El’rathien stood surrounded by the remains of his foe. His armour was torn with deep gouges, red seeping out from within. He stood tall despite his wounds, a bastion of defiance. The demons looked on, El’rathien was almost sure that he could see fear in their eyes. Their leader had sent three waves at him already, and three waves had been cut down. Six hundred slain, at the hands of one.
El’rathien knew that the power that flowed through him was not just his own, but that of his gods. El’rathien prayed to the elder gods to aid him through this, and with every chant, they answered. A white light danced and ebbed around him, caressing his wounds, healing him anew. It filled him with renewed vigour, he was faster and stronger, more than any demon could handle. Every strike he made was a perfected killing blow. He was a blur of death as he danced among his enemy, rending asunder any that stood in his way. He was the demon slayer, and he would show them how he had earned that title.
“Enough!” The leader of the demon forces roared, it’s anger reverberated across the entire battlefield. It raised its axe in challenge to El’rathien, and with it, a dark red energy exploded and writhed around the demon. Its minions halted and clashed weapon against shield in a foreboding chorus.
El’rathien raised his sword in acceptance. It was clear to him that the demon had received the favour of his own dark, cruel gods. It would not deter El’rathien from his duty, nor would he be afraid. This was no longer a battle between two warriors but between the ultimate good and evil. A battle between the gods. Both strode toward each other, to the epicentre where only one would leave alive.
The demon and the elf circled for what seemed like an age, searching for the measure of their combatant. Searching for a weakness. Searching for the perfect moment to strike. El’rathien found it first. With a burst of agility, he unleashed a flurry of strikes at the demon. He cut deep thrice, but his foe did not flinch. The demon was fast for his immense size, fast enough to parry and counter the most severe blows. Every clash of their weapons cracked like thunder and flashed like lightning.
The demon weathered the storm of El’rathien’s attack until it found opportunity. A reverse strike to the face, with the haft of its axe, caught the elven warrior off guard. A kick to his disoriented combatant sent him off his feet. El’rathien immediately recovered to a crouch, but the demon was already upon him. The creature swung its axe to cleave and disembowel, the elves speed was all that saved him from death. One of its mighty swings found its mark, knocking El’rathien off his feet once more.
El’rathien reached to the wound at his side, it painted his hand a deep red. His vision was a haze as he tried to focus on his approaching doom. The demon strode steadily toward him, mocking his defeat. El’rathien reached to rub the haze from his eyes, only to discover a wound where one once was. The light that once fuelled him flickered and began to fade. His end approached.
The demon laughed as he rose his axe for the final blow. El’rathien closed his remaining eye, he would meet his end without fear. Images flashed before him. The moment that his King gifted him the sword that lay limply in his hand. The armour that his love had fastened to him before the battle. Gwenleth, he whispered. He saw her face, her immortal beauty. He felt her soft caress, her gentle breath on his neck. I will not die this day, I will return to you.
El’rathien opened his eye as the axe was falling, time seemed to halt at that moment. He gripped his blade tightly as a surge of strength flowed through him. There was no light this time, this strength was his own. His own indomitable will to live. The demons axe fell but struck nothing but the ground. Before it could react, El’rathien’s blade had already struck the creature’s head from its neck. The demon’s body slumped to the floor, lifeless.
El’rathien smiled at his victory. All his strength left him, bringing him back down to his knees with only his sword stopping him from hitting the ground. The demon horde remained before him, with no leader to command them, they would charge any moment now. El’rathien knew that he had no hope, but he would not lie down and admit defeat. Without their leader, they would fall at the walls of his home. He found solace in that thought. With a roar, the horde charged toward him.
The sky above El’rathien darkened, a thousand arrows blocked out the sun. The ground shook with the thunderous hooves of elven cavalry. They charged past El’rathien to clash with the charging horde. The King, Tyran, led the charge. El’rathien laughed, he knew that he would live this day.
The volley felled several ranks of the creatures with deadly precision, moments before the cavalry hit. The momentum and power of the elven warriors on horseback cut deep into the horde with ease. With the king at their head, they were an unstoppable tide of vengeance and fury, a wave of blade and bow. With no leader to quell their fear, the demons broke into retreat, only to be trampled and cut down. The battle was over as swiftly as it had begun.
Tyran cheered in victory, his warriors followed in unison. He removed his helm and surveyed the slaughter that had just ensued. He had lost brave warriors, but the battle had been won. His lands were safe, for now. He looked to El’rathien and began rushing over to him. Where once he was kneeling, he was now led, unmoving.
Gwenleth sat on the edge of the bed were El’rathien lay unconscious. She put her hands on his wounds, and with a pure energy flowing through her, she attempted to heal them. But they would not.
“Do not exhaust yourself, daughter,” Tyran spoke from beside her. Gwenleth had spent three nights at El’rathien’s side. He still drew breath, but he was weakened beyond that of any other elves tolerance.
“Will he live?” She turned to her father, tears glistening down her face.
“He will live. For you, he will live.” Tyran smiled at his daughter. “For your love, he would slay a thousand armies more.”
And that brings The Demon Slayer short story to an end. A big thank you to those that have followed this story, I appreciate your support greatly. I’ve really enjoyed writing this piece, high fantasy is one of my biggest influences for writing, I just hope that I have done the genre justice. As always, thank you for reading.