Dach ran through the forest, his sister Vena following close behind.
“It’s not fair,” Vena wailed. “How come you get the knife?”
Dach smiled, his chest swelling with pride. “I’m the oldest son, so I’m responsible for our family now.”
“Well you’re not the boss of me” his sister teased, sprinting ahead of him.
“Hold on!” he cried, struggling to keep up.
“You’ll have to catch me first!”
His sister began to run faster and faster, the distance between them lengthening with each stride. Suddenly she stopped so fast that he ran into her, knocking them both forward into a clearing. Dach began to speak, only to be cut short by his sister quickly placing her hand over his mouth. She pointed to the other side of the clearing where a huge beast stood, its eyes filled with a crazed look. As it shifted its head to sniff the air, its white fur rippled, revealing huge muscles. The beast flexed its paws, unsheathing savage claws.
Dach’s eyes widened. A tainted Furbolg! One had not been sighted in the area for over 20 years. To see one here, now, was nothing short of amazing.
The Furbolg snarled, its nose twitching as it began to pick up the scent of the two young Orcs. Its gaze swept the clearing, settling on the children cowering opposite it. With a roar the Furbolg charged, claws at the ready.
Vena screamed as the Furbolg thundered forward, its gaze fixed on her. Dach stepped forward, his dagger unsheathed. ‘Me! Attack me!’ he cried, desperately trying to distract the beast.
The Furbolg glanced at Dach and changed its path so that he was now its target. Dach’s eyes widened in horror, and then the creature was on him. He had time for one cry of terror before the Furbolg swatted him with its paws, sending him flying into a tree. There was a mighty crack and Dach slumped to the foot of the tree, his neck twisted at an impossible angle.
‘Dach!’ Vena cried out, her voice nearly drowned out by the roars of the Furbolg. She ran to his side, ignoring the imminent danger. ‘Wake up! Please, wake up!’.
Dach remained still, blood flowing openly from a wound on his forehead. The Furbolg roared once more, alerting Vena to the danger at the last instant. She turned to see it bearing down on her, murderous intent in its eyes. Closing her eyes, she uttered a final prayer to the Spirit Manifest.
Behind her, blood continued to flow out of the gash in Dach’s forehead. It streamed down his face, painting the ground beneath him scarlet. A single drop of blood dropped into his mouth.
Dach’s eyes snapped open, a red glow emanating from his pupils. The glow spread across his eyes until they were entirely red. There was a horrendous cracking sound as his neck twisted back into the position. Dach leapt to his feet, knife at the ready.
The Furbolg’s gaze flicked to Dach and it slowed its charge, coming to a standstill. Its fur on end it growled and began to step backwards.
Dach let out a bestial cry and sprinted straight at the beast, his eyes filled with a savage bloodlust. The Furbolg flinched back and looked unsteadily at the Orc before raising its paws. As Dach reached the Furbolg it swung both paws at Dach’s head, aiming to crush it with one blow.
Dach ducked under the attack and drove the dagger deep into the Furbolg’s stomach. The Furbolg howled in pain and staggered back, for the first time with a look of fear in its eyes.
Dach purred in pleasure and followed the stab through with a savage slash straight down the Furbolg’s chest, laying the rib cage bare. Dach threw the knife to one side and punched a hole straight through the bone, grabbing the Furbolg’s heart in the same movement. The Furbolg howled once more before falling silent, the madness fading from its eyes.
Its mouth opened again and this time a guttural voice issued forth “I am sorry youngling” Then its eyes glazed over and it collapsed to its knees.
Dach roared in triumph and ripped the Furbolg’s heart from its chest. He screamed in delight as he devoured the heart, blood oozing from his mouth.
‘Dach?’ Vena asked fearfully.
Dach turned to look at her, his blood spattered face the thing of nightmares. He gazed at her with red tinged eyes filled with madness and growled, baring teeth still scarlet with blood. He took one step forward, arms raised before halting.
The red glow fading from his eyes, Dach swayed uncertainly. “No!” he cried, before collapsing, energy spent.
Half a continent away, Mannaroth, Lord of the Pit stirred on his throne, his senses alert to some new power.
Mannaroth’s gaze swept the room, taking in once more the stark emptiness, the only furniture the throne on which he was sitting. Screams echoed forth from chambers beyond the throne room, while nearer to him, dark shadows flashed in and out of existence, painting the walls with a strange half darkness, broken only by the light issuing forth from purple fires that floated in the air.
“Nevermore?” The Pitlord cried, the name more of a command than it was a question.
The shadows playing across the room began to draw inwards towards a point in front of Mannaroth, dancing playfully towards him. The darkness began to grow in height, taking on the approximation of a human.
The shadowy figure gazed up at Mannaroth with two white points that appeared to be its eyes. “Lord?” It asked, its voice appearing to come from nowhere in particular, but rather from everywhere in the chamber.
“It appears my son has awoken” Mannaroth replied. “Together we shall liberate him from his prison”.
The figure bowed its head and spoke again. “Yes lord. He shall be a powerful addition to the forces of the Scourge”.
Mannaroth smiled and nodded. “He will at that”. Raising his hand he spoke a single word, heavy with power. The purple fires scattered around the room shot towards his hand, forming into the shape of a staff. The purple glow faded and features began to become apparent on the weapon, until Mannaroth held a staff made of metal, great blades affixed to both ends.
Mannaroth chuckled and slammed the staff into the ground, cracking the stone floor. Purple runes flicked into existence, darting around Mannaroth and Nevermore. Mannaroth uttered another word of power. There was a flash of purple light, and the runes disappeared, taking Mannaroth and Nevermore with them
Dach groaned as he awoke. His eyes opened to see his mother and father standing over him, concern in their eyes. He shifted and a skin that had been draped on him fell to the ground. Looking at it, Dach saw that it was the skin of the tainted Furbolg, its head still attached as was the custom for Orcish tropies. The skin’s blank eyes stared up at Dach steadily, as if accusing him.
What had happened? The last thing he remembered was the Furbolg bearing down on him and then... nothing.
“What-?” he began, stopping as his father lifted the skin from the floor and draped it around his shoulders.
“An Furbolg as your first kill,” his father said, pride in his eyes. “And a tainted one no less. Grown Orcs would be proud to have performed such a feat”.
Dach smiled happily, then realised that he should have been no match for any Furbolg, tainted or no. So how had he done it? “How could I have killed it?” he asked.
Dach’s father looked at his mother, who nodded. His father sighed and sat down next to Dach. “There is something we must tell you. It concerns your birth and your-“. He stopped, pain in his eyes and then forced out the remaining words. “-real father”.
“What do you mean? You’re my real father!”
“No Dach, your real father is-“ he stopped again, the words sticking in his throat.
Dach’s mother shook her head and took over, her voice shaking. “Dach, your father is Mannaroth, the eighth general of the Scourge.
Dach’s eyes widened in horror. “No! No!” he howled, his voice cracking with horror and disbelief. Looking at his mother and father, he knew they were telling the truth. There was only one question to be asked. “How?”
His mother grimaced and fell silent and his father took over once more. “You know of course that your mother fought against the Scourge”
Dach nodded. It was a matter of great pride for his family that one of their own had helped to defend against the might of the Lich King.
“You know as well that your mother’s legion was devastated in the Battle of Northrend. What you do not know – what we have kept secret – is that many of the legion - your mother included - were held prisoner by Mannaroth and –“ His father broke off and shuddered. “It does not bear thinking about. Needless to say, eventually members of the Free Armies freed your mother. But by that time the demon’s seed was already inside her. She returned home, and we realised that she would give birth to a Demonling; some foul beast spawned from one of the very agents of evil. Our plan was simple; kill it as soon as it was born. Only-“ His father hesitated, his eyes gazing into the distance, seeing once more the events that had unfolded.
His mother stirred from her silence and continued “Only it was not a Demonling that I gave birth to, but a healthy, normal Orc. You.” She looked at Dach, who had stayed silent.
He looked dazed, his mind struggling to take in everything that had just been revealed to him.
“I’m sorry that we didn’t tell you sooner,” his mother apologised. “We did not want your powers to awaken early.”
Dach’s head snapped up at this “Powers?” he asked.
His mother nodded “On the night you were born, our mage received a message from the spirits prophesising that your lineage would afford you great power. He did not know how you would use that power, but he felt that the longer your powers were held in check, the less likely you were to use those powers against the Free People. So we cared for you as if you were our son. We grew to love you as if you were pure Orc, but we prayed that you would never discover your blood line. It was a wish that we knew would never be granted, but we prayed nonetheless. But now the time has come. Your father – Your real father – will have sensed the awakening of your powers. So our mage was told.”
Dach looked around in panic, expecting a Demon to burst through the door at any second.
His father stood and walked over to the fire. Drawing his knife, he slotted it into a crack that Dach had seen thousands of times and twisted. A patch of floor slid into the wall with a scraping sound, revealing a flight of stairs leading below the house.
His father smiled at the expression of amazement on his son’s face. “You didn’t think we hadn’t prepared for this, did you? Fetch you sister. We’ll hide in there until the Demon gives up his search. I won’t let him have you. None of us will!” Gesturing to the door he repeated his instruction. “Get your sister in here.”
Dach opened the door his father had pointed to, and was surprised to see every villager capable of holding a weapon standing outside his cottage. Armed with farm tools and building implements, they stood steady, ready to face any attacker. At their head was the village mage, bent nearly double with age. White runes floated around him, crackling with power. He began to chant and the runes scattered across the village, forming a ring around the cottage. Seeing Dach exit the hut, the halted his chanting long enough to wink at him.
“We’re ready to stop any Demon getting to you” he said.
Dach nodded in gratitude and then asked if his sister had been seen. The ranks of men parted and his sister ran toward him, excitement shining in her eyes. “Do you think I’ll get to see a real Demon?” she asked.
Dach’s eyes darkened. “I hope not,” he replied. “Come on, let’s get inside.” He walked back inside the hut, his sister following closely.
Behind him the mage continued his chanting, more runes shimmering into existence around him. The villagers gripped their weapons and surveyed the landscape guardedly, looking for any sign of movement. The sun shone down from directly above, burning away shadows.
The sun continued its passage across the sky, and the villagers began to relax, the lack of any attack lulling them into a sense of security. By the time that the sun had begun to dip below the horizon, only a few of the villagers still held their weapons. The rest had cast them aside and were lounging on the ground, convinced that the Demon had forgotten them.
The mage knew otherwise, and continued his chanting, the air around the village thick with the white runes he had summoned. Suddenly the runes began to blacken, tainted by the presence of an evil force.
As the sun sank below the horizon, the air began to glow a deep purple as runes flickered into existence in the centre of the village.
The villagers leapt to their feet, weapons in hand and ready to face the threat. The mage’s chanting increased in volume and speed, and the runes scattered around the village leapt at the source of the purple light.
As they touched it they blackened and burst into flames before fading from existence. The mage continued his chant, unperturbed by his failure, and more and more of his runes attacked the light.
They all had the same effect as the first wave and the purple light merely grew stronger throughout the attack. The mage’s chanting slowed as he exhausted his supply of runes, before stopping all together. He collapsed to the ground panting, his body trembling with pain.
The villagers looked at each other nervously, before diverting their gaze back to the source of the purple light as it began to pulsate with energy.
Two figures began to form in the depths of the light, their features at first hidden but becoming clearer with each second.
There was a mighty roar and the light disappeared, leaving a cloud of purple runes. In their midst stood two figures. The first was a human shaped cloud of shadow, its burning gaze seeming to pierce the souls of each villager.
The second figure had the shape of a human from the waist up, but the semblance ended there. Its entire body was covered in purple fur that rippled in the wind. Below the waist it had the form of a demonic horse, its reptilian tail tipped with a savage spike. Its pointed hooves pawed the ground, mould bursting from wherever it placed its feet. It looked around with thousands of black eyes. Upon its head rested a crown fashioned from bone, the nightmarish look completed by two horns which sprouted from its forehead. Running one of its hands through its tangled beard, it raised the other. In it the figure held a staff made of metal, with great blades affixed to both ends.
Mannaroth surveyed the villagers in front of him, then spoke softly. “Where is my son?”
The villagers before him shifted nervously, but held strong in the face of the Demon before them. There was silence,
“Where,” Mannaroth repeated, this time louder and with malice in his voice. “Is my son?” As he finished speaking, he thrust his staff over his head. Runes sparked into existence on the ground before him, and the earth at his feet took on a purple colour. Mannaroth spat a word of power and huge slabs of rock rose from the ground.
As the villagers looked on in horror, Mannaroth spoke another word. The slabs of earth floating above him burst into purple flame. The Demon smiled then pointed his staff at the villagers.
Comprehension dawned in the eyes of some of the villagers, and they threw themselves to side the side instants before the chunks of earth shot at them, decimating their ranks. The slabs exploded on impact, scattering purple mage fire across the villagers. Screams of pain filled the air as those hit by the fire tried in vain to beat it out, the unnatural fire searing flesh and cloth alike. There was a flash of white, and the flames disappeared, the screams stopping an instant later
The village mages smiled savagely, baring his teeth before speaking. “You’ll find that we don’t go down without a fight. You might be a Demon, but we have all sworn to protect the child, no matter the cost. And we Orcs do not break our oaths lightly.”
Nevermore looked at Mannaroth, an unspoken question in his eyes. The Demon inclined his head. Green flames flickered into existence around Nevermore, and in a movement so fast that those watching saw only a blur, he raised his hand and flicked an orb of green fire at the mage.
The mage was knocked off his feet, coming to rest several metres from where he had been standing. His head lolled lazily, blood streaming from a huge hole that had been burned through his skull.
“We shall ask one more time before I use my magic on you. And trust me when I say this, if I have to do that, the results will not be pretty, for you or your souls. Where. Is. The. Boy?” Nevermore said, its voice echoing around the village.
The villagers merely stared at him, their silence more from shock than any semblance of defiance.
Nevermore tutted in annoyance and raised its hand. Black smoke uncoiled from the tips of its fingers, coalescing into thousands of screaming faces. As more of the smoke unwound from his hand, pale flesh began to peek from the depths of the black cloud surrounding Nevermore’s body.
“Find the boy” Nevermore ordered, speaking directly to the screaming faces floating before him. The cloud of souls burst apart, scattering around the village. Within seconds one of the faces had reappeared before Nevermore. Smiling, he reabsorbed the souls in the air, his pale flesh receding once more below the cloak of darkness. Nevermore contemplated the information the soul had gathered for a second, then pointed to a house near the crowd of villagers.
“He’s in there. Underground”.
Manneroth raised his staff once more and the ground around the house began to glow purple.
Dach’s family huddled together in the hidden room, praying to the spirits that the Demon would not find them. They had heard the loud crash made by the slabs of earth striking the villagers, but had no way of knowing what had happened. All they knew was that the Demon was here.
Dach shifted uneasily, pausing a moment to readjust the skin he was still wearing. Was it his imagination or was the room starting to turn purple?
There was an almighty crash as the room exploded around them in a dazzling flash of purple light, knocking them all to their feet. As Dach stood up, he was aware of a figure watching him through the billowing smoke.
As the smoke cleared he realised that he was looking at a Demon. What else could it be? Nothing else could look so foul, so twisted. Could this thing really be his father?
Demon and Orc surveyed each other, their faces holding completely different expressions. Dach looked on with an expression of horrified disgust, while the Demon had the proud expression of a father.
The Demon spoke a single word. “Son”.
Dach jumped back in utter revulsion, fear written across his face. His Orcish father stepped forward and placed his hands on his shoulders. Dach smiled at the small comfort, and moved forwards once more, his fear gone.
“My son,” the Demon said, an edge to its voice that bordered on tenderness. “I-We,” the Demon corrected itself as Nevermore appeared from the smoke, its white gaze looking hungrily at the Orcs. “Have come to free you from your prison”.
“Prison?” Dach’s tone was incredulous. “This isn’t a prison! This is my home! This is my family! And he,” at this Dach gestured to the Orc who stood protectively behind him, the Orc who had cared for him his entire life, “Is my father”.
Mannaroth’s face contorted into a savage scowl for and he spoke harshly, all traces of warmth gone. “Home? Your home is with me, with the forces of the Scourge. You should never have been raised here. You do not belong here! You are my son and so are a Demon! Come with me now and I will spare the rest of this pathetic village”.
Dach felt his father’s hands tighten on his shoulders and heard his voice whisper in his ear “Don’t listen to the Demon. He’ll kill us all if you go with him, just out of spite”. Raising his voice, he spoke directly to the Demon. “My son,” he began, placing particular emphasis on the word, “Is right. I’ve cared for him my entire life. I’ve loved him as if he were my own. And you come here and try to take him from us? He belongs here, with his real parents, not with the foul Demon that spawned him!”
Mannaroth’s scowl twisted into a savage grin. “You’ve spoken your last Orc. I will take my son, whether you agree to it or not!”. He nodded at Nevermore and stepped out of the way.
Nevermore moved forward then pointed his hands at the Orc who stood over Dach. The sound of screaming filled the air, and a face similar to those that Nevermore had summoned before shot from the Orc’s mouth.
Dach felt his father’s hands go limp on his shoulders. He turned, then stumbled back in horror as he saw his father’s face. His fierce eyes had turned completely white, devoid of any emotion. As Dach watched, his father began to crumble, until there was nothing but dust floating in the air.
Nevermore chuckled at the expression of devastation on Dach’s face. He smiled as he absorbed the Orc’s soul and could not resist a taunt. “Delicious”.
Dach’s gaze snapped to him, his eyes filled with an expression of pure hate. “I will kill you,” he snarled.
Nevermore merely chuckled at the threat. “Come now, at least your father won’t be lonely”.
The hate in Dach’s gaze faded for an instant, to be replaced with confusion. “What?”
Nevermore gestured to where Dach’s mother and sister cowered, hugging each other in a desperate attempt at comfort.
Horror dawned on Dach’s face an instant before Nevermore lifted two of his fingers. Mother and daughter had time for one last scream before they exploded in a flash of green fire.
Dach stared emptily at the spot that had been occupied an instant before. “No!” He howled, pure anguish echoing around the remnants of the room. “No! No! No!” He screamed, punching the floor every time he spoke.
Mannaroth merely smiled, a smug expression on his face. “Do you see now that fighting is useless? If you join me, you will be a powerful asset to the forces of the Scourge. Come, take your rightful place”.
Dach ignored his speech and continued to punch the ground in devastation, his cries filling the air.
Mannaroth shook his head and continued, trying to speak sense into his son. “If you agree, you will -“.
One of the claws in the skin draped around Dach came loose and fell into the path of his fist. Unseeing, he brought his hand down upon it, cutting his hand almost in half. Blood ran forth from the wound, the ground around his hand turning crimson.
Dach looked up at the Demon standing over him. All trace of fear and anguish was gone from his eyes. All that remained in eyes red with demonic power was pure hatred. The Orc leapt forward, the Furbolg’s claw held in his hand.
Mannaroth continued talking for an instant before realising his danger “Become str-WGYR!” His speech was cut short with a great cry of pain as Dach plunged the claw deep into his stomach. He twisted it, revelling as Mannaroth cried out in anguish, begging for mercy.
The red eyes held nothing but hate. Dach dragged the claw up through the Demon’s chest, cutting his entire torso open. The claw slashed through bone as easily as it did flesh, cleaving Mannaroth’s rib cage open. Inside beat a heart that had been turned purple by magical corruption. Dach cared naught about the colour, and simply ripped the heart from Mannaroth’s chest. The Demon’s eyes glazed over and he collapsed to the ground, dead.
Dach stared hungrily at the heart in his hand. Purple blood dripped from the torn arteries on the heart, mingling on the ground with the crimson blood that was leaking from the gash on Dach’s hand. Dach paused an instant longer, then bit down on the heart.
The air turned purple as remnants of Mannaroth’s magic leaked from his heart, painting Dach’s face a nightmarish blend of red and purple. Purring, Dach swallowed the blood in his mouth.
Instantly the purrs of delight were replaced with a great howl of pain. The gash on Dach’s hand began to heave, skin and flesh beginning to knit back together. As the wound began to close, the mighty claw Dach had used to kill Mannaroth was caught in the wound. The Orc’s flesh healed around the claw, sealing it into Dach’s hand. As the Orc continued to howl, two nubs of bone began to sprout on either side of the claw, until his hand had not one claw, but three.
Dach’s howls ceased momentarily, then began anew as the Furbolg’s skin began to writhe around him, growing until it covered his entire upper body. It’s transformation finished, the skin tightened around Dach until from the waist up he resembled an Furbolg. The skin twitched one last time and then was still.
Dach’s howling stopped and he stepped forward unsteadily, his visage now transformed into that of a Demon. From the waist down he was still an Orc, but above that he was covered in white fur that rippled as he moved. His left hand remained relatively unchanged, but his right now sported three savage claws. Dach bunched his fists reflexively, and the claws slid back inside his hand. The bottom half of Dach’s face was unmarred, but above that he had been transformed into a beast.
The Furbolg’s head had bonded with the face of the Orc, white fur covering it as it did the rest of his body. The shape of his face was changed by the skin into something far more predatory, red eyes gazing out from thick fur. Dach’s gaze swept the hut hungrily, skipping over Nevermore as if he was not there.
Dach turned to look behind him as the sound of footsteps began to fill the air. Those villagers who had mustered the courage to fight were approaching, weapons ready to kill the intruders. They stopped uncertainly when they saw Mannaroth’s body, then realised that one of the Demons had been slain. A cheer went up, to be quickly quelled as Dach began to howl.
There was no trace of pain in his howl. Instead, it was filled with the pleasure of hunting animal. Dach looked at each of the villagers in turn, his eyes seeing only the blood coursing through their veins. He licked his lips in anticipation, then stopped, the red starting to fade from his eyes.
For an instant, Dach’s face was filled with fear, and he managed to choke out a single word. “No”.
Then he shook his head savagely and howled once more, his eyes once again pure red. There was a sound akin to a sword being drawn, and the claws that had become part of him slid out of his hand, ready to rend flesh and bone. Dach stepped forward eagerly, his teeth bared in a savage grin.
The villagers began to move back as Dach walked steadily toward them, his clawed hand held at the ready.
Dach snarled, and leapt into a full run, charging into the centre of group of villagers. He ran his claws through the chest of any who stood in his way, the grin never leaving his face.
Those that survived the intitial attack realised that they could not stop the beast that Dach had become. Casting their weapons aside, many of them ran from the slaughter. It was in vain however. Once Dach had disposed of those who were still trying to fight him, he turned to the fleeing Orcs. Bounding forward on all fours he quickly caught up to all those who were trying to escape and quickly killed them, his claws severing heads from bodies and cutting chests open.
As the scream of the last Orc was cut short by a savage stab to the gut, Dach gazed back at his handiwork. Bodies littered the village, their blood already beginning to leak into the ground. Dach sheathed his claws and howled in the pure delight of a predator who has nothing to fear.
A bolt of green energy exploded around Dach, cutting his howl short and knocking him to the ground.
Nevermore chuckled as he watched Dach struggle back to his feet. “I should thank you Orc. With Mannaroth dead, there is place to be filled by the Lich King’s side. I’ve been waiting a long time for that”.
Dach snarled as Nevermore spoke and gazed around blankly, his eyes searching for the source of the voice. His eyes passed straight over Nevermore as if he were invisible.
Nevermore chuckled again. “Your sight is based off of blood, no? If so, you’re out of luck. This body’s heart ceased to beat long ago”.
Dach’s ears twitched as Nevermore spoke and his head began to turn to face him. As Nevermore finished speaking he howled and charged, his ears seeing what his eyes could not.
Nevermore tutted in annoyance and flicked his hand at the Orc. Green fire erupted around Dach, halting his charge and knocking him to the ground.
“You’re brave, I’ll give you that,” Nevermore said. “There’s still a place for you in Manna-My army if you so choose”.
Dach growled and struggled to rise, his fur burning with remnants of green fire. Nevermore gestured and Dach was flattened by another green bolt of energy.
Shaking his head, Nevermore spoke again. “It’s a pity. You would have been a valuable addition to the forces of the Scourge. But if I must kill you then I will.”
Green flames appeared around Nevermore as he began to weave intricate signs in the air before him. His shadowy skin began to peel off into thousands of souls, exposing the pale skin underneath.
Dach struggled unsteadily to his feet, his eyes fixed on the last place he had heard Nevermore’s voice. With a deep growl he sprinted straight at Nevermore, his claws ready to maim the shadowy figure.
The souls began to dance around Nevermore as he finished his hand signs. Green fire began to burn in the air before him, coalescing into the shape of a huge rune. An instant before Dach reached Nevermore, the rune dissipated into the air.
Thousands of souls rushed at Dach, their mouths screaming in silent agony. As the first soul touched Dach he was forced backwards by the sheer power assaulting him. The souls rushed through the Orc as if he was not there, leaving gaping holes in their wake. Blood began to pour onto the ground from his wounds and the red slowly began to fade from his eyes. Pain and anguish flashed across Dach’s eyes for a second before they glazed over. He collapsed to the ground, dead.
Nevermore raised his hands and the souls flew back to him, coating him once more. With a final glance backwards, he strode from the village, leaving devastation behind him.
Hours later, buzzards had begun to converge on the scene of death, pecking over the remains of the village. While most of the village was a veritable feast for the birds, none had yet approached Dach’s body, his transformed body terrifying even in death.
Finally, one bird braver than the rest flew over to the Orc, its hunger driving all thoughts of fear from its head. Allighting on Dach’s head, it pushed his mouth into the ground, where the blood from his wounds had begun to congeal. A single drop of blood was pushed into Dach’s mouth.
It was enough.
The savage wounds caused by the souls began to twitch, flesh rejoining and skin knitting over the regenerated muscle. White fur began to regrow over areas that had been ripped apart by the souls, and within seconds Dach was fully healed. His eyes snapped open, empty of any trace of red.
What had happened?
Dach looked around at the remains of the village, his horrified gaze taking in the dead bodies all around him. Had the Demon done this? No... Horrifying visions surfaced in Dach’s mind, half remembered memories of the carnage that had unfolded.
He had done this!
But what of his family? Surely he had not killed them as well! Dach struggled to remember what had happened. The Demon destroying his house and then...
Dach sat bolt upright as he remembered. The figure! He had wielded souls and fire. It was he that had killed his family!
They would be avenged!
But how? He could not defeat the figure, that much was obvious. Then how?
His powers! Whatever they were, they made him strong, strong enough to kill a Demon and take out-
-his entire village. He lost all control when his power manifested. Would it happen again?
Could he take that chance?
Dach growled and punched the ground. What should he do? If he gave into the power he could kill thousands of innocents. But if he learned to use it, he could defeat the figure and avenge his family.
Dach replayed the deaths of his family in his mind, unable to make a choice. He saw his father turn to dust, his mother and sister erupt in green fire.
And then he knew what he had to do.
Dach’s eyes began to turn the crimson colour of blood.
I will have revenge!