressive skills but the war is over. We have won, and Jerusalem is ours."
"You think that this is over. Ha, you should-" The words that were not Mor's own, were cut short by an intense burning pain in his chest as a hot, wet feeling flooded downwards, and as he looked, a large metal spike stuck out of his chest.
"Brought more men? " laughed the figure. "Hell if it was a fair fight, I doubt there are enough men in this world to take you on. You have always been a monster, it just took the death of Roslin for you to show your true colours and give me the excuse to remove you. Hopefully, your death will alleviate some of the sins I have acquired in these accursed holy lands."
Mors' world shook at the mention of the name, and before he realised it, he was standing in the midst of seven, mangled bodies looking down upon the man who he was just talking with. "You shouldn't have mentioned that name... brother."
As his life essence seeped out, Mors felt himself fall to the floor and was once again greeted by a different, but equally gruesome scene. The visions of death, through betrayal, bigotry, injustice, revenge and many other reasons continued for what seemed like an eternity.
When Mors finally regained consciousness, he raised his head saw a familiar face. The old guard, who was casually chewing on a lump of dried meat, froze in terror as their eyes met, and subconsciously took a few steps backwards as if he was standing in front of a monster that was about to devour his soul.
Earlier when Mors had released his aura, the guards were cautious of him, some of the weaker ones feeling the slight sense of fear but that was nothing compared what the guard felt looking into his eyes.
As the priestess lectured the rest of the village on the demons and how they must always be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, the old guard, who was tasked with keeping an eye on Mors, backed away until he was in the shadows of one of the houses. Swallowing hard, as silently as he could, the man turned and started running with all his might, quickly disappearing into the woods. It had been a long time since he had lost his family and it was only the familiarity of the village, as well as having nowhere else to go that had kept him there but even still, that was not why he ran. He had seen those eyes before, dozens of years ago as he aided in a demon subjugation in the Northen Demonic Plains that when horribly wrong when they stumbled across an ancient, slumbering dragon.
Tripping over a fallen tree and falling face first into the dirt, the man quickly got back to his feet and started running.
"It can't be true, it can't be true, it can't be true," muttered the man through ragged breaths as he ran without purpose. "Those bloodlines can't mix... but if they have... and they burn him... no, it can't be true."
Not noticing the old guard's escape, the priestess continued her speech. "... and that is why, children of the light, though we have sacrificed much tonight, it is all for the greater good. Tonight we shall cleanse another demon. An abomination that, if allowed to grow, would kill much, much more. To the souls that gave everything this evening, the Goddess of Light will reward them," shouted the woman with fanatical fervour as she raised her hands to the sky. As she lowered them, she felt a cold, haunting gaze fall on her back, causing her to laugh. "How nice of you to wake up. It is time to face your death."
Mors released a malicious, terrifying laugh that caused the villager's hair to stand on end. Slowly turning around, the priestess visibly paled when she met Mors' gaze.
"You have lost demon. Give up," said the priestess, not able to hide the tremble in her voice, as a golden flame formed in our outstretched arms.
"Lost?" Insanity danced in Mors rapidly dilating eyes as blood ran down the side of his mouth. Having relived the moment of death over a thousand times, most being extremely brutal in the emotional of physical sense, death had lost its meaning to Mors. "Death..."
Mors vomited a significant amount of blood, hitting the wood in front of him as a maddened smile appeared on his face, and he burst into broken laughter. "I think it's time you learnt the true meaning of death."
The pain, memories and instincts of Mors' new heritage suddenly merged together, collapsing the last restraints of his humanity, causing his murderous, tyrannical aura to skyrocket, sending all of the animals withing a few miles scurrying for safety as a few of the weaker villagers fainted from the sudden fright. "I told you to kill me when you had the chance."
- 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]