Fan fiction:Last dance

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Last Dance is a fan fiction piece by Nephilim, originally posted in the The Dark Library on July 13th 2003.


Last Dance[edit]

By Nephilim



Aside from the clouds on the horizon, silvered from the light of the moon, the sky was perfectly clear this night. Every star shone in conjunction with the gleaming moon to illuminate the countryside so well that it might as well have been daytime. The gears within the old clock tower creaked and squealed as they propelled the minute hand to the top of the face. It was one o'clock. But the bellringer was asleep, and the birds were quiet.


The quiet tranquility of the night was pierced by a shrill, horrified scream.


Magnus, and the rest of Vallham, awoke. At first, he thought it was a dream, but as the hysterical cries persisted, he knew that it was not his imagination, particularly as he saw candles light the windows of the houses down the street. Magnus sat up in bed, his eyes wide, grabbing a pair of boots and a tunic.


He was still grappling to put them on as he came out into the street. The screaming had stopped. The streets were still deserted, but curious shadows moved in the windows, peering out to see what was the matter. Magnus hurriedly walked down the street, guided by the flickering light of a lantern. When he turned the corner of the cobbled road, he stopped.


There were five people before him.


Leanne, the assistant of Ziyal the blacksmith, was sitting, horrified, on one side of the street, clutching the comforting arms of Broc, who was crouching down to soothe her. But he did not look at her. Instead, he looked at Ziyal and Nareej, who both had their backs to Magnus. Nareej was holding a lantern aloft.


"What . . ." Magnus had meant to finish the sentence, but at the first word, Ziyal and Nareej both looked back at him, which allowed Magnus to see what was before them. Lying on the street, his head propped up by an unlit lamppost, was a man who Magnus did not recognize. He was naked, and lying in a puddle of blood, but, strangely, not covered in it. His eyes had been pulled from his face, and the eyes, and optical arteries, were lashed to his wrist. Both wrists had been slashed. His throat had been slashed, and his mouth was sewn shut. But there was no blood on top of his corpse. Someone had cleaned him.


However, Magnus' eyes were drawn to his abdomen, where a harmless-looking symbol had been carved into his flesh. A rune, only recognizable by the old and wise. Those familiar with old tales and the art of sorcery.


"Magnus," Nareej began, in his strange, eastern accent.


But Magnus turned, shaking his head. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, "I need to go."


Ziyal called after him, but Magnus was already around the corner. He had a visit to make.


Now properly clothed in a leather jack and pants, Magnus trudged up the rocky hill towards the dark, derelict hut atop it. He stopped a moment, leaving heavily on his staff, and looked back at Vallham below him. The moon still brightened the town, and there was no sound below. The grisly scene had been apparently dealt with.


Magnus took a breath, and climbed onwards. As he neared the hut, he saw a flickering light that died after a few seconds. He opened the door without knocking.


Seated with his back to Magnus was Whitstan, his foot kneading a wooden pedal, propelling the circular stone which was sharpening his broadsword, sending up sparks. Other than that, there was no light there.


Magnus sighed. "So you know, then."


"I found him before Leanne did," Whitstan replied, still looking intently at the sword. "It's come back. Just when I was about to leave to hunt it down, it's come back."


"Are you sure?" Magnus asked, "I was thinking that it didn't look like her work. He was intact. He wasn't even castrated. She usually takes something with her."


"It," Whitstan corrected darkly, taking the sword from the stone and removing his foot from the pedal. Darkness engulfed the room, lit now only by the moonlight penetrating the drapes over the windows.


"Sorry?"


"There's nothing female about that creature," said Whiststan, standing. Magnus was always struck by how tall he was. "Every virtue women ever possessed is lost to that . . . that thing. Don't sanction the illusion that it's female. It never has been, and it never will be."


Magnus reminded himself of that. He had to be careful of his pronouns when speaking to Whitstan. He was quite touchy on the subject. "Well, fine, I don't think it was responsible."


"Yes," Whitstan nodded. "It was."


"How can you be sure. It's never behaved like this, before."


"I can smell it," the tall warrior was growing angry. "The perversion. It's like a perfume it coats every victim with."


Magnus moved out of the way as Whitstan grabbed his shield and stepped into the moonlight. He saw that he was already armoured, with a crude plate mail covering a layer of chain mail underneath. "If it is her," he said slowly, "then it didn't put much effort into this kill. It's been more dramatic before. It's as if it wanted to make it perfectly clear. That rune seemed much more obvious than usual." He paused. "It could be a trap, Whitstan. You'll want my help."


"Don't tell me what I want," Whitstan mumbled moodily. "This isn't your fight. What it did to my family . . ."


"I know, Whitstan," Magnus nodded. "But you've never even fought it. It always managed to elude you."


"It's frightened. It's destroyed so much - its list of mortal enemies must be quite lengthy," Whitstan explained. "It attacks the soul of the naïve and the body of the weak. It's no warrior."


"But you don't even know, Whitstan." He stopped, looking at the ground, and then took a deep breath. "I'm coming with you," he said with some resolve.


Whiststan shook his head again. "No, Magnus. This is my fight, and mine alone. It's the way I always knew it would be. Don't make me render you unable to come. Just stay here. Tonight's the night when all this is finished."


"How do you know how to find it?" asked Magnus.


"I've been tracking it all my life," Whitstan replied. "I'll manage."


With that, the tall warrior walked off, down the other side of the hill, away from the village. Magnus waited for a short time before descending the rocky hill back to Vallham.


The moon was about to set when Whitstan first saw it. Smoke. A pillar of a cloud so dark to look almost black, but there was that tint, that signature that made him know it was her. The smoke was red. It looked like blood billowing from an underwater wound. It stretched on forever into the darkening heavens. He had been going the wrong way, but corrected his course and trudged, with a quicker pace, now, towards the plume of smoke.


Magnus, Whitstan had already realized, could well be right. The signs seemed a tad too obvious this time. She always marked her victims, perhaps as a testament to her own ego or some signal to her masters that she was carrying out their unholy mission of chaos and terror. But they were never so evident. It was as if she was luring him to her, as she had done with so many others like him. But he wasn't like them. She hadn't done to them what she had done to him.


The night was quiet, save for the incessant chirping of the crickets and other creatures of the dark. The terrain was very rocky, now. It was almost a grassland. When Whitstan glanced back, he realized that he had descended into a shallow valley. Not only could he not see Vallham, but his hut was also hidden from view. It would take some orientation to find his way back home.


He was very close, now. He saw before him the smoke, now fading, climbing into the sky beyond the next ridge. He get low to the ground, and crept up.


"Whitstan!" the harsh whisper surprised him, and Whitstan did not appreciate surprises in the least. He spun onto his back, drawing his sword and slashing outward.


Broc had stumbled backward the moment Whitstan turned. "Whitstan, calm yourself! It's only Broc!" he kept his voice low, wisely.


Whitstan simmered with internal rage. "What are you doing here?" he demanded. "Did Magnus send you?"


"Magnus?" Broc looked at him quizzically. "No! Leanne's gone missing, shortly after she found a fresh corpse. I dread that whatever killed that poor man in the street took her as well."


Whitstan looked Broc up and down. He was of medium height and build, but must have had strong shoulders, or else such a journey weighed down by the heavy mail he wore would have tired him greatly. But Broc was a handsome golden boy. He got his armour from his parents' money, and this was no place for a boy trying to win admiration from his peers and loyalty from his maiden. His face was clean shaven and his hair was short and neat. He looked radically out of place in his heavy armour, which, Whitstan considered, could be enchanted, with the money Broc came from.


"You don't think that this murderer is the same creature you hunt, do you?" Broc asked. Whitstan sighed to himself. Magnus talked too much. He'd known that for a while, and now all of Vallham were aware of Whitstan's self-appointed mission.


"You should go home, Broc," Whitstan shook his head. "You'll only get yourself killed."


"My fair maiden has been kidnapped by foul beasts of the night," Broc protested quietly, but hotly. "If I am not fit to be here, then who is?"


Whitstan glanced at the smoke, which was now dwindling. She would be gone, soon. He didn't have time to convince Broc. "I just don't think you're at all prepared for what you might find."


Broc glared at Whitstan angrily. "I've seen death before, Whitstan."


Whitstan shook his head, but turned back to the ridge. "There are worse things, Broc," he muttered, creeping up to the edge. Broc heedlessly got down beside him. They peeked over the edge at the same time.


The bonfire was out, and no new smoke rose from it. The moon had set, and now only the stars shone down upon the scene below. A stone slab was propped up diagonally in front of the fire, and was surrounded by a wide circle of stones. Within the circle, many fiendish looking symbols were drawn in the sandy soil. And laid upon the slab was Leanne, naked, with a great deal of blood covering her abdomen. She turned, a look of pain on her features.


"She lives!" Broc exalted quietly, and burst over the edge, rushing down the face of the ridge and running towards Leanne, his armour clanking noisily.


"Broc! Wait!" Whitstan cried, and followed, drawing his sword, and glancing to and fro. There was no sign of her. He cursed. He had frightened her off again, and she had not even finished with the girl.


Broc neared Leanne, and she moaned, shifting on the stone. She was lashed with her hands above her head, to the slab. She had been cut across the stomach, and much blood and gore hid the wound. Broc had tears in his eyes.


"Leanne," he panted. "Thank god you're alive! Now, hold still. I shall cut you free," he declared, and drew a dagger from his belt.


Whitstan wiped out the symbols in the sand with his feet as he approached. He still looked about suspiciously. This was very different from his other encounters. She never fled before he arrived. Before he had seen her. She took sadistic pleasure in teasing him with his prize. And she had never left a murder unfinished. She appeared to be losing her touch, radically.


Broc cut through the bonds at her feet, and then the ones at her hands, and slowly guided them to drape about his shoulders. She titled her head back lethargically and let out a low moan.


"Hush," he cooed, putting his arm around her back. "I'll get you home, my sweet. Don't worry."


"Broc," Whitstan said anxiously, still at a whisper. "Be careful." He was still tense, and on the balls of his feet, his heavy broadsword still raised. Something was horribly wrong, and he felt eyes on him. Very familiar eyes.


"Why do you speak in hushed tones?" Broc asked, looking back at Leanne. "The villains have fled. We can go home." He hoisted her up and gently lifted her from the slab.


As he did, however, he heard a crack, and Broc lifted Leanne's torso off of her waist. The legs fell to the ground. It took Broc a moment to realize what had happened. He cried out, and Whitstan turned to look at him. His eyes widened. "Broc!"


Leanne came alive in his arms, her eyes now open and glassy. Her spine writhed like a worm. She reached up and grabbed his head with both hands, pulling him down toward her. He grabbed her shoulder and tried to push her off of him, but she looped one arm around his neck and grabbed his hand with her own, then shifted it down, forcing him to caress her breast. Horrified, Broc pulled back, grabbing her by the neck and drive her away with his free hand, and trying to pull back with the one she had. But her grip was vice-like, and her strength unnaturally resolved. She opened her mouth, and he smelled death and rot on her tongue as she brought her face to his own.


Whitstan rushed up behind Leanne, grabbing her hair with one hand and her spine with the other. He yanked her off forcefully, but she held on tight, and the handful of hair was pulled out at the root, and she was back on Broc, who was quickly losing his strength. Whitstan threw the hair down, and pounced on Leanne, putting her into a chokehold and then pulling with all his might. This time, Leanne came loose, and scratched Broc across the face as Whitstan threw her into the sand.


Broc fell back onto his elbows, his eyes wide with shock and terror.


Whitstan drew his sword.


The torso of Leanne wriggled about in the sand until she righted herself, and then pulled herself towards them, digging her hands into the sand. She opened her mouth and let out a gurgling moan, as blood and bile poured from her lips.


Whitstan reared back, and in a single motion, sliced her head from her shoulders. The head flew into the sand, her face still open in a threatening scream. Her remaining body swayed in its place a moment before collapsing, lifelessly, on the ground.


Whitstan drew a cloth and wiped down his blade as he turned back to Broc.


The boy, his chiseled face now marred by three vicious scratches extending from his ear to his mouth, was still staring, horrified, at Leanne's torso. "You . . . you've killed her," he whispered.


Whitstan grabbed Broc under the shoulder and hoisted him to his feet. "Trust me, young one. That wasn't Leanne. Not anymore."


Broc was struggling to breathe. Whitstan rolled his eyes. The boy had, evidently, had not seen anything like this before. He was still in shock.


"Here," Whitstan said, unbuckling the plate mail. He carefully pulled it off of him, and noted wryly that Broc's muscles seem to deplete, ever so slightly, as he did so. Kids and their money. Whitstan threw the armour on the ground. "Broc, listen to me carefully. Leanne was dead before we arrived. That thing you just battled was," he paused, thinking of the best way to explain it, "was just her body. She was trying to kill you, Broc.


"Now," he said, helping him over to the slab, and allowing him to lean on the edge of it, "you need to breathe, Broc. Concentrate on your breathing."


Broc looked at him gravely and nodded, breathing carefully, but still shuddering. Whitstan gently wiped the blood of Broc's face.


They sat there together for some time. Broc was hunched over most of the time, making unhealthy sounds. Whitstan wasn't sure if he actually did retch at one point, but he decided to let the boy have his moment. This was a lot to process, especially for a boy who thought that ridding the woods of some scavengers was enough to merit "seeing death." As he waited for Broc to come together, Whitstan surveyed the damage.


Magnus was right. This was generally unlike her. She reveled in carnage and broken spirits, just like all her kind. If this was a giant ruse to ravage the mind of Broc, then not only had she shifted the target of her torments, but it meant that she was watching, and Whitstan didn't like that at all. But, as Magnus said, she had never openly attacked him before, and there was nothing special about this evening. Not anything important enough to break precedent, as far as he was concerned. So why was she behaving so strangely?


Broc coughed behind him, righting himself. Whitstan looked back at him as he wiped saliva and vomit from his mouth. What in the world a boy like this would ever need an enchanted plate mail for was beyond Whitstan.


"What did this to her?" Broc asked, his voice hoarse, his eyes drawn to the bloodied, dismembered body of Leanne scattered throughout the sand.


Whitstan looked at the ruined corpse, as well. He sighed. "A demon. I don't know how it came here, but I don't care. All I know is that it is here, now. It may look like a woman but that's only a façade to serve its purpose. It revels in death and discord, it feeds on agony and sorrow. It draws people to it; it corrupts them. But that's not what happened with Leanne. When she refused to serve its cause willingly, it killed her and used its body to sow more chaos. It's not usually the way it works," Whitstan admitted, glancing up at the starry sky. "But I don't try to understand the mind of a demon."


Broc stood up tall, squaring his chin with resolve. An angry tear rolled down his cheek. "I'll kill it."


"No," Whitstan said quickly. "You won't." He turned to look at him straight in the face. "I've been hunting it ever since I could walk. I won't be robbed of my vengeance by a pup who needs magical talismans to defeat his enemies," he gestured roughly to the plate mail in the sand.


Broc looked at the mail, and then looked away, trying to hide his shame. "I deserve vengeance," he protested quietly.


"What it did here doesn't even begin to compare to what it did to me," Whitstan spat. He turned, walking away from Broc. "Now go home before you get yourself killed."


Even as he said it, he heard a rush in the wind, and an impact behind him. He turned around.


She had sailed into Broc at high speed, and was embracing him with her legs around his waist, and her hands cupping her face. Broc staggered back a bit, but then fell, unable to support her.


Whitstan drew his sword and rushed towards them, but she looked at him with a fiendish grin, and flapped her wings, thrusting herself, and Broc entwined, into the air. She landed, still on him, on the other side of the ring of stones. Broc was struggling to get her off of him, but she seemed to be winning. She leaned down, and kissed him full on the lips, long and hard. Broc tried to pull back, but only smacked the back of his head on the sandy ground. She finally let off, breathing heavily, and then leaned in and licked the wound on his face. By this time, Whitstan had rushed across the circle and swung his sword at her. She rolled away, and then neatly tripped him. Then she grabbed a still struggling Broc in her arms and pushed off into the sky, flapping her leathery wings to land on the edge of the ridge where Whitstan and Broc had first come over.


She stood him up, and held him close to her, forcing his arms around her and caressing the back of his leg with her own. She groped along his back, kissing him continuously over his face, and then she turned, looking at Whitstan, who had since raced across the circle of stones and was attempting to climb the ridge. She grinned and winked at him, and then pushed Broc away from him. He was sweating from both fear and arousal, but attempted to slap her away at every opportunity. She was heedless of his futile attacks, and simply reached out, grabbing him by the neck, and twisted her hand. There was a resounding crack, and then she released him.


Broc collapsed in a limp heap, missing the edge of the ridge and falling down the face. When he hit the incline, he continued to roll several paces before he stopped, almost at Whitstan's feet. He wasn't dead, but he couldn't move, and was struggling for breath. Whitstan quickly examined him, still very aware of her presence at the top of the ridge. Broc's neck was broken, and his lungs were not longer functioning. There was nothing Whitstan could do for him. He stood and backed away warily, listening to him die.


She crouched down low, and then jumped into the air, flapping vigorously. She flipped in mid-air and landed with a squat atop the stone slab by the bonfire. Whitstan had his sword drawn, and didn't take his eyes off of her.


If he hadn't learned to see her differently, she might have been attractive. She was shapely, after all. Her arms were smooth and soft, and her breasts, which she openly displayed, were round and perfect. Even her face was attractive. Her complexion was flawless, and her legs were long. But the red skin, the black, bat-like wings, and the pair of goat-like horns twisting up from her smooth, black hair were reminder enough of what she truly was.


She was sparsely clothed - she always was. She knew the powers her body gave her, and used them to her every advantage. So she wore nothing on her chest. Her legs were clothed in leather, stiletto boots that stretched up to her thighs, and she wore similar leather bracers wrapped around her ring finger and cut off just above her elbows. Nothing but a simple cloth and a few belts were wrapped around her groin. And branded into her abdomen, just above her belly button, was the archaic rune she carved into all of her victims - Vex.


Everything about her had a sexual air to it. Even when she attacked, she did so as she made dark love to them, preying on every primal sensation her victims possessed. Every move, every word, and every gesture were laden with seduction. Even now, gazing at him from the bloodied stone slab across the extinct fireplace, she swayed playfully and licked her grinning lips.


Whitstan set his jaw, and murmured her name between clenched teeth. "Red Vex."


She moaned, sliding her hands down the slab. "I was wondering, after all these years, if you actually did know my name."


"What's all this?" Whitstan demanded, taking slow, measured steps towards her. "Why were you so easy to track this time?"


Red Vex shrugged in mock sympathy. "Oh, you don't trust your own abilities? After all, you've been tracking me for, what is it, twenty-five years, now? Can you remember a time when you weren't hunting me down?"


"If I ever did remember, I don't have to anymore," Whitstan replied. "Your death is the reason I exist."


"And yet," she grinned, "you doubt your abilities as a tracker. Interesting." She put a pensive finger in her mouth, and licked the tip of it lightly.


Whitstan heaved the sword with a grunt in her direction, but she vaulted off the rock. The sword struck the stone and sparked. Red Vex landed, planting both stiletto heels in the ground at the same instant, some paces behind him. When he turned, she flapped her wings, dragging her feet as she was thrust back some distance. She stood upright, and her let wings relax.


"I thought that after all this time, we should get to know each other better," said Red Vex. "It's fitting, after all. I've watched you grow up, and I don't even know your name."


"You've maimed so many lives, it doesn't at all surprise me," he growled.


Red Vex pouted, putting her hands on her hips. "Aw. You're not going to tell me?"


"No. I'll speak for all the mortals you've destroyed. The whole sea of voices can be the hand that slays you," Whitstan drew back his sword.


Red Vex examined him curiously. "But . . . but one voice extends from the masses," she whispered. "Yes . . . yes, I remember you. Your father was a priest, yes?"


Whitstan froze.


"Yes," she grinned, showing her unusually pointed teeth. "Yes, that's it. Priest of the Light. Oh quite. The Zakarum - Salvation of the East. The religion is, in truth, another level of control instituted by petty men, but that's another story. But yes, your father, the priest . . . I can't recall his name, now."


"Gathak," Whitstan whispered, barely audible.


Her demonic senses, however, picked up on it. "Of course, Gathak, how could I forget." She turned her gaze to him. Her eyes gleamed with pleasure. "A man weak in spirit and flesh. It took very little effort to turn him over to my way of thinking." She began to gesticulate. "The philosophy, if you'll permit, of chaos and anarchy, and its inevitable consumption of this, and many other worlds. That when all is said and done, it shall be destruction, terror and hatred left rampant upon this dying world. He became quite intrigued by these ideals. He embraced a life without rules, and without regulation."


Red Vex took two slow, measured, and tempting steps towards Whitstan. He stepped back, still with the sword aloft. "And what was the first thing he did with this newfound freedom?" she mocked forgetfulness. "Let me think . . . oh yes, of course! He raped your mother."


Whitstan paled.


"Gathak told me later it was the most liberating thing he's ever done - dominating, violating, and penetrating your mother, that is. He told me that, shortly before her brother killed him." She shrugged. "But, like I said, he was weak. I didn't miss him. As I recall, though, there was a conception from that union, was there not?" she was thoughtful for a moment, and then her eyes turned to him, and she grinned. "That wasn't you, was it?"


"Shut up," he barked.


"My, you've certainly grown. You father's genetics luckily didn't hinder that."


"That man is not my father!" Whitstan shouted, and lunged towards her, swinging the sword.


Red Vex sidestepped the blow and laid a crescent kick on his face. Whitstan fell to the ground, and rolled to his feet. Red Vex was examining her nails. "That's very sentimental, but I've got biology on my side. Your father's seed gave you life, and I gave your father the freedom to use it." She smiled, and cooed, "y'know, you could say you owe me your life."


"How ironic that I'll take yours, too."


"Well," Red Vex mused with a soft chuckle, "it would be, if that was how this little dance was going to play out. But we both know better than that, don't we? At least, we should."


Whitstan kept his distance, now. That kick surprised him. He didn't know she was capable of actual combat. He began to think that he may have underestimated her.


Red Vex took a step back, circling the blackened bonfire pit. "You didn't think you had any sort of advantage, do you? You're a human. A single human, at that. I am a demon. We are not equal on any footing."


"I'm on home soil," Whitstan suggested with a sneer.


"Are you?" he sensed, for the first time, a sting of anger in her voice. She dropped her arms to her sides, continuing to slink around the fire pit. "I was exiled to this world generations before you were born. This world full of cold nights and fragrant breezes. I was born in a turpitude of dark thought and foul mind. The only scent on the breeze is burning flesh, and the only sound in my ears is the haunting screams of the damned in their eternal torment. Always rotting, never rotten. Always dying, never dead. You can imagine the adjustment period it took to keep my sanity, a claim I can make while many of my kindred cannot.


"I did not come seeking conquest, I was forced here against my will, for my loyalties to the true masters of Hell. But seniority and power mean nothing to the Lesser Evils. They have become distracted, in their folly, by the gates of Heaven. Meanwhile, the Three knew better. They knew that here," she stretched out her arms; Whitstan tensed, expecting a strike, "here is where the war is to be made. Whoever controls this Sanctuary will end the conflict forever. The allegiance of Man is all we need."


Whitstan wasn't entirely sure what she was speaking of. "So why don't you go back? We won't miss you."


She glared at him. He didn't expect that reaction at all. A grin spread over her features. "So tell me," she said purposefully, "what's it feel like to be the product of a coupling founded on hate and violence, hmm? I mean, certainly no love was involved in my creation, but I came to exist with purpose in mind. You, on the other hand, came from carnal lust, and a violation so profound that your mother couldn't love you."


Whitstan swung the sword toward her angrily, not intending to hit her, merely threaten. They continued to encircle the pit, opposite each other. "Be silent," he warned.


"In answer to your question," Red Vex continued, "I would, but I have not the force at my command. Our masters are temporarily incapacitated, or at least, in no state to lead an army against the current rulers of Hell." She smiled, genuinely pleased with herself. "But," she murmured with a grin, "that's all about to change."


Even as she spoke, Whitstan thrust the sword forward abruptly and lunged at her. She hopped back, and he spun blade, hoping to catch her on the recoil. She jumped acrobatically, kicking the blade aside with one leg, and spinning around in the same motion, she kicked him across the face with the other arm as the momentum carried him forward.


He rolled intentionally on the ground and sprang to his feet, but made the mistake of swinging the sword towards her with one hand. She flipped over it and grabbed his wrist, chopping hard at his forearm with the edge of her hand and the kicked the sword up with the heel of her boot. Whitstan cried out, and his arm spasmed, forcing him to release the sword, which spun up into the air to land point down in the sand some distance away.


Whistan, his teeth cleched, kicked at Red Vex's knee as she landed. The blow made her stagger, but, still holding his wrist, she countered with an elbow to the face, releasing his wrist. He staggered back, slightly dazed, and with his nose bleeding. Before she had time to regain herself, he launched forward with his armoured fists at the forefront. She bent backwards, avoiding the gauntlets, and grabbed one in each hand, spreading them apart and kicking him square in the face. Her stiletto dug into his face painfully, and he grunted. She hooked the other leg over his shoulder, and hoisted herself up, until she was standing on his back, and then stretched, pulling his arms into unhealthy positions. He felt his shoulders crack and screamed.


Whitstan let his legs give out and rolled to the side. Red Vex was carried, and thumped into the ground with a moan. Whitstan pulled himself to his feet, but Red Vex was already there, shaking the sand from her wings as she stood to full height. She landed a vicious right cross on his jaw, and then backhanded him on the temple. He was dazed again, and his vision was blurry. Whitstan staggered back in a panic. If she attacked him now, he'd be completely defenseless. He stepped on an unexpected stone and fell back, sensing his doom.


But Red Vex did not attack.


Across the circle of stones, he saw the outline of the demoness moving, in her usual, sultry fashion, but she did not move towards him. The blotches became shapes, and he found his vision aligning properly once again.


Red Vex had drawn his sword from the sand, and was now playing with it daintily.


"Anyway," she said darkly, "as I was saying, that's all about to change." She now walked toward him, letting the sword swing at her side, holding limply to the hilt, almost ready to drop it.


"Currently, the demons that were exiled with me are scattered, and in disarray. None are powerful enough to command the legions of Hell without being killed by ambitious disloyals. But there has been a voice upon the wind. One who speaks with depravity and chaos weaved into every word. Finally, we have the leader we've been looking for through a thousand years, and the time of our final victory over this shallow world grows ever closer."


Whitstan struggled to get up. Everything hurt. She was much closer, now.


"I lured you out here to say goodbye," she explained. "I have more important destinies to ruin, and I will not have time to torment you any longer. I'm sorry it had to end this way, but we were both growing tired of this little game."


Whitstan drew a dagger from a sheath on the back of his belt. "This is no game."


Red Vex considered that with a nod. "Perhaps not to you, but I thoroughly enjoy watching you little creatures scurry about. You think you're so powerful, but if those angels ever let their eyes off you for a moment, we would massacre you and splay your innards across the countryside."


"Don't be so confident," Whitstan warned, and suddenly struck out with the knife, stabbing her in the abdomen.


Red Vex's face contorted, and she cried out, grabbing his wrist and forcing his hand away from her. Grey, pasty blood seeped out of the wound. Gritting her teeth, she drove the sword into his arm. Whitstan screamed. Red Vex put one hand on his shoulder, and then hoisted herself up on him, planting her feet in his belt. Then she drew back the sword, and drove it through his chest.


Whitstan opened his mouth and wanted to scream, but could only gasp. Red Vex flapped her wings vigorously, pushing him backward. He stumbled over the firepit, and fell into the stone slab. As the point of the sword struck the stone, the blade broke, and the end of it tore out of his body as it twisted away. He collapsed, with Red Vex still entwined, and the blade shoved into his body up the hilt. He felt warm blood welling up in his mouth.


Red Vex leaned in to him, taking her hand off the hilt and laying down beside him, resting her head on his chest., and caressing his armoured chest affectionately. She curled a leg beside his, rubbing it gently.


"I'd always hoped that you'd go like this," she mused with a comfortable moan. "In my arms. I've watched you grow up, Whitstan. I'm very proud of what I created. You're so dominated by your most primal urges for vengeance and retribution." She took her hand from his chest and rubbed his face. Breath squeaked from his neck, and blood began to trickle from his mouth.


Red Vex leaned up and licked the blood from his chin. "I wouldn't have you any other way." She sat up, straddling him with both legs, and, taking his head in her hands, leaned down and kissed him, blood flowing into her mouth. When she was finished, he was dead, and she leaned back, wiping the blood from her face with the back of her bracer.


She got up off of him, checking her wound. The bleeding had already stopped. She glanced back down at Whitstan, his mouth pathetically open and his eyes staring off into the darkening night. She smiled at him. It was always how she'd pictured him.


Spreading her wings, Red Vex vaulted off into the sky, and, flapping once or twice, glided off towards the quiet little town of Tristram.

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