Wind whipped across her face as her dark brown hair raged behind her. Her lips were tight, but her pleasure was evident. At this speed she had to hold her body tight. She let go, a bolt of blue light shot to the east. She hung there, suspended in single tranquil moment. The mountains that divided the world, to her east, were the only thing to tower over her. The sky was cloudless, blue.
Then gravity acted upon her. Hundreds of feet above the tree line, she began to fall. The smile of pure joy never left her face.
She spoke the name of Wind and it wrapped around her, slowing her decent, and shielded her body as branches broke around her. She landed on a concentrated ball of air that depressurized into the unsuspecting crowd of armored men, flattening them. Then she screamed the name of Fire. Flames billowed off her into the forest. Hundreds were dying around her, but two advanced.
One had caught some of her flames and was dancing them around himself. She lifted and opened hand towards him, then balled it into a fist. The fires he had thought his intensified and consumed him. The other, seemed to have control over the name of Wind. He tried to form it into a knife to slit her throat. She halted the attack with a thought. She flicked her hand at him and the wind threw him into a tree shattering his body.
She looked around her and saw that no one else was left to fight her. She spoke of Lightning and grabbed onto another bolt.
Demetrius Skagora, it’s time to wake up. Marcela spoke in my head. My thoughts were a cloak having weathered a storm too long, my body – ragged – abused. Wake up, She said again. I opened my eyes and saw a haze of lights through a fabric. Why was I still alive? Why did I still have my tongue? I should just closed my eyes again.
Wake up! Marcela’s voice rippled through my body filling me with vitality. I went to move – a sharp pain at my temple sent me sprawling against something hard. My wrists were tied behind my back. In fact, the whole of my body seemed to be bound in some manner. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t see. I could barely even breathe.
My strength ebbed and my consciousness began to slip away. Is the Blood Soaked so weak?! Marcela asked. Rather, she hissed. Tamed by sedatives, she was laughing, let me make them all go away. My mind opened and suddenly I became aware of the wooden cart. Every bounce sent spasms painfully through my battered body. But by Ruah, I was awake.
My mouth tasted like fabric because that was what was stuffed into it. I can help you with that too. I heard Marcela speak of Fire. The cloth in my mouth and the cloth around my eyes were consumed in a quick and intense burst of flame. I cringed, grunting slightly as my flesh was also burnt.
“By Ruah! Son of the Creator!” A hulking man in black plate armor trained the tip of a crossbow at me. His free hand nervously traced religious symbols on his black breastplate inscribed brilliantly with the golden ring of Ruah. He was a Glren, the Church’s personal soldiers.
Before he could pull the trigger, I lunged toward him so my cheek stuck into the bolt loaded into the crossbow. He fired the crossbow and the bolt tore through my mouth. The shaft of the bolt passed through cleanly but the fletching tore deep rends into my cheeks and passed between teeth shredding gums. My tongue, importantly, was mostly unharmed.
Blood rushed across my tongue and the world came alive in the way it only could while a Hemomancer tastes blood. Names were suddenly being whispered and screamed in the language of Hemothralben, the language of blood: the language that gives Hemomancers, like me, their power.
I spoke of Fire and my bonds burned. I spoke Of Blood, forcing mine to flow, reviving my stiff body. I spoke Of Wind lifting myself into a standing position.
Blood dripped down my face, pooling and clotting in my beard. The Glren had begun reloading his crossbow. I flicked my wrist, and the wind howled, throwing the Glren backwards. In front of me was a unit of Glren forming up, aligning their shields. Past them, and oddly, was a modest two story white manor.
“True Hunters?” I asked, loud enough for the Glren to hear. There were Blood Hunters in their ranks as well.
There was no response. I didn’t recognize the house. I figured that I was somewhere south of the Holy Range, as it towered to my right, and the weather was warm.
Two of the Blood Hunters from the group ahead began walking towards me. The Blood Hunters were trained to hunt Hemomancers and their robes reflected it. The robes were parted at the legs for riding and were lined with heavy mail. They wore pure white with a blood red trim.
“Speaker Skagora,” One of them addressed me. I had been a Speaker and a Blood Hunter in my not distant past.
I Spoke of Mind, Earth, and still holding on to Blood, I stretched my mind out towards them. I tested them for Hemomancy. Finding them clean of Hemomancy’s touch I silenced their minds. They fell limply to the ground. They were alive, but the Glren looked nervous anyway. They had a right to be, I wasn’t alone inside my own mind.
No more hesitation. You could be me, yet you are still so weak. Kill them all! They would take all that you love at an order! Remember your mother! Marcela’s voice chilled my nerves, then ignited me. I spoke of Fire – then roared. Fire rose in a flaring cylinder around me. I spoke of Lightning and danced its movements inside the fire. Yes! Marcela screamed. The Glren were panicking, I could feel them through the earth. Some ran, others did not. The fire arced as lightning would and the once burning flames sparked into new life. White hot and arcing, I held it, converted it, condensed it. The power of this control, I’d never known it before. I held a single humming blinding white sphere. I released it. A hundred lightning bolts flashed to life, they found and cut through every Glren and Blood Hunter.
Alone with burnt corpses, I stretched out with Mind and Earth towards the white house. I used the two Hemomancies like an extra sense. I could feel movement through Earth and hear thoughts with Mind. The doors flew open and out ran Gemaeve Roan. She froze when she saw me.
Gem of course did not look at me with fear. Disgust maybe – loathing, confusion and betrayal. I looked the part of the hemomancers from the stories she would have heard growing up in the Ruaheon Palace: blood dripping from open wounds in my face, and corpses surrounding me.
I spoke the Quatane, the language used by Speakers. The language was a power separate from Hemomancy. With it, I stitched my face back together, mostly. I left just enough damage so that the wounds still bled.
“Demetrius,” Gem said.
“Gem,” I said while moving closer to her.
“Don’t call me that, it seems we don’t know each other at all.”
“You know me as well as anyone still alive,” I said, walking slowly towards the steps. Realizing that I was half naked, I relieved one of the unconscious Blood Hunters of his White Church Cloak. On the back blazed the ring of Ruah.
“Then no one knows you. Demetrius, you killed the High Speaker. You should be dead. You don’t know what I had to do to bring you here. You just killed all of them!” She looked around me and tears began pooling in her eyes. I walked up the steps to stand next to her.
“I brought some things back with me from Jahzn,” I said. “A lot changed. Let’s go inside. Gem, I’m sorry.”
She looked up at me. “If I don’t, do I end up like them?” She gestured at the dead Glren and Blood Hunters. “What happened to you, Dmitry?”
By Tyler W. Golec