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Reforged (a Diablo III fanfic)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by warlock7, May 10, 2015.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 22
    warlock7

    warlock7 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Chapter 22:


    The man that was known in Town as 'The Demon Hunter' was deep in thought. The lack of nightmares last night, contrary to previous nights… it suggested he was right.
    'The greater demon must've –'


    And then he suddenly stood, so fast that the chair he was sitting on fell noisily to the ground, and aching all over, turned to the window, hand crossbow unfolding from his long sleeve into his waiting hand, already rising to aim at…

    'Nothing? But I could have sworn I sensed a demonic presence there just a moment ago.'

    A knock on the door had him turn his head towards it swiftly; distracting him from the feint whiff of sulfur he would have noticed otherwise. "Who is it?"

    "I was heard a noise. Is everything well?"

    "yes, come in."


    A young man, entered. Pot in hand.

    "We, that is, the mayor, decided to see to breakfast for you. You seemed still in a bad- Don't shoot!"

    Glancing at his hand, which the other man was looking at, the hand crossbow still in it, primed to fire, he lowered it.

    "…" a moment of silence passed between them.

    "…I have breakfast…"

    The Hunter nodded appreciatively, as the man place the pot he had on the table in the room.


    "Where is the pretty Innkeeper?"

    "Still not back-she and the boy with her went with some of the braver men into the old mine, to banish the demons there."

    The Hunter pondered it for a few moments. "…any news from them?"

    "None."

    The Hunter asked him more, about the village, about the news and newcomers, about the abandoned part of the town… Focusing on his meal and listening to the answers.

    Occasionally nodding here and there.


    "What did you send?"

    "Wha?"
    "You sent a massage yesterday. What was it? To who was it?"

    "Who are you?" the Demon Hunter demanded growling, hand crossbow turning towards the other occupant of the room.

    Or would have, had it not been intercepted and turned aside by said occupant.

    The Hunter was strong and trained, but after struggling with the grip he fast noticed it was stronger than it should be…too strong to be human.

    "What are you?"

    "I was born as mortal as you are, but the power of the Dark Lord courses through the veins of its loyal-through my veins. I-"

    "Cultists!" the Demon Hunter spat the word like a foul drink, and struggled against this new foe with renewed vigor.

    To no avail.

    "Ah, so it's working…"

    The Hunter fell, his body no longer holding the strength to move.

    "We were worried, at first, that you would find us. Expose us. It is so much easier to act from the shadows when no one thinks to see us.

    The latest sacrifice brought unexpectedly, too much unnecessary noise."


    "So it was you all along!"

    "Oh, there really are demons in the old mine, still strong, despite your valiant effort. I expect them to decimate the paltry forces sent by the mayor… maybe they would even try to retaliate, making it easier for us to take control of this pathetic little town easier. But as for you…"

    The man then withdrew a long, wicked looking dagger, "Before you die, know that in your failure, you have doomed this town. "

    The Demon Hunter managed to grab the hem of the shirt of his assassin, murmuring 'got you' but had little strength for more. Still after a small twitch, a click was produced followed by a shshshshsh noise.

    "What are you smiling about?"


    A small, round object fell from the helpless figure. It had a short rope from one of its holes, the rope-the fuse, was lit and about to reach its end.

    The Hunter held to the cultist with all his strength.

    The now panicking cultist tried to fight the unbreakable grip of the doomed foe, only succeeding at the very last moment.

    Still it was too late to get away.

    And explosion followed.


    A figure is before her impaled in a wooden pole. About to die. Steps as she gets closer.


    "Wwwhy?" groaning figure asks from the side-it has wings, hoofs and tail-a succubus!

    Closer inspection reveals a massive hole in its chest, no longer bleeding. It is replaced by another, this one familiar.

    "I have but served you, great dark one!" before igniting, screaming as its figure burns.

    Then it is changed, and now that man who died before her, who called her demon is now standing, his stomach bleeding.


    "Would you have killed me to keep your secret, had I not died on my own, hellspawn?"

    Then it is an old man, an old man she knows well-she tries to call his name call his attention, but as her lips move, no words come forth.

    Uncle Deckard does not see the skeletons behind him, too engrossed in his books.


    She approaches to call his attention to them, to call him to leave now, as she so often did, when they travelled the world on his quest, and he got lost in his studies and books.

    Leah reaches for her uncle… Only the hand that falls on his shoulders is red and monstrous.

    As he turns to her, he soon shouts, hurriedly walking backwards, away from her "Demon! Monster!"

    Towards the walking skeletons.


    Finally her voice is heard as she calls "Uncle behind you!" only it is not her voice-it is low masculine one. The one she imagined Him to have.

    Uncle Deckard gets pierced from the back by a skeletal sword. As she screams her horror, Tymeon is there instead. The boy is unmoving, his eyes empty of soul, of will, she calls to raises a hand in gesture, and only then notices the chain in her hand, it is tied to the choking collar on the boy before her. A boy who suddenly drops, like a marionette with its string suddenly cut all at once.


    The succubus from the mine-the one that made an offer appears instead.

    "I offered to share the bounty with a fellow demon, but you felt insulted, and like a true demon, sought to strike at me instead. You devoured my soul, and feasted on my blood, as I would have on theirs. You are a true DEMON! I hope you choke on me!" with these words she started inflating, growing bigger and more obese, fast reaching impossible shape and size as her very skin stretched…until it could stretch no more. And then…

    BOOM.


    "Wha-"

    "Calm down, lass, calm down."

    "Leah, calm, please…"

    it was the voice of her companion that brought her back, his eyes uncertain, containing fear, and…something else.


    She soon recognized the feeling of power –she was about to unleash some of it on the people here… she has almost attacked Tymeon. And other people.

    "Sorry, bad dreams…"

    "Tis natural to have nightmares, after what happened yesterday, in that accursed mine. Especially with the big noise just now."
    "Big noise?"

    "Aye, just moments before you awoke in panic, last time I heard something like that there was a torch and an entire barrel of oil.

    "Were you watching me?"

    "You seemed troubled, kept moving in your sleep, the boy didn't know what to do. I was just about to-well never mind, its moot point now anyway. Good ya woke up now though, we leave soon.

    She was thinking about her latest dream as she started eating her breakfast, and almost threw up as a stray thought occurred to her. 'Did I really eat the succubus' soul?' She found it challenging to keep her meal inside afterwards, and had a few close calls.


    She was still pondering about the dream as they started the march back to town.

    The man from before approached again, trying to cheer her up.
    "Bet the townspeople all expecting us, ready with heroes' welcome."

    Leah smiled for politeness sake, but the man frowned-showing it was not a convincing smile, and left.


    There was nobody waiting for them.


    The half napping guard near the gate seemed to be shaking his sleep away ,and then almost fell in his rush to meet them, though.

    "Hey-you're back! Where is the rest of your group? How did it go? Did you find anyone?"

    "You-you mean they didn't get back?" Leah asked, astonished.

    "Who didn't come back?"

    "We found some of the people that gone missing the last few months, had some of us go back with them, while the rest made sure we dint leave any of the demons , lest they do more trouble later. "

    "N-no, nobody came since you lot left, nobody at all!"

    "Nobody?" a man whose name Leah still wasn't sure about asked, shocked. Others started muttering.

    "And where is everybody anyway?"

    "The mayor's house got blowin-'perrently one of the Demon Hunter's traps got exploded by mistake or somefin… one of our boys was inside with him-and now the entire guest bedroom is red from blood and gore. Broken equipment…what a fool way to die… "


    "Who? Who was it in the room with the Demon Hunter?" Tymeon asked. The urgency in his strained voice was strange.

    "Lofweyr… came to live in town last year. Lost his family years ago…"

    The boy who was her companion swallowed thickly, nodding.

    "Ya knew him?"

    "We… we met, talked, a bit just before I left…"


    "So, this is the Inn… wonder when it will be open… And where is the lazy innkeeper? Shouldn't they be working now?" Liaza groused. Any other day she would have stopped to take in the city, but now she was tired and hungry, and really could use some food. 'And if the owner is a man… maybe I could also feed…'



    Author Notes:
    Leah is NOT the new Prime Evil... nor the most powerful demon-even ignoring that she was not the only one freed by the shattering of the Black Soulstone. as for whether Diablo is connected to her... Spoilers.

    In the last paragraph of previous chapter had Tymeon following Leah to the east... always, to the east. through desert, jungle, and hell itself-that was a reference to Marius, the companion of the Dark Wanderer-Diablo, from the second game. I was a bit disappointed that none seemed to pick up on it. Or the comparison of those two and its implication about future plot.

    Liaza is now in town as well. will she recognize the cultists better? see next chapter!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 23
    warlock7

    warlock7 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Chapter 23:


    “Where the hell did they go to then?”

    “Got it right-to hell pro’bly-that was a cursed place-we was lucky to leave them mines alive, well most of us…”

    “What you all talking about? Make sense!”

    More people came, and started arguing, voices rising.

    Angers rising.

    It was about to devolve into a fight, between the tired and frustrated mob that was fought demons , and the confused and angry crowd that remained behind, who waited forrrescued people returned, to get some of the friends and family members who went on that rescue quest die, without saving and bringing back anyone, and even an exploded house to boot.

    “…What’sthis entire ruckus about?”


    Apparently the mayor himself was no worse for wear, despite the loss of lodging.

    “They returned empty handed-“ “th-“ “And then they-“

    “Silance! I see some of our ‘brave’ would be heroes returned. About damn time! Where are the rest of you lot? And where are the people you went to save?”

    “there really were demons in that mine. Small and vicious imps as well as big, ugly, horned monsters from the pits of hell.They killed scores of us, though we killed them all back. Found missing people, sent them back with Lemy and his boys before going to see if anyone was left there, they shoulda been here long before us.”

    “Where could they be? Lemyain’t daft enough to try something- he’d go back as soon as he could. And where is the girl that went with ya men?”



    ‘Maybe we should have waited with them, rather than going back to the inn now. But the others offered us this chance for respite, saying that a girl and a kid should rest. As displeased as I was by the dismissal, Tymeon seems still unsettled, and… I … I lost control back there. Will it happen again? The more time passes the more I find about my new self,and the more lost I feel. ‘


    There was an uncomfortable silence. ..

    In an attempt to divert her thoughts from their dark destination, she sought something to distract herself with-“Where do you think the Mayor will live now? They said his house was destroyed-do you think he will want to stay in our Inn?”

    “…” Tymeon didn’t say anything. In fact, he seemed too deep in his thoughts to even notice she said something.

    He did stop instantly once Leah placed a hand on his shoulder, uncertainty obvious in his eyes as he looked at her.

    “If you want to talk, I’m here, and always ready to listen.”

    The boy looked away.

    “Do you think we should invite the Mayor for now? We do have spare rooms aplenty. He reminds me a little of Mayor Holus, from… a town I… used to spend much time in.” she finished lamely, the last part spoken in melancholy as sadness followed her remembrance of Tristram. “There was a funny story once, where Mayor Holus-“



    “Not them…” Liaza groaned.

    First, the town only had a single open Inn. Only open was a misnomer, as it was closed since morning, and maybe before.

    And now, tired of waiting and hungry, she spotted the unwelcome sight of her most recent trouble, going straight towards her.

    She recognized the boy easily enough, though he looked serious and sad, as if towards penitence and execution.

    The girl with him was the bitch that nearly tore her wings off, now in her human guise. She wondered how the coven hiding here would take another demon poaching on their territory.


    ‘On one side they actually know what they are doing and have numbers on their side while she has reverted recently. On the other,the other half-breed girl was surprisingly powerful, much more than the wretched fools who banished her from their hunting ground of a town.’



    And maybe, she would see about getting some of the lust-filled blood from the boy-he was a cute one, and boys tasted better than men.

    The thought of sinking her claws in a prey thought to have escaped made her feel all tingly and impatient.



    Leah tried to encourage Tymeon, she did. Starting with the stories about Holus, the once mayor of New Tristram and later traveling merchant seen at bastion’s keep-she did wonder where he was now. Other stories, about other funny incidents she happened to witness from the side followed. From both Tristram and other places she has been to.

    Her failure to lift his spirits lowered hers. Her friend, the only friend she had now, was despairing. She felt the echoes of a mental pain from him she would not have noticed had she been… as she was before.


    As they got closer to their new home, she found herself feeling more ill at ease. It was as if a dark miasma was lingering at the tavern.
    “It’s closed.”

    Leah turned towards the source of the voice, and felt an irritation.

    “What are you doing here?”

    “I’m just passing through, but the Inn is closed. Has been since morning.”

    “Of course- We were away.” Leah’s tone was indignant as she checked her pockets, until withdrawing a key from one, and opening the lock on the door.

    “You sure are moving up in the world-from a poor wonderer to an innkeeper. And so fast.”

    Glancing at the weary Tymeon, who was gazing wearily at the girl he knew to be yet another succubus, feeling the fear he felt, she figured he best be given rest and respite now.

    “Why don’t you go to the back and rest? I will handle things here, for now.”

    He averted his eyes and nodded once, before going towards his rooms.



    “I’m surprised to find you here.”

    “So am i- I thought you would avoid this area.“

    “Why?”

    “Oh, you mean you didn’t know? I would like to warn you, but it has been a long journey for me, and it seems, that unlike you, I’m not well accustomed to travel. Were I to rest a bit, I surely will have the vigor the give my warning in full.”

    “We have a free room for you, now talk.”

    “Could you maybe give me something to wet my tongue? Talking ten to make one thirsty.”

    Leah felt outrage at those words, a desire to humble this arrogant fool who thought herself superior, to teach this lowly succubus spawn to not insult its betters-thoroughly.

    She clamped hard on it, and went towards the counter, reaching towards wine, as she kept glancing at the other demoness in town.

    “And make sure it’s the good stuff, please.”

    Alright, that was too much.

    Leah picked up the bottle of the cheapest swill at hand, and poured into a tankard, glaring at the other girl.

    Liaza picked it and after a sip pouted at the other girl. “IS this really the best you have? What kind of a hole are you running here?”

    The desire to eviscerate intensified.

    The half succubus must’ve felt it, because she hastily relented.

    “Alright, I’ll take what I can get. You may not know, but there is a coven of succubae here…and. Well, let’s just say they really didn’t like me poaching on their hunting grounds, and I really disliked the company of these condescending bitches. “

    “What are you not telling me?” Leah asked, trying to push some of her demonic power to touch the surface, to intimidate half succubus into telling her the part she felt Liaza was still hiding. What else was there she didn’t know?

    Liaza lowered her head, in what could be a bow, and spoke quietly.

    “They had other demons, under the control of the succubae, they even had mortal agents. A cult of some of the townswomen-that’s how the contacted me with their offer.”

    Leah nodded her head slightly, in acceptance.

    “Could I burrow the boy? I had not Fed for days, and truly hungry for more than just food. I only even came here because I was driven away from everywhere else. The roads are becoming more hectic. It won’t harm him-he will even enjoy it.”

    “No! You will not lay a finger on him. And if I hear you talking about my friend like that again-”

    “No need to threaten me, I understand. “ A panicked half succubus said in a distressed hurry, waving her hands to emphasize the ‘no’ part. “But you better claim and mark him, before some other hussy will. A demoness would be attracted to such a tasty morsel. And since I can’t touch your pet, i have to go look for a Meal elsewhere…”

    “You better behave, and not harm anybody, or else-“

    “I will keep your peace, ‘my lady’.” Liaza said in a mocking tone, as she bowed, while smirking, and left.

    After a few moments, Leah closed her eyes, and quietly said, “It’s ‘my lord’.”



    Tymeon knew he should have gone straight to his room, as his order, polite as it seemed, was.

    But the death of the demon Hunter could only be the action of the cultists-the ones he knew were in this town, met himself, and yet haven’t warned the mistress he was now bound to serve about.

    He was too afraid of her wrath-the power she displayed slaughtering the succubaeand other demons just yesterday… the hellfire he sensed in her then-drawing him like a moth to flame. And that scared him just as much.

    And the worshipers of the Dark Lord he met in secret-they unnerved him too. Did they find out he was already serving another dark lady, rather than the Dark Lord they did, and intended to kill him for that?

    When she placed her hand on his shoulder earlier, he felt how her strength forced him to stop. When she said that he could talk to her, what could it be, but an opening to confess all his secrets himself, before she punished him harshly for not informing her earlier?


    Still he found himself listening in on the two demons-his sense of self-preservation did not let him ignore what could very well be the discussion over his continued life.

    Hearing that the succubus, will be occupying a room in the Inn, that he will be spending the night so close to her presence… well now he knew he will not be sleeping that night. He shuddered at the remembrance of his recent nightmares starring ‘Liaza’.

    When she revealed about the succubi, (likely from the mine) having mortal followers in town, Tymeon wondered if she meant the cultists, or was there another group?

    ‘Just how many demons and their worshipers are there in this half empty town anyway?’

    He had a momentary panic at as ‘Liaza’ asked to ‘feed’ on him. the dreams he had ever since their first meeting numbed the desire for it he might have had otherwise.

    He was mortified and ashamed to find that numbness gone, when Leah was mentioned instead in that context. A traitorous part of himself was even eager for ‘marking’ and ‘claiming’… right until the next sentence, where he was mentioned attractive to female demons-and the reminder that Leah was not a pretty girl, but a demon, was like cold water on those embers of desire.

    He then reached for his amulet, reminded of the fate of his parents, as tears silently fell down his cheeks.
     
    rifern, Pepihax, Muda Muda :P and 2 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 24
    warlock7

    warlock7 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Chapter 24:


    She dreamed of tall Spires, of white and silver, stretching into blue sky, of beautiful, harmonious music bringing calm and peace to the soul. Luminescent figures leisurely flying above.

    Suddenly it all stopped, as the world itself turned red, the glowing angels, transforming into demons, their wings of pure light taking flesh and sin, becoming spiked growths as they proceed to slaughter each other with sharp blades that used to be arms, the music is replaced by the screams of the damned ,red growth covers parts of the marble like floor, tainting it with soot, ash and blood.


    and suddenly brilliant light illuminates all, as a glowing figure in magnificent armor approaches her. She sees Tyrael, as he was before his fall, iridescent and magnificent. The red haze disappears as the corrupted angels disintegrate, and the howls are silenced.

    "I go to heaven, and Curse you to the depths of hell, Demon!" he announces. The voice is that of Tyrael, but resonating, holding divine quality and power, as he draws his sword.
    She feels her body hating and dreading it.


    "I Judge you to eternal damnation!" The Archangel of Justice proclaims, and swings mighty El'druin.
    She feels something within her recoiling.


    Leah wakes.


    It skittered, still hiding, still hungry.

    It fell the call of the master, suddenly appearing, drawing it to the big house in the part with the lots of uglies, and then vanishing, like something that always close but never within reach-it heard mortal prey having things like that, calling it, what was the word? Ah, right, dreams…

    It hid again, as more uglies moved past, their life's blood calling to be spilt.

    But no, It had keep hiding, to find the master.

    It waited quietly, and then saw a bird, looking for something on the ground.

    All sneaky-quiet, it got closer to bird, stopping in place whenever the bird turned to look at it. A bit closer, stopping, another step and stopping, about to step –and stopping midstep, waiting for bird to turn, finishing step, another step, waiting, as bird looked at it for a long time. Waiting some more. Pounce!

    It bit off the bird's head, then ran into its favorite hiding spot in the big bush near the wall beyond which it always stank of rot, where it enjoyed slowly eating bird.
    'Me will wait for the master demon to appear again, and then it will serve. Strong demon master kill all. Yes, good!'

    None but the now dead pigeon noticed about the malicious presence.


    A puddle was still, then it started trembling, and soon distorted as a wheel moved right through it. A wagon passed through, followed by another.

    "Are you sure we going the right way?"

    "Yes, I've been to this place before, I am familiar with the roads.
    "Are we there yet?"
    "Not yet, be patient!"
    "I See the gates!"

    The caravan proceeded towards an empty, open, creaking gate.
    "I don't like the look of this place"

    As they entered, they saw empty streets, and empty houses.

    Two wagons and a little more than a dozen people stopped as they stepped inside the town.
    "Anybody here?" one man yelled.
    Only the cawing of the fleeing ravens broke the silence.

    "This place-it is cursed!"Another exclaimed. "Cursed! Cursed! Cursed!" it echoed.

    "I feel a chill here, which has nothing to do with the cold." Agreeing nods followed.

    The only woman among them frowned, bow drawn and at the ready, looking around. "Maybe we came too late?"

    "We came here for a reason", an expensively dressed man said",and I won't turn back just because you became craven, that said, Captain, I want you to send a scouts, we better at least see if the entire town is empty, if it is, we will leave."

    The captain, a man wearing a breast plate with a sword and a kite shield-the most well armored of the group, nodded his assent.
    "Sargeant Jahleen, take three of the men and scout the streets, see if you can find anyone or anything. Check the taverns if they are unlocked-for clues, and if they empty too, supplies, don't bother with other buildings."



    Liaza took her sweet time licking the last delicious drops of blood from her lips.

    'Ah, that's better.'

    The half succubus leisurely walked towards the empty part of the town, wondering at the decline in population.

    'Did those harlots became voracious in their appetites? If they don't stop everyone will abandon town and there won't be any cattle left to feed on! There are few young men left as it is! There won't be anyone but old men or boys too young for lust remaining…blegh.'

    Walking on an utterly empty street unnerved her, though.

    She did spot some empty buildings that looked not yet robbed. Places to explore past nightfall. Hopefully some will still have tradable goods.

    As she continued walking, Liaza found herself drawn to a certain alley, towards a certain building.

    She fallowed the siren song leading her… And then something hit her on the head from behind and everything went black.



    The first thing she noticed was chanting.

    The second was a great headache.

    As she opened her eyes, blinking the pain and grogginess away, Liaza had to stare.

    "So you awake, at last.

    She was tied to an alter, surrounded by what looked like a dozen red robed individuals, who all had cowls hiding their faces.
    Red runes decorated the floor around her, infernal nature of which felt in her bones. The smell of blood lingered in the air.

    "I know that I look like a perfect virgin sacrifice, but I haven't been a virgin long time, boys, so you should release me and try someone else. I know a girl that would fit well. Leah, with the tavern? The new Innkeeper? now she is, without a doubt, a virgin. Us girls can tell."

    "Silence! Even if you speak the truth, your fate is sealed!" one of them, who looked like the leader, said.

    "Are you sure you won't reconsider? I could more then make it up to you… after all how many of you still are virgins? Something I would gladly help with. I'll even help you get my replacement –"

    The half succubus couldn't tell if any were tempted by her offer, her head hurt still, and her sense for lust was disoriented.

    "You feeble attempts at escaping your fate as the sacrifice for The Dark Lord will not work!"

    "You really, shouldn't use me as sacrifice, I am bad at being a sacrifice-now that Leah girl, she will make a great sacrifice, I just know it! With her you will get major demonic attention!"

    The Chanting grew louder and more intense, as the speaker of the group drew closer, wicked looking knife in hand.

    "You are not afraid. Why is it that you are not afraid, little girl?"

    Her headache finally abetting, Liaza could now concentrate. She smirked.


    Author Notes: Thanks to all my readers, and especially to those who reviewed.
    In her dream, Tyrael, in his angelic form (how i was before his fall at the start of Diablo 3) said the same words, A dying militiaman said to Leah when she woke from her berserk haze in the demon infested mine, in chapter 20.
    The second segment, was partially inspired by SnotKill, in the D1 quest 'Ogden's sign'. it seems to foreshadow events to come.
     
  4. Nianque

    Nianque Verified Dragon

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    ...Well that's a hilarious mishap going on. "Sacrifice this human for the Dark Lord! ...Oh wait it's actually a demon."
     
  5. Vampirelordx

    Vampirelordx If your wondering what I like the name says it all

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    This is really good really wish more people read it and discussed.
     
  6. warlock7

    warlock7 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I wish so too...
    if you have any suggestions questions etc... lets discuss.
    and reminder that Liaza is a Succubus, not a demon known for great strength.
    next chapter should be interesting...
     
    Jarudazuigu likes this.
  7. jgalue

    jgalue Know what you're doing yet?

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    I have just binged throught this story and i think is good, Leah is belivable specially after what she went throught, also i found your omake with DxD intriguing, you should post this on another forum like spacebattles or sufficient velocity, so more people can read this.
     
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  8. warlock7

    warlock7 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    i post this story on Fanfiction dot net. I dont want to risk SB and SV censorship due to some mature elements of this story.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 25
    warlock7

    warlock7 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Chapter 25:

    The air was cold, as night was falling, and the town, growing darker. A lone figure was skulking through the night, its features obscured by the darkness. The figure stumbled, and with visible difficulty rose again, looked around, limping, hurried to its destination with renewed vigor.

    It saw no one, nor did anyone see it. Or the trail of blood that followed it.

    A dog suddenly started barking nearby, sensing evil-the figure turned, and leaped.

    The dog wailed once, and grew silent.


    The night was slow, and the opening door draw attention from the idling Leah at once.

    She smiled and was about to offer a greeting, hoping for new, interesting guests to the Inn. That hope was dashed, however, as Leah got a good look at the person who entered, her smile turning into a frown.
    "What are you doing here?"

    When no reply came, Leah walked towards the comer, until she stood in their face, and unavoidable had their attention. "I am talking to you!"
    "I am returning to my room-or are you going to kick me out? Reneging on deals and lying is the first step to embracing your heritage as a monster." Liaza mocked with a challenging smile.
    Leah wanted to wipe that infuriating smile off her face. With a swipe of her claws.

    "You wouldn't want to leave outside in the cold darkness; you are not some demon, after all, are you?"

    "If I could only tear your wings off, to remind you that you could have, and should have flown away…"Leah snarled.

    "But that would expose me, and in turn, expose you. Even if you stop me from telling on you, they might see me, and even if they won't, people remember me staying here, and will wonder where I disappeared to, and you are new in town yourself. Suspicion towards strangers can easily incite a mob, and the mayor's house exploded so recently-people are still on edge."

    With those words, the half-succubus walked past Leah and to her room, not waiting for response as she slammed the door.

    Had Leah followed her, she would have seen Liaza stumbling, leaning on the bed, as her illusion dropped, showing her clothes to be torn, covered with blood, grime and dirt, recent wounds on her arms and torso, proof that some of the blood was her own.


    'How dare she! I will make her pain legendary! Flay the skin of her with a whip made from her own impudent tongue! I am-Leah! I am Leah! I am better than that! I won't be like the monsters who happened to give birth to me-I am no demon lord.'

    But was she? Her father was a mortal possessed by the Lord of Terror himself, or was it the Lord of Terror, possessing some mortal-she now knew this much. And the she that awoke in that field was a demon, not mortal. Worse yet, Leah felt parts of the other demon lords stuck in her soul-even if she was sure these were small parts.

    "Ugh! If only I had your wisdom to guide me, Uncle, then maybe I could make sense of it."

    The girl closed her eyes, remembering the kind, grandfatherly face of Deckard Cain, the only person to consistently love her during her years, before his death-and hers.
    'You would have probably said something about how it is not what I am, but who I am, that matters most! And I am Leah!'


    She then held her head, grimacing, as she felt the echoes of the seven Evils, each proclaiming their own name, and while none of the voices was strong or loud by itself, together, they fused into a painful cacophony.
    It would have been easy to bring each and every one individually to submission and subsume them, but it was different to fight them together. The reincarnated demon that was Leah lost sense of anything else, focusing only on winning the mental battle. Just as she won, a hand touched her shoulder, breaking her concentration.

    "What's wrong, lass?" a handsome guardsman asked, concerned.
    Leah kept her eyes close, wresting control over the desire to incinerate the man holding her and devour his soul. After a few moments that stretched too long, she felt her internal hell quieting and settling deep in her core, and hope none of it showed as she opened her eyes and looked into his.
    "Nothing, just a headache."
    "You should take better care for yourself, girl you shouldn't forget to eat-sometimes people who skip to many meals get headaches over it. You should go eat something right now… And if you happen to have some leftovers I will be happy to share the meal-for pay, of course, I have coin with me."

    Leah nodded and went to the kitchen to prepare a meal for the two of them. After all, better to eat with him, then to eat him. She hoped some food will calm her demons too.


    Far from them, in the nearby kingdom of Khanduras, once under the rule of King Leoric, deep inside the royal dungeons, previously slumbering ghosts awoke, they were called for action! Summoned from their rest once again-their monarch prompted them to rise and fulfill their duty.

    Away from mortal eyes, the spirits did their ghostly work. As arcane magics illuminated the place, words of power were chanted, unheard by mortal ears.



    At a noise, she woke up, hand outstretched, dainty nails ready to change into claws or draw upon what infernal magics she could, ready for an ambush.
    Suddenly the noise repeated itself-nearly giving her a heart attack.

    'Oh… it's just someone knocking.' The girl blinked the sleep away from her eyes, and tiredly looked around the room-and another, stronger and more insistent knock on the door had her turning towards it so fast she felt her neck protesting. 'Don’t tell me she actually tattled on me! She's a half-demon too! Did she really think she could get away from consequences?'


    Panic fueled adrenaline led to a swift awakening, as the young woman went for swiftly packing her belongings, and started plotting potential escape routes.
    And then the door opened, startling her.

    There was no angry mob bursting in, but her counterpart-the other 'Inverted' in the Inn.

    'Did she come to finish me personally, or to taunt me before an angry mob rushes in?'
    "I brought you breakfast." Leah said, and Liaza noticed the tray in her hand. "You slept through breakfast, but I saved some for you." The Innkeeping demoness continued.
    Liaza took the tray cautiously, keeping her eyes on the other girl. "Were you expecting a thank you?"

    Leah was about to say something, but stopped, shaking her head instead. "Is being an utter bitch part of demonic etiquette?" she quietly asked.

    Liaza forced herself to smile mockingly. "What other kind of etiquette did you expect from creatures of evil? Polite manners fit for ladies of the court? Sorry to disappoint you, princess, but among demons the strong rule the weak, who scrap and die at the whim of their lords-which is more often than you would appreciate, seeing as how half-breeds tend to be on the weak side." Receiving a frown and a silence, Liaza continued after a short pause.
    "I also heard that some demons take joy at tormenting what they consider half-mortal upstarts. Showing them their place. You better not get banished to hell-the welcoming committee will enjoy and appreciate such 'return to roots', but you won't."

    At the grimace and flinch those words elicited, Liaza widened her smile. "Do you wish for more 'etiquette lessons'? Our 'shared relatives' from that plane love to gossip about our future visits there. Why, I could even send you for early scouting."

    Mentally, the half-succubus was urging the other half-demon to leave.

    Leah glared at her. "I don't know why I even try, sometimes!" and with a huff left.

    She did not see the look of relief that briefly flashed on Liaza's face at her departure.


    It was afternoon, when it started getting darker, that new guests entered her inn. A group of merchants and their guards. Apparently a caravan arrived at the cordoned, now empty part of the town, and went unnoticed.
    The tired group was happy to learn Leah had room and food for them. Leah, however was rather unhappy to learn the news they had brought.
     
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