Fan fiction:Eternity is too Short

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Eternity is too Short is a bit of Fan fiction poetry by LFox originally posted in the Fan Fiction Forum. Posted as a one shot on May 7th 2010.

Eternity is too Short[edit source]

By LFox

Deep in the Tamoe Highland inside the Outer Cloister of Monastery

A large stone fountain of female warriors called rogues clad in leather with their bows drawn stands in the middle. The fountain is aged and worn with cracks across its surface. Its water supply has long been tainted with the blood of humans and demons alike. Around the area is the large heavy stone monastery walls that have suffered the same fate of time.

What should be a peaceful clean courtyard with green grass is covered with dried blood and the bodies of fallen demons. Amidst it all lying near one of the many bodies is a woman on her back, an assassin. An ancient order founded to hunt down and eliminate rogue mages within their own ranks. Although since the reemergence of Diablo many of them have taken to cutting paths through the hordes of demons to get to the demon overlords themselves.

This particular assassin is no more than 24 years old. She has very short black hair cut in a boyish style with deep piercing blue eyes. Her body is very strong, slender and agile from her years of training and her breasts barely manage to fit into B cups.

Her body is donned entirely in black save for a pair of dark red pants which have black metal across either leg for protection. Her boots are made of heavy plate with long sharp jagged spikes fitted onto the soles. Her upper chest is protected by a light weight metal cuirass and a set of large pauldrons across her shoulders. Underneath her cuirass she has a long sleeve shirt. On her arms she has light weight metal for protection with a set of heavy metal gauntlets on her hands. Finally on her back she has a long black flowing cloak with a red interior.

The female assassin lies on the ground struggling to breathe with half a dozen arrows sticking out of her chest plate. Blood trickles out of the wounds over her body to pool beneath her on the grass. Her eyes slowly begin to glaze over as her life slips away when suddenly a man appears above her.

The man is in his late 30s and his name is Vincent, a necromancer which is the type of person who raises the bodies of fallen animals and demons to serve as minions. He has long shiny raven black hair down to his shoulders with piercing deep blue eyes and a day old shaved look. His body although slightly muscular is frail and slender from avoiding any physical work his entire life. His body is donned in a pair of heavy black shoes, a set of black leather pants and a white shirt with a large heavy black leather coat covering his body.

Vincent kneels down to the woman and gently takes her into his arms.

“Leave me, I’m, I’m done” she says.

A smile creeps across his face. “I know” he says.

She stares at him confused. “Then why?”

“Because I can use you”

“Use me?” she asks seeming confused. “What do you mean?”

His smile deepens. “Your body will make a useful minion” he says.

Her eyes widen in surprise. “Minion? YOU’RE, A NECROMANCER”. She raises her hand to strike him but he quickly grabs it stopping her. “Don’t even, don’t you dare” she growls.

He smirks at her. “Shhh it won’t matter after your dead”

Anger quickly fills her eyes. “I won’t have my body used like a puppet. You, yo…y…y…….y…….”. Her voice trails off as the last bit of life drains from her body and after several moments she goes limp.

Vincent stands up with her in his arms and slowly walks off. Several hours later near a small river the woman is lying naked on a large flat stone with dozens of glyphs drawn across her body with blood. Vincent casually wipes his bloody hands clean with a damp cloth. On his hand a bandage now rests covering a knife mark across his wrist.

Slowly the magic from the dark ritual begins to take effect. The woman’s eyelids move about and slowly open. Her eyes however are dull and hollow like those of a puppet. She sits up and looks around briefly before her gaze falls upon Vincent who’s staring back at her.

“How are you feeling?” he asks.

“Just fine master” replies the woman. Her voice sounds hollow and emotionless.

“Good go get yourself cleaned up and get dressed”. With that he sinks to the ground with a groan.

The woman quickly gets to her feet and kneels next to him staring at him with concern. “Are you alright master?” she asks.

“I’m fine, I’m just tired” he says.

She looks him over for another moment before getting up and following his command. She walks into the nearby river and begins rubbing her hands across her skin washing the blood off. Her fingertips pause over the arrow wounds on her lifeless skin. She stares at them momentarily before continuing until she’s clean.

When she’s done she walks out of the water and stares at her clothes on the shore that have been washed and dried. She grabs her cape and gently towels herself off before quickly dressing in her armor and setting her cape out to dry. Fully dressed she walks over to Vincent and sits down beside him silently like a puppet waiting to be used.

“Everything work fine?” he asks.

“Yes master” she replies.

“Do you remember how you fight?”

“Yes master”

“Do you remember who you were or what happened?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “No master” she says. “Should I?”

He seems almost disappointed by her reply. “No, no I suppose not. After all, you’re not her. Come with me”

He slowly stands up and almost falls over. She quickly grabs hold of him and helps him stand. “Are you okay master” she asks.

“Yes, just fine” he says. “Let’s go get you properly healed. I don’t want those wounds ruining your body”

She grabs her cloak and quickly latches it on underneath her pauldrons. With that the two of them slowly walk off into the distance. After several minutes they come to a crude camp with small huts built from stones, sticks and cloth atop dirt land.

Toward the center of the camp is a large fire blazing with two metal poles acting as a stand with a third as a spit. Tied to the spit is a rogue, a young naked woman in her early 20s or what’s left of one anyway. With the intense heat of the fire the woman’s body has cooked to a golden bronze color making her a delectable roast.

Sitting about the camp around the fire are Carvers a breed of demon called Fallen. They’re small ugly little blue imp like demons no more than two feet tall. The lot of them are clothed in ragged cloth pieces that barely cover their crotches. At least half of them have several metal plates tied onto their body to provide some protection.

Vincent stretches out his hand toward the camp. A thin red mist forms in the air throughout the camp and quickly gathers above their heads as an ever changing group of small clouds. The carvers immediately notice the odd mist hanging over their heads and drop what they’re doing to arm themselves.

“Kill them slowly, the curse I put on them will regenerate your body as their wounded” says Vincent.

The woman walks toward them and stops in front of them towering over the small demons with an empty hollow stare. They stare up at her and turn pale as her hands quickly reveal a twin set of scissor katars. The katars themselves are simple in design a metal handle with three large blades built atop. However they are brutally effective especially when used with the fighting style of assassins.

As Vincent sits down to rest the shrieks of the carver as well as the sound of flesh tearing and blood splattering echoes throughout the area. Several moments later the woman walks back toward Vincent with not so much as a speck of blood upon her clothes.

“I’m finished master” she announces.

Vincent gazes up at her. “Are your wounds fully healed?” he asks.

“I think so”

“Raise your shirt”

Without a second thought she unlatches her cuirass and raises her shirt revealing her naked chest. The arrow wounds that earlier disfigured her skin are all but gone leaving not a single trace that they were ever there.

“Good” he says.

She lowers her shirt and relatches her cuirass in place. Meanwhile Vincent gets up and walks over toward the fire. He kicks one of the dead carver out of his way and sits down.

“Well no sense in letting a good meal go to waste” he says.

With that he pulls a dagger from his belt and slices off a large piece of meat from the dead rogue. Without a care or moral thought of any sort he bites down on the meat and chews it happily. The woman walks over to him and sits down next to him watching him silently as he eats.

He swallows his mouthful and turns to her. “You can eat if you want but it’s not necessary”

The woman draws one of her katar’s and deftly slices off a large piece of meat from the rogue’s side. Like her master the doll like servant shows no sign of emotion as she slowly begins to eat the human meat.

“Tonight you can keep watch” he says. “Make sure no demons come wandering by. Tomorrow we’re off to the monastery”
“Why the monastery?” she asks.

“That’s of no concern to you” he growls.

“I’m sorry master”

“It’s fine. Maybe I’ll feel like telling you another time”. He quickly finishes chewing on the piece of meat on his dagger. “I’m going to get some sleep. Wake me if something important happens”

“Yes master” she says.

Vincent kicks some of the dead carvers out of the way and settles down on the ground. He throws his cloak over himself and lays down to go to sleep. Meanwhile the woman sits in front of the fire watching it tirelessly never blinking never moving. When Vincent wakes in the morning he finds the fire is going again and the dead rogue is once again cooking warming up the already roasted flesh.

The woman turns to him. “I started the fire again” she says. “The meat should be warm enough to eat”

He gives her the slightest hint of a smile. “Thank you” he says. “It’s always nice to wake up to breakfast instead of having to catch one”. He sits up and draws his dagger. He slices off a large piece of meat and tears into it hungrily with his teeth. “Any problems last night?”

“No, nothing came near the camp. If you don’t mind me asking why did you raise me?”

“I hate fighting it’s so troublesome” he says. “You looked like a capable fighter I could use so I saw an opportunity and took it. Is that a problem?”

“No master” she says.

“You wanted to know yesterday why the monastery?”

The woman nods. “Yes”

“I’m looking for something. What I’m not exactly sure. Spells, incantations, rituals, anything like that, anything focused on necromancy. Nothing important to you or that you should concern yourself with. But we’ll be traveling a lot checking out places such as the monastery for them”. He turns to her. “Come to think of it I haven’t named you yet have I?”

She shakes her head. “No master”

He cups his chin in thought. “Hmm…how about…Kalista”

A smile forms across Kalista’s face showing somewhat more than just a puppets smile. “That’s a nice name” she says.

“Kalista it is then” he says. “I’m Vincent by the way but you can keep calling me master. Well enough talk we should get going”

They slowly stand up and walk off into the distance. After several minutes they come to the inner cloister of the monastery. Kalista looks around at the dead demons strewn about the place and the large piles of blood splattered across the stone and grass.

“Looks like someone’s been here” she says.

“Yes, both of us” he says. “This is where I found you”. Kalista’s eyes wander to a pool of blood on the grass where her body once laid. “Come on. Let’s keep going”

They slowly walk toward a large set of old wooden double doors and slip inside. Inside the room is pitch black illuminated only by a handful of torches along the walls with crates piled about the room. The heavy stench of death and blood hangs in the air as nothing but the flickering of the torches can be heard in the room.

“It’s quiet” she says. “Too quiet”

“It is isn’t it?” he says. “You can be sure there’s more than a few demons lurking around in a place like this”

Kalista suddenly spins around in place and thrusts her foot into the air. Her foot comes to a stop near a pair of transparent white and blue bird like spirits called wraiths. Flames burst forth from the sole of her boot engulfing the wraiths causing them to crumble and fall to the ground slowly in a shower of fine white dust.

Vincent turns and stares at the wraith bodies. “Wraiths, they’re such a nuisance” he says.

“There’ll no doubt be plenty more” she says. “Please stay close to me master”

Slowly they continue through the poorly lit monastery checking the various rooms it has to offer. Most are empty save some smashed furniture and dried blood splashed across the floor and walls. Eventually Vincent opens the door to a room.

Inside sitting around a table talking and eating are three goatmen. The goatmen themselves are a breed of demon with chests and arms of heavy strong men with large muscles. However their heads and lower bodies are covered in a mass of heavy black fur. Their legs are oddly shaped like that of a goat with a set of hoofs for feet and upon their heads they have a set of long sharp horns.

Vincent takes one quick look over the room. “Wrong room” he says.

With that he turns to leave but the goatmen slowly get up grabbing their weapons they had lying around. “Where do you think you’re going human?” asks one of the goatmen.

“I’m looking for the library now if you’ll excuse me”

“We can’t let you go human. You’ll stay here and die”

Vincent pauses and lets out a heavily sigh. “Fine, Kalista kill them” he says.

“Yes master” she says.

She draws her katars and with a flash of light she disappears. A moment later she appears in the air near one of the goatmen. She smashes her foot across the side of his face sending him flying into the wall and cracking his skull on the hard stone. She turns and slashes the goatman next to her across the throat nearly tearing his neck in half. As he crumbles to the floor choking on his own blood she lunges at the last goatman pausing with her katars mere millimeters from his neck as she hears Vincent’s voice.

“Wait” he says. He walks over to them and looks the goatman over. “Tell me, do you know where the library is?”

“Why do you want the library human?” asks the goatman.

“Answer me”

“Several doors down. Other rooms have shelves but just scrolls of prayers”

“Thank you” he says. “Kalista we’re leaving.

Kalista sheaths her katars. “Yes master” she says. With that she follows Vincent obediently as he begins to walk off.

“You’re letting me live?” asks the goatman seeming confused.

Vincent pauses and glances back at him. “I don’t care about you or Andariel” he says. “I’m only interested in the books in this place”

With that they continue to the end of the hall and stop at the last door finding the library. The walls are lined with heavy wooden shelves filled with masses of books and scrolls.

Inside however are dozens of devilkin another breed of the fallen demons. Their near identical to their carver cousins but instead of a blue skin they have a dark raven black. Standing amongst them all is a shaman a fallen leader who’s versed themselves in the art of magic which even allows them to resurrect their fallen comrades in near perfect condition. The shaman stands nearly a foot taller than the others with a wooden staff decorated with bones clutched tightly in his hand.

Upon seeing the demons Kalista draws her katars and disappears in a flash of light. She appears in front of the shaman and thrusts her right katar into his chest then the other through his neck. Almost immediately two small round orbs of fire flicker to life from around her right glove and begin spinning rapidly around her fist.

She turns to a fallen next to her who looks incredibly angry and smashes him in the face with her katar. The orbs around her fist shatter and a burst of flames flows along the length of her katar blades before igniting the air in the room. The flames burn for several moments and as it clears smoldering bodies of fallen collapse to the ground charred black from the flames.

“Good job” says Vincent.

He walks past Kalista over to one of the library shelves stepping on a dead fallen as he does. The weight of his foot shatters its ribcage crushing its body. He starts browsing over the selection of books carefully for several moments then begins tossing them to the floor as he deems them useless. He takes one off the shelf and leafs through it for several moments before tossing it aside. He repeats this with several more books tossing them aside in anger.

“USELESS” he yells. “Blessings, prayers, god gibberish. Don’t they have any real books?”

“Master maybe there’ll be some useful ones to you deeper in the monastery?” says Kalista.

Vincent turns to her and cups his chin in thought. “Maybe, come to think of it I’m sure there was supposed to be an inner cloister area somewhere with a chapel and maybe even a library”

“Let’s find out” she says.

Kalista quickly strides from the room with Vincent trailing behind. She walks back to the room where they found the goatmen finding the one they left alive standing in the doorway. She grabs the goatman and forces him against the wall with a katar pressed against his neck.

“Is there a library in the inner cloister?” she asks.

The goatman stares into her cold lifeless puppet like eyes and feels a chill of fear run down his spine. “Y-yes, yes there is” he sputters.

“Where is it?”

“It’s, its back where the hallway splits and to the right. Follow it along and take the door on the end. Left room inside the chapel”

“Thank you” she says. With that Kalista releases him and sheaths her weapon as she turns to Vincent. “Let’s go check it out shall we?”

Vincent smiles and nods. “Yes, lets” he says.

As they begin to walk off the goatman sighs and rests against the wall as he slowly sinks to the ground. “I should have stayed with the countess” he says.

The two of them continue through the monastery until they enter the inner cloister and come to a stop in front of a set of large wooden double doors. Kalista forces the doors open letting light creep into the dark interior. Inside dozens of devilkin are sitting around crackling as they eat and drink. Mixed amongst them are three shamans with wraiths flying overhead like birds. Everything inside the room pauses in its action and turns to look at the pair standing in the doorway.

“Get rid of them all” says Vincent.

“Yes master” replies Kalista.

With a flash of light she disappears. She appears only briefly next to each shaman to thrust her katar through their face. After each one a small round orb of blue energy flickers to life from around her right glove and begins spinning rapidly around her fist. She spins around to a devilkin behind her and thrusts her katar into its face.

The orbs around her fist shatter and a burst of blue energy flows along the length of her katar blades before exploding in a blast of cold air. From the cold air thousands of ice shards begin flying out in all directions arcing in the air to reach behind her.

The shards continue for several moments before finally finishing. As the last shard flies out the last demon alive slowly collapses to the ground dead. Kalista glances around the room briefly looking over the mass of bodies to make sure nothing is left alive.

She silently walks back over to Vincent and they head into the side room finding it filled with several devilkin ready to fight. He gestures his hand and a nova of green gas ripples out from around his body. As it approaches the demons they start coughing heavily and clutching their throats as they slowly collapse to the ground dead.

He walks over to one of the bookshelves and kicks a devilkin out of the way so he has room to stand. He carefully looks over the books taking several of them out and looking through them a moment before tossing them to the ground. After almost an hour he’s finally finished with the entire shelf of books now occupying the floor covering the dead demons. Failing to find what he was after He lets out a heavy sigh.

“Master perhaps we should go to Kurast” says Kalista. “There’s a lot of old ruined shrines and temples there maybe some have what you’re looking for”

He turns to her in surprise. “Kurast?” he asks. “How do you know about that?”

She stares back at him for a moment and for the first time her eyes don’t look like the dull eyes of a puppet. “I remember, small details about lands”

He stares at her seeming intrigued. “Interesting” he says. “I didn’t know I could give fractions of memories from your former self”

“Does this mean I’m the woman who died?” she asks.

He shakes his head. “No, you’re not. You just have some memories of hers and her abilities”

She goes into thought for a moment. “This may be strange to ask but, do I have a soul?”

He sighs heavily and rubs his chin. “Well…I honestly can’t answer that” he says. “Whether you have your own soul or a fraction of hers I don’t know. You may just be a consciousness too. All I can tell you is when I raise my golems I can bring back ones I’ve raised before. They know everything they knew before and have the same personality”

“I see. I can also remember there’s a lot of tombs in the deserts of Aranoch near a city called Lut Gholein”

He nods. “Yes I was considering going there myself” he says. “I hadn’t thought about Kurast though. I guess we’ll be making our way east”

“We’ll probably need a guide to get to Lut Gholein I doubt we can find our way through the desert ourselves” she says.

He smiles. “Normally we would but I’ve been through it before. I’m sure I can get us to Lut Gholein safely”

She stares at him seeming genuinely concerned. “Are you sure?” she asks.

“Yes, why are you worried?” he asks.

She nods. “Yes, for you master”

“Well let’s get going I should have known it’d be a waste of time coming all the way to this monastery”

She smiles warmly. “If you didn’t though you wouldn’t have gotten me would you?” she asks.

He smirks at her words. “Good point” he says.

“We should probably stop into a nearby town if there is one for supplies before we leave”

“No need. I’ve got plenty of water and those little rodents should provide more than enough food”

An hour later the two of them are standing in front of a long dirt trail leading through the mountains.

“This trail will lead us over the mountains into the desert of Aranoch” he says. “I have a feeling it’ll be pretty well guarded though”

Kalista walks ahead drawing her katars as she does so. “Please stay close to me master” she says.

After several minutes of walking they slowly approach a large encampment of tents with goatmen and fallen running about busily. Kalista dashes off ahead and before they even notice her presence she’s already slashed several goatmen across the neck. As she fights the horde of demons furiously using her katars and martial arts Vincent slowly walks along the path.

He glances around lazily following the trail of corpses she leaves in her wake. An hour later they make it through the mountain trail with a thousand bodies lining the path and Kalista’s clothes soaked in blood from head to toe. Vincent looks out into the distance at the vast sandy desert ahead of them. He turns his attention to the surrounding area noticing a small pool of water off the side of the road. He sits down by the water and relaxes.

“Clean yourself up” he says.

“Yes master” she says.

Without another word she walks over to the pool of water and slowly undresses herself. When she’s finished she slowly slides into the water and begins caressing her body with her hands gently washing the blood off. Vincent looks over her beautiful young body enjoying the show as she washes herself. She dunks her head under water and scrubs the blood from her hair.

When she’s done she turns and grabs her clothes then begins to scrub them in the water trying to rinse the blood out before it dries. As she finishes with each piece of clothing she lays it out on the ground to dry. After laying out the last piece she walks over to Vincent and sits down beside him not caring the slightest that she’s naked.

“We’ll make camp here for now it’ll be dark soon” he says.

“Why?” she asks. “Are you tired master?”

“Somewhat but we can’t wander through the desert during the day. It’s far too hot and I can only find the right way at night”

“You use the stars?”

He nods at her question. “Yes” he says. “In the meantime why don’t we put you to use?”

She stares at him seeming confused. “What do you mean?”

A smirk creeps across his face. He grabs her and pulls her toward him pressing his lips against hers in a deep kiss. After several moments he pulls away and stares into her eyes.

“You didn’t think I raised you just for your skills did you?” he asks.

“I take it you don’t mind me being dead?” she asks.

“Necromancers have an appreciation for the dead in more than one way”

A smile forms across her lips. “Is that so?”

Later on the two of them are lying naked on the ground with Vincent holding Kalista tightly in his arms. Nearby their clothes lie in a large messy pile from their hasty removal.

“I’ll get some rest and once it’s dark we can start heading to Lut Gholein” he says.

“Would you like me to keep a lookout master?” she asks.

He presses his face into her neck. “You can do that from where are right now”

A smile creeps across her face. “Yes master”

He holds her tightly in his arms and closes his eyes to go to sleep. Hours later just as it’s beginning to turn to night Vincent groans and sits up to look around. He finds Kalista fully clothed again with a small fire going nearby cooking some meat.

Hearing him awaken she turns to him. “I started a fire to cook you some food before we leave” she says.

He smiles at her. “Thank you” he says.

He slowly gets up and dresses in his clothes before sitting down to eat. While he does he notices Kalista pull back her glove and stare at her wrist curiously.

“Something wrong?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “Not really it’s just that I think my skin has become more pale” she says.

“That’s to be expected, after all your body is dead. My magic can keep most things working but some things it can’t. You’ll lose a bit of your complexion but nothing too serious”

“I see”

After finishing his meal the two of them set off into the vast desert ahead of them. As they walk the moonlight shimmers across the sand creating the illusion of a long path stretching through the sandy dunes. Overhead the stars twinkle brightly in the cloudless night sky providing a clear way to navigate.

They walk for days traveling at night to avoid the heat and to navigate with the stars. As they continue they encounter some of the demonic animals the land has to offer.

The first of these is a Carrion Bird type of demonic vulture that’s long since mutated from a harmless scavenger to a ruthless killing machine. Its body is that of a large grey feathered bird with a thick rat like tail. In front it has a set of arms with dangerously long jagged talons and its beak is razor sharp, long and pointed.

The other of these demons is a Leaper. They’re small feral demons resembling somewhat the appearance of a monkey. They crawl around on all fours with sharp jagged claws with large spikes along their backs. True to their name these demons leap at their enemies jumping high and far to attack their opponents.

Not surprisingly but neither of these creatures prove any threat. The encounters with them are brief at best as Kalista swiftly shreds their bodies with her katars.

After a long long journey the two of them finally make their way to the gates of Lut Gholein. A large town built upon the desert from stone and wood as small huts, places of business and a massive palace. Surrounding the town is a heavy stone wall all around leaving only a small entrance from the desert with the back of the town resting upon the sea with a large shipyard for travel. Inside the roads are made of dirt and sand with only a few small sections made from worn down paving stones.

As they pass through the open gates of the town they glance around at the people of the city. Most are wrapped in heavy cloth and robes to protect themselves from the sun and sand leaving very little skin shown other than their faces and hands.

Vincent lets out a heavy sigh from fatigue of walking so long. “Let’s get ourselves a drink” he says.

“Yes master” says Kalista.

They walk through the streets until they come across a large two story wooden building. Inside are several large round tables with chairs. Up against the far wall is a large bar area with stools to sit on to drink. While to the right side is a staircase leading upstairs to the many rooms. Seated inside are a dozen or so adventurers from various backgrounds with all different weapons and armor. Most are leisurely relaxing and eating while a few of the more shady sorts are hidden in the dark corners of the room watching like hawks. The two of them make their way over to the bar and each take a seat.

“Barkeep I’ll have a large bottle of brandy” says Vincent.

A large round bald man in his 30s with a mustache wearing a set of brown clothes behind the bar nods at him. He quickly grabs a large bottle from the shelf and sets it down in front of Vincent. Meanwhile at one of the tables a man in his mid 20s turns to look over at Vincent. He has light blond hair and crystal blue eyes. His body is covered in a massive set of heavy white plate mail embroided with crosses and holy seals making it clear he’s a paladin a man who actively seeks out evil and puts an end to it. Finally attached to his back is a heavy white cape with a long one handed sword sheathed on the side of his belt. His shield is leaning against the table which is massive tower shield with the front embroided with a giant cross.

“Son of a #####” exclaims the man. He gets up from his chair and walks over to Vincent with an angry glare across his face. “Well well well if it isn’t the retched necromancer Vincent. Remember me?”

Vincent turns around to look at him and shakes his head. “Sorry I’m getting forgetful in my old age” he says. “Can’t say I do”

The young man walks up to Vincent, pushes him against the bar and puts his sword to his throat. Everyone pauses inside the inn to stop and watch the hostile action with their fingers nervously hanging over their weapons.

“The names Ares you left me to die in that god forsaken tomb” says the paladin.

“Ah now it’s coming to me” says Vincent as he speaks calmly clearly unphased by having a weapon to his throat. “The way I remember it you were the one who went there in the first place. I showed up afterward and told you I had no interest in working with you. I only left after I’d found what I went there for”

“You left when every god damn demon was alerted to our presence and came to attack us”

Vincent nods. “That too, but then you were the one who jumped straight into the fray to kill everything”

Kalista’s katars suddenly come to rest on either side of Ares neck threatening to behead him. “I don’t care why you’re angry but if you continue to threaten my master I WILL kill you” she says.

Ares glances over at her. “Oh really?” he says. “What lies did you spin for her to work with you? And what’s with the master crap?”

Vincent smiles proudly. “Pretty little thing isn’t she?” he says. “She’s quite dangerous too. She’ll kill you five times before you hit the ground”

“Take away your sword, now” says Kalista.

Ares slowly pulls away his sword and sheaths it. He then stares down at Vincent with an annoyed glare. “If you’re ever in trouble you can be damn sure I’m going to stand there and watch you die” he says.

“Well no one asked you to be a hero” says Vincent. He suddenly smiles warmly at Ares. “Come on why don’t I buy you a drink?”

“Go #### yourself Vince”. With that Ares trudges off back to his table and the people around the inn rest easy again.

“What was that about?” asks Kalista.

“Oh nothing really” says Vincent. “Just that I may have somewhat intentionally used him as decoy to escape a demon infested tomb”

Kalista turns to look at Ares and carefully studies him. “Do you want me to kill him? He might come for you again?”

Vincent waves his hand. “No, no need. If he wanted to kill me he would have done it already. He’s far too righteous for that”

“Selena still hasn’t come back?” says a female voice.

Vincent’s eyes widen in surprise and he turns toward the voice. Standing there is a young blond haired woman dressed in a long brown dress with a tray full of drinks in her hands. She’s busy talking to the large burly barkeeper.

The barkeeper shakes his head. “No I’m afraid that poor woman is probably dead” he says.

“Did you say Selena?” asks Vincent.

“Yes, you know her?”

Vincent looks at him with fear in his eyes. “A druid that enjoys being in the form of a wolf?”

“That’s her” says the waitress.

“Where did she go?” asks Vincent.

“She went to the Far Oasis”

“Where is it?”

“It’s to the northeast” says the Barkeeper.

“Kalista we’re leaving” says Vincent.

With that Vincent quickly tosses some gold coins on the counter before getting up and walking off leaving his nearly untouched bottle of brandy sitting on the bar. Kalista quickly hurries after him and looks over his face noticing his normal calm expression is filled with worry and fear.

“But we just got here, who’s Selena?” asks Kalista.

“My former wife’s sister, a good friend” says Vincent. “If she’s in trouble I can’t ignore it”

“Do you think she’s still alive though?”

“I hope so”

They head out of town and walk for several hours with the burning hot sun glaring down upon them and the landscape in the distance shimmering with the heat. Kalista makes quick work cutting down the few demons stupid enough to bother them. All the while Vincent remains silent walking at a constant pace with his eyes never leaving the horizon as his mind stays focused on one and only one thing.

He’s so focused on the task at hand that he completely ignores the sight ahead of him. A sorceress the type of person who’s highly skilled in offensive and defensive magic which is used to aid in the fight against demons. The young woman is in her early 20s with raven black hair and she’s lying defeated on the ground her skimpy outfit a green loincloth and bra is practically torn and shredded to pieces. Her skin is covered in large gashes and scratches from demon claws. Crawling around her body is several leapers which look like they’re just about ready to make a meal out of her.

As they walk past the sorceress raises her hand weakly at them. “Please, please help me” she begs.

Vincent ignores her entirely hardly caring about her predicament in the least. Kalista glances at her briefly but remains silent as she follows Vincent.

The sorceress’s eyes fill with fear and she speaks louder. “Aren’t you going to help me?” she asks.

“I don’t have time to waste mucking around helping you” growls Vincent.

Tears fill the corner of her eyes as she reaches out desperately to them. “PLEASE”

“Master do you want me to help her?” asks Kalista. “It’ll only take a moment”

“Don’t bother anyone stupid enough to get taken down by a pack of leapers deserves what they get” says Vincent.

The sorceress watches in horror with tear filled eyes as they disappear into the distance. Several hours later Vincent’s face is soaked in sweat from the heat and he stumbles falling to his knees. Kalista quickly rushes to his side and grabs his arm.

“Master are you okay?” she asks.

“I’m fine” he groans. “Let’s keep going”

“You need to rest, you’re exhausted”

He pushes her away angrily and stands up with shaky legs. “I’m fine, I’m coming Selena. Just you wait, I’m coming”

With that he trudges on. After several more hours of walking a raven suddenly comes flying toward them. Vincent stops and stares at the bird watching as it lands in front of him. The birds body makes several odd movements before turning into white mist which quickly grows and changes shape transforming into a beautiful woman clothed in brilliant white wolf fur.

The woman stares at them with her crystal blue eyes and smiles at them, with her long black hair flowing down the length of her back. She has a knee length skirt on with a pair of heavy fur boots. Her top is made of much finer fur with a V shape opening on her chest revealing her cleavage. Finally strapped to her back is a massive white wolf fur cloak.

From her clothes and entrance it’s quite clear she’s a druid a person who has knowledge of magic passed down through generations. This magic is used to summon aspects of nature to aid them and transform into animals to enhance their abilities.

Vincent stares at the woman in disbelief. “Selena, your okay” he says.

Selena smiles back at him. “Why wouldn’t I be?” she asks. Her eyes suddenly widen in surprise. “Wait, were you so worried about me you came all the way out here?”

“Of course”

Her face softens showing a loving look. “I’m sorry I worried you. I didn’t even know you were in town”

“I just arrived” he says.

“What are you doing all the way out here in the desert anyway?” she asks.

“I might ask you the exact same thing”

She smirks at him. “Well I’m looking for some information. What about you?”

“I’m looking for information on necromancy” he says.

Her eyes widen in shock. “You, oh god you don’t mean. Vince, it’s been 10 years. You’re still scouring the earth for a way to raise Layla?”

His eyes fill with a deep sadness. “I promised her” he replies meekly.

“Vince she wouldn’t have wanted you to spend the rest of your life trying to restore hers” she says. “For mortals there is no way. It just can’t be done”

“It can” he says confidently. “I’ve even gotten skilled enough to give those I raise fractions of memories from their former lives”

She shakes her head sadly. “Vince, that’s not the same”

He lowers his eyes knowing she’s right. “I, I know” he says. “But I’m telling you it can be done”

“It’s because Layla said you could isn’t it?” she asks. “She was fascinated with your golems and how you could revive a pile of bones to obey your commands”

“I, I just can’t let her go”

She puts a hand on his shoulder. “Vince, you’re going to have to, eventually”

“The only thing that worries me is I’m no longer the person she knew” he says. “I’m not as caring”

Selena smiles and starts laughing at his words. “Caring?” she says. “You were never caring. You’ve always been a complete asshole. You’re the kind of man that could sit and watch another be ripped apart by demons even though he’s able to help. In fact you’ve probably done that on more than one occasion. Nothing could even graze your world apart from Layla or myself. But when it came to Layla she was, everything to you. I used to say you saved every drop of kindness so you could pour it over her. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for her, even now. There’s not a thing in the world I can even say or do to make you stop trying is there?”

He smiles softly. “I’m afraid not”

“So tell me, you seem to be doing well” she says as she turns her glance to Kalista. “So tell me, you’re raising fallen heroes now?”

He shakes his head. “Not really, just her. I thought she’d be helpful”

She leans toward him placing a hand behind his head and bringing her lips to his ear. “Not because she looks like Layla and is so ####able?” she says.

“Well there might have been other reasons too” he says.

Selena turns to Kalista. “So is Vince an incredible asshole to you?”

Kalista shakes her head. “No, if anything I’d say he’s rather kind and carrying” she says.

Selena turns to him with a smirk. “What a surprise” she says. “Sounds like love at last breath to me”

“Come on let’s try to get back to town before it grows dark” he says.

Selena stretches her arms in the air. “No I’d like to rest a while my arms are tired I’ve been flying for hours. And…if I didn’t know any better I’d say you left the moment you came into town after hearing about me isn’t that right?”. He remains silent and tries to avoid looking directly at her making her smile. She moves forward and gives him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you for caring so much. Now sit down and rest you ####ing idiot”

The three sit down and rest to regain their strength. By the time they finally make it back to town and walk into the inn it’s late into the night.

The waitress rushes over to them looking relieved. “Selena, thank god” she says. “We thought something might have happened to you. You’ve been gone so long”

Selena smiles brightly. “I’m fine and my own angel of death came to save me” she says. “Even though I didn’t really need it”

“Well it’s good to see your okay”

Selena stretches herself. “I’m just looking forward to a good night sleep in a comfy bed”

They head upstairs and Vincent pauses at the door to his room. “Good night” he says.

Selena turns to Kalista. “Kalista you can wait out here”. With that she grabs Vincent’s hand and drags him into the room closing the door behind them with a mischievous grin.

“What are you planning?” he asks.

“That should be pretty obvious at this point” she says with a mischievous grin.

A while later Selena and Vincent are lying next to each other naked in the bed with the blankets disheveled around them.

“Why didn’t we ever get together?” asks Vincent.

Selena smirks. “You know why, because you don’t love me and I don’t love you” she says. “I’ve always lusted for you and wanted you so badly but I never once loved you”

Vincent smiles softly. “I remember you prancing around in skimpy clothes trying to get my attention”

“Yeah, too bad your eyes were practically nailed to Layla’s skin. Despite 5 years of trying you never once tried to have me until after she died even then it took you long enough”

“Do you still miss her?” he asks.

“Of course I do” she says. “I always will. Anyway I think I’ll head back to my room to sleep. If I stay here I have a feeling I won’t get much sleeping done”

Selena quickly slides out of the bed and dresses herself. As she slips out of the room she finds Kalista standing guard with icy annoyed look on her face.

Selena grins mischievously. “Are you jealous?” asks Selena.

Kalista turns and glares at her coldly. “No” says Kalista.

Selena grins at her reaction. “Don’t worry we’ve never been and never will be in love with each other”

“I don’t know why you’re telling me this I don’t care”. She turns away slightly to avoid looking at Selena. “As long as it makes him happy”

Selena smiles softly. “You love him don’t you?” asks Selena.

“What?” says Kalista. Her face flushes red with embarrassment. “Of course not”

“Whatever you say, you can go to him now. I have my own room”

As Selena heads down the hall happily Kalista watches her briefly before turning back to the door and heading inside. She looks over Vincent relaxing in bed and turns her eyes to the side clearly annoying at him.

“I’ll be outside keeping guard let me know if you need me” says Kalista.

Vincent sits up. “No, no come here” he says. “Join me”

“Are you sure?”

He sighs. “If you’re jealous about Selena…”

She snaps at him cutting him off mid sentence. “I’m not” she says.

He smirks at her reaction. “There’s nothing between us” he says.

“I know she already explained it and I don’t care”

He pats a spot on the bed next to him. “Come here”. She stares at him a moment before silently walking over to him and taking a seat on the bed. He grabs her and forces her into a kiss.

She quickly pulls away and glares at him. “Trying for a record are we?” she says.

He smiles. “Just tell me you don’t want it” he says.

She glares at him a moment. “Fine, I’ll show you I’m twice the woman she is”

With that she pushes him down on the bed then stands up. Her shadow quickly recedes into her body and a copy of herself quickly pulls itself out of her.

“You certainly are” he says.

The next morning Vincent is lounging downstairs in chair by a table in the corner of the room. Meanwhile Kalista is at the counter waiting patiently for their meals. A woman suddenly notices her and having recognized her she approaches Kalista with a smile. The woman has long brown hair down to her waist with deep chestnut colored eyes. She has a set of white and teal armor on which although is plate armor is designed to be very light for her lithe form. Her hands, neck and ears are brandished with expensive jewelry and one look at her is enough to deduce she’s a skilled sorceress.

“Fasha” says the woman. “What are you doing back here so soon?”

Kalista turns to her with a look of surprise across her face. “I’m sorry you must have me mistaken for someone else” she says. “My names Kalista”

The woman furrows her brow in confusion. “Kalista? But you…”

Before she can finish her sentence the bartender sets down a pair of plates on the counter and Kalista quickly interrupts her. “Excuse me” she says.

With that she takes the plates and joins Vincent in the corner of the room. The woman stares at her in puzzlement trying to work what’s going on for several moments before her gaze drifts toward Vincent.

“What was that about?” he asks.

“I think she knew my body” says Kalista.

Vincent sighs heavily. “I was afraid that might happen. So? What did you say to her?”

“I told her she must have mistaken me for someone else. Was that a bad idea?”

Vincent cups his chin and goes deep into thought. “Mmm maybe, maybe not” he says. “It’s hard to say. Well I suppose there’s no sense in worrying about it. What happens happens”

After the two of them finish eating their meals they set off and make their way out of town. A short distance from the entrance to the city they come to Ares blocking their path with the sorceress from yesterday and the woman they met earlier at the bar.

“Is there something you wanted?” asks Vincent.

The sorceress glares at him with fire flickering in her eyes. “You son of a #####” she says. “You just left me to that pack of demons. I’d be dead by now if it wasn’t for Ares”

“I was far too busy to waste time helping you”

The sorceress’s face contorts in anger. “All it would have taken you is a few minutes of your time”

“First you leave me for dead” says Ares. “Then you leave Elina for dead. And now you sick bastard you’re raising people killed by demons for your own perverted desires”

Vincent gives them a smug smirk at his words. “All necromancers do that you know” he says.

The woman glares at him angrily. “Most of them don’t do it so they can #### them” she says.

Vincent raises an eyebrow. “Oh really? And you would know would you?”

She grits her teeth at his words. “Maybe not but what you’ve done is despicable. You’re less of a human than most of the demons in the land”

“You’re a sadistic asshole” says Elina. “Calling you human just tarnishes the name”

Vincent smiles warmly at her. “Why thank you” he says. “I suppose you’re going to try killing me now?”

“A bastard like you doesn’t deserve to live” says Ares. “I’m sure you’ll fit in fine in hell”

Vincent sighs heavily. “Fine, Kalista kill them”

Kalista quickly draws her katars and takes a few steps toward them. “Yes master” she says.

“Are you so much of a coward you can’t even fight your own battles?” asks Ares.

Vincent looks at him seeming surprised. “Coward?” he says. “No, I’m just a very very lazy man who considers the very act of fighting a bother. No necromancer would subject themselves to combat when they have minions to do it for them”. He turns to Kalista. “I think you better take this fight seriously”

“Yes master” says Kalista.

Everyone stares at Kalista’s shadow in silence as it slowly recedes into her body. When it disappears entirely a copy of her pulls itself out of her body and stands beside her ready to fight.

The woman’s eyes widen in surprise as she recognizes the spell. “S-shadow master?” she stutters. “But, but how?”

Vincent smirks. “I raised her with all the abilities of her former self” he says.

She grits her teeth and clenches her fist in anger. “You bastard”

Suddenly both Kalista and her shadow take a slight crouching stance before gesturing their hands. Circles of air quickly begin rippling toward their feet and a moment later the two of them take off running. They both move so fast that their bodies leave a trail of motion behind. Kalista speeds off toward Ares while her shadow heads for the woman.

Vincent stands idly by watching silently as Kalista attacks Ares striking with such speed that he can barely manage to block her blows with his sword and shield. At some point during it a thin orange mist spreads across the ground a short distance from Ares’s feet. The orange mist doesn’t advance any further but remains where it is twisting and changing like waves crashing against the shore.

Ares’s sword hand begins moving as fast as Kalista’s blocking each one of her attacks as it comes. Before she can attempt to strike him again his shield begins to glow with white energy and in one powerful motion he throws his arm outward smashing her in the face with his shield. The blow is so powerful that it causes her to stumble backward several feet with a large trickle of blood running down from her nose.

Acting quick to catch him off guard Kalista thrusts her leg out kicking him in the side of the face. Before he can guard himself again she follows up with a quick thrust of her katar sinking it right through the armor on his stomach like a hot knife through butter. Immediately a small orb of white energy flickers to life from around her glove and begins spinning rapidly around her fist.

He swipes his sword at her but she easily avoids it and takes advantage of the opening. She thrusts her katar at his stomach again striking at the first wound to make an X and it make it all the more difficult to heal. As her katar slips away from his body a second white orb quickly takes form spinning rapidly around her fist like the first.

With his movements slowed significantly from the wounds she quickly kicks him across the face. The orbs around her fist shatter and a burst of white energy flows across her body to her boot. Pure electricity flows out from the soul of her shoe shocking its way through every fiber of his body before rippling out as a brilliant white nova across the sand. Smoke pours off his body and he crashes to his knees before collapsing to the ground dead.

Meanwhile the woman teleports randomly across the sand as she desperately tries to avoid the immense speed of Kalista’s shadow. Her body crackles with small white streams of energy which turn into a flash of light causing her to vanish and reappear in another place. As the shadow charges her once more she gestures her hands in the air. In almost an instant dark clouds appear several stories overhead. They immediately start raining down large jagged shards of ice which leave brilliant glittering trails of snow behind them like small comets. The ice shards hit the ground all around her and any that would have been the death of her pass through her body as if their nothing more than an illusion.

With a flash of light the shadow disappears reappearing behind the woman. She thrusts her leg outward smashing the woman in the side of the head and sending her flying with blood streaming down the side of her face. Before the shadow can make another move she teleports disappearing in mid air only to reappear a distance away.

Just as her body takes form in its new location the shadow disappears in a flash of light appearing behind her. She thrusts her katar outward and the razor sharp metal cleaves right through the woman’s spine with its blade coming to rest sticking out of her stomach. The shadow twists her katar snapping the woman’s spine in half and tearing up her insides. As the shadow withdraws her katar the woman sinks to the ground with a dead vacant stare in her eyes.

Meanwhile while the others are fighting Elina glares at Vincent angrily. “Aren’t you forgetting someone?” she asks.

“You’ll have to wait your turn” says Vincent.

Elina gestures her hands causing a massive blazing ball of flame to erupt from her fingertips and fly toward him. Vincent casually steps to the side avoiding it then holds out his right hand as he concentrates for a moment before making a hand gesture.

A mass of flames erupts from the ground quickly taking the form of a beautiful woman made entirely out of flame. In other words a golem which is an entity created from, composed of and heavily resistant to an element. Although usually sluggish and dimwitted with Vincent’s skill far surpassing the average necromancer he is able to summon an entity with human intelligence with a simple hand gesture. Despite the golems intelligence she remains completely faithful to her master carrying out every order without question.

“Incendia kill her” says Vincent.

The fiery golem Incendia bows her head. “Yes master” she says.

“You coward can’t you even fight for yourself?” asks Elina.

Vincent smiles at her. “Now what would be the point of having minions if I had to fight you myself?” he asks.

Incendia gestures her hands in the air then lets them fall to her sides leaving her standing silently as she waits. Elina stares at her momentarily wondering what’s going on until a large shadow suddenly envelopes her. She quickly turns her gaze upward just in time to see a massive fiery meteor hurling through the air toward her. With a crackle of light she teleports reappearing far away from the target of the meteor.

As soon as her body takes form a massive blazing ball of flame hits her in the chest. The impact sends her body flying while the flames as hot as they are quickly spread across her burning her to a crisp within moments. By the time she crashes to the ground she’s nothing but a charred flaming corpse. Vincent stares at her remains seeming almost disappointed at her quick defeat.

“Well that was rather quick” he says.

Incendia turns to him. “Will that be all master?” she asks.

He nods at her words. “Yes, you can go”

Incendia bows her head and with that she explodes in burst of flames leaving a large pile of ash where she once stood. With the battle now over Kalista’s shadow collapses into a black mist which disappears into the ground at Kalista’s feet as her shadow once again takes form attached to her body.

Vincent turns to Kalista with a smile. “Well done” he says.

Before they carry on Vincent takes a few moments to check the bodies of the fallen hero’s taking any money, potions or provisions he can carry before they set off into the desert. After almost an hour of walking they suddenly come to a stop as they see something in the distance.

Stretched out on a rock sunning herself is a Sabre Cat, a type of humanoid creature that resembles a cat. Their bodies are coated in a thick covering of silky brown fur with various variations of color and pattern with a long slender tail protruding from their backside. Unlike most would expect their appearance is quite beautiful and their faces contain more human features than cat except for their eyes and their long slender ears.

This particular sabre cat is clothed in nothing but a skimpy brown skirt that barely covers her thighs with a loose bra like top covering her ample C cup sized breasts. As they slowly approach her they find her eyes are closed tightly and she’s half asleep purring lightly in happiness. As they stand over her she slowly opens her eyes and they widen in shock.

“Oh ####” she says.

She leaps off the rock to escape but Kalista quickly grabs her arms and holds her tightly in place.

“Now now I’m not going to hurt you I just want to ask you a few questions” says Vincent. Not believing his words she struggles to get free while glaring at him with daggers in her eyes. “Kalista let her go”

Her eyes widen in surprise as Kalista lets her go. She glances between them before settling her eyes on Vincent with a curious yet fearful stare. “You’re not going to kill me?” she asks.

“I have no interest in killing you” he says. “Now tell me do you know of any tombs that have any old scrolls or tomes on necromancy?”

A sly smile forms across the sabre cat’s face. “Maybe” she says. She moves closer to him and puts a hand down to his crotch to rub him through his pants. “Perhaps you could make it worth my while?”

Kalista grabs her angrily from behind and puts a katar to her throat. “Or I could just slice your throat open” she says.

The sabre cat glances back at Kalista’s killer eyes with somewhat of smug smile. “Somehow I don’t think that would work very well” she says.

“I’m sure after you lose a couple fingers you’ll be more willing to talk”

“Now now there’s no need to be so violent” says Vincent. “Put that way”

Although reluctantly Kalista obediently pulls her katar away and sheaths it. “Yes master” she says.

The sabre cat springs toward Vincent again putting her hands on his chest while looking up into his face with mischievous eyes. “I haven’t had a guy for such a long time” she says. “I’ll be more than happy to tell you afterward”

“Alright but you better have something useful” he says. “If you don’t”

The sabre cat glances back at Kalista who glares at her and gestures a throat slitting with her thumb. “Fair enough” she says. “How about we go somewhere more private? Away from your pet”. She puts heavy enthuses on the word pet causing Kalista to get even more annoyed.

“That won’t be necessary”

“Alright and by the way you can call me Meracle”

“I’m Vincent and the woman who’s staring at you with murderous intent is Kalista” he says.

Sometime later Meracle stretches herself as if she’d just woken from a delightful nap. “That was lovely” she says. “It’s been such a long time since a human’s done me willingly. Usually I have to tie them down”

“Now why don’t you tell me about the tombs?” he says.

“Alright there’s quite a lot of them spread across the desert. You got a map by any chance?”. He quickly pulls out a map and Meracle cuddles up next to him as she starts pointing at places. “And the last one I know of is right here. You know if you’d like you could come with me and ask my friends. They might know of some other locations you can check”

Vincent gives a faint smile. “Alright lead the way”

They follow Meracle through the desert for about an hour until they come to a lush green oasis. In the center is a large pool of crystal clear water with lush green grass growing about the area. Large palm trees stand overhead with small bushes growing around them. They come to a stop a short distance from the water and stare at the scene ahead of them.

A dozen naked female sabre cats are gathered tightly together. In the midst of them all is a large bald man standing at nearly 7ft feet tall who’s body is literally bulging with muscles. The man is a barbarian who comes from a tribe of fighters who hone their bodies strength, endurance and toughness to the peak of perfection through constant brutal bloody conflict.

Such a strong and honorable warrior yet he was brought down by a pack of sex starved vixens. The man is held in place on the ground by heavy steel chains encompassing each of his limbs and neck which are secured in place by large stakes that have been driven deep into the ground.

Hearing them approach one of the sabre cats turns from the group to look at Meracle. “Who’s he?” she asks. Half a dozen more of the sabre cats quickly turn their heads to see what’s going on.

Meracle smiles happily. “A necromancer interested in digging up some old tomes and scrolls on necromancy” she says. “He was kind enough to give me a little reward for some information. I told him you guys might know of some other locations he can check”

The barbarian strains his head to catch a glimpse of Vincent between the mob of horny sabre cats. “Please, help me” he says. “Get these demons off of me”

Vincent puts on almost a smug look. “Now why would I do that?” he asks. “I wouldn’t want to deprive these poor ladies of their pleasure”

One of the sabre cats by the barbarian’s head grins widely at him. “You’re not going anywhere until you give me a little kitten to look after” she says.

“And not just her but me as well” says another sabre cat on his other side.

“Please, just release me” says the barbarian.

“All in due time” says another one of the sabre cats.

Vincent turns his gaze to the sabre cat that first spotted him ignoring the barbarian entirely. “Back to the matter at hand” he says.

She smiles back at him. “Well, have you tried the claw vipers?” she asks.

“Claw vipers?”

She nods her head. “They’re a bunch of serpents. They tend to keep to themselves. As it just so happens they have a temple far to the east from what I hear it has a lot of old tomes and scrolls. Some are bound to be on necromancy”

“Anything else?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “That’s about it in this area besides the dozens of tombs spread across the desert that Meracle probably already told you about”

“Well thank you ladies for your help”

Vincent is about to turn away when she speaks up. “Hold on, what about my reward?” she asks.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to pay you back another time” he says. “Besides I wouldn’t want you to lose your place in line”

“You sure you don’t want to stay and have some fun with us?” asks one of the sabre cats.

“Perhaps some other time. Right now I have things to attend to.

“If you change your mind you can find us around here”

With that the two of them start walking off into the distance ignoring the loud cries from the barbarian as the pack of horny sabre cat’s ravage his body.

“Where are we heading master?” asks Kalista.

“To the west one of the tombs is close by” says Vincent.

After a half hour of tireless walking they find a worn down stone entrance covered in sand peeking out from amongst the dunes. They peer inside seeing a long cracked stone staircase descending deep into the darkness. Together they silently descend the stairs until they come to a stop at the bottom with nothing visible but a small ray of light shining downward from the entrance.

Around them in the midst of the darkness the sounds of groaning and feet shuffling about echo throughout the tomb. Vincent grabs an old unlit torch hanging on the side of the wall and holds out his hand quickly forming a small orb of fire. After lighting the torch the orb of fire collapses into ashes which he quickly wipes off onto his pants.

He steps forward shining the torch around the area briefly. Inside the tomb the walls are made of old worn down stones that are covered in cracks from having to bear the weight of the sandy desert above. The floors look just as aged, covered in sand that has blown in from outside as well as ancient bones and smashed pots. Large pillars hold up the ceiling but with age they’ve weakened considerably looking like that might collapse if they were given a firm shove. He walks ahead with Kalista following closely by his side. After a short distance they come to a stop at an intersection.

“This way” he says.

He walks down the hall leading to the right. As they continue they begin hearing the sound of moaning growing ever louder with every step they take. Kalista draws her katars in preparation preparing to strike at whatever lies ahead. Suddenly an old moldy rotting corpse wrapped in filthy ancient bandages comes shuffling toward them.

She steps forward and with a quick swipe of her katars she cleaves through the rotting corpses neck severing its head as well as cutting through its stomach slicing its body in half. As it collapses to the ground becoming motionless, a rancid green cloud of gas seeps out of its body. Vincent quickly brings his sleeve to cover his mouth and nose protecting himself until the gas dissipates a moment later. They continue on until they come to a large stone slab blocking their way which is quite obviously a door.

“There should be a lever or stone to push in to open it” he says.

Kalista starts feeling along the wall next to the door when suddenly the large stone slab slides to the side. She jumps backward a few feet in response and quickly draws her katars. They stand silently watching the dark doorway for something to come through but it all seems quiet and clear. Just as they’re about to walk through a skeleton wielding an old chipped sword rushes through the doorway toward them. The skeleton is completely devoid of the slightest piece of flesh and its bones are so aged that they’ve turned a strange yellow color.

Kalista quickly gives the skeleton a swift kick knocking it against the wall and shattering it to pieces. More skeletons start rushing through the doorway and she uses her katars to slash them apart cutting through their aged bones like twigs. When the last one falls she walks ahead crushing a skull under her boot as she passes through the door. She glances around the room quickly for danger before walking ahead with Vincent following close behind.

She stops at an open doorway ahead where several dozen skeletons are standing about. Without a moment’s pause she rushes into the group and lunges her katar cleaving a skeletons skull in half. Immediately a small orb of white energy flickers to life from around her glove and begins spinning rapidly around her fist.

She draws back her katar and thrusts her foot outward smashing the skeletons ribs under the heavy blow. The orb around her fist shatters and a burst of white energy flows across her body to her boot. A massive burst of flames coupled with a heavy shockwave ripples outward shattering all the nearby skeletons in an instant. She moves ahead tearing through the mass of skeletons using the same move repeatedly.

As another mass of shattered skeleton bones collapses to the ground she comes to a stop. Suddenly a yellow hue of light spreads across the ground and the formerly shattered skeletons are pulled back together until they are once again standing unharmed. Kalista’s eyes quickly scan the darkness ahead of her where she catches a mere glimpse of the culprit responsible for resurrecting the destroyed skeletons.

Hidden amidst the shadows is an Unraveler, an undead mummy of sorts with worn down brown leathery skin. Its head is nothing more than an aged demonic animal skull with a long canine like jaw filled with razor sharp teeth. Behind its head it has a piece of old gold and blue colored cloth that sits affront a large set of raven black hair that stretches down past the creatures shoulders. Wrapped around its waist and legs are bandages that have become tattered and worn with age.

With a flash of light Kalista disappears reappearing in the dark corner in front of the Unraveler. With a set of quick successive strikes upon its chest she builds up three white orbs of energy around her glove. As the Unraveler sinks to its knees crashing to the ground as it dies she spins around kicking one of the skeletons in the face. The orbs shatter and a massive burst of flames coupled with a heavy shockwave ripples outward from her foot shattering all the nearby skeletons in an instant.

Without a moment’s pause she quickly dispatches the remaining skeletons in the same fashion. As she finishes Vincent walks over to her and looks over the shattered remains.

“Well done” he says.

“Thank you master” she says.

They continue ahead through an open doorway and enter a large room. Inside it’s filled with old shelves around its walls with vases, pots, scrolls and tomes strewn about the place. Vincent walks over to one of the shelves and sets his torch down before grabbing a tome and opening it up. He flips through the pages finding that the majority of them are so faded and worn that the text is barely legible making reading it completely impossible.

He tosses the useless tome aside and grabs a scroll. As he unravels it the paper tears apart as it gives way from its age. With his frustration building he angrily tosses it aside before continuing to search through the rest of the texts.

“All of it worthless” he mutters. “Come on let’s go look through the rest of the tomb”

Several days later the two of them are sitting atop a rock outside the entrance to an old tomb.

“All those tombs and nothing” says Vincent. “Anything of value has long since turned to dust”

“So master where are we off to now?” asks Kalista.

Vincent sighs heavily. “I suppose we’ll check out the claw vipers temple it shouldn’t be far from here”

As they get up and slowly begin walking Kalista starts to speak. “You realize there’ll be a lot of them. We can’t simply just walk in”

“From what I know of the claw vipers they’re a bit more than just mindless beasts. We may be able to reason with them”

“And how do you propose we do that?”

Vincent suddenly notices two sabre cats in the distance sitting on a rock. “I think I have an idea”. As he walks toward them he calls out to them. “Ladies”

The sabre cats quickly turn to face them and stand up.

“A human?” says one of the sabre cats. “And it doesn’t look like he intends to kill us”

The other sabre cat smiles slyly. “Maybe he’s looking for a good time”

As they come face to face the sabre cats stare at Vincent and Kalista intently. “So what do you want human?”

“Looking for a little action?” says the other sabre cat”

Vincent smiles broadly. “No but I have some friends that would love to meet you”

Kalista disappears with a flash appearing behind them. She cracks each of them across the back of the head with the handle of katar knocking them unconscious.

“Good job” says Vincent. “Tie them up”

“Yes master” says Kalista.

Kalista kneels down and deftly removes the sabre cats weapons as well as what little clothing they have on. She quickly gags and restrains the pair using their clothes and an old whip one of them was carrying. Meanwhile Vincent concentrates for a moment before making a gesture with his hand. A mass of flames erupts from the ground quickly taking the form of his fire golem Incendia. Once Kalista is finished securing the sabre cats she stands up and stares at Vincent silently awaiting further instructions.

“You called for me master?” asks Incendia.

“Yes, Incendia I need your help with a little lifting” says Vincent. “We have a ways to go”

“Of course”

Vincent grabs a dagger from the sabre cats that’s lying in the dirt and quickly puts it on his belt.

“Incendia would you pick those two up and follow me” he says.

“Yes master” says Incendia.

She walks over to the sabre cats and with little effort she picks up one under each arm. All set the three of them head off into the distance. After about an hour the sabre cats slowly rouse from their slumber. As their eyes open and they realize their situation they start struggling and moaning through their gags.

Vincent glances back at the sabre cats. “Oh you’re already awake?” he says. “That was rather fast”

“Master are you really going to try trading them to the claw vipers?” asks Kalista.

Vincent smirks at her. “Of course. Hopefully they’ll accept it’d be a lot of bother to have to kill all of them”

Hearing their plans the sabre cats moan loudly through their gags trying to get their attention. Vincent grabs the cloth gag tied around the mouth of one of them and pulls it off letting her speak.

“You bastard” she growls. “If we get out of this we’re going to kill you”

“Oh hush” says Vincent.

He quickly puts her gag back in place to silence her again. He takes the dagger he picked up earlier from his belt and hides it beneath one of her restraints.

“There you go” says Vincent. “I thought you might have some complaints against it so I brought it along. That dagger should be enough to help you escape. Do wait though until I’ve had some time to look through their library”

Despite his seemingly kind gesture the sabre cat growls angrily and struggles more furiously trying to escape. After another half hour of walking the three of them finally come to the entrance to the claw viper temple.

The outside of the temple is mostly eroded with age or hidden deep within the sand. On the ground a worn stone pathway is barely visible with a few large stone pillars still standing. The entrance however is clearly visible with large sculptures of the claw vipers themselves on either side of the entrance. The claw vipers are essentially snakes the size of a human with large broad chests and muscle bound arms on their sides.

As the three of them descend down the stairway they come to a large open hallway dimly lit by torches. A group of dark blue skinned claw vipers quickly emerge from the shadows ready to attack.

Vincent raises his hand up to them signaling them to stop. “Hold on I’m not here to fight” he says.

“Why are you here human?” asks one of the claw vipers.

Vincent smirks. “So you can talk. I heard you vipers have a lot of old tomes lying about. I’d like to look through them”

“What makes you think we’d allow that?”

Vincent gestures his hand at Incendia. “Because I came bearing gifts” he says. “Look either you can allow me to look through the tomes and get these two as a gift or I’ll have to go through the trouble of killing all of you so I can do it in the end anyway”

The claw viper looks over the sabre cats momentarily before gazing carefully at Kalista and Vincent sizing them up and judging their combat abilities. When he’s done he turns to one of the other claw vipers.

“Watch the humans while I speak with Varrach” he says.

The claw viper quickly slithers off only to return several minutes later with others by his side. A claw viper adorned with gold jewels and bracelets approaches them.

“I am Varrach” he says. “I’m told you’d like to look through some tomes human”

“That’s right” says Vincent.

“Take the sabre cats to my chambers”. The sabre cats moan through their gags and squirm helplessly to escape as a pair of claw vipers snatch them from Incendia before slithering off. “Come human I’ll show you the library”

“Thank you. Incendia you can go”

“Yes master” says Incendia.

Incendia bows her head and with that she explodes in burst of flames leaving a large pile of ash where she once stood. Vincent and Kalista silently follow Varrach through the old tomb until they come to a stop at a room. Inside the walls are lined with bookshelves packed with hundreds of tomes and scrolls. All of them are in relatively good condition clearly the claw vipers have been quite active in seeking out the old literature and only keeping those that are actually legible.

“This is the library” says Varrach. “It houses all the tomes and scrolls we’ve come across”

“Rather impressive” says Vincent. “With any luck it’ll have what I’m looking for”

“The guards will escort you out when you’re finished”

“Thank you”

With that Varrach slithers off leaving a set of guards standing at the doorway to the room to keep watch over them.

“That went surprisingly well” says Kalista.

“Never underestimate the power of negotiation” says Vincent. “Almost every demon can be reasoned with. Now why don’t you take a seat and relax clearly this is going to take me a while”

Kalista sits down on the floor against one of the book shelves and silently watches Vincent as he begins reading through the volumes of literature the bookshelves have to offer. Many hours later he breathes out a heavy sigh as he puts the final tome back into place on its shelf.

“Kalista we’re leaving” says Vincent.

As they step outside the room the guards quickly perk up. “Did you find what you wanted human?” asks one of the guards.

“Unfortunately no however I did find a few interesting pieces. Do thank your leader again for allowing me the opportunity to look through your library”

A grin forms across the claw viper’s face. “Of course. You’re a curious one human. I’m sure you’ll be welcome again should you need if you come bearing more gifts”

Vincent smirks. “Well that’s nice to know”

“Come I’ll show you out”

A few days later Vincent and Kalista finally make it back to Lut Gholein. The two of them are lying in bed naked with Vincent holding Kalista tightly in his arms.

“Master?” asks Kalista.

“What is it?” asks Vincent.

“You’ve never acted like this to your other minions have you?”

“I’ve had relations with my minions plenty of times before”

“That’s not what I mean” she says.

“I know” he says. “The answers no”

She turns to him. “Then why?”

A smile creeps across his face as he stares at her. “Because you’re so beautiful, so soft”. He presses his face against her and inhales the sweet scent of her hair. “And you smell so good”

“You like me because I remind you of your wife don’t you?” she asks.

“Maybe at first” he says. Her eyes widen in surprise at his response. “Call me Vincent”

A smile creeps across her face. “Okay Vince, world’s greatest necromancer”

“You don’t have to humor me”

“I’m not, I doubt few others could have raised me as you did” she says.

“I doubt few others would have tried” he says. “Get some sleep we’ll see in the morning about getting a ship to take us to Kurast”

In the morning after eating a filling breakfast the two of them head over to the docks where several sailors are busy carrying crates onto a ship. The ship itself is a reasonable size built to hold at least fifty or more people on a long voyage. By the looks of it it’s seen many voyages and its foundation has worn with age but it looks more than sea worthy. They head over to a scruffy looking sailor with raggy clothes who’s standing about keeping watch while the others work.

“We’d like passage to Kurast” says Vincent.

“Yeah you and everyone else” says the sailor. “It’s 5,000 gold per person if you wanta get on board”

Vincent takes a bag off his waist and hands it to the sailor. “Here, keep the change”

A grin forms across his face as he takes the bag and opens it to inspect it. Satisfied he holds out his hand gesturing them on board.

“Well get aboard the ships about to set sail” says the sailor. “Your rooms are below deck, end of the hall on the right”

“Thank you” says Vincent.

As they walk off the sailor quickly secures the bag to his belt. Vincent holds a hand behind his back and a small ball of flame forms. The fire quickly takes the shape of a five inch tall pixie complete with a set of wings.

The tiny little flame golem leaps off his hand and flies through the air over to the sailor. She gently unties the bag from his waist letting it fall into her tiny hands. With the bag in hand she flies back over to Vincent and hovers in the air holding the bag out with a mischievous smile across her face. He plucks the bag from her tiny hands and as he secures it back on his belt she disappears in a small burst of flames leaving a small rain of ashes.

“You never were a very honest person” says a female voice.

He turns to the side to see Selena in her wolf form relaxing on a nearby crate.

“Selena?” says Vincent. “What are you doing here?”

A grin spreads across her muzzle. “Same as you I imagine” she says. “Heading to Kurast”

“What for?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know? By the way if you need some company my rooms at the end of the hall on the left. Although I doubt you’ll need MY company”

Vincent smiles warmly at her. “Mines across from yours” he says.

“I guess we’ll see a lot of each other then” she says.

Later that night Vincent and Kalista are sitting down in the dining room of the ship having their evening meal. Selena who’s in her wolf form slips into the room and heads toward the table.

“What’s that mutt doing here?” asks one of the men.

Selena leaps into a seat as she does her body turns into a white mist which quickly reforms as her body sitting up in place. She turns to the man with an accusing glare.

“Who are you calling a mutt?” she asks.

The man stares at her with his mouth gaping open in surprise. “S-sorry” he mumbles.

Sitting in the corner of the room amidst the shadows is a female assassin with a heavy black cloak draped around her body. Underneath her clothes and armor are nearly identical to Kalista’s in every way. The woman herself even has a striking resemblance in face and body. Her black hair is cut in a very short boyish style and her piercing blue eyes stay firmly fixed to Vincent and Kalista watching every movement they make.

Moments after the pair retire to their room and close the door it’s forced open as the female assassin kicks it open. A copy of herself, her shadow dashes into the room quickly grabbing Kalista and holding her in place with her katars pressed firmly around Kalista’s neck in an X. The female assassin calmly walks forward and stares at Kalista’s face closely inspecting her.

“I knew it” she says. “You were my sister, but not anymore”. She turns to Vincent and gives him an icy glare. “What the hell did you do to her?”

Vincent bows slightly. “My apologizes” he says. “I try to never meet the relatives of my minions”

She walks over to him and punches him across the face hard enough to cause a trickle of blood to flow out from his mouth.

“Answer me” she growls.

Vincent spits out a mouthful of blood then turns to her with an annoyed glare. “She was dying when I found her” he says. “She said I could use her body as long as she keeps killing demons”

“Bull####, my sister would never allow that”

While they argue Kalista’s shadow quickly recedes into her body then suddenly a copy of herself pulls itself out. Rather than freeing Kalista the shadow quickly grabs the female assassin taking an identical stance to the shadow holding Kalista in place.

Kalista’s shadow grins evilly. “Gotcha” she says.

The female assassin looks down at the katars around her neck with a look of shock across her face. “What the hell?” she says. “Why can an undead use an ability like this?”

Vincent smiles to himself letting out a small chuckle. “When I raise my minions I take the skills of the person and imprint them in their memory” he says. “She has all your sister’s abilities”

The female assassin’s eyes flare with anger. “You son of a #####” she growls. “Have her let me go or I’ll have my shadow behead your little pet”

Vincent merely smirks at her. “Go ahead a loose head is child’s play to fix”. The female assassin grits her teeth in anger at his statement. “Kalista let her go”

“If you say so” says Kalista’s shadow.

She quickly pulls away from the female assassin and stands by Vincent’s side preparing to defend him.

The female assassin stares at him trying to figure out his actions. “Why did you have her let me go?” she asks.

“I’m not interested in killing you” says Vincent. “The fact is your sister was dying. While it’s true she had objections I saw a use for her body. She does what your sister used to do. Kill demons is that really so bad?”

Her eyes glance at Kalista momentarily. “I know you necromancers” says the female assassin. “Your ####ing her aren’t you? Why else would you raise someone like my sister and keep her in such mint condition”

Vincent cracks a smile. “Well she is very beautiful”

The female assassin grits her teeth and lunges at him with her katars in anger. Before she can get close enough to strike him Kalista’s shadow appears in front of her and stabs her right through the chest. Her katar cleaves through the female assassins cuirass effortlessly and continues shredding her insides like butter. The blades continue through the female assassin’s body until they rip through the metal on the other side and come to a stop with the bloody blades protruding from her back. The female assassin gasps out in pain and her shadow distorts for a moment before collapsing into a black mist as she’s unable to be maintained any longer.

Vincent sighs heavily. “Such a shame and here I intended to let you leave” says Vincent.

Kalista’s shadow tears out her bloody katar and takes her place behind the woman putting her katars around her neck once more.

“And now?” asks the female assassin.

“Now you’re dying” says Vincent. “Still why let your body go to waste?”

She grits her teeth in anger. “Never, I will NEVER let you raise me as a pet”

She somehow slips away from Kalista’s shadow and lunges at Vincent again. Before she gets within striking distance he gestures his hand. A long shard of white and blue energy flies outward leaving ripples in the air as it travels. The shard of energy flies right through her chest tearing a small hole through her body before traveling on and disappearing just before it hits the wall. The female assassin is sent flying to the ground from the sheer force of the blow and she spits up a large mouthful of blood.

“Oh there’s something else I should probably apologize for” says Vincent. “Truthfully I did find your sister when she was dying but, it was my creatures that put her in that condition to begin with”

The female assassin stares up at him as the life begins to fade from her eyes. “What?” she asks. “Why?”

“I needed someone strong like your sister to fight for me”

“So you killed her?”

“Well I figured if I waited for Andariel to kill her I might not get the chance to raise her” he says.

“Bastard” growls the female assassin.

She’s about to get up to attack him again when Kalista’s shadow stomps down on her chest over the wound holding her in place. Kalista quickly joins her shadow putting another foot on her to hold her in place.

“Finish her off” says Vincent.

Without a word Kalista and her shadow both grip a katar in their hands and thrust it downward into the female assassin’s body. Their blades tear through her armor and pierce her heart quickly putting an end to her life once and for all. The female assassin lets out one final gasp before collapsing back to the ground lifeless. With the threat dealt with Kalista’s shadow collapses into a black mist and disappears into the ground where she once again becomes a shadow attached to Kalista’s body.

“Are you really going to raise her Vince?” asks Kalista.

“I might as well” says Vincent. “Things could get a little dangerous and despite your excellent skills it might pose some problems. Besides she can be your sister”

Kalista’s eyes widen in surprise. “Sister?”

Vincent smiles. “Yes, now get her undressed and clean off the blood”

“Alright I’ll go get some water” she says.

Kalista quickly leaves and returns several minutes later with a bucket full of water in her hand and a large cloth. She sets them down and goes to work undressing the female assassin until she’s completely naked. Afterward she dunks the cloth in the bucket and begins the tiring job of cleaning up the blood all over the floor and the woman’s body. Vincent watches silently until she finishes then grabs an empty food bowl sitting on the bedside table.

He kneels down on the ground and takes out a dagger then quickly slits his wrist with it. He holds out his hand letting his blood drain into the bowl until he’s gathered a small pool. Satisfied he takes out a bandage and quickly puts it over the wound tying it off tightly. He dips his index finger in the bowl of blood and deftly begins drawing a series of complex glyphs across the female assassin’s body.

Kalista watches in fascination as he continues for almost half an hour covering her body from head to toe with glyphs. When he finally finishes he quickly cleans his hands then places each of them upon her chest and takes a deep breath. Suddenly a blast of blue energy floods out around his hands creating a small shockwave powerful enough to rock the dead woman’s body.

He lets out a heavy sigh from exhaustion and wipes his forehead of sweat before grabbing the damp cloth and cleaning off his hands. After several moments the woman’s eyes flutter open and she sits up. Unlike when Kalista was first resurrected her eyes aren’t cold and emotionless like those of a puppet instead they have a slight warmth to them hinting at something more. She looks around the room curiously for a while before her gaze settles on Vincent.

“How are you feeling?” asks Vincent.

“Just fine master” she replies.

“Stand up and make sure everything works fine”

She quickly stands up and looks over her body flexing her muscles and moving her fingers. “Everything seems fine master”

“Do you remember how you fight?” he asks.

“Yes master” she replies.

“Do you remember who you were or what happened?”

“No master, should I?”

“No” he says. “I think I’ll call you Crystal. Does that sound fine?”

A small smile forms across her lips. “Yes master Crystal is fine”

Vincent takes out a pair of vials filled with red liquid a type of healing potion that allows rapid regenerate. He tosses one to her and she catches it then stares at the vial carefully.

“Clean yourself up then apply that to your wounds and drink the rest” he says.

“Yes master” says Crystal.

Crystal grabs the nearby wash cloth and begins cleaning the bloody glyphs from her body. Meanwhile Vincent removes the cloth from his hand and looks over the large bloody knife mark.

“Are you okay?” asks Kalista.

“I’m fine” he says.

He rips the cork from the vial with his teeth then grits them as he begins pouring the healing potion directly over the wound. Intense fiery pain floods throughout his arm as the healing potion soaks into the wound and begins to stimulate the flesh to regenerate. He quickly downs the reminder of the vial. Kalista gently reapplies the bandage to his arm and ties it off tightly.

“Why don’t you give your sister a hand and introduce yourself” says Vincent.

A smile forms across Kalista’s lips. “Alright” says Kalista. She walks over to Crystal and looks into her eyes with a spark of happiness. “I’m Kalista, your sister”

Crystal looks up from what she’s doing and stares back at Kalista. A smile forms across her lips and the same spark of happiness appears in her eyes. “Pleased to meet you”

Vincent sits silently watching the two girls. With Kalista’s help Crystal cleans herself off and applies the healing potion to her wounds before bandaging them up. When they finish they wash the blood from her clothes and hang them up to dry.

Vincent disrobes himself and climbs into bed to go to sleep. Kalista quickly joins him and cuddles up against his side. Crystal merely stares at the pair not really sure what to do until Kalista smiles and gestures her hand for her to join. With a smile Crystal quickly joins them in the bed cuddling up to her sister. In the morning Vincent awakens to the sound of yelling and shouting coming from down the hallway.

“What the hell is going on this early in the morning?” asks Vincent.

He throws the covers off himself and quickly dresses. The girls quickly do the same and follow him silently out of the room to see what’s going on. Vincent heads down the hallway until he comes to the kitchen where at least half the people on the ship are gathered around arguing loudly.

“What the hell is going on here?” asks Vincent.

A man next to him turns to him. “A demon snuck on board” says the man.

“Demon?”. Vincent quickly pushes himself through the crowd until he finds Meracle backed into the corner with a short sword in her hand ready to defend herself. “You call HER a demon? She’s nothing but a horny vixen. A five year old is more dangerous than her”

Hearing his words everyone slowly lowers their weapons. A smile spreads across Meracle’s face as she sees Vincent standing in the crowd. “Vince”. She quickly rushes out from the corner and stands in front of him with a brilliant smile and a horny look in her eyes. “So nice to see you again”

“You know her?” asks Crystal.

“Let’s just say we’ve crossed paths” says Vincent.

Kalista glares at Meracle with daggers in her eyes. “Was that before or after you ####ed her?” she asks.

“What are you doing on this ship?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” asks Meracle. “I’m trying to get to Kurast. Everything was going fine…”. She pauses in her sentence to glare at the mob of people around her. “Until the angry mob trying to kill me”

“And what could you possibly want in Kurast?” asks Vincent.

“A change of scenery. Have you any idea how hot it gets in the desert with fur? Not to mention there’s far too much sand”

A man from the crowd steps forward and puts his sword to Meracle’s neck. “Give us one good reason why we shouldn’t kill you here and now demon” says the man.

Meracle gently grabs the blade and pushes it away from her. “So hostile” she says. She quickly slips behind Vincent and peers out from behind him. “If you want to get me you’ll have to go through him”

Kalista grabs Meracle from behind and puts a katar to her neck ready to slit her throat. “What makes you think your safe behind Vince?” asks Kalista.

Meracle smiles at Kalista. “Hello again, still angry at me I see. You’re a real jealous one you know that?”

Suddenly Selena pushes her way through the crowd. “Alright shows over folks move along” says Selena. “We’ll deal with this little stowaway and if you’re worried about getting killed by that horny nympho of a demon there’s really something wrong with you”

With Selena’s words people quickly start to disperse leaving the five of them alone.

“Kalista let her go” says Vincent.

Kalista reluctantly lets go of Meracle who promptly turns around and sticks her tongue out at her. Kalista glares back at her angry and gestures a throat slitting with her thumb.

“So from the sounds of things you know this little sabre cat pretty intimately” says Selena.

Meracle pops her head out from behind Vincent. “VERY intimately” says Meracle. “We met in the desert. I gave him a little information in exchange for, a little fun”

Selena nods her head at Meracle’s words. “Mm hmm. I’m surprised you helped her. Don’t tell me the ice around your heart is starting to melt”

“I’d hardly say I helped her” says Vincent. He grabs Meracle and pulls her in front of him. “Does THIS look like a dangerous demon to you?”

Meracle grins broadly making Selena shake her head. “No, definitely not. If anything I’d be more worried about getting raped by her rather then getting killed. Since she means something to you and since she’s harmless I’ll make sure she doesn’t get hurt”. Selena grabs Meracle’s hand and drags her off. “Come with me and I wouldn’t suggest you try crawling into anyone’s bed tonight”

“What?” asks Meracle. “Why not?”

Vincent can’t help but give a weak smile as he sees her disappear. “Come on let’s have some breakfast” says Vincent.

Later that day Vincent and the girls are standing up on the deck looking out into the distance and watching the sea. Selena suddenly comes out and walks over to him as she does he turns to glance up at her.

“Where’s Meracle?” asks Vincent.

Selena smiles at his question. “She’s safe” says Selena. “I saw her a few moments ago cuddling up to a man like a kitten. She certainly has a way with men”

Vincent gives a soft smile as she quickly comes to his mind. “That she does”

“You took a real liking to her didn’t you?”

“Not really she’s just amusing” says Vincent.

“Well anyway I see you gained another pet” says Selena. “I take it you two didn’t agree on something?”

“As it just so happens she’s Kalista’s sister”

“Well well isn’t that interesting. So now you got a nice pair?”. She leans close to his ear to whisper to him. “Don’t build a harem Vince or you’ll get more than you bargain for. Kalista will be very jealous”

“What makes you think I want to do that?” asks Vincent.

Selena smiles. “Just be careful they may be your pets but they’re also women” she says.

Weeks later the ship enters a thick layer of mist and slowly comes to a stop at the docks of Kurast. The city of Kurast is old and run down. The stones paving the streets are cracked and covered in a thin layer of dirt and moss. The houses of the townspeople if they can even be called that are made of old wooden beams and worn down boards. Only a handful of the houses are built on actual stone the rest are built over the dark murky swamp water held up by large wooden beams and connected by brittle rickety wooden bridges.

The townspeople all wear old grotty clothes most of which are fairly lose fitting to cope with the high humidity of the jungle atmosphere. The only fancy dressed people are those guarding various areas around the town. A band of Mercenaries who are well equipped with swords and shields dressed in dark red clothing with a mixture of plate and chainmail.

Slowly people begin to leave the ship tired from their long journey. Between them all Meracle hops off the ship in full view and proudly announces her arrival to everyone.

“Hello everybody” yells Meracle.

Immediately dozens of swords, spears and arrows from the surrounding guards are quickly pointed toward her.

“I get the feeling I’ll be getting this reaction a lot” says Meracle.

Selena quickly steps in front of Meracle to protect her. “Lower your weapons she’s harmless” says Selena. With Selena’s backing the guards quickly lower their weapons and slowly return to their posts where they keep a sharp eye on the curious Sabre Cat. With the guards gone Selena turns to Meracle with an angry glare. “What the hell were you thinking?”

“That it’s better if everyone knows I’m a demon”

Selena lets out a heavy sigh. “Well I suppose it’s for the best”

Vincent and his girls brush past the pair as they head off the boat and continue into town.

“Hey Vince where are you going?” asks Meracle.

“I have some things to attend to, I suggest you be careful” says Vincent.

Meracle pouts like a spoilt child at his words.

“So Vince where are we heading?” asks Crystal.

“Toward Kurast and probably Travincal” he says.

“Don’t you even want to stay in town for a while?” asks Kalista.

“No, I’ve been cooped up on that ship far too long. Kalista do you remember anything?”

“Just a bit. I think I’ll be able to get us there”

“Good” he says.

As they walk over a small stone bridge that works as the only entrance in and out of the village the guards standing watch turn to them in surprise.

“Hey stop do you have any idea what’s out there?” asks one of the guards.

“Demons, lots and lots of demons” says Vincent.

The other guard puts his hand on the shoulder of the first and shakes his head. “Forget it, they never listen” he says. “Let’s just hope their as skilled as they think they are”

Ahead of them lies the jungles and an area known as the spider forest. The kurast jungle is thick and moist with old worn down trees towering over the land which are covered in massive white cobwebs. The ground is covered in lush green grass and dirt that’s still moist from the recent rain. The murky water stretches through the jungle as small rivers with bubbles periodly making an appearance on the surface as strange creatures lurk within its depths.

The jungle area which should be filled with the sounds of birds or insects is all but quiet. The only sounds emanating from the area are bone chilling shrieks and odd chittering noises from the strange wildlife.

After several minutes of walking a large mosquito erupts from between the trees and flies toward them noisily. Unlike a regular mosquito the ones in the kurast jungle thrive in the humid and moist habitat allowing them to grow to enormous sizes with almost four foot wing spans. Although not terribly dangerous on their own these massive insects are quite capable of draining a person’s body almost entirely of blood. To make matters worse with feeding on the foul creatures inhabiting the jungles they’ve come to carry deadly diseases.

Without even a moment’s pause or a glance Kalista swipes her katar through the air deftly cleaving the mosquito in two. As they head deeper into the jungle the large cobwebs increase in size becoming larger than a person and more frequently until they start to spread across the main path. Kalista continues to lead the way slashing away the cobwebs with her katars to make a path for them to walk.

“You’re sure this is the way?” asks Vincent.

“I’m positive, the spiders are very quick to rebuild their webs” says Kalista.

After hacking through dozens of webs they come to a large open area with stone remnants of ruins. The surrounding area is drenched in cobwebs in almost every direction with a small cavern visible leading down into the earth.

“That cavern will lead us straight into the flayer jungle not far from Kurast” says Kalista.

Vincent grabs a branch from the ground and holds out his hand. A small orb of fire quickly forms in it which he uses to light the branch creating a torch. After the torch is lit the orb of fire quickly collapses into a pile of ashes. Vincent holds out the torch to Kalista with a smirk.

“After you” says Vincent.

Without a word Kalista takes the torch from his hand and steps ahead into the cavern. Crystal quickly follows after her with Vincent casually trailing behind. Inside the cavern is a large round tunnel dug into the earth stretching far into the darkness with large cobwebs lining its walls. After walking a distance Crystal suddenly jumps back in surprise as the wall comes alive.

Noticing her reaction Kalista and Vincent both turn their attention to the wall. Hidden amidst the pile of cobwebs a woman’s figure can be made out which is wriggling desperately trying to escape. Vincent takes one look at the wall before pushing past Crystal and continuing on. Kalista contemplates things momentarily before following after him. Crystal on the other hand stands in place staring at the woman desperately trying to escape.

“Crystal come along” says Vincent.

“No I’m not leaving her” says Crystal.

Vincent’s eyes widen in surprise and he turns around to face her. “Forget her and come along” says Vincent.

Crystal turns to him with a cold piercing glare. “I’m not leaving her to die” says Crystal.

He watches in stunned silence as she takes her katars out and quickly slashes the webs releasing the woman. A blond buxom woman with her hair tied up in a bun behind her head wearing tattered leather clothes and a quiver full of arrows attached to her back collapses into Crystal’s arms. Crystal gently lies her down and pulls out a small flask of water giving her something to drink. The blond greedily drinks down the water almost choking on it as it washes away several days of thirst.

“Do you think you can make it back to town on your own?” asks Crystal.

The blond nods weakly. “Yes, thank you” says the blond. “Thank you so much”

Vincent stares at Crystal seeming somewhat annoyed at her defiance but more importantly he looks at her with curiosity sparkling in his eyes. He watches as a smile forms across her lips as she speaks to the blond but the smile itself is filled with warmth and isn’t one of a puppet.

“What do you remember about her?” asks Vincent.

“You mean Crystal?” asks Kalista.


“I don’t really remember anything. However when I look at her I get the feeling that I know she’s kind and gentle”

“So very strange” says Vincent.

Crystal helps the blond to her feet and quickly makes a makeshift torch using one of her arrows and some minor magic. The blond takes hold of the torch and Crystal watches as she shakily walks toward the entrance to the cavern. Satisfied Crystal walks ahead passing Kalista and Vincent. As she does she shoots Vincent another icy cold glare.

The three of them continue on through the tunnel traveling through a winding twisting path that branches out much like a maze. Suddenly they come to a stop as they hear a loud bone chilling shriek of some enraged spiders that inhabit the tunnels. Kalista hands the torch off to Vincent and prepares her katars to fight. The loud tapping of insect feet echoes out from the darkness as the spiders speed toward them.

In the dim lighting from the torch they barely catch a glimpse of the spiders before Kalista puts them to rest with some quick slashes from her katars. Within moments the light is shining over half a dozen spiders lying shredded to pieces on the ground with dark green poison pooling out. The spider’s have long dainty legs with a large round leathery body that’s either a dark red or green that has several large eyes on the front.

Without a word Kalista takes the torch from Vincent and carefully steps over the dead spiders to avoid further dirtying her boots. The three of them continue on through the tunnels until they come to a large intersection with as many as a dozen tunnels stretching out in different directions. As Kalista looks around at the tunnels trying to figure out which direction to go a spider slowly descends toward them from above sneaking its way down behind Crystal.

Without a moment’s notice Crystal spins around slashing the spider’s body in half before returning to her position only a moment later. As the spider falls to the ground Kalista works out which direction to go and they follow her lead ahead. They continue through the winding tunnels for another hour dealing with spiders foolish enough to attack them before finally emerging from a small cavern opening into another large open area of jungle.

As they continue on the cobwebs quickly thin and become nonexistent. However the loud sound of drums and cackled yelling of something humanoid rings out throughout the jungle. As they draw closer to the sound suddenly it grows louder and triples in number as it comes rushing toward them.

“Sounds like something’s coming” says Kalista.

“Crystal why don’t you show us what you can do?” asks Vincent.

“Yes master” says Crystal.

Crystal’s shadow quickly recedes into her body and a copy of herself pulls itself out of her body and moves a short distance ahead of them. Crystal opens a small bag on her side and flicks her wrist throwing half a dozen small mechanical traps into the grass ahead of her. Seeming satisfied she merely stands and waits as the noise grows closer.

After a while the first of them emerge, Flayers small little two to three foot high humanoid creatures native to the jungles of Kurast. They have grayish black skin with black hair and wear small pieces of green cloth wrapped around their waists. In their hands they hold various weapons crude knives as large as their own bodies, small pointed spears and long wooden tubes to spit darts at people. These dangerous little things are well known as cannibals and even worse to be in league with the forces of hell.

Some of these Flayers are what you would call shamans the leaders of the tribes. They sit astride the shoulders of other flayers wearing a large headdress with a small torch in their hand that they use to belch flames. Should one of their lesser counterparts fall in battle they have the unique ability to resurrect them bringing them back to life in near to perfect working order.

Once their within distance Crystal gestures her hand causing large black clouds to form overhead which block out the sunlight blanketing the area in complete darkness. Moments later the area is lit up with flashes of fire and electricity as her traps start bombarding the area. Loud shrieks from the flayers erupt from the darkness as their burnt, electrified and slashed to death by Crystal’s traps and shadow.

A mere thirty seconds later the black clouds overhead disappear allowing the sunlight to once again shine down on the area. Scattered around on the ground are dozens of dead Flayers covered in burn marks and katar cuts. Some of them are still twitching slightly in response to the massive jolt of electricity they received. With the threat dealt with Crystal holds out her hand using telekinesis to quickly gather up her traps in her hand so she can put them away.

“Very well done” says Vincent. “I see your skills are rather different from your sisters. You rely on traps rather than martial arts”

“I’m skilled in martial arts too however my specialty is traps” says Crystal.

“This way” says Kalista.

They continue on passing by several large stone pillars carved with various symbols by the flayers. After a short walk they come to a large open area in the jungle with a flayer village that has small wooden huts built everywhere with several large fires burning.

As they walk closer to the center of the village they find a female barbarian tied up naked to a wooden pole that’s positioned horizontally over a large fire and held up by two wooden posts. The woman is nearly 7ft tall with the brilliantly toned body of a warrior with large breasts in the D cups. Her long shoulder length blond hair hangs down around her head covering her face that’s dripping with sweat from the intense heat of the fire.

Her skin facing the fire has already become a dark brown golden color as its been cooked nearly to perfection. Despite this she’s still very much alive hardly aware of how badly her body has been cooked because of her sheer ability to withstand such pain and the fact that she’s lost almost all feeling from her cooked flesh.

Lying nearby is a naked defeated buxom blond amazon. Her long waist length hair is strewn about her face and her skin is heavily bruised covered with a mixture of cuts from fingernails and knives. It’s clear she’s been through a great deal and forced to endure a lot of punishment. Despite everything she’s still alive barely conscience barely breathing too tired from her ordeal and the pain wracking her body.

Vincent moves in closer to the barbarian woman to inspect her. “Well well what do we have here?” asks Vincent.

“Please, help me” says the barbarian woman.

“You’re far beyond help”

“I’m fine, just, take me down”

“You look good enough to eat” he says.

Before she can utter another word he jams a piece of cloth lying about in her mouth to silence her. With that he sits down to wait patiently for her to finish cooking. Crystal stares at him a moment then quickly draws her katar and slits the barbarian woman’s throat giving her the sweet release of death.

“Now why did you do that?” asks Vincent.

Crystal turns to him and once again gives him an icy glare. “Because leaving her alive is cruel and sadistic” says Crystal.

Vincent stares at her and gestures his hand at the Amazon lying on the ground. “I suppose you intend to help her too?”

“I’m going to take her back to town so she can be cared for”

Vincent turns away. “Humph, do as you please” he says. “Just be back here in no more than two hours”

Crystal kneels down and scoops up the Amazon in her arms. The Amazon stirs slightly and looks up at Crystal with blurry eyes.

“Thank you” mumbles the Amazon.

As Crystal walks off carrying the Amazon Vincent stares at her back intently trying to work out what could have caused her to retain so much of her personality and to disobey his orders so casually.

“Kalista do you have a problem with my actions?” asks Vincent.

“Their cruel, sadistic, vile and disgusting” says Kalista.

“Yet you make no attempt to stop me”

“Part of me thinks I should but I don’t think I care enough to stop you”

“Strange” he says. “So very strange”

Almost two hours later Crystal returns, by then Vincent has had enough time to make a nice meal out of the female barbarian that’s been cooking over the fire. As Crystal arrives she glances at the partially eaten female barbarian before glaring at Vincent coldly.

“Not that you care but she’s going to live” says Crystal. “She’s being looked after well in town”

“Your right I don’t care” says Vincent. “If I did I’d have a conscience. Now if you’re done mucking about we can get going”

With that they leave the Flayer village and continue through the jungle. They walk for several hours encountering dozens more Flayers as they go forcing Kalista and Crystal to quickly deal with them. Eventually they come to a small path crossing into Lower Kurast. A place that was once a major town but is now nothing but aged buildings and rubble covered in thick moss and vines.

As they go to enter several large beasts called Thorn Hulks emerge from the nearby trees. These massive beasts are composed entirely of wood standing nearly 10ft tall with large broad arms, legs and chests. Covering their bodies are large jagged spikes and red glassy lifeless eyes stare menacingly down at the trio. Once protectors of the jungle lands these creatures have been twisted with evil making them hollow husks of their former selves that only seek to kill.

Crystal quickly throws down several traps on the nearby ground that immediately go to work burning the wooden monstrosities. Meanwhile Kalista charges them stabbing one of them with quick succession causing three white orbs of energy to build up around her glove. A moment later she smashes her foot across the beast’s chest causing the orbs to shatter and a mass of flames to burst forth from the sole of her boot engulfing the Thorn Hulk and its nearby companions.

The massive Thorn Hulks slowly collapse to the ground burning all over as the fires finally takes its toll on them. Once again Crystal quickly retrieves her traps with telekinesis before they carry on into what’s left of Lower Kurast. After a brief walk through Lowest Kurast they find it’s the remnants of a battlefield. Demon carcasses of a large variety of types litter the grounds pooling blood with cuts, arrows and a large variety of magic strewn across their bodies.

Amidst them all are dozens of people from the Zakarum Order holy paladins who actively sought out and slaughtered evil while trying to remain good. The Zakarum Order in the Kurast area however had long since been corrupt by evil though making them no better than the demons who they worked with.

“Looks like a group of people came through here recently” says Kalista.

“Rather fortunate for us” says Vincent.

As they continue walking in the distance they can see several human skeletons walking about armed with weapons. As well as several goatmen that look quite dead with hollow empty eyes and large cuts across their bodies. Amidst them all is a massive goliath of a golem towering over everything at 10ft tall with a large muscular body. The golem is made entirely of metal with large razor sharp spikes and knives covering its iron skin. Between them all is a pretty young blond necromancer with green eyes in her early 20s clad in black leather clothes.

“You there” says Vincent.

The blond turns to him and points at herself. “Me?” she asks.

“Yes have you by any chance explored any of the ruins here?”

“Uh, yeah a bit. Why are you after something?”

“Scrolls, tomes anything on necromancy” he says.

“Sorry I haven’t seen any of those or I’d have probably grabbed them myself” says the blond. Suddenly her eyes widen in surprise and she moves closer to the girls to inspect them. “Their dead, they’re really dead aren’t they? You raised them didn’t you?”

Kalista smiles softly. “Well you really are observant” says Kalista.

“They, they can talk?” stutters the blond. She turns to Vincent with the brilliant smile of a girl who just got a new toy. “You gotta teach me. Please I’ll do anything you ask, anything, just teach me how to do that”

“I’m sorry but I’m rather busy” says Vincent.

As Vincent tries to walk past her she grabs his arm. “No, please, don’t go”.

Vincent turns to her and grabs her neck causing her minions to become uneasy as they prepare to kill the threat against their master. “While I find your passion admirable as I said I’m rather busy. Nor do I have any wish to teach foolish young girls complex spells. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes” says the blond.

Vincent lets go of her neck and walks away letting her minions rest easy again. As they walk away the blond stares down the ground sadly as she tries to figure out what to do. He glances back at her seeing her sad face he sighs heavily.

“Tristram, level four of the cathedral, look for a library” he says.

The blonds face lights up and she bows her head. “Thank you so much”. With that she runs off with her minions rushing after her.

Kalista smiles softly. “That was rather nice of you” says Kalista.

Vincent gives a soft smile. “It’s rather rare to see such a young girl get so excited over raising the dead” says Vincent. “I doubt she’ll understand a single word of that book though”

“Still that was a sweet thing to do”

They continue on walking through Kurast until they finally come to a large stone walkway with water on either side stretching out into the distance leading to Travincal. Travincal although aged and damaged is still a sight to behold with massive stone structures in every direction. Like all the earlier sections of Kurast Travincal is a battlefield with dead demons and Zakarum strewn about the place. In the distance they notice a goatman carefully sneaking away trying to remain unheard.

“THERE’S ONE” yells a female voice.

The goatman turns to the voice and is promptly hit by an arrow, several bladed metal discs, a massive fireball and a large brown magic conjured hammer killing him four times over. A group of several female adventurers quickly appears out of a building. A paladin clad in heavy plate armor with raven black hair, a buxom blond Amazon clad in skimpy leather armor, a sorcerer with dark brown hair clad in skimpy white cloth garments and an assassin with short black hair clad in outfit much like Kalista and Crystal.

Noticing the three of them the female paladin quickly rushes over to them. “If you guys are looking to kill Mephisto your out of luck” says the paladin. “Someone already beat us to him”

Vincent’s eyes widen in surprise. “Someone actually managed to kill Mephisto?” asks Vincent.

“As hard as it is to believe they did. You probably should know there’s a portal leading to hell down there but none of us are crazy enough to take this fight that far. If you’re smart you won’t go either hell is a thousand times worse than anything you’ve ever seen”

“There’s an actual portal to hell below Travincal?”

“That’s right it’s through the stairs in the largest building deep under Travincal” says the paladin. “We’ve been talking about closing it off if we can but we’re still unsure if we should”

“Thank you for the interesting information” says Vincent.

As he brushes past the paladin she looks at him in surprise. “You’re not going through that thing are you?”

“Yes, I most certainly am”

The paladin woman stares at him in disbelief and fear. “You’re crazy” she says.

Vincent glances back at her showing a brilliant sinister smile with piercing eyes before continuing on with the two girls following close by.

“Vince, are you sure about this?” asks Kalista seeming genuinely concerned. “Hell isn’t just a place you can walk in and out of as you please”

“You truly are insane” says Crystal. “I’d try to stop you but honestly I think you belong in hell”

“When I started this I said I would go to hell and back to find what I’m looking for and I meant it” says Vincent.

They continue through Travincal until they come to a massive building, inside they find a bloody stone staircase leading into the darkness below. Inside the area is low lit with torches scattered about across the walls. Strewn about on the floors are demon carcasses and large steaks of blood. The area itself is well made form brilliant gold and grey stone that despite its age still looks magnificent. As they walk further in they find piles of bones that have long since been picked clean and worn down with age.

They continue through the dark halls walking through a twisting and winding maze of rooms descending through the levels until they finally reach the bottom. Inside they find a large lake of blood with a platform extending outward toward the center. Connected to it is a large bridge made of human bones with a magnificent glowing red swirling vortex atop it. The three of them make their way around the room until their standing in front of the vortex.

“Vince, are you sure you want to do this?” asks Kalista.

“Of course” says Vincent.

With that Vincent calmly walks through the vortex. Moments later he and the girls emerge on the other side to find a strange scene, hell. Behind them is the vortex leading back properly anchored into existence with a heavy black metal archway. The sky is fire red with no sign of clouds and the ground is black with ash and dirt. All around them are dozens upon dozens of demon corpses that have been shredded with a variety of attacks. After arriving they look around the area and Kalista points off in a direction to the side of them.

“What is that?” asks Kalista.

Vincent turns to where she’s pointing. Far in the distance atop a skinny path of black stone steps over what looks like a chasm of nothing is a small town upon an island. The town is called the Pandemonium Fortress and is made of brilliant white stone and marble. It is inhabited by a small band of humans and is an angel stronghold that stands as the last defense between hell and Sanctum.

“I’ve only read about it but that’s the Pandemonium Fortress a small outpost in the very depths of hell” says Vincent.

“It looks like whoever killed Mephisto came through here” says Crystal. “There’s nothing left”

“That will make it easier for us. No doubt they plan to try their luck against Diablo himself”

“So where are we heading?” asks Kalista.

Vincent looks into the distance scanning the land for several moments before pointing at some large black stone buildings in the distance. “There”

As they begin walking they walk past dozens of metal posts with black ash covered human forms chained to them. These humans, these souls reach out trying to grab them and moan for help. Crystal slashes one across the neck with her katar causing it to go dead and lifeless. However after several moments it comes back to life and reaches out to grab her. She backs away with a look of fear across her face seeming genuinely scared.

The three of them continue on walking through a desert of demon corpses into a village of large black stone buildings. Eventually they come to a massive cathedral with brilliant stained glass windows covered in images. As they walk inside they find it looks much like a church with rows upon rows of seats to sit down and listen to a sermon. Vincent hurries into one of the side rooms where he finds the walls are lined with dozens of bookshelves filled with thousands of books.

He walks over to one of the bookshelves and starts searching through the books. After a dozen or so books he pulls one out causing his eyes to widen in surprise. He stares at the cover for the longest time in silence before giving out a heavy sigh and putting it back into place on the shelf.

“For the first time in my life I find myself wondering if I could bring Layla back would I want to?” asks Vincent.

Kalista’s eyes widen in surprise. “What are you talking about?” she says. “You’ve spent ten years searching for a way to do just that. You even came all the way to hell”

He turns to look at Kalista. “I know but, in all those years. I didn’t have you”

“Vince, you should do it”

He shakes his head. “No, no I don’t think so” he says. “I loved Layla, I loved every moment I spent with her and even eternity wouldn’t have been long enough. All these years, I’ve only thought about myself wanting her back. I think Selena was right. I need to let her go. I need to move on, for her”

“Are you sure?” asks Kalista.

He nods his head. “Yeah, she’d probably be mad at me for wasting so much time”

With that Vincent walks off through the door back the way they came with Crystal following close behind. Curious Kalista takes the book from the shelf and looks it over.

“Necromancy for beginners?” she says making her smile. “You came all the way to hell and in the end you still didn’t find it huh?”

“You coming Kalista?” asks Vincent.

Kalista quickly slides the book back into place on the shelf. “Yeah, I’m coming”

Almost nine months later somewhere deep in the wilderness in a small cabin Meracle is sitting by a fireplace. During that time her belly has grown large with pregnancy and she sits smiling as she strokes it.

“Only a few more days and my little girl will be born” she says. “I wonder where your daddy Vince is”

Elsewhere far across the land on a large open stretch of land is a large house built from heavy stone bricks. Outside several golems with the forms of beautiful women are busy working. One made entirely of metal stands by a dead log chopping wood with her arm which is shaped like a razor-sharp sword.

Nearby another golem made of earth is walking through a stretch of plowed land carefully planting seeds in the ground to grow crops. Working with her is a golem made of water who is busily holding her hands over the newly planted crops to cause a small shower of water to rain down over them.

Inside the house in a large fireplace the fire golem Incendia lays peacefully providing warmth to the people inside the house. Vincent is laying on the couch in front of her lazily drifting in and out of sleep. In the dining room Kalista is carefully laying out plates of food while Crystal is already seated at the table.

“Vince, dinner’s ready” says Kalista.

His eyes flicker open and he lazily crawls off the couch. He sits down in a seat at the table and Kalista lays a plate of food in front of him.

“Here’s your food” she says. “World’s greatest necromancer”

“You can stop calling me that you know” says Vincent.

She smiles slyly at him. “Never, because it’s true”

Vincent gives her a smile then picks up his knife and fork to eat.

The End[edit source]

References[edit source]