Silently Dembrek crept from his hut. He didn’t want to wake his mother so early. Nor did he want to answer the many questions she’d surely ask about why he was up before the sun, and why he was taking his father’s sword with him.
Though still a young boy, he wanted to honor his family, his name, and take his place as man of the house. As hunter and protector. For him, and for his mother, the only family he had left. All he had were faint stories of his father and the magnificent sword he had left behind.
Careful to move quickly and unnoticed, he pulled the heavy blade along with him as he headed through the clearing and into the forest. He was going to practice. He was going to learn how to wield such a mighty sword. In doing so, he’d one day become champion of his tribe. But more than that, he’d honor his father, even if he wasn’t around to see him.
When he had found a space amongst the trees to practice, he took one last look around. He did not want to be followed. It was his first time taking the thing out and he didn’t want to embarrass himself as he learned how to maneuver such an incredible weapon.
When he was sure he was alone, he stopped and looked closely at his father’s legacy, left behind when he returned to the stars. It was huge and powerful, elegant beyond words, and the way it curved this way, then twisted that, was an awe-inspiring thing. But beyond that, it was heavy. Very heavy. Almost too much for the young boy of the Original People to carry, let alone swing around.
He propped the thing on his shoulder as he prepared to prove his worth. With a shout, he swung it forward, only to drop it. He staggered a moment, then again picked up the blade, face tight, ready to do it right this time. As he twisted and gave it a swing, it whooshed the air in front of him as it left his hand and clinked to the ground. He too toppled over by the counterweight.
He stood quickly and picked it up again. “I can do this,” he assured himself as he hoisted the huge piece of unnatural metal back up and onto his shoulder once more. He screamed the warrior’s scream as he flung it forward, then spun it, then fired it across the invisible enemy in front of him.
Shocked to have held it so long, he dropped it again, then tumbled over it. As he sat up, his pitch eyes went wide as a smile crossed his little face. “I did it!” he cheered. He stood again as he propped the massive sword up on the blade tip, then spun it. Even the way it looked as it twirled was magnificent.
He looked up at the stars which were ready to retreat to the sun’s call, wondering if his father could see him now. With a smile, he hoisted the blade up again and prepared to take each step he had to, to become its master. With arms bulging little muscles, and a heart even stronger, he again swung that sword like nothing else in his world mattered more.
As he felt the weight and balanced it with his own, he now knew how to hold it without dropping it or toppling over. Now, he could swing such an amazing item all on his own. With pride across his face, he swung it this way, then that, all the while focused, determined, ready to keep it moving and him at the hilt. As his confidence grew, he lost his concentration and fell again, the sword bouncing across his head, causing him to wince.
A deep and hearty laugh followed his fall. He looked quickly, then scurried to his feet. His eyes went wide a moment, then serious and fierce.
Loud, mocking clapping followed the laugh as Dominick, former war chief of the Original People, walked in with a wicked smile on his face and a stagger in his step.
Dembrek stood firm.
“Well. What is this?” Dominick asked, excited to finally have this child alone.
Dembrek said nothing. He just kept his dark eyes locked on the man he had hated all his life.
“Do it again. Show me again,” Dominick asked with a slur as he waved his hand about. “Show me how you fight, little warrior.”
Dembrek picked up his father’s sword, then stood it up.
“Well, go on. Show me,” Dominick demanded.
Dembrek didn’t move. He knew this one to be poison to the tribe. He knew he had tried many times to win the heart of his mother, and when she objected in favor of his father, Dominick got nasty. He had heard that this foul creature had stood against his father and lost, countless times. But beyond all that, he would mete out vicious beatings to this child whenever he found him alone, like now.
Dembrek knew this man hated him just for existing, and his father for having been better than him. His father always bested him. As he held the hilt of his father’s blade, he stared at his adversary with eyes that could not be read by any mortal.
Dominick walked over and grabbed Dembrek by the shoulders and lifted him up. As he looked quickly between the child’s unreadable eyes, his breath burned his face. Vine. Poison drink of the heart and soul stank from his mouth as he breathed. Dominick was unrelenting in his punishments, especially when he was drunk. “Show me!” he shouted as spit from his demand sprayed the child’s face.
As Dembrek was dropped, he still held his father’s blade tightly. He then lowered it, and turned for home.
“A coward. Just like your father.”
Dembrek stopped a moment at that, then composed himself, then carried on for home.
“That’s what I thought. Run. Run like he did. Run away like a coward. You know, your father was too afraid to face himself so he broke your mother as he left. Ashamed of who he was. Ashamed of her. Ashamed of you.”
Dembrek stopped again. His lip curled in hatred. Then, with all he could muster, he calmed himself as he walked on.
Dominick laughed. “I would expect as much from the bastard child of a wretched whore.”
“That’s right. Or didn’t you know? Your father, he was just a whoremonger that saw his chance to take a piece, then left her when he knew he had fathered a filthy, basted offspring he was too cowardly to raise.”
Dembrek shook with rage as his black eyes now burned red like flames.
“It’s true. I was there. I saw it. He laughed at her as he left, even though she wept and begged for him to stay. She was nothing to him. She was filth. Scum. Dirt. Whore.”
“Stop it!” the boy shouted as he turned.
“And what are you going to do, son of a wretched whore, huh? What are you going to do? You can’t defend her. You can’t make her right. You can’t redeem her. She’s abandoned. Used. Filthy. Unworthy. She should be beaten to the end of her life, then watched as she gasps for the last few breaths of her life in agony before she dies.”
“I told you to stop it!” Dembrek bellowed as tears welled his eyes though he refused to let them fall. He lifted his father’s sword up and held it out in front of him, ready to use, heart pounding so hard it shook his little frame.
“Oh, well, there’s the big warrior,” Dominick toyed as he approached the boy. “You better watch who you raise a weapon against or you might taste the pain of your opponent.”
“I’m not afraid of you! I’m not afraid of anyone!” the child screamed, eyes burning, hate fierce.
“Good. Are you ready for a real fight?”
Dembrek held the sword out as he readied his feet to carry him through this.
“I was hoping you were,” Dominick snarled as his eyes fell hard and his lip curled. As he charged the child, he easily parried the little fighter’s strike and placed a big fist to the small face of his would-be opponent, sending him back with a crack.
As Dembrek pulled his pained self up. Dominick laughed. “You’re nothing. Spawn of a whore. You don’t even have a name anymore. You don’t deserve the air you breathe.”
Dembrek stood strong, nose bleeding, cheek swelling, his father’s sword in hand, unafraid.
“Oh, you want more? Well, I have all morning to torture you as long as you’d like. And when I’m done with you, there isn’t much holding your mother’s door shut. I may finally break it open and force myself into her. I sure would love to know what she tastes like.”
Dembrek roared as he charged the enormous man. He swung with everything he could muster, but a few flashes of light and painful thumps later and he was on the ground again, sword cast from his hand. He huffed in a searing pain a moment as his agony made him try to twitch away from it. After a time, he absorbed his hurt and pulled himself to his knees.
Blood was pouring from his nose and mouth and he struggled to pull a clear breath between them. His cheek throbbed and grew from the strike that split it open. His left eye throbbed as it began to close. His whole head pounded, but despite this, he wasn’t ready to give up.
“Look at you. You’re all messy. Broken. Losing. Just like your failed lineage,” Dominick laughed. “I’m more than happy to beat you to death if you’ll let me. Just keep getting up, unwanted bastard.”
Dembrek stood again, his little body shaking as he forced it up. He limped over to his father’s sword and pulled it up with gritted teeth.
“Oh, I was hoping you’d be stupid enough to do that,” Dominick smiled as he prepared to unload more hatred on the little one.
As Dominick charged, Dembrek cut and sliced wildly as he let out a series of loud screams, but it wasn’t even close to enough to stop this brute. As the child fell hard under the might of his aggressor, he felt every strike. Every blow. Every fire-like pain of each merciless pound of the one who would end him with pleasure.
When the rain of fists stopped, Dembrek turned to his side so as not to drown in his own blood. He huffed to keep his senses clear. He shook with desperation. As his life-blood left him, he closed his one good eye tightly as he tried to absorb all the overwhelming punishment his little frame could not possibly hold. When his eye popped open again, it now ran with the tears of so much pain. He moaned as he tried hard to suck back the agony he was in. Fierce, throbbing fires of the deepest of pain.
He twitched and shook as he tried to find the strength to get up one more time. His face was cut, bruised, split, and painting the ground below him red with his blood. As he swelled, his fine features twisted and puffed him into a near unrecognizable mess.
He struggled with his one unbroken arm to pull himself up but he lurched and jolted as he was held back by his injuries. As his face tightened, he flopped down again and winced as he tried so hard not to cry under the horror of his injuries.
Dominick stepped back and watched the child suffer under the weight of his brutal strikes and cruel punishment. He liked seeing this kid he had always hated struggle painfully to move and breathe. He strolled over, then knelt over the now helpless and beaten boy. He grabbed his hair and pulled it hard to lift his head. Then, with pleasure brewing in his eyes, he smashed his little face into the ground below, causing his entire little body to jump.
“Does it hurt, bastard?” he said as he laughed.
Dembrek lay in half consciousness as his lifeblood continued to pour from his face.
Dominick held the boy’s hair tightly as he pulled his head up again sharply. “You know, I quite liked our fight. I liked that you thought you’d win, then I liked very much proving you wrong. I mean, come on, I’m a warrior at heart. What are you? Flesh of lust? Whore offspring of nothing? A creature that should never have been?” he said as he spat on the boy, pausing to watch the glob run down his bloodied face.
Dembrek twisted and turned trying to free himself from this monster’s mighty grip. The shooting pain at his scalp where Dominick’s grip almost tore out his hair caused him to tighten up his face.
The drunk fighter dropped the mop he held and stood. He took a deep, proud breath as he looked through the trees. “Well, I think today’s the day I ravage what’s left of that whore mother of yours.”
Dembrek continued to twist and turn as light became blur and voice became noise under the weight of his torturous injuries.
Dominick looked at the pathetic and dying heap below him a moment with a content smile. “I couldn’t possibly have had you following me and trying to stop me from making her bleed too,” he mocked as he knelt again and looked the dopy child over.
Dembrek fought to regain control of his senses but shock was taking over.
“After all, my biggest fight is with her. Tell me, how do you think I should do this? Should I knock first, talk to her, pretend to try to make everything right, then slam her to the ground? Or, should I kick her door in, rip her clothes from her tight little body, then beat her almost to death before I take her savagely?”
Dembrek felt a great thunder build within him. A powerful energy roared though his soul. An unnatural magic he could only have inherited from his father. A rumble of rage soared through the beaten child’s veins as his blood rushed about his tiny frame.
“I know,” Dominick snapped his fingers in delight. “I’ll make you guess! But you’ll feel it. You’ll feel all of it,” he said as he looked to the lost boy. He then stood and looked down one last time. “I promise to come back here and finish you once I have choked the life out of her. I just want her to be dead before you, just so you can suffer it. Hey, maybe I’ll drag her body here for you to see. How about that?” he smiled brightly as he turned and walked away.
“Dominick!” the roar was so big it startled the large warrior as he jumped slightly, then turned. As he looked on in surprise, the boy stood tall. Dominick’s confident smile shifted to anger as if the boy had defied him by rising to his feet. “You want more?” he huffed.
Dembrek stood as tall as he could. Face split and bleeding. Pain surging though his little frame, as much as he hid it. He took a deep breath, then stood with his father’s blade in hand, ready to fight on.
“Do you want me to kill you first? Huh!? You want your heart to stop before the sun rises?!” the bully taunted.
Dembrek huffed through each painful breath, determined not to fall to this terrible tormentor.
“All right, bastard child! You think I hurt you before? You think the thumping of my fists off your flesh was painful before? Oh, you have no idea how soft I’ve been! You’ll feel your bones crack under my wrath! You’ll beg for your mother to save you! You’ll cry out to your father, but neither will come!”
Dembrek gritted his teeth.
“Your father couldn’t care less about you! You’re just the result of his lustful whoring with your mother! Nothing more!”
Dembrek huffed with pain and power.
“And your mother couldn’t save you against me if she tried! I might beat her to a pulp in front of you, just so you know how little she means to anyone!”
Dembrek growled as his eyes began to glow.
“Then I’ll ravage her right in front of you! Just so you know how low she is! How unimportant her life is! I’ll brutalize her as she screams, just for you! Just so you know how much she’s hurting!”
Dembrek roared as the ground below him began to shake.
“And then when I’m finished with her, I’ll choke what life she has left out of her! Her dying eyes will find yours, and you’ll always know that it was me who tortured her to death!”
With that, Dembrek’s eyes burst from burning red, to blazing white.
“Yes! I’ll pull her head from her body, just so you can watch her die,” he smiled, then tightened his face into deep, seething hatred. He then balled his mighty fists, ready to rip this boy into nothingness. As Dominick approached, eager to hurt this child, Dembrek stood tall. Waiting. Ready.
As the drunken brute came in swinging, Dembrek took two large pounds across his head, unscathed. Again, the brute fired his vicious strikes against the boy, each bouncing with hard thuds off his little flesh, but none fazed him.
As Dominick unloaded the beating of a lifetime, he gritted his teeth and swung wildly at the child, planting fist after fist into the soft flesh of his victim. When he finally stopped, he stepped back and huffed to catch his breath. He just stared at the beaten and bleeding child, now staring back at him with eyes of light and incredible power.
“Your eyes. Your power. They’re just like his. You’re just like him!” Dominick shouted in disbelief.
“My turn,” Dembrek said in a low growl. With a few large and fast swings of his father’s blade, Dominick fell to his knees, then his face, a pool of his blood spreading from him.
Dembrek propped the sword on his shoulder and limped for home...
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