The Children of Eris
The world turned grey as time stood still.
“I was wondering when you would show up,” David mumbled as he tried to open the carriage door, but found that it wouldn’t budge a little, even with his full strength.
Eris giggled across from him and David snapped to look at her; she had appeared there just after David turned to face the door.
She had appeared with the same icy, haunting aura oozing out of her and with her usual, sadistic smile. Eris was lying casually against the side of the carriage with her hands in her lap and her wings folded against her back.
“Did you miss me so much that you were willing to risk breaking a rule?” She asked, leaning forwards as she met his gaze.
David shifted back in his seat.
He dug his fingers into the wood beneath him and tried not to panic.
After all, Eris had warned him not to do anything unbefitting of being a Demon Emperor and then, seconds after his agreement with Rebecca, Eris had appeared.
I messed up.
“…Eris, I have legitimate reasons for agreeing to Lady Rebecca’s request,” David said, trying to hide the fact that his teeth were chatting. “As Lady Rebecca said, I-”
He instantly stopped talking.
She sat up straight, never breaking eye contact with him and slowly moved towards him. Eris lightly tapped the air and dismissed David’s armour, exposing the terrified man beneath and taking away any last remnants of safety David had left.
Eris purred and touched his cheek, lightly stroking it, enjoying the way that David’s body shook from her touch.
“I wonder if I wasn’t clear enough once about what would happen if you didn’t live up to your name as the Demon Emperor?” She mused, caressing his cheek. David closed his eyes, but didn’t dare move from her. “Open your eyes, David.”
He did so nervously and found that her face was less than an inch from hers, putting her cruel, monstrous eyes that pierced his soul.
“Do you know why I came here?” She asked; he nodded. “Say it.”
“B-because I…I broke a rule,” David stuttered.
Her smile grew a little and she lightly shook her head. “Wrong.”
Eris put her other hand on his face and held him in place.
“Why did I come here, David Athelward?”
Eris laughed and put her forehead against his.
“Why did I come here, David Athelward?”
“T-t-to remind me not to cross you.”
Unable to hold herself back any longer, Eris laughed loudly and released David floating before him, but keeping her face close to his.
“Ah, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of seeing you squirm, David,” Eris said, her wings flapping giddily. “Well, I will leave it at that, I think. However.” Her expression turned cold and she glared at him. “Never forget that you are bound by my rules.” She smiled and then began to turn into a cloud of black feathers. “Remember, David Athelward, that you are the Demon Emperor.”
She giggled as she disappeared into the abyss, causing the world to regain its colours and time to move forward.
Once it had, David sat in stunned silence for almost a minute, before collapsing onto his hands and knees, hyperventilating and sweating.
He clutched his chest and winced, curling into a ball. He tried to calm himself down, to stop himself from having a panic attack; he tried everything he could think of, but nothing worked.
His breathing exercises, distracting his thoughts, trying to focus on the pain he inflicted on himself with his fist as he beat his leg; it all did nothing.
Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! He couldn’t hold back his tears and he wept loudly, trying his best to muffle his sounds by covering his face with his shirt.
I thought I was dead! Didn’t Eris come down to punish me for breaking one of her rules?
If not, then what the hell did she come here for then?!
Just to mess with me?
What the hell is wrong with that woman?!
Why? Why? He hit the carriage floor so hard that he destroyed a large portion of it, splintering it. Why the hell did she have to come here and do this? Why today, when I was feeling a little bit happy for the first time in weeks?
When Eris had returned to her realm, she laughed loudly as she watched David in his carriage.
“That’s exactly right, David Athelward!” Eris cried, looking down at him from her throne, wearing a smile much more vicious than any of the ones that David had ever seen. “I had considered punishing you for trying to find a loophole in one of my rules, but this.” She giggled. “This is much, much better.” She exhaled and brought a hand to her chin.
“David, what you and Rebecca didn’t realise is that you aren’t showing them mercy by sparing the people of Cliff’s Edge and those who escape Black Port. Once they escape and become refugees, they won’t ever be able to find true happiness again.
“Their homes, friends, families, they’ll have lost so much and have been powerless to do anything to stop it.
“They will despair over their own weakness and never, ever be able to move on from the deep wound you’ll inflict upon them. They’ll suffer a fate so much worse than a stab through the heart.”
Eris giggled and leant forward a little in her throne, licking her lips.
“David Athelward, sparing them was the most evil and cruel choice you could make, one perfect of my Demon Emperor.”
Once Rebecca had been escorted into David’s office, she had found Mímir awaiting her, with a massive stack of paper by his side and a long list of jobs for her to do on her first day.
Much to her surprise however, Mímir had explained in full all of her duties, as well as a few general guidelines about what the Demon Emperor wanted her to achieve. He had left her about two hours ago and, not wanting to waste even a moment, Rebecca had gotten to work.
Her first order of business was to fully understand the plans for Castle Kelsey, what the renovations were going to look like, how big the castle was going to get, and what the Demon Emperor intended it to be.
As Rebecca set about her work, she couldn’t help but smile. She had managed to get through to Lord Allaric and had managed to save some people’s lives in the south-east.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so happy about something like that, but I feel like I’ve finally loosened the chains on my wrists now, Rebecca thought. This is the path I’ve chosen to walk down now, right or wrong, and all I can do now is try to save as many people as possible while by the Demon Emperor’s side.
She shook her head. By Lord Allaric’s side.
In the dead of night, in what was once a storehouse for spices and herbs in the Merchant District at Stonefall, twenty corpses were littered throughout the room with only two people left alive.
“Please…please don’t hurt me,” the man beneath Herakles’s foot begged, his words muffled by Herakles’s boot.
“You know, this wouldn’t have happened if you’d just talked when I asked you nicely the first time,” Herakles said, putting pressure on the man’s jaw, making him squirm. “Now, there’s two ways this goes. Either you die from me boot, or.” Herakles swung his club down on the man’s ribs, cracking two of them and making him scream madly. “You talk before I turn your ribs into dust.”
“I-I’ll talk!” The man screamed, sobbing. “Please, just-”
Herakles put more pressure on the man’s face. “Less begging, more answers. Tell me: how many bases do you have in the city?”
“T-Three more,” the man groaned. “Two in the lower district and one in the noble’s.”
“Oh?” Herakles smiled. “That’s good to know. Where?”
“I-I swear, I don’t know. I was just told the general location, not specifics. My captain would know.”
“Where can I find him?”
“Y-you killed him.”
“Oh.” Herakles looked around the almost destroyed room and couldn’t tell which of the bloodied, disfigured corpses could possibly have been the captain. “So, you don’t know anything else? You swear?”
“On Themis’s name, I swear it.”
With a weary sigh, Herakles lifted his bloodied club onto his shoulder.
“The boss was right,” he groaned, crushing the skull of the man beneath his foot. “The Night’s Eye really are weak.”
The next day, the bodies were discovered by a worker who reported it to the city watch who had almost expected what they saw, but there was one thing that caught their attention more than anything this time.
The message that had been left at the crime scene was different.
Death Took Them.