The Hunter of Fire

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm
Commercé, the continent overrun by a perpetual storm and to some degree perpetual money. Humans and Kraeka both have fought over it in colony form and Rin has somehow gotten stuck in this fight by joining the Hunters. Never trusted to be strong enough to any real work she just wants a way to prove herself, though the way that happens wasn't exactly planned.

Submitted: November 09, 2018

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Submitted: November 09, 2018

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I take a deep breath of heavy, humid air as rain sets siege to my rain coat. Gusts of wind makes the air feel only bearable enough with just the curse of water getting into my eyes. My name is Rin Kazashi, a green recruit of the Demon Hunters who had been sent to a base over in Commerce. I hate it here from the perpetual storms and hard to breath, muggy atmosphere. If it wasn't the natural environment around me then it was probably my colleagues I didn't much like. Not that I have any real problem with them it was just they seemed to not really like me all that much. I had only just arrived a few days and the only person who seemed thankful or glad that I was stationed here was the commander as he had given me a short tour.  Thunder rumbled in the distance bringing me out of my daydreaming. If there was anything good about the storm hanging over the continent it was that you could predict its patterns easily. Right now it was just gusty with light rain but here soon a more severe patch would arrive. I found it amazing that the whole place wasn't underwater by now, though some say the demo- I'm sorry the Kraeka, had done something to the soil and earth of the land to prevent constant flash flooding. Not everywhere, of course, as there is plenty of marshland spotted around in places.  A storm precaution signal blares across the base to signal anyone to at least get under some cover. The base had been built with plenty of covered walkways and drains to keep it dry enough to travel between buildings. I may not like the storms or muggy air, but I do enjoy the sound rain makes when it hits a raincoat. So I tend to walk between the courtyards during the slower parts of the storm. No one dared to stand out during the severe portions though as large hail or high powered winds tend to rip through the area. I heed the cautions and quickly jog into a nearby rain bunker where some other Hunters on a watch shift had taken cover in. I received glares from the others upon entering and I mostly ignored them as I take off my raincoat to dry off. I straighten my blouse and slacks before sitting down by a lookout window to watch the storm roll through. I glance back at the others who are with me glad I was mostly being ignored, except for maybe a few side glances. I learned when I arrived that the people who had been stationed here had worked hard for it while showing some inkling of skill. The commander had shown pride when I arrived where as he had put it “Being stationed here was a badge of your power.” So as such everyone else has given more less of a warm welcome. The age difference was fairly large, where I am 18 everyone else is mid-twenties and up, so I get treated like some unwanted child. Good example is exactly the kind of shift I'm doing at the very moment. The shift given to me was a ‘Reactionary Watch’ or more simply ‘We don't need or want you here so we gave you the one job that isn't needed at all.’ My shift after my tour yesterday and my shift today have been unpleasant, to say the least.  I rest my head in my hand to lean on the windowsill as the storm brings a grey screen of water into our direction. The wind had picked up to bend the trees a bit and give life to the full grass out in the plain outside the base. I was here to master my techniques because of the constant skirmishes, not to get bullied by my higher ups because they feel I don't belong. I look down to my side and realized I forgot to put my weapon up with my coat. I grab the sheath of my sword and unsheathed the blade, revealing its smooth curvature. It was a light blade at about the length of my arm, curved slightly at the middle to indicate that it's meant for slicing not stabbing.  “What is she doing here in our bunker? Isn't she supposed to be sucking up to the commander or something?” I realized I was scowling and made a loud noise as I sheathed the sword back. Some of them flinched as they realized the rain hadn't covered up their words. I was fairly agitated about it so I got up swiftly and threw my raincoat back on. As the rain greeted me it luckily drowned out whatever noises they had made behind me. I ducked under a small rain over and sat on the bench inside while still fuming with emotion. I like to think I take my job seriously and don't like being a laughing stock for an entire base when none of them know how strong I actually am. Before I joined the Hunters I studied an old art of manipulating another person's aura with your own. It was fairly difficult to do as you had to breach their defenses to touch them, and I wanted to be good at it. Not long after joining I got through training with flying colors. Higher ups noticed I had combat prowess and sent me here, to Commerce, as a part of an elite last defense for the nearby trade town. The wind howled to bring rain into the small shelter I was under so I slammed a rain shutter down to close it off. The solitude was relaxing with the rain pelting the metal. My thoughts roam around now that my short spurt of anger wasn’t bounding them around. I understood the hate I got from my colleagues, it’s just I wanted to be respected for the skill I have. How was I supposed to prove I was just as strong if no one ever gave me a chance?  The pattering slowed down as the cell in the storm passed onwards. Relieved I won’t get soaked I bring the shutters back up, snap as they click into place. Now that the drizzle was bearable to walk in, I bring the hood of my raincoat up and continue outwards towards the outside of the barracks. Halfway across the courtyard something tickled my hearing, causing me to look out towards the base walls. The air vibrated with sound, cracked as it vacuumed back in, and clapped it all back out at once. Deep in the distance of the forest was an odd sight of energy as waves emminated out, if only for a moment. White light flashed to blind me for a moment and as soon as it had happened the energy vanished. What I thought was the drizzle pelting my raincoat instead happened to be my heartbeat pulsing in my ear. Instincts blaring signals to my body, cause me to tense up and stumble any movement. There in the distance, peeking out over the canopy of the forest, I saw a grand fireball rise into the clouds. 

I ran. Actually I’d say I slipped around frantically towards the Barracks. It wasn’t my job to report a sight from watch but I had to at least let the first defenders know before the sirens blared. Though the only noise I could hear was the sound of water and my footsteps… A realization dawned on me as I reached a wall of the Barracks.  Nobody knew something was out there. I cursed the name of a few people, turning around to dash back to the watch bunker. I stumble on opening the door and slam it open, clambering inside while panting. Those within jumped from the sudden noise or yawned with drowsiness. THEY WERE. The anger welled up but I breathed deep and set it aside in my mind.  “Hey welcome back greenie.” The male who spoke to me had his back turned on his binocular ports. In fact all of them weren’t giving any thought to actually doing the work they were assigned.  “Thanks. I take it I missed a tea party or something? Have you guys looked outside even once today?” “Hey can it rook. We know how to do our job and don’t need you barging in he-” I stormed up to a set of binoculars, shoving the male aside. “Hey watch it! You could ask!” I ignored him and peered through to search the forest. Sure enough I saw a pillar of fire again, which caused a cold sweat to form on my body. I breathe a shaky breath and turn towards the scowling watch.  “Northeast 40. Moving slow probably will be noticeable at 45.” I step aside, standing firm. “Tch. New kids always think they know everything.” The male steps around me to look into his equipment. “What are you even blabbering about the only thing in that direction is rain and wi-” His voice dropped as his face paled.  “Jae? What is it?” The others had some concern finally show and awakened from a mental sleep. The male pulled his face from the binoculars frightened. He glanced back at me and all I did was glare back at him. He puffed in anger before releasing a frustrated sigh.  “The greenie is right we have visuals of fire pillars at 45 degrees NorthEast. Notify the scouts right now and keep tracking the visuals.” Puzzled looks all around. “Now! This is not a drill!” Eyes widened from his yelling and everyone clambers into chairs to look outside as the alarm was raised through the base.  “I'll be heading back into base, I have to be briefed before reacting.” I turn as a hand grips my shoulder. I look at the Male who held me back and glared at him. He didnt have the same angry expression as before as now actual fear had overwritten it.  “I was an asshole before. I think I can speak for everyone that we all have been acting like one. If… if you hadn't come back to do your job we wouldn't have known…” He was shaking. His fear was starting to shrug off onto me as i began to get nervous. Was there something out there i hadn't seen other than the fire pillars? He shakes his head to seemingly clear his head. “You need to get going. Being late for briefing is bad and I feel they need you the most.” I was taken aback mostly from the simple sincerity of his words.  “A-aye Jae. Just keep watching it.” I turn and dash out of the watch bunker. As soon as I was out of the door I heard the siren better for the first time and realized that I didn't recognize it. It was certainly one I never heard during my training as they were short low vibrations of noise. This one sounded like the siren on an ambulance got caught on a particular shrill note and was changing pitch only slightly. It honestly hurts my ears so I tried to cover them as I rain to no avail. All around the base groups is frantic Hunters were scrambling to get positioned around the walls to defend if need be. Only a handful of people ducked into a small building on the side, including myself, for briefing as the first force to deal with any situation.  We all settled down quickly as the commander walked in holding a small communication radio the size of his hand.  “We will have the briefing shortly everyone. The scouts are still in route to the specified locations.” A quiet settled around us as the radio occasionally sent in a few patches of static noise.  “Alpha reporting in to base we have visual of contacts estimating two hundred yards from our position.” We all tensed up when we finally heard the first scout squad report in. “They all seemed to be… wait that can’t be right. Hey one of you do a second count that cant be right.” A pause. A panicked voice comes back. “Fifty one Fire Demons. I repeat fifty one Fire Demons. They look to be low to mid ranking soldiers and the one in the back. No I dont think I've seen that many medals on a female Fire Demon before. Hey what rank does that symbol on her shoulder mean?” A few of my colleagues go white when they hear how many Kraeka there were. Not just any Kraeka either as they were the very powerful Fire Kraeka. They were currently known as the strongest out of all the known kinds and the current political powerhouse. My spine grows cold thinking on how this isnt a simple skirmish. They sent a small invasion force. “Hey dont joke around its impossible that she saw us. Were two hundred yards out and in shrubbery there's… wait it does kind of look like shes staring at…” Uniform gasps from us and the radio. “Disengage. I say disengage dammit move! Fuck! Why is the ground so hoaaaAAHHH!!” First a large sound of wind followed by a shortly cut off booming noise. Not long afterwards a distant explosion shook the walls of the building and rattle my thoughts. “Scout group Beta reporting in. We saw an explosion one hundred yards away we are disengaging from the area and returning to base. We believe alpha is dead as that was their last known location. We are 65 North East from base. Last known location of adversaries from Alphas scouting is 55 North East.” We hung our heads in silent respect. This was quickly becoming a worst case scenario for the base.  “We’re so dead.” A lady had actually curled up in her chair to my right. “Fifty one Fire Demons. It usually takes five Hunters to fight one of them how are we going to fight that?” Her panicked words ripple across the rooms face.  “Pull yourself together woman or you're going to die with those being your last words.” The Commander finally spoke up. “Based on the limited information gathered here is your briefing. There are fifty one Fire Demons ought there approximately one kilometer out, if even that far, and closing in at a fairly paced speed. There is at least one high ranking officer with the group. The force sent is more than just a simple skirmish force to test our manpower. no this force wants to blow the place up and were not going to let them. Is that clear?” “And end up like alpha?” A Male this time speaks up from the back, causing our commander squint his eyes towards us.  “What did I do to deserve potbellied babies like you lot? Too selfish to fight for your own land?” None meet his eye. “I'll go sir.” I shot up from my seat as I spoke. A few people chuckled but were quickly silenced. “Finally a spine.” He looked me over before continuing. “A shaken spine, but still a spine nonetheless. Those who laughed are demoted a rank starting today and must perform janitor duties for a year. If we survive thanks to your incompetence.” He beams a welcome gaze in my direction. “It would seem you are to be alone for this. Not to be rude but while you're out there I'll be preparing a base evacuation. Do you understand your orders soldier?” I salute him with a shaky hand from both enhanced fear and swelling anger. “You can count on me! SIR!” “Atta girl. The brief is over those heading out to fight may leave. The rest of you are to stay. Right. Here.” I take my motion to leave as fast as I possibly could out of that room and rush towards the gates.  I check to be sure I have my sword on hand as I stop by the checkpoint guards. They both look at each other and back to me in confusion. “...Rin? The new greenie? Please don’t tell me they're just sending you out there as the first line of defense.” He held an exasperated look which fit my mood pretty well.  “If the rest of the Reaction Squad had any spine that would be great.” My anger showed greatly as I huffed breath out of me. I sigh as they opened up the gates. “Promise me the base will buy me drinks if i come back alive.” The guards laughed at this. “You cant even legally drink Rin you still have two years to go.” I shrug casually. “I think if I survived this I deserved an early chance.” I step out of the gate before he could respond and walk out a couple of yards before the gates behind me shut, causing tears to well in my eyes. I was absolutely scared stiff. Walking felt awkward as my mind barraged me with reminders that I more than likely was about to just be blown up on sight. I climb a small steep hill while trying to dry my eyes with difficulty in the rain. Once at the crown I catch my first glimpse of real Fire Kraeka standing before me. I had never actually seen one except in advertisements for women's skin products.Our society may dislike them in general but we revered them for their natural beauty for some reason or another. Their skin held various shades of reds ranging from pink to deep maroon. The leather armor most of them wore clung to their skin to show off their curves and hissed from the rain falling above. The steam was intimidating actually creating a small cloud of fog and hissing constantly. Sweat formed only to be washed away as the group of Kraeka come to a halt at the base of the hill. Breath escaped from my mouth as I realized I was even holding it to begin with. I close my eyes, bring more air into my lungs and re-open my eyes as I take my sheathed sword and set it into the ground beside me.  “Fire Kraeka who stand before me say your reason for trespassing on this land!” I felt stupid as soon as the words came out of my mouth but I felt more confident after saying it. The Kraeka on the front line stopped their actions, which at the moment looked like a prepared charge, and looked amongst each other in confusion. I wasn’t here to immediately fight them and was hoping I could avoid such a dangerous conflict. Their laughter told me another story furthering my current doubts and fears. I shook these thoughts out of my head and straightened my back.  “I will only repeat myself this one time! What reason are you trespassing this land for?!” The overhead clouds brought sounds of distant thunder reminding me another big shower was on the way. Only these sounds of the wind or rain kept the silence from creeping up my spine.  Cackling laughter erupted. Not from the main body of the Kraeka in front of her but from deep in the back of their formation. A bonfire had sprung up to touch the base of the clouds above, creating a mist as the rain pelted it. Even though I could feel it’s heat from this distance I still shivered out of fear. The group began to separate orderly as a sole being walked to the front, all the while still laughing. After reaching the front of their ranks the enraged flames surrounding her dulled and I was able to get a really good look at her. Unlike those around her she had actual metalwork for armor. It didnt cling to her body but still gave figure to it all the same. Other than the dents and battle scars on the armor she also donned a large variety of metals. None of which made any sense to me of course other than my odds of surviving decreasing. I try not flinch or show a change of composure in her presence. “Your eyes betray you… human.” The armored Kraeka smirks over at me. “You show unwavering confidence and bravery but yet…” her gaze washes over me, her eyes blazing. “I see your nervousness in you. An understanding of what ifs but a will to try anyway.” She spits to her side in a disgusted manner. “Your comrades are cowardly to send one like you to their death. I am here to conquer this land on orders from the king himself and I will not simply let a brave one like you try to stop me.” Her military roar in approval around her as she brandishes a halberd about twice her height. “What say you, human! Fight or flight before me!” I take up my sword’s hilt from the ground and point it towards the armored Kraeka. “You speak as if I know and fear you. All I see is weathered respectable armor on a being before me but i cannot budge.” I crouch down into a more prepared position, readying my hand to unsheath my sword. “Be your hand I lose my life but I shall not budge either way!” If it was something one must always remember about the Fire Kraeka is that they respect honor above almost all else. I was shaking horribly when I spoke those words. My hands sweat as she only mouthed the words ‘good’ to me as she smirked. Her halberd was raised into the air and swiftly slammed back down in flames to signal the start of the battle. 

The first Kraeka to rush me wasted no time getting to me. I was being underestimated as they weren't using any abilities from the start. Clicking my sword a little from the sheath I waited for any kind of attack. The Kraeka was overly aggressive, raising a blade high over their head to slash down. Finally in range of me I made one swift motion to unsheath my sword to slash horizontally. As the blade began to touch skin I focused more on our surrounding aura. I beckoned her aura, pulling it to me and draining the aggressor of their strength. My blade made a clean cut as shock overtook her face before collapsing. At the bottom of the hill I see the armored one scowl and more climb up to rush me. Now that I had someone else's aura it was hard to contain its powers. I sheathed my sword again and concentrated on changing the element I had pulled from the Kraeka. I decided air was a better use than fire in this instance and focused back on those coming at me. This time I dont allow them to get near me as I release my blade again. The winds pick up around me as a booming slice is sent towards my foes. The time they had to react was as thin as the line they now had at their midsection. I decide now is a time to get aggressive before the Kraeka also start throwing abilities at me and chase the sonic wave towards them. I still had some overflow of aura so I use it to increase my speed and clash with the line of Kraeka below. My blade collides with one of them as she looked at me dumbfounded. It was then I realized I was actually matching her strength. I kick out at her to knock her back a few feet and bring the point into her chest. I get another surge of power into me. Thinking of what element I wanted to use now I catch a glimpse of a blade coming at my head. I narrowly duck under it, kicking out the feet of the Kraeka who swung. I finally thought of what I wanted, feeling a surge in my right hand before bringing it to their face and discharging. The potency of their aura was like molasses so I felt sluggish in using, but the sheer power it brought to my body was euphoric to say the least. Now overpowering the grunts the Armored Kraeka had sent at me I fought them with more confidence and no hesitation. I kept slicing them down while releasing the aura I had gained to keep pace. After being surrounded I released aura as earth to slam the ground with a shockwave to knock them over. After doing I felt a sharp pain in my right side as I was sent flying twenty feet away. I roll across the soggy ground and push up in time to see a halberd come down where my head was. The armored Kraeka lifts it up, revealing a burned scar in the earth, and motions for the few left to stay back. I was cocky, charging into range of her halberd only to have to deflect it. The impact alone caused me to sink into the earth. Fear crawled into my mind again and I hop back, but she was faster. Using the halberd as leverage she slings herself at me to deliver her first squarely into my jaw. I almost blacked out from the blow alone, just managing to keep conciousness by absorbing some aura while our skin made contact. I couldnt tell how far I was launched off my feet or slid on the ground. Head reeling still from the blow I try to get up.  “That technique of yours is annoying human.” The armored Kraeka was flexing her hand while scowling. “I only faced it once and felt weak. Curious on how you obtained a lost skill but I'm afraid I dont have time for that.” She charges at me with incredible speed putting me into a panic. Not having time to focus the aura correctly I discharge it as fire at the surrounding puddles creating a mist. A gust of wind as the halberd slams beside me is the only indication I got that she had lost vision of me for a moment and I go in to make a few cuts along her joints. Even with all the aura i had gained i wasn't able to cut her defenses well but anything was better than nothing. She curses to herself and circles her blade with enough force to send the mist elsewhere and once again revealing my location. We eye each other warily, which gives me the time I needed to switch around my energies. I charge in for a final attempt to deal real damage to her. She swings the halberd across at me but with all the power I recieved while fighting had given me enough strength to properly deflect it. This catches her off guard as I bring electric aura to my blade and thrust at her head. I breathe heavily as exhaustion catches up finally. Something felt off though when I try to move my blade. I look up realizing I had even looked away to see her holding my blade. I let go of my blade and just fall backwards out of breath. She continued to hold it,her hand bleeding and getting charred as the electricity surges around it. She casually flicks it to catch the hilt and stoops over my body to sheath my blade. I was puzzled by this action.  “Is there a reason I'm not seeing black right now? You could easily defeat me right here.” “Battles are more than falling every foe you fight human.” She was actually grinning at me. “In this case I lost. Strategically speaking I alone could wipe the base out but dont have the force to hold it. Your cowardly people finally came out of hiding and dealt with the few you hadn't slain.” She glares up at what I assumed were other Hunters behind me. An arrow just taps her armor, bouncing off into the mud. “If the weather cycle is true the bad part of the storm is coming up, meaning I'm out if time also. I can't believe I lost just to you human.” She extends her hand out to me. Shocked I reminded myself of their nature and took her hand. She brings me off the ground and stabilizes me to be sure I dont fall over again. I turn around to see the others prepared to jump to my aid but I felt it would be futile for them. The Armored Kraeka sighs, picking up her halberd to stand beside her.  “May I ask your name. Its customary for us to know those who defeated us.” I blink a second, my mind still foggy. “It's… Rin. Rin Kazashi.” The Kraeka nods slowly. “I am the Great General Kaede. Kaede Hioln.” The name sounded familiar to my memory but I couldn't put my finger as to why. We shook hands briefly before she headed back where she had come from. The other Hunters rush over to me in concern and joy. “ Greenie! Greenie that was amazing! Where'd you learn to fight just like a freaking demon?” “Did you overhear that name? Kaede. THE Kaede. How are we even alive right now?!” The rest of the words they said were a blur as I blacked out.

Thunder rumbling in the distance brings my eyes open but the commands my brain gives to get up are recieved in protestant pain from my limbs. I groan while finally looking around my surroundings. It was all depressingly white in decor which indicated to me I was in the bases hospital. My sword sat next to my bed sheathed with mud covering its it's fine leather holder.  “Hey greenie. Not even Kaede herself could put down your spunk eh?” A Hunter I just realized was even in the room had spoken up. I recognized him as Jae from what one of the other watch called him.  “And here I thought I was in heaven. Nope still in reality then.” “You'll be in heaven after you have one of these.” He brings out a big bottle of a Commerce Gin. “A gate guard brought it in, saying he made a promise to a certain underage drinker.” He smirked as he leaned to hand it to me. I cradled the bottle,burning it slowly to etch its design into my mind. “You're right I am in heaven now.” Uncorking its top I take a big swig to let an unknown burning sensation wash over my throat. I coughed as my body warmed up, which brought attention to pain in my side. Jae heartily laughed at me. “To think I watched a human not only solo fight a Fire Kraeka but to also straight drink Commerce Gin the Hunters on the homeland would think me crazy!” I grimace as I felt the broken ribs in my side. “She called herself Kaede but I cant seem to remember where I had heard the name.” Corking the bottle I hand the bottle back over to him.  “You know. Kaede. Great General? Old War Legend?” I went still as an important memory came to mind. “The undefeated Fire Kraeka. I fought Her?!” “Yeah!” He laughed some more. “and she let you off with the win!” I slump back into the bed I had been placed in. “Gods help me how am I alive.” “You probably made an impression on her. You know how they like honor.” He held up his hands as I glared at him. “Well Green- er I mean Rin. I need to get back to the watch. We, along with other bases, are now on higher alert. Not everyone can solo a Kraeka so its it's best to stay prepared.” He gets up, leaving the gin on the chair. I nod at him as he leaves the room and let out an exasperated sigh. I was probably going to be in the here a while from my broken bones. I turn to look out the window with slowly darkening scenery. It was storming outside, lightning and thunder across the landscape never ended on Commerce. The cool air conditioning was easy to breathe but was still heavy from the outdoor humidity. I turn back and settle into the blankets still thinking of how much I hated this place. ?


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