“You will die before this war ends. Are you sure you want to fight this fight?”
I looked at the floor and considered his question. Moans from the wounded nearby hummed through the makeshift healing house. The moss blanketed cobblestone was stained with the blood of the fallen and those who took refuge during the few breaths of peace that a small victory created. The cursed arrow that struck me three days earlier had been replaced by a blackened scar. I could pinpoint precisely where it pierced my flesh, on my right side, just below my lungs. The healers tried to help, but they were not as skilled as the elves in their magic. For me, a half-elf, my aura was unknown to them. I would not survive the journey to any of the Elven Kingdoms without facing an onslaught of enemy forces. Deep down, I understood that I would not heal from this wound. The necromancer who shot me had been slain in battle and even the man sitting across from me knew that the only cure would have come from someone who now lay dead. My back ached as I felt the fiery pain spreading across my ribs. It was difficult to breathe, but it would all be over soon.
“If I was human, this would have killed me already,” I said, attempting a smile but nothing more than a wince fell on my lips. “But because I’m still half-human… I’m faced with mortality.”
“Are not we all?” my friend responded. He rubbed his tired eyes as the sound of battle lingered in the air. It was far in the distance, but that did not mean it was over. In fact, it had just begun.
Magic was no longer enough in this war. Necromancy had become the stronger tool and even our best mages could not stop their advances. Each causality was simply more ammo for our foe. It was only the specially trained Demon Hunters, like myself, that stood a chance at vanquishing them entirely. We sold our souls to walk the line between the living and undead, good and evil, dark and light. A beacon for good, but at a price. When this curse finally consumed my mortal body, I my soul would spend eternity in the Nothingness – a barren wasteland for lost souls and the Demon Hunters, overseen by the Goddess, Cazadora. She spends eternity battling the Demon Hunters against one another to appoint a Champion, but she is never satisfied. Even in death, I will fight for the rest of existence, but anything was better than this pain I now felt.
“There are so few of us left Nadir,” I explained. “I simply cannot abandoned those who stay and fight. After all we have trained for. The vows we took to protect the world from this dark magic… If it may be the end of me, then I will gladly accept my fate. However, I will not take my final breath until I vanquish Mirdra.”
My thoughts faded as the curse tried to take ahold of me again. Mirdra was one of the Necromancers who started this war claiming that she had been cast aside for too long. But little did her cult of followers know, she was once a Demon Hunter. Only a few of us who had lived long enough to remember her still knew this secret. She delved into Necromancy when age began to take a toll on her skill in battle. After numerous warnings from my kin, they finally banished her and revoked her vows in an ancient ritual that had seldom been used. Even my friend, Nadir, was too young to remember these events.
I stood up and shook off the haze of darkness as the curse settled just below my heart. Sunrise was when the winds of death would take me, so I had to be swift. I knew that Mirdra would meet me on the battlefield, so I would not waste another minute in the healing house.
“You are leaving?”
“I am returning to battle.”
With a nod, I left behind the small town of Kamin for the final time and entered the scorched earth only moments later. My silver blade was drawn as I summoned a protective shield against the evil that tainted the land. I would use some of my remaining strength to summon Mirdra from whatever depths she was hiding. A few of the ancient spell, but no one who had a chance at living another day would use it.
A single word will call upon your enemy and drag them into view, read the ancient text. Price to pay for the Hunter will be steep. A hunter turned prey in the eyes of the gods, someone who does not have the discipline to stalk their foe.
“If I use this, I will be prey for the Cazadora in the mortal world,” I whispered while striking down the corpses that tried to break the ranks of good. “But with my time so limited, I will be her prey soon enough.”
A deep breath and a knee to the ground, I placed my hands upon the blackened earth and spoke the word to summon Mirdra.
Suddenly, the earth began to quake at my feet. I felt the connection between me and my enemy as she neared. Just as I opened my eyes, the Necromancer rose out of the ground in a plume of black smoke. The evil smile on her face was filled with familiarity.
“Dara,” she said. “You look a little worse for the wear, don’t you?”
“Hello, old friend.”
“I can heal you from this curse,” she said. “And not just the one placed on you by my men… The curse of mortality. Cazadora will never have you if you join me.”
“You know that isn’t true after summoning you here. Face me and accept your death as I have accepted mine.”
HI EVERYONE! I hope that you enjoyed the past holidays and have a safe Holiday season upcoming. I wanted to throw in a little writing prompt to keep with the theme of darkness as the days are getting shorter and colder here. I am three chapters into the first draft of Prowess and am very excited as to how it’s coming along.
A great way to take some time for yourself with the upcoming days off could be reading Purpose and Preservation! 😉 Or, perhaps, you are trying to check off a few people on Holiday gifts? What better gift than the gift of imagination. Click on the Bookstore tab above for links to purchase it! All of your support is greatly appreciated and helps me get one step closer to realizing my dream of becoming a full time author. And please, if you have read any of my books, go onto the Amazon page and rate it 🙂 Each review really helps me out.