The Forsaken Race; Darker Times

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 25 (v.1) - The Harbinger of Insanity

Submitted: May 11, 2018

Reads: 118

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Submitted: May 11, 2018

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"Stop it," Zin growled, glaring at Timbur. 

He had Zin's armed pinned behind his back, and a machete to his throat. Timbur himself had hastily-placed bindings on his shoulder and side, still bloodied from the battle. All of the demons, and Kita, stood in the Hex Den. Everyone but Leiytning and Thundur were still shaken from what just happened in the Wyvern's Clearing.

Seyber gained the nerve to speak coldly, "What do we do with him? He tried to kill our leader, spirit-walker, and beta. That can't go unpunished."

Zin sighed. "I know, I know. Go ahead and execute me."

"Don't tempt me," Timbur growled, digging the machete into the skin.

Kita had to do her best to hold her tongue and hide her shuddering. Though she did not want to see one of the demons die, she knew that there may not have been a choice. Zin had done so much damage, and it was clear that anyone else who would've tried doing what he did would receive an equally brutal punishment.

To their surprise, Leiytning was the one who said, "We're not going to kill him."

"Think about this," Thundur warily replied. "There's just no excuse, nor a way to overlook what happened."

"True," Timbur agreed. "If it weren't for Thundur, then a lot of us could be dead by now. Or worse."

"Zin didn't do this for no reason, though," Leiytning argued. "We all know he wouldn't go this far with his own thinking. Scorch, surely you can agree with that much?"

Scorch sighed, "Yeah, I know he wouldn't. But that's also why..." He abruptly turned to Zin. "Why the hell did you do it, you moron?!"

Zin kept his eyes cast down, the harshness accusation making the guilt worse. After all, these two brothers kept no secrets from each other. The way Scorch was talking to him, and looking at him like he was a monster, Zin could barely comprehend.

"If you can't tell them, then at least tell me," Scorch pressed. "Why?"

"...You don't understand it, Scorch," Zin spoke. He shot a glare at the twins. "You never saw what I did; no one else did but Leiyt's suck-up of an apprentice. Ever since, I've tried to ignore it and believe that they were better than the rumors, just as we've thought they were. But then recent information made he see past that, thank afterworld. What you see now is a disguise to hide what's real from us. Maybe that's done with good intent, but it doesn't change the truth."

Thundur grunted. "Well, no wonder you wanted to kill us. Suppose seeing anything like that without an explanation can put a dent in our reputation. Again, though, that's not an excuse."

"You think?" Zin muttered. "That demon took a bigger bite out of you than we ever thought. At this rate, he must've won ages ago."

Kita gained the nerve to ask, "What is this 'demon,' anyway? I can barely tell if you're talking about yourselves or not, no offense."

Jem explained for her. "Hysteric Demons, nothing close to us. See, Hysterics are a kind of ethereal demon, like a very powerful spirit. They're closer to the original demons, the ones from the original afterlife of...what's it called; the one with Satan, and such?" When no one answered, she dismissed it. "Anyways, these demons only target legendary or powerful beings. There's only thirty-nine of them, but you'd better hope that one doesn't find you."

Scorch looked to the twins, speaking suspiciously, "You still haven't told us who yours is."

Thundur sneered, "You should be happy we haven't."

"Why?" Asked Scorch. Zin seemed intrigued by this, as well, but in a darker way.

Leiytning answered, "Unfortunately, ours is one of the strangest yet. Still, he's ranked fourth out of the thirty-nine; one of the original five. Kasan, the Harbinger of Insanity and Master of Snakes."

Thundur continued, "As you all may know, Hysterics strive to turn powerful beings into monsters and drag them into their hellish spirit realm. In order to do that, they use damage, like trauma or phobias, against their victims. In our case, the weapon is insanity, hence the reason outbursts like that can be very..."

Leiytning completed the sentence for her. "Why they're demented, erratic, mad, psychotic, schizophrenic, irrational, and so on."

"Then Kasan created those things we saw?" Kita inquired.

Thundur nodded in assent, and explained better. "The piece of soul Kasan defiled didn't detach or become separate, it acted as a wound. It stayed and festered, turning half of us into the monsters we've been accused of being. Almost like a sick alternate personality. But either way, now that our power is returned, I can assure you that everything is under control. Our memories are still intact, and Kasan is chained up in the Death Realm. As an additional source, we even have Shadow Star and a kind of seal to help prevent any further damage or outbursts."

"So everything's under control?" Asked Jem.

"Once again, yes," said Thundur.

Scorch still looked uneasy. "Then why did Leiytning lose it so easily? All it took was Zin chanting a few pointless words, and the sadist was released."

Thundur looked like she was about to explain, but then stopped herself. "Well, that's actually a good question." She suspiciously glanced at her brother. "Leiyt..."

"Several factors caused that," Leiytning responded. "With Thundur down, and Shadow Star being a lazy bastard, the seal that prevents our outbursts in the real world grew weak. Then there was the fact that Zin took this pendant, stole our magic, and used both it and his own improved strength against me. In the end, things became too hard to restrain. And I apologize for any damage caused on my account."

Seyber looked sad. "It wasn't your fault."

Zin only snorted mockingly, and spoke with obvious sarcasm. "Yeah, it definitely isn't your own fault that you can't control yourself. Damn psychopath."

"Shut up," Timbur snapped, digging a claw into Zin's wrist, which also caused him to wince.

"Zin, you can at least try to understand it now," said Leiytning. "What you saw wasn't us, and I don't know where you got those beliefs you were chanting, but they were far from right."

"While there is a twisted side to us," Thundur explained, "There's another one that's completely different. One stronger, and that holds more dominion. Only occasionally will the darkness break the skin and resurface, but it takes a lot of effort. It takes something like what you did, and even then, it can be managed. At times like this, when we're in charge, nothing gets past. Those things become no more than a bad memory."

"If I recall everything from the attack correctly, that's the only thing I said that was correct," Leiytning remarked. "They become non-existent."

Zin only stared at the ground with a distant look. Timbur still showed no mercy, and refused to let him move. He seemed not only confused, but a dark look was in his eyes. Neither Thundur or Leiytning could tell what it was, though. His mind was as blank as his expression.

There was a moment of silence after that. No one said a word, as no one knew what to say. Zin knew he had to say something, though, so he finally worked up the nerve.

"...I'm sorry."

Timbur, being his usual skeptic self, only sarcastically muttered, "Sure you are."

"You probably don't believe me," Zin continued. "No surprise."

"You didn't know who or what they were, did you?" Asked Thundur. "You thought, as you said, this version is just an illusion, and we were completely defiled, rather than only partly"

"Even if that is true," Timbur argued, "That doesn't explain why he was so intent on killing and replacing us."

Even Zin looked baffled when he stated his reasoning. "I don't give a damn about leadership, to be honest. I never have, not then or now. Really the only complaint I ever had was about Timbur's betaship. If I was being honest, then...some, but not a lot has changed. Once you were the lazy brat who didn't give a damn, and didn't deserve it all. Then you became a shadow of Leiytning, who I thought- er, maybe I think is corrupt, I don't really know. Lastly, you're just not built for the job; you've always been the-"

Timbur pressed the blade into his throat and growled, "Say it, and I will kill you on the spot."

Zin quickly rephrased the intended word choice. "The small one. But I see that I was wrong, alright? Not you alone is impressive, but even when you'd been downed and everything was going to hell...you still got up and defended Leiyt."

"Then maybe you're not so blind as I thought," Leiytning remarked. Zin sighed and rolled his eyes.

Thundur continued off the original point, "Zin was acting out of fear, then. He had no idea what the dark versions of us were, and this combined with this disrespect of Timbur must've sparked the attack."

Zin laughed nervously. "Actually...Well, while you have me restrained and talking, I'll just come clean." He clearly hated whatever thought came to mind. "I think I know what a lot of that was about, now that I think back. Just know that this is going to be the most humiliating thing I'll ever confess to. It's how I got the spell and the plan for this, too."

"Go on," Thundur prompted.

Zin started, "While Leiyt and Timbur were on that one mission involving the Winters, Seyber, Kita and I were on a mission in the Blood Forest. We thought there were two patrols, though, so they retreated while I stayed to inspect. And what luck; Corelia appeared! She didn't attack, but-"

Thundur looked angered. "You let Corelia put you up to this?" 

"I know I'm dumb, don't rub it in," Zin responded. "The bitch is a con-artist, though! I was about to ditch her and not care, but then she offered a way to cure Thundur, and I got drawn in."

"How the hell is this supposed to help her?" Leiytning impatiently argued. "If you had gone through with your plan, it would've killed her."

Zin shook his head, clearly confused. "I don't even know what happened. One minute she's talking about a cure, and then next she brings up the leaders' corruption, and I somehow got dragged into that nonsense. Hell, I barely even remember the conversation. It's like she really was using magic."

"Idiot, that's all the royals do," Leiytning retorted. 

"I know!" Zin snapped. "But she weaponized me- during that talk, she gave me a spell that would strip you and Thundur of your magic, and told me that I had to find evidence from the past to unleash a special weapon. Now she wants me to meet her at the edge of the Blood Forest tonight, and give her what she asked for in turn. Naturally, I just planned to go and kill her, instead. Nothing's enough to get me to work for a sylph, especially Corelia."

"What did she ask for?" Thundur interrogated.

"Three things," Zin answered. "Some magic item that I can't remember, I think it might've been a ward like the aura shield. I wasn't going to give it to her, of course. Then she wanted me to take the Circlet of the Master Zyrean, and your remaining eyes, as proof that you were dead."

Leiytning shot him a suspicious glare. "You don't have any of those, do you?" 

"No," Zin answered. "As I said, I wasn't going to give her anything."

"Uh..." Kita was confused by half of this. Seyber explained quickly and quietly; the aura shield was a magic barrier, and the circlet was a thing to mark leadership status, though Leiytning never had it on him.

"That begs the question," Timbur spoke. "What if that's one of the things Corelia was looking for in those attacks and trades? She was trying to find the spell for Zin to use; she planned this to have a way of destroying us from the inside."

"It's definitely possible," Leiytning agreed.

Thundur furrowed her brows, clearly confused. "What's this about trades?"

Seyber laughed at this. "I didn't even think about that! Thundur was unconscious for all the fun with the Aubades; it's really been that long."

"Where do we even begin?" Timbur sighed.

Leiytning continued to speak, "Before we discuss this, there's the concept of Zin's punishment. I think a while in the Oculus Prison should work."

Zin gasped, clearly alarmed. "What?! But I'll get attacked by that thing!"

"And Sidewinder on occasion, but that's the point," Leiytning replied, though he was bluffing to make Zin more scared. "Word of warning; Echo doesn't take kindly to traitors. Jem, Scorch, care to lead him down?"

"On it," Jem replied. With that, Scorch nodded and drew his gun, keeping it aimed at Zin, and gestured for him to get moving. The two both escorted Zin, still looking frightened, out of the Hex Den and deeper into the fortress.

Once they left, Thundur asked the obvious question. "Now, what did you mean by 'trade' with the Aubades?"

When Thundur asked, the others, mainly Seyber and Timbur, answered in the best way they could. They explained the strange behavior from other races and beasts. Then they explained the trades and trade-offers, as well as all the attacks and other strange behavior that the Aubades had been showing. Leiytning even threw in the small detail of how several gods had been corrupting themselves to destroy their races and panic others, giving an apocalyptic effect to the real world.

As Kita listened, hearing the word 'apocalypse' made her shudder and something sparked within her mind. The words that continued to haunt her, even to this day. The words that sent her away from Sybilius, and to this land and the Zyreans. Those words; instructions that she had to keep going, and follow the path to 'the beginning of the end.'

Is this what it meant? But why me?

She looked to Thundur, who was clearly stressed after hearing everything. She sighed before speaking again.

"I think I'm going to regret asking this. Anything else?"

"Only the most recent," Leiytning replied. "The Aubades attacked the Winter Demons for no reason at all, and killed Dinragen. You can thank Chiro for that, but now he and another lieutenant are dead."

"Thank Afterworld for that," Thundur remarked. "Both Shira and Chiro dead; there's one problem solved. I can't say the same for the attacks, though."

Timbur spoke then, "According to what we got out of Chiro, Corelia doesn't just want to kill us anymore. She's targeting all demons, because she thinks they are the cause of this apocalypse that's been happening. Things aren't looking good for some darker creatures, either, or anyone that defies her in general."

"That's also why we think she's been starting this trade deal with so many races," said Leiytning. "She's trying to get materials to exterminate not just us, but the Winters, Kaens, and Animas. The fact that she's targeting all four demon races is something we're positive about, and it wouldn't take a genius to know that exterminating all four demonic races would require a lot of power in both defensive and offensive areas."

Seyber, having just now learned this, seemed horrified. "That's her plan?! B-But it's insane! We've seen Sybilius kill one demon race, but taking on three and us? What is she thinking?!"

Leiytning answered again, "Corelia is as cocky as she is insane. Where she sees a flawless plan, anyone with a shred of common sense would see a suicide attempt. However, as much as I hate to admit it, if Corelia does make the right moves, there's no doubt that Sybilius's army would grow to be large enough to outnumber all the demon races combined, and the troops just as strong as theirs."

"That's true enough," Timbur agreed. "If anyone would have the ability to conquer all Northern demons, it'd be the Aubades."

Kita murmured, "Corelia is hiding in Sybilius and hurting everyone else..." Her fist angrily clenched at the thought. "What a coward. She's obviously not going to stop any of this, either. She'll keep a few races to trade with, but then kill anyone else. What would she do when the demons are gone? She would take all of the Northern Territories! She'd turn all of it into Sybilius!"

Timbur grunted irately. "Just like Sybil. She thought 'just a few raids for materials,' then it escalated into our extinction. It's just never enough for them."

"That's why something must be done," Thundur responded. "I've no doubt that Corelia's creating some kind of monstrosity with the things she's collected. It's clear that all of the demonic creatures are in danger. Furthermore, if the Aquarus are gone, then we know she could be targeting anyone; lighter, darker, or demonic. We need to think of a way to stop her."

Timbur looked unconvinced. "As much as I hate to argue with that, Thundur, we can't attack Sybilius. Just getting to Corelia would be a challenge. As Leiytning said, the army is growing. With how many troops have died, and how she seems to come back with more, she must be training more warriors, and oblivion knows how many are lieutenant-worthy. We also can't begin to guess what godawful experiments are in her palace."

Thundur nodded, but still looked very distant. It took her a moment before she finally spoke again. "...I think I have one plan in mind."

While the others looked interested, Leiytning seemed unsure. "I know what your thinking, and it's not flawless or very conservative."

"All the more reason to do it, my ignorant brother," Thundur replied. "There's one thing right about this all, which is what I'm going on. Things are changing, so that means we should change our strategy, too. I never thought I'd say this, but something along the lines of crazy just might give us an advantage."

Leiytning glared at the name. "'Ignorant'?"

Thundur dismissed the case for now. "We'll discuss this later. As for the rest of you, we can't let recent events delay our usual schedule. Timbur, try to regulate things around here, will you?"

Timbur smirked and responded, "Right away, Thundur."


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