Serial Fiction- The Hunter: Demonic Uprising. (Part- 1)
Azerius is a hunter. A slayer of those that lurk in the darkness. To those that know of him, he is the hunter. He is the thing that haunts the dreams of monsters and gods, alike. He is the ultimate protector of humanity, but to do so, comes at a price. Every battle is a fight for control… over himself.
In this particular hunt, Azerius is called to arms by his ally, Zero, to investigate an increase in demonic possession. The hunter finds himself in the frozen town of Terafal, where he must face a powerful evil in an unfamiliar environment.
To win this battle, Azerius must ally himself with an ancient species that he thought long extinct. Will a combined force of humanities protectors be able to stop the Demonic Uprising?
“Is there nothing more you can do for her?” She asked. Her eyes were weary from a severe lack of sleep and ringed red from the sting of tears. Her name was Tira. She was the mother of the child that writhed and screamed in a bed just through the door behind her. She spoke to a man. He was tall, muscular and looked far too rough to be in such a place. He wore a hooded, long black coat that covered him entirely. He went by the name of Zero, but she knew that this was not his true name. They stood in a long corridor, its walls lined with fine art and furnishings that only a life of opportunity would allow.
“I have done all that I can.” Zero replied, his voice deep and rough like gravel. “I’ve tried everything that I know. All we can do is wait for the help I’ve sent for.” Despite the harshness of his voice, he spoke softly and with an intellect that denied his appearance.
Zira remained silent and opened the door behind her. Her child flailed and kicked under the bedsheets where she was restrained to her bed. She screamed between indistinct mumbles and groans that did not sound of this world. Zero walked over to the child and placed his hand on her head. She was burning with a fever that should have killed her, and her skin was turning a pale green. As his hand touched her flesh, she stilled, her bloodshot eyes boring deep into his.
“I speak to the demon that resides behind this girl’s eyes,” Zero said, then warned. “He is coming.”
The young girls mouth curled into a grin of cracked and bloodied lip. Her eyes remained locked onto Zero’s.
“Hide behind your smile, little demon.” Zero carried on. “He is not as forgiving as I.” Two loud knocks echoed through the mansion, the sound reverberating around its ancient structure. Zero looked at the door, then back at the child. “And he is here.”
The large man turned to Tira and nodded. Help was here. The moment that Zero removed his hand from the child’s head, she began struggling against her restraints once more. Her screams filled the room with a voice that was not her own. Zero left the room to allow his friend entry, who continued to knock on the door. He’d known this man for as long as he could remember. He’d trained with him. Fought with him. His strength and knowledge were beyond that of any he’d ever known, friend or foe. If any could help him in this situation, it was him.
Zero made his way through the huge and extravagant building. It was a maze of beauty and history. Tira was lucky enough to inherit such a place and such wealth that came with it. However, all the wealth and extravagance in the world could not protect from the darkness that had entered. Zero reached the grand entrance and pushed open the heavy doors. A cold frost swept in with snow from the blizzard that raged outside. A figure hidden in shadow stood there, his long cloak flowing in the rough winds.
“You gonna stand there like an idiot, or invite me in?” A voice asked from beneath a large hood that hid the figures face.
Zero stood aside and let his snow-covered friend enter, the sudden light making the ice on his cloak glisten. Azerius stood shorter and of a lesser stature than Zero, but he knew that in battle, it did not matter. Azerius removed his hood, revealing a closely shaven head and a pair of piercing blue eyes.
“Thank you for coming, Azerius.” Zero patted his friend on the back, two large thuds with his enormous strength, but Azerius barely moved. “Long time no see.”
It had been almost ten years since they had last seen each other, but where Zero had clearly aged, Azerius had not. Since the day that they had met, Azerius had never aged.
“Long time no see indeed, friend.” Azerius replied. “How do you live in this cold? It’s worse than Silvervayne.”
“It grows on you.” Zero smiled.
“So where is this child?” Azerius’ tone indicated that it was time for business. Zero remained silent and motioned him to follow. As they approached, they could hear a muttering that spoke with several voices. They looked at each other, then rushed to the end of the corridor. As one, they kicked through the door to the room that the child led. Zero knew that the muttering was coming from the child, but Tira was nowhere in sight. Azerius rushed to the child without hesitation. There was blood, thick around her mouth and flowing down her chin. Zero went to the other side and found Tira led on the floor, blood pooled around her neck. Reaching for a pulse, Zero confirmed her dead.
“It’s an incantation. We must stop it.” Azerius spoke calmly, drawing a long silver blade from beneath his cloak.
“No, she’s just a child!” Zero pleaded as Azerius brought the blade down in an arc. But instead of the blade’s edge cutting through flesh, he brought the flat of the blade down onto the child’s forehead. As the silver connected with sickly skin, it burned and steamed. The child writhed in agony as the demon within fought to escape. The incantation had stopped and was again replaced with screams.
“Do you know who I am, demon?” Azerius asked. She did not respond. He increased his force against the flat of the blade. Zero remained silent and watched on, then something about his friend disturbed him. His eyes were no longer radiant with blue, but dark pits of black. “Do you know who I am?“ Azerius repeated. His voice had changed. It was like that of a beast mimicking a human.
“The… Hunter.” The demon cried.
“That’s right.” Azerius flicked his eyes back to blue and smiled. “Now, Demon, go back to where you came from and tell your masters who’s coming for them.”
The hunter sheathed his blade beneath his cloak and pulled out a vial of glowing white liquid from a hidden pocket within. The child convulsed and roared at the mere sight of mysterious solution. Zero looked on, as he had all along, an unchanging expression on his face. Azerius knew that his friend relied on him to do what was right. But sometimes, to do the right thing came with risk. The hunter removed the pure silver stopper that held the liquid inside the vial. Zero recognised a rune upon the glass container. It was the work of a white witch.
Azerius placed a hand on the possessed child’s forehead and forced it back into the bed. With her mouth open in panic, he poured the contents of the vial into her mouth. He watched as the faint white glow slid down her throat and pulsed in her chest. The demon within her writhed in agony as the liquid burned like white fire. The child let out a long scream that morphed from seven voices to one as her skin turned from sickly to pale. She silenced and stilled.
“She’s dy…” Zero began to speak, but Azerius halted him, raising a hand before putting his ear close to the child’s mouth to listen for a breath. It was there but fading fast.
“Yes, but she’s not dead yet.” Azerius pulled a second vial from his cloak. It was of the same design but contained a thick red substance instead. He removed the stopper and poured the vial’s contents down her throat. The child led still for a moment as Zero and Azerius watched with hope. After a short while, her skin began to return to colour. Her cracked lips that once bled healed. She opened her eyes, and with them, a cloud of red smoke leaked like tears before dissipating. The demon within her had gone.
“Hey kid. Try not to speak, conserve your energy. You’ve had a rough couple of days.” Azerius spoke to her softly. “Now my big friend here is going to take you to get cleaned up, okay?”
Zero picked the child up in his huge arms without a struggle. He was sure to keep her from seeing her mother sprawled lifeless on the floor. But, above all else, he was sure to keep her from seeing her own blood-stained mouth in a mirror… for the unknown corrupts innocence once witnessed, absolutely and without mercy.
To be continued…