My eyes flashed a dazzling white as I felt my soul being sucked out of my body. The pain was excruciating, but try as I might I couldn’t scream or make any sound at all. My ethereal mass hurtled through the air, pulled by some unknown force. I can’t recall exactly how long it took until I finally saw the Gate of Sharanto. By this time I knew what had happened to me, I had died and I was en route to Borderline. Borderline is where all the criminals go after they die; it is a stomping ground for demons which could conquer our entire world with ease. The priests of Carmateth, my land of birth, offer up all the traitors and scum of the earth as sacrifices to sate the demons immense appetite. As a renegade soldier of questionable loyalty, obviously the priests thought I deserved nothing more than what common criminals had to deal with after their time with the living has passed. It wouldn’t be much worse than regular death, except for one thing. The demons, being of an aggressive nature, like their meals to be squirming as they dismember the soul and gorge themselves on the warmth which lasts for 48 hours after the soul is first received. No one has ever survived that long.
The receptionists of Borderline are necromancers who take great joy in the pain and misfortune of others, and they revel in the sport that is our demise. In an effort to provide the demons the best possible enjoyment out of our death the necromancers arm us with whatever weapon we used in life so that we may fight for our lives until one of the many demons overpower us. Some men last a day, some not even an hour. No man has ever killed a demon here nor escaped this bitter end. I intend to be the first.
As I touch down before the Gate of Sharanto a globe of darkness encompasses me and I feel an evil presence surround me. My body seemed more substantial the longer I stood there, as if I were back to flesh and blood. I hear a deep voice echoing in my mind, “Mortal, which weapon do you profess to have mastered in life? We will grant you one weapon and one shield so that there may be a challenge for the demon who has chosen you as his prey.”
“I favor a scimitar in each hand and no shield.” I stated this with relative calm, which given my current predicament I thought was quite well.
Again the voice in my head boomed, “As you wish fool! You won’t last ten minutes in the ring with Mur’tul! Take your weapons and enter the Gate.” Before me appeared two scimitars with ancient runes on the blade. As I grasped the hilt in my hands, the blades started glowing. The one in my left hand was glowing red as the sun at high noon and the one in my right hand was blue and as cold as a winter’s night. These two hilts fit perfectly in my hands and as I stepped through the Gate I put the blades to work on some practice maneuvers I had learned in my training as a guard. I sensed the balance of each blade was perfect as I transferred smoothly from maneuver to maneuver.
I smiled to myself as I noticed the Gate slam shut behind me and I felt a wisp of stale wind come from the other end of the dark abyss I had entered. The arena lit up with an eerie light emanating from a sphere high above the field where I would meet Mur’tul in battle. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw the beast towering well above 10 feet and with arms as thick as tree trunks. Mur’tul came towards me slowly, waiting for me to make the first move. I moved my blades to a defensive position in front of my body while trying to circle around behind the demon. As expected, he circled with me keeping me in his sight at all times and steadily closing the gap between us. The gap got smaller and smaller until the beast was just a swords length away from me. I saw now the great maw of the beast as he snarled down at me and shuddered with pleasure for the expectation that he would be savoring the taste of my soul soon.
Mur’tul, getting impatient for this battle to begin, swiped at my legs with his hooked claws. I dodged to the left, narrowly avoiding a slice across my right ankle. Only my natural instinct saved me as a claw streaked above my head just as I fell flat to my back with my scimitars flying out wide to the side. This left me in a bad position for maneuvering though and the demon attacked me in a frenzy. Biting and clawing at my face with reckless abandon, I could barely fend him off in time. Both my arms pumping with the strain of parrying the attempts to slash my face, I knew I had very little time to figure out what to do. One of his attacks got through my defenses, drawing thin lines of blood along my cheek as they sliced the skin. The sight of my blood made Mur’tul howl with glee and go after me with renewed vigor. A few more of his claw marks decorated my face and stomach by the time I figured out what I had to do to survive. I let one of his clawed hands get through my defenses and as he slashed across my chest I thrust my left hand blade up and into his armpit causing him to screech in pain and grasp the seared wound. By the time he remembered to look at me again I was slashing my swords in an x formation under his ribcage, with one cut steaming and the other turning dark with frostbite. As the beast faced me again I knew that my attack had wearied him, the fire was almost gone from his eyes and his face was grimaced in pain. That didn’t stop the hideous demon from rushing me though, no matter how bad the pain he still came on. The instant before the demon swung at me I leapt forward and thrust both blades through his chest, killing him instantly. The mighty demon Mur’tul slumped to the ground as I pulled my blades out of him; after wiping my blades clean of the blood I started walking towards the center of the arena. I got five steps before I collapsed on the ground, The trail of blood behind me was the last thing I saw before blacking out blood loss.