The Nomad felt as though he was being followed, he thought he heard footsteps every now and then. But when he looked, there was nothing. And there was a feeling, a feeling he hadn’t felt since Hamilton. Which was saying a lot, given the mad cluster that had become, from one spectrum to another.
But it was a warmth, a heat, a presence.
The type from when you were a young Vampire, choosing to walk into the sun. This presence was as destructive as it was beneficial, a threat that only sunlight could bring to a Vampire but was necessary to a living being’s survival. In this case, it was the opposite. In this case, the Nomad felt himself fearing the light as never before. In this case, he felt hunted.
Whatever was following him, he chose to lead it away from public areas. Slipping down a side street, then another, heading to the waterfront. There he waited in a secluded area, for the attack to come. It did not take too long, as a figure appeared before him, stepping out from a ripple of white. It had to be magic, although nothing that the Nomad had ever seen, it was a type of magic aligned away from either the Demons or the Elves. But like the latter, it was telling. The Light.
“I would ask if I can help you, but it seems you have already decided for yourselves,” said the Nomad.
The ripple expanded, and two others appeared behind the first, it then subtracted into itself and vanished in a great shocking burst of light. The three of them moved to block the Nomad’s routes of escape, pulling out dagger-like weapons that he could practically vibrate with power. The Nomad tensed, ready to pounce upon the closest one.
The First spoke. “By order of the Holy Circle of the Divines and in the face of your many crimes, and sins. We judge you, Lykir, guilty and to be committed unto death.”
“What a lovely service,” drolled the Nomad, and then launched himself at the closest.
He bit down on his target, but pulled back and spat out what blood he had tried to drink, the blood made him feel woozy and his mouth burned from the taste. The one he had bitten spun around in a circle, no surprise or pain showed on his face, and plunged the dagger into the Nomad’s side.
And the Nomad cried, leaping away as though he had been set on fire, silently cursing the weapon in every known language he had been around for. Which needless to say, was a damn lot.
From the way his wound pulsed and the way it felt like it was on fire, burning, he could guess that those daggers had enough magical power within them in which they could nullify his healing abilities and cause the molecular disintegration of the wound cells attempting to heal him. Essentially, it was like he was a normal Vampire with a low grade UV rod shoved into his stomach. It was more irritating, than it was ultimately painful. But both, in that it was incapable of healing itself like any ordinary wound. So while marginally debilitating, the pain it caused was constant, throbbing like any old human stab wound.
“Understand Lykir, that we do not do this because we want to. We do it because it must be done, because he has willed and written it,” spoke another, coming to join the one that had stabbed him.
“So let it be,” agreed the first, the leader.
As the two of them lifted their daggers high, the Nomad felt their magic at work, and he tensed in preparation. They would stab down at him, or use some spell to trap him, he had to make a decision based on what they would do. One wrong move, too many direct stabs, and he doubted that even his Immortality could hold up. These were trained killers, their weapons and spells designed specifically to hunt him, and they knew his kind by name. Likely, they also knew of other Demons too. They were Demon Hunters .
Before they could deal with the disgusting Demon, as far as they could see in their eyes, a flood of darkness like the pyroclastic flow of a Volcano devoured the two before him, their yells and screams cut off moments afterwards. The flood turned and made its way to the third, but he dove back and vanished in a flash of light, escaping by using his magic to bridge the distance between here and where he planned to escape to.
“The great and powerful Nomad, brought low by a few pathetic hunters,” spoke his savior, hands clawed as the darkness molded to his command. “Where is the defiant Vampire King that resisted the Darkness?”
Peter Bryant, although now he went publically by Peter Black, the so called high priest of the Argyris and therefore the mortal incarnation of the Dark Beast of the Depths. Of the Great Ones of Demon kind, Erebos. Some time ago, Peter and his brother Alex had been the prized goals of their spiritual creator and the Nomad, who had fought over their technical rights. Before even having met, Alex had been turned into a Vampire by the Nomad, and Erebos had hated that.
But Erebos’ anger had been blunted by pleasure in the end, when it was Peter that had inherited his own father’s destiny and role. It had taken more time to reconcile Alex with the family, but Peter’s feelings for a Vampire had brought the great creature of darkness some insight and thought. A good looking Immortal lover, brought peace to Peter, and was a perfect funnel for Erebos’ moods. Hans took it all in stride, with saintly patience.
Speaking of the Vampire, he stood not far behind Peter, wary of other enemies waiting in the wings to attack them. It was only when Peter looked over his shoulder, no longer with molten crimson iris and black sclera, and smiled did Hans lose most of his bodily tension. Peter crossed over and dropped to a knee so that he was beside the Nomad, before pressing his hand to the wound. Darkness hissed up from the wound, and the Nomad jerked. But soon enough, the burn vanished, as pure demonic power erased the holy infection from the injury.
“As much as I loath to admit it, I owe you for this,” said the Nomad. “Who were they?”
“They are Acolytes, hunters and servants to the Gods,” answered Peter, and raised an eyebrow as the Nomad covered his mouth in a laugh.
“Oh,” said the Nomad, noticing Peter’s apathetic serious stare. “You are not joking.”
Peter kept a blank, unimpressed expression but witty sarcasm poured form his body language. “Clearly.”
Standing upon the roof of a building, he looked out upon Winter Haven with a cool and calculating expression. The encroaching war, the inevitable conflict between Light and Darkness. It had been many millennia, dozens even, since they had last met in battle and he could count all the casualties in his head. Erebos remaining in Hamilton for so long had also been a result of the war, and why it had been there first before human settlers.
It had been easy, a simple manipulation, that had set everything up so far. Another God dropping a magical door at Emmott’s Mill, unleashing Demons and chaos into the world. A simple manipulation of Time-space, underlying the works of the Unnamed One, had set the Nomad and Erebos towards war. First the meeting of Demetrius and Alex, then the Nomad turning Alex, the Nomad meeting Flynn and becoming interested in Hamilton.
Emmott’s Mill had been the start, when he had awakened, although he had not known it at the time. His father had practically owned the town, led a mining business there, until the Greater Demon came and brought Darkness. Take in the Darkness, turn it to Light. It had been the start of his awakening, Carter had come up with the idea to move to Winter Haven and become an Archaeologist. And when he said come up with , he meant told.
They had settled down in Winter Haven, the two of them became gradually aware of their true nature, rather he had awoken and then pushed Carter over the edge. Then they had used the connection to primeval Darkness of the Outer Dark in the depths and Alaric’s light to fully awaken and begin restoring themselves in full. They had set their roots hidden, in Winter Haven and made it their base of power on the Earth, under the nose of the Unnamed One.
It went well. All of it went well. All a perfect set-up, although not everything was sunshine and glory. They had hoped that that Greater Demon and Devil Worshippers of Dunhaven would have kept the Unnamed One’s human reincarnation busy. Instead, the Demon had flopped and caused the Unnamed One to awaken. Joanna Sessions should have been more willing to sacrifice everything to defeat the Unnamed One, should have done more research and given her life if needs be. But no, two absolute and total screwups.
And then, his precious Sun God had gone and had a son, cheated on him. There had been words about that, although he had admitted to the point that Gods were hardly chaste. There had been many stories in many mythologies, of Gods having kids apart from their soul bound partners, that became heroes and fought on the Gods behalf. That wasn’t what he had been angry about, he had been angry that his Sun God choosing not to destroy the weakened Erebos and Bringer because his son would not approve, was infuriating! It was the perfect opportunity! Right there!
Weaken the Unnamed One’s following for a period of time, and give them the advantage, if he was so worried about the two Grand Demons then the boy should have known that destroying their physical form wouldn’t have erased their existence. But no! His Sun God has stayed in the wings, which in reality the Exalted came to the conclusion that he should have sent another.
He was pretty sure that their argument on that whole matter had also ended up in a bed, it was hard to be angry or say no to the Sun God, but he was also stubborn like that. The sun could bake the mountain all it likes, whether it be on Mercury or Pluto.
Speaking of stubborn people...
“I have finally found you...” spoke a voice, but he need not turn to know it was Nathaniel Whitney, the Unnamed One. “Brother.”
“I cannot stay in one place for too long, Unnamed. A God is a busy being, ripping up weeds of Demon filth wherever he goes,” was the reply, the Exalted One did not lie.
The two of them stood there, on that rooftop, an uneasy truce. Both the leader of opposite sides, both all powerful beings capable of destroying stars, both leading a perpetual war against the other for the Universe and it's inhabitants.
Of course, it was not always like that...
There was a time when long ago, before the Universe was and when there was only the dark, and the two brothers had coexisted at the beginning of everything. But then the God had given birth to more of its kind, had alighted the emptiness with stars and planets and people. The Unnamed One had loved it all, still loved it all, too much and that was the problem.
Demons conquered and they did not share, did not give away what they thought belonged to them. When all living things died, they went over the Falls of Oblivion, and that meant that everything belonged to the Unnamed One in the end. Right? Nope, didn't cut it.
The Gods had declared that their King birthed the souls into the world, gave them life and energy, gave them material objects to live on and live life with. But that was not enough for the Unnamed One. He was a Demon and what people he took interest in, what world he took under his wing, belonged to him. He treated his brother as a visitor in his own Realm, upon worlds that he claimed were his, under many names he was worshipped as a God instead of the Demon he was.
The Greater Demons in turn argued against the Gods, and began conquering worlds on mass, the rights of Demons to keep the things they claim as theirs. The First of all Holies had it then, to call the places he made, the creatures he had created, as mere things. As objects, to own and use, and throw away. The King of the Gods ignored all arguments, he gathered his fellow beings of Light, and sought out to reclaim what was his. Many wars were waged, many battles fought, and ever since the universe had been brought close to destruction and then revitalized more times than can count. The proverbial finger in the dike.
“I have to admit, that Hamilton conspiracy was a nice touch,” commented the Unnamed One, and the Supreme God scoffed.
“That was the work of my followers, but they played their roles rather well. Even before the time stream reallocated itself following our last little bout, I set down the commands for events such as that to happen,” stated the Exalted. “I always was better at strategy, brother. I already anticipated the future, even before it was known to me.”
“You always were so full of yourself at any rate,” The Unnamed One sighed. “And so we must fight again...”
“Just fight? Ha. You have never been able to stop the inevitable conflicts, never acting but always reacting, but I have other plans now. As you will soon discover,” was the reply, the last five words were deeper and full of meaning.
“What plans?!” demanded Unnamed, but the God’s form flickered and he vanished.
An echoing chuckle. “Until next time.” The Exalted One was long gone, the sun setting by the last syllable.