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.
Laura Steel © 2015