Blaze

August 20, 2012
By Profiscus, Billings, Montana
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Profiscus, Billings, Montana
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Favorite Quote:
I am death itself


Author's note: Everything in this book i saw in a dream

The author's comments:
There are more chapters. This one is probably the most refined and polished of most the chapters.

Chapter 1


The sword glinted in the sun as he held the blade at the ready; His three enemies in front of him. They stood in the midst of a forest.



Blane was of regular height, well built, eighteen, having dark brown hair. Blane had been traveling towards town when the highwaymen had stopped him. He looked from one to the other. His eyes fixed on the leader, who tallest of the men stepped forward, “Give us your ven and we won't have to hurt you.”


Blane had a pack of weapons and armor on his back. They would slow him down, but he needed to maneuver to a better position in order to buy time to relieve himself of the load. “And what if I don't?” he said, backing up slowly, so as not to alert them.


“Then we may be obliged to take it from you kind sir,” said the leader, laughing menacingly.


Blane had now moved back against a tree. He took his pack off quickly and set it down, “You may have to just do that then, because for the sake of a town I am not handing my ven or my pack to you or anyone.”


The leader's smile vanished and he motioned for one of his men to attack. With no consideration to skill, the highwayman wildly leaped, leading with a thrust. Blane parried the blade to his left and punched the man with his free hand. The bandit stumbled back with a broken nose. He yelped in pain.


The bandits were enraged. All three came at their prey, fury leading their hands.


Blane ducked under the leader's sloppy thrust while blocking a sword swing aimed at his left leg. The man on his right was momentarily blocked by the tree. Blane punched with his right hand at the leader's gut sending the fool reeling. He dove and rolled forward just in time to avoid a sword slicing down from the man on his right. The bandits surrounded him quickly. Blane flipped his sword to his right hand and swung, catching the man on his right with the edge of the sword. The blow had landed on the thigh; wounded, the bandit fell back.


Suddenly a pain shot through Blane's left shoulder as a blade was thrust into it. He staggered to his right, his shoulder bleeding. The bandit laughed as the leader recovered. The third bandit, was dragging himself off to the side. Blane knew his arm was useless. He regretted taking off his armor earlier that day.



The two remaining bandits faced Blane and he thought it was over, but as if out of thin air an arrow came flying from the brush at the side of the road. It firmly tore itself through the heart of the leader. As Blane began to lose consciousness he saw several more arrows loosed striking down the others.


The last thing that went through Blane's mind as he passed out was, “Forest guard.”


Some time later Blane came to. He was lying in a bed with clean sheets, arm bandaged, and his pack lying next to him. He was in a small cottage. A woman sitting in the corner looked up and smiled, “Welcome back. You've been out quite a while.”


Blane sat up and looked at her. She was small, with light blonde hair, and green eyes; her beauty was indeed stunning. “My name is Silvhem.” The girl said. “I have been watching over you since we found you yesterday.


“Where am I?” He blurted out.


“In the town of Gramsboth.”


Blane was relieved that he had made it. “This package consists of armor and weapons. It's a delivery for the town militia.”


Silvhem's face lit up. “We have been expecting you for the past few days. We didn't know if some misfortune had befallen you.”


Silvhem gave Blane some instructions and took her leave. Blane sat up and was still a bit wobbly, so much so that he almost fell, except that his hand caught the bed post.


As soon as he was able, he got dressed, ate, and started off towards the town hall with the pack of weapons strapped to his back. He walked through the market, which possessed a rare cleanliness not seen in most places of commerce. Most of the people were meandering around in circles. They seemed to be frightened as though evil things lurked among them around every corner. Those that possessed blades wore them openly at their sides. Blane wondered what a little town, such as this could possibly need with so much weaponry.


Excuse me for a moment dear readers for I have forgotten to mention where we are. We are in the world called Dulveda. It is a lush planet with many green forests. Monsters and friendly beasts alike run wild. The world has been split into the northern and southern kingdoms, both wanting power. We are in the northwest part of the northern kingdom, a small village called Gramsboth.


Blane stopped at a bakers stand. Turning to the owner he asked, “What news of the kingdom today?”


The baker gave him an odd look, “Where have you been?”


“Unconscious since yesterday.”


“Well not much has transpired, unless you count another raise in taxes.” The man laughed heavily.


Blane bought some bread and left. Everyone was quiet and no one greeted him. Soon he found the town hall. Two armed guards blocked the gate. There was a wooden palisades surrounding the building. Blane told them why he was there and they admitted him. The gate cracked open and Blane walked in with his package strapped firmly to his back.


The town leader met him at the front door of the building itself. “We have been awaiting your arrival master Blane. I am glad to see that our forest did not claim another innocent life today.”


Blane smiled and said, “I am very glad to have made it here in one piece. I do not think that I shall stay long though.” He stopped talking for a moment as someone caught his eye. It was Silvhem, walking around carrying packages. He smiled and said, “Here are your weapons. They are all in there.” He unstrapped his pack and it thudded as he dropped the heavy load onto the table at his left.


The leader's eyes lit up as he saw the package. “We needed these supplies desperately. Thank you. I hope that you will accept compensation for the troubles you had?”


Blane nodded and said, “I believe that I will be staying in town for a few days. If I could use a room at the inn without charge that would be compensation enough, for my injuries.”



The leader thought this a good idea and agreed without hesitation.


Blane turned to leave then stopped. Talking over his shoulder he inquired, “Why do you need these weapons?”



The leader looked back at him, “Security for the townsfolk.”


Blane didn't like the answer, but he went on his way. On his way out of the building he got directions to the inn from a passerby. Off he went in the direction that had been given. Who was he to question an order of weapons anyway? It was only his job to deliver the weapons after all. He eyed some children playing, as he approached the inn.


When he reached the inn, it was late in the day. The sun was setting as the door closed behind him. A wave of noise and smells hit him as he entered slowly. The room was dimly lit with candles. It had a jovial air about it. Blane sat down in a corner booth and waited to order a drink. Almost as soon as he sat there, two other men sat at the table as well. Both were large and strong looking. One was bare headed and the other had brown hair. The one that had hair announced them, obviously out of his wits from the heavy drink, “I'm Jared and this be my friend, James. It looks as if ye have some money to spare. How about buying us some refreshments?”


Blane didn't even look up as he responded, “I think you have had enough.”


The two looked at each other and then sat down at the other side of the table. “I don't think you understand. We weren't really asking. If you wish to keep your teeth I suggest you get us something.”


Blane looked at him in the eye and said, “Jared, right? I don't think now is the time or place to rob someone.”


Jared glared at Blane but held his peace as he got up to leave. James had more to drink and was getting quite loud, “I won't let you leave this table until you get me a drink!”


People had gathered in a circle when James had shouted. Blane got up and attempted to walk away, but James grabbed his shoulder and tried to whirl him around. Bad move. Blane used the mans weight against him and threw James over his unharmed shoulder. The man landed heavily on the floor. He rolled and got up. Blane was ready.


James came in swinging hard. He was off balance because he was drunk. Still, intoxication increased his rage. Blane ducked under one fist and blocked the other with his arm. Blane's leg came under in a wide sweep and James was speaking to the floor once again.


He got back up still attacking. Wildly swinging so that one wild blow caught Blane in the stomach and he fell back into the circle of people. They eagerly shoved him back into the brawl. One man quickly made an exit from the back of the circle, out the door.



Blane came back in only to find his face smashed by Jame's fist. Blane rolled down onto the floor stunned. James stood above him laughing. “Get up little one.”


Blane struggled back up, nose bleeding. He readied himself. He hadn't come this far just to be beat by some drunken idiot. In came the fists, and Blane dodged nimbly to his left, bringing one hand down on Jame's hand and the other on the shoulder, then brought his knee up. He felt and heard the snap, as Jame's elbow folded the wrong way, breaking the bone.


James fell away screaming, his arm hopelessly twisted backwards. Blane smiled at the astonished crowd. “And that's how you rid yourself of a problem.” He spat on James as he sat back down in the booth. A bartender came over. The man was a giant. He was at least a few heads taller than James. Blane looked at him in astonishment.


The man spoke, “I am Ryan. Nice fighting back there. I reckon you could teach me something for the right price.” he paused, “Anyways, can I get you something?”


“A drink, I don't care what brew, and some information.”


Ryan glanced quickly around then sat down. The chair creaked under his weight. “What kind of information?”


“The kind that is not given without first, some payment.”



“Show me the ven first.”


Blane handed him a few shiny gold coins. Ryan snatched them up and then waited. Blane spoke in a low voice and said, “What does the leader of such a small town need with so many weapons?”


Ryan looked at him with a harsh gaze. He lowered his voice and said, “You best be not meddling with the affairs of this town. I can tell you one thing...”


Ryan didn't get the sentence out, for at that moment the inn door swung open and several guards came marching in. They looked around and then headed right for Blane's table. The head guard stopped and said, “Come with me. You are under arrest.”


Blane thought it was for the fight, so he headed with them. He was determined to prove it was self defense. As he walked towards town hall people sneered at him. Obviously the man who had walked out had summoned the guards.


He was searched and his weapons were removed as he entered the building, except for a small dagger hidden his boot. The town leader sat at his desk and looked up at Blane when he finished studying a parchment, “You have some explaining to do.”


Blane looked him in the eye, “The fight was not started by me. It was brought on by another.”



“Oh please spare me your stories. We know why you are here, spy.”


“Wait spy? I am no spy. Why would a spy bring you weapons?”


The mayor laughed saying, “That is one of the oldest tricks in the book. You needed a way in, and obviously this is the only way you could think of.”


“If you know so much then where did your suspicion come from and how would I accomplish such a feat?”


The mayor sneered, “Oh that is the easy part fool. Now tell me why have you chosen me as your target? Consider it your confession for the afterlife.”

Blane didn't know what to say. He sat for a few minutes before replying, “So what now? You kill a man with no actual proof that he has done anything?”


The mayor was a bit taken aback. “I regret to tell you that bandits had named you as an assassin after we caught them raiding a country shack outside the walls.”


Blane was tired of this craziness. He had to act now or be hung. He brought his left elbow up hard under the guard's chin knocking him out. Blane swiped the guard's sword out of the sheath and had it at the mayors throat before the man could react. “What do you really want?” he asked.


The mayor could have called out to a guard, but whispered instead, “I'm not the one who should be worried about getting killed.” He whispered in a deep voice. He threw his arm up and knocked the sword away with inhuman speed. Blane stumbled back two steps. The mayor was no longer the mayor. He shimmered for a moment before his skin turned red and he grew in size at least half of Blane over again. Where his hands had been now were claws. Large wicked curved claws, covered in barbs. Three horns sprouted out of his head. Where the mayor had been now towered a demon. His muscles bulged, and he roared showing several rows of razor-sharp teeth lining his mouth.


Blane was stricken with terror, as he turned and attempted to run toward the door. He wasn't fast enough and the demon cackled as he caught Blane's leg, “Going somewhere?” It threw him at the door with incredible strength.


The door split as Blane flew through it, debris scattering everywhere. The four guards in the next room went reeling back as Blane hit the floor and rolled. He lay there moaning in pain. His body ached and would not respond as he tried to move. The demon ducked down low and came through the doorway, claws gouging huge holes in the wood.


Blane raised his head, as painful as it was, off the floor and looked at the creature. It was one of the more powerful ones. The four guards had regained their footing and rushed the creature, giving cries of battle. Blane managed to make it onto his knees as the last guard was cut to pieces. The demon looked at him and smiled, “I think I have a special plan for you little one.”


The creature grabbed Blane in one hand. He was in too much pain to resist. The demon walked out the front door. There were a few more guards cut down as they went towards the wall that fenced in the town hall. With seemingly little effort the demon leaped over the wall. With the insanity of the situation Blane had trouble clearing his thoughts, he had to get away. Blane groped for the dagger he had stuck in his boot. The villagers were fleeing in fear and more guards were coming, but unless he could get free the creature would escape. Blane felt the hilt of the dagger hit his hand. He grabbed it, pulled it out, and shoved it into the creature's wrist, which was not armored like the hand of the demon. It screamed in pain as it dropped Blane, hard, onto the ground.


Blane rolled in the dirt, his body racked with pain. The demon raised an arm, readying to finish him. He knew he was done for, but the demon hesitated, “You're lucky he wants you alive.” Then it turned away and bolted into the forest.


The guards reached him a few moments later. Though pain coursed through his body nothing felt broken. It was a miracle that he had even survived. One of the guards started questioning him, “What happened, where did the demon go?”


Blane motioned to the forest, “He went that way only a few moments ago. I'm surprised that you missed him.”


The guard sighed, pain had not rid Blane of his sarcasm. The guard started speaking to himself “I wonder what he was trying to gain? Probably nothing less than all of our deaths.”


Blane nodded as he regained his feet and said, “I think I should leave as soon as possible. I have the feeling that's not the last we'll see of that thing if I stay. It was after me. For some reason it wanted me alive. Get me my sword and some supplies and I will be off.”


The guard didn't argue and trotted off. Ryan came lumbering towards Blane, “I saw from a ways off what you did. That was quite amazing. I haven't known anyone that hasn't killed a demon with their first strike and survived. You lucky fool.”


“At least it wasn't a hellcat.”


“True, true. Where are you headed?”


“South. I have to get back to my employers. I'm quitting this blasted job. Too many risks.”


Ryan smiled and said, “I think I'll come with you. Life around here may not last much longer after what you did. No one else seems to notice, but I do. These creatures will remember. It may take a while, but they will be back.”


Blane thought the man was crazy, but agreed. He didn't want to have to go through that forest alone. With a giant like Ryan at his side he wouldn't have to worry much about anything. The man looked as if he could take on a demon or monster with his bare hands. “We leave in the morning.”

Chapter 2


The packing had gone faster than expected. It seemed everyone wanted Blane to take his leave. They weren't to blame. Demons were not part of a man's regular schedule, unless it was that man's time to die. Ryan and Blane set off early in the morning through the forest heading south.


It was fairly sunny. The traveling was easy going. Blane hadn't noticed anything wrong until Ryan said, in a low voice, “We are being followed.”


Blane kept walking at a normal pace, “By whom or what?”


Ryan quickly glanced behind them. He looked back and whispered, “I don't know...You stop here and I will circle around. When it approaches I will grab it.”


Blane nodded and stopped then announced loudly, “I need to sit for a moment. Be a good fellow and go get some water from that stream.”


Ryan smiled and jogged off. Blane leaned his back against a tree. He had barely noticed the dark shape rise up next to him, when Ryan grabbed it. Whoever it was tried fiercely to break free. “Who are you?” demanded Blane. He looked over and found himself face to face with Silvhem. “What are you doing?” he asked startled.


Ryan set her down as soon as he knew who it was and she said, “I followed you from the village. I was tired of that place, and it seemed like no place for me after the leader turned out to be a demon. I am scared for the inhabitants' safety. Mine as well, if I stay.”


Ryan looked at Blane and nodded. Blane sighed in agreement then said, “I guess you may come along. If you try anything, slow us down, or give us trouble you will be left behind.”


Silvhem's face lit up and she started to jog right along with them. “So how many fights have you been in sir?”


Blane looked absent minded, “More than you would like to know. I fought in the war for a while until the king decimated our troops for retreating. I was given special leave to not observe the action. I had stood firm when the men around me ran. I think I killed ten before the enemy overwhelmed me and took me prisoner. They only had me for an hour before our reinforcements came and pushed them back. The king simply let me choose what to do and I took my leave of the army.”


Silvhem gazed at him in amazement. Blane took no notice and walked right on ahead. Ryan stayed silent through this whole conversation. He regarded Blane with great respect.


The day had been silent for quite a while before Blane said, “We will reach Hearth in a few hours.”


Ryan kept his gaze fixed off to their right. He was nervous being this far into the forest. No guard patrolled this area. “How big is Hearth?” He asked.


“Three or four hundred.” Blane replied.


It wasn't much bigger than Gramsboth but still was something. They were about an hour from Hearth when they heard it. There was a loud roar coming from ahead. It was a long ways off. There was a hill off to their right which reached above the trees. Blane led Ryan and Silvhem over to it, and up. Some distance off they could see Hearth. It was a roiling pit of violence. No one was attacking the town, it was in rebellion. It seemed everyone was killing one another. The rebellion had no noticeable leader but everyone was headed to town hall where Mayor Quill was holed up. Blane glared and said, “To the underworld with these foolish peasants. They are more upset than I thought.”


“What's happened?” Ryan asked.


“A few days before I left Quill decided to change our policy on weapons. No villager was allowed to carry them anymore. Only the guards could. From the looks of it I would say the rebellion started not too long ago. I told that idiot not to enact it until I got back. I have a way with the villagers here. They trust me, and I trust Quill. What could drive him to...”


“You don't think?” Silvhem gasped.


Blane glared with anger, “We may have more than one town with a demon problem. Those fools have no idea what they are dealing with.”


They wasted no more time on the hill and rushed off towards town. They reached the gates twenty minutes later, after sprinting the whole way. Just as they reached the gate, which was open, Blane halted to grab a breath. He almost didn't have time to before a massive explosion emanated from the town. It blew him and his companions back. Ryan hit a tree, and Blane hit the ground rolling along with Silvhem.


Blane awoke to ringing in his ears. He looked up slowly, and what he saw stunned him. Charred remains of humans were everywhere. All the buildings were flattened. The explosion looked like it happened in the town hall.



It took Blane a long time before he could bring his body to rise through the pain. He looked around slowly, spotting Silvhem over by a tree, and Ryan in a clearing. The giant man had broken through a thin tree and was groaning loudly. Blane looked back at the village. Everyone he knew there was dead. No life was present. Or so he thought.


He gathered up Silvhem, carrying her since she was not conscious. He yelled over to Ryan telling him to follow when ready. “To the underworld with you.” he groaned and didn't try to rise. Blane would have laughed, but the combination of his aching body mixed with carrying the weight Silvhem made that impossible.


Blane reached the first building and lay Silvhem down. He couldn't be burdened by the extra weight. For the next hour he scoured the town looking for life. He called out only to be met by silence. Blane walked up to the town hall. It was the only place he had not checked. He was afraid of what he'd find.


Picking through the remains seemed pointless so Blane headed over to a crater, from which everything was blown outwards. Blane looked into the pit. The hole was big enough to go into but he couldn't see the bottom. “Just like a demon to run.” he mumbled to himself. Blane wondered how many more towns or villages had this problem with its rulers. What was happening? Blane had to talk to the king, but the capital was many miles northeast.


Ryan walked up stiffly, “I'll warrant the south has something to do with this.”



Blane ignored him. He walked up to the pit and noticed some words scratched in the dirt. It read, “We're waiting for you.” Blane was disturbed. The words seemed to penetrate him. It was as if he was being spoken to directly. He turned to Ryan, “Why didn't they destroy Gramsboth?”


Ryan looked at him, “Do you think I am a seer you fool? Ask them yourself. Jump down this hole and maybe see for yourself.”


“How is Silvhem?”


“Bad.”


Blane burned with anger at this reply. It almost made him jump down the pit. The poor girl had come with them only to be shocked by an explosion and the death of hundreds. At least she wasn't awake to see the wreckage. Blane finally turned away from the scene, “Let's keep trying to find anyone who survived. Maybe they can tell us what happened.”



It was dark before Blane and Ryan called it quits. They stomped back to where Silvhem lay. She was still unconscious but breathing normally. Blane didn't know what to do. He was a soldier and Ryan was a bartender. They needed a man of medicine or at the very least some forest guard. He started a fire and sat there chewing on some rations he had in his pack. He spoke through a full mouth, “Tomorrow we head to the next nearest village. I think this problem is something we should warn people about. Only a few though. If we start a panic any demons hiding might just destroy the place. They've always been violent, but the power to destroy an entire village is something completely new. Maybe the dark lord himself is involved.”


Ryan didn't answer. He unrolled his sleeping pad and fell asleep immediately. Blane felt as if he was talking to a wall. He was even a little insulted. This man had chosen to come with him, Blane hadn't forced anything. It seemed as if Ryan blamed him. As if there was someone else alive to blame though. Blane got up and decided to walk around the the town and surrounding forest for a while hoping to catch a glimpse of any survivors, and someone to help Silvhem. After several more hours of darkness he gave up and fell asleep on the gnarled ground.



The light woke Blane up. The sun was just barely rising over the hills. He got up, the smell was definitely worse than yesterday. What was left of rotting corpses filled the air with an unbearable stench. He woke Ryan up then paused. Silvhem was nowhere to be seen. He began to question Ryan but he just pointed over to the edge of the village. She was standing, fully conscious, on what remained of the city wall. Blane sighed and walked over.


She heard him approach and glanced at him. She looked back towards the forest, “How did a demon do this? They don't have that kind of power.”


“There must be something we're missing, but we must go. I am heading east towards the nearest village. The closest one I know of is Kern.”


Silvhem nodded her head. It was obvious she had been crying. “How long have you been awake?” asked Blane.


“Several hours.”


Ryan came running over with a smile on his face, “I think I may have found a survivor but I need your help.”


Blane couldn't fathom why he was smiling but followed him. Ryan ran over to the remains of town hall. He stopped before entering the rubble and said, “Be careful. We wouldn't want our friend to escape.” Blane was even more confused.


Ryan walked in carefully. He went over to the remains of a rather large beam. He lifted it up and grabbed something, pulling it out with force. It squealed as Ryan turned with its neck in one hand.


It was an imp. These demonic trouble makers could be deadly, but Blane could tell this one wasn't, for it was quite small. He was startled but asked, “How did you find this?”


Silvhem was more frightened and hid behind Blane as Ryan replied, “After you fell asleep last night I did some searching, and I found this guy under that beam. He apparently had been caught there when the building exploded.”


“Why are you talking like I'm not here!?” The creature screamed in a high pitched, and rather annoying, voice.


Blane looked it over and said, “What happened?”


The imp smiled at him and squealed, “Oh! Wouldn't you like to know? Maybe you should have thought of that before your buddy here grabbed my neck and tried to choke me out.”


Ryan growled and squeezed the demons neck a little bit harder. The imp panicked and started croaking, “I'll tell you! I'll tell you anything you want to know.”


Blane smiled, “Then tell me. What has happened here and why did you do it?”


“We had to get here and control everyone. The people got us first. Quill lit the spirit bomb we had. The town explodes and they all died.” It laughed in its high pitched manner.


Blane sat quiet for a bit. He pondered the information the imp had given him. “What kind of demon was he?”


“Not a demon, just a warlock named Quill.”


“What is a spirit bomb?”


“It is some dark stuff Quill and I made over the course of a few days. It takes lots of magic and spirits. Some simple reagents are required.”


Blane glared at this creature. There was more that the demon wasn't telling him, if it was telling the truth at all. It would not be able to use its power or escape since its master had left it so Blane decided to tie a collar of rope around its neck and drag it with him. “We need to get to Kern.” Blane stated dryly.


The group headed out along with their addition. At first the imp protested loudly and refused to walk, but after it saw that it could be dragged it walked. Ryan held the rope. Blane looked over his shoulder and said, “What is your name small one?”


The creature was angry and responded harshly, “Toggaf! I hope you all go to the underworld, and I get to torture you personally.” His speech was cut off as Ryan yanked on the rope and Toggaf fell face first onto the soil. It got back up sputtering and held its peace after. Kern was quite a trip and Blane hoped that he wouldn't have to listen to the demon the whole way. Blaze looked up to the sky and said out loud, “Remember that rhyme mothers sing to their children? Under the stars on the plain one shall rise and ignite a blaze. And in this hour all shall quiver, who now can deliver. The dark shall break the light will shine, the time has come to find, he who shall not cannot be named to break the dark and end the shame.”


Ryan nodded. “What does this all mean?”


Blaze sighed, “We are in dark times, and who shall deliver us? I just wish some hero or another would show up soon.”


Ryan agreed and they all continued on.

Chapter 3


Darkness was encroaching. Gravel scraped under the mans feet as he stooped low. He lowered his hand down and touched the cold rocks with the tips of his finger. He raised his head up slightly and sniffed, feeling the cool air rush in carrying the taint of ash. It smelled like he had inhaled a campfires remains. The mysterious figure knew that Blane and his group had gone this way earlier, he could smell it too; they had an imp with them. With his sixth sense he could feel that they had traveled this way while the sun was up. He sprinted on silently. Milky twilight closed in around him, encasing his being like a cocoon. He would find them before morning, or nothing would remain but a corpse.


Blane cursed as he tried to light the fire. The logs were old and dry, but something was keeping them from burning, something kept them from being lit.


The group had stopped in a small clearing. A ring of trees surrounded the camp. Towering menacingly over the three. Silvhem was in a tent that she had packed and had been carrying herself. Ryan was busy tying Toggaf to a tree, while the little imp swore under its breath constantly. Small or not this demon was getting on everyones' nerves.


Ryan finished tying Toggaf up and came over to Blane, “That little imp won't be moving tonight. Let me try to light this.”


Blane handed Ryan the tinderbox. He stalked over to the edge of the trees as Ryan struggled to light the logs.


It remained silent in camp for several minutes. Blane knew something was close, and Ryan kept glancing towards the south into the trees. They were being followed, but were not sure by what. Ryan noticed some movement off to their right.


A branch snapping broke the silence. Blane rolled forward, for it came from behind him. Just in time, for the tree behind him was shattered by a large claw. A voice thundered, “I'm here to take back what escaped from me!” Blane knew the voice and his sword was out, as was Ryan's.


They were back to back in the middle of camp. Silvhem came running out of the tent towards them and sat there in dread. The trees around them were full of movement. A moment later the large red demon from Gramsboth was standing in front of them. It laughed and said, “Thank you for bringing along our little friend so we could find you, mortal. Give up. There is no possibility of your getting away this time fool.”


Blane brought his sword up and stated, “I would rather die.”


The demon was almost impressed that this small creature had enough bravery to make that statement. It's smile twisted into a glare and it growled, “By the time we're done with you, you will wish you had! Companions, get him.”


Two more demons of the same shape leaped out from among the trees and rushed at them. They were smaller, almost human sized.


Blane swung his sword from the right, about waist level, but the first demon knocked it aside and tackled him. They both fell to the ground and struggling to get on top of each other.


Ryan had a bit of luck. His sword blow was parried but he managed to hold onto his sword and knock the other demon aside with the hilt.


Blane concentrated on keeping the creature's claws away from him, but in a moment he was pinned under the creature. It's strength was unbelievable. It laughed and said, “Don't worry. I will make sure pain is included in the capture.”


It didn't get another word out, for at the moment an abnormally large fist smashed the demon in the side of the face. Blane could hear the bones crunch and give way. Ryan had managed to throw his attacker off and come to Blane's aid. Ryan threw Blane his sword and they were both occupied parrying claws with their blades. Incoming blows were fast as the wind, and all were batted aside at the last moment.


They lasted a few moments before Blane realized that these weren't the only demons here. He saw it coming but before he could react a swift blow rendered him unconscious from behind. Ryan was not long in the following. Both were grabbed and dragged off into the trees.


Silvhem had been sitting there for the whole two minutes it took for the event to transpire. The large demon walked up to her after Blane had been dragged off. Two, dog sized, dog looking, demons were behind him. He looked at her and said, “You are quite beautiful for a mortal. To bad I cannot allow you to live.” It cackled.


Silvhem sat there to afraid to move or react. Blane and Ryan were gone. What was left for her? She should have stayed home. They were never after her town in the first place. The demon in front of her raised its claw to end her existence.


The claw never fell. Something white burst from the brush. It was a blur of motion, as it caught the demon and carried it out of view. A moment later a scream came from the brush, and was cut short by a large snap. The two dog like creatures growled at the noise. Silvhem fainted from the stress, but not before seeing the shape rush out, and swirl around the demonic dogs. She blacked out and knew no more.


Blane awoke. His head throbbed. He cracked one eye open, and saw nothing, except complete darkness. Blane tried to move but found that his hands and feet were bound. What good would it have done if they were not anyways? He could not make out anything, and there was no noise, except for the sound he made. It was cold. It felt as if the sun had never touched this place. He called out, “Ryan?” His own voice made him shudder. It was unusually loud in the complete silence.


A sound from far off caught his attention. It was a scream of pain. Was he dead? He wondered. If this was death then it was the underworld for him. There was nothing here save the scream. Blane shook himself. He couldn't be dead and still feel the warmth of his hands clasped together, or his head throbbing.


Blane lay there for a long time. Hours must have passed, maybe even days. He kept drifting in and out of consciousness. Then, he saw it. He thought his mind had gone, but no. There was a small light, steadily growing stronger, heading towards him. Blane tried to rise but could not because of the cords.


Within a few moments he could see it clearly. The flame was not being carried, but rather it was floating. A few seconds later Blane realized it was a flaming head. It came within a few feet of him and whispered, “Rise and follow. The dark one summons you.”


Blane felt the cords disappear from his hands and feet. He did not know what else to do so he rose and started following the head. The floor was solid rock, smooth and flat. Blane could hear his footsteps echo and the flame crackle as the head floated on, more or less ignoring his presence.


After what seemed an hour, the head stopped and turned to Blane, “Stay here and I will go within and report that you are here.”


A door opened. At least Blane thought it was a door, for he couldn't see. A light came from within as the gate creaked open. He caught a glimpse of a torch lit room, but he could not bring himself to move. The head disappeared inside and the door shut. Blane stood there, and a few moments later a voice yelled, “Intrude!” and the door opened. Blane hesitated for a few moments before cautiously entering.


The room was more beautiful than he could have imagined. The floor was carpeted in a red fuzzy velvet, well lit, with ornate tapestries and paintings covering all sides of the walls. The ceiling itself was fine oak, carved to perfection in old age. Blane had never seen a hall so large or so grand. He was awestruck at the wealth and power it would have taken to build it. For a few moments he could not move. He looked around the room until his eyes landed in front of him, and he saw him; An old man in a chair, much to large for his small size. Under his black cloak Blane could only see smoldering eyes, staring at him with great intensity. The man spoke in a low voice with anger carefully hidden, “Approach me.”


Blane detested the man immediately, “Where is Silvhem, and Ryan? I swear that if you have done anything to them I will torture you before I kill you.”


The man doubled forward in his chair in a fit of laughter, “You have no idea who you're dealing with. I could finish you with but a breath. But, if it is information you seek than you may have it. Ryan is here. You will know where you are soon. Your little companion Silvhem escaped us. How she did that is what I wish to know, but no one came back alive.” He chuckled again, “As for you, welcome to the underworld.”


Blane felt a wave of fear wash over him, and his spirit faltered. He nearly fell to his knees in fear. Blane now wanted nothing more than to curl up and die here. This was no mortal he was dealing with. “Where...Where is Ryan?” he tried ask. Even his voice sounded weak.


The man on the throne leaned back and calmly stated, “He is here and although physically healthy, the strain of all this was quite hard on him. I had to make some alterations on a few of his memories.”


Blane gasped, they had done something to the giant man, Ryan. Blane, with newfound courage erupting from anger reached for his sword, but it was gone. “Why did you let me live?” He stalled.


“Please, call me master if you will.”


Blane's face twisted into a glare, “I will never do such a thing.” Then he did something very brave or very foolish. He stood to his full height and rushed towards the man with, all limbs pumping like mad with adrenaline. The man stood up calmly, and slowly raised his hand. Blane felt a force hit him that sent him flying back five feet onto the floor. He pushed backwards and landed on his feet, skidding on the floor for another foot. He didn't rush again. It would be completely useless at the moment, “Who are you?!”


“Simple-minded mortals refer to me as the Dark Lord.”


Blane was not surprised. He was in the underworld and the only beings with that kind of power were gods. “What do you want with me?”


“Now we are getting somewhere. Let me start with saying, I chose you. What I want with you is entirely more complicated. To explain my purposes I must go back to the beginning of time. Only then will you understand what I am after. Before your world existed there were the firstborn, three of them to be exact. They were beings of power, undefinable power, but power none the less. For hundreds of years only they existed. It was peaceful until one of the firstborn, by the name of Slade discovered magic. Now called the creator of magic, this firstborn used it to create elements and objects. Jealous of his power, and fearful of what he might accomplish, the other two firstborns cast him down in a battle that left all three with scars. Stealing his magic, the two tailored magic to their personalities. One created the magic of light, and became the Lord of the Light. The other, created darkness, and named himself Lord of Darkness. I am one of the firstborns. The Lord of the Light created the earth and you filthy humans. I created the underworld and all its various creatures. Slade was forced to inhabit the earth as a human, for we could not destroy him. He was, and is still far to powerful. Over time, the two firstborns, that cast Slade down, created lesser but still powerful gods, of the different elements. Currently there is the god of, fire, god of water, earth, wind, and void. After many years of strife, Dulveda bloomed to its fullest, and humans, who had once been savages, calmed their spirits and built civilization. It was not long though before their descendants wished for more. Now we come to an age like yours. In the not to distant past. Man divided itself and begun a war, that has not progressed in either sides favor for two hundred years. In the midst of all this, the god of wind saw a child born with the light in his face. Placing his trust in this child he gave a relic of power to the parents. They guarded it for a time, until their village fell to a massive invasion. The parents in their desperation laid the relic on the child. He should have died, but absorbed it and became stronger and faster than a normal man. The parents died after hiding the child. It was in vain for the northern soldiers found him and raised him. This child is you Blane. Your parents were noble defenders of the south who died trying to keep the war from taking you. I discovered this through an interrogation of the wind god. I sent demons to find you and bring you to me, and now, you will serve me.”


Blane had been standing there listening this whole time. He was dumbstruck. He was not from the north as he was lead to believe. Now he had a relic from a god inside of him, and he was being forced into serving the Dark Lord. He had no memories of his true parents. “Where is Ryan?”


“He has been readied for you. He will serve your every command, just as you will serve mine.”


Blane didn't accept it, “What if I refuse?”


“You have no choice. If need be I will sap your will, but I do hope you will be reasonable and join without so much arguing.”


Blane sat on a bench for a long while thinking, before the Dark Lord spoke again, “Choose now mortal.”


Blane looked at him, “I can't see that I have much of a choice in the matter. I vow to forever serve the unending darkness! May I become an instrument of destruction for your use. What would you have me do?”


The Lord of Darkness leaned forward staring Blane in the eye. He wanted to know wether this vow were true or not. He soon leaned back onto the chair, not worried about disobedience. If he were to disobey it would be at the cost of Blane's own life. This was the final curtain of his living in the mortal realm. He spoke and said, “I have of late, grown tired of these minor gods that have been created to control the elements. The god of wind, fire, earth, water, and void. What I would have you do is to kill all of them. I would do it myself but the eternal struggle between light and dark must not cease for a moment, less all come to ruin.”


Blane didn't know how one went about killing a minor god. Especially if that god had control over an element. “Is it possible for a mortal to fell these everlasting beings? I do not know of any weapon powerful enough to slay an immortal.”


The Lord of Darkness laughed and pulled out a sword, that glowed with a fearsome red light, “Behold, Death Helm! This weapon was forged by the god of fire. It has the power you seek. Also, I will transfer some of my own power into you, so you shall be quicker, and stronger than ever.” He handed Blane the sword, and touched him on the head. “You shall now be known as “Blaze”, keeper of the dark. Go and destroy those whom oppose me.”


Blaze took the sword and said, “It shall be done. I will go and tell Ryan to be ready, then we shall set off.”


With that, Blaze went off. When he left the room he could see clearly in the dark now, and he felt more powerful than ever. He went off to find Ryan. Tomorrow was going to be a very busy day.


As soon as he had left the Lord of Darkness, also known as Drath, leaned back in his throne. He finally had the pawn he needed to achieve his ultimate goals. Blaze would not be needed forever and when his usefulness ended, so would his life.

Chapter 4


Silvhem's eyes flickered open. She was still in the same small clearing. She sat up and looked around. Last night was not a dream, for the signs of battle were still clearly seen. There was a small fire smoldering by her side, and a man in a pure white robe was prodding it with a stick. He noticed that she was staring at him but said nothing.


Silvhem on the other hand said, “Who are you?”


He looked up and replied, “No one of consequence. My name is Slade, not that it should mean anything to you.”


“What happened?”


“Demons took your friends, but oddly enough decided to let you live. I had been following your group's trail, and came in directly after the fight. It wasn't in time to help, not that I would've been able to give much aid.”


Silvhem's head was spinning and she couldn't remember last night very clearly, but she thought that this man was leaving something out, or that he knew something more. She decided now was not the time to ask him. She had to get out of here. “I must get going.”


“Where are you headed?”


The question stopped Silvhem. She had not thought of where she would go now. She had left her hometown and now had lost her friends. “To tell you the truth I do not know.”


Slade stood up and backed away from the fire. “If you want to save your friends you should come with me. I know where they have been taken and seeing as we can't get them back from where they are we shall have to find them when they resurface.”


“You don't think that they might still be alive?”


“Worse, is that they may be. The demons do not take prisoners unless they have a plan for them. In the end I may have to kill your companions.”


“Then I am not willing to travel with you. I refuse to harm my friends no matter how nefarious their scheme is.”


“Then we shall try to take them alive.”


“I like the sound of this plan much better than the first. Seeing as I have no place to be I shall travel with you for a while. Know that if or when you decide to harm them I will not help you.”


“I will not require it, now we must be off.”


The two set out. Slade headed south east.



Blaze and Ryan had been transported out of the underworld fairly near their destination. The volcano in the center of Dulveda. It was a legend and no one dared approach for it was safeguarded by dragons. A fitting servant for the fire god. Blaze was wearing Death Helm at his side, and was dressed in armor, that was pitch black as pure darkness. Ryan wore armor that was dark blue, and had gold lining. Neither wore helmets. If the dragons got that close they would already be dead.


Blaze pointed to a small peak barely visible over the trees, “That is where we make for. We should arrive by nightfall.” The mountain spewed smoke.


Ryan nodded, “Are you sure it's wise to attack a stronghold at night?”


“A surprise seems more needed, than simply charging in, during broad daylight.”


Ryan nodded, and the two walked quickly off towards the volcano. They had already been told how they were to enter. A secret door had been hidden at the base, that had a short path leading directly to the fire god.


They walked for a few paces when suddenly Blaze clutched his chest and fell to the ground. He curled up, hands clawing at his chest. Ryan ran over in alarm, “What is it?”


After a few moments Blaze waved him off and said, “This power is literally devouring my heart. It hurts sometimes.”


Ryan looked concerned but let the matter be as the two started walking again. Ryan stayed close by in case Blaze were to have another attack.


Slade stooped low to the ground. He had been on the pairs trail since morning, and was close, but his prey pressed on unrelentingly. The girl, Silvhem, however was not able to match the pace. She panted. Slade was getting frustrated, but he couldn't leave her here. She would surely die before he returned. There were too many trolls in this part of the forest.


Trolls were nine foot tall beasts. They were rather slow, but incredibly strong. They looked like large men. Slade referred to them as giants, instead of trolls. He walked over to Silvhem who was sitting a moment to catch her breath, “We are not gaining on your friends the way you walk. So with your permission I am going to carry you.”


Silvhem looked up at him in surprise, “Wouldn't that just slow you down more? I'm not as light as I look.”


Slade smiled to himself, “I don't think so. Now let's go.” He picked her up like a parent carrying a child. Legs in one hand and neck in the other. Then he sprinted off. Silvhem gasped at his speed. He was going at least as fast as a horse. He avoided trees that he wasn't even looking at. It was as if he could sense what was coming next. She now knew that this was not a man. It unnerved her but she held onto his neck with her arms as to not fall and be killed from the speed at which they were traveling. He wouldn't have dropped her.



Ryan and Blaze had reached the base of the volcano. According to their commands, they would find the hidden door in the base of the volcano that led into the inner chambers where the god of fire reigned. It would not be an easy path. Dragons, at least he was told, lurked in the depths, in alarge cavern where they could still fly easily. Blaze looked over at Ryan and said, “The door we seek should be on this side of the cliff. Our mutual master said that Death Helm will guide our way once we reach it. We must split up and try to find the door. Meet back here in ten minutes.”


Ryan nodded and stalked off quietly in one direction and Blaze went the other. Soon the two met back and Blaze announced that he had found the door just a bit off to their right. The weather was taking a turn for the worse, so they both hurried to enter into the tunnel. It was darker than Blaze could have imagined. Even darker than where he had come from. This was not natural darkness, and was obviously some sort of magic used to keep intruders from entering. Blaze and Ryan paused not knowing what to do. Blaze suddenly remembered that his master had said that Death Helm would lead them. Blaze pulled it out.


It glowed for a moment, then sent out a red ray of light. The passage behind them sealed itself off with a concealed door from above, and many torches flared up, and lit the way down a long hall. Blaze and Ryan hesitated for a moment then pressed on. Their presence was surely known by now.


Blaze was tense and ready for anything as the hall opened up into a vast chamber. It was massive. The walls stretched up and vanished into the distance. Walls were lit by torches, and across the room where the exit was were two dragons. Not as big as Blaze had imagined them to be. They were twice the size of a horse, but were nothing compared to how legend described them. They appeared to be asleep at the moment.


Blaze stalked forward in the dim light, Ryan following close behind. The armor they were wearing made noise, too much noise. When they got close, one of the dragon's head popped up. It watched them, but made no noise, and didn't move. Blaze stopped dead in his tracks. He was ready to fight at a moments notice, sword in hand. He was surprised when the dragon seemed to lose interest and set its head back down to sleep.


He was suspicious and kept his sword drawn as he started to approach them. Each step was slow and precise. He slowly tip toed past his sleeping adversaries. Finally he had gotten into the next passage. It was now Ryan's turn to go through.


The large man made almost no noise as moved towards the dragons. He had just gotten in between the two, when suddenly they rose up snarling. Ryan leaped a few feet back, and the beasts settled again. Blaze walked back. He didn't know what to do. He put his sword away and walked back to Ryan. “We need a plan.” Blaze walked up and kicked one of the dragons yelling, “Move aside beast!” This angered both the dragons.


They took to the air like lightning, raining fire down upon Blaze and Ryan. The two ducked for cover. Blaze yelled, “Distract them, and get them close enough for me to strike!”


Ryan nodded and darted out from behind a rock. Blaze was impressed by the giants speed. It was however no match for the dragons' speed as they dove towards him, jaws open. Blaze jumped out and ran with all his might, legs and arms pumping furiously. He was much faster than Ryan and almost surprised himself when he found that he was catching up. When he was close enough he made a bounding leap, hurtling himself high into the air. Blaze almost missed, but managed to latch onto the one dragon's back.


The beast twisted and turned through the air but could not shake Blaze off. Death Helm was pulled out and struck. The sword slashed through the dragon's neck severing its head. Blaze caught the neck and head, as the body plummeted towards the ground. He tore off the bottom jaw with his hand, and clenched the neck tightly in the other. The other dragon was below him. He jumped off the dead corpse, and used the head and remaining top jaw to snag the wing of the dragon. The teeth tore the leathery wings, and the creature cried out then fell towards the ground. Blaze landed lightly throwing the neck away and raised2 his sword.


The dragon surprised him when it whipped its head around and let loose flame. The creature would not give up without a fight. Blaze ducked under the wave of fire. The dragon spun, swinging its tail low. Blaze jumped above it, and flipped backwards through the air landing nimbly. The dragon attempted to charge, but Ryan came from behind, leaping at it and knocking it over with his weight. The dragon rolled and swatted Ryan away with a massive claw.


Blaze had taken advantage of the distraction and closed in for the kill. The dragon never had time to even turn to face Blaze as Death Helm pierced its black heart. The creature moaned and fell.


Blaze stepped away from the corpses. The whole battle had not lasted very long. Ryan walked back over and said, “Next time we go into something like this I want to have a plan beforehand.”


Blaze looked at him smiling, “I was thinking of this all along.”


Ryan sighed, “Of course you were. Of course.”


Blaze just laughed and headed down the next hallway saying, “Well if thats all this fire demon can muster, than he shouldn't be much of a problem himself.”


Ryan shrugged and just kept following Blaze.


Slade was at the base of the volcano swearing up a storm. He could not open the door that he knew was here. Silvhem stood behind him, wondering what had him so upset. Slade turned to her and said, “Your friends have already found the way in, and I don't think I am in time to stop them. This door is magic and will take some time to open.” He turned and muttered, “This is what I get for bringing a girl.”


Silvhem was a bit insulted at this. It wasn't her fault that her companions had charged off into a volcano after being captured by demons. “Well I don't know how telling me this is going to help you get it open any quicker so I suggest you start working and stop complaining.”


Slade shot her a glare, and then turned to the door and started mumbling some words in a low voice.


Silvem went and stood by a tree. A few minutes passed when suddenly Slade yelled, “To the underworld with this abomination!” He raised his hand up in the air, and the door shattered inward. “I'm going to be in trouble for this one.” he sighed.


Silvhem was shocked. She had seen true magic. Slade walked in, ignoring her. She quickly followed him anyways.


Blaze looked around him as he entered what appeared to be a throne room. It was fairly large, and there was a throne raised on a pedestal in the center. The throne itself was surrounded by a moat of lava. A sudden wave of pain hit Blaze, as the darkness inside of him devoured some more of his heart. He fell to his knees for a few moments before recovering himself. Ryan hadn't reacted this time. He knew that Blaze would be fine soon.



Blaze stood and strode forward into the throne room. Not a soul was present, or at least none that could be seen. He stepped up towards the throne. The moat of fire kept him from advancing. Blaze was disappointed, “Is this all there is to find? Where is the great lord of this realm?”


Ryan didn't answer but simply pointed at a sign.


Blaze sighed and went over to read it. It read, “Lord of the flame. Throne room built by dragons, and maintained by them. Only the worthy may be in the presence of the lord of the flame.”


Blaze thought of something and speaking over his shoulder to Ryan, “Leave this room now. I have to do this alone.”


Ryan didn't argue or ask questions, as he would have used to, but moved to obey immediately. When he left the room, a doorway fell and blocked the hall. Blaze spun around watching it as it fell. A loud crackling explosion sounded behind him. He turned again to look. Up on the throne, the lava from the moat rose and gathered itself. It twisted around the throne, and started to form the figure of a man. Soon there was a giant, humanoid, fire creature. It was a foot and a half taller than Blaze. He didn't move but kept his eyes fixed on the throne, until the creature had fully formed. Whatever it was announced, “I am the Lord of the Flame. How is it that you have entered here?”


Blaze smiled, “I would think that a being of your immense power would know.”


“What is your purpose here?”


Blaze laughed in spite of his fear, “I would have thought that to be obvious. You have become a nuisance to one I call master. He wishes the land free of you and I am here to carry out his orders.”


The fire god looked down at Blaze from his throne and spoke menacingly, “You dare speak to me like this? You foolish mortals are all the same.” He stepped down from the throne and stood a few feet from Blaze, “You cannot hope to kill me, but I will not now allow you to leave alive.” With that the fire god morphed into a man, not much different than what you would find anywhere, except that his eyes were small balls of fire. “I will allow you some sport since you mortals love swordplay.”


This is what Blaze had wanted, “You honor me with your understanding of the ways of men. I will tell you that I am far greater than any human foe you have faced.”


The god of fire let a grin spread on his face. He raised his hand to about eye level, and in a flash of flame a sword appeared in his hand. Blaze wasn't impressed, and drew Death Helm. The fire god knew this sword well and eyed it with suspicion. Blaze thought he even saw some doubt from this being. Even so, the match was set. The throne and pedestal sunk into the floor. All that was left was the dark smooth floor. It was circular like an arena. Blaze took a ready stance, “Last chance to go peacefully,” stated Blaze. The fire god laughed and the battle truly began.


Blaze swung first cutting from the left then feinting downwards, going for the gods legs. The fire god parried with great speed and counter attacked, swinging at Blaze's head. Blaze leaned backward, under the blow, then jumped forward in a thrust. Once again his sword was batted aside. The battle continued on for several minutes, without either landing a strike. Blaze was faster than the fire god had anticipated. Then the god made a mistake. He swung in a long arc at Blaze's torso. Blaze jumped above the sword, and kicked the fire god squarely in the chest. This threw the god off balance, which allowed Blaze to bring Death Helm around in a spinning slash, cutting the god on the chest. No more than a scratch, but painful none the less. The fire god howled in rage and dropped to one knee, sweeping his leg at Blaze's with blinding speed. The kick tripped Blaze, and while he was falling the fire god punched him in the stomach, and sent Blaze rolling across the floor, before he could stop himself a few feet later.


Blaze got back up.His armor had taken the blow without a scratch. He spat and said, “Is that all you got?”


He ran at the fire god, sliding on his knees under a sword blow, and slashing at the gods ankles with Death Helm. The blow severed a foot and the god fell to the ground screaming. Blaze moved fast, getting up and running from behind. He jumped up and slashed a chunk out of the gods shoulder. The fire god rolled to the side, and attempted to stand on the one foot that he still had. He snarled, “Do you really think it is going to be this easy to beat me?” Instantly all his wounds were closed, and his foot came back. Blaze gasped, he had not been told the god of fire could do this.


Blaze's expression hardened and he charged again.Then suddenly the fire god opened his mouth and let loose a torrent of flames at Blaze. Blaze skidded, and raised his hands to protect his face but it did little good. He was thrown against the far wall, and slumped face first onto the floor. His smoking body badly burned. His armor had provided no protection against the flame. Blaze lay there moaning as the god of fire spoke, “You are fast but not fast enough. Did you honestly think that with a small sword that you could destroy me?”


Blaze was barely able to raise his head and said, “I am not beaten yet.”


“You are beaten, and burned. You cannot hope to fight me. Did you think that after thousands of years you would succeed?”


Blaze growled and said, “My success is not yours to decide.” Then an odd change took place. A glowing circle appeared on his forehead. It was a circle of pure light. Blaze's body was lifted, and floated up into the air. His skin became pale, and his eyes glowed yellow.


The god of fire took a step back.


Blaze's sword floated into his hand, “Now is your end.”


With greater speed than the fire god could imagine Blaze flew at him, in a shining aura of golden light. He hit the god and passed through him. The fire god screamed as a hole was torn through him. Blaze landed, turned, stalked toward him. The fire god blew another fire ball at Blaze, who swept it aside with a flick of his wrist. He reached out and grabbed the fire god by the throat saying, “This is the end of your world.” with that he tore the head off the god of fire, and slashed the body in half, leaving nothing but smoldering rocks.


Blaze's skin returned to normal color. He fell to one knee in exhaustion, breathing hard. The remains gathered themselves up and turned into a glowing crystal in front of him. Blaze looked at it in curiosity. He reached out and touched it. The crystal flared, and dissolved, flying into Blaze with a blast of red light. The power hit him like a boulder, and a voice in his mind said, “You have defeated your first true foe. You will have the power he had. This is the only gift I can give you. Use it wisely.”


Blaze stood after another minute of rest. He was unsure what the voice in his head meant. He walked towards the door that Ryan was waiting behind. As Blaze got closer the door raised of its own accord, and Ryan ran in, “We are being followed.”


Blaze sighed and said, “Never a moment of peace in this business. I suppose we should get out of here the way our master has arranged.”


Ryan nodded, and pulled a stone with writing on it out of his pack. It had been imbued with the power to send them back from where they had come. He set it on the ground and muttered a few words. A blue circle opened up above the stone, drawing on the power stored within. Ryan stepped through and vanished. Blaze was about to step through, when he noticed a man sprint into the room. The man stopped and looked at Blaze and said, “You fiend! You shall not escape the coming judgement.” Behind him Silvhem ran in. What was left of Blaze's heart jumped. What was she doing here?


Slade knew he was too late. He ran at the man trying to cut him off before he reached the portal but it was in vain. Blaze leaped into the portal and it closed behind him. The stone with the writing shattered into far too many pieces to collect. Slade cursed loudly, and turned to look at Silvhem, “Do you now understand where they have gone?” She didn't and simply stared as he said, “They serve the devil himself.”


Slade turned to go, and Silvhem found tears in her eyes. What had happened here? She couldn't even begin to understand. It was time she got some answers and Slade was the only one who had them. She followed after him, a sense of despair following her out of the empty room.

Chapter 5


The Dark Lord smiled at his servant, that was kneeling before him, “You have done well. I am surprised that you were able to defeat the fire god. I sense a new power in you.”


Blaze lifted his head and looked the Dark Lord squarely in the eyes and said, “I live only to serve.”


“Yes you do. I assume you wish to know who you shall confront next, but first there must be a short delay. I have take some time to bring everything back under control lest the untamed volcano rage wild, destroying the mortals. I also am providing you some time to rest. One does not go about destroying the elementals in one day. You may travel to the surface for a small while or stay here.”


Blaze nodded and said, “Thank you master. I will consider.”


“You may go now.”


Blaze left and the doors slid shut behind him, with a light thud. The Dark Lord pondered for a bit on what had happened. This man should not have been able to accomplish what he did. The new power he had also sensed did not come from anything present in him before. The Dark Lord stood up for a moment and walked over to a table lavished with food. It was still no matter what this Blaze would accomplish. Soon the world would be thrown into darkness and he would have no more need of his little puppet.


Blaze left the throne room and headed to the chamber that had been made for him. He was still tired from the confrontation earlier. His mind turned back to the events of the past few weeks. He thought of his job, the delivery, the explosion, capture, choice, and then meeting an old friend and a new enemy. He couldn't wrap his mind around it all, and did not much care. He only had one purpose left and that was to serve the one who had made him strong. He did have a few loose ends to tie up, starting with a certain warlock.


Blaze turned to one of the flaming heads that were to be found almost anywhere in the underworld and questioned it, “Where might I find the warlock named Quill?”


The head recognized him, “Master Blaze, I am honored. You may find him on the second level. One floor up form our current position, in his quarters. May I ask the nature of your inquiry?”


Blaze scowled under the hood of the black cloak he was wearing and said, “Personal business.”


The head made what looked like a nodding gesture and replied, “Well if you wish I can teleport you to the second level to his door.”


Blaze agreed and he felt an energy take hold of him for a moment, then was transported to the second ring of the underworld. He was standing in front of a door with a seven foot demon in front of it. It had large claws and a wicked tail. Blaze could barely make out its red skin. It saw him appear and its lips twisted into a snarl, “What are you doing here?”


Blaze sighed and said, “I don't have time for this. I must see Quill.”


“He's busy, and is not to be disturbed.”



“He will see me. Tell him Blane, now known as Blaze is here to see him.”


The demon didn't make a move and simply said, “He is not to be disturbed.”


Blaze now wished he had brought Death Helm with him, instead of leaving it in his quarters. He moved to a better position in front of the demon, just out of its grasp and said, “Permit me or you will die.”


The demon laughed and lunged. He was looking for a fight Blaze decided. It would enjoy destroying this tiny creature. The demon's claw came down, and Blaze rolled to the side, and was on his feet in an instant and jumped above the swipe with the other claw. The demon took a step back. It studied Blaze for an instant and then attacked. It's right leg came around in a low sweep. Blaze jumped only to see the claw coming around for the follow through. He bent backwards in the air with lightning speed and the knife like fingers passed inches from his face. Blaze shot out his hand and grabbed the claw, and using its velocity pulled himself forward, bringing his leg up. The kick caught the demon in the head. It wasn't hurt, but simply angered. Blaze regained his footing and tried to leap back but the demon tackled him, and the both rolled a few feet. Blaze ended up on the bottom and the demon slashed a gash down the side of his face. It left four bloody lines on the right side of his face, barely missing his eyes. Blaze threw a punch as hard as he could that hit the demon squarely in the chin. The creature was dazed and Blaze managed to throw it off. They both backed up from each other, watching. Blood streamed freely from Blazes face. There was a torch next to him. When he noticed it he remembered what the voice had told him in the fire gods lair. Blaze instinctively reached out towards the fire. It twisted and ran into his hand. He had manipulated the flame!


Blaze watched as the fire enveloped his right arm, then traveled over his shoulder and engulfed the left as well. It felt good. His arms looked like burning logs, and black cloak rippling with energy. The demon hesitated, for it did not know what was happening. Blaze smiled menacingly at him and growled out in a low voice, “Your end is now. What a pity it is to kill you in hell, for I think you will be coming back shortly.”


Fear struck the demon and it turned to run. Blaze was not in control of the magnitude of the fire but willed it towards the demon. His right arm raised itself and the fire from it became a roaring fire ball twice the size of the creature, and rushed at it. As soon it hit there was a deafening explosion that rocked that part of the ring. The demon was no more.


The fire on his left arm came over and started burning on his right arm now. The fire could create more of itself, Blaze realized, but he could not create it without any fire present. Blaze turned and marched over to Quills door, arms blazing. He punched through with one flaming fist, and shattered it with the other.


He saw Quill rise out of his chair and fall to the floor as Blaze entered. Toggaf the imp was in a corner, and squeaked as he dove under the table. Blaze wasn't able to quell the flame and it lit objects on fire as he entered. Either way it was a grand entrance. Quill was quaking in fear. “Who are you? What do you want?” He screamed.


“But don't you remember me?” Blaze asked smiling.


A look of recognition crossed Quills face as he remembered Blane. He calmed a bit and managed to speak. “My friend. What brings you here to my abode? I did not realize that they had found you?”


Blaze concentrated hard and forced the flame disappear and sat at he table speaking as he did so, “I came on business. I am surprised you did not let and old friend in.” Blood still ran from his face, but had dried somewhat with the heat of the flame.


Quill stood up still shaking and set his chair upright, then sat on it as well. “I did not expect company today. I, um, have been working on an experiment.”


“Enlighten me.”



“Well, I.” he stuttered then continued with some more confidence, “It's an improved version of the spirit bomb that was used to decimate hearth. I hope to use the corpses to take over the surface when the time has come for the undead to rise.”


“The same kind you used to destroy my hometown? Thats a fairly bold claim.”


Quill shuddered and said, “Well yes, but that was a test. You can't blame me for trying something to help our cause right?”


“Your cause. Mine is something else entirely, and you caused me great hardship. I have come to repay you in kind.”


Fear, once again, came upon Quills face, “NO! Please don't! I did not wish to harm you!”


Blaze stood, “I'm not going to kill you, you coward. I'm going to take your powers and add them to mine.” With that he reached out and grabbed Quill by the neck. “Don't ask me the exact science of how I do this, but with my new power I can accomplish much.


Quill's face went pale as energy passed from his body up into Blaze's arm. Blaze could feel Quill's power adding to his, yet not inheriting Quill's abilities. The power was disappointingly small. Soon he set Quill down, “For a warlock you are not that powerful, or should I say for a human.” With that Blaze turned to leave.


Quill lay there on the floor, too weak to move, but muttered, “You will pay for this. I swear to you that you will pay someday.”


Blaze didn't even look back as he left through the charred remains of the door. He needed to wash his face. Even though Quill was stripped of his powers, Blaze still feared slightly what the warlock might do. This thought was washed away when he thought of his newfound power to manipulate flame. He would get it under control and then nothing would stop him.





Silvhem had walked along silently following Slade. He had not said a word since the volcano. She felt too uncomfortable to break the silence. He was absorbed in his own thoughts. They were headed north, as far as she could tell, towards the capital city. If they continued on their present path they would get there in a few days.


There was some rustling in the brush and Slade stopped. The sound had come from off to their right. He turned to face it, “Stay behind me.”


Silvhem stepped behind him. A giant bear came crashing through the brush as she did so. Slade didn't move as it charged. Silvhem stumbled back a few steps. Slade raised his right hand, palm out, and the bear hit it. The creature was stopped dead in its tracks when it hit Slade's hand. He hadn't even so much as blinked as he gripped and threw the bear, easily three times his size, effortlessly through a tree. The creature was stunned for only a moment and then charged again. Slade ran at it as well. When they were about to collide Slade leapt with great speed above the bear. He flipped forwards and grabbed the bear, using his spin to throw it over his head and down onto the ground. He landed on its back and snapped the animals neck with one hand.


He turned and looked at Silvhem, “Time for dinner.” She only stared in awe.


Slade leaned back from his meal. The uneaten parts of the bear sat in a pile. He had eaten twice as much as the girl. He turned to her and spoke, “Once we get to the capital I will leave you to whatever business you have. I can afford no more distractions.”


She looked hard at him and replied, “You owe me some answers first. Who are you? What is your plan? How did you get your powers?”


Slade sighed, “You deserve to know some but not much. I am no man as you have obviously guessed by now. I am more a creature of magic. My plan is far too complicated to tell you in this short time. A small part of it is stopping your friends, before the damage they cause is irreversible and your world is swallowed up amidst the chaos of battling entities. As to how I got my powers, I made them myself.”


“So are you a god of some sort?”


Slade paused and looked away. His voice was low as he said, “Soon.”

Chapter 5


The Dark Lord smiled at his servant, that was kneeling before him, “You have done well. I am surprised that you were able to defeat the fire god. I sense a new power in you.”


Blaze lifted his head and looked the Dark Lord squarely in the eyes and said, “I live only to serve.”


“Yes you do. I assume you wish to know who you shall confront next, but first there must be a short delay. I have take some time to bring everything back under control lest the untamed volcano rage wild, destroying the mortals. I also am providing you some time to rest. One does not go about destroying the elementals in one day. You may travel to the surface for a small while or stay here.”


Blaze nodded and said, “Thank you master. I will consider.”


“You may go now.”


Blaze left and the doors slid shut behind him, with a light thud. The Dark Lord pondered for a bit on what had happened. This man should not have been able to accomplish what he did. The new power he had also sensed did not come from anything present in him before. The Dark Lord stood up for a moment and walked over to a table lavished with food. It was still no matter what this Blaze would accomplish. Soon the world would be thrown into darkness and he would have no more need of his little puppet.


Blaze left the throne room and headed to the chamber that had been made for him. He was still tired from the confrontation earlier. His mind turned back to the events of the past few weeks. He thought of his job, the delivery, the explosion, capture, choice, and then meeting an old friend and a new enemy. He couldn't wrap his mind around it all, and did not much care. He only had one purpose left and that was to serve the one who had made him strong. He did have a few loose ends to tie up, starting with a certain warlock.


Blaze turned to one of the flaming heads that were to be found almost anywhere in the underworld and questioned it, “Where might I find the warlock named Quill?”


The head recognized him, “Master Blaze, I am honored. You may find him on the second level. One floor up form our current position, in his quarters. May I ask the nature of your inquiry?”


Blaze scowled under the hood of the black cloak he was wearing and said, “Personal business.”


The head made what looked like a nodding gesture and replied, “Well if you wish I can teleport you to the second level to his door.”


Blaze agreed and he felt an energy take hold of him for a moment, then was transported to the second ring of the underworld. He was standing in front of a door with a seven foot demon in front of it. It had large claws and a wicked tail. Blaze could barely make out its red skin. It saw him appear and its lips twisted into a snarl, “What are you doing here?”


Blaze sighed and said, “I don't have time for this. I must see Quill.”


“He's busy, and is not to be disturbed.”



“He will see me. Tell him Blane, now known as Blaze is here to see him.”


The demon didn't make a move and simply said, “He is not to be disturbed.”


Blaze now wished he had brought Death Helm with him, instead of leaving it in his quarters. He moved to a better position in front of the demon, just out of its grasp and said, “Permit me or you will die.”


The demon laughed and lunged. He was looking for a fight Blaze decided. It would enjoy destroying this tiny creature. The demon's claw came down, and Blaze rolled to the side, and was on his feet in an instant and jumped above the swipe with the other claw. The demon took a step back. It studied Blaze for an instant and then attacked. It's right leg came around in a low sweep. Blaze jumped only to see the claw coming around for the follow through. He bent backwards in the air with lightning speed and the knife like fingers passed inches from his face. Blaze shot out his hand and grabbed the claw, and using its velocity pulled himself forward, bringing his leg up. The kick caught the demon in the head. It wasn't hurt, but simply angered. Blaze regained his footing and tried to leap back but the demon tackled him, and the both rolled a few feet. Blaze ended up on the bottom and the demon slashed a gash down the side of his face. It left four bloody lines on the right side of his face, barely missing his eyes. Blaze threw a punch as hard as he could that hit the demon squarely in the chin. The creature was dazed and Blaze managed to throw it off. They both backed up from each other, watching. Blood streamed freely from Blazes face. There was a torch next to him. When he noticed it he remembered what the voice had told him in the fire gods lair. Blaze instinctively reached out towards the fire. It twisted and ran into his hand. He had manipulated the flame!


Blaze watched as the fire enveloped his right arm, then traveled over his shoulder and engulfed the left as well. It felt good. His arms looked like burning logs, and black cloak rippling with energy. The demon hesitated, for it did not know what was happening. Blaze smiled menacingly at him and growled out in a low voice, “Your end is now. What a pity it is to kill you in hell, for I think you will be coming back shortly.”


Fear struck the demon and it turned to run. Blaze was not in control of the magnitude of the fire but willed it towards the demon. His right arm raised itself and the fire from it became a roaring fire ball twice the size of the creature, and rushed at it. As soon it hit there was a deafening explosion that rocked that part of the ring. The demon was no more.


The fire on his left arm came over and started burning on his right arm now. The fire could create more of itself, Blaze realized, but he could not create it without any fire present. Blaze turned and marched over to Quills door, arms blazing. He punched through with one flaming fist, and shattered it with the other.


He saw Quill rise out of his chair and fall to the floor as Blaze entered. Toggaf the imp was in a corner, and squeaked as he dove under the table. Blaze wasn't able to quell the flame and it lit objects on fire as he entered. Either way it was a grand entrance. Quill was quaking in fear. “Who are you? What do you want?” He screamed.


“But don't you remember me?” Blaze asked smiling.


A look of recognition crossed Quills face as he remembered Blane. He calmed a bit and managed to speak. “My friend. What brings you here to my abode? I did not realize that they had found you?”


Blaze concentrated hard and forced the flame disappear and sat at he table speaking as he did so, “I came on business. I am surprised you did not let and old friend in.” Blood still ran from his face, but had dried somewhat with the heat of the flame.


Quill stood up still shaking and set his chair upright, then sat on it as well. “I did not expect company today. I, um, have been working on an experiment.”


“Enlighten me.”



“Well, I.” he stuttered then continued with some more confidence, “It's an improved version of the spirit bomb that was used to decimate hearth. I hope to use the corpses to take over the surface when the time has come for the undead to rise.”


“The same kind you used to destroy my hometown? Thats a fairly bold claim.”


Quill shuddered and said, “Well yes, but that was a test. You can't blame me for trying something to help our cause right?”


“Your cause. Mine is something else entirely, and you caused me great hardship. I have come to repay you in kind.”


Fear, once again, came upon Quills face, “NO! Please don't! I did not wish to harm you!”


Blaze stood, “I'm not going to kill you, you coward. I'm going to take your powers and add them to mine.” With that he reached out and grabbed Quill by the neck. “Don't ask me the exact science of how I do this, but with my new power I can accomplish much.


Quill's face went pale as energy passed from his body up into Blaze's arm. Blaze could feel Quill's power adding to his, yet not inheriting Quill's abilities. The power was disappointingly small. Soon he set Quill down, “For a warlock you are not that powerful, or should I say for a human.” With that Blaze turned to leave.


Quill lay there on the floor, too weak to move, but muttered, “You will pay for this. I swear to you that you will pay someday.”


Blaze didn't even look back as he left through the charred remains of the door. He needed to wash his face. Even though Quill was stripped of his powers, Blaze still feared slightly what the warlock might do. This thought was washed away when he thought of his newfound power to manipulate flame. He would get it under control and then nothing would stop him.





Silvhem had walked along silently following Slade. He had not said a word since the volcano. She felt too uncomfortable to break the silence. He was absorbed in his own thoughts. They were headed north, as far as she could tell, towards the capital city. If they continued on their present path they would get there in a few days.


There was some rustling in the brush and Slade stopped. The sound had come from off to their right. He turned to face it, “Stay behind me.”


Silvhem stepped behind him. A giant bear came crashing through the brush as she did so. Slade didn't move as it charged. Silvhem stumbled back a few steps. Slade raised his right hand, palm out, and the bear hit it. The creature was stopped dead in its tracks when it hit Slade's hand. He hadn't even so much as blinked as he gripped and threw the bear, easily three times his size, effortlessly through a tree. The creature was stunned for only a moment and then charged again. Slade ran at it as well. When they were about to collide Slade leapt with great speed above the bear. He flipped forwards and grabbed the bear, using his spin to throw it over his head and down onto the ground. He landed on its back and snapped the animals neck with one hand.


He turned and looked at Silvhem, “Time for dinner.” She only stared in awe.


Slade leaned back from his meal. The uneaten parts of the bear sat in a pile. He had eaten twice as much as the girl. He turned to her and spoke, “Once we get to the capital I will leave you to whatever business you have. I can afford no more distractions.”


She looked hard at him and replied, “You owe me some answers first. Who are you? What is your plan? How did you get your powers?”


Slade sighed, “You deserve to know some but not much. I am no man as you have obviously guessed by now. I am more a creature of magic. My plan is far too complicated to tell you in this short time. A small part of it is stopping your friends, before the damage they cause is irreversible and your world is swallowed up amidst the chaos of battling entities. As to how I got my powers, I made them myself.”


“So are you a god of some sort?”


Slade paused and looked away. His voice was low as he said, “Soon.”



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