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CHAVIAS - A Will to Live

Deep in Battling Country (Radix’s captive for fourteen years)


Radix slammed his fists down on the wooden table. Rattling a small tin cup.

“It’s been months! How can there still be no sign of the Watchers!” He roared, spinning on Okine. “It’s been one failure after another since they escaped! And now that wretched boy thinks he’s won against us. Where does his personal war come from? I was naught but kind to him!” Radix was sincerely confused. He’d been careful to never be cruel to the boy. Thinking Savage inclined to serve him forever as long as he was free to kill when he wished.

Which Radix had allowed him to do.

From just beyond the entranceway, Chavias peered around the wall and saw Radix’s distorted face.

Billowing smoke poured from his shoulders, filling the cave chamber with the smell of death rot. Tiny horned heads jutted from Radix’s face and neck, making guttural noises that echoed the demon’s malcontent.

A sure sign his frustration is overcoming his power.

A vague smile pulled at Chavias’ lips. Gratified at the creature’s misery. Chavias’ heart swelled with the first glimmers of hope.

I could find solace in his pain. He promised himself rewarded for helping the fallen angels escape. Gleeful in Savage’s recent triumph over Radix. A way of avenging me. Chavias knew. Touched that in his own way, Savage wreaked Chavias’ vengeance on the demon.

“I’d have rather killed them then let this happen.” Radix’s voice dropped as he referred to the escaped Watchers. Jagged teeth protruded from his mouth in a furious sneer.

“Have others…” Okine inputted hesitantly.

“They will not be enough.” Radix paced the cavern fervently. Pausing only to toss his hand which sent the wooden table and chair clattering across the stone chamber.

He’s trying to focus on rounding them back up. Rather than on pursuing Savage further as it’s obviously, currently, an impossibility.

Radix watched the cavern entrance as he paced.

Chavias was horrified to see people pouring in. Walking on numb feet. Some with the black mottle already marring their faces. Some with black eyes, some with orange and some that could still pass for human.

“You have done well, Okine.” After assessing the group that now spanned to both walls and went several people deep, Radix finally swept his gray robes from his path to face the crowd shuffling in. So many filed in, there was now no room to move. They clustered around him. Some shifting or standing tiptoe to see over the rest. Face after face in countless rows extending from where Radix stood, all the way back to the cave opening.

“Yes, Me Lord.”

“But they’ll not be enough for what will come unless they’re trained. Suitably darkened.”

Raising his voice, he announced a welcome with a broad gesture. “Thank you all for coming. You are all here for the same thing. Power, wealth, immortality, strength. You will have it all…Once you are fully refined.”

Some nodded slowly. Others looked unsure.

“I’ll ask some of you to submit your will to me and you will become telepathically linked to me.” He saw several appalled expressions and added. “This means you will have direct access to my magic. You will feel it constantly pulsing through you. That taste of exhilaration I have given you will be endless ecstasy for you. Long as you do my bidding.” He gave the hollow promise. Failing to tell them they’d become mindless black minions that’d eventually shuck their human form to become demonic. Noni, Targue, or Sarabi. A rare few would become Firoque Yearners and be lent to the Demon King Nierwae who held the stronghold in Battling.

Lives in which they were mindless, obedient creatures.

You’d all rather be dead. Chavias thought, shaking his head sadly. By the time he has your will in his grip you’ll know no better…

Radix would have few to spare for the Demon King in Battling this run.

“Others of you will obey me albeit longer to earn my trust…to gain that privilege.”

Hell, of privilege. Your body rots while you’re still alive. Chavias was sickened listening to him lie to these people.

But their eyes were dark with mindless greed.

It’s not because it’s a privilege to surrender their will. It’s because he knows once they do and his dark power is streaking through them, they’ll wreak of cimmerii.

The knights will be able to smell them. They’d be able to identify one of Radix’s minions from afar, unless he was careful to constantly conceal the scent. Which took a depth of concentration Radix had little patience for.

“I need you to find the knights or the Watcher children. If you sense them or find them it’s your duty to track them, watch over them until I’m ready to hunt them. If you’re able, seduce them, or traumatize them so I can lend my comfort. Twist them to our side. Send me word through the nonis.” He nodded to the floor littered with the skittering black rodents. “They’ll tell me of your doings…And” His tone turned coaxing. “You’ll be rewarded for your efforts dependent upon your successes.”

“That’s all we need do?” One man murmured fearfully.

“Find them. Find them all!” Radix repeated in aggravation.

“Yes, yes, My Lord.” One announced. Others echoed the sentiment. They began shuffling toward the opening en masse. Ready to splay out in every direction.

Like a plague.

Radix waited patiently. Teeth grinding as he longed for them to move faster. “Okine!” He commanded when that one moved to leave as well.

Okine turned a thick wrinkled yellow neck to look at Radix.

“Not you. I need you. You must find me more.”

“Not enough?” He gestured to the crowd filtering through the cave corridor, agitatedly.

Radix looked at Okine as though he’d said the most foolish thing Radix had ever heard. “Are you incompetent?”

Okine looked to the floor.

“There will never be enough! Find me more. If you find me enough, I will reward you by letting you bleed Chavias for me.”

Son-of-a-bitch. Chavias grimaced. The demon commander loved nothing so much.

Okine’s pointed teeth flashed gleefully, and his black eyes glinted at the prospect. “I detest.”

“I know.” Radix nodded. “I will let you torture him near to death if you impress me.”

“I will. I will, My Lord.” He reiterated cheerfully. Bobbing his square head as he went purposefully out of the caves. Step quick with his mission.

“Now where in the Hell is Calisto’s bleeding cape?” He was spinning in circles looking for the little item he’d possessed. The item which forced her to return to the Black Mountains.

To Radix.

Chavias quietly retreated around the wall and returned to his prison chamber. The barred gate still swung open on rusted hinges.

I need to practice Spirit Running. I need to be much better if I’m going to help combat that bunch.

I’m going to defeat Radix from within his own lair. The thought made Chavias’ gray eyes shine with hope. Anticipation and a sick sense of triumph.

The first glimmer of hope I’ve felt since the day I helped Savage Jaxson escape Radix.

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