I underestimated my powers a lot. While it was hard for me to stay on this side at the deaths door, once I was alive and kicking again I got up very quickly. Only after a few days most of the pain faded. By the end of the week I was up and walking around slowly.
I got to meet the people I rescued. They all fell to their knees when they saw me. Seeing someone broken down and barely alive come back like I did is impressive on its own. They also got to witness my Devine punishment with those sinners who exploded just by mere touch. I decided to stop their delusions about me, so I gathered them up to speak to them.
“Greetings, my name is Zern, I am the person who freed you. Now don’t misunderstand, I am glad I did it, but it was not my intention to do so. The only reason I was there was this Lady here.” I gesture Aedim to come forward. I took her hand in mine as I continued to speak. “This foolish lass got herself captured, and was almost abused like you were. She is the reason I came and slaughtered all that filth. It is my love for her that made me do what I did, not some Devine will or punishment. Also, I did not leave any marks, nor do I intend to make you mine or force you into submission. You are all free folks; you can do as you wish.”
Hoping that my words can be understood, I stop and look at them. There is some low murmur, they are talking amongst themselves. After few minutes, a teenage demoness comes forth.
“Lord Zern, was it not you, who tore open the cages they confined us? Was it not you, who stopped the man who raped and beat us repeatedly? Was it not you, Lord Zern, who tore open the men who defiled most of us and cut us off from our brethren? It is thanks to you, that we were bathed in blood of the very man who took our innocence and purity we carried in our hearts and bodies. It is your baptism in the blood of the defilers that washed away the dirt and filth and made us pure again. You may wish to deny it, but that is what we all know in our hearts. »
Darn, who knew there was such a silver-tongue amongst them? I am pretty sure she is the instigator of my cult.
“Is this what all of you believe?”
Most of them immediately nod their heads. Double darn. I guess it is a viable coping mechanism. It is normal to want to return to the time before trauma, or at least come as close to that state as possible. Now, their purity is restored through my bloodshed and the demise of their captors. This is total pile of dog poop; it won’t work with their kin. But it could work with me, if I allow it. That little missy must know at least a bit of psychology. I have to keep an eye on her.
“May I know your age and your name?”
“It is impolite to ask a Lady of her age, but seeing as it is you, Lord Zern, I will tell you. I am Sonja Feelgood, former noble of house of Lust and I am fifteen. My family has been killed during a raid two months ago, and since then I was kept in a cage while we traveled north. My only remaining relative is my younger sister, Bella, who is seven, whom my Lord has purified just like me.”
A little girl comes up to the demoness. There is some resemblance amongst them, same crystal blue eyes, same perfect skin and flawless face, same full pink lips… Focus! I can’t fall for her tricks. She may be a real succubus, but she is no Lilith and her charms I can resist.
The whole Lord – Lady thing is suspicious. Is she aiming to be by my side? It may be at attractive prospect for her, but I’ll need to stop that train before it’s too late, although if what she says is true, she may indeed be a Lady. But I am no Lord, regardless if I like being called that or not.
Also, what she said about her sister being purified. In order to be purified, one need to be filthy, so I can assume she has not remained untouched by that filth.
I can feel my blood slowly beginning to boil. Aedim notices it and squeezes my hand to distract me. Right, I need to keep on track.
“As I said, you are free people now, if you wish to follow me, so be it. But I want to know why you choose me.”
“It is, Lord Zern, because of the way you look at us. We are all alien to you. Even humans are of different origin than you. We demons are of evil and virulent nature, the elves preach peace and love for all things, the dryads and seductresses of the forest, with poison as their main trade. Yet, you look at all of us with the same expression, be it indifference or pity or anger. In your eyes we are same people and as of the baptism, we are all your Bloodborn.”
Well, seems I did not just create a cult, but a freaking race. I can see some logistical errors here and there, but that is not important now. There is one point I absolutely must reinforce. I gesture to the six beautiful girls standing near.
“These are my six intended, they are fated to me by my Val birthright. There will be no others. Do not try to get close to me if you wish to bear my offspring or gain notoriety though my name. None of that will be happening” I look directly at Sonja, who quickly diverts her gaze away. “If you are ok with that, you may follow me. I will care for your wellbeing and protect you, but nothing more.”
All of them still agree to follow me, regardless of what I said. Sonja looks somewhat disheartened, but still joins with them. They kneel before me and pledge their allegiance to me. I couldn’t stop them in time. Well, I really did create a faction.
“Very well. I recognize you as Bloodborn and with your pledge, you are now my subjects. I take full responsibility over you. Now, we have four days to prepare. We will soon be traveling to our homeland, and you all will go with me. Prepare supplies and rest before we set off, we will spend a long time on the road.”
With those words I part from my new people.
It was exhausting having to deal with all that. Now I have to care not only for my six beloved girls who can already be a handful, but also for over fifty ex-slaves, who revere me as a deity, love to bathe in blood and won’t go anywhere without me. What could possibly go wrong?
Anyway, I have few more days before we go to our tribe. The whole journey should take us about a month on foot. There are not enough dire wolves for all of us by any count. Let’s hope the war doesn’t start until I arrive back home.
Four days pass by quickly. My body is strong enough to travel, we pack up everything we need for our journey and set off together. The Bloodborn are all ready and prepared by that time.
Most of the journey is spent walking peacefully with little disturbances. There were some animals they tried to attack us, but they were repelled easily. About two thirds of the way to our destination something unexpected happened. I mean, not the event itself, which totally was bound to happen, I even wondered why it took that long. No, what was important was the force behind it.
One evening I found my tent completely empty, with Meriden and Elaya nowhere to be seen. This was a rare occurrence; they loved to spend time with me. Aedim also often talked about joining us soon, once her Rite is complete. But there I was in an empty tent.
Ah, not empty enough. On some of the animal skins I use as bed a certain naked seductress sat her nakedness on display for me to see. Demons are surely taught well. House of Lust was it? They sure didn’t spend their time sitting on their butts doing nothing.
I didn’t let her speak, I quickly moved to her and took off my cloak, with intention of covering her and sending her out. However, it could be easily seen as me getting ready to take advantage of her. Her sensual demeanor wavered slightly in that instant, fear flashing across her face. That was interesting.
A naked succubus, afraid before her plan actually succeeds is not something you see every day. Deciding that I need to learn more, I play along. Ripping off my shirt, I kneel down in front of her, taking her face in my hands. Assaulting her lips, I try to make her react, but she is unresponsive, her muscles stiff and her expression frozen between panic and pain. Whatever happened to her during her time as a slave clearly fresh in her mind. Very unusual for a demon.
Pushing on, I slide my right hand down her back and stop it at her hip, while licking her face and her neck, down to her right shoulder. At this point she starts trembling, clearly terrified of what is to come. Her sexual aura is gone, only turmoil could be seen on her face, with tears rolling down the sides.
This is not a normal behavior for somebody who tries to seduce you, clearly. Concentrating, I listen in for heartbeats of anybody around me. There is the quick, almost out of pace drumming of the girl still in my arms. She is terrified. And there is another, the slightly faster than normal heartbeat of excitement, that belongs to a certain vixen. She must have taken the demoness under her wing, perhaps it is the common heritage for both of them. She is excited about what is happening, has she no idea how Sonja really feels? Has Lilith completely ignored Sonja and her feelings? That is very unlike her, even if she may seem somewhat insensitive, she knows the boundaries.
Something is amiss. Sonja must have not told her about her trauma. She is forcing herself to be here and she can’t fight the terror within. She tries to push through with something she clearly doesn’t want and goes so far as to enlist help of one of my intended. Still confused, I listen in for any other heartbeats. They are around, clearly aware of what should be happening right about now. It is actually somewhat disturbing how everyone, even Elaya went along with giving my first time to some demon girl they barely know. I wouldn’t imagine it happening like that. Are they thinking of this as some test?
And there it is a foreign heartbeat, not one of my group’s. It is close to Lilith, clearly both of them aware of one another. While drumming of others’ show excitement and perhaps little fluster due to emotional battle of jealousy and pain, this one is slow and calm. The heart is small, drumming barely audibly, someone who believes to be in control, everything according to plan. It belongs so someone perhaps half my age. Nobody has such controlled heartbeat, except for me…
It doesn’t take more than a second to put two and two together. I dash quickly at Lilith, or her little companion to be exact. Grabbing the kid next to my demon bride, I drag her into the tent and throw her on the ground, my strength barely restrained as to not deal permanent harm to her. Now, her heartbeat gets faster: “this is not how it’s supposed to happen.” or something like that running through her mind.
“No! Lord Zern, please don’t harm my sister! I’ll do anything, I’ll stop crying, I can make you feel good…”
Sonja has no idea what is happening, only hoping for me to not touch her sister, who has been “abused” and “defiled”. She has no idea who her sister really is.
“Shut up.” Two words spoken slowly, but with enough force to show off my unadulterated killing intent. Not something I ever was good at was releasing or masking killing intent, like other heroes and villains. But now it works perfect, no need to hide it. Sonya goes pale and falls on the ground within a hair-width of fainting. Lilith is the first to run in, although she was the closest, it took her few seconds to realize what happened. Others follow closely behind.
“Leave.” One command sends everyone out, they don’t argue, too terrified to see me like this. Confused, they walk outside, leaving me with two demonesses.
I once again grab the little one by her neck, applying enough pressure to show that her bones are nothing but straw in my hands, straw that will be broken if I hear something I don’t like. I turn her to face her older sister, who is convulsing on the floor in panic. She is too scared of losing her only remaining relative. If only she knew the truth.
“Is this what you do? Manipulate your sister to do things for you? Do you not see how she is hurting? What kind of monster are you?”
She still tries to look calm and composed, only her heart betraying her effort.
“What? She wanted this…”
One broken finger, nineteen more to go. Muffled cry barely escapes her lips. She had some proper restraint.
“Big brother, please…”
“Oh, why start so low, why not Onii-chan?”
NOW she begins to panic. Her eyes darting around, hoping to find a way out. Her mind now erratic, hoping to remember any bit of magic she can. Her heartbeat is drumming like an orchestra. If she remains so stressed, she might get a heart attack.
From what little memories of my past lives I have, it usually a bad thing to be caught by another reincarnated. Knowledge about immortality of the soul leaves you little restraint during torture. The body can die, but the mind carries on. If only such knowledge worked both ways, the body on the receiving end usually doesn’t cope so well. No matter what you know, you can’t make your brain shut off the pain, unless you spend years conditioning it. And you would need to do it in every lifetime again and again. A seven year old noble wouldn’t be capable of it right now, and even if she was, there are ways.
Her terrified eyes show that she is no stranger to such experiences. Long story short, it would take several lifetimes to recuperate and get your mind back properly. Before then you could be anything between a mumbling mess and a lashing out psychopath. I might have been a demon lord super tyrant type after one torture session sometime in my past, those memories are very hazy.
“Speak. What is your goal?”
“Please, don’t! I… I just wanted to have a nice life, be a queen or someone up high. After the slavers you seemed to be a good bet, I didn’t think a slight push to my sister would do much harm. She would get over it eventually…”
Her mumbling makes me angrier. Such arrogance. Even having this knowledge, she believes that normal people can easily “get over it”. I hate when they think so. Life is valuable regardless if you remember your past existence or not.
“Please, I’ll do anything. I will take my sister’s place. I’ll do anything you want, just… No more pain please.”
She is not talking about the broken finger, for her it is tolerable. She is talking about something more horrendous. And it must have happened relatively recently. She seems to be sincere now. Either that or she is a good liar, but that’s doubtful, lying relies on the body, so unless it is trained, lies can be seen easily. Past experiences help little in that regard. She could also be a psychopath, but then her heartbeat would be level, like clockwork, only affected by a serious amount of punishment. Anyway, I feel like she is being honest right now. I can’t help but feel pity for her. But now is not the time for that.
The pair appears moments later. I put the girl down near Leah.
“Gag her, bind her, and don’t let her speak. I will deal with her when we get home”. I almost turn towards Lilith, but then look into Leah’s eyes. “Restraint only, nothing more.”
That was a clarification I had to make. Leah had an inclination for rough treatment, if it can be called that. If I let her be, she would do more harm than good trying to make Bella talk. I needed her healthy and coherent when we talk next.
As Leah and Bella walk outside, I turn towards Lilith. With a hand gesture I call her over to where Sonja is lying down. She calmed out by now, stress leaving her body through tears made her exhausted. I pick up my cloak and cover her naked form with it. Picking her up, I hand her over to my own demoness.
“Make her comfortable, she needs company now.”
With the two of them I walk outside to the others. I didn’t talk much; I just said that I’ll be back in the morning and ran off after changing into my wolf form. I needed to calm down and clear my head. I needed to hunt.
That night local wildlife population took a considerable plunge downwards. I hunted everything, from rabbits to wolves, to bears. It wasn’t the usual hunt for provisions although I did enjoy a fair bit of raw meat. This hunt was to sate my considerable bloodlust. I had no one in particular to blame, everybody did their best in their own little ways. I really couldn’t fault that little girl for what she did, even if it was immoral. She will learn in time. I did my best too that night, directing my anger at powerless little critters. Maybe one of them was just like me, hoping to start a new life in this world. No matter, I just sent them onwards to a new journey. My kills were all clean; I took no pleasure in toying with my prey. Well, almost no pleasure.
When I came back I didn’t speak and they didn’t ask. They knew full well that when the time comes, I will tell them everything they need to know. They already pieced together the story, although it may have made little sense to them. Patience is a virtue.
Even though I preyed upon countless animals that night without rest, I felt very invigorated that morning. When we set off, I didn’t need any rest until nighttime. Venting your frustrations really is healthy.