Blood Oath

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The Golden Clairvoyant

“Halt; who goes there?” the night watchman at the gate of Bos Stad shouts from his perch. He is staring down at the edge of the forest, having just been startled by the sound of rustling leaves. When no one answers he continues shouting. “I'm warning you, I am armed.”

“Alright, alright, there is no cause for alarm,” the soft calm voice of a man responds. Slowly a lone figure appears from the darkness of the trees. He appears to be in his late twenties with brown hair and a slight beard. His attire consists of magnificent golden armor which emphasizes his chest particularly and a wreath atop his head made out of what appears to be antlers.

“Who are you?” the watchman’s suspicions only deepen.

“Excuse me?” the stranger seems surprised. “Is this not the welcoming village of Bos Stad? Are travelers not welcome anymore?”

“Not this late at night,” the guard answers. “Not since Cabith stopped making deliveries past dark almost three years ago. Now I'll ask you again, who are you?”

“Such a shame.” The stranger shakes his head disappointedly. “May I ask what prompted this sudden curfew?”

“You may.” The guard nods. “Several of our townspeople were kidnapped and transformed into monsters by a human ghoul. Now we do not trust anyone unwilling to brave the daylight.”

“Oh I'm willing, I'm more than willing,” the stranger insists. “The problem is that it is not daylight and I’d much rather be having this discussion within the safety of your walls.”

“How did you get here? Surely you did not walk through the forest at this hour?” the guard is cautiously curious.

“What is with all the questions, man?” the stranger is losing his patience. “Are you going to let me in or not?”

“I don’t see why I should.” He shrugs. “You seem perfectly capable of surviving out there on your own.”

“Is that any way to speak to your god?” the stranger demands in a suddenly booming voice.

“God?” The guard raises an eyebrow. “Surely you don’t mean to tell me that you are a demigod. Which one are you?”

“My name is Lodar the clairvoyant,” he bellows. “I demand entrance into this village at once. Do you disobey your god?”

“I do I'm afraid,” the guard sighs. “While being a demigod would explain your ability to traverse the forest at night without so much as a ghoul scratch, being one of the nasty creatures yourself is a much more plausible assumption. My statement still stands. I will let you in when I’ve seen you brave daylight with me own eyes.”

“Is that your final decision?” Lodar glares up at him sternly.

“Aye.” He nods.

“Then so be it.” Lodar shakes his head disappointedly again. “I was really hoping it wouldn’t come to this. By the power of Arma Venture I command you to obey me.” Lodar’s eyes begin to glow bright yellow, startling the guard horrifically.

“I knew it, I knew it. You’re one of those creatures. I…” his voice trails off as his eyes start to focus on Lodar's. “What are you…? What…? How…? How may I be of service, my lord?” he slowly becomes submissive.

“I really did try to avoid this.” Lodar clicks his tongue. “None can disobey the power of my Arma Venture. Oh well, open the gate good sir. I must have safe passage.”

“As you wish,” the guard mutters in response. There is a slight amount of drool dripping down his chin now. He is completely under Lodar’s control.

“Make sure you leave it unbarred,” Lodar orders while slipping through. “I have some friends coming along soon who will need a way inside as well.”

“Absolutely.” The guards nods obediently.

“Now then, where to begin,” Lodar hums to himself as he trots down the dirt path that leads from the gate to the center of town. “I'm sure the council should be in this direction.”

“Um, excuse me.” A villager taps him on the shoulder as he passes by.

“Did you just touch me?” Lodar’s yellow eyes flare angrily.

“Sorry, sir, but did you just come from the gate? What business do you have there at this hour?”

“I was merely concerned for the watchman’s well being,” Lodar lies while attempting to sidestep the annoying peasant.

“I can't help feeling that’s a lie, sir.” The man moves into his way. “I’ve never seen your face before. Are you new in town?”

“What is it with you cautious simpletons?” Lodar growls. “From this moment forth, you will question my presence no more!” he orders while focusing his yellow eyes on the villager’s.

“Um, yes sir.” The man nods slowly. “I am your loyal servant. What would you ask of me?”

“Where does the leader of the town council sleep? I have business to discuss with him.” A sly smile spreads across Lodar’s face.

“You must want to inform him of your lord’s arrival, am I right? Oh how joyous this shall be. I will fetch him at once.”

“You do that, good man. You do that.” Lodar pats him on the shoulder while continuing on towards the town square. Despite the overly suspicious nature of these villagers his infiltration of Bos Stad is going well; obviously thanks to his powerful Arma, which holds the ability to control the mind of anyone who meets his gaze. It is a fearful talent earning him the title of clairvoyant, mystical mind dominator.

As Lodar walks along the dirt path his flamboyant appearance draws stares from all of the villagers still outside on the street this late at night. They can tell that he is not normal. Each one that approaches him to question his arrival quickly falls under his spell though, agreeing to do his bidding and bother him no more. It is not long before every villager still awake at this hour has fallen prey to his Arma.

“This is good, this is very good,” he mutters to himself with a large smile while wringing his hands mischievously. “You will all do nicely. I only wish you had more fighting experience and perhaps a good armory. You there, where are your weapons stored?” He points at one of the foremost villagers now all lined up like soldiers in the village center.

“Weapons?” He cocks his head in thought. “Not much need for them unless you a watchman. If you be needin’ something for yerself I can only suggest the blacksmith. She weren’t much good at makin' such when she first arrived but she grown into the role. The shop is down the lane, just past the pub, you can't miss it.”

“Why thank you, good sir.” Lodar bows his head graciously. It seems even a demigod is not beyond common courtesy. “On second thought, could one of you show me the way?” he asks while glancing down the row of mind controlled villagers. “Ah, you there.” He points at a rather short woman with brown hair turning grey from overworking sticking out from under a cloth bonnet. “You look like a capable woman.”

“Yes lord, follow me.” She steps out of line obediently. “Right this way. The shop is…”

“Mum?” the voice of a young man interrupts her. “Mum, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be cleaning the Shaw household. Mum, are you listening to me?” Like the majority of the villagers Lodar has encountered thus far he is immediately suspicious of the demigod. “Who are you?” he asks when he notices the man clad in golden armor standing near his mother.

“Have you no manners, boy?” Lodar scolds him. “Is that how you address an elder?”

“Um, sorry sir.” The man bows apologetically. “My name is Seamus, sir. If I could simply have a word with my mother in private…”

“Your mother is busy, child. Go back to bed.” Lodar waves at him uninterestedly.

“I'm sorry, sir, but I really can't do that,” Seamus apologizes again.

“What?” Lodar raises a confused eyebrow. “Did I hear you correctly? Did you just disobey an order from me?”

“I'm afraid I did, sir. I really must speak with my mother. She’s…”

“She’s busy obeying her lord, as should you be,” Lodar bellows at him. “Go back to your home and do not speak to me again, is that clear?”

“No, sir; no it’s not,” Seamus refuses to obey. “Who exactly do you think you are?”

“Are you not taken with my voice?” Lodar is startled. “Do my eyes not entrance you?”

“No, sir.” Seamus shakes his head. “Should they?”

“Curious; curious indeed.” A smile spreads across Lodar’s face.

“I don’t very much like the sound of that.” Seamus gulps nervously. “Why should I obey your command?”

Lodar gives a halfhearted shrug. “Because I told you to. To be exact, Arma Venture told you to. The fact that you can disobey its command is most intriguing.”

“You, you have an Arma?” Seamus is immediately impressed. “Is it that thing you wear on your head? I’ve never seen one before. How does it work?”

“Arma Venture is a wonderful little tool that allows me to interact with the thoughts of others,” Lodar answers honestly. “In some cases I can extract information but I mostly use it to enact obedience in my followers.”

“And the fact that it does not work on me means what exactly?” Seamus’s interest has faded to suspicion again.

“It means you are not easily entranced by my lure,” Lodar continues to answer his questions freely. “You do not find my commands irresistible like your dear mother here.”

Seamus is already dreading the answer to his next question. “And why would I not?”

“I can think of only one reason. You are already under the control of a more powerful trance.”

“Oh no,” Seamus breathes out.

“This town is infected with a bloodsucker, isn’t it?” Lodar surmises. “You are a servant to her, boy, are you not? You despicable excuse for a human; how dare you betray your kin for that vile creature.”

“How dare I?” Seamus’s eyes flare dangerously all of a sudden. “How dare I? How dare you? You are the great demigod Lodar, are you not? I’ve heard of you before. You protect villages like ours from bloodsuckers, do you not? So where were you when the blacksmith and her daughter first arrived in Bos Stad five years ago? Where have you been for five goddamn years?”

“Oh dear boy, I'm sorry.” Genuine regret floods Lodar’s eyes. “I had no idea you were suffering so.”

“Don’t patronize me!” Seamus screams at him. “I have been under this bloodsucker’s control for half a decade and you only just arrive. It’s too late; it’s just far too late.”

“Wait, I can help you, boy.” Lodar reaches out his hand. “I didn’t come here to exterminate bloodsuckers but I will. If that is your wish, I shall free you from your master’s control. Tell me where this beast resides and I shall slay her myself.”

“You can't help.” Seamus shakes his head.

“What have they done to you?” Lodar’s eyes are wide with pity. “How have they broken you?”

His attention is taken as Seamus’s mother tugs on his gauntlet, directing him toward the path that leads to the blacksmith’s shop. “This way,” she mutters in the most careless voice. She is completely oblivious to the conversation happening around her; completely useless for anything other than following the order put to her by Arma Venture. Seamus follows his mother as she leads the demigod to the very front doors of the blacksmith shop.

Lodar wraps on the large oak barrier with his golden metal gauntlet. “Who goes there?” Champaign’s deep yet feminine voice responds almost instantly. “I'm warning you, I have defended this town from the likes of your kind before and I'll do it again.”

“My kind?” Lodar is slightly taken aback. “What exactly is my kind?”

“Ghouls, monsters, animals and freaks,” Champaign spits incoherently.

“Wouldn’t that be you though?” he turns her accusations around on her. “The fact that you are not under the control of Arma Venture at this very moment is proof enough; you serve a dark master. You have forsaken humanity.”

“Who… are you?” Champaign’s voice drops to a whisper.

“Open the door,” Seamus calls to her.

“Seamus, what have you brought upon us?” She is trembling audibly.

“You have brought this upon yourself,” Lodar bellows. “Come out and face judgment at the hands of your god.”

“You are no god of mine,” Champaign manages to maintain the slightest amount of courage. It is obvious that she is utterly terrified though.

“Why are humans so stubborn?” Lodar sighs while raising his arms. Slowly villagers under his control start to gather around the blacksmith shop. They push against the oak doors until their combined weight is too much for them. Champaign can't help but yelp in shock as they give way to a wave of villagers, tumbling like bodies at her feet. “Surrender,” Lodar orders menacingly.

Champaign is already clad in her self-made armor with her broadsword drawn. She glances through the doorway to her right, into the second room of the shop where Row is waiting on their bed and watching her. “Defend your mistress,” the bloodsucker whispers.

“As you wish, milady.” Champaign nods obediently before turning to face Lodar again.

“What is wrong with you?” He frowns at her. “What has this creature done to earn your loyalty? Surrender now and I may yet still spare you. Do you not wish to be free of your servitude? Let me end this nightmare for you.”

“I have no doubt that you could.” Champaign smiles at him. “Unfortunately my loyalties forbid me from surrendering. This will end for me with my last breath and not a moment sooner.”

“You’re insane,” Seamus whispers under his breath as Champaign charges forward, attempting to strike at the demigod with her broadsword. Rather than even attempting to dodge it, Lodar flicks his wrist, directing one of the villagers to stand in front of him and block her attack. “No!” Seamus shouts as a man he has known his entire life is cleaved in half by the former knight.

“Wha-what, what did you do?” Champaign almost drops her sword in shock.

“Don’t you mean ‘what did you do?’?” Lodar corrects her. “It seems you have just killed one of your fellow villagers; such a shame.”

“You bastard!” Champaign’s screams at him. “What kind of demigod are you? You can't use humans as shields?”

“Why not?” Lodar shrugs. “It’s you who is attacking me. I'm simply using whatever is at my disposal to defend myself. If you do not wish to harm your friends then surrender. It’s as simple as that.”

“Shut up!” Champaign swings again. This time a young woman of under twenty steps into the path of her blade.

“Stop it!” Seamus screams at her.

Champaign is trembling more than ever now. “You’re sick,” she mutters while staring at Lodar, utterly appalled.

“You’re the one who can end this,” he remains completely calm. “How far are you willing to go to defend your mistress?”

“I…” Champaign glances back at Row who is still waiting in the next room. All she receives is a nod from her master.

“Don’t,” Seamus begs her.

“I'm sorry.” Champaign swings again. Seamus stares in absolute horror as villager after villager is chopped down by the former knight as she hacks her way toward the demigod, who simply steps back every time she closes the distance between them.

“Ah, this is such a shame. I was collecting these people as soldiers for my army. I did not realize how pathetic they would be in the face of one trained knight.” Lodar shakes his head disappointedly.

“Please stop,” Seamus is practically sobbing. “Please just surrender. You can't beat a demigod, Champaign. You’re only hurting innocent people.”

“You fool. You’re the one that led him here,” Champaign growls at him angrily as she continues to slaughter the people she has called friends for the past five years. “You think I care about any of these peasants? I swore an oath to protect my lady and I will uphold it to my last breath. I do not care if the whole world dies around me. I will destroy it myself if I have to.”

“This is becoming tedious.” Lodar raises his hand, ordering the villagers to converge on Champaign and actually start attacking her. “I'll never understand knights and their loyalties. Have you ever stopped to realize what you are? You’re a monster’s pet.”

“What about you?” she counters. “You’re using innocent people to defend yourself. Tell me that is not something a monster would do. My god, are all demigods like this now? Is there no honor left amongst the legendary nine? You’ve become more monstrous than the very bloodsuckers you were created to defeat.”

“You think I should not use humans as weapons, eh?” A smile spreads across Lodar's face. “So be it then. Let’s see how well you handle my other friends.” He waves his hands in the air once more, calling upon even more mindless puppets under his control.

Champaign’s face turns pale as she recognizes the sounds of ghouls howling in the distance. “What have you done?” Her eyes are wide in disbelief.

“Surely you did not expect me to traverse the forest at this time of night without using my Arma Venture to defend myself,” he answers mockingly. “I encountered over five dozen ghouls on my journey. All of them remain under my control. What will you do now, bloodsucker servant?”

Champaign is already growing tired but she has no time to rest. The street is now overflowing with pitch black creatures scampering over one another for the chance to get at her. It does not mater which way she swings her sword it is impossible not to hit flesh, be it human or ghoul.

“Oh dear, we’re running out of soldiers,” Lodar mutters in a mocking tone. “I wonder who we have left. Ah, how about this young woman. It was ever so helpful of you to lead me here.” He waves his hand at Seamus’s mother, taking complete control of her.

“Don’t you dare.” Seamus darts toward the demigod but his path is blocked by the mass of ghouls still circling the faltering knight.

“Say goodbye to your charge,” Lodar cackles as he directs Seamus’s mother to lift an axe off of the blacksmith shop wall and swing it at Champaign. The knight is still strong enough to block it though. In one swift move she slides her blade down the shaft of the axe, slicing Seamus’s mother’s fingers clean off. Next she stabs her through the chest, killing her instantly.

“No!” Seamus finally manages to break through the wall of ghouls. He pushes his way into the very center and drops to his knees in front of his dead mother. “Why?” His eyes are filling with tears as he glares at Champaign.

“It doesn’t matter,” she is unapologetic. “If the world is my enemy, then so be it.” Seamus rises to his feet slowly, faltering each time one of the ghouls bumps into him as they continue to circle around the weary knight. He takes a shaky step towards Champaign, still glaring daggers at her. “I will not hesitate to kill you,” she warns him. “Not one foot closer, understood?”

She is too distracted to realize the ghouls around her are closing in. One of them clamps its jaws down on her arm, causing her to drop her sword. Soon the rest of them are upon her, biting through her armor and dragging her to the ground. Row watches in horror as her guardian struggles to fight off a seemingly endless wave of creatures with nothing but her armored fists. They are much harder to fight off than normal ghouls as they are organized, working in tandem with Lodar’s direction.

“Stop!” she finally shouts while charging to her defense. The ghouls are scared enough to release their hold on the knight. They retreat to a safe distance, cowering and whimpering behind Lodar as he watches with a cruel glint in his yellow eyes.

“Stand back,” Seamus orders Row as he approaches the knight. He is holding her own broadsword in his hand.

“What are you doing?” Row asks in a shaky voice as he raises the hilt above his head, pointing the blade straight down at its owner.

“This is for my mother,” he whispers. Row reaches for his hand but is too slow. The blade stops a mere inch from Champaign’s throat, hovering above her as Seamus tries to force himself to stab her. Something is stopping him though. “I… I can't do it!” he screams while tossing the sword aside. “I just can't do it.” He is still sobbing uncontrollably.

“Well that’s no good,” Lodar sighs while shaking his head. “This boy’s a complete mess; we’ll have to fix that. Look at me, boy,” he orders.

“Don’t do it,” Row whimpers. Seamus ignores her, lifting his head and staring into the demigod’s glowing yellow eyes.

“That’s right, focus everything on me.” Lodar nods slowly. “Focus on the sound of my voice. Who are you?”

“I… I'm Seamus,” he answers in an unsure tone.

“Again, boy, who are you?”

“I'm… I don’t know.” His eyes dart back and forth as he searches for his name in his mind.

“Good, now tell me who that woman is.” Lodar gestures to his mother’s corpse.

“Someone I know?” Seamus stares at him inquisitively.

“Do you?” Lodar shrugs? Seamus quickly copies him. “That’s right; you have no memory of her. What about the knight? Do you remember her?”

“Champ… Camp… Can… I can't remember.” Seamus grips his head while groaning in pain.

“No, you don’t know her,” Lodar answers for him. “Now here comes the most important question. Who is that girl before you?”

“Row?” Seamus looks up at the bloodsucker who is watching him in utter confusing.

“No, who is she,” Lodar repeats.

“That’s Row, my lady, my mistress, my master.”

“No! Tell me again, who is she?”

“Row,” Seamus answers confidently.

“No, no, no,” Lodar’s eyes flare brighter. “Who is she?”

“Row is Row… isn’t she?” Seamus is no longer sure of himself. “She’s Row, right? Right?” He looks at Lodar for confirmation.

“Who?” he pretends not to know.

“I mean, I think she’s… she is… who? Who are you?” Seamus tilts his head in thought.

“Oh no,” Row gasps. “What have you done to him?”

“I reset him,” Lodar answers honestly. “He was far too broken. After five years under your control, I'm not surprised. He’s much better now, aren’t you boy?”

“I… feel better now.” Seamus nods slowly.

“No.” Row shakes her head. “You can't do that to him.”

“It’s too late,” Lodar laughs. “Are you ready to obey me now, Seamus?”

“Seamus? Who’s Seamus?” He blinks at him stupidly.

“Oops, I may have gone too far. Oh well,” Lodar is not concerned in the slightest. “Time to take your revenge on your master, Seamus. Kill the bloodsucker.”

“Bloodsucker?” Seamus turns to face Row again. “Pretty.” He can't help but smile at the sight of the beautiful girl.

“She’s a monster, boy, remember that,” Lodar tries to keep him focused. Seamus shakes his head to clear his mind. He instinctively grabs Champaign’s discarded sword again and swings at the young bloodsucker.

Row is barely able to avoid him by tumbling backwards. “What are you doing?” she screams at him. “You can't attack your master.”

“You are not my master,” he responds in a monotone. “You are a monster.”

“That’s right, boy, she is a monster. Kill the bloodsucker. Free yourself!” Lodar is cackling like a mad man. Seamus takes a calm step towards Row as she cowers on the ground.

“Stay away from me,” she warns him while raising her arms in front of her face defensively.

“Kill her!” Lodar’s voice is ringing in his ears, preventing him from even hearing her. Every step Seamus takes causes Row to shake more and more. She still holds the appearance of a child no older than twelve, making her look immensely pathetic under the gaze of her former servant bearing down on her with sword in hand.

Just as he is about to strike though she raises her head. Her eyes are burning bright red and her white fangs are showing. When faced with the threat of death her animal instincts always seem to take over. She leaps at him before he can swing the sword, latching onto his front and wrapping her arms around his shoulders so he can't move as she sinks her teeth into his neck.

Seamus drops the sword as he tries to pry the bloodsucker off of him. It is not the first time he has been fed on and he knows full well she intends to drain him entirely. He manages to slip one arm free of her grasp and punch her in the stomach. She spits up a mouthful of blood but is otherwise unfazed. Again he plants his fist into her ribs, trying to force her off and again she manages to hold on.

His vision starts to blur as what remains of his life force drains out of him. His skin is a pasty grey and his eyes are glowing their normal emerald green mixed with the signature yellow of a ghoul. His transformation is upon him. In mere seconds he will be nothing more than the hollow shell of a human, forced to survive by siphoning energy like the very master he despised.

“Enough!” Lodar finally chooses to interrupt, kicking Seamus in the back, sending him somersaulting forward. Row is unable to cling on. She lands at Lodar’s feet, drooling blood and glaring red at him.

Seamus rises to his feet, swaying dizzily from loss of blood. He needs to feed. The first thing he sees that might sustain him is the former knight he tried to kill a moment ago. He pounces on her armor clad torso, scaring the nearby ghouls away before they have a chance to converge on her again. He opens his mouth as wide as it can go, revealing strangely jagged teeth.

Champaign's eyes open just as he is about to bite her throat. She slaps the side of his face, causing him to close his mouth. Before he can recover she brings her legs up and kicks him in the stomach, flinging him off of her with as much force as she can muster. He tumbles to a stop directly behind Row’s feet as she continues her staring match with Lodar. The yellow glow has faded from his eyes as some of his sense has returned. His teeth are still sharp though.

“Well this is interesting.” Lodar’s attention is drawn away from Row for a moment.

Champaign does not waste the chance to attack him while he is open. She grabs the axe Seamus’s mother dropped and charges toward him. He turns his head just in time to feel the sharp edge collide with his cheek, splitting a good portion of his skin from his face. Champaign continues to push him back causing him to slide as he drags his heels in the soft dirt of the ground. It is obvious that the demigod is not used to this sort of close combat.

“Look what you’ve done to my face?” he spits angrily while smacking Champaign hard enough to send her tumbling backwards. The difference in strength between a normal human and a demigod is blatantly apparent. The wound on his face has already stopped bleeding. In a short day it may heal entirely, leaving almost no trace at all. Champaign struggles to clamor back to her feet but her ghoul bite wounds have opened up even more. She is losing blood fast.

“Finish her!” Lodar shouts at Seamus.

“Why?” He stares back in confusion. He has no memory of why he is even fighting.

“By my Arma Venture, I command you to obey me.” The elegant mocking tone has disappeared from Lodar’s voice. Seamus does not need to be told again. He scampers along the ground on his hands and knees like an animal, tackling Champaign onto her back and digging his fingernails into the spaces between her armor.

As soon as he has managed to remove her breastplate, he bites into her torso, tearing her flesh and swallowing mouthfuls of blood and skin. She is too weak to kick him off this time. Instead she simply writhes in pain. “Good, good.” Lodar regains some of his demeanor. His left eye, which was nearly carved out by Champaign’s axe, is glowing again as it slowly heals.

Suddenly Seamus stops biting Champaign and spits out the contents of his mouth. His eyes have completely returned to normal and his teeth are no longer sharp. He has absorbed enough of the former knight’s strength to restore his humanity. “What am I…?” He glances around in confusion. He almost screams when he sees the wounded knight beneath him. He scampers backwards, spitting repeatedly as he tries to cleanse himself of the taste.

“Ah, that ended too quickly.” Lodar frowns at him.

“What did you do to me?” Seamus shouts at the demigod.

“Me? I did nothing. Ask your master.” Just as Lodar raises his arm to point at Row she bites the tips of his fingers, ripping them clean off. “What the…?” He is in utter shock. She quickly leaps onto his chest, knocking him to the ground and digging her steel-like fingernails in-between his ribs and ripping at his organs. “Get off of me!” he wails while beating the back of her head with his fists.

Seamus manages to stand up and grabs the demigod’s arms to stop him. “Help me,” Lodar begs. Seamus simply stares at him with a blank expression. He can not comprehend what is happening; he has no memories to draw upon. “Obey your master,” Lodar tries to order him.

“But you said she was my master,” Seamus recalls. Lodar’s eyes widen as he remembers his mistake. Before he can say anything else though Row’s fingernails slide through his throat, severing his vocal cords and his windpipe. He is unable to speak and unable to breathe. The bloodsucker is not finished though. She continues to rip chunk after chunk from the bleeding man’s chest, showing no intention of stopping any time soon.

“That’s enough.” Seamus finally pushes her off of him. “You’ve done enough.”

“No.” She shakes her head while climbing back onto his chest and shoving her entire right hand into the hole she has made. “He’s a demigod. It takes more than this to kill him. He’ll never die. He won't, won't, won’t die, goddamn it!” she is screaming at the top of her lungs with tears flowing from her eyes. Strangely the motionless man beneath her is still alive. At least his eyes are still glowing brightly.

“What is a demigod?” Seamus asks in confusion.

“Monsters,” Row growls. “They hunt and kill my kind simply because we are different. They will not rest until either we or they are all dead.” She is growing tired but still she does not stop attacking the wound in Lodar’s chest as it continuously attempts to close itself up.

“It’s impossible.” Seamus shakes his head in disbelief. “Why won't he die?”

“Please,” Row is practically begging. “Just let go.” She clasps her hand around the demigod’s heart. Lodar opens his mouth to say something but is unable to make a single sound. Slowly Row squeezes his heart causing him to shake and shudder. Finally the muscle simply bursts, splattering the bloodsucker’s face with red liquid.

“Is it over?” Seamus asks hopefully. Row shakes her head solemnly. “What do you mean?” he raises his voice. “There is no one who could survive that. He must be dead.”

“Not yet,” she mutters softly.

“How do you know?” Seamus asks. Row stands up slowly while wiping the blood from her face. She clasps his hand with her red stained one and drags him away from the demigod’s body. Seamus watches in complete awe as a yellow glow appears in the night sky above them. It descends to the ground in a cylindrical beam, surrounding the demigod’s entire body. “What is that?” he breathes out. The yellow glow that is fading from Lodar’s eyes slowly starts to rise out of them, lifting up into the sky, returning to the heavens.

“The rapture,” Row whispers in equal amazement. This is the first time she has ever seen it.

“It’s so beautiful.” Seamus reaches out his free hand.

“Don’t.” Row shakes her head while holding him steady.

“Why not?” He breaks free of her grip.

“Wait!” She tries to stop him but it is too late. The beam of light expands rapidly to encompass him as well. The yellow glow from Lodar’s eyes suddenly falls back down, diving at Seamus’s face and knocking him to the ground. “No!” Row screams as the beam of light shoots back up into the sky like lightning, disappearing as if it were never there. It has been denied its purpose; now it shall wait for however long it needs to before it can descend again to reclaim the power of the golden demigod.

When Seamus manages to open his eyes again they are glowing bright yellow, just like the demigod Lodar’s. “What happened?” he groans while glancing around. He is literally lying amongst a mass of bodies including ghouls, villagers, a demigod and one fallen knight. The only other living creature is the young bloodsucker Row, who is crouched over her dead guardian sobbing incessantly. “Who, who are you?” Seamus reaches out to her cautiously.

“You don’t remember?” She looks back at him while trying to hold back her tears.

He shakes his head slowly while eyeing the dried blood on her face and hands. He quickly realizes that he is also covered in red as well. In fact, not a single body there has been spared the bloody red mess. “Are you alright?” Seamus reaches out to the crying girl. “You’re not hurt, are you?”

“I'll be fine.” She grabs her stomach as she remembers how recently she fed on him.

“What is your name?” Seamus touches a bloody hand to her cheek, sweeping her auburn hair over her ear.

“Row,” she whimpers softly.

“And you are my master?” he confirms.

“I am.” She nods while refusing to look him in the eyes. Their yellow glow is incredibly unnerving.

“Then I shall serve you.” He crouches down on one knee, bowing his head.

“Do, do you swear your loyalty to Lady Rowleen Ironglave of Massmede?” she asks in a shaking voice. “Will you lay down your life for me and protect me from all who would do me harm?”

“I do.” He nods.

“Then rise, my servant.” She pats him on the shoulder. He lifts his head to stare her bloodstained face. The only part not covered in red are the streaks of tears running down her cheeks. “Are you afraid of me?” she asks calmly.

He shakes his head. “You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is an honor to protect you, milady.” Row manages a slight smile before picking up Champaign’s broadsword and handing it to him.

He steps over the fallen bodies around him and enters the blacksmith shop where he retrieves a shoulder scabbard for it. “Are we leaving this place?” he asks while staring down at the dead villagers. He can tell that they were almost all slain by the very sword he now holds.

“Yes.” She nods. “We can not stay here. The village of Bos Stad is dead. Let us find a cart and as many supplies as we can. We start our journey at first light.” She directs his attention at the horizon where the sun has only just appeared.

He nods obediently before trotting off in the direction of the village square. With absolutely no memory of who he is, he now has only one purpose in life, to travel with this young bloodsucker and protect her with everything he has. He will not question why. There is no reason to.
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