Since I got in the Abyss, I knew the dangers. But who'd have thought that the dark nightmares could become the truth that your life depends on? I always thought I will die then resurrect, killing my enemy that would resurrect as well, and the fight would start again, repeating until one part gave up and Vanished. Never did it occur to me the danger of capture, even if I heard the horrible stories of those tortured in the depths of Asmodae, heroes that gave us will to fight and avenge our brothers and sisters. We didn't fight this war for us, immortals, but for humans, for they are our weakest and strongest point and without them, the war would be useless. They need us and we need them, for them we Ascend and for them we Vanish.
Coming back to the present, my captors made a circle around me and now they were studying me, curiosity glinting in their eyes. The Assassin was amused by some fact yet unknown, the Sorceress was studying me with genuine curiosity and the one known as Denel the Spiritmaster was glancing at me, wandering thoughts that I couldn't guess obvious in his gaze, mixed with a bit of shock that was barely present. He was still bandaged, the black robe partially hiding his wrapped chest. His orb glowed with a blue glint and I guessed that a Water Spirit was probably scanning the area. The archer was throwing me hateful glances and a murderous intent was coming from her direction and, as soon as I observed she had just a knife at her hip, I understood why. The weapons were the personal signature of a Daeva and, even if I didn't quite understand why would she care so much about a cheap bow like that, it was still her weapon and I still had it. Haradion knelt, slow and careful, and placed me on the ground gently, a kindness I didn't ask for, but still welcomed. I tried to bring myself on my knees and with a little struggle I managed it, now being on the same eye level with my audience and in a somewhat more dignified position.
"Having fantasies about us already, pigeon?"
"Assassin, even if I am your captor, I have limited patience. You want to cooperate with me and my friend? Stop joking."
"And if I don't want to?"
"I guess you will vanish in this hellhole from starvation, then."
He frowned and I saw a flash of crimson barely lighting his eyes before he resumed his previous stance. So we stood there for a few seconds in silence, before I decided to break it. In the Abyss, silence accentuated the tension and, in the situation, I needed to stay calm. But my choice of words was uninspired and, as soon as it left my lips, I regretted it. But it had to be done…
"You brought me here with a reason."
This time, instead of the black-clad leader, the sharp voice of the Archer resonated across the space, strangely calm considering her gaze that tried to reap me into pieces.
"You know damn well what I want. Give it back."
I don't know why, but a chuckle escaped my throat, followed by my voiced thoughts.
"One good reason and I will."
She narrowed her eyes and tried to stand, but Denel put a claw on her shoulder, trying to calm the atmosphere.
"Relax. We will have the bow back in no time. As for you…"
I was impatient. Really. They dragged me from Ahn's side for this childish dialogue?
"As for me, what? I'm losing patience, Spiritmaster. Ask your damn questions already!"
A sigh from the silken voice behind and Haradion made himself known at my back, on his knees, hands placed on my shoulders.
"Are you so eager to break hell loose, my dear?"
I would've become angered by his nickname, but there was something in his voice –a glint of…sadness?- that put a halt to my thoughts. His voice didn't have the usual silken edge I was used to hear. It was raw, full with emotion, and for a moment there, I wandered –Was his usual attitude just a façade?- but then I remembered, these were my damned captors! If I stared worrying about them…then my sanity was weaker than I had previously thought.
I couldn't worry about such trivial matters now, so I turned my gaze to him and what I saw there was…let's call it strange for now. He wasn't looking at anything in particular, his eyes empty as he stared in the abyss. His face, however, was contorted in pain and suffering. He looked like he was dreaming, and he was having a nightmare. He started shaking, closing his eyes and driving his head back. What the hell was happening?
"Haradion…Haradion, answer to me! Get a grip on yourself! C'mon!"
Like hell I cared about who he was right now. Friend, enemy…for now, we had to get together to save both our souls. My calls were useless. His body was convulsing now, he was gritting his teeth, and my voice didn't seem to get to him. I tried again.
"It's not real! Wake up! C'mon, you can do it, just…"
My pleas were interrupted by a pained scream, desperate and in that moment he cracked his eyes open and looked at me with a pained, pitiful gaze, that seemed to tell "Please, help…". In that moment, I remembered I wasn't alone. Now what were that furback scums doing? I turned my gaze from the chanter for a second, only to watch in surprise their new position. The Assassin was standing five meters from me, daggers in hands and a positively murderous gaze on his face. Denel already summoned a fire spirit, replacing the water one, while the Sorceress held her hands up, ready to summon a meteor. The Ranger girl was nowhere to be seen, probably in a hide state.
"What, in the name of Aion, are you doing? Come and help me! It's your friend and you ought to…"
"What did you do to him? You impaled him with something poisoned, didn't you. We should've killed you on sight!" the sandpaper voice almost whispered, voice full of anger.
"You're hit in the head or something? He's obviously sick, you idiot! Now come and help, or at least unbound me if you really hate him so much! You useless leader, he trusts you and you abandon him at first occasion! If you're not the useless traitors my kind thinks you are, then prove me wrong, not for my sake, but for his at the very least!"
I now had tears in my eyes, but I didn't give a damn about it. I never had a problem with killing others by spells and hexes. Swords were…taboo for me. But this was way too wrong! It was cruel and selfish to abandon those who rely on you. I refuse to believe the rumors are true!
My magic, my life source, I had an affinity with it since I Ascended. It felt good to manipulate the fire of my soul, the infernos of aether, because they felt safe, created by my will, and my soul sang whenever I chanted the blessed words of Aion. However…there was one more reason why I chose to be a Sorcerer, and the Assassin's stupid response brought a memory to mind. When I first got in the legion I now called home, my new legion mates decided to 'test' me and have some fun with it. I recall it, even now…
"Heya, small fry. You seem sad today. Something on your mind?"
"Just…leave me alone, Lavi. I'm not in the mood."
"Oh, cmon. Whatever troubles you, it'll be fine! We're all sisters and brothers, remember? You're one of us, and besides…
I think I know how to cheer you up!"
"Should I get worried about this?"
"See? I made you smile! Now that's more like it. Tomorrow, what do you say about a match? I think I can train a little those muscles you have there, all that reading is no good for your body!"
"And what's the ending point? First blood that touches the floor?"
"Huh? To death, baby!"
"Oh c'mon, don't be scared! It'll be fine! No one will die for real, we'll have the legion healers holding our backs. Just…who does the first mortal wound. Does that sound good?"
"I can't believe I'm accepting this…"
"Oh, cmon! It's gonna be cool, you'll see! We use to do this all the time between ourselves. Now I gotta go, bets aren't made all by themselves, you know! They'll be thrilled about it! Ciao, Carr!"
"WHAT? Wait! Bets weren't part of the game!"
His response was just a big grin before he disappeared from my sight. What have I gotten myself into?
The rest was a bad memory. We put 10 million kinah each, and together we made a good 20 million prize for the winner. However, there was an important detail they never specified. I had to fight with a sword. Just…what the hell? I tried to look confident, and the match started. The piece of steel balanced well in my hands, parrying hits here and there, looking for an opening. But it finished very quick. After a successful parry, he left his side unprotected and, spotting the opportunity, I sent a strike at his flank. But as soon as the blade met flesh…something happened. The feeling of piercing a body shook me to the core and I instanty dropped my sword and started shaking. The feeling was so…violent, so bloodthirsty, it made me sick to the core. That day, I swore I would never touch a sword again.
Had I known that oath wasn't the last one I was going to break … I felt so ashamed now. I barely had any pride left. Cooperating with Asmodians deemed me a traitor, but between a dignified death and a shameful survival, I made my choice. And all those so-called court lords can say whatever they want. I wanted to live.
Violence wasn't the solution for a peaceful cooperation. But we needed a healer in this place. So all reasons went out on an imaginary window the second I realized that. I concentrated my magic one the ropes, and with a whispered "Whidarar."my wrists were free. First priority? Stone skin. Checked. I took Haradion in my arms, his body still convulsing, no longer conscious, and stood up carefully in front of them, slightly bent over the convulsing healer. They rushed at me and almost attacked, hesitating at the last ten meters, confronted with the danger of hurting their priest.
"I don't care about you right now. I care about my life and my potential healer's ones! You have two choices: you kill us both or trust me. But choose quick. Patience is not my virtue."
Rage was obvious in the assassin's eyes. He bended forward. Started to morph in a hide state, and yet…there was a hesitation there. I was weaponless and, even if I had my magic at full charge due to Haradion's aether boost, all of them could've easily killed me. The fire spirit made a move, trying to get closer, but Maebin's outstretched arm was a clear sigh and, with a pang of regret, Denel made the retreating order and the sprit returned to his flank.
A movement caught my attention, changing my gaze from the threatening group to the healer in my arms, who stopped trembling and relaxed in my arms. Trusting the enemy? How foolish of him, and yet the heat radiating from his body told me that was certainly not sleeping, but something more alarming. He was so damn heavy! Were all Asmodians like this?
The seed of a smile appeared on my lips, caused by these distracting thoughts. However, it got easily away when I stared the Assassin in the face again.
He seemed torn between two decisions, and I could only pray that, despite my cowardly actions, he made the right choice. After a few painful seconds of heavy silence, he finally sighed, showing his decision by throwing the daggers on the ground.
He proved me right. Asmodians weren't born evil. His shoulders slumped forward, and his face was lowly contorting from rage to pained annoyance and need. His eyes seemed to dull somewhat, his anger lowering but still present. I dared smile and in that painful stillness, voiced my thoughts, cracking the tension.
"Now, was it that hard?"
I AM SO DAMN SORRY FOR THIS! I had a big, big problem in my life, a misfortune that came unexpectedly, and I simply didn't have the time and mood to write. Please, please forgive me, but I simply couldn't bring myself to write. As a result, I'm writing this at 1:00 in the morning. I will add a bigger author note later, but for now, the new chapter.
Important note: I don't follow a plot. I open a word page with no idea what's gonna be the final result. Trust me on that one, you can expect literally anything from the future. The plot is drawn only in big lines. And if you want, dunno, anything from your own character in the story to some turn that I agree with, if you have any idea, literally, any suggestion or whatever,sent a PM to me. I take 3 mins everyday to check my inbox and I'll respond shortly. You can ALL be coauthors! Just tell me your wishes.