Saved by Death Himself
Erys Jerand ran as fast as her feet would carry her, keeping her injured wing close to her body. Being unable to fly away to safety had planted the seeds of panic in her mind. Feeling the monster's vines whip against her skin made them grow and threaten to smother her logical side. She didn't have the psychological energy, never mind the time, to cast a symbol and save herself. She knew she'd lose the struggle if she tried.
Don't get any closer…
Even if she tried to fly, she wouldn't be able to get far enough fast enough. She knew all too well that it would just grab ahold of her and drag her back to the ground. The thought alone made her shudder. Her muscles ached more with every step she took and her breathlessness steadily worsened as well.
Don't come any nearer.
She knew her desperate thoughts were in vain when one of the demonic tree's branches came crashing down only inches away from her. The sharp tips of the branches tore small holes in her clothes and scratched her vulnerable wings. She grimaced at the pain, but held on to the hope that she would be able to get out of the forest and into the clearing surrounding the city before it was too late.
I wish I could just fly away…
She wasn't sure if she was seeing light beyond the dense trees and bushes or if her eyes were just playing cruel tricks on her. The possessed tree only gained speed as it got closer to her, crashing through the shrubs and all of the greenery on the ground. The monster had no concern for all of the harm it was doing to the rest of the plant life. She could hear its deadly vines snapping against the trees as she narrowly avoided them.
Soar into the sky and get far, far away from this monster.
That was when she knew she saw it.
There was no questioning that she was finally at the edge of the forest; through the branches, the light of day and the fields surrounding the city were in clear sight. Her body ached and her lungs felt like they were burning as she pushed herself onward; her training from too many years as an assassin helped her keep moving forward. She broke through the last of the bushes and brush on the group, stepping out to the edge of the clearing before coming to a sudden halt.
Her heart skipped a beat and it felt as though a wave of ice cold water washed over her when she felt something encircle her ankle, cutting off the circulation significantly and yanking her backward. She screamed as she was literally swept off of her feet and hit the ground in an impact that would leave many bruises. Though of course, that was only assuming that she would live long enough to see them.
But how could I be so helpless just because I can't fly?
How am I reduced to knocking on death's door just because I can't escape skyward?
She grimaced and felt unwanted tears form in her eyes as she was pulled across the ground and back into the forest. She struggled to break free by any means she could, but her desperate attempts all ended in failure. The demonic tree was much stronger and dealt with her protests easily. She clung to the trunk of a regular tree until another of the possessed vines circled around her arms and pulled her away. When another came at her neck, she numbly felt all hopefulness drain away.
This really is…pathetic…
She looked up into the glowing red eyes of the creature, unable to even think that they could so easily be the last thing she ever saw. The thought was too unbearable; there was still too much that was still left undone. She still tried to grab on to something on the forest floor, in spite of the fact that she could barely feel her fingers.
I know I have blood on my hands and sins to repent for…but is this really the only way to atone?
To die all alone like this…?
Without any warning, a pillar of dark flames suddenly sprang up around the tree. She remained frozen for a moment, hardly believing what she was seeing. The flames danced, looking more beautiful in her eyes than she thought fire could look as it engulfed every inch of the possessed tree. The vines went limp and freed her, but she snapped out of her revere when the heat of the flames reached her. She scrambled away and held an arm up to shield her face, but still squinted to watch as the monster was burned to nothing.
Someone…actually saved me?
But who would be out here and have the power to do that?
The fires started to die down, revealed that there was nothing more than ash left of the demonic tree. It fluttered peacefully to the ground with no reminiscence of the horrible creature it had been just a moment ago. Even if she had gotten the chance to counterattack, she knew very well that she didn't have the skill to destroy it in just one attack. She blinked as she looked at the surrounding woods, which were now notably charred. Her attention was pulled away when a tall figure carrying a glowing weapon emerged from the smoke.
Where in the world could this man have come from?
She almost felt as though she should have ran away from him, but tried to hold on to the logic that he wouldn't harm her after going to the trouble of saving her. His appearance was nothing like anyone she had seen on her own planet. He had silvery hair that covered half of his face His tall body was muscular but thin and his tattered attire was vaguely similar to a military uniform. There were a variety of scars over his body that served as unfading reflections of countless battles. His eyes were cold, but it was the weapon that he carried with him that captured her attention next.
The weapon completed his lethally cold appearance. She could recognize the object to be a scythe, though it was barely comparable to any of the scythes she had seen on Roak. The multiple blades glowed ominously to complete the weapon's otherworldly appearance. She remained still as she watched the blades condense into one, still feeling somehow mesmerized by the sight of him.
"Can you walk?" he asked flatly, taking another step through the burnt area of ground.
"Who are you?" she asked, a bit of distrust mixed with her curiosity.
"I asked if you could walk," he repeated.
Small clouds of ash were kicked up with every step he took. He stopped when he was just a foot away from her. He surveyed her injuries briefly, looking uninterested in her wings. Though the bloody feathers made them less impressive, she was used to getting a second glance because of them.
Why is he here?
He looks like he's seen so many horrible things with those detached eyes…
With all of those scars, he must've been through so many bloody battles.
"Well?" he asked impatiently. "If you don't speak up, I'm leaving."
"I…I think so," she stammered as she pushed herself into a sitting position. "Thank you for saving me…I didn't think I was going to get away for a while."
"It was nothing," he replied as he started to walk away.
She blinked, surprised by his brusqueness. She looked up, watching as he walked past her. His demeanor made it evident that he wasn't even slightly concerned, but his peculiarities had summoned her curiosity and interest too much to just let him walk away. She reached out and grabbed his hand, her fingers closing around the heavy gauntlet that guarded his.
"Wait!" she exclaimed, holding on tightly to him.
He looked down at her as he pulled his hand away from her, but he still stopped. "What?"
"Can't you at least tell me the name of my savior?" she asked hopefully, thinking that her words of flattery would have some effect.
Instead, he scoffed. "I am someone who doesn't even belong on this world."
"But you still saved me," she objected, carefully rising to her feet. She still felt a little unsteady and her injured ankle had yet to return to feeling normal, but all of the terror had started to feel more distant.
"Consider it luck," he dismissed.
"Then what are you?" Erys asked, her voice more determined than before. "Can't you at least tell me that?"
He glanced at her once, his expression completely impassive when he responded. "I am Death Incarnate."
She stood still as a statue and watched as he continued to walk away from her. In a way, the title fit his appearance, but it seemed somewhat odd for someone who had gone out of his way to save her. She took a few steps forward, for she had decided on a whim to try following him a bit farther. They were both headed toward the exit of the forest, though his powerful stride put him quite a bit ahead of her.
"Thank you again for saving me!" she called out as she hurried after him.
The dull ache from where the demon grabbed her ankle started to throb when she tried to run. It was only a moment later that her foot got caught under a protruding tree root. She tripped and fell forward before she had the chance to catch herself. The crashing noise was enough to get Death Incarnate's attention, who paused and glanced back at her.
"What are you doing?"
"I tripped," she admitted lamely, hesitating for a moment before she went on. "Could you help me up?"
He cast her a skeptical look, but when she met his gaze evenly, he begrudgingly walked back over to her. He leaned down and extended his hand to her impatiently, which she was surprised felt cold to the touch. He helped her up and pulled her up to her feet, albeit a bit roughly. She brushed the leaves and small twigs clinging to her dress aside when he stepped away.
"Thank you…once again," she added with a small smile.
"The exit is just a few yards away. "Can you make it to town on your own?"
"I think so," she replied with a nod. "I'm usually not so fragile looking."
He didn't seem to believe that. "Good. Then go," he said, motioning toward the clearing beyond the trees.
She looked up at him and smiled. "You know, you're pretty kind for Death Incarnate."
He cast her a sour look that made it clear that he didn't appreciate the 'complement.' He shook his head as he departed.
"By the way! My name is Erys," she introduced.
"Arumat," he said without pausing.
She smiled slightly as she watched him disappear into the forest. The counter had been brief, but it wasn't one that she could easily forget. So I was saved by Arumat…Death Incarnate. How very ironic.
But I wonder…
Will I ever see him again...?
I'm still aalliiivvveee!
Sort of. XD
Anyway, this is a kiriban for Riegella. :3 She asked for Arumat x Erys. Definitely an interesting pairing. XD This oneshot was brought to you by the Time Gate. :B