Chapter 1 - Lullaby
Nougus : You will be paid 50 silvers now, and then another 100 once the job is done. Understood?
Daimian : Yes. Just protect you and your family for the night. Is that really it?
Nougus : Yes, it is.
Daimian takes his money and sits on a chair in the hallway. A maid passes by him and smiles. He looks at his axes. One is larger, unwieldy in a hallway like this and the other is smaller, able to be swung in the hallway. He checks his daggers and crossbow bolts and sets it aside. He sleeps during the day and wakes up as night is coming. As the sun sets, he notices Nougus enter the room with his daughters. He makes nothing of it. As the night goes on, he hears villagers yelling at Nougus from the street.
Daimian : It should be none of my concern, but they wouldn’t protest about it if it wasn’t true.
As Daimian approaches the room, he hears moaning. He hesitates to open the door, so he peers in through a gap between the wall and the door. He sees Nougus forcing his daughters onto each other and having his way with them. Disgusted, Daimian goes back to his chair. The maid approaches him.
Maid : It has been like this since they’ve hit puberty.
Daimian : It’s disgusting. Those are his daughters.
Maid : They do not protest either. They think it’s their father’s way of showing love.
Daimian : What is your name, maid?
Santi : It’s Santi. Your name, sir?
Daimian : Daimian. You already know I’m a mercenary.
Santi : The villagers might curse you for working with Nougus. Might I propose something?
Daimian : What is it?
Santi : Kill Nougus on their behalf. That’s what people outside are yelling for. They want his head.
Daimian : He’s paying me to protect him. I can’t betray a job.
Santi : I’ll pay for my own. Kill him, 3 gold coins.
Daimian : His daughters?
Santi : If they intervene, you can kill them as well.
Daimian : We have a deal.
Daimian picks up his axes, and walks to the door. He kicks it in, and Nougus and his daughters scream. He runs past Daimian, naked, but Daimian throws his axe into his thigh. He walks over to Nougus, who is crawling away and yanks the axe out of his leg. He chops his head in half onto the carpet and looks over. His daughters are whimpering and crying on the bed. He starts to walk out of the door, when a crossbow bolt hits the door. He looks back and sees the younger one holding the weapon. He takes his larger axe in hand, and Santi hears more screaming from the room. The older sister is seen running out of the room and she sees Santi in the hallway.
Keialla : Santi, run! The mercenary turned on us.
Santi : I know.
Keialla : Wh... What do you mean-
Daimian’s axe splits her head and he pulls her corpse off of Santi and onto the ground.
Santi : 2 gold coins, you got my dress bloody. I jest. Here, 3 with an extra 50 silvers for the performance.
Daimian takes the money, and cleans his axes. He grabs Nougus head and wraps it in a cloth.
Daimian : So what will you do now. You’re out of a job.
Santi : I’ll come with you, if you’ll have me.
Daimian : Until you find a place to settle down again.
Santi : Oh, you don’t like me?
Daimian : You’re only about 15 or 16 from the looks of you. Doubt you want to live with me.
Santi : True, you’re old.
Daimian : 26. I’m going to head out now. Follow if you want to.
Dragging Nougus’ corpse out of the manor, Daimian and Santi leave. He shows the angry crowd Nougus’ body and they cheer. He opens the gate and they flood in as Daimian and Santi leave. They spit on Nougus’ body, pissing on it and the like. Others hit his corpse with farming tools as his head is cut off completely and each half is stabbed onto a pike. They dance around in his courtyard, as Daimian and Santi are able to see it from the bar they entered.
Daimian : How’s the beer?
Santi : Kinda sweet, but fine. Yours?
Daimian : Oh, it’s vodka. Pure.
Santi : That sounds... horrible.
Daimian : Yeah, I feel like it’s just fucking water. How old were they?
Santi : Nougus’ daughters? The younger one was 18, the eldest was 20.
Daimian : Himself?
Santi : I believe nearing 48.
Daimian : Hope they suffer in hell. You, what were you working there for?
Santi : Medicine for my mother and father, they lived here.
Daimian : Shouldn’t you use this gold for them then?
Santi : Nougus... killed them. That’s why he never wanted me to leave the manor. I found out because my neighbour had told me while watering the front gardens one day. He was out that day as well.
Daimian : How’d the entire town know about his... family activities?
Santi : I spread the rumors. As well as photographs. When people starting giving him the cold shoulder, it was honestly hilarious. He came to me and talked about how people would call him a freak, or a horrid father. I couldn’t say less.
Daimian : Mm. I could get me some new weapons and armor thanks to you. If you stick with me for a while, I could make more money and... what?
Santi : You’re trying to pull a Nougus on me aren’t you?
Daimian : I’m not even interested in the slightest. I’m saying this because you don’t have a place to go once I leave. Even then, we’d be renting rooms here and there, most likely camping while I’m on a job. You want that, or I just drop you off at the first city I go to?
Santi : To be honest, I’d want to stay with you. I can cook while we’re out in the wild, although you might need to get me some clothes.
Daimian : Says the teen who dropped a year’s worth of pay for one man’s head.
Santi : I’d give you a bonus since you killed the girls, honestly.
Daimian puts his hand out.
Santi : I was going to say that I couldn’t because Nougus kept my payment for this month since he was suspicious of me.
Daimian : Want to raid his coffers then?
Santi : That’s theft! That money belongs to the villagers.
Daimian : Eh, we’ll just say we’re taking your payment for this month’s work.
Santi : I... guess.
Daimian chugs the rest of his vodka, and Santi downs her beer slowly. they head out of the bar and back to the manor. As they walk up the steps, they notice more blood on the carpets and heading into the hallways. Daimian takes out his smaller axe and Santi follows a little behind him. They turn the corner and see a hulking beast. It’s eating the corpses of Nougus’ daughters and chewed through bones lie beside it, presumably from the villagers who were outside. It turns and looks down the hallway, and they move behind the wall before it can see them.
Daimian : Where does he keep his money?
Santi : Past the beast, in his office.
Daimian : Hold on.
Daimian throws a pressure bomb down the hallway and the beast slams it thinking it was alive. It explodes, completely demolishing the floor but also shredding the creatures arm. It frantically pulls out the shrapnel embedded in its chest and wounds, and Daimian runs towards it. He splits the top of its skull and it screams, punching Daimian away from it. It flails around on the floor, and finally expires. As Daimian and Santi walk past it, smoke begins to seep out from it. They ignore it and take as much gold and silver they need. Santi packs an entire three satchels full of coins. They walk back, and see the corpse on the floor. The gas is still coming off of the body, but it is Nougus’ corpse, only headless.
Santi : Daimian...
Daimian : Yeah. I know. He either did something to himself, or someone else might have.
Santi : Let’s... leave. Please.
Daimian takes the gold from Santi and puts it in his pack. They go to the stables and take a horse, then head immediately for the nearest city. As they continue on and rush past the city checkpoint, the guards get ready to chase behind them. Santi throws a gold coin to them.
Santi : That’s for the fine! Sorry!
They continue down the path and wait for the gates to open. They leave the horse at the stables and head inside. There they are greeted by more guards.
Galias : Care to explain why the young lady is drenched in blood?
Daimian : The lord of the village had died to a coup. She was the only survivor.
Galias : Is that so? Nougus was his name, was it not? He evaded taxation for the past couple of months. We’ll head to see about it, recover anything that remains. Enjoy your stay.
They continue past Galias, and look for the inn. They find it, and head in. Daimian rents a room with two beds, and they head upstairs.
Santi : How much did you give her?
Daimian : 2 gold. We’ll stay here for a while anyways.
Santi : Alright. Should we get new equipment now?
Daimian : Of course. You know how much my axes dulled back there? I think I’ll get a longsword. It’ll be less maintenence.
As they walk outside, A tentacle embeds itself into Daimian’s chest. Santi falls to the floor and screams, as Daimian loses consciousness. He looks through his blurry vision at the moon, and see the tentacle coming from the beast in front of it. As he collapses, Santi struggles to pull him inside, yelling at those inside the inn to help her. His vision finally goes pure black. A masked face looks at him within his vision. It caresses his body and whispers in his ear.
??? : Bear the mark... and take those who do not deserve it... They beckon. You have been invited to join their ranks... Refuse, and your soul, like so many others, shall be theirs.
It disappears into his mind, fading from his view. He shoots up from bed in a cold sweat, and Santi hugs him as he wakes up.
Daimian : What happened... what did that thing do to me?
Santi : I have my suspicions, but I am still unsure.
Daimian : A damn demon, that thing.
Santi : There were five others...
Daimian : Five others got hit as well?
Santi : Well... I assume.
Daimian : Assume? Santi, you didn’t see them?
Santi : The tentacles went around the world I assume. I could barely see their ends.
Daimian : Alright. Alright, fine. We're leaving to get our supplies. Come on.
Santi : W-wait! Daimian! You have to rest! You were wounded, weren't you?
Daimian : What do you mean? There's no wound, look.
Daimian lifts his shirt, and his chest is completely fine. Santi looks with confusion turning to fear. She pulls his shirt down and rushes to the church. Daimian gets up regardless, and heads to the store to buy equipment.
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