Lord of Terror Chapter 3
A Reunion, Nightsong's Truth
By Iced Blood
Magus? Garnet asked as she shyly looked into my cabin. Meschif says were at the dock of Westmarch. I rose slowly and stretched a little before getting out of bed. I noticed I hadnt taken the time to remove my breastplate. Oh well, more time saved.
Oh, and I got this for you. It looked a little strange. She tossed my sword to me. The same one I had seen Schalas face in. I caught it and unsheathed it quickly. At first it looked normal, then the reflection altered again. This time I wasnt so shocked to see her face.
My brother I need your help
Where are you?
In the forest
I swear by my soul, Ill find you. Dont worry.
Thank you Hurry, Janus.
I will. I said, then as an afterthought, said, I love you.
I love you too With all my heart. With that, her reflection disappeared, replaced by mine. I smiled fondly, then stood up. I was about to sheathe my sword, then just placed the scabbard on my belt, leaving it drawn. I would use this sword, in remembrance of my beloved sister. I went outside to meet my comrades, and went straight to Nightsong. I mounted, and then left the ship onto the vast forests that Westmarch was famous for. I noticed my sword seemed to pull towards a fresh pathway, which couldnt have been made too long ago. When I was sure the others had caught up with me, I turned back and gave a salute to Meschif. He returned it with a smile. Then, I let my sword lead the way.
Where are you going? Marle asked, The way to Tristram is that way. She pointed to a well-worn path.
Schala is leading me this way. She needs me Without another word, I raced along the path, not caring if the others followed me. They did, however. I seemed to be the leader now. I really didnt care. I was very fond of being a leader, but now my mind was on Schala. I no longer cared what I was going through. I didnt notice any of the small, corrupted, animals that passed me. I only chopped them to shreds or let Nightsong trample them in his constant speed. I seemed to be the wind, riding swiftly down the dirt.
I only slowed down when I noticed some sort of camp. I saw a campfire had been here, but was out at the moment. I dismounted to get a closer look around, and noticed a tent by a few trees. As I moved toward it, though, an arrow whizzed past my head and into the ground. I looked toward the origin of the projectile, and shot a bolt of lightning up into a tree. It quickly caught fire, and a Goat Demon jumped down.
Why are you here, Human? He asked coldly. You cannot pass this mark.
You hold no authority over me, Demon. I do what I wish. I said, moving toward the tent. The Demon snapped his huge fingers and twenty more of them jumped down and surrounded me. I held my sword tighter.
Why do you threaten me, Demon? I asked the leader.
The Azuralana is ours. You may not take her. I recognized the word as ancient Zealian, the language of my homeland. It translated roughly to Blue-haired One.
Where did you learn that word? I asked.
From the Azuralana herself. She called herself that.
Mylth-Antorsan! Letreck! I heard from inside the tent. More Zealian. It meant: Kill them! Hurry!
Xsorath! I replied. Dont worry!. I held my sword high, and acting as if I would swing at the nearest demon, who wielded a small rapier. I then threw the sword at the leader, who was flung into the tree by the neck. I took out my scythe and went into a frenzy, killing everything within reach. Soon enough, the remaining demons fled, frightened by my skill and power. I walked to the tent, and my heart stopped a second as a person sneaked out. She was beautiful. Smooth, shining blue hair covered her face, while luxuriant violet robes covered her slender body. I knew who she was before she moved any further. My gaze only left her as I heard the others come up from the path. Garnet, who was riding with Glenn again, asked him a question.
Who is that woman?
Magus life, basically. Glenn answered. I took this opportunity to take my sword out from the Demon leaders neck and wipe the blood off the blade. I saw Schala move the hair away from her face, and I had to lean on the tree for support. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Her face was slightly pale, but full of life. Her odd silver eyes sparkled with curiosity. I then noticed a blotch of red near her shoulder. Seeing me looking at it, she pointed at the corpse at my feet. I nodded solemnly, then lifted the demon by its horn, and swung it around into the tree, the wood splintering and breaking with the impact. Its head was nothing but paste when I dropped it. Schala was surprised and a bit frightened with the sudden act of anger.
J-Janus? I-is that you? She asked timidly. I melted at the sound of her musical voice. As I looked down at my reflection in the sword, the lines sorrow and grief had left on my face lifted, and even my skin changed to a slightly more natural color. I looked up into her haunting eyes.
Janus is dead. I said. Seeing the pain in her face at this statement, I added, I am simply what he has become.
What? What do you mean by that? She asked. I turned away from her, putting my hand against the battered tree.
I mean just what I said. Janus died the day he left you. When your love left him, the shield against the bitterness and cold-heartedness dropped, and they overcame him. I am but the product of that.
My love never left you, little brother. She said simply.
I was ignorant then. That fact didnt matter. It still happened, and now, I am a child of war.
Then I suppose I should change that, then.
I think you already have. I said as she walked up to me. I was about to embrace her, when I remembered the situation I was in. Diablo
Damn it! I shouted, turning and striking the tree behind me as hard as I could with my gloved fist. It fell at the blow. Satisfied, slightly, with the damage done by my fist, I turned. Seeing the look of fear, compassion, and concern in my sisters eyes, I snapped back into reality.
Im sorry. I told her, holding her close. She stiffened at first, then returned the embrace slowly. I stroked her hair, soothing her fear away. She looked up at me, her fear gone, replaced by happiness. She smiled and kissed my cheek. Reluctantly, I moved away from her, walking to my comrades, who hadnt said anything, letting my reunion pass in peace. After a glance at them, I heard the battle cry of a Demon close by. I walked toward Nightsong, who was grazing near a tree.
Its time I told you something about myself. I said to my comrades. You all know vaguely that we will have to venture into Hell itself to destroy the Lord of Terror. I heard a few mumbled replies.
It is time I told you that I have been there, already I said, closing my eyes. A few short gasps were all the reply I received. I saw things that I only could dream about in the vilest nightmares. But the one thing I remember, was a dragon.
Dragons! Bah! Glenn said. Dragons havent existed for hundreds of years!
Youre forgetting I was in Hell, Glenn! There was a dragon there, held captive by the Lord of Sin. She was in her prime, full of life, yet still within the depths of Hell. I used my magic I set her free, and we barely escaped with our lives.
What happened to her? Marle asked. I smiled and turned toward Nightsong.
Its time. I told the horse. I began to remove the armor, shaped into the form of dragon scales. I let it drop to the ground, and watched as Nightsong disappeared in a flash of light, replaced by a majestic black dragon, with scales of obsidian. Her red eyes burned in contrast to her dark body. In response to the gasps of my companions, she smiled, revealing her white teeth, which were sharp as swords. She turned to me.
Master, next time, do I have to be a male horse? She asked.
I made a mistake. A wrong word in the spell. It wont happen again.
Good. Because I was tired of carrying that hanging
Dont say it, Nightsong. I know. It wont happen again. I said, but it was in vain. Crono was laughing his head off. Marle tried to calm him, but he wouldnt stop. Nightsong walked up to him and snaked her head down to his height. When he opened his eyes, he screamed in terror.
Am I amusing to you, Human? She asked.
N-No, sir. Uh I mean maam. He replied. She laughed.
I like this one, Master. Hes funny. What about these other people? Who are they?
The green haired soldier rubbing his eyes is Glenn. The blonde girl is Marle. And shes Schala. My sister I said. Schala smiled at her, and curtsied as I said her name. Nightsong knelt down in respect.
A pleasant honor to finally meet you, Mistress. She said. Schala held her hand out and stroked her neck. Nightsong would have probably bitten her hand off had she been anyone else. But she seemed to like Schala. I smiled in satisfaction. That solved some problems that had been forming in my head.
Nightsong. I said, Come to me. She obediently turned and walked to me, looking at me with total respect and loyalty. We need you to transport us to Tristram, Girl. Can you do that? I asked, more asking if she wanted to. She nodded.
How? Crono asked lamely. Nightsong shook her head at his ignorance. Hes funny. She repeated. Spreading her leathery wings out in a majestic fashion, she used her powerful hind legs to soar into the air, thoroughly enjoying the ability to take to her domain, the skies. I whistled, jumped high into the air and trusted Nightsong to fly under me. She did so, as I had expected, and I landed lightly on the saddle, which had been magically altered to fit her now massive body. She flew over to the others, and one by one I helped them onto her back. When all were accounted for, I ordered her to fly, telling her to keep a sharp eye out for a small village within the forests.
Such a magnificent creature Schala murmured, stroking her obsidian scales, a look of admiration in her eyes.
I think shes ugly. Crono said softly. I heard him though.
Stop, Girl. I commanded, then reached my hand behind me and clutched Cronos tunic. Pulling him off the saddle, I held him out above the ground, hundreds of feet below us.
Nightsong is like family to me. I said coldly. And I dont take and more kindly to insults directed at her than I would Schala. If you even think about saying something like that again, I wont hesitate to let you fall to your death. My hand was closed around his throat now, and I was thinking about strangling him now. Instead I hurled him backward, letting Marle catch him.
Now sit down and shut up!! I shouted. I gave the command, and Nightsong began to fly forward again. One word, and shell eat any one of you, one word. I said.
Cronos in the back, toward your tail, I whispered to my dragon. Make it difficult for him. She smiled evilly, and began to swerve in the air, letting her tail snap. I could hear Crono cry out in surprise. Smiling, I pretended not to hear him.
Nightsong flew in sight of Tristram that evening. I could see a few people, though they looked like specks from this altitude. The buildings looked like childrens toys.
Down. I said, and she began to circle around the town, preparing to land. When she did a few minutes later, we dismounted. I smiled at the shocked, fearful expressions of the townsfolk at the sight of the great dragon.
Nightsong, I said, You are free to go as you wish for the time being. I will contact you when I need you.
Thank you, Master. Farewell. She replied, and took to the air again. When she was out of sight, I turned to face the frightened man who had walked up to greet us. He was middle-aged, with blue robes wrapped around his body. He leaned upon a gnarled staff. His almost skeletal hands were all I could see besides his face. He seemed very weak, but obviously wise, and he had an aura about him that told me he deserved to be respected.
Good evening, Sir. I said, holding out a hand. Forgive me for our entrance to your town, but I assure you that we come in peace. We wish to help you.
He took my hand. Bless you, kind sir. We have waited so long for able warriors to help us rid the labyrinth of its denizens. If you prove victorious, we shall be in your debt for eternity.
We ask for nothing in return. These demons must be destroyed or this world is doomed. Our reward will be knowing that we will be safe.
I see. That is most generous of you. Still, you will receive something from us as reward. It would seem wrong to do otherwise, regardless of whether you expect it.
Fine. But dont go overboard. He nodded in understanding, then led us into the center of the city, where I could see everyone who still lived here. I noticed a girl dressed as a barmaid run out of the tavern up to Garnet. They talked for a second, then Garnet pointed to me. Her cousin, I figured, then walked to me.
You saved Garnet? She asked.
Yeah. I replied, thinking nothing of it anymore. She did, though. She wrapped her arms around me. I was shocked, to say the least. She apparently was very fond of Garnet. Suddenly, I could see from behind Garnet, another one of those Goat Demons, this one with a Scythe.
Duck! I yelled. Garnet did so instinctively, and her cousin followed her lead. I drew a knife and threw it at the demons head. Once again it met its mark, and struck the beast in the neck. Damn, were they easy. I almost hoped that there were more difficult monsters in the labyrinth. I jumped over the two girls and landed near the corpse. Seeing another pouch of gold, I took it, along with the scythe. It was very well crafted. I slid it under my cloak.
Nice shot, Magus. Garnet said, dusting off. I shrugged it off, took my knife and sheathed it. I picked up the corpse and whistled loudly. Nightsong apparently hadnt gone very far, because she flew into sight a few seconds later. I threw the Demon up, and she caught it easily. She tossed it into the forest, then landed in front of me.
You called, Master? She asked.
I need you to stay here, Girl. Youll be Tristrams guard from the outside. Kill anything demonic that tries to enter. Understood?
Yes, Master. Nothing will pass me.
Good. I said, nodding in satisfaction. I almost laughed seeing the sheer terror on the townspeoples faces. Dont worry. She wont hurt any of you. I said loudly. If she does, Ill send her back to where I found her. I looked at Nightsong and I swore her scales went gray with fright. She nodded, took flight, and began to circle the town, blending in perfectly with the dark sky that had become present since Diablo had awakened. I noticed Glenn speaking with the town elder, whose name I still did not know.
Sorry to interrupt, but I didnt catch your name before. I told him.
My name is Cain, Deckard Cain. What are you called?
MaJanus. Janus Zeal. I told him. I noticed Schala smile from behind him.
Ah, well. Very nice to meet you Janus. He turned to Glenn. Now, I know Crono and Marle, but Im afraid I havent had the pleasure of meeting this young lady. He said, gesturing toward Schala.
I am called Schala Zeal. Im Janus sister. An honor to make you acquaintance, Cain. She said politely, extending a hand to him. He shook it friendly. He then turned back to me.
I have something I must ask you, Janus.
That scythe you took from the demon. Did you not find it odd how well crafted it was?
Now that you mention it, yes. It is rather strange.
May I see it?
Of course. Here. I took the scythe from beneath my cloak and gave it to him. He examined it closely, from the tip of the blade to the bottom of the shaft. He whispered words of Magic I could not translate, and the scythe responded by glowing fiercely.
Oh my. T-This is quite a find indeed. This scythe was once wielded by Andariel herself. Finding that she did not have a relevant use for it, she let it into this world. Bestowed upon with here strongest poison, this has the potency to fall ten men in a matter of seconds. You have come across the Blade of Anguish itself: Soul Harvest. At the saying of the scythes name, it altered in appearance. The blade grew long and jagged, with a green tinge to it. The shaft was made of bone, covered with leather. Atop the shaft lay a sparkling emerald. I felt the strength of the weapon surge through my veins as if it were a current of electricity. I whipped my cloak behind my back and took hold of my old scythe. Tossing it to the ground, I thrust Soul Harvest into my belt. Positioning my cloak over my body once again, I faced Cain. His wise, caring eyes looked upon me with such confidence, such complete trust, that I knew death was not an option in this quest.
We shall take shelter at the Inn tonight, then set out tomorrow morning. I said, not facing my comrades. Glenn passed me, leading us into the Inn, where the Tavern was also located. He walked toward the barkeep, ordered a drink and lodging for the night. Downing the ale so quickly that I wasnt sure it had even been there, he turned toward us.
We have to get to sleep now, and there are only 3 rooms. Garnet, you can sleep at your cousins house. She nodded in understanding, then left the tavern. Now, Glenn began, Four of us will sleep in pairs, and the last will take the last room.
Ill stay with my brother. Schala said, looking at me. I smiled.
Me and Marle can take the second room. Crono informed. Glenn nodded. That left him alone in the third room. He left up the stairs to the rooms. Crono and Marle left next, then Schala and I left last, hand clasped together.
When we reached the room, I was relieved to find two beds. I didnt want to sleep standing in the corner, as I had learned in the army. Schala, not bothering to remove anything, not even her shoes climbed into her bed. I unhooked my cloak and let it fall to the floor. I un-strapped my breastplate, then collapsed into the other bed. Schala reached out her hand and I held it firmly. It was almost certain that if I fell asleep, I would wake up to find her gone. Still, as I felt Schalas hand go limp and fall from my grasp, I noticed I was exhausted, reminding myself that even if she wasnt here, just seeing her beautiful face was enough for me. I took her hand, leaned over and kissed it gently, then placed it upon her chest. As I drifted off into sleep, I vowed I would never leave her again.
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