Greyskin. Chapter 5

While Sel walked away from the cave, he didn’t have any purpose. He had one when he was born – survive. He had one when he grew up – hunt. He had one when he found something – protect. But each of those purposes was either fulfilled or failed. Now, there was no need to survive, to hunt, to protect. Sel had an empty life, devoid of anything or anyone to care about. He was a lone demon, just walking towards the place where the sun set. This lack of purpose somewhat reflected his blank facial expression.

The cave was in a forest, surrounded by trees and wild animals; it was a good place for demons to prosper. It was easy to hide and lay ambush or to hunt and prey upon animals. It hid them from prying eyes and sheltered them from the harsh environment. It was their home. It was home no more.

Now, Sel was walking away, hoping to get away. The fire was still within him, burning, pushing him to be a demon. But now there was also light, the shining ray that belong to precious little girl. Two forces pushing against one another, one of peace and other of defilement. And It was Sel who kept them so close together.

He walked, unsure of what to do. He wanted to disappear from the world, to follow the girl that brought him peace. But the fire within didn’t let him. Whenever he met a beast, no matter his injuries or bruises, the fire burned on and healed him. There were no dangers enough for Sel. So, he pushed on, hoping to reach the place where sun disappeared.

As he walked away from the cave, the forest changed into open grasslands. There were rare trees, some bushes and a lot of grass. There were hills that Sel had to climb or descend from. There were animals he could hunt for food. But there was no danger.

The sight could be called beautiful, if one knew beauty. But the lone greyskin knew of no such thing, he only knew sorrow and hunger. Two things that couldn’t be fixed.

Sel pushed on, hoping to still reach the place where sun dives and drown his life in darkness. He knew that there must be something, something to end him or to give him purpose. Now, Sel was nothing more than a cloud of despair, hurting and hoping to end it. And at the center of that cloud burned a flame, no longer just a raging fire threatening to consume everything, but also a small light, wavering at the unfairness of the world.

Who knows for how long he has traveled. He only walked and ate, barely ever stopping to rest. His grey eyes were empty; he seemed to be truly blind, not seeing a direction to go in, other than towards the setting sun. If somebody met him, they would try to help a blind man, but it would be useless. No one could help him then.

This was the ultimate soul searching, a single soul searching for another, the one that was lost. A soul, walking in solitude, hoping to reunite with the girl that was gone. A lot of things could be said, that would be lyrical and poetic, beautiful and fitting to this situation. But truly, it was only a journey of a demon, not knowing whether he should burn the world or conquer it.

At some point the grasslands began turning into a desert. The islands of grass ended, revealing sands, like ocean of tiny particles carried forward by the winds. Everywhere were giant waves of sand, frozen in time, only moving under the pressure of the rolling currents of air. The sun was blazing more than before, trying to burn the lonesome demon, but it still hid beyond the horizon every night.

At night the blazing heat turned into the bone-chilling cold, but to Sel it made no difference. He wasn’t bothered by either, his fel nature made him resistant to either extreme. He simply walked.

What did bother him was hunger. In desert, food and water are scarce, so the further he walked the less of either he could find. There were rare scorpions or cacti, but otherwise, the hunger ate away at Sel, making the fire within burn hotter.

The heat inside the greyskin could burn hotter than heat in desert, but the calm he gained after he left the caves lessened the infernal flames within. It was a question that couldn’t be answered, did Sel loose something then, or did he gain something.

He walked through the sand dunes for days, weeks even. His body could be sustained by the fel energy alone, but it didn’t quench his hunger. And the further west he walked, the less scourge there was for him to use. It was as if something was driving it away from the desert.

Sel didn’t know that twenty years prior there were forests and grasslands in this area. The life force was all stripped away by the beacons that guarded the lands of the demons, keeping the foul beasts away. Sel didn’t know that with every day he walked closer and closer to the border that separated the two parts of the world. He didn’t know that he was getting close to the territory he could call home, the place his mother was born in.

Walking closer and closer, Sel felt himself growing weaker, his energy dwindling. It wasn’t disappearing, just hiding deeper inside him, going to great lengths to not be destroyed by the god’s strength that was drawing closer. Eventually Sel came close to a wavering forcefield, a white film floating in the air. He tried touching in, only to get his hands burned. The field was made up of god’s energy, mixed with natural power of the world. It counteracted the scourge, trying to expel it from anybody touching it, essentially robbing demons of their power and killing them.

Thankfully for Sel, he was little more than a simple demon. Within him two forces were in constant battle, and needed be, one force could surround the other and shield it. Like that, within Sel darkness and light both shifted, making the darkness go very deep and allowing the light surround it. It made Sel weaker, as the scourge was inaccessible while he would be within the field, but he was still strong, he just couldn’t heal rapidly and empower himself using fel energies.

Not having any other direction to move in, Sel walked into the film, which immediately attacked him, trying to purge his body of any darkness. It burned him slightly and then stopped, as the darkness was hidden away. Like that, Sel continued walking.

Hours passed, the greyskin walking within the field that was weakening him and he soon saw the white dot beyond the dunes, the pillar shining with the light of the goddess. He walked on towards it, hoping to find what it was and why it made him weaker.

More hours passed, the pillar grew much larger, showing the architecture built by the Highborne, shapes and forms proclaiming their love for their goddess and her eternal light. It was ironic how in the end, only he survived and even then he turned away from the goddess.

The beacon stood, emitting white energy that devoured darkness of this world, trying to purify it and bring it peace. It couldn’t reach within Sel, but it did enough to make him hate it. Sel never felt weak until now and he didn’t like what he felt. Demons are strong, ferocious, dangerous… They are not meant to be weak.

Sel wanted to break the pillar, to take it apart bit by bit, leaving no stone unturned. His fire burned brighter but it stayed hidden. It was too early to release it as it would be easily snuffed away by the light.

As he was walking closer, he didn’t notice some smaller dots coming over the dunes, as his attention was locked on the shining pillar. The guards came to welcome the guest.

When Highborne were all killed, their empire and their lands didn’t remain empty for too long, soon other inhabitants found their way there. Currently, a number of elven clans resided within the territory and controlled it. It were the elves that came to greet the greyskin.

Sel only noticed something was amiss when an arrow hit his shoulder. It pierced through and got stuck in the bone. The fire suddenly raged, trying to get rid of the arrow, which both burned the arrow and exposed some of the darkness inside Sel, making it evaporate and burn the place of the wound, effectively closing the wound.

When the next arrows came, Sel didn’t let them hit him, instead he deflected or dodged them. He was pretty fast, his reactions far faster than those of ordinary humans, they were enhanced by fel energy at birth and forged in constant hunts and battles. Seeing that he wasn’t greeted warmly, he did what he always did these days, he charged forward to kill. The guards didn’t just stand there and waited to get cut down, they also charged him.

The fight was somewhat erratic. The wood elves were not known for their magic, but for their superior agility and their fast reaction times. So, they easily kept up with him, ducking under the strikes of the claw-blades and retaliating with their own attacks. The only saving grace Sel had was the fact that his blood closed the wounds and caused the materials of the enemy swords to disintegrate. After a few minutes, the elven weapons were useless and could no longer harm a fly, much less a demon spawn from hell. At least that was what they thought Sel was.

The bowmen still tried firing at the greyskin, but it was useless. Not being able to subjugate the demon by cutting him down or by filling him full of arrows, the elves used their trump card. A single elf, not in the hunters’ attire but in the robe with a wooden staff, adorned with a green gem came forward. He had one blind eye, his head had a crown made of leaves and he had a grey beard. Amongst the elves he was a well-respected individual, granted the blessing by a goddess of nature, Phlorra, he was a Druid.

He came forth, brought his staff in front of him and chanted.

“Great spirits of the forests, roots clad in night’s shadow, come forth and bind thy enemy, bring forth thy wrath of the darkest hour!”

At that command, roots sprung from the sands, dark and sharp, they dug into the skin of the demon and entangled him. They were dark, almost obsidian in color with slight green gleam from the sun. The heat coming off from the demon and the corrosion caused by his blood were ineffective against them. They ate away, but they were too slow to change the outcome of the next few seconds. Their sole purpose was to bind the greyskin in place.

“Branch of the world tree, Thorn of the godflower, thy blood is emerald and thy fury is crimson, appear and slay the beast that dares to show before thee. No bone shall remain unbroken, no skin shall remain uncut, no blood shall remain unspilt. Flesh against bark, bone against wood. I call to thee, Spear of Venomous goddess Phlorra!”

As the incantation finished, a magic circle appeared around the demon shining with green light. Runes and lines glowed, magic happening all around him. Above him appeared an enormous tip of a spear, with its shaft remaining somewhere beyond. It floated for a moment, spinning on its axis, waiting to plunge down. The magic took some time to complete, less time then what it would take to get free of the roots grabbing onto the demon. He wasn’t able to escape and he was hit by the full force of the spell, as the spear crashed into him, assaulting him with nature magic, trying to destroy him.

As the magic clashed against the demon, the light inside him pushed and fought with it only to let the darkness inside loose. While the light was not able to stop the spear, the fel energy incinerated the magic and stopped the attack. It however was exposed to the power of the light goddess still trying to purge him. He was hit by a massive wave of power, tearing at his body. He was stuck in the whirlwind of the powers, dark and light inside him, against the divine power and the natural magic outside. He wasn’t able to control any of it and the magic exploded, hurting the demon greatly and emptying the darkness inside him completely leaving him powerless. Only little darkness remained along with the light. But regardless, Sel was drained and he lost consciousness.

The elves looked at him wide eyed. For a demon to make it almost all the way to the beacon and survive, only to take on one of the strongest spells a Druid had head–on and survive by expunging a massive amount of fel energy, which exploded into a fiery display, it was extraordinary. And still he remained alive, only being severely burned and cut up. He should be dead, now that he is devoid of the scourge, but he still lives, grasping at life and carrying on. The elves were more than a little surprised. They didn’t finish him off and instead decided to bring him back with them, hoping to gain some insight on the weird demon. He looked like them and he seemed to have light inside him, but he was surely a demon. Curiosity won over and saved the life of Sel. He was being taken into one of the elven cities, built over the remnants of Highborne empire.

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