Half-Faced Demon

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium
A party of three soldiers and one child go to hunt the most dangerous prey of all: Marcus Randell, public enemy number one. The owl hadn't been sighted in many months, but now that they have a lead, the group surely will bring an end to whatever the evil bird is plotting.

Submitted: April 26, 2017

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Submitted: April 26, 2017

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"There's a chill in the air tonight," the shaded figure says as his paws pad softly on the frail grass below. The feline usually donned armor, but tonight was a special night. Their prey was Him, public enemy number one, and possibly the most dangerous and powerful figure in the universe. His name is known universally, his body count unknowable, his powers scaling of that of a God: he is Marcus Randell, the half-faced owl.

A bobcat responds to the cheetah leader, her own build heavier and lined with scars. "Indeed. Marcus should preform poorly with all this mist about; fire doesn't tend to like water," her voice was soon followed by a soft chuckle, a morbid grin upon her expression. "Must we hunt him? He hasn't attacked the Collective of the Sky in.. oh, who knows, a month??" Came yet another voice, this one belonging to a silver dragonette. The youth was only along because they all knew Marcus would have to be careful and intentful; the terrorist had never harmed a child. 

Following along the group in last, an elderly cat. Her tortieshell was long since faded and she walked with a simple limp; her front left leg was burned and deemed useless from the middle down, and a silver bracelet had long since warped and become one with the charred skin. It had been many years since she had acquired the injury, but she still remembered the day like a crystilline night sky. "Because, dear Taro, people don't like the guy. He's done terrible things to many people, destories homes, commited mass-genocide.. all by himself." She responded, though her voice was not informative or laced with rage. Rather, it was of sorrow and thoughtfulness. She knew the prey well, very well, much more then the rest of the group.

I can't believe they're still hunting him, even though I convinced him to surrender. Her own thoughts were of, he's stopped. He's not the monster they take him for.. what am I even thinking? Damned be this spiritual connection. Indeed, the expirenced fighter had accidently formed a spiritual bond with the enemy a long time ago. During one of his early raids, something had happened. It was how magic was in this realm; things just happen with no explaination. "Well! I think we should go back, he doesn't seem to be hurtin' anyone right nooow!" Taro cried, the spooked child clearly having alternet motives.

Trust me, kiddo. I don't want to be here either.

"STOP!" The voice of the group's leader cried out. Though he was normally a sandy golden with the classic cheetah spots, the moon's light made him look almost silver. Green eyes examining the place, they soon wandered over to the tortieshell, who sighed. "..yes, Bellow. He's here," was her responce to the unspoken question. "Good.. good. Everyone, get ready! The night is an owl's time of play, but we've been preparing for this mission for so long! Tonight, we'll return home with the glory of crying, 'we killed the half-faced devil!'

Six already have that glory, Bellow. Six who fell when he cheated death each time. One of which.. oh, my son. What have I done to deserve this?

As he could not hear the thoughts of another, the brazened warrior kept on. "MARCUS RANDELL! WE FOUR CHALLENGE YOU! SHOW YOURSELF, YOU DISGUSTING MONSTER!" The sudden loudness of the voice was followed with nothing but silence. Perhaps the wind could be heard weaving through the bark of the tall, leafless trees that surrounded them; perhaps even a mouse's heartbeat could be detected. The trained three of the group were alert for only one sound, and that sound was the faint echo of a barn owl's wing beat. Instead, they were greeted with a weary voice singing in a fatherly tone.

"Oh little owl, what do you seee~ with that one eye of yours, my friend~"

The bobcat tensed up, her own dark pelt blending in well with the surrondings. Her breath was reserved, icy blue gaze sharp, and claws dug tight into the surface below her as the song kept on.

"Oh little owl, don't you miss Leer? What do you crave for and who you hold dear?"

The cheetah, Taro, frowned and growled. He wasn't even trying to hide, as he was used to challengers who'd approach with honor. His face took one of anger. "Don't interrupt him, he'll get mad." Hummed the quiet voice of the tortieshell, but Taro took none of her advice. "SHUT UP, YOU SICK BASTARD, AND SHOW YOURSELF!" The dragonette ducked behind the cover of the expirenced she-cat, and she wouldn't stop him. No; she knew this must be terrifying, having to hear the voice of one you grew up to stories of destorying homes and tearing apart families.

"--oh, it appears my singing isn't wanted." Came the voice, suddenly losing all of it's harmony and dropping to a scrathy, dreary tone. "Too bad... this disgusting monster, this sick bastard wanted to show off a little bit! It's so so rare for me to get visitors such as yourselves.." With curved wings the figure flew down from the sky, hovering just out of range of the group. In the silver moonlight, the bird's most reconizable feature was illuminated. Indeed, half of his face was missing, the traditional heart shape of his face-mask now looking akin to that of a heart broke in two.

"My name is Taro, and I hereby challenge you! Prepare yourse-" Marcus quickly cut him off. "Taro, of what land? Oh, should I even bother asking? I can tell from one figure in your party that you belong to the Collective of the Sky! My favorite group of cheery, breezy, wonderous child killers. Murdered any innocents today, Taro? How about anyone's wives?? Oh, oh! For that matter, have you publically executed any unhatched eggs? I heard it's quite a popular event." Taro looked quite shocked at the accusions, before returning to a face of rage. 

"It is you who indulges in those acts, fiend!" He started again, before noticing that the owl wasn't even looking his way. Instead, the owl's only eye, glowing a faint yellow, seemed to be staring dead at the tortieshell. Please, Marcus. Do what you must, but these people follow the trail of hatred that was started so long ago. She mentally pleeded, hoping her voice would get through. Not that it would; he had blocked her telepathic communication many moons ago.

Marcus seemed to smirk, as much of a smirk as a animal with a beak could, before landing softly. Spreading his wings wide, his half-expression took on a taunting one. "So, come at me if you wish. Those who don't want to fight, you may simply watch. Though..." The owl sighed. "...oh, Summer, do be a dear and avert that poor child's eyes? That dragon looks all too much like a niece of mine. How is Memory doing, anyways? I was unaware she had children, I could have visited. Great uncle Marcus~.. I'd teach them how to use fire most effectively." Marcus rambled, seemingly lost in thought.

Taro charged at this movement, moving from the standstill he had been at in order to rush up at the owl. Within a second, his claws could have torn apart the distracted owl. He intended to rip apart both feathers and flesh, but the only thing the swift being managed to tear was air. Still moving in the air, not even an afterimage of the bird was left. "..and here's your weak spot, in quite an obvious place~"

Crack.

With no last warning, the only thing the tortieshell could do was cover the dragonette's eyes. Even so, the first crack was not the last. The force of the blow delievered a shockwave throughout the body. Next, the shoulders creaked and split, the skin around the shoulders tearing and ripping violently. Blood soon followed after as the pulse still went on, snapping the spine and shattering the ribs. The organs were hit, too, damaging and even crushing some. All that was visible was the blurry motion of an owl, having hit the enemy square between the shoulders with a single strike of his talon.

As if in slow motion, blood and a bits of trained muscle soared through the air. The only area of the owl it managed to spray was his talon, and suddenly he was out of range again, landing off towards the left of the group. The cheetah's expression turned to one of shock and horror, before everything went limp. Finally crashing upon the ground with a sliding motion, there was a smear of blood left in the tumbling Taro's wake. Empty eyes revealed the fact the group already knew; he was dead. No magic of any kind could save him now.

The bobcat's ears pinned, and she rushed the owl. She was nowhere near as fast as her adoptive father had been, but rage drove her to state where none of that really mattered. Summer said nothing, knowing nothing could stop the rage of witnessing someone dear to you die. Still hiding the terrified dragonette's vision, she'd close her own amber orbs and pinned her ears. Her efforts didn't help much, as all she heard afterwards was a loud thump, and the sound of two powerful things clashing.

"Oh, and I thought you weren't scared of battle anymore, Summer? What are you, a trainee? In the very least, that part of me should influence you.."

Summer took a deep breath, opening her eyes. To her surprise, she saw the bobcat was still breathing, but unconsious with both her backlegs twisted at an unnatural angle. "That's.. merciful of you, Marcus. Might I ask why?" The cat simply asked, not bothering to look for the familiar owl. She'd turn to the child, too shaken by the noises to look, and sat down to hug the dragonette close. "Well, a visit from miss Summer, mate of the late Leader who killed my precious children,.. it is not an everyday thing. I figured I'd be nice."

The owl softly chuckled, though he remained invisible. She knew it to be one of his most practiced talents, invisibility. It existed and worked in harmony alongside teleportation and sound manipulation. "You know well it is not nice to kill someone's father. What if you had to watch Fading kill your wife in front of you, and if you were as powerless as you were back then?" The she-cat hummed, comforting the child farther by whispering 'it'll be alright,' over and over.

"Ah.. true. I just hadn't fought in a while, I suppose I forgot how to hold back. If that little bobcat grows up to be a 'good,' 'heroic!' version of me I wouldn't be surprised. Not that I'd wish that much suffering on anyone for the world." 

"That is because you could take over the world, if you wish."

"Also true. Now,.. please, pardon me..." The owl would turn visible, standing in meele distance from the feline. "..let me see that dear child. It's been so long since I've checked on what's left of my family, be them secret or not..." He'd state, reaching out a wing for the dragonette. Though, it wasn't of aggression- despite the state of the feathers, they were soft and rugged at the same time. "Only if he wants to meet you, Marcus. You are quite a fright."

The dragonette who had been hiding his head in the fluff of the feline slowly raised his head, turning it to glance for the first time at what has only been discribed to him as horrid, wicked, and cruel. A murderer without cause, a half-faced demon, sometimes even called the Devil himself. The firey bird who flew close to the sun and stole it's flames, before striking down Icarus with his own talons. The monster that killed both the Gods and God himself to take the seat for his own wicked plans. 

He looked sad. Missing half his face, a nearly-torn through beak and a missing eye. Despite his scar, the owl still somehow looked sorrowful and weary, his eyes carrying the weight of a thousand stories and a thousand lies. His talons, one stained with blood, rested not gently on the ground; rather they were on end, ready to move at any moment, as if he expected to be attacked for any moment. Unlike the horns he had been described with, he had none, nor was his feathers bloody red or burnt. Rather, they were soft shades of tan and a bark brown, speckled in with creme areas and many dots. 

Struck with both horror and confusion, the dragonette didn't react as the primary feathers of the bird rested at the side of his signifigantly smaller face. Marcus also was much larger then the typical owl, almost as tall as Summer. Though he was smaller then most beings in this world, he held perhaps the most hated and feared title. With a sudden and sharp inhale, the bird almost hiccuped, face moving closer to examine the youth.

"Oh, oh dear.. you share her face. The same eyes, the same nose, the same curved ears and judging by how the rest of it is, you'll have the same set of horns as her too. Good for ramming into the enemy and such.. or perhaps you'll even follow her talonsteps- or hoofsteps?- and take upon the duty of a medic." The rambling owl stated, grinning softly as he spoke next, "...a medic takes much more courage then ever I, a mere soldier, could conjure up."

Marcus would pull back his wing now, looking at the scene he had left. "I trust she can find her way back?" He'd ask, Summer nodding in responce. "Ah, good, good... take care, Summer. I'll be moving again, but you'll find me just as easy all the same. Try to visit sometime, alright?" The bird would turn his head to the sky, examining the moon and the stars all alike. He'd take a deep breath, beginning to turn invisible once more, clearly intent on leaving with the last say.

"..it's lonely out here."


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