Dark foreboding clouds hung heavy in the sky as Mors lay on his back gasping for breath while plumes of black smoke rose steadily into the air. Occasional snowflake fluttered past, seemingly trying to lighten his mood.
Mors gave a wracking cough, spraying droplets of blood high into the air as something glinted in his peripheral vision. His head screamed in protest as it slowly rotated towards the object, only to realise it was a long, curved metal blade, held by a man wearing red, leather armour with a demon's mask obscuring his face. A single white flag, attached to the man's back, adorned with a red rose, fluttered in the wind.
Noticing Mors was still alive, the man nodded and raised the blade above his head.
"兄、さよなら." said the the body Mors was trapped in.
A single tear dripped from under the demon mask as the sword slashed through the air.
As the sword descended, it continuously morphed, along with the surroundings, into varying weapons and scenes as vivid emotions, from stoic last moments to screams of despair, washed over him.
With violently shaking hands, Mors lifted himself off the rough, wooden table as the deafening sound and smells of a lively tavern assaulted his senses. Gasping ragged breaths, droplets of sweat ran down his forehead and into the shabby black blindfold masking his eyes.
"Wittle demon had a bad dream again?" laughed Kelora as she passed Rock a silver coin. "I was sure he was going to burn the place down this time."
Still shaking, Mors pulled down his mantel, revealing his white hair, but surprisingly no horns. Where they should emerge from, was what appeared to be a hairband with small, blue runes running along its edges.
"Urg, with the enchanted headband and not being able to see his eyes, he looks like a damn angel," hissed Kelora, her mood instantly turning dark. "Also, if his hair were longer, he would look like a girl."
Rock chuckled as he scanned the room, glaring down anyone who was paying too much attention to Mors' revelation. After a minute the noise in the room picked back up to its previous state as everyone lost interest.
Velcea, who was pushing around the remaining vegetables on her plate with a fork, let out a bored sigh. "Even my bones felt the beating he got from the Captain when he set the last inn on fire. I doubt he will do that again."
A cold draft could be felt coming from the gap at the bottom of the door as snow built up at the base of the nearby window, causing a waitress shiver and throw some more logs on the fire in the centre of the room.
Mors rubbed his swollen eyes. It had been almost a week since he had destroyed the village and his mood was souring by the day. This was mainly to the fact that he realised that the only way to stop the nightmares, which he was finally starting to become numb to, was to be within a few feet of Verz, which had the added effect of making his hair glow. Raising a hand to his neck and feeling the phantom pain that was only just starting to fade, Mors' let out a deep breath as he wondered how he had got into this situation.
"Whats wrong? Need Mummy Verz to give you a hug and tell you it's OK?" laughed Kelora, holding onto her sides as she fell backwards, into her chair.
"くたばれ!" spat Mors, sitting up in his chair and glaring at the demoness, a faint red glint seeping through the blindfold.
"Oh, noes, the pup's angry," mocked Kelora but subtly her eyebrow twitched. After a brief standoff, she took a long swig from her tankard before continuing her meal.
Although Mors was nothing but a weakling in her eyes, his unique skills, especially shadow step, and his unyielding personality was incredibly difficult to deal with without causing a lot of collateral damage. With the Captain around, that never ended well for either of them.
Kelora had the sneaking suspicion that, on more than one occasion, even though he knew he would suffer as well, Mors had engineered a situation where Kelora would draw Verz's wrath just so he could get back at her for some petty insult.
Velcea smiled. "Looks like you learnt your lesson as well. Good children. It seems we have some of the best-behaved demons on the continent."
Both Mors and Kelora glared at the dark elf but said nothing, Mors lowering his head to the table as Kelora pushed her plate away and crossed her arms.
A small, delicate-looking green hand slowly reached over from beside Mors and patted him on the head. "Ter Ter wittle deman. It k to be eak. I proetec u."
Instantly, Mors grabbed the blunt table knife next to him and tried to stab the owner of the hand, the small demonic goblin, only to be effortlessly stopped by Ethemesua, causing the goblin to laugh and clap her hands in glee as she sat back in Ethemeusa's lap. "illy deman. Me good gurl. no hurt me. me too rong."
Ethemeusa was wrapped in multiple layers of clothes and had many red glowing gems on her that were steadily releasing heat. "Seeing as I now I have your attention, Mors, what language did you just speak?"
Mors strained for a bit before dropping the knife and giving up, putting his head back on the table. "Go find a hole with that little pile of snot and throw yourselves in it. If it could have sharp spikes at the bottom, even better."
Over the week, Mors had tried multiple times to kill every person in the group but had failed miserably. He was simply too weak to do anything and even if he did manage to cause a wound, they would heal almost instantly with some potion or spell.
Although they irritated him to his core, he somehow felt that the Huntsmen were slowly growing on him, and that was the reason why he could restrain himself better. It wasn't that he didn't want to break every bone in their bodies and rip out their vocal cords, he just didn't have as much desire to actually kill them when he was done. He would probably show mercy and let them suffer as they naturally heal... probably.
Ethemeusa scratched her chin. "If I am right that makes seven... how weird. I have never heard any of them before; I thought I knew most of the languages in use. Also, when are you going to tell me about your second vision? That blindfold is enchanted to block out all sight, but it's obvious you can see better than normal."
"Stop using him as a study subject," said Velcea, "Verz has dibs on him, and he needs to have some cards up his sleeve if he want's to survive."
"Where is Verz?" mumbled Mors into the table, so close to attacking someone, he couldn't look at them.
Keloras could barely stop herself from laughing, "Awww d-
"She is securing our passage through the mountains and will be back shortly, " interrupted Velcea. "Kel, please give it a rest or at least get some new material."
"Sorry," sniggered the demoness as she tried to control herself. "Seem's like I made Daddy Verz mad."
Velcea ignored the dig however Mors was grinding his teeth as he resisted the urge to flip the table and go on a rampage.
"Best get used to it lad, Huntsman are one big dysfunctional family, and if you're going to be trained by the Captain herself, you're basically her offspring." Rock, who had been idly cleaning a vicious looking dagger looked up. "Anyway, could be worse. You could have been 'adopted' by Ethemeusa there. As you can see with the gob, her maternal instincts are through the roof for a sna-"
A small throwing knife was slightly embedded into the top of Rocks head causing him to pause, his tough skin stopping it before it could do any real damage.
"I told you to stop calling me that. I am a Lamia, not a snake woman," hissed Ethemeusa. "We are completely different species."
Mors sighed and headbutted the table a few times, causing the drinks to slightly jump and everyone to look at him. "This is infuriating. I need to kill something before I go mad."
Kelora nodded her head. "You and me both. I swear if one of those light healers gives me the stink eye one more time, I am going to pull their entrails through their mouth and make them watch as I feast."
Mors sniggered and raised his head revealing a sinister smile. "Sounds like fun, when do we start?"
"The Captain would kill us if we start something here," replied Kelora, obviously disappointed. "But it's refreshing to see you acting like a real demon for once."
"If that's the case, we just need to make sure that we are acting in self-defence," smiled Mors as he sat up and looked to Kelora's side. A small shadow encroached upon the table, drawing everyone's gaze.
"E..Excuse me," stuttered a young blond woman in a heavy white cloak. "My name is Renia and do not mean any offence, but can I ask why an angel and demon are together in the same party? Everything I have ever read has said that you are mortal enemies unless the angel is fallen but if that were the case, then his hair would be black."
Mors' smile instantly dropped as he took a good look at the woman and let out a deep, intimidating growl, releasing a small bit of his aura. "Are you a member of the Temple of Light?"
The woman jumped slightly, feeling as if a terrifying predator had just locked onto her and she had no hope of escape. "N..no, I do not follow their teachings as th...they are too narrow-minded. I am a priestess of Equili, we accept all sentient races. That is why I wanted to ask you how you are getting along with the demoness. I would love to party with an angel and a demon but as demons are so rare these days, and angels are too haughty, I have never had the chance."
"Kelora," said Kelora, in an irritated manner. "My name is Kelora, not demoness... You hippies of Equili are annoying. It's true that angels and demons don't get along. Now leave." Turning to Mors, she sighed. "There is no point trying to start a fight with them, they are pacifists who would watch their own young burn before hurting someone."
Mors' eyebrow twitched as Kelora revealed a mocking smile. "Well, if I can't have a fight, I can still tease you. We all know how you love a good fire."
Mors was about to launch himself across the table when a hand, feeling as if it weighed as much as a mountain, fell on his shoulder. "Well done, the Inn is still standing. I'm impressed with you two."
Another growl, but this time much less intimidating and more in annoyance, escaped Mors' throat. "You left me behind while I was asleep."
"Mors, You're going to have to come to terms with what happened at the village. And to be honest, it wasn't even that bad; I don't get why you are being such a cry baby when I have already put you through so much worse," said Verz in a deflated tone. "You're never going to find a demoness and leave me alone if you keep this up. No one likes clingy demons."
"But he's an angel?" Said Reina with a confused expression, who everyone had forgotten was still standing to the side of the table.
As Verz looked at her with a 'who are you look', the woman's eyes went wide as Mors' hair started to glow. "AMAZING! YOU MADE AN ANGELIC CONTRACT."
Her shout drew the gazes of everyone, immediately ending the loud conversations as they jostled to get a good look at Mors.
"Please, tell me how you did that. I read only high-level archangels from the core families could make contracts and only with angels of similar standing. An archangel would never be here, and you are definitely a Wolfkin, so this should be impossible. The researchers at the Academy will never believe me," rambled Renia, almost hopping on the spot in excitement.
Rock laughed. "So much for low profile. Told you going for the angel look wouldn't work. We should have just dyed his hair."
Verz sighed as she removed her hand from Mors' shoulders, his hair starting to dim. "It's not a contract, just an enchantment we placed on him for a joke, it will wear off in a few days."
The woman looked confused before looking around. Nodding she replied in a loud voice. "Is that so, my mistake. Sorry. It's just an enhancement."
Pulling a nearby empty chair to the table, she promptly sat down and whispered. "Sorry, I got too excited, I am an enchanter, so I know that the headband isn't for changing hair colour and to hide physical features and block innate auras."
A wicked smile grew on Kelora's face. "I say we kill her. Can't leave loose ends."
"I agree," nodded Mors. "Plus she is pissing me off with this talk of a contract. What does she mean?"
"If we killed everyone for pissing you off Mors, the world would be a very empty place." Verz shook her head as she looked at the two demons, quickly changing the subject. "I think I prefer it when you are fighting. Come on, our escorts are waiting."
"Who said we stopped," huffed Mors. "Temporary ceasefire until I get some answers."
"I can't help it if he agree's with me," interrupted Kelora, also trying to redirect the conversation. "He must have finally realised what an impressive demoness I am and is trying to win me over with submissiveness, he is half angel after all."
"Not even in your dreams and if you were the last female in this god forsaken universe," hissed Mors, a vein throbbing on his forehead.
As Mors and Kelora traded insults, resulting in Mors being put in a headlock by Verz when he lost the verbal exchange and opted for a more direct method of solving their differences, the group stood up and gathered their belongings before walking out of the inn and into the snowstorm.
Renia watched them leave before pouting. "Awww, I wanted to learn more. They seemed like a really interesting group."
- 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]