Part 1: The Devil's Embrace
The blade slashed downward, cutting off the chained man's arm. The crowd gasped as blood squirted out from the stump and the man's screams filled the air. The screams went on for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the screams subsided, replaced by a pitiful sob. The man looked up at his executioner, and spoke, no begged, for his life. His request was denied as the executioner took off the man's head, in one, clean slash. To Augustine, it seemed as if the neck had slid off the body. Immediately, a column of blood gushed out. People began to panic. Augustine, however, was unaware of chaos around him. He was transfix by the sight. His eyes refused to move away from the headless body, refused to move away from the pool of blood that had gathered at the corpse's feet. "Augustine", the sound of his name snapped him back into reality.
The one who had called him was his mother. "Augustine, dear, listen, this is all just a play. A play is all. The crowd is just getting a bit too fired up. When the play ends, let's go to that restaurant that you've been waiting to go for so long, alright?"
Come on, now, Augustine thought. If you're going to lie, then at least make up a feasible one. How old did she think he was? He wasn't a toddler. He was eight. However, Augustine did not voice his indignation. He knew that his mother was just trying to protect him. To protect him from the cruel reality that of which is unfolding before his very eyes. Brushing his complaint aside, Augustine looked around. Everywhere he gazed, he saw fear and despair. People were crying, wandering around in a daze. Augustine, though, felt quite detached from all that. He wasn't afraid, because his mother was beside him. Ever since he could remember, his mother had always been there for him. Whenever he felt sad, she comforted him. Whenever he was afraid, she gave him courage. Whenever he was lonely, she was there. Whenever he was angry, she was there. The fact that his mother stood beside him give him strength. She was like an lighthouse, a shining beacon of hope. One that pierced through darkness and dissipated all fear. As long as she was there, he believed that he would come to no harm. Turning back to his mother, he flashed her his best smile. She didn't smile back. Suddenly, a red liquid exploded from her chest and from her mouth, splattering Augustine. The fluid felt warm and tasted metallic. His mother staggered froward, then fell, crashing into Augustine. Taken by surprise, Augustine hit the floor with his mom on top him. Laying there, on the cold, stone floor, Augustine saw the most horrifying thing he's ever seen. A man stood there. In his hand, was a bloody sword. The fingers that curled around hilt, were devoid of any flesh. It was not just his hand, his entire body had no meat, no skin, no nothing. It was a skeleton, the kind you see in textbooks and stories. On its skull, there were two holes. The empty sockets appeared to stare at Augustine. Augustine stared back, paralyzed. The skeleton walked away. The back of that monster, was the last thing that Augustine saw.
"What have you done?" gasped the man in a purple cloak. The was shocked at the carnage. There were bodies everywhere. The white floor was no longer white, painted red by the liquid of life. The man walked through sea of corpses, clearly distressed at his surroundings. "So, this is what you needed my servants for?"
"Yeah, it was great. Those nobles were completely fucked. The mission was a complete success."
"A success," the cloaked man repeated the words with a downcast face.
"What's wrong man?"
"I did not sign up for this massacre. The goals that you speak off, the dream that you enlisted my aid for, you cannot achieve it like this."
"Who cares man, but you should of been here. Those nobles were running around like the rats that they are."
Looking at his blood-thirsty friend, then looking back at the piles of bodies, the cloaked man could only shake his head. "Look, this is not how it should go down, I'm out."
"What, you can't back out now! Besides, there's always going to sacrifices."
"Richard, I am not going to follow you through this if this is what you mean by sacrifices. Your goal, our goal, this is not how we can achieve it."
"Humphries, if you are not going to help me, then you leave me no choice. I will not have anyone interfering with my plans."
"Without me, how are you going to achieve anything?"
"Screw you Humphries, just because I can't do necromancy doesn't mean that I'm worthless, that I can't do anything by myself! You know what, fuck you, I'm gonna kill you right now. I'm gonna tear your stomach open and make you watch as I rip you intestines out."
"What happened to you these past tens years, what made you change you much," Humphries said melancholy, helplessly gazing at his old friend.
Richard drew his blade from its scabbard, and pointed it at Humphries. He then proceeded to invoke a speed spell. All the while, Humphries did make any movement. "Damn you, you're looking down at me aren't you. Die!" yelled Richard as he charged with a speed that no human could achieve naturally. Stopping in-front of his opponent, he slashed at Humphries. The sound of metals clashing resonated through the air. Realizing that his slash did not take down his enemy, Richard prepared to strike again, but could not gather enough strength. Instead, he felt weak. Unable to hold on to his sword, he let go and saw, that it was broken in half. Still looking at the broken blade, Richard's body crumbled.
Humphries put away his sword, and signed. He couldn't understand why Richard had become such a maniac. Walking away, he bowed his head, and said a prayer to dead. That's when he realized, that there was a faint aura emitting from the bodies. Summoning his servants, he ordered his undead to dig up through the bodies. Finally, he located it. He found a small boy, around seven or eight. His breath was shallow, and his heartbeat was weak, but there was no doubt that he was alive. Wrapping the boy in his cloak, he carried the boy away.
Augustine woke up in a strange room. He sat up, and rubbed the sleep away from his eyes. What had happened, Augustine wondered. Then he remembered. He remembered a man taking over the theater. He remembered the slaughter that had followed, the monster that had killed his mom. His mom! Augustine froze, shocked at the memory. His mom was dead, killed. She's no longer with him. He will never see her, hear, or touch her ever again. A sense of loss and sadness slammed into Augustine and brought to tears.
"So, you're awake,"
Augustine looked to the source of the voice with teary eyes, and asked, "who are you?"
Humphries looked at the boy, pondering about his answer, and finally said, for some reason, "I was the one who killed the people in that theater,"
"So what do you want with me. Why didn't you kill me, do you want ransom, do you want a hostage?" Augustine asked.
"No, no you are free to do as you wish," was the reply.
Augustine wiped away his tears. He could do whatever he wanted. What he want, he wanted to kill this man before him. But he knew he couldn't. He wasn't strong enough. But if he walk away now, then he might never get the chance again. After thinking it through, he decided. "You are a necromancer, correct? To be able to control those monsters," Augustine asked. The man nodded. "Then I want you to teach me, teach me necromancy, teach me how to fight,"
The man raised his eyebrows, "Why?"
"So that one day, I could kill you,"
Humphries was stunned. He did not expect anything like this. He wanted to reject the boy, but something stopped him. It was his guilt. Looking into the boy's eyes, he saw a fiery determination. He's really serious, Humphries thought. Yes, this, this will be my redemption, Humphries thought. I will take care of this boy, and make him, the best warrior I could make him, so that he will have no trouble surviving. Then, I will die. He will kill me.
"Very well, kid, what is your name."
"The name's Augustine, and I'm not a kid, I'm eight years old."