The Venator Part 2 (WIP)

This doesn’t particularly flow well from the first part, while they are all still being written out but I hope you enjoy it all the same.


The Venator Part 2

Before I continue my story, it should be noted that most of this information did in fact originate from the Knifed Skull, so it is quite possible that some of the details have either been lost or embellished from the many drunkards within, I may have also embellished it a little for artistic reasons…anyway, I digress…

After a short hike trudging through the snow, Laurena had reached the outside of a now derelict mine the one the locals fearfully called Dreadstone; this was the very place the Circle of Shadows had instructed her to investigate. It’s infamy arose from the local lore of the resident miners and their descendants, of whom claimed the mine had a strange resonating ambiance and any simple touch of the abnormally dark purple metamorphic rock would instil a profound sense of horror. The unnatural colouration was also said to be certainly bizarre in contrast to the normal surrounding area, as if something evil was bleeding out from deep within the mine. Standing outside, while seeking shelter underneath an outcropping, she noticed the signs of it’s apparent use were present and sunken impressions were observable where they had eating into and around the rocky maw. The lack of any need for outside guards was obvious, to even an untrained professional, as the remote location in the craggy hillside was more than enough to keep it out of the view from prying eyes. The seclusion alone would have been enough to help conceal any wrongdoing on it’s own, even without the raging blizzard that was now bearing down and blanketing out the mine from a far distance; the ominously evil looking clouds had deeply overcast the area more than usual, as if they had a mind of their own. The additional thickness of the white obscure haze was obnoxiously glittering flakes of thick heavy snow, constantly clinging on Laurena’s ferapex leather hood and outfit; a speciality of this rare hide by the way, is that it’s reacts to the surroundings by changing its colour. Her stinging eyes, her bitter felt nose and bluing sanguineous lips were harshly numbing and painful, as the only parts exposed to the coldness in the ferociously biting winds. She edged closer to the rotten mossy timber framed doors and rested on the huge rusting handle of the now derelict mine. In doing so she could hear a faint echoing hum starting to creep into her ears, just barely noticeable through the howling gales and swaying barren trees.

Laurena shook off the build up on her boots before cautiously scanning the eerily ominous entrance, she pushed down hard on the stiff metal braced door and it screeched open as if in agonising pain. The outside light rapidly bled into into the pitch black tunnel, while Laurena’s naturally all-black Umbrian eyes required no effort to see further into the darkness inside; this was also a common trait of Umbrians, as many of whom would go their entire lives having never laid said eyes on Hexterra’s only star Sol. She forced her way inside, ready to confront any impediment within, knowing full well it was imperative that the truth be known; and she was certainly not one to disappoint the Circle of Shadows for that matter either. Besides which, at this point it was now the only option now beyond freezing to death from the elements outside, even as she walked a few feet inside the mine the difference in temperature was apparent and most welcoming to her core. The humming from within had grown louder and even more distinct, the rhythm was now clear and it was obvious there were people chanting what could only be assumed to be a sinister ritual of some kind; nothing good ever comes from rituals, let alone ones held in seclusion. Laurena knew about most known rituals most of which came from her spending many hours researching the various cults using the Venators Guild’s library, when she wasn’t otherwise hunting or training. She knew it was more than likely a soul-swapping ritual, one used to drain the soul of a person and transfer it into another person or vessel but couldn’t yet tell for certain the true purpose for the poor victim. The evidence gathered already would have certainly been enough to report back the Circle, to confirm their suspicions were more than just rumours. For her safety, as an novice in her rank, she was told to leave and report back upon any confirmation of wrongdoing. Yet, as she saw no reason to pass up the opportunity, she decided to explore a little further, especially with the storm raging outside preventing any safe return. Feeling no imminent threat, Laurena crept cautiously forward to find out more, running her fingertips along the rough and slimy wall in the darkest unlit passages, guiding herself precariously with each footing and cautiously poking her head around each corner before proceeding inwards further.

It wasn’t before too long that she happened upon a pair of cloaked individuals both standing together in a dimly lit cave. They were preoccupied with a minor conversation of no significance but in still anxiously governed secret as to look busy and to avoid not being caught doing nothing of import, both were completely oblivious to Laurena’s presence, so they made poor lookouts to be sure. She crept forward, step by step with one eye on the floor and another on her company, using the shadows for cover while inching up through the narrow passage upon the two cultists. When she was just a few feet away and still unnoticed, she watched them intensely for a brief moment. When she felt the time was right she unsheathed her sword, while picked up and throwing a loose stone behind and beyond the conversing pair. In their confusion of the startling sound they both turned around to check on the noise, as they done so Laurena got up and reached around the throat of the closest cultist and with her sword dragged it between both of his ears. Without hesitation she then pushed him aside and moved into position as she thrust her still warmly dripping sword clean through the second cultist’s neck. Both had slumped down as quietly as possible and without possibly alerting any distant ears with screams or shouting. Afterwards, she casually dragged the bodies into a dark corner out of sight and out of mind; this was Venators training at it’s finest and it was executed flawlessly.

Laurena continued to traverse through the narrow winding tunnels and sparse widening caves, edging herself through the dangling dead roots through the rocks and dirt or stepping over the occasional critter that scurried in a panic out of her way. After a few minutes of walking through now dimly lit tunnels, and almost getting lost in the maze of pathways before realising her curious mistake, Laurena happened upon an natural crack in the wall. Through this opening she could see into a colossal cavern, which was properly lit with magical sconces and perma-fire torches posted all around. One beam of streaming light could be seen permeating through the ceiling and at the base of it grew a single solitary dreadwood tree, it was covered with a strange assortment of ancient inlaid runes and markings; of an old dialect that was way too obscure to anyone currently alive to read. In the middle of the spacious cavity a single secretary stone cast altar lay proud, it was covered in cracks worn from age and overgrown with aged lichen and moss, additionally baring strange glowing symbols intrinsically carved, which were too far away to be analysed. Overshadowing the altar was a gigantic statue of what looks like the God Fabricus, it was protruding with it’s own apertures and thick wound wires feeding through it and with a strange turquoise coloured energy glow pulsing like blood in a person’s bulging veins. On top of the altar laid a single young man, bound firmly still, yet conscious and unable to escape untimely planned fate. To the side of him a large metallic sphere rested precariously and more of the same cloaked cultists were surrounding them both, while chanting the ritual that was now very noticeable for soul-swapping. The young man was undoubtedly to be sacrificed to fuel the contraption. One of the cultists had his cloak woven with metallic inlaying designs and stood directly underneath the statue clearly apart from the rest, he began to speak…
“Brothers and Sisters!” he pronounced loudly. “We are here to offer this sacrifice to one of our most beloved and cherished member of the Pantheon of Deusan; the Arbiter of gods!” The cultist leader’s voice echoed throughout the cavern, while Laurena wasted no time continuing through the tunnels further, still able to overhear what was said.

  “A new age is dawning…and for too long our future has been held back by a repressive regime. No more shall the wickedness of the Venators or other heretics, continue to plague Umbrianox as they unjustly rule over everyone, clouding the population’s eyes with colourful propaganda. For too long has their greed and oppression has kept the Umbrian people from progressing to an age of peace and prosperity. Continuously have they ignored the pleas of innocent citizens plight, those who bear suffering wrongfully, meanwhile using their guise of their protection under a broken wing. All to ensure their twisted religion and it’s polluted ideas, corrupt everything they touch. They willfully impede the development of a stable government, one of full morality and decency. To this will say, NO MORE!” The leader continued unabashed.

Meanwhile, Laurena had worked her way into the cavern, hiding behind a large outcropping but keeping an eye on the spectacle.
  “Oh!, he of creativity and grand design; God of Invention. Fabricus. We offer you this soul to fuel our ambition and to imbue this tool of most magnificent destruction, so that we may finally rid the world of those soulless mercenaries the Venator!”

As the cultist finally finished, the statue of Fabricus lit up, brighter and radiant than before and with a soft turquoise glow surrounding the bound person on the altar. Just as the cultist almost built his strength, with the aim to plunge the dagger downward, Laurena had risen from her hidden cover and threw a knife, taken from her hip belt, towards the lead cultist. The knife cut deeply into his arm and he was forced to react, recoiling in pain and by dropping his dagger, simultaneously with both of her jagged swords now ready in each hand, Laurena ran forward and sprung off of a raised rock into the air. She landed harshly on top of two of the closest cultists with both swords squarely wedged through their chests. By now the rest had already stopped their chant and after having noticed her timely unsubtle intervention, all drew their own arms in reaction against her. The remaining cultists seized upon her and one by one they attempted to attack the young Venator. With their mindless ferocity they all one after another succeeded in failing, as she shredded through them as if they were like nothing but garden weeds. Before the last one fell, a series of loud bangs echoed through the cavern and Laurena without thinking reacted to seek cover behind the altar.
  “You wretched beast!” interrupted the lead cultist. Pointing a strange handheld device towards Laurena, who was now panicking, unsure as to the strange power the cultist held.
  “The Venator’s attempt once again to curb their own demise, ignorant to the thought to the continued suffering that would ensue.” His voiced echoed of genuine belief and that his actions were more than justified. “Have you any idea who you are working for you wicked little girl? One who would so readily cut down so many people who’s only goal it was, to bring peace to Umbran!”
“You’re the one attempting to kill a kid, to fuel that soul-bomb of yours!” Rebuked Laurena, who knew exactly what the metallic sphere was from her studies.
“This lost-soul forfeited his right to a life, when he took the life of another!” He countered. “Just as you have lost the right to yours, many times over, for which your suffering will be immense in this life and the next!” Upon finishing his sentence he took shots at Laurena, who was now pinned down as sparks and chips of stone flew off around her head and would feel her heart throbbing rapidly like it was trying to escape her chest. Using the opportunity the lead cultist had made his way around to expose Laurena’s vulnerable position, as she glanced up at the strange engrave device held in his hands, as she feared the end.
“You think you have won? Your order of sinners will pay the price regardless th…” As the cult spoke the young man on the altar had released himself from his bonds and had flung himself selflessly onto the cultist, both cascaded down, one on top of the other. A few more shots were heard, which pieced through the young man’s body. Before the cultist could shift him off, Laurena had seized the opportunity by running over and slicing cleanly through the cultists arm and finally head. Taking a moment Laurena turned over the draining body to check on the young man, his face was pale even for an Umbran. Horrified and sick with grief, Laurena instantly recognised who the young man as the one she had saved just two days prior.
“I’m so sorry!” She urged, examining the fatal wounds to the young man’s chest, furious with herself.
“Don’t…be” He strained, coughing up blood. “You saved my life…twice, it was…the least I could…” Before he could finish his sentence he passed away and slowly slumped back, finally being rendered motionless and cold. Laurena screamed in anger, punching the floor with her fist ignoring the physical pain. She laid the young man’s body in a more dignified position and walked over to the lead cultist, staring at him profusely with disgust, as if in attempt to curse his very soul before it finally departed. Having recognised the power she bore witness to moments earlier, she took possession of the dark metallic device scattered on the floor and a second which had been holstered and unused. Testing out the devices in anger, she shot repeatedly at the towering statue and after significant damage to its face and apertures, they stopped glowing rended the whole whole thing useless. Later, waiting by the exit for the blizzard to stop, Laurena stood restless and reflective; deeply saddened by the outcome of her actions and constantly trying to replay what went wrong and how it could have ended better. She started to ponder how Mathias and more importantly the Circle of the Hunt would evaluate her actions; their motives, as with everything else, were difficult to understand. After a few hours, she made her way back to Umbrianox, somewhat altered from her experience.


The Venator Part 1 (WIP)


Laura Steel © 2015

The Venator of Umbrianox Part 1 (WIP)

This is unfinished, written over the first 4 months of the year. When/if it is ever finished, I don’t know, but I felt that I might as well upload it now. Hopefully It will give me the chance to clear my head to finish it later.


The Venator of Umbrianox Part 1

One late night in dreaded lands of Mortister. Among the dark forgotten alleys that crookedly aligned from the main parenting streets, in the abyssal dark capital City of Umbran. A repetition of faint panicked screams and rapid klatter feet on cobble echoed throughout to the overclouded sky. Two very distinct sets reverberate between the houses and closed down market stalls, amidst the scuffling of drunkards, vagabonds and critters that plagued every day night-life. A fresh faced young man who was barely in his twenties was in the unfortunate dire process of running for his life. Where prevailing common sense would have prevented this, unknown events leading this poor soul to foolishly brave the streets will always be a mystery. This was nothing new in Umbran of course, many people died daily and for the most part it has merely became something to the liking of white noise, to it’s unrulier citizens or those too scared to act upon them. A figure of female form; much filthier and menacing, dark and wicked with her stride, who wore tattered clothes and boasting a stained grubby black hooded cloak, was in a relentless pursuit. She was enjoying the chase, cackling between breaths, ever slowly catching up and making ground on her young fair prey. Her whitened knuckles were clutching a twisted rust costed dagger with scratches and chips emphasising its age and use.

  The young man had inadvertently hasted too much in his tiring panic and he had found himself with his path impeded by nothing but horizontally stacked bricks and mortar. He frantically searched around desperately trying to locate any method over the ill-placed barrier; a foot hold, a railing or anything that could inch him over. In his vain attempt however, his foot slipped scaling the wall losing an already uneasily gained position. He fell back and landed on his foot awkwardly, painfully twisting his ankle, he was no longer able to stand much less run. He remained stuck on the wet grimy floor, helplessly heaped and in pure agony. He tried shuffling back into a corner, with a burning desire to prolong his life for as long as possible, his poor attempt would only deny the inevitable. Yet as he struggled, and his back pressed against the wall, his legs became paralysed stiff like dreadwood. Nothing he could do could stop the maliciously advancing woman looming towards him and the small amount of doubt he had; that he could escape, was gone.

  The alley’s entrance had now all too eagerly been seized by the hooded female pursuer. She was creeping forward, inch by inch, slowly closing the gap between the two of them, savouring each and every foot step. His fear intensified as the disguised shadowed face grew larger and darker, masked by wrapped black cloth around her nose and mouth. She pulled back her cowl and yanked down her mask with her free hand to reveal a widening dark smile expressing her malicious intent proudly. Her grubby half-shaven head with slicked back hair fell into a twisted greasy pony tail. Her face was scarred multiple times; with clean cuts of a clearly ritualistic and symmetrical style and others which were random, bumpy and red; which could have only been from altercations. Her sunken dark eyes seemingly scanned to locate the best place to pierce the clutched crooked dagger into the man’s most vulnerable of the fleshiest part first.

  “Now…your…mine!” Her sickly sweet voice teased through her grinning cracked lips.
“Wh…what do you wa..want!? I’ll give yo..you money!” he pleaded desperately.
“Oh I what I want from you…is his hidden under that juice flesh of yours!” her vague psychotic response only added to the young man’s terror, who was struck silent, realising no bargaining could be brought or pleas to be made.

  Just as she rose her hand above her head, his in pathetic defense, gathering the force necessary to strike a fatal blow, her face instantly and inexplicably dropped. Only a pained grunt emanated from her throat, like a table had been scratched across polished flooring. Her mouth had lost it’s wicked twisted smile and her eyes darkened further still yet rolled backwards and seized into nothing but bloodied dull-white orbs. Thick crimson fluid had ejected all over the young man, staring up confused, as he wiped it from his face. It profusely pour out of every orifice from the villain’s now twitching head and body. Seconds later, the twitching stopped and a bright red line had magically been drawn diagonally across her head. Soon signs of this enigmatic prevention had been made clear, as both halves of the woman’s head had slid away from one another and fell distant. The now eviscerated corpse slumped away into a bloodied pile, to reveal to the young man and initial yet unplaced fear, yet another dark hooded figure.

  To his amazement and relief, gazing at what stood before him, his anxiety dissipated slowly. Nothing gave off the impression that one malicious force had simply been replaced by another and this was certainly an alternative replacement. This one was much slender than the last, curvier and smaller, who was certainly more subtle in her poise. She was well armed and bound in skin-tight leather with her hood covering over much of her face. Pure white satin hair fell down the sides, leaving barely any facial features visible apart from her blackened wine-red lips and the tip of her slender pointy nose. She was someone who had previously heard the cries of the frightened defenceless creature, still languishing on the floor, seeking to assist their desperate pleas for help.

The hooded heroine pulled away her curvy jagged sword from the now decapitated mess on the floor and flourished it magnificently into her back holster, before kneeling halfway down to extend out her hand in aid.
  “Are you alright?” asked the hooded woman, spoken in her soft yet husky voice.
  “Y…yes…” the young men trembled, while slowly calming down.
  “Good. Do you live far?” She asked concerned.
  “N…no, ju…just a few mi…minutes away…”
  “Com’on, I’ll see you home.” The woman’s words placated the man’s fear enough that he willfully grasped his saviour’s hand and found himself gracefully aided to his feet.

  The time both spent walking and limping the distance to the young man’s home was met both conversing with silence. He was still quiet uneasy while she was calm and composed. As the young man finally stood at the entrance to his home he begin an attempt convey his gratitude, however as he turned around, all he found was an empty moon night lit street. His eyes scanned around and between the darkness of shadows yet met with no result. There was no evidence to even suggest that the hooded women who had saved him earlier was ever there in the first place. Yet still he yelled a most sincere “Thank you!” out to his rescuer, completely apathetic to the ears of his neighbours and the creatures that lurk unseen. Hoping that his gratitude would echo beyond the darkness and fall upon his saviour’s ears. Now safely home, he knew full well that night; could have been his last.

Later that evening, the young hooded woman had preceded onwards towards the large guild hall in the centre of Umbran. It was the headquarters of the most famous Venators. The sacred home to the agents of Umbria the Goddesses of Death (after which the city was named) and her unseen twin Noxia the Goddess of Darkness. It stood majestically towering over the surrounding houses and markets stalls to anyway, that stretched out for miles around. It had always existed as something of a symbol for for the downtrodden citizens. The iconic structure meant more than just its cathedral-like Gothic structure. One of justice, honour and more all-importantly vengeance. Where values of strong moral judgement were prized, higher than any amount of gold or shiniest jewel, in what was a rather an unruly nation and more so because there no real official “government” that proceeded over any of the entire Darklands.

Opening the great double wooden doors into the Venators Guild, the young women was greeted by apathy from everyone. The great halls were flooded by fellow hunters, mentors and their apprentices either chanting silent rituals. The almost inaudible hum rang out through the halls of hunters chanting and praying, while others were training in the various forms of combat which permitted hunters to operate to an almost silent level of noise. This was the usual level of activity that was typical from an evening’s business. While the young woman was no longer considered an apprentice she was always greeted with much contempt, even though her parents were rather famous hunters; when they were still alive that is. She would never benefit from their celebrity-like status. Not longer after arriving she was greeted warmly by a familiar face, much more than the others would ever have graced her with. It was by her former master and her adoptive father Methias, who was something of a living legend in his own right.
  “Ah Laurena, just in time.” spoke the greyed bearded old man with enthusiastically open arms.
  “Methias?” Laurena confused by his unusual cheeriness.
  “The Circle have finally made a request that you grant them an audience. How bout that eh? I can’t believe how far you’ve come, many never get to see them. Although saying that, I did train you so it’s no surprise.” He was always the boastful type but everyone knew him as the only man to have ever killed a Ferapex with his own hands, so to them it was justly so.
  “Oh…” replied Laurena reluctantly.
  “OH?” Methias astonished at the young woman’s apathy. “The Circle of all places wished to see you and all you can say is Oh?…Bloody hell girl you really need to lighten up. This is a tremendous honour you should be proud!” Methias rapped his arms around his daughter’s shoulders, hugging her as only a father would, while urging her forward towards the Circle’s chambers.
  “…Fine, lets go.” Laurena reluctantly followed her father down the great hall, which lead to many of the anti-chambers to the guild.

While walking through the great hall, Laurena noticed a rather tall, medium built muscular man, his skin was so pale, even for an Umbran, as it was almost translucent. He was scarred much in rather the same ritualistic way as the other woman Laurena had dispatched earlier. He was armed with more than he fair share of weaponry; much more than was needed for any Venator. As the two crossed paths they looked at each other, his eyes narrowed as did hers in reaction, Laurena felt as if he wanted to curse her strongly, yet was not permitted to do so loudly. Laurena stood there watching him walk off towards to exit…
  “Laurena!” shouted Methias. “Lets not keep the Circle waiting!”
She finally caught back up to her former master, following his shadow towards the Chamber of the Circle.


The Venator Part 2 (WIP) 


 

Laura Steel © 2015

The Venator – The Perpetual Nightmare

To many having being cursed with reoccurring nightmares would be a problem, but Laurena relished every opportunity that presented itself. It was the same one over and over, of her mother Elenanor. Even awake she can clearly remember the day her mother died, as clearly as if it just happened the day prior. She was on quest of vengeance over the the death of both her parents and no one could stop her, the nightmare would only perpetuate the hate that boiled inside her.

…the panic in the twelve year old was quite clearly evident to her by the thumping of her heart even if she knew nothing of the reason. It was about to explode out of her chest. Along with her mother, they had reached their home in the poorest district in Umbran.

“Common hunny…quickly!” Elenaor was much faster and agile than her teenager and done her best to keep her at the same pace.

“Mum your hurting.” Laurena tied running running through the streets as fast as her mother but could have not kept up. Her hand was held tightly, which felt like her arm almost about to be yanked out of the socket…

A Day prior Laurena’s father Raenes attempted a kill contract assigned by the Venators Guild, he had failed. It was meant to be a simple run, no different than the ones before. A rather disgusting vocation to some – the basis for the negative notoriety of the Venators, to those outside Umbran that is. To the Umbrani it was little more than a job, one that brought home the standard going rate. A few hundred aurams for a life, that was just enough to keep their family going for awhile. Death was apart of their culture, one where only the strong survive and the weak are culled…or those who could afford to have another killed.

…with out trying even explain the situation to her child Elenanor rushed through their home without stopping. Dashed up the creaky wooden steps into Laurena’s bedroom, her mother prised open a secret wooden panel of the wall towards the back room. It used to be for storage but when their daughter was born it was converted into the only bedroom. Elenanor shoved her child into the tight space as much as possible, to the point that a bare supporting frame dug into the side of her, the adrenaline would stemmed the pain.

“…you must hid here my dear…and don’t make a sound!” Elenanor was panting from the terror that had beset her.

“But….mother?” asked Laurena as she tucked her knees to her chest even though it hurt to breathe.

“…No honey! Be quiet…and don’t move…promise me you won’t say anything…regardless of what you hear!” Elenaror knew time was short.

“Mother…what’s happening?” Laurena still confused in her inquiry.

“…Promise me!” Elenanor pleaded as she draped her necklace of the Goddess Noxia around her daughters neck. Laurena nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“I love you!” Elenanor whispered. The loud crash of the front door had indicated to her that time had now ran out. She closed the wooden panel in front of her child.

“BITCH! Where are you?!” Bellowed a low rumbling voice in the next room.

Elenanor had unsheathed her sword and stood ready in the centre of the room as the door was almost smashed off it’s hinges.

“There you are you whore! You think you and you husband would get away with it?!” The large brute had found out who she was from one of the locals, undoubtedly sold out by a neighbour.

“Where’s my husband?” Elenanor asked even though she didn’t want to know.

The brute chuckled. “You mean that worthless skinny fuck. Who’s neck I snapped like a twig.” A deep sense of remorse flooded Elenanors entire body as she knew he had not lied or exaggerated .

“Nooo! You bastard!” Elenanor didn’t even try to contain herself. The rage over her spouses death built up and she lunged at the tall brute hoping to avenge her husband.

Her quick feints and deft attacks would have been enough for most, even without all the years of training and being a member of the most ruthless guild of mercenaries. The larger built up body of of the overbearing man-statue had far more experience as a fighter, proving to be too much for her.

Without even drawing his greatsword that was firmly sheathed on his back, he had knocked the blade from her hand and grabbed her by the neck with the other. Eleanor struggled to free herself from his grasp, trying to pry his hand away for one minute gasp of air.

A shallow gargling sound poured from her mouth and with one tight grip of his hand, a distinct crack echoed through out the house. Her hands dropped to her sides as he let go and Elenanor’s lifeless body fell into a motionless slump. He looked down at her corpse with a side worn smirk.

“Humpf, not worth my time…but no one fucks with Lugo.” He scoffs and walked out.

It’s at this point that Laurena wakes from her nightmare, something that used to be accompanied by a scream of terror, but after some months it fell silent. The same one that wanted to escape on the actual day of her mother’s death.

She still remembers covering her mouth with both hands, in an attempted to not scream out in pain, hoping to not attract Lugo to her location. Laurena had unfortunately bore witness to the whole event through the crack in the wooden panel. Paralysed with grief knowing how badly she wanted to help but couldn’t.

To see her very own mother, killed so effortlessly was unbearable. Specially from the woman who taught Laurena how to hunt and kill just as soon as she was old enough. It was the Umbrian way. Taking the life of another way often key to survival and it was the responsibility of the parents to ingrain it on their offspring as soon as possible. How could she even contemplate avenging her parents if they was meant to be the best hunters Laurena knew, let alone ever have the strength to do so.

She just caught glimpse of her mothers killer – who she at least now knew by name and one she would never forget. She could see he wasn’t human, a “Stonekin” in fact, remembered from one of her parents stories. His wide broad face was clear to see even through the slimness of the cracked panel. She done her best to remember his appearance as best she could. He was the first she had seen so up close and the tales of the Khryosians would allow her to recognise their appearance with little effort.

…for several hours Laurena sat their in her hideaway. Crying into her arms hoping that at any moment her mother was going to pull her out and hug her and say everything was alright. She never did. Her body remained in the same position, drained of all life and had turned paler than her Umbrian skin was already. No amount of wishing or praying would change it. Laurena knew now that she was now alone, from now on she would be on her own to fend for herself.

After she built up the courage to venture forth, she prized open the panel. She could see her mother so much more clearly. The deathly stare of her face with the her eyes still wide open was still worn. For a moment Laurena could have thought that her mother was still alive and merely jesting, but the realization would soon sink in that her mother would no longer be able tell Laurena just how much she loved her…

She awoke and sat up. She caressingly rubbed the Noxia pendent around her neck. The last parting gift from her mother brought some comfort from her dreams but it would quell them. As disregarding of passed on loved ones the Umbrians were, Laurena couldn’t help but feel nostalgia.

Even looking onto the side of her cabinet sat a painful reminder. Her training sword she had as a child. On her twelft birthday, the “coming of age” day that all Umbrani go through is to be presented with their first proper weapon. Training had been done with dull toy-like imitation and used just as a child would. It couldn’t cut through bone or flesh but sharp enough to cause pain from a lack of concentration.

Her parents trained her well in survival but not how to cope with their untimely departure, that was never in their nature as good Umbrian parents. Every new day was perpetuated with the searing pain of losing her parents, renewing her vigour to find her parents killer. She knew it was only a matter of time the Lugo would return to Umbran, as she could never afford to travel beyond the furthest edges of the continent Mortister.

She wouldn’t stop to avenge her parents, it was just a matter of time.


Laura Steel © 2014