Lilith gestured to the wolf that was quickly approaching them.
“Don’t worry.” Damien said, “wolves tend to be rather frightened of people, it wouldn’t attack us; especially not alone. It’s very uncommon for wolves to even get close to people, especially when…” he was interrupted by the charging wolf sinking it’s teeth into it’s leg. “Damn it!” Damien yelled. “What the hell is going on?” As he attempted remove his leg from the jaws of the beast, he began to seriously hope it wasn’t rabid.
“It’s bemused.” Lilith shouted, while attempting to help get the wolf off of him.
“What does that mean?”
“It’s under a spell. It’s being compelled.”
“By who and why?” Damien’s leg was burning in pain as the wolf continued to keep a tight grip on it.
“I don’t know, but it’s not going to give up.” Lilith began digging through her bag.
“How do I get rid of the damn spell?”
“Not easily without killing the target or knowing the caster.” Lilith took a rather large dagger from her bag and gave it to Damien. “Your going to have to kill it.”
Damien was in too much pain and panic to argue. He drove the blade into the eye of the wolf. It seemed to die rather slowly to Damien. Seeing a lot of death throughout, it had never bothered Damien as much as it had now. Lilith seemed slightly more bothered by it. Damien figured she’d been exposed to far less death in her life than him.
Then Lilith did something Damien didn’t expect. She took the knife from Damien’s hand and began to make a deep cut within the wolves neck. The blood drained slowly, as Damien had expected. Without a heartbeat blood is not so easy to remove from the body. As Damien wrapped his new wound on his leg, Lilith brought him a small golden bowl full of the wolf’s blood. “Drink this.”
“Are you serious?” Damien wasn’t sure how to react to being told to drink a bowl of animal blood.
“Yes, I am.” She said with a cold seriousness.
“Why exactly do you want me to...”
“If you trust me you’ll do this for me.”
Damien knew that any future questions wouldn’t give valued results. Reluctantly he drank it, and tried to keep it down.
“Sorry,” Lilith said to him as she took the empty bowl back. “But I couldn’t kill this wolf myself. I had to let you do it.”
“What are you talking about?” Damien was surer that she should be apologizing for making him drink blood.
“You had to be the one to kill it for the spell to work, that is also why you had to drink its blood.” She smiled at him. “Thank you for trusting me.”
“Certainly, but what was the point of it?”
“Close your eyes,” She said softly to him. “And imagine in your mind a wolf. Now imagine you are in the eyes of that wolf seeing as it sees. Imagine you are in the body of the wolf feeling what it feels. Become the wolf.”
Damien felt strangely light, as if he was floating within the body of the wolf. Then he felt a sudden drop and everything seemed to fall into place again. “What was the point of that?” he asked.
“Open your eyes.” She laughed. “Don’t things seem a little taller. And don’t tell me you haven’t noticed you’re standing on four legs.”
Damien looked down to see black paws below him. He jumped slightly from the shock.
“Wolf.” Lilith smiled. “A beautiful black wolf. It’s a perfect disguise. I’m sure word has gotten out that you attacked people on the train, and showed some strange and powerful magic while doing so. Depending on the state of Julius and the others some may already know who you are. This way you’ll just appear as an innocent pet of mine.”
“Yeah,” Damien was reminded of the people left on the train. These people could be dead trying to protect him. He felt a pain of guilt in his stomach.
“Are you okay?” Lilith asked. “I didn’t mean to offend you with the pet comment.”
“It’s not that. The people left behind on the train probably died because of me. I left them to die.”
“It’s not your fault.” Lilith said sympathetically. “They fought for what they believed in, and if they died, they died for what they believed in. You were merely an unfortunate bystander in this fight. If there is anyone in this battle to pity it is you.”
“Thank you.” Damien said, although he didn’t feel much better about it.
“We shouldn’t be to far from the town. Remember, be a wolf, no talking. Don’t give any sign that you’re human.” Lilith warned.
“Right.” Damien replied. He could tell it was going to be a long day.
Damien remembered seeing the Titan Trade Company logo many times. He never expected it that it was some mask created by a group of magicians. The entire idea seemed crazy to him. But currently crazy was seeming more real.
“It’s not all a cover, Titan really is a trading company, but it was created by the house of Voss to act as a disguise.” Lilith continued.
“What’s the house of Voss?”
“One of the three houses of magic. Voss is the first and most powerful family.”
“Family?” Damien asked. “You mean magic only runs through three families?” Damien had never thought to ask why some had magic and others didn’t. He assumed that some people were just born with these powers.
“Yes, each house is made up of the descendants of the first three to gain magic a thousand years ago.”
“So magic only came from three people?”
“Yes, it all came from three people, the first and strongest being Alexander Voss.” Lilith said.
“Well how did he come by these powers?” Damien began to actually feel curious about the world of magic. So much had become revealed to him that now he was beginning to understand the world he was so carelessly cast into.
“It’s strange.” Lilith laughed. “It’s been a long time since I’ve met anyone who doesn’t know the story of Alexander Voss and the first magicians. It’s a legend that’s told to children of magicians and mundane alike. Only the former know of its true significance, however. It is the story of The Demon Bride.
“It began over a thousand years ago, before the Alchemist’s War. A young boy named Alexander Voss became an apprentice to one of the greatest apothecaries in Eldon. Alexander’s father was a mere farmer, and wanted a better life for his son, so he begged the great apothecary, Van Quinn, to take his son as an apprentice. Van Quinn accepted Alexander as an apprentice, and Alexander quickly learned the trade. It was not long before Alexander became a greater apothecary than Van Quinn himself, and left to make his own way. He was quickly hired by a nearby church to be a resident healer for the ill. While his pay within the church was not much, he was given access to the wide array of books that the church possessed. He used these to further his knowledge of alchemy and create better medicines and cures. His abilities became so great that the high priest of the Church noticed him, and granted him permission to access the hidden library within the catacombs of the Church. The high priest left him with one dire warning about the tomes sealed within the catacombs ‘I warn you that these books are sealed away for a reason. Some of the knowledge within sealed here were not meant for the eyes and minds of mortals. The writings on these pages could very easily lead to your own downfall.’ Alexander, however, failed to listen to this warning. As he read through the old tomes he came across many forbidden rituals, and strange alchemic recipes, many which seemed to defy all the natural laws of the world. Most notably, with an old and molding tome he came across a decaying book bound in black leather. He could not read the words once embossed on the cover, as they seemed to have been carved off the surface of the book. Many of the pages within the book were torn out or blacked out with ink. The first page he found that he could read was a ritual that was said to grant great dark power to its user. As a man of science, Alexander doubted these claims of dark power, as any power gained would be the direct result of some change of chemicals within the body or some addition of equipment or weapon, not some strange ritual or ceremony. His curiosity, however, wandered past the realm of science and he began to ponder it deeper. Why would the Church hide a book that would have no power? He knew the Church repressed dangerous alchemic knowledge such as the black poison and elemental fire, but what would make them hide this beyond general superstition? He had to see why it was forbidden knowledge. Alexander set up the ritual within the catacombs and began to follow its directions. But rather than nothing happening as Alexander expected, there was a dark radiance and from the black fiery void came a demoness. She was as beautiful as she was frightening, and her very presence could be felt like a cold hand grasping his heart. ‘Human, my power is yours, but your soul is mine. What do you ask of me?’ the demoness said. Alexander did not know what to do, he had never expected a demon to be summoned. He had to think of a way to save his soul from the demoness. Frantically he thought of an idea. ‘What extraordinary, unearthly beauty.’ Alexander exclaimed. ‘My one and only wish is to be wed to you.’ The demoness looked at him confused for some time ‘Me?’ she asked ‘So be it. Our deal is made.’ Alexander had granted himself the time he needed to think of a way to escape his fate. As he made plans for the wedding he consulted the black bound book for solutions to his error. He carefully hid the demoness from the other members of the church as he worked. Just three days before the wedding was set, he found the solution within the black book. He went to one of the priests that he trusted, Jacob Katz, and explained all that had happened. Alexander told Katz to pretend to officiate the wedding. Alexander then left to finalize his plan. Soon came the night of the wedding and Alexander was ready. As Alexander and the demoness approached the alter, he stealthfully drew from his coat a silver dagger. As they stood at the alter, Alexander quickly stabbed the demoness with the silver dagger, rendering her paralyzed. He then, to the shock of both the demoness and the priest drew a second dagger of obsidian. He cut open the chest of the demoness as she screamed loud screams not of this earth. Alexander then removed and consumed the heart of the demoness, who lay dead at his feet. Within an instant Alexander had become something no longer human. The other priests poured into the room followed by the high priest. ‘What have you done?’ the high priest shouted to him, but Alexander only stared at him with cold eyes. Alexander raised one hand and all was engulfed in flame. The only survivors were Alexander and Katz. Alexander had gained great power with his act, but also a curse that he couldn’t control. Along with the power of the demon he had slain, he also gained its maddening anger. He and all of his descendants had the great power of the demon, but also the demon’s rage. Those who were descended from Alexander Voss had great power, but had to control it, or it would consume their heart, and turn them into monsters.”
“You’re saying that this fairy tale is the story of how magic came to be?” Damien asked in disbelief.
“More or less. The telling varies quite a lot, but the basic idea is the same, magicians from the house of Voss are descendants of a man who killed a demon and ate her heart.”
“This is a bit hard for me to take in.” Damien said.
“I could see how it would be.” Lilith laughed.
“What about the other houses?” Damien asked.
“I’ll tell you another time.” Lilith replied, “Right now I think we have a problem.
Sorry for the delays in posting but the combination of writer's block, daily life, and the uphill battle with depression has left me little time to work on Demon Black. I do want to say however that I have not abandoned this project, and will be posting a new section as soon as time and mood allows me. Thanks for you patience, sorry for the delays
(sorry for the delays. Been having trouble with writing these next sections. hopefully there'll be more next friday)
“North!” she stated. “I’m sure it’s north.” She began to stand up.
“Hold it.” Damien also did his best to stand. “You can’t go anywhere with those wounds like that. Hold still.” He tore off the oversized sleeves of the robes he wore and began to tear them into strips. He then gently tied them around the long gashes in her arm. “For the time being and with the materials I have this is the best that can be done. Are you bleeding anywhere else?”
“No, Just scrapes everywhere else.” She replied.
“Good,” He began to tie cloth to the wounds on his leg. “Could you give me a hand here, I need to tie these around my arm.”
“Sure.” She assisted him as best as she could. “Where’d you learn how to bandage like this?” She said, mostly making some form of small talk to reduce the feelings of anxiety she had.
“This is basic. Anyone can figure this out.” Damien replied calmly. “But without any equipment I can’t do that much more for these wounds.” He stood weakly, trying not to put weight on his leg. “I used to be a surgeon’s apprentice, but I don’t think that’ll matter anymore.”
“Of course it matters.” Lilith objected.
“Why, I’m the black flame aren’t I? Besides, can’t magic just heal your wounds?”
“If magic could heal us, don’t you think I would’ve cast a spell already?” Lilith rebutted. “Few magicians can heal, and doing so isn’t anything easy. Surgeons and apothecaries are something that even magicians cant live without.”
This statement put Damien at ease. His old life was not completely without meaning, and moreover, he now knew that the magicians were not without their own weaknesses. Something still bothered him. He knew nothing about the magicians. “Lilith, what do you know about magic?”
“What do you mean
“If I’m the black flame, whatever that actually means, I should probably know what’s going on, and what to avoid.”
“Well what do you currently know?”
“Nothing.” Damien felt some slight shame in his answer. He probably would have learned more if he had have showed any interest in his captors he may have known more about the situation he was in.
“Nothing?” she replied “Well actually that isn’t that surprising. DarkShadow is very selective about information getting to non-magicians.”
“But why?” He was curious about this. “Why had DarkShadow spent so much time hiding their identity? They have immense power.”
“They have power, but there still mortal. There’s more normal, mundane people than magicians in this world. The past has shown that people do not handle the knowledge of magicians well. During the Alchemists war, the Xenthian Church sent out hunters to kill all the magicians they could find. While the magicians were strong the magic hunters were more numerous and were eventually able to assassinate even the most powerful magicians. Soon we learned that the only way to live in this world was to hide magic from those who didn’t have it.”
“I think I see.” Damien replied, “But if they’re so unknown, what about the Shadow Train? What about the large meetings within the cities? Don’t people notice?”
“As smart as any individual is, the mass of them can be easily tricked. DarkShadow is disguised as the Titan Trade Company. And although it’s mostly a cover, it really does serve as a method of extra funding for the extravagant expenses of DarkShadow.”
Chapter V – The Legend of the Demon Bride
Damien felt the sun on his face, and for the first time in many months he felt the ground below him. It wasn’t cold metal or rough carpeting but true earth and grass beneath him. He opened his eyes to see the sky above him. Damien then remembered what happened.
“Don’t try to stand.” Lilith said. “Your leg was broken in the fall.
“Fall?” Damien asked, still slightly unsure of what she meant. His memory was fuzzy and seemed like a dream.
“Don’t you remember flying from the train?” She replied.
“I thought it was a dream.” Damien answered honestly. “I never thought that it was possible to grow wings and fly from a train.
“I never thought it was either.” She looked at him intently. “How exactly did you do that.”
“Honestly I was hoping you would know. One minute it I was hiding from the attack the next minute something took control of me. Honestly I was hoping someone else would know what happened.”
“I’ve never heard of it. Well I’ve heard of people being compelled by others with magic, but I’ve never seen black wings grow from someone’s back like that.”
“At least I’m not the only one in the dark this time.” Damien tried to stand but fell back down. There was a sharp pain in his leg. A rather large gash ran down the side of his leg, bleeding slowly where scabbing hadn’t yet covered it.
“Yeah, you kind of fell hard, and cut your leg on the rocks on the way down.”
“Are you hurt?” Damien figured that if he was as cut and bruised as he was, she wouldn’t be much better off.
“Not much, a few small cuts. Nothing major.”
Damien looked at her suspiciously, looking at the blood on her left sleeve. “Show me your arm.” Reluctantly she pulled back her sleeve, exposing several long cuts along the length of her arm. “These are not just small cuts.” He looked around. “This isn’t good. We’re both injured, alone, and stranded without supplies. Moreover it’s fall and we’re far north. We can’t move very far but we have to be ready for the cold nightfall.”
“The train just started moving a short while before we managed to escape. I’m good to walk, as long as you can manage we shouldn’t be more than a mile away from Golzenburg.” She reassured him.
“I’m sure it’s not that far if we were on the tracks, but I doubt we can climb out of this canyon.” He gestured to the large rock wall that blocked them in.
“Don’t wory,” She smiled optimistically. “I think Golzen Canyon shallows out as you head northward.” She paused and looked around. “Or was it south.”
“We’re gonna die out here.” Damien said to himself.
“Well then, I believe now as good as time as any.” Julius gestured to the door. Shuun lead the way followed by Julius. Damien followed close behind the two, closely followed by Lilith and Morton. Azul stayed to the back, looking around suspiciously. The path was near empty, except for the occasional guard. While the guards looked at them suspiciously they said nothing. There seemed a mutual discomfort between the group of rebels and the guards, neither wanting to trigger the other.
The group climbed through the large stairways. A few floors away from the exit, something strange happened. There was a loud grinding as the train began to move forward, slowly. The entire party paused for a second in fear before running up the stairs to the boarding zone. In the boarding zone stood at least twenty guards. In front of them was a man with bright red hair and small, gold-framed glasses. The man dressed as if he was a member of the high society, and seemed as arrogant as high society as well. He had a vicious smile that made Damien hate him even more.
“Well, what a surprise this is.” The man spoke with obvious sarcasm. “A untrustworthy Fenwisp.”
“Come to see us off, Luca?” Julius replied.
“In a way, you could say that.” Luca gestured to the squad of guards who readied their muskets. There was a series of bangs as muskets fired. Damien expected pain. He expected the feeling of hot lead tearing through him. Instead there was nothing. He looked up to notice a strange wall that appeared like glowing blue glass in front of them. Shuun stood with an outstretched hand, looking intently forward.
“You too, Shuun. I would have expected more from you.” Luca said.
“No one such as you should have the power of the black flame.”
“It’s no matter to me.” Luca swept his arm in front of him and the blue glass shattered. Shuun was thrown back from this as well. “What you think is of no importance. I shall be the one to receive the power of the black flame.”
“You children, get back, now!” Azul shouted. Damien, Lilith and Morton took this cue to run for cover. The three each found shelter behind the large steel support beams within the large corridor. It was a surreal feeling for Damien. He may have been hidden, but he was still part of the battle. It was his life that they fought for, and his life he would die for. People who he just met were willing to die for him, and there was nothing that he could do to help them. He remembered the explosion that had killed his father. He at least saved some men there. He knew what he was then. He may not have been the most skilled of surgeons, but he still was an apprentice surgeon. In the world of magic he wasn’t anything but a risk. He felt abnormally numb, and the sounds of gunfire and magic around him seemed to fade, as if consumed by the growing silence and the sinking feeling that he had. He looked to Morton and Lilith next to him. The both of them stood frightened and pale, pressed against the large steel column, hoping that it would protect them from any stray bullets or spells. In a real battle Damien was just as cowardly as Morton. This thought made him feel disgust with both himself and Morton. Why should he feel so guilty? This wasn’t his fight. This wasn’t his fault. The people around him had put him at risk. He wouldn’t have even been on this train if it weren’t for his mother. He would’ve been a famous doctor if it weren’t for her. He could have even been a doctor if his father hadn’t of died. His father was always taking stupid risks for the health of others; others who didn’t deserve mercy. He seemed to then remember a flash of something that happened a long time ago. It was a time he couldn’t remember. He doubted it was even his own memory. A rage seemed to envelope him, a strange and inhuman rage, a rage that seemed to surpass time and memories. He then suddenly felt disconnected, as if he was no longer in the train fearing for his life. Instead he was nowhere, floating in a sea of blackness. He could still see and hear, but they were not his ears or his eyes. He no longer felt the rage that had built up within him. He no longer even knew why he was angry. Damien began to move, but not under his own control. It was as if someone else had become him. He stepped out from behind the support beam and walked into the center of the room. The battle slowed as he approached, everyone focusing there attention to him. Shuun and Julius seemed terrified by this, but Azul seemed oddly calm. Luca however just seemed confused and angered by his appearence. “What are you doing, boy?"
“Silence!” Damien heard himself speak, but his voice was more frightening and commanding than usual. “Do not dare speak to me. You thieves and cowards do not know who it is that you speak to. You vermin are not suited to live, let alone speak to me.”
“Enough!” Luca shouted. “Kill him too.” He commanded. The guards who still had loaded muskets aimed and fired. Rather than pierce through him like Damien expected, the bullets merely came to a stop and floated in front of him. With a wave of his arm they shot back towards the men that fired them.
“Any other fool who dares attack me will meet the same fate.”
“You will die for that boy!” Luca shouted. He raised his arms and from it ignited a ball of flame that shot forward striking Damien. However Damien felt nothing from it.
“Your fire is nothing. Allow me to show you the power of black flames.” Damien raised one arm into the air and with it Luca rose. Suddenly Luca burst into dark black flames. With a quick scream he was gone, not even leaving ash behind. Damien heard the sounds of more guards approaching as the remaining guards in the room abandoned there muskets and flung simple lightning spells at him. “I grow weary of this.” he said. With a wave of his arm the train door was ripped apart. He could see the long drop down into the valleys below the mountain that the train was traveling along. He stepped forward and looked down at the rather large drop. There seemed to be no way to escape and survive. He walked back into the room. He closed his eyes. There was a sharp pain in his back, that felt as if he was being stabbed from the inside. He opened his eyes to see that he had grown two large black-feathered wings. He thought to himself about the others that he seemed to be leaving behind as he approached the door. They fought so hard to free him and it seemed he was going to be abandoning him to certain death. Still he moved back towards the door. He then also realized that he would be lost on his own, without anyone. He knew nothing of magic or DarkShadow. Without anyone he would certainly die. “You’re right.” He said. He turned back to the group who still remained fighting off the approaching waves of guards. He then noticed Morton and Lilith who stood in the corner attempting to block the approaching guards with what magic they had. Damien once again waved his arm and the waves of approaching guards were consumed by black fire. Damien grabbed Lilith’s hand. “Come with me.” He quickly walked to the open door of the train. Quickly grabbing and lifting Lilith in his arms he jumped from the train and glided in the air. As he flew downward everything grew darker and farther away. Damien began to lose feeling in his body. Everything faded away into black.
Hello everyone. I'm just posting to announce that I haven't abandoned the project, mearly taking a holiday from working on writing, however with the new year will come new Demon Black. The times in which they are posted may change, and there may be a few weeks without posts till my writing apathy fully wears off.
Thanks for reading.
C. K. Churchel
The three walked through the halls, quickly, but not at any speed to draw attention. Damien kept his head down, as to not be seen by anyone who may recognize him as a slave. It seemed to take an eternity just to reach Julius’ room. It looked much different from the last time that Damien had entered it. The room was near empty, except for three men who seemed to be talking before the door opened. Damien recognized Julius and Shuun, but not the third person, who stood near the corner, dressed in heavy black armor. “So this is the one?” The man walked up to Damien, examining him. “He certainly doesn’t looks too weak to be the black flame.”
“Looks or not, he is the black flame. I’ve seen him hold an arbiter’s stone.” Julius replied.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen him open a rift into hell. My point is that keeping someone this frail alive isn’t going to be as easy of a task as you seem to say it will.” The man annoyed Damien. Who was he to say if Damien was strong or weak.
“What then would you have us do Azuel? Should we just give him to the DarkShadow then?” Julius rebutted.
“Stop twisting my words Fenwisp!” Azuel shouted. “I am saying that his life puts all of the world in danger, so we must make be careful to make sure that he can guard that life.” The man paused for a second in his speech. The next thing he said fell hard upon everyone in the room. “And if he cannot guard his life, we must make sure his death is by our hands, not those of the Shadow.”
“What do you mean by that?” Damien shouted at Azuel. They had just met and already Azuel had threatened Damien’s life.
“What I mean is what I say. If you cannot protect yourself from the Shadow then the only way you can save the world is to die.” He said this firmly and cold, showing no sign of emotion or pity for Damien. “But for now, the only thing that is important is getting you away from the Shadow.”
“Yes.” Shuun finally spoke. “The time is now.”
“Wait. First I have something to ask.” Julius turned to Damien and spoke quietly, as so only he could hear. “What exactly is Morton doing here?”
“He’s escaping. He has no good future with the DarkShadow either.”
“Well then, what is the plan, Shuun.” It seemed the answer given didn’t fully make Julius any less apprehensive about Morton’s presence, but he didn’t say anything more about it.
“It is fairly simple.” Shuun replied. “We all travel to the right exit of the train. We shall take a path along the lower decks as to avoid any who would recognize Damien. From there we head to the third utility staircase and head up to the exit level. There will be two guards when we arrive there, it will be up to me and Azuel to disable them, from there it’s only a matter of opening the main door. Julius should be able to override the main switch while Azuel and I take on the entrance gurds. From there it should only be a matter of running. Is everyone clear with the plan?”
“No,” Morton interrupted. “Once Saraphina figures out that Damien and I are gone she’ll alert the entire train of the security breach and have us all hunted down.”
“Not to worry.” Julius smiled slightly. “She’s been taken care of.”
This statement bothered Damien. He remembered that Shuun explained to him that Exadium was a poison. “You didn’t kill her, did you?” He disliked Saraphina, but he didn’t wish death upon her.
“She’ll be fine.” Shuun assured him. “The low dosage of Exadium we gave her is not enough to cause any damage, just to neutralize her power, and to leave her in a state of confusion for a few hours. After the dose wears off she’ll be back to her normal self.”
Damien wondered about what Shuun said. Why would Exadium cause her confusion? It never seemed to cause confusion for him. How would he know if he was confused if he had been so confused for so long? He didn’t seem any less confused since he stopped taking it. He chose not to ask any questions about it. At the time there were more pressing concerns for him to think about. Escape was more important.
Hello everyone and sorry for the delays to DB. Illness extended the week off to 2 weeks off. However now I'm back to being tollerably unhealthy and able to write more of the story. I have enough to post a short segment for the week, but I'm going to try to lengthen it before Thursday. Anyway, I'll see you all then. Thanks for reading.
No DB this week due to the hollidays. Demon Black will be back next week