Blood + War

I’ll kill them!

I’ll kill them all!

I’ll kill them and tear them limb from limb and rip out their throats with my teeth!

I’ll kill them and hunt down their families and make them all suffer! I’ll destroy their villages and burn everything in my sight to cinders!

Die! Die! Die!

~*~*~*~

Chained in a dungeon, locked behind iron bars, and sneered at by lowly humans. Thinking they can keep me in check with those blunt swords at their sides. I haven’t unclenched my fists in days. I’ve only just stopped screaming and promising them an eternal suffering. And I’m only now starting to think, and I wonder what kind of sorcerers they have, to be able ensnare me. Me! They’ll die! They’ll all die painfully and mercilessly! I growl, and drown the dungeon in a wall-shaking death cry.

“Are you ready to cooperate?”

A low guttural growl builds in the back of my throat, and I bare my fangs at the man. Badges and patches adorn the front of his blazer. A sword is sheathed on his right, and a cape covers his left. His hair is blonde and greying, and his skin is starting to wrinkle and show signs of his insignificant, fleeting life. But his tired eyes show none of the fear and despair that I will make sure will terrorise him day and night.

Spread like a star, with my hands and feet chained apart, I definitely feel the heat of a star burning me inside. And I would love nothing more than to release a wave of scorching fire, but I can’t. I try. I try as hard as I can, diving deep into myself and pulling back a lethal dosage of elemental magic, but when I try to unleash it, it’s like it dissipate back into me, no matter how many times I try.

The old man just blinks, when I start to scream and roar once more, trying with all my might to lay waste to everything, and failing miserably. He soon leaves, but my rage remains.

~*~*~*~

They summoned me for a war. I am to fight for them, and bring them victory. Seven needlessly virginal sacrifices were made. I am under their control. And I cannot hurt them, lest my own life prematurely cease.

As I sit outside the tent they had given me, glaring at anyone and everyone in my line of sight, it becomes clear to me that they know those conditions are only temporary. They avoid eye contact. They quickly walk out of my vision. They know that once my contract is completed they will all die by my hand, if the battlefield doesn’t do it first.

Thana,” I say in my mind.

Without delay, another’s voice speaks to me in my head, and just hearing it sooths my rage. It won’t quell it completely, though. Nothing but my ‘allies’’ deaths would do that.

Camilla,” she says, and despite being separated by realms, just hearing her voice makes it feel like she’s right beside me. If I’m going to make it through this war still sane, I need that. “Let us help you.

This is not why I wanted to talk.

I’m positive Jinx will know of a way to break the contract. And even if not, perhaps Father—

No. This is. My revenge. No one else’s. I’ll deal with it myself

Silence fills my mind, and with it, the hate and anger and overwhelming bloodlust start to replace it.

Hurry home,” my twin says. I’m always grateful to hear her, but when she stops, and I’m left alone in this damned realm, I feel the most empty I have ever felt. And without Thana, only the anger can give my trapped life any meaning.  Revenge. I lick my lips, anticipating their blood, and from then on, no one dares glance near me.

~*~*~*~

They asked me if I had the power to revive our allies. I said yes. They have since stopped asking the impossible of me. It’s ironic, really, because despite being a demon, I specialise in healing. But reviving?

I would be plowing through the enemy ranks, slashing and impaling and decapitating, on their orders, and they would call me back to raise a fallen comrade. And I would do it. I would lay my hands on them and pour my healing magic into them, reinvigorating them with new life. They would rally, and take on the enemy, swords raised, battle cries loud, and no matter how many times they would be struck with mace swings or sword impalings, they would not fall. Many of them were soulless, driven only by their last moments of trauma, and they would go mad. Prone to anger and friendly fire, even in the camps. It’s one of the few ways I managed to entertain myself here. But if I was quick enough with reviving, some would return with their souls intact. They would still be massively driven by trauma, massively prone to anger, and quick to answer any question with a fight to the death, but only now, their souls were tainted, and guaranteed a place in Hell. They had soon ordered me to rid them of those abominations, when it became clear these soldiers were no longer human.

It’s been a while since I saw the inside of my cell. My hands and feet are once again bound, only now, I’m not growling and manically trying to shake myself free. But they would be foolish to mistake my calmness for submissiveness. The only reason I’m back in this cell is because they think I broke the contract they’ve bound to me. The only reason they could get me into this cell again is because I’m not allowed to break it.

The old greying blonde stands before me, that very same tiredness deep-rooted in those eyes he regards me with. “If we find out you’ve broken free of our agreement—”

“You would be all be dead if I had. I raised the dead, on foolish orders. The empty husks ran wild. Tell me at which point the fault lies with me.”

“When you failed to inform your commanding officer that doing so would result in monsters.”

I can’t hold the laugh back. When I don’t stop, the grey-blonde man, walks out of my cell, hands held behind his back, without a word, and a guard locks it behind him.

He starts to walk away, but his footsteps echo loudly through the place.

“Perhaps you should have tried summoning an angel if you wanted miracles.”

The footsteps stop for just a moment, but they soon sound again, and he soon leaves me here, with two guards who talk only in hushed whispers when near me, and the silence and time to think of the darkest way to torment my ‘comrades’.

~*~*~*~

A horse. They give me one as if my own two feet and wings are not good enough. A horse that gallops at not even a tenth of the speed that I can run. So I corrupt her. She bucks and neighs like she’s going mad, but she doesn’t run off as I lay my hands on her black hide, and watch it harden and crack. Her blood turns molten, and with fire now pumping through her, her veins glow under her now impenetrable hide. Her mane, previously of pure white, now shimmers black. Flowing wildly and ghostly, and serving as a clear warning of her demonic aptitude. Black horns of a ram sprout from either side of her head, just above her soulless, deep black abysses that make her eyes. Fangs. They’re as sharp as my own, but far more grotesque and terrifying. They barely even fit in her mouth. I take in the sight of her, but quickly surmise that she’s missing one final trait, and as I stroke her ghostly mane, large, leathery wings break out from her back. Thick and spiked at their tips.

The poor creature’s neighing contorts into an unearthly mixture between an screeching neigh and a vicious roar. And I stroke up her mane, until I reach her head, looking into the eyes of my new companion. Despite the transformation, she’s stays and when I take her head in my hands and rest my forehead against hers, she calms down.

And I smile.

~*~*~*~

With a year to my name, I’ve apparently also been able to make a name for myself with our enemies, too. Nothing spectacular. Just The Daughter of the Devil. I heard it days ago, and it still makes me laugh.

“The Daughter of the Devil,” I mutter to myself, shaking my head, as I ride Astaria at the head of the company. It’s not too big a coincidence, when I really think about it. Humans know about only so few demons, and I suppose my father would be the most infamous.

Astaria and I ride quite some distance ahead of the rest of the cavalry, since she spooks the other horses just by being near them. Because she’s the best steed in this entire army. But riding up ahead at a painfully slow pace, I can practically feel her restlessness. I lower myself on her, and hug her, her hide hot to the touch.

“We’ll let loose when we go home,” I quietly say to her. I breath in her burning scent, and sigh out. “We’ve got seas of fire, and burning skies.” I glance up at the dull, darkening grey sky, before shutting my eyes, and picturing home. “We have other horses galloping and flying around the palace, but you’d never let them intimidate you, would you?”

Astaria makes a short snorting noise, and I chuckle quietly. “They’re no match for…”

I shoot upright, and Astaria rightly stops, as I jerk my gaze towards that powerful source in the distance. Powerful and still building. That magic…

I’m just about to get Astaria moving as fast as she can, but I’m stopped by the screams in my head, and my eyes go wide with core-chilling realisation. I can finally feel that tight pull again, that draws us together, and despite myself, that wave of calm I can’t help but feel with her presence in this realm… Thana.

~*~*~*~

Lying in my tent, reading one of their human books on strategy, and keeping everyone awake with my laughter, it helps to keep my mind occupied. But when a voice comes in my head, I stop. I wish my ‘commanding officer’ had not ordered me back, after I raced off. I wish he had let me go again, after I explained the situation, and I wish I wasn’t bound by this cursed contract, so I could have torn his head from his neck.

Hello Camilla,” I can’t deny that I’m happy to hear her voice, but the tinge of sadness sprouts a deep-seeded, primal bloodlust in me. I need something to kill.

Thana.” I feel like I can see her smiling as I say her name, so I have no doubt that she is. But I don’t know what there is to smile about. “Did they hurt you?

No,” she says, quietly. “I was in a rage, but when I sensed you near, I calmed down enough to realise the situation.

Wonderful. Now we’re both bound to contracts in a human war.

Against one another.” My husk of a heart burns when she says that. I already knew that, but hearing it again just… “But don’t worry. I won’t hurt you. This time tomorrow, I’ll have freed you from your binds.

Wishful thinking.

The smile I can sense says otherwise, but she would have to forgive me for not being overly optimistic, right now.

Just listen.

~*~*~*~

We meet in the depths of a dark forest, the moonlight unable to break through the canopy. Astaria’s flaming veins offer minimal light, but it doesn’t matter for us. I know we don’t have the luxury of time, but I can’t let go of Thana. I don’t know how for how long we have embraced, but I won’t let go. Even if a year and half is nothing for demons, it feels like centuries when I’m away from Thana. I could stay like this all night.

But there’s work to be done.

She pushes me away, first, and I can’t help but feel a little disappointed, but she just smiles at me. Her deep blue skin, almost black in the dim light, and her red eyes shining. Her long cloak covers her two little horns on her forehead, but I’m drawn to the tome she’s holding close to her body. I wish I could come with her to see just what kind of curses she will inflict upon my soon to be former captors.

She looks down at the sword at my side, and raises her eyebrows at me. “Been practicing your swordplay?”

Such a mundane question, and I smile at it. I’ve had plenty of mundane moments in my time here, but I missed this kind, where it isn’t just a temporary release from human stupidity.

“Hardly,” I say, choking on the word, and it’s only then that I realise I’m crying. “Fighting humans will never help me improve.”

She wipes my eyes for me, and I let her. “Perhaps if you kill enough.” With a sigh, her expression soon becomes cold and serious, and mine does, too. “We’ll have plenty of time to talk later, but we better go quick, before either of us are summoned back.”

I nod once, and reluctantly walk back to Astaria, and mount her. She walks up to Thana, so I lean down to my sister, and pat her on the head, much to her false distaste, and poorly hidden delight, as she pouts up at me. “Make them suffer,” I tell her. It’s her turn now to nod once. Without another word, she runs deeper into the forest behind me to annihilate my contractors, whilst I gallop off in the other direction, to destroy hers.

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