The Borderwalker

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


I’ve always been a special child, and no, not in a “mommy’s special little boy!” kind of way. In fact, I get the idea that my parents didn’t much like me. Can’t blame them honestly. I’m an abomination. Others call us Evilborn, Hellchild, Demonspawn, so on and so forth. We’re an abhorrent, utterly disgusting cross between some hellish entity and a human. Almost always a human. For some reason, humans seem to be one of the few races that can survive carrying an Evilborn long enough to give birth.

There are all types of Evilborn- some are apart of demon bloodline: chaotic wretches whose sole desire is to destroy; some apart of devil bloodline: Cruel, power seeking fiends whose sole purpose is to rule with absolute authority; and several other lesser bloodlines. Most Evilborn are mostly human, with just a hint of hellish blood in them from generations ago. That’s why I’m superior to them. I am the purest Evilborn to have existed. Calling me Evilborn is insulting, really. I am mostly devil, though which one, I am not sure.

I never met my real parents, which is likely a good thing. But there is no way either one of them were human. I suspect my mother was an Evilborn who was made to be a purer Evilborn. Her mother probably chose a devil of the same bloodline her grandmother did, who chose the same bloodline her great-grandmother did, perhaps repeating this for generations. This leads to me- an abomination more devil than human. A truly disgusting creature.

My parents, the ones I knew anyway, took me in as a child. A toddler, really. Perhaps I wasn’t quite what my mother wanted, or perhaps my father wanted a female instead. Whatever the reason, I was abandoned, found, captured, and brought back to my village as a sacrifice. My mother intervened, seeing no just reason for slaughter a child simply for red skin. She decided she would take me in and raise me as her own. I’m sure she regrets that decision. It probably would’ve been much better for her had she let me die.

Being the only Evilborn in the village, and for many people, the first Evilborn they had seen, I wasn’t very well liked. Nor was my mother, for allowing me to live with her. Eventually, she married my father, who would also be shunned for being with her. They were good parents, as much as they could. Always smiling, trying so very hard to make me feel accepted. Normal. I could see through their lies. They were never afraid of me, they truly saw me as their son, but they were… tired. Exhausted with the constant abuse they would receive. It’s not like they could have left. They had no were to go, and it’s not like I would’ve been accepted anywhere anyway. So, they just took it, hiding it from me in hopes that I would never have to see them weary. They were the best people I have ever met. I loved them more than I would ever love another person.

But, in order to protect me, they had to shelter me. I wasn’t allowed outside often, and when I was allowed, I had to be watched. They weren’t afraid of me doing anything bad- they were afraid of the others doing something bad. Its funny, humans often tend to be the worst monsters, yet we are treated as if we just finished razing an orphanage. That’s why I hate being part human, even if it’s only a small part. We are truly a disgusting breed.

But that wasn’t the only bad thing about me. As long as I could remember, I could see, feel, and hear things that others couldn’t. When I told my parents, they told me not to tell a single soul. That’s not really working out very well now, considering it’s in print. That’s the only promise I will ever break. Even though I was a kid when I made that promise, even though it would be close to 30 years before I did break the promise, it’s a weight that heavily pulls on me. I despise breaking promises, and utterly hate those who readily do.

It’s understandable they wouldn’t want me to tell anyone. It’s hard enough to have a devil child, but if word got out that I was insane? I likely wouldn’t be the only one burning to death. But it got worse as time passed. By the time I was 10, I wouldn’t see just one or two people briefly walking. No, by the time I was 10, I would regularly see entire streets full of people walking to and from, speaking a language I’ve never heard before, all in vague detail. They were sort of misty. I could never make out color or exact detail.

And then, when I was perhaps 15, I did something I should not have been able to do. Me and my dad were having a spat- how best to chop wood, as funny as that might seem. My dad had always been a lot stronger than me, and I know, some may think being part devil means I’ll be stronger than most. It’s true, I’m perhaps just a bit stronger, but no more than simply a strong human being. My dad though, he was a mountain of muscle. I’ve yet to see a human as strong as he was. And his method of chopping wood was, well, unorthodox. My father disliked weapons. It was silly really, he wouldn’t even use a knife to eat. He also never used an ax to chop the wood. He would just tear the log in half. I know, sounds crazy. My father was crazy. Tearing a log was no more difficult to him than me chopping a log was to me. I figured, if he used the ax, he could chop several logs at once.

Of course, he laughed the idea off. Dad did that a lot, turning conversations into jokes. I enjoyed it though, dad and mom being the only people I could laugh with. But this conversation wasn’t meant to be a joke. It wasn’t a serious conversation either, really. Just a point I brought up. I guess I was stressed or tired, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t in the mood for his jokes. I was upset, and I still don’t know why. So, I went to my room, like any moping teenager would, even though the house was too small to actually have rooms. Really it was just a corner with some spare linen hung up around my cot to divide it from the rest of the living room. Regardless, I wanted to just leave and lie in bed.

I stood up, and dad yelled. He started panicking, frantically looking left to right, calling my name. I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way. My mother ran outside, a worried look on her face. She asked what was wrong, looking around just like dad was. The air felt strange.

“Az,” he hesitated, voice cracking as he fumbled with his hands, perhaps trying to figure out what to say, “Az… Az disappeared! He was here and then he just vanished!”

Of course, my mother looked as confused as I felt. I was right in front of him, and this wasn’t just some joke. For the first time in my life, I saw fear in his eyes. I called him, but he seemed not to hear me. There were three others watching the commotion, my mother urging my father too keep quiet. Then, his face changed from fear to anger. That day had a lot of firsts. He yelled at her, something I had never even thought he was capable of.

“My son just vanished! How can you ask me to be quiet at a time like this?” More people have arrived, whispering to themselves, but they seemed somewhat hazy to me. Somewhat misty. Then, he did something so unbelievable, I still question whether its real or not to this day. He grabbed the chopping ax, turned to the amassing crowd, and yelled, waving the ax. He was several feet away from them and didn’t make a move towards them, but even I admit seeing such a big man angrily swinging an ax was enough to make me step back. Then he just dropped the ax and fell to his knees, silent.

I didn’t know what to do, what to make of any of it. I simply looked at dad. The crowd fell silent. Mom gasped, then faintly called my name. The crowd began their whispers with a new ferocity. I looked back at mom, her eyes wide, perhaps fear, perhaps shock. The crowd started with a single shout: “Devil!” Then another. I heard dad stand up and next thing I know I was almost being tackled. Dad grabbed me in a tight hug, almost painfully so. The crowd became increasingly more hostile. Dad set me down, tears still welling at his eyes, and said with a faint smile, “Inside, now.”

I shouldn’t have listened to him. I have never disobeyed my father, but I should have then. I retreated inside, and my father approached the crowd. They were yelling, throwing stones and sticks, what ever they could get their hands on really. And he just stood there, still smiling.

“Your monster is a threat to us, Thragor! You saw it, it can vanish! What’s to say it won’t appear in our house and slit our throats?”
Dad tried his best to reason with them, but they continued to throw their improvised weapons. Several of the rocks caused cuts.  Then, dad screamed, holding right eye. It didn’t take but a second to see blood streaming down his hand. Still they did not stop their throwing.

I had seen more than I needed to. I took a step towards the door, my mother got up to stop me, and next thing I know, the world flashed. For just a brief second, everything became dark grey and misty. When I blinked, I was standing beside dad. I didn’t open the door or run to him, I just appeared next to him. This caused panic in the crowd, but for just a brief moment, they stopped throwing. I saw a few raise their hands, and I spoke.

“Enough!” I shouted. The voice was not mine. It was easily three times louder than it should haven been. It was deep, and powerful. It was commanding. “You throw stones at a passive man, for what? What reason can you have?” Silence, for a moment.

“He raised you, freak!” One said.

“You would kill a man for showing compassion where other humans failed to? For giving a creature a chance?”

“You’re a monster, you don’t deserve compassion!” Another one shouted.

“I’m the monster? I have never hurt a person in my life, and yet you are willing to kill a man for showing love!”

“But you will! You would kill us all if you had the chance!” One from the back hollered out. They shouted in agreement.

“Az, it’s okay, I’m fine,” Dad tried to reassure me, gently patting me on the back, “let’s go inside.”

“No, it’s not okay. I will never hurt a person as long as I live,” I shout back at them, “But you all are subhuman filth. I will kill you all if you lay a hand on my family!” At the time, I thought what I said was fair. My father disagreed. His grabbed me by the back of my neck, and literally threw me. I hit the ground some five feet away and slid a few more. It was shocking, and frightening. When I looked up, he was on me again, hauling me to my feet as my mother yelled, his right eye barely even attached. I was terrified and confused. Dad grabbed my face and almost slammed it into the wall of our house. Dad was enraged. I could see it, I could feel it. He dropped me, and I slumped to the ground.

“You will never say those words again; do you understand me?” He did not shout, nor yell. His voice was barely a whisper, but it carried enough force to break any man. “You will not fall to their level. You are a better man. Do you understand?” I merely nodded. He told me to stand up, which of course I did.

“You are my son, my greatest joy in life, even if you are not my child. I would rather die than to see you become like those people. I raised you better than that. Go be that better man,” he said, waving back behind him. He wanted me to apologize.

“What if they start throwing things again?”

“You should always defend yourself when you need to, Az. But you’re strong, and they are weak. Take their hits and show them you’re better. Defending yourself from such a small threat is no different than wantonly attacking.” I nodded, turned around and walked before them. They were afraid, certainly, but humans are proud, at least when they have a number advantage. I got to my knees, bowed low, and spoke.

“Forgive me for my harsh words. I was angry and scared. I will do better in the future not to lash out.” My words were met with sneers and stones, yet I remain prostrated for the next few minutes. Dad was right. They hardly made a mark on me. It wasn’t painful. Just humiliating.

Dad was the best man I knew. He was humble, kind, caring, and strong. He was far better than I will ever be. He would readily accept such humiliating and painful acts, so long as he believed it was right to do. The difference between me and him is what we believe is right. I admit, I deserved that one. But dad didn’t deserve what happened to him. He did nothing wrong, yet he thought it was the right thing to do to just let it happen. Mom told me it was because he was proud, in his own way. Rather than being an arrogant bully, he made himself a shield. “As long as he was protecting someone, anyone, he didn’t care what happened to him,” she said. I would later learn that he was involved in a war some time ago, and even though he was only apart of the last few years of the war, he became known as a sort of machine. A war hero in some people’s eyes, and a monster in others. He told me he would always look at the carnage of the battlefield, he would look at the corpses of brothers and enemies alike, but he could never see it.

It wasn’t until a rather unfortunate event, where his squad slaughtered a village, due to an error in message transit. They had attacked the wrong place and killed several innocent people. Dad said that was the first time he really saw the corpses, not just looked at them. He decided from then on, he would no longer hurt. He would only protect and heal. He was known for even treating enemy soldiers, which is why he was removed. Truly a great man.

The village healer wasn’t able to save dad’s eye, but he would be okay after a few days of rest. Unease in the village would not be so easily healed, and just a few weeks later, the headman told us I was to leave. I was banished. I immediately set to packing my bags, not wanting to cause trouble with my family. Dad and Mom stopped me and sat me down.

“We have never had a home here,” mom started. “Even before I found you, I felt out of place here.”

“It has never gotten any better. That’s not your fault, Az, these people are just far too… clothes minded,” dad said, pointing at his shirt, grinning. Mom nudged him and he nodded. “Right, serious conversation. We can’t let you go on your own, and frankly we have nothing here. No family, no friends, no bonds or ties. Az, you’re the only thing important to us, so we will all be leaving together. We’ll find a place to accept us all. And if not, we’ll make one!”

Of course, I protested. No village around there would accept me. Our only hope was a major city and the closest one was several months away. It would be a long and potentially dangerous walk, but they were stubborn. The next day, we started to head out. It seemed like the entire village gathered to watch us leave. Perhaps to spite them, mom and dad walked tall, nothing but smiles and farewells, as if they had just been accepted to live at a castle.

As we neared the exit, a girl about my age with a confident step walked towards us, or rather me. Bow in hand, quiver loosely strapped to her back, and a fire burning in her eyes as bright as the ribbon she wore, I was tempted to pretend she didn’t exist. But I was more proud than I was afraid, and I met her with a faint smile, ready for whatever abuse she would throw at me.

“This was my father’s bow,” she said to me, returning the smile, “But it collects dust in his room. Please take it.” It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t a request, it was a command masked with pleasantry. She thrusted the bow into my hands before I could even respond and dropped the quiver into my other hand.

“Illiana, I don’t think your father would approve of this!” The headman spoke, approaching us.

She twisted around and with no attempt to hide the defiance in her voice she spoke, “My father is dead, his property is mine to do with what I will. I don’t care what you think, the choice is made.” My father laughed, interjecting.

“Thank you, Illiana. I’m sure Norman would have been quite proud of this,” he says, still chuckling.

“I know,” she replied, seemingly happy with herself before becoming serious. “Dad talked a lot about you, and I know we didn’t get the chance to really interact,” she pointed the conversation at dad, “But he told me that you would help me if I ever got in trouble. He told me, ‘Uncle Thragor will help you when I can’t.’ Well, I don’t know how true that is, but if dad thought so highly of you, then I will too. Please stay safe.”

Dad nodded and smiled. She looked back at me and said, “You too, Az.” I smiled at her, and noticed her eyes darting to the top of my head and back to my eyes. I looked at her quizzically and she briefly looked around at the crowd, before shaking her head and walking away.

 

We continued to walk for about an hour, idly chatting, before we heard someone jogging behind us. As we turned, we saw Illiana waving us down. A moment later, she caught up, out of breath and readied with a bag. Dad was the first to speak.

“Illiana, what are you doing here?” She raised her finger and sat down, sucking in air.

“Dad, dad said you would help me,” he says in between breaths. She paused and calmed her breathing down. “Well, I need help.” Dad kneeled down, concern plastered on his face.

“What is the matter, Illiana?”

“I don’t have anyone, or anywhere to go. I’ve been by myself for three years now and it’s… it’s hard. I have only been able to just get by doing small chores around the village, but I doubt people would be as ready to help now that I… well you know.” Dad sighed and sat in silence.

“We will take you with us to another village. Theresa and I will be more than willing to teach you the skills that you need.” And so, the four of us began our trek.

Mom and Illiana became very close very fast. I learned that her mother died during birth, so she never really had a mother figure. In fact, the red ribbon she always wore was the only thing she had left of her mother. It was a gift to her by her father, so it’s a symbol of them both to her. I knew mom would do everything she could to be that figure for Illiana. Though the trip was hard, it was mostly good. For once, I felt free. Mom and dad didn’t look so tired, rather they looked more alive. And Illiana brought a constant source of joy. I taught myself how to use the bow from dad’s instructions, and we constantly worked on my new-found abilities, though I still couldn’t quite understand them.

It took a while for me and Illiana to really start getting to know each other. Being isolated for so long, I didn’t really know how to approach someone like her. She seemed equally nervous, often just giving me a brief smile. One particularly cold night, the four of us huddled by a fire. Illiana looked at me, flashing her iconic smile, but this time she spoke.

“How do you do that teleport thing?” I simply shrugged. She hummed in thought, then continued, “Do you think I can do it?” I look at her with a grin.

“I don’t know, Illiana. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it before.”

She hummed again. “Can you try to teach me?” I chuckled, but she stared me in the eye, dead serious.

“I don’t even know how to begin to explain how I do it. I can try but…,” she was darting her eyes to the top of my head again. She had done this several times, and at this point it was becoming somewhat annoying. “What?”

“What?” she parroted, focusing on my eyes again.

“Is it the horns?”

“Yes,” she hesitated. I sigh and turn a bit. Mom and dad had stopped their conversation, and I could feel their eyes on us. “Can I touch them?” she said it so quietly and quickly, I wasn’t quite sure I heard right. I lift my head for a second before turning back.

“What?” I asked, almost incredulously. She stared at her boots, refusing to make eye contact.

“Can I touch them?” she repeats. Dad stands up and walks off, seemingly finding an incredibly interesting stick at the base of a tree a few feet away. Mom erupts in a fit of coughs, a poor attempt to hide her chuckling as she walks away with the excuse of, “I need water.”

I wasn’t quite sure what the right response was. “Sure.” She looks at me very briefly before setting a hand on one of my horns. She stared at her foot, still unmoving, as the seconds passed.

Ten seconds of utter silence and stillness, she suddenly stands up and says, “Welp, I’m going to sleep. Good night.”

She didn’t make eye contact with me, and before I could even respond she had already made towards her sleeping bag. Still processing what just happened, I simply stared at nothing in particular.

“It is late, we should all sleep.” Dad said, as he came back, without his oh-so interesting stick.

The next few days were pretty strange between Illiana and me. She wouldn’t look or talk to me. Her normal peppiness was replaced with tension, and it was starting to drain me. I had to do something. Admittedly, my methods were perhaps a bit strange. It was a pretty hard trek that day, with lots of hills and no real road. We retired a bit earlier because it looked like where we were at was the only suitable campsite for a long way.

Illiana was preparing the fire for when it became dark. I figured this would be the best time to clear the tension, so I sat down beside her and pat her head. No, really, I pet her head. She jumped a bit when I started, but slowly turned to look at me.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, with that defiant look in her eyes. I grinned.

“Payback. If you get to touch my horns, I get to touch your hair.” She scoffs, but grins.

“I touched your horns, you’re petting my hair.” She says, setting her hand on my horn and ‘petting’ it as best she can. I imagine it was a pretty strange sight to see, two people just petting one another. I’m sure dad and mom saw the whole thing, but thankfully they didn’t mention it.

“Come on,” I say, standing up and hauling her with me.

“Where too?”

“To see if you can teleport.” We would spend the next several weeks trying, but in the end, it appeared she could not. During that time, me and Illiana became very close friends. We developed some strange habits along the way. The petting became a normal thing, and pranks would become pretty common too. I discovered some other powers, like being able to change eye color or create other small illusions, or physically affect some things like fires or cloths from a distance. Eventually, I learn to control my supposed ‘invisibility’. We eventually discovered though that it wasn’t invisibility. I didn’t just become unseen, I simply ceased to exist entirely. I became a ghost, essentially. I could walk through things, I couldn’t affect anything while in ‘ghost form’.

Whenever I became a ghost, my vision would darken and become black and white. Everything became misty too. Sometimes though, when I became a ghost, I would see things that aren’t there in the real world but are in the ‘ghost world’. That’s when I realized, I didn’t hallucinate all those things as a kid, I could sometimes see into the ghost world. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I learn I wasn’t becoming a ghost, but rather I was traversing into a different plane. I would walk the border of the two planes.

Several months had passed since we left the village and we were still a few months away from the city. Mom became ill, but not wanting to slow us down, she hid it. She died the next week. It was a pretty hard blow to us all, but Illiana seemed to be the most affected. Dad was hurt, but he was too strong to let it cripple him. He moped for a few days, but within a week he was the cheery, joking, and happy guy he always was.  I certainly lost some of my pep, but dad helped me stay positive. Illiana though, she was devastated. The once confident, cheery, light-of-my-day had fallen into a depression. I think she came to see mom as her own mom too, and only having a mother figure for a few months must have been incredibly painful.

She eventually got better, but it took the better part of two months, and she was never quite the same. The fire in her eyes was dimmer. Until one night, we were sleeping, she woke me up. Asked me to follow her. Of course, I did. She seemed happy, eager, and confident. We walked through the woods until we came to a sort of grove in the middle of a clearing. It was pretty, for sure. She told me she found it while looking for sticks and fell in love with it. She wanted to show me it.

“I wanna stay here, Az.” She told me.

“Then let’s stay. Dad said if we can’t find a place, we’ll build a place.” She chuckled.

“Az, you can teleport and become a ghost, you can see things no one else can and do things no one else can. Do you really think you’re just going to stay in a clearing for the rest of your life?”

“Well… Why not?”

“You’re special, Az. You’re meant to do something great.”

“Living a happy life as an Evilborn is pretty great.”

She frowned, “And you will. But not here. Not with me. Maybe not even with your father. There is something you need to do, I know it. I don’t know what, or why, or where, or anything like that. I just know there’s something.”

“Well, we’ll all live together until then.”

She simply shook her head. She grabbed my horns and gently pulled my head down so that I was looking at the ground. She pressed her head against mine, and barely even whispered, “Tell your dad I said thank you- for everything. I think I’m finally strong enough to be alone now.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I looked at her, and I saw the fire. I knew she had made her mind, and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing, that is, but support it.

We spent the next few hours simply talking. It was the closest we had ever been, emotionally, maybe even spiritually. For the last hour, she simply lay on my chest in silence as I pet her, staring at the stars. It is equally my fondest and saddest memory. She told me I should get back. We smiled at each other, said our byes, butted heads gently one last time, and I turned to leave. After a few steps, she caught my hand.

“Don’t forget me, Az. Come visit me some time, please.” Tears welled in her eyes as she untied her ribbon, the last reminder of her parents, and gives it to me. “Take care of it.” She had that fire still. I didn’t want to take her ribbon, but I knew she wouldn’t let me go without it.
I went back to the grove some years later but couldn’t find anything. That was the last time I ever saw Illiana. I doubt she’ll ever read this, in fact, I hope she doesn’t. But if you do, know that I never did forget you, not even for a second. To this day, I have your ribbon, and I will to the very day I die.

Dad was worried when I first told him she left, but over the course of the day, he seemed to have accepted it, and even was proud of it. I carved her name into the bow and tied the ribbon to it. We continued our trek alone, but it never felt lonely. I lost the most important people in my life, sure, but it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

We got to the city. We stayed for all of a month, then left. It was pathetic. It was crowded, dangerous, filthy, and just as bad as the villages. We wandered around for some time, starting a small trade business. This continued for a few years, until dad finally called it quits. The road was rough, and he was getting a bit old. So, we went to the city again. Our business continued, just without the travel, and dad was able to keep a pretty decent living. I chose not to live with him. I came to love the wilds. I would go and visit him often, and on rare occasions still do, but my current job doesn’t give me much time. It can sometimes be years before I see him again.

The day I told him I wanted to be on my own, he smiled. “I’m proud of you, son. You’ve come so far and have done so much. You’re strong, you’re kind, and you’re a good man.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. I am not a good man, though sometimes I wish I was. I simply have good habits.

“Do you remember your name?” he asked me. Kind of a stupid question, I thought.

“Uh, yeah dad, its Az.”

“No, that is what we call you. Do you remember your name?” I thought and thought, but I simply couldn’t remember.

“No, I don’t.”

“When your mother found you, you had ink on your body. She figured it was your name. And thus, she named you what was written on you. Your name is not az. Your name is Asmodeus. Remember that name, son. Don’t ever forget it.”

I think dad knows more about the planes then he lets on. I think he always knew what I was, from the very moment I started teleporting. I think that’s why he was able to put into words what even I didn’t know how to, why he was able to help me. I think he knows who Asmodeus is. Where he came from.

I am Asmodeus, the Devilspawn, a Borderwalker, traverser of the planes.

My father is Asmodeus, the Devil, the Lord of the Nine Hells, destroyer of the planes.

I will kill him. And I will take my place as the superior being. I will become Asmodeus, The Devilspawn Lord of the Planes, slayer of the Tyrant Devil.

I’ve always been a special child, and no, not in a “mommy’s special little boy!” kind of way. In fact, I get the idea that my parents didn’t much like me. Can’t blame them honestly. I’m an abomination. Others call us Evilborn, Hellchild, Demonspawn, so on and so forth. We’re an abhorrent, utterly disgusting cross between some hellish entity and a human. Almost always a human. For some reason, humans seem to be one of the few races that can survive carrying an Evilborn long enough to give birth.

There are all types of Evilborn- some are apart of demon bloodline: chaotic wretches whose sole desire is to destroy; some apart of devil bloodline: Cruel, power seeking fiends whose sole purpose is to rule with absolute authority; and several other lesser bloodlines. Most Evilborn are mostly human, with just a hint of hellish blood in them from generations ago. That’s why I’m superior to them. I am the purest Evilborn to have existed. Calling me Evilborn is insulting, really. I am mostly devil, though which one, I am not sure.

I never met my real parents, which is likely a good thing. But there is no way either one of them were human. I suspect my mother was an Evilborn who was made to be a purer Evilborn. Her mother probably chose a devil of the same bloodline her grandmother did, who chose the same bloodline her great-grandmother did, perhaps repeating this for generations. This leads to me- an abomination more devil than human. A truly disgusting creature.

My parents, the ones I knew anyway, took me in as a child. A toddler, really. Perhaps I wasn’t quite what my mother wanted, or perhaps my father wanted a female instead. Whatever the reason, I was abandoned, found, captured, and brought back to my village as a sacrifice. My mother intervened, seeing no just reason for slaughter a child simply for red skin. She decided she would take me in and raise me as her own. I’m sure she regrets that decision. It probably would’ve been much better for her had she let me die.

Being the only Evilborn in the village, and for many people, the first Evilborn they had seen, I wasn’t very well liked. Nor was my mother, for allowing me to live with her. Eventually, she married my father, who would also be shunned for being with her. They were good parents, as much as they could. Always smiling, trying so very hard to make me feel accepted. Normal. I could see through their lies. They were never afraid of me, they truly saw me as their son, but they were… tired. Exhausted with the constant abuse they would receive. It’s not like they could have left. They had no were to go, and it’s not like I would’ve been accepted anywhere anyway. So, they just took it, hiding it from me in hopes that I would never have to see them weary. They were the best people I have ever met. I loved them more than I would ever love another person.

But, in order to protect me, they had to shelter me. I wasn’t allowed outside often, and when I was allowed, I had to be watched. They weren’t afraid of me doing anything bad- they were afraid of the others doing something bad. Its funny, humans often tend to be the worst monsters, yet we are treated as if we just finished razing an orphanage. That’s why I hate being part human, even if it’s only a small part. We are truly a disgusting breed.

But that wasn’t the only bad thing about me. As long as I could remember, I could see, feel, and hear things that others couldn’t. When I told my parents, they told me not to tell a single soul. That’s not really working out very well now, considering it’s in print. That’s the only promise I will ever break. Even though I was a kid when I made that promise, even though it would be close to 30 years before I did break the promise, it’s a weight that heavily pulls on me. I despise breaking promises, and utterly hate those who readily do.

It’s understandable they wouldn’t want me to tell anyone. It’s hard enough to have a devil child, but if word got out that I was insane? I likely wouldn’t be the only one burning to death. But it got worse as time passed. By the time I was 10, I wouldn’t see just one or two people briefly walking. No, by the time I was 10, I would regularly see entire streets full of people walking to and from, speaking a language I’ve never heard before, all in vague detail. They were sort of misty. I could never make out color or exact detail.

And then, when I was perhaps 15, I did something I should not have been able to do. Me and my dad were having a spat- how best to chop wood, as funny as that might seem. My dad had always been a lot stronger than me, and I know, some may think being part devil means I’ll be stronger than most. It’s true, I’m perhaps just a bit stronger, but no more than simply a strong human being. My dad though, he was a mountain of muscle. I’ve yet to see a human as strong as he was. And his method of chopping wood was, well, unorthodox. My father disliked weapons. It was silly really, he wouldn’t even use a knife to eat. He also never used an ax to chop the wood. He would just tear the log in half. I know, sounds crazy. My father was crazy. Tearing a log was no more difficult to him than me chopping a log was to me. I figured, if he used the ax, he could chop several logs at once.

Of course, he laughed the idea off. Dad did that a lot, turning conversations into jokes. I enjoyed it though, dad and mom being the only people I could laugh with. But this conversation wasn’t meant to be a joke. It wasn’t a serious conversation either, really. Just a point I brought up. I guess I was stressed or tired, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t in the mood for his jokes. I was upset, and I still don’t know why. So, I went to my room, like any moping teenager would, even though the house was too small to actually have rooms. Really it was just a corner with some spare linen hung up around my cot to divide it from the rest of the living room. Regardless, I wanted to just leave and lie in bed.

I stood up, and dad yelled. He started panicking, frantically looking left to right, calling my name. I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way. My mother ran outside, a worried look on her face. She asked what was wrong, looking around just like dad was. The air felt strange.

“Az,” he hesitated, voice cracking as he fumbled with his hands, perhaps trying to figure out what to say, “Az… Az disappeared! He was here and then he just vanished!”

Of course, my mother looked as confused as I felt. I was right in front of him, and this wasn’t just some joke. For the first time in my life, I saw fear in his eyes. I called him, but he seemed not to hear me. There were three others watching the commotion, my mother urging my father too keep quiet. Then, his face changed from fear to anger. That day had a lot of firsts. He yelled at her, something I had never even thought he was capable of.

“My son just vanished! How can you ask me to be quiet at a time like this?” More people have arrived, whispering to themselves, but they seemed somewhat hazy to me. Somewhat misty. Then, he did something so unbelievable, I still question whether its real or not to this day. He grabbed the chopping ax, turned to the amassing crowd, and yelled, waving the ax. He was several feet away from them and didn’t make a move towards them, but even I admit seeing such a big man angrily swinging an ax was enough to make me step back. Then he just dropped the ax and fell to his knees, silent.

I didn’t know what to do, what to make of any of it. I simply looked at dad. The crowd fell silent. Mom gasped, then faintly called my name. The crowd began their whispers with a new ferocity. I looked back at mom, her eyes wide, perhaps fear, perhaps shock. The crowd started with a single shout: “Devil!” Then another. I heard dad stand up and next thing I know I was almost being tackled. Dad grabbed me in a tight hug, almost painfully so. The crowd became increasingly more hostile. Dad set me down, tears still welling at his eyes, and said with a faint smile, “Inside, now.”

I shouldn’t have listened to him. I have never disobeyed my father, but I should have then. I retreated inside, and my father approached the crowd. They were yelling, throwing stones and sticks, what ever they could get their hands on really. And he just stood there, still smiling.

“Your monster is a threat to us, Thragor! You saw it, it can vanish! What’s to say it won’t appear in our house and slit our throats?”
Dad tried his best to reason with them, but they continued to throw their improvised weapons. Several of the rocks caused cuts.  Then, dad screamed, holding right eye. It didn’t take but a second to see blood streaming down his hand. Still they did not stop their throwing.

I had seen more than I needed to. I took a step towards the door, my mother got up to stop me, and next thing I know, the world flashed. For just a brief second, everything became dark grey and misty. When I blinked, I was standing beside dad. I didn’t open the door or run to him, I just appeared next to him. This caused panic in the crowd, but for just a brief moment, they stopped throwing. I saw a few raise their hands, and I spoke.

“Enough!” I shouted. The voice was not mine. It was easily three times louder than it should haven been. It was deep, and powerful. It was commanding. “You throw stones at a passive man, for what? What reason can you have?” Silence, for a moment.

“He raised you, freak!” One said.

“You would kill a man for showing compassion where other humans failed to? For giving a creature a chance?”

“You’re a monster, you don’t deserve compassion!” Another one shouted.

“I’m the monster? I have never hurt a person in my life, and yet you are willing to kill a man for showing love!”

“But you will! You would kill us all if you had the chance!” One from the back hollered out. They shouted in agreement.

“Az, it’s okay, I’m fine,” Dad tried to reassure me, gently patting me on the back, “let’s go inside.”

“No, it’s not okay. I will never hurt a person as long as I live,” I shout back at them, “But you all are subhuman filth. I will kill you all if you lay a hand on my family!” At the time, I thought what I said was fair. My father disagreed. His grabbed me by the back of my neck, and literally threw me. I hit the ground some five feet away and slid a few more. It was shocking, and frightening. When I looked up, he was on me again, hauling me to my feet as my mother yelled, his right eye barely even attached. I was terrified and confused. Dad grabbed my face and almost slammed it into the wall of our house. Dad was enraged. I could see it, I could feel it. He dropped me, and I slumped to the ground.

“You will never say those words again; do you understand me?” He did not shout, nor yell. His voice was barely a whisper, but it carried enough force to break any man. “You will not fall to their level. You are a better man. Do you understand?” I merely nodded. He told me to stand up, which of course I did.

“You are my son, my greatest joy in life, even if you are not my child. I would rather die than to see you become like those people. I raised you better than that. Go be that better man,” he said, waving back behind him. He wanted me to apologize.

“What if they start throwing things again?”

“You should always defend yourself when you need to, Az. But you’re strong, and they are weak. Take their hits and show them you’re better. Defending yourself from such a small threat is no different than wantonly attacking.” I nodded, turned around and walked before them. They were afraid, certainly, but humans are proud, at least when they have a number advantage. I got to my knees, bowed low, and spoke.

“Forgive me for my harsh words. I was angry and scared. I will do better in the future not to lash out.” My words were met with sneers and stones, yet I remain prostrated for the next few minutes. Dad was right. They hardly made a mark on me. It wasn’t painful. Just humiliating.

Dad was the best man I knew. He was humble, kind, caring, and strong. He was far better than I will ever be. He would readily accept such humiliating and painful acts, so long as he believed it was right to do. The difference between me and him is what we believe is right. I admit, I deserved that one. But dad didn’t deserve what happened to him. He did nothing wrong, yet he thought it was the right thing to do to just let it happen. Mom told me it was because he was proud, in his own way. Rather than being an arrogant bully, he made himself a shield. “As long as he was protecting someone, anyone, he didn’t care what happened to him,” she said. I would later learn that he was involved in a war some time ago, and even though he was only apart of the last few years of the war, he became known as a sort of machine. A war hero in some people’s eyes, and a monster in others. He told me he would always look at the carnage of the battlefield, he would look at the corpses of brothers and enemies alike, but he could never see it.

It wasn’t until a rather unfortunate event, where his squad slaughtered a village, due to an error in message transit. They had attacked the wrong place and killed several innocent people. Dad said that was the first time he really saw the corpses, not just looked at them. He decided from then on, he would no longer hurt. He would only protect and heal. He was known for even treating enemy soldiers, which is why he was removed. Truly a great man.

The village healer wasn’t able to save dad’s eye, but he would be okay after a few days of rest. Unease in the village would not be so easily healed, and just a few weeks later, the headman told us I was to leave. I was banished. I immediately set to packing my bags, not wanting to cause trouble with my family. Dad and Mom stopped me and sat me down.

“We have never had a home here,” mom started. “Even before I found you, I felt out of place here.”

“It has never gotten any better. That’s not your fault, Az, these people are just far too… clothes minded,” dad said, pointing at his shirt, grinning. Mom nudged him and he nodded. “Right, serious conversation. We can’t let you go on your own, and frankly we have nothing here. No family, no friends, no bonds or ties. Az, you’re the only thing important to us, so we will all be leaving together. We’ll find a place to accept us all. And if not, we’ll make one!”

Of course, I protested. No village around there would accept me. Our only hope was a major city and the closest one was several months away. It would be a long and potentially dangerous walk, but they were stubborn. The next day, we started to head out. It seemed like the entire village gathered to watch us leave. Perhaps to spite them, mom and dad walked tall, nothing but smiles and farewells, as if they had just been accepted to live at a castle.

As we neared the exit, a girl about my age with a confident step walked towards us, or rather me. Bow in hand, quiver loosely strapped to her back, and a fire burning in her eyes as bright as the ribbon she wore, I was tempted to pretend she didn’t exist. But I was more proud than I was afraid, and I met her with a faint smile, ready for whatever abuse she would throw at me.

“This was my father’s bow,” she said to me, returning the smile, “But it collects dust in his room. Please take it.” It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t a request, it was a command masked with pleasantry. She thrusted the bow into my hands before I could even respond and dropped the quiver into my other hand.

“Illiana, I don’t think your father would approve of this!” The headman spoke, approaching us.

She twisted around and with no attempt to hide the defiance in her voice she spoke, “My father is dead, his property is mine to do with what I will. I don’t care what you think, the choice is made.” My father laughed, interjecting.

“Thank you, Illiana. I’m sure Norman would have been quite proud of this,” he says, still chuckling.

“I know,” she replied, seemingly happy with herself before becoming serious. “Dad talked a lot about you, and I know we didn’t get the chance to really interact,” she pointed the conversation at dad, “But he told me that you would help me if I ever got in trouble. He told me, ‘Uncle Thragor will help you when I can’t.’ Well, I don’t know how true that is, but if dad thought so highly of you, then I will too. Please stay safe.”

Dad nodded and smiled. She looked back at me and said, “You too, Az.” I smiled at her, and noticed her eyes darting to the top of my head and back to my eyes. I looked at her quizzically and she briefly looked around at the crowd, before shaking her head and walking away.

 

We continued to walk for about an hour, idly chatting, before we heard someone jogging behind us. As we turned, we saw Illiana waving us down. A moment later, she caught up, out of breath and readied with a bag. Dad was the first to speak.

“Illiana, what are you doing here?” She raised her finger and sat down, sucking in air.

“Dad, dad said you would help me,” he says in between breaths. She paused and calmed her breathing down. “Well, I need help.” Dad kneeled down, concern plastered on his face.

“What is the matter, Illiana?”

“I don’t have anyone, or anywhere to go. I’ve been by myself for three years now and it’s… it’s hard. I have only been able to just get by doing small chores around the village, but I doubt people would be as ready to help now that I… well you know.” Dad sighed and sat in silence.

“We will take you with us to another village. Theresa and I will be more than willing to teach you the skills that you need.” And so, the four of us began our trek.

Mom and Illiana became very close very fast. I learned that her mother died during birth, so she never really had a mother figure. In fact, the red ribbon she always wore was the only thing she had left of her mother. It was a gift to her by her father, so it’s a symbol of them both to her. I knew mom would do everything she could to be that figure for Illiana. Though the trip was hard, it was mostly good. For once, I felt free. Mom and dad didn’t look so tired, rather they looked more alive. And Illiana brought a constant source of joy. I taught myself how to use the bow from dad’s instructions, and we constantly worked on my new-found abilities, though I still couldn’t quite understand them.

It took a while for me and Illiana to really start getting to know each other. Being isolated for so long, I didn’t really know how to approach someone like her. She seemed equally nervous, often just giving me a brief smile. One particularly cold night, the four of us huddled by a fire. Illiana looked at me, flashing her iconic smile, but this time she spoke.

“How do you do that teleport thing?” I simply shrugged. She hummed in thought, then continued, “Do you think I can do it?” I look at her with a grin.

“I don’t know, Illiana. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it before.”

She hummed again. “Can you try to teach me?” I chuckled, but she stared me in the eye, dead serious.

“I don’t even know how to begin to explain how I do it. I can try but…,” she was darting her eyes to the top of my head again. She had done this several times, and at this point it was becoming somewhat annoying. “What?”

“What?” she parroted, focusing on my eyes again.

“Is it the horns?”

“Yes,” she hesitated. I sigh and turn a bit. Mom and dad had stopped their conversation, and I could feel their eyes on us. “Can I touch them?” she said it so quietly and quickly, I wasn’t quite sure I heard right. I lift my head for a second before turning back.

“What?” I asked, almost incredulously. She stared at her boots, refusing to make eye contact.

“Can I touch them?” she repeats. Dad stands up and walks off, seemingly finding an incredibly interesting stick at the base of a tree a few feet away. Mom erupts in a fit of coughs, a poor attempt to hide her chuckling as she walks away with the excuse of, “I need water.”

I wasn’t quite sure what the right response was. “Sure.” She looks at me very briefly before setting a hand on one of my horns. She stared at her foot, still unmoving, as the seconds passed.

Ten seconds of utter silence and stillness, she suddenly stands up and says, “Welp, I’m going to sleep. Good night.”

She didn’t make eye contact with me, and before I could even respond she had already made towards her sleeping bag. Still processing what just happened, I simply stared at nothing in particular.

“It is late, we should all sleep.” Dad said, as he came back, without his oh-so interesting stick.

The next few days were pretty strange between Illiana and me. She wouldn’t look or talk to me. Her normal peppiness was replaced with tension, and it was starting to drain me. I had to do something. Admittedly, my methods were perhaps a bit strange. It was a pretty hard trek that day, with lots of hills and no real road. We retired a bit earlier because it looked like where we were at was the only suitable campsite for a long way.

Illiana was preparing the fire for when it became dark. I figured this would be the best time to clear the tension, so I sat down beside her and pat her head. No, really, I pet her head. She jumped a bit when I started, but slowly turned to look at me.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, with that defiant look in her eyes. I grinned.

“Payback. If you get to touch my horns, I get to touch your hair.” She scoffs, but grins.

“I touched your horns, you’re petting my hair.” She says, setting her hand on my horn and ‘petting’ it as best she can. I imagine it was a pretty strange sight to see, two people just petting one another. I’m sure dad and mom saw the whole thing, but thankfully they didn’t mention it.

“Come on,” I say, standing up and hauling her with me.

“Where too?”

“To see if you can teleport.” We would spend the next several weeks trying, but in the end, it appeared she could not. During that time, me and Illiana became very close friends. We developed some strange habits along the way. The petting became a normal thing, and pranks would become pretty common too. I discovered some other powers, like being able to change eye color or create other small illusions, or physically affect some things like fires or cloths from a distance. Eventually, I learn to control my supposed ‘invisibility’. We eventually discovered though that it wasn’t invisibility. I didn’t just become unseen, I simply ceased to exist entirely. I became a ghost, essentially. I could walk through things, I couldn’t affect anything while in ‘ghost form’.

Whenever I became a ghost, my vision would darken and become black and white. Everything became misty too. Sometimes though, when I became a ghost, I would see things that aren’t there in the real world but are in the ‘ghost world’. That’s when I realized, I didn’t hallucinate all those things as a kid, I could sometimes see into the ghost world. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I learn I wasn’t becoming a ghost, but rather I was traversing into a different plane. I would walk the border of the two planes.

Several months had passed since we left the village and we were still a few months away from the city. Mom became ill, but not wanting to slow us down, she hid it. She died the next week. It was a pretty hard blow to us all, but Illiana seemed to be the most affected. Dad was hurt, but he was too strong to let it cripple him. He moped for a few days, but within a week he was the cheery, joking, and happy guy he always was.  I certainly lost some of my pep, but dad helped me stay positive. Illiana though, she was devastated. The once confident, cheery, light-of-my-day had fallen into a depression. I think she came to see mom as her own mom too, and only having a mother figure for a few months must have been incredibly painful.

She eventually got better, but it took the better part of two months, and she was never quite the same. The fire in her eyes was dimmer. Until one night, we were sleeping, she woke me up. Asked me to follow her. Of course, I did. She seemed happy, eager, and confident. We walked through the woods until we came to a sort of grove in the middle of a clearing. It was pretty, for sure. She told me she found it while looking for sticks and fell in love with it. She wanted to show me it.

“I wanna stay here, Az.” She told me.

“Then let’s stay. Dad said if we can’t find a place, we’ll build a place.” She chuckled.

“Az, you can teleport and become a ghost, you can see things no one else can and do things no one else can. Do you really think you’re just going to stay in a clearing for the rest of your life?”

“Well… Why not?”

“You’re special, Az. You’re meant to do something great.”

“Living a happy life as an Evilborn is pretty great.”

She frowned, “And you will. But not here. Not with me. Maybe not even with your father. There is something you need to do, I know it. I don’t know what, or why, or where, or anything like that. I just know there’s something.”

“Well, we’ll all live together until then.”

She simply shook her head. She grabbed my horns and gently pulled my head down so that I was looking at the ground. She pressed her head against mine, and barely even whispered, “Tell your dad I said thank you- for everything. I think I’m finally strong enough to be alone now.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I looked at her, and I saw the fire. I knew she had made her mind, and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing, that is, but support it.

We spent the next few hours simply talking. It was the closest we had ever been, emotionally, maybe even spiritually. For the last hour, she simply lay on my chest in silence as I pet her, staring at the stars. It is equally my fondest and saddest memory. She told me I should get back. We smiled at each other, said our byes, butted heads gently one last time, and I turned to leave. After a few steps, she caught my hand.

“Don’t forget me, Az. Come visit me some time, please.” Tears welled in her eyes as she untied her ribbon, the last reminder of her parents, and gives it to me. “Take care of it.” She had that fire still. I didn’t want to take her ribbon, but I knew she wouldn’t let me go without it.
I went back to the grove some years later but couldn’t find anything. That was the last time I ever saw Illiana. I doubt she’ll ever read this, in fact, I hope she doesn’t. But if you do, know that I never did forget you, not even for a second. To this day, I have your ribbon, and I will to the very day I die.

Dad was worried when I first told him she left, but over the course of the day, he seemed to have accepted it, and even was proud of it. I carved her name into the bow and tied the ribbon to it. We continued our trek alone, but it never felt lonely. I lost the most important people in my life, sure, but it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

We got to the city. We stayed for all of a month, then left. It was pathetic. It was crowded, dangerous, filthy, and just as bad as the villages. We wandered around for some time, starting a small trade business. This continued for a few years, until dad finally called it quits. The road was rough, and he was getting a bit old. So, we went to the city again. Our business continued, just without the travel, and dad was able to keep a pretty decent living. I chose not to live with him. I came to love the wilds. I would go and visit him often, and on rare occasions still do, but my current job doesn’t give me much time. It can sometimes be years before I see him again.

The day I told him I wanted to be on my own, he smiled. “I’m proud of you, son. You’ve come so far and have done so much. You’re strong, you’re kind, and you’re a good man.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. I am not a good man, though sometimes I wish I was. I simply have good habits.

“Do you remember your name?” he asked me. Kind of a stupid question, I thought.

“Uh, yeah dad, its Az.”

“No, that is what we call you. Do you remember your name?” I thought and thought, but I simply couldn’t remember.

“No, I don’t.”

“When your mother found you, you had ink on your body. She figured it was your name. And thus, she named you what was written on you. Your name is not az. Your name is Asmodeus. Remember that name, son. Don’t ever forget it.”

I think dad knows more about the planes then he lets on. I think he always knew what I was, from the very moment I started teleporting. I think that’s why he was able to put into words what even I didn’t know how to, why he was able to help me. I think he knows who Asmodeus is. Where he came from.

I am Asmodeus, the Devilspawn, a Borderwalker, traverser of the planes.

My father is Asmodeus, the Devil, the Lord of the Nine Hells, destroyer of the planes.

I will kill him. And I will take my place as the superior being. I will become Asmodeus, The Devilspawn Lord of the Planes, slayer of the Tyrant Devil.

I’ve always been a special child, and no, not in a “mommy’s special little boy!” kind of way. In fact, I get the idea that my parents didn’t much like me. Can’t blame them honestly. I’m an abomination. Others call us Evilborn, Hellchild, Demonspawn, so on and so forth. We’re an abhorrent, utterly disgusting cross between some hellish entity and a human. Almost always a human. For some reason, humans seem to be one of the few races that can survive carrying an Evilborn long enough to give birth.

There are all types of Evilborn- some are apart of demon bloodline: chaotic wretches whose sole desire is to destroy; some apart of devil bloodline: Cruel, power seeking fiends whose sole purpose is to rule with absolute authority; and several other lesser bloodlines. Most Evilborn are mostly human, with just a hint of hellish blood in them from generations ago. That’s why I’m superior to them. I am the purest Evilborn to have existed. Calling me Evilborn is insulting, really. I am mostly devil, though which one, I am not sure.

I never met my real parents, which is likely a good thing. But there is no way either one of them were human. I suspect my mother was an Evilborn who was made to be a purer Evilborn. Her mother probably chose a devil of the same bloodline her grandmother did, who chose the same bloodline her great-grandmother did, perhaps repeating this for generations. This leads to me- an abomination more devil than human. A truly disgusting creature.

My parents, the ones I knew anyway, took me in as a child. A toddler, really. Perhaps I wasn’t quite what my mother wanted, or perhaps my father wanted a female instead. Whatever the reason, I was abandoned, found, captured, and brought back to my village as a sacrifice. My mother intervened, seeing no just reason for slaughter a child simply for red skin. She decided she would take me in and raise me as her own. I’m sure she regrets that decision. It probably would’ve been much better for her had she let me die.

Being the only Evilborn in the village, and for many people, the first Evilborn they had seen, I wasn’t very well liked. Nor was my mother, for allowing me to live with her. Eventually, she married my father, who would also be shunned for being with her. They were good parents, as much as they could. Always smiling, trying so very hard to make me feel accepted. Normal. I could see through their lies. They were never afraid of me, they truly saw me as their son, but they were… tired. Exhausted with the constant abuse they would receive. It’s not like they could have left. They had no were to go, and it’s not like I would’ve been accepted anywhere anyway. So, they just took it, hiding it from me in hopes that I would never have to see them weary. They were the best people I have ever met. I loved them more than I would ever love another person.

But, in order to protect me, they had to shelter me. I wasn’t allowed outside often, and when I was allowed, I had to be watched. They weren’t afraid of me doing anything bad- they were afraid of the others doing something bad. Its funny, humans often tend to be the worst monsters, yet we are treated as if we just finished razing an orphanage. That’s why I hate being part human, even if it’s only a small part. We are truly a disgusting breed.

But that wasn’t the only bad thing about me. As long as I could remember, I could see, feel, and hear things that others couldn’t. When I told my parents, they told me not to tell a single soul. That’s not really working out very well now, considering it’s in print. That’s the only promise I will ever break. Even though I was a kid when I made that promise, even though it would be close to 30 years before I did break the promise, it’s a weight that heavily pulls on me. I despise breaking promises, and utterly hate those who readily do.

It’s understandable they wouldn’t want me to tell anyone. It’s hard enough to have a devil child, but if word got out that I was insane? I likely wouldn’t be the only one burning to death. But it got worse as time passed. By the time I was 10, I wouldn’t see just one or two people briefly walking. No, by the time I was 10, I would regularly see entire streets full of people walking to and from, speaking a language I’ve never heard before, all in vague detail. They were sort of misty. I could never make out color or exact detail.

And then, when I was perhaps 15, I did something I should not have been able to do. Me and my dad were having a spat- how best to chop wood, as funny as that might seem. My dad had always been a lot stronger than me, and I know, some may think being part devil means I’ll be stronger than most. It’s true, I’m perhaps just a bit stronger, but no more than simply a strong human being. My dad though, he was a mountain of muscle. I’ve yet to see a human as strong as he was. And his method of chopping wood was, well, unorthodox. My father disliked weapons. It was silly really, he wouldn’t even use a knife to eat. He also never used an ax to chop the wood. He would just tear the log in half. I know, sounds crazy. My father was crazy. Tearing a log was no more difficult to him than me chopping a log was to me. I figured, if he used the ax, he could chop several logs at once.

Of course, he laughed the idea off. Dad did that a lot, turning conversations into jokes. I enjoyed it though, dad and mom being the only people I could laugh with. But this conversation wasn’t meant to be a joke. It wasn’t a serious conversation either, really. Just a point I brought up. I guess I was stressed or tired, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t in the mood for his jokes. I was upset, and I still don’t know why. So, I went to my room, like any moping teenager would, even though the house was too small to actually have rooms. Really it was just a corner with some spare linen hung up around my cot to divide it from the rest of the living room. Regardless, I wanted to just leave and lie in bed.

I stood up, and dad yelled. He started panicking, frantically looking left to right, calling my name. I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way. My mother ran outside, a worried look on her face. She asked what was wrong, looking around just like dad was. The air felt strange.

“Az,” he hesitated, voice cracking as he fumbled with his hands, perhaps trying to figure out what to say, “Az… Az disappeared! He was here and then he just vanished!”

Of course, my mother looked as confused as I felt. I was right in front of him, and this wasn’t just some joke. For the first time in my life, I saw fear in his eyes. I called him, but he seemed not to hear me. There were three others watching the commotion, my mother urging my father too keep quiet. Then, his face changed from fear to anger. That day had a lot of firsts. He yelled at her, something I had never even thought he was capable of.

“My son just vanished! How can you ask me to be quiet at a time like this?” More people have arrived, whispering to themselves, but they seemed somewhat hazy to me. Somewhat misty. Then, he did something so unbelievable, I still question whether its real or not to this day. He grabbed the chopping ax, turned to the amassing crowd, and yelled, waving the ax. He was several feet away from them and didn’t make a move towards them, but even I admit seeing such a big man angrily swinging an ax was enough to make me step back. Then he just dropped the ax and fell to his knees, silent.

I didn’t know what to do, what to make of any of it. I simply looked at dad. The crowd fell silent. Mom gasped, then faintly called my name. The crowd began their whispers with a new ferocity. I looked back at mom, her eyes wide, perhaps fear, perhaps shock. The crowd started with a single shout: “Devil!” Then another. I heard dad stand up and next thing I know I was almost being tackled. Dad grabbed me in a tight hug, almost painfully so. The crowd became increasingly more hostile. Dad set me down, tears still welling at his eyes, and said with a faint smile, “Inside, now.”

I shouldn’t have listened to him. I have never disobeyed my father, but I should have then. I retreated inside, and my father approached the crowd. They were yelling, throwing stones and sticks, what ever they could get their hands on really. And he just stood there, still smiling.

“Your monster is a threat to us, Thragor! You saw it, it can vanish! What’s to say it won’t appear in our house and slit our throats?”
Dad tried his best to reason with them, but they continued to throw their improvised weapons. Several of the rocks caused cuts.  Then, dad screamed, holding right eye. It didn’t take but a second to see blood streaming down his hand. Still they did not stop their throwing.

I had seen more than I needed to. I took a step towards the door, my mother got up to stop me, and next thing I know, the world flashed. For just a brief second, everything became dark grey and misty. When I blinked, I was standing beside dad. I didn’t open the door or run to him, I just appeared next to him. This caused panic in the crowd, but for just a brief moment, they stopped throwing. I saw a few raise their hands, and I spoke.

“Enough!” I shouted. The voice was not mine. It was easily three times louder than it should haven been. It was deep, and powerful. It was commanding. “You throw stones at a passive man, for what? What reason can you have?” Silence, for a moment.

“He raised you, freak!” One said.

“You would kill a man for showing compassion where other humans failed to? For giving a creature a chance?”

“You’re a monster, you don’t deserve compassion!” Another one shouted.

“I’m the monster? I have never hurt a person in my life, and yet you are willing to kill a man for showing love!”

“But you will! You would kill us all if you had the chance!” One from the back hollered out. They shouted in agreement.

“Az, it’s okay, I’m fine,” Dad tried to reassure me, gently patting me on the back, “let’s go inside.”

“No, it’s not okay. I will never hurt a person as long as I live,” I shout back at them, “But you all are subhuman filth. I will kill you all if you lay a hand on my family!” At the time, I thought what I said was fair. My father disagreed. His grabbed me by the back of my neck, and literally threw me. I hit the ground some five feet away and slid a few more. It was shocking, and frightening. When I looked up, he was on me again, hauling me to my feet as my mother yelled, his right eye barely even attached. I was terrified and confused. Dad grabbed my face and almost slammed it into the wall of our house. Dad was enraged. I could see it, I could feel it. He dropped me, and I slumped to the ground.

“You will never say those words again; do you understand me?” He did not shout, nor yell. His voice was barely a whisper, but it carried enough force to break any man. “You will not fall to their level. You are a better man. Do you understand?” I merely nodded. He told me to stand up, which of course I did.

“You are my son, my greatest joy in life, even if you are not my child. I would rather die than to see you become like those people. I raised you better than that. Go be that better man,” he said, waving back behind him. He wanted me to apologize.

“What if they start throwing things again?”

“You should always defend yourself when you need to, Az. But you’re strong, and they are weak. Take their hits and show them you’re better. Defending yourself from such a small threat is no different than wantonly attacking.” I nodded, turned around and walked before them. They were afraid, certainly, but humans are proud, at least when they have a number advantage. I got to my knees, bowed low, and spoke.

“Forgive me for my harsh words. I was angry and scared. I will do better in the future not to lash out.” My words were met with sneers and stones, yet I remain prostrated for the next few minutes. Dad was right. They hardly made a mark on me. It wasn’t painful. Just humiliating.

Dad was the best man I knew. He was humble, kind, caring, and strong. He was far better than I will ever be. He would readily accept such humiliating and painful acts, so long as he believed it was right to do. The difference between me and him is what we believe is right. I admit, I deserved that one. But dad didn’t deserve what happened to him. He did nothing wrong, yet he thought it was the right thing to do to just let it happen. Mom told me it was because he was proud, in his own way. Rather than being an arrogant bully, he made himself a shield. “As long as he was protecting someone, anyone, he didn’t care what happened to him,” she said. I would later learn that he was involved in a war some time ago, and even though he was only apart of the last few years of the war, he became known as a sort of machine. A war hero in some people’s eyes, and a monster in others. He told me he would always look at the carnage of the battlefield, he would look at the corpses of brothers and enemies alike, but he could never see it.

It wasn’t until a rather unfortunate event, where his squad slaughtered a village, due to an error in message transit. They had attacked the wrong place and killed several innocent people. Dad said that was the first time he really saw the corpses, not just looked at them. He decided from then on, he would no longer hurt. He would only protect and heal. He was known for even treating enemy soldiers, which is why he was removed. Truly a great man.

The village healer wasn’t able to save dad’s eye, but he would be okay after a few days of rest. Unease in the village would not be so easily healed, and just a few weeks later, the headman told us I was to leave. I was banished. I immediately set to packing my bags, not wanting to cause trouble with my family. Dad and Mom stopped me and sat me down.

“We have never had a home here,” mom started. “Even before I found you, I felt out of place here.”

“It has never gotten any better. That’s not your fault, Az, these people are just far too… clothes minded,” dad said, pointing at his shirt, grinning. Mom nudged him and he nodded. “Right, serious conversation. We can’t let you go on your own, and frankly we have nothing here. No family, no friends, no bonds or ties. Az, you’re the only thing important to us, so we will all be leaving together. We’ll find a place to accept us all. And if not, we’ll make one!”

Of course, I protested. No village around there would accept me. Our only hope was a major city and the closest one was several months away. It would be a long and potentially dangerous walk, but they were stubborn. The next day, we started to head out. It seemed like the entire village gathered to watch us leave. Perhaps to spite them, mom and dad walked tall, nothing but smiles and farewells, as if they had just been accepted to live at a castle.

As we neared the exit, a girl about my age with a confident step walked towards us, or rather me. Bow in hand, quiver loosely strapped to her back, and a fire burning in her eyes as bright as the ribbon she wore, I was tempted to pretend she didn’t exist. But I was more proud than I was afraid, and I met her with a faint smile, ready for whatever abuse she would throw at me.

“This was my father’s bow,” she said to me, returning the smile, “But it collects dust in his room. Please take it.” It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t a request, it was a command masked with pleasantry. She thrusted the bow into my hands before I could even respond and dropped the quiver into my other hand.

“Illiana, I don’t think your father would approve of this!” The headman spoke, approaching us.

She twisted around and with no attempt to hide the defiance in her voice she spoke, “My father is dead, his property is mine to do with what I will. I don’t care what you think, the choice is made.” My father laughed, interjecting.

“Thank you, Illiana. I’m sure Norman would have been quite proud of this,” he says, still chuckling.

“I know,” she replied, seemingly happy with herself before becoming serious. “Dad talked a lot about you, and I know we didn’t get the chance to really interact,” she pointed the conversation at dad, “But he told me that you would help me if I ever got in trouble. He told me, ‘Uncle Thragor will help you when I can’t.’ Well, I don’t know how true that is, but if dad thought so highly of you, then I will too. Please stay safe.”

Dad nodded and smiled. She looked back at me and said, “You too, Az.” I smiled at her, and noticed her eyes darting to the top of my head and back to my eyes. I looked at her quizzically and she briefly looked around at the crowd, before shaking her head and walking away.

 

We continued to walk for about an hour, idly chatting, before we heard someone jogging behind us. As we turned, we saw Illiana waving us down. A moment later, she caught up, out of breath and readied with a bag. Dad was the first to speak.

“Illiana, what are you doing here?” She raised her finger and sat down, sucking in air.

“Dad, dad said you would help me,” he says in between breaths. She paused and calmed her breathing down. “Well, I need help.” Dad kneeled down, concern plastered on his face.

“What is the matter, Illiana?”

“I don’t have anyone, or anywhere to go. I’ve been by myself for three years now and it’s… it’s hard. I have only been able to just get by doing small chores around the village, but I doubt people would be as ready to help now that I… well you know.” Dad sighed and sat in silence.

“We will take you with us to another village. Theresa and I will be more than willing to teach you the skills that you need.” And so, the four of us began our trek.

Mom and Illiana became very close very fast. I learned that her mother died during birth, so she never really had a mother figure. In fact, the red ribbon she always wore was the only thing she had left of her mother. It was a gift to her by her father, so it’s a symbol of them both to her. I knew mom would do everything she could to be that figure for Illiana. Though the trip was hard, it was mostly good. For once, I felt free. Mom and dad didn’t look so tired, rather they looked more alive. And Illiana brought a constant source of joy. I taught myself how to use the bow from dad’s instructions, and we constantly worked on my new-found abilities, though I still couldn’t quite understand them.

It took a while for me and Illiana to really start getting to know each other. Being isolated for so long, I didn’t really know how to approach someone like her. She seemed equally nervous, often just giving me a brief smile. One particularly cold night, the four of us huddled by a fire. Illiana looked at me, flashing her iconic smile, but this time she spoke.

“How do you do that teleport thing?” I simply shrugged. She hummed in thought, then continued, “Do you think I can do it?” I look at her with a grin.

“I don’t know, Illiana. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it before.”

She hummed again. “Can you try to teach me?” I chuckled, but she stared me in the eye, dead serious.

“I don’t even know how to begin to explain how I do it. I can try but…,” she was darting her eyes to the top of my head again. She had done this several times, and at this point it was becoming somewhat annoying. “What?”

“What?” she parroted, focusing on my eyes again.

“Is it the horns?”

“Yes,” she hesitated. I sigh and turn a bit. Mom and dad had stopped their conversation, and I could feel their eyes on us. “Can I touch them?” she said it so quietly and quickly, I wasn’t quite sure I heard right. I lift my head for a second before turning back.

“What?” I asked, almost incredulously. She stared at her boots, refusing to make eye contact.

“Can I touch them?” she repeats. Dad stands up and walks off, seemingly finding an incredibly interesting stick at the base of a tree a few feet away. Mom erupts in a fit of coughs, a poor attempt to hide her chuckling as she walks away with the excuse of, “I need water.”

I wasn’t quite sure what the right response was. “Sure.” She looks at me very briefly before setting a hand on one of my horns. She stared at her foot, still unmoving, as the seconds passed.

Ten seconds of utter silence and stillness, she suddenly stands up and says, “Welp, I’m going to sleep. Good night.”

She didn’t make eye contact with me, and before I could even respond she had already made towards her sleeping bag. Still processing what just happened, I simply stared at nothing in particular.

“It is late, we should all sleep.” Dad said, as he came back, without his oh-so interesting stick.

The next few days were pretty strange between Illiana and me. She wouldn’t look or talk to me. Her normal peppiness was replaced with tension, and it was starting to drain me. I had to do something. Admittedly, my methods were perhaps a bit strange. It was a pretty hard trek that day, with lots of hills and no real road. We retired a bit earlier because it looked like where we were at was the only suitable campsite for a long way.

Illiana was preparing the fire for when it became dark. I figured this would be the best time to clear the tension, so I sat down beside her and pat her head. No, really, I pet her head. She jumped a bit when I started, but slowly turned to look at me.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, with that defiant look in her eyes. I grinned.

“Payback. If you get to touch my horns, I get to touch your hair.” She scoffs, but grins.

“I touched your horns, you’re petting my hair.” She says, setting her hand on my horn and ‘petting’ it as best she can. I imagine it was a pretty strange sight to see, two people just petting one another. I’m sure dad and mom saw the whole thing, but thankfully they didn’t mention it.

“Come on,” I say, standing up and hauling her with me.

“Where too?”

“To see if you can teleport.” We would spend the next several weeks trying, but in the end, it appeared she could not. During that time, me and Illiana became very close friends. We developed some strange habits along the way. The petting became a normal thing, and pranks would become pretty common too. I discovered some other powers, like being able to change eye color or create other small illusions, or physically affect some things like fires or cloths from a distance. Eventually, I learn to control my supposed ‘invisibility’. We eventually discovered though that it wasn’t invisibility. I didn’t just become unseen, I simply ceased to exist entirely. I became a ghost, essentially. I could walk through things, I couldn’t affect anything while in ‘ghost form’.

Whenever I became a ghost, my vision would darken and become black and white. Everything became misty too. Sometimes though, when I became a ghost, I would see things that aren’t there in the real world but are in the ‘ghost world’. That’s when I realized, I didn’t hallucinate all those things as a kid, I could sometimes see into the ghost world. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I learn I wasn’t becoming a ghost, but rather I was traversing into a different plane. I would walk the border of the two planes.

Several months had passed since we left the village and we were still a few months away from the city. Mom became ill, but not wanting to slow us down, she hid it. She died the next week. It was a pretty hard blow to us all, but Illiana seemed to be the most affected. Dad was hurt, but he was too strong to let it cripple him. He moped for a few days, but within a week he was the cheery, joking, and happy guy he always was.  I certainly lost some of my pep, but dad helped me stay positive. Illiana though, she was devastated. The once confident, cheery, light-of-my-day had fallen into a depression. I think she came to see mom as her own mom too, and only having a mother figure for a few months must have been incredibly painful.

She eventually got better, but it took the better part of two months, and she was never quite the same. The fire in her eyes was dimmer. Until one night, we were sleeping, she woke me up. Asked me to follow her. Of course, I did. She seemed happy, eager, and confident. We walked through the woods until we came to a sort of grove in the middle of a clearing. It was pretty, for sure. She told me she found it while looking for sticks and fell in love with it. She wanted to show me it.

“I wanna stay here, Az.” She told me.

“Then let’s stay. Dad said if we can’t find a place, we’ll build a place.” She chuckled.

“Az, you can teleport and become a ghost, you can see things no one else can and do things no one else can. Do you really think you’re just going to stay in a clearing for the rest of your life?”

“Well… Why not?”

“You’re special, Az. You’re meant to do something great.”

“Living a happy life as an Evilborn is pretty great.”

She frowned, “And you will. But not here. Not with me. Maybe not even with your father. There is something you need to do, I know it. I don’t know what, or why, or where, or anything like that. I just know there’s something.”

“Well, we’ll all live together until then.”

She simply shook her head. She grabbed my horns and gently pulled my head down so that I was looking at the ground. She pressed her head against mine, and barely even whispered, “Tell your dad I said thank you- for everything. I think I’m finally strong enough to be alone now.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I looked at her, and I saw the fire. I knew she had made her mind, and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing, that is, but support it.

We spent the next few hours simply talking. It was the closest we had ever been, emotionally, maybe even spiritually. For the last hour, she simply lay on my chest in silence as I pet her, staring at the stars. It is equally my fondest and saddest memory. She told me I should get back. We smiled at each other, said our byes, butted heads gently one last time, and I turned to leave. After a few steps, she caught my hand.

“Don’t forget me, Az. Come visit me some time, please.” Tears welled in her eyes as she untied her ribbon, the last reminder of her parents, and gives it to me. “Take care of it.” She had that fire still. I didn’t want to take her ribbon, but I knew she wouldn’t let me go without it.
I went back to the grove some years later but couldn’t find anything. That was the last time I ever saw Illiana. I doubt she’ll ever read this, in fact, I hope she doesn’t. But if you do, know that I never did forget you, not even for a second. To this day, I have your ribbon, and I will to the very day I die.

Dad was worried when I first told him she left, but over the course of the day, he seemed to have accepted it, and even was proud of it. I carved her name into the bow and tied the ribbon to it. We continued our trek alone, but it never felt lonely. I lost the most important people in my life, sure, but it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

We got to the city. We stayed for all of a month, then left. It was pathetic. It was crowded, dangerous, filthy, and just as bad as the villages. We wandered around for some time, starting a small trade business. This continued for a few years, until dad finally called it quits. The road was rough, and he was getting a bit old. So, we went to the city again. Our business continued, just without the travel, and dad was able to keep a pretty decent living. I chose not to live with him. I came to love the wilds. I would go and visit him often, and on rare occasions still do, but my current job doesn’t give me much time. It can sometimes be years before I see him again.

The day I told him I wanted to be on my own, he smiled. “I’m proud of you, son. You’ve come so far and have done so much. You’re strong, you’re kind, and you’re a good man.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. I am not a good man, though sometimes I wish I was. I simply have good habits.

“Do you remember your name?” he asked me. Kind of a stupid question, I thought.

“Uh, yeah dad, its Az.”

“No, that is what we call you. Do you remember your name?” I thought and thought, but I simply couldn’t remember.

“No, I don’t.”

“When your mother found you, you had ink on your body. She figured it was your name. And thus, she named you what was written on you. Your name is not az. Your name is Asmodeus. Remember that name, son. Don’t ever forget it.”

I think dad knows more about the planes then he lets on. I think he always knew what I was, from the very moment I started teleporting. I think that’s why he was able to put into words what even I didn’t know how to, why he was able to help me. I think he knows who Asmodeus is. Where he came from.

I am Asmodeus, the Devilspawn, a Borderwalker, traverser of the planes.

My father is Asmodeus, the Devil, the Lord of the Nine Hells, destroyer of the planes.

I will kill him. And I will take my place as the superior being. I will become Asmodeus, The Devilspawn Lord of the Planes, slayer of the Tyrant Devil.


Submitted: May 28, 2020

© Copyright 2023 Kristoff Shiro. All rights reserved.

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