This is a little story that I couldn't resist writing after watching the Demon Hunter Cinematic Trailer. I realise they don't say the Demon Huntress' name in the video but for the sake of not having to call her "Demon Hunter (Huntress)" I am giving her one. I hope you all enjoy the story it begins right before the Trailer then continues from there. Also many thanks to reviewer 'Guest' as to inspire me to work much more diligently and with a great deal more fervor than before.
Aella had only just arrived in town and had decided to visit the tavern and try to find out any news in the surrounding area. She was taken off guard when she walked in to see the inn turned into a ramshackle infirmary; all of the beds in the nearby rooms were being used, and tables had been converted into crude resting places and operating tables for those unfortunate enough not to have found a better place. Priests, nurses, and volunteers tended the wounded, doing the best they could with limited supplies. Aella's brows knitted together in dismay as she thought 'What has happened here?' She decided the innkeeper would likely be the best person to spout her inquiry and headed to the bar, dodging and hopping her way through the gauntlet of people.
"Innkeeper, what's going on here?"
"The damned are upon us, the guards drove them off but this lot got injured in the initial waves of the onslaught." the innkeeper didn't seem too worried, having far more interest in the tankard he was wiping.
"Have you heard of any other incidents of this nature?"
"What's it to you?"
"You must not underestimate the extent of my hatred"
The Innkeeper snorted scornfully "You mad? Lass, you wouldn't-" finally he looked up from that damned tankard. Aella smirked as she watched with unnatural yellow eyes as the innkeeper's jaw hit the floor. She crossed her arms, her armour clinking with the movement, allowing him a glance at the small handheld crossbows hanging on each side of her torso.
"Oh" the innkeeper said in a sketchy tone, clearing his throat noisily "My apologies, Miss. Yes, a small fishing village due south of here was raided but a few hours ago. The attacks have left our defences weak leaving too few able bodied men to poke around." Aella nodded her thanks to him and turned on her heel, determined to reach the village before dusk.
Aella moved silently, unseen, towards her destination. The village was an unpleasant sight, corpses strewn about, as a murder of crows pecked at the carcasses of the ill-omened. What bothered her most was the demonic rune painted in blood at the center of the chaos. She knelt next to one of the slain and pulled free a fang left behind by one of the assailants. The image of an enraged demon lacking a single pearly white flashed across her vision. As she scanned the area she sighted a trail of bloody footprints leading into the distance.
Someone had survived
She closed her hand over the fang, pressing it into her palm. She set fire to the rune, not stopping to watch the bodies consumed by flame, and set off at a jog. Time was of the essence.
In time the trail of footprints began to fade and she had to examine the nearby landscape to follow the survivor. She trained her eyes upon a fire at the treeline, with a lone figure slumped nearby, she knew she'd found the survivor.
Aella glanced around as she approached, aware of her surroundings and sensing the demons that encircled the clearing, most likely waiting for the survivor to succumb to exhaustion as to get a free meal. As Aella approached the survivor, who she realised now was a young girl of no more than sixteen winters; the girl held up a shaking hand.
"Don't come any closer." Her voice was firm but was filled with terror.
Aella obligingly took several steps back and dropped slowly into a crouch
"You probably ran until you couldn't take another step." Her voice was silky and smooth like honey.
She stared at the girl with her piercing yellow eyes.
"I remember that feeling." She added quietly, mounting the demon fang she'd been holding onto a wooden shaft forming a grotesque arrow.
Roars and screeches of the surrounding demons echoed around them and the terrified girl replied "I had…no choice"
Aella looked back at the girl, her gaze firm, almost angry.
"You always have a choice." Aella looking back at the girl and stated with conviction
It was at this point that a horde of demons poured from the surrounding woods intent on feasting upon the two women. Aella walked up to the girl and heard "We're going to die here...aren't we?" the young girl solemnly stated
"No, as long as I'm here they are the prey." Aella returned as she loaded the newly fletched bolt into her hand crossbow. As she pulled out her second crossbow she said "And I am the hunter."
As she fired a shot from each hand a volley of arrows shot out dropping a dozen of the demons in an instant, one of the larger demons began charging hard intent on destroying the threat and then feasting on the flesh of the opposing women. As he swung to crush Aella with his large mace she simply vaulted over him and lodged four bolts deep into it's back dropping it to the ground presumably dead. Just as she proceeded to dispatch the remaining demons she heard the younger girl scream. The demon she had believed to be dead was about to kill the girl acting as quickly as her body would allow Aella pulled out her bolo launcher and as she fired the projectile wrapped itself around the demon's neck only to explode a moment later showering the younger woman in a fountain of gore. Aella swiftly dispatched the last of the demons with a few well-placed grenades and a barrage of arrows intent on ending this quickly as to not further traumatize the young girl behind her. As she was finishing off the last couple demons she said "I stand alone, and if they keep coming I will never stop killing" as her eyes glowed a fierce crimson red no different than the demons she slays with reckless abandon. When it was all over she turned to the young girl and said "You have a choice… Hunted" she held the handle of one of her hand crossbows out to the girl "Or Hunter."
The girl looked at the weapon with determination and without hesitation took the handle into her hand.
"I refuse to allow anyone to suffer as I have; I will hunt each and every demon down and destroy them to save those who can't protect themselves."
Aella smiled "What is your name girl?"
"My name is Lamia." The newly named younger girl stated
Aella nodded "I am Aella, are you injured?"
Lamia shook her head negative and stood up shakily "Can we please leave? I can't take anymore!"
Aella nodded but noticed that Lamia was clutching the crossbow to her chest and was already surveying the area looking for demons though out of fear instead of hunger like Aella, 'Yes' Aella thought 'She will make a fine addition.'
They continued to Dolghar, the city that Aella had found out about Lamia's village from, Lamia was jumping at the slightest sound terrified of any shadow or silhouette she seen snapping her head around looking for anything. Halfway through the trek she started to calm down and Aella took the opportunity, "Are you sure you wish to join me?"
"I must, I have to avenge all those who suffer and die at the hands of the demons"
Aella frowned "As I said before you always have a choice."
Lamia glared at the woman and all but screamed "My choice was taken away from me when those monsters stole everything I knew and loved!"
Aella frowned "No, it wasn't you at least still have your life, it is your choice to fight, your choice to eliminate the demons and it is your choice to ensure that this doesn't happen to anyone else. As I said you always have a choice you just made it before you realised it was there"
Lamia narrowed her eyes "So what are you saying? That I let them run rampant and kill more people?"
Aella shook her head again "No, what I am saying is join my order and avenge people after you have the power to do so without getting killed, a crossbow may be effective but it is merely a tool and when used incorrectly will not help you. You will end up no different than the hundreds of adventurer's corpses I come across each and every day in my travels."
"There's no time for that!" Lamia shouted
"Then you will just die before you can save a single person!" Aella responded coldly glaring at Lamia with the glowing crimson eyes that strike fear into the most fearless of heroes, the eyes of a Demon Hunter, a being whom walks the line between Demon and Mortal.
Lamia hunched her shoulders in defeat and the two women finished their walk to Dolghar in silence as Lamia thought over everything that had happened and the offer of the Demon Huntress Aella.
It was daybreak when the women arrived at Dolghar and walked into the local inn. Exhaustion was weighing heavily on Lamia as she trudged behind Aella, whom looked no worse for wear after the long journey. When they entered Aella was in shock gone were the cots and operating tables from yesterday nothing but the normal worn floor left in their wake. Aella looked at the Innkeeper at the end of the room standing behind the bar looking distant and….empty as he cleaned a stein.
"What happened, where are all the wounded?" Aella asked the innkeeper
"Dead, all dead…they all turned in the night the city guards managed to dispatch them but we lost one extra to them before they were destroyed…my daughter, Nila she was four…" The innkeeper replied brokenly.
Lamia closed her eyes and swallowed down her emotions hearing not just any amount of townsfolk but a four year old girl dying to the hell-spawn. Aella looked at the innkeeper with understanding and said "I am sorry for your loss these are troubling times, but the sole survivor of Akhira village and I need a room for a few hours how much will that be?"
The innkeeper just sighed "30 gold pieces, here's the key I will see you ladies later today"
Aella nodded placing the coins on the bar and headed upstairs to the room followed closely by the still silent Lamia. "Get some rest Lamia I will allow you to sleep on my offer but I expect an answer when you awake on whether or not you shall accompany me back to the Order at sunrise tomorrow."
Lamia nodded and fell into a tortured sleep near instantly her sheer exhaustion finally overpowering her at the prospect of a warm blanket and cozy bed. Visages of terrifying beasts and the screams of her fellow villagers filled her dreams keeping her from a deep sleep but at least she got some rest in the warmth of the tavern under the covers of the bed. It was past mid-day when she finally awoke to see Aella standing by the vanity table inspecting each and every one of her countless weapons for even the finest of damage and the slightest signs of wear. Lamia cleared her throat and without wasting any time Aella asked "Your answer?" she didn't even turn around face Lamia.
Lamia sighed "I can't allow things to continue as they have I have to rid Sanctuary of the demons, I will join your Order."
Aella smiled "Excellent, so I am sure you have questions…so ask."
Lamia frowned "I don't know where to start."
"Well I guess we will start at the beginning." Aella said now turned to Lamia with a slight smile adorning her beautiful features.
"Okay, so how does it all start, how does someone go about becoming a Demon Hunter like you?" Lamia inquired smoothly gone was the fear of the night prior and arrived was a sheer determination to hunt.
"That question has two answers, one is it has already started for you the seed of hatred has been sown into your heart. Each and every one of our order have a hatred for the beasts due to loss or suffering at their hands but as for how to actual begin becoming a Demon Hunter there are three ways. The first way is to be drafted by the order after a show of ability, cunning and aptitude, this is the least common as the council is very strict when it comes to what they expect to be drafted. Second is what you will be doing, becoming the apprentice of a seasoned Demon Hunter. This is done by you signing a contract in your blood along with your mentor forming a contract. I will explain more of this later as to not overwhelm you now. Third and finally is to be inducted, this is when someone comes to our order asking to join, they are tested and if they pass they will be accepted in as Initiate rank."
As the last part of Aella's speech left her mouth Lamia's brow quirked and she asked "Rank do you mean like the royal army?"
Aella smirked "In a way, our ranks are based on your performance not some chauvinistic sense of loyalty, I myself am a Vanguard the second highest rank in the order. As for what the ranks are they and their duties fall like this.
Initiate, lowest of Demon Hunters whom have yet to go through the Demon Hunter's Rite, which before you ask I can't talk about yet, they are charged with small scale missions and low class beasts like Fallen and Skeletons.
Apprentice, this is an odd rank as it is not truly based on skill because when an apprentice first starts training as compared to when they rise into the higher ranks after leaving the tutelage of their mentor their skill will have increased exponentially. As this is the case Apprentice is not based on skill but is a position of being under the tutelage of a more skilled hunter. They are charged with whatever tasks their mentor assigns them and assisting the mentor on their missions.
Hunter, is the rank given to those whom have proven their selves in the heat of battle that they can fight with discipline and be level-headed in the most dire of situations. Charged with full scale exterminations and purges they are the most common Demon Hunter's you see in areas of great misfortune. It is at Hunter rank that you can take on your own apprentice
Next is Vanguard, this is my rank; we are the elite of the Hunters with the most experience and are deemed as the finest the Order has to offer. We are not issued orders but are instead expected to actively search and hunt slaying any and all monstrosities that cross our path.
Finally is The Typhoon, There is only one Typhoon in the ranks at a time and are the single most unstoppable force the order has. The Typhoon stays at the order, guarding it alone from all the thousands of demons that assault it. He is deemed immortal and is even more so immortalized in the songs of the scribes. It is believed that should the Prime Evil be resurrected he alone is the sole being in the order that could stop it."
After Aella's long speech Lamia seemed to be absorbing everything and just nodded her head, "So to make things simple someone of Hunter rank or Higher will be taking me an Apprentice under their wing as it were? Also there is something called the Demon Hunter Rite which you can't talk about yet."
Aella nodded her affirmative and said "Now we must be off you have a contract to sign and that is to be done at the Order of Hatred in the Borderlands which is at least three days march from here."
"Then we had best be moving" Lamia replied and with those words the women were headed out of the tavern. Lamia's steely gaze staring ahead as she looked towards her future.