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The village was burning.

As he walked past the charred gates, flame still lingering to its blackened frame, he was sure the one he was searching for had been here.

Only one person could do this.

His steps were slow, sure. It was not that he was afraid-rather, he was simply taking in his surroundings.

…and perhaps hoping that someone, anyone, had lived.

The place he was walking through had once been one of the largest villages of the land. There had been many men, ready to defend the village to the death. And behind them, so many women and children…

He shuddered, watching a burning house collapse in on itself. Yes. No one else, besides the Second, could do this. And the Three could not interfere directly with mortals…

His hand went to the sword hilt at his side, and he grimaced.

He had heard the rasp of metal against metal in the distance, and the faint cries of those still living.

That…thing hadn’t left yet.

His sword gleamed in the light of the fires, and he continued on, his pace faster than it had been before.


Just before he got to the very heart of the village, he saw a small doll in his path. A doll a little girl would have carried...

Picking it up, he saw that most of its black-dyed hair had been ripped out, and soft animal hair poked out where seams had split. A thread dangled where a button eye had most likely been, the remaining button staring up at him lifelessly. A little red thread line served as its mouth, and even that had been ripped. Clenching the little doll in his hand, he sighed wearily. When would this end?

Not realizing he had been walking as he looked at the doll, he suddenly tripped over something in his path. Quickly shifting himself so not to fall on his own sword, he braced himself for the impact, quietly cursing his own clumsiness.

The fall, however, was soft. No, cushioned would be a better word. The swordsman blinked, wondering why it was so soft. The earth would have been hard, wouldn’t it?

He looked-and forced a scream down.

He had fallen on a dead body.

Uttering a curse, he skittered back from the body, nearly falling over again in his haste to get up.

And all at once, he saw that this was not the only body on the ground.

A great pile of dead humans lay in the center of it all, some whole, some charred beyond all recognition...Severed limbs were also scattered on the ground-almost randomly, it seemed, as if the killer didn’t know what to do with them. Even more horrific were the expressions on the faces of the ones that were whole. Their eyes, blank and unseeing…Their mouths, wide open in what had to be screams of fear and pain…

The swordsman looked away. It seemed as if he could almost hear their final gasps, their pleas in vain, their dying screams that faded into silence…

He clenched his fist. This had to be stopped.

Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to move on.


He knew he was getting nearer to the battle he had heard before-the sounds were becoming louder, and the houses all around seemed as if they had just caught fire.

He prayed he wasn’t too late.

But, of course, fate would deal a different hand.

There was only one man still fighting against the thing as the swordsman stepped into the clearing. And against it, he may very well have been nothing.

A sharp cry came from the lone man, and he rushed at the one who had single handedly wiped out his entire village.

It-no, He, as it was male-grinned maliciously, revealing sharp, white teeth. He seemed not even to notice the lone man, looking away as the other rushed him.

“You-damn-BASTARD!” The man screamed, swinging his sword down.

“No! Don’t!” The swordsman yelled-but it was too late, far too late…
The killer simply grabbed the man’s sword arm, stopping the blade’s decent downward.
As the man gasped and tried to break free, the killer slowly drew back his other hand, seemingly reading it for something.

The swordsman swore. He could do nothing.

As quickly as a coiled snake striking, the killer drove his hand into the man’s chest-yet, there was no blood. It was as if the hand was reaching for something deep inside…

The man screamed as the hand began to pull out, clutching something silvery and transparent.

The swordsman nearly gagged, seeing it.

It was the man’s soul.

Slowly, as if to torment the victim, he drew out the soul, watching the body jerk and convulse in amusement. It was as if he were ripping the wings off some insect and watching it writhe in pain and die.

Finally, he sighed, seemingly getting bored with the whole thing. Savagely yanking out the rest of the soul, he pushed the body down into the blood-soaked earth. For a few seconds, he looked over the glimmering, ethereal thing in his hands, admiring it.

Putting it near his face, he deeply inhaled; and like smoke, the soul was sucked inside.

Licking his lips, he carelessly drew his bloodstained sword, driving it into the fallen man.

The swordsman stepped forward, clenching his sword tightly in his hand.

The killer looked straight at him, his red eyes raking over the swordsman. “Ah…I see that was not the last person, hm? Or are you some unlucky traveler who happened upon this place?” His voice was just as disturbing as his eyes-evil seemed to emanate from it.

“Neither,” the swordsman said, gritting his teeth. “I am here to destroy you, the Forsaken God.”

The Killer-or rather, the Forsaken God-Laughed. “Many have tried that, swordsman-many before you, and most definitely many will after you.”

The swordsman’s eyes narrowed. “I am different from all of them, Forsaken One-Rentui.”

Rentui raised his eyebrows. “So you know my true name…Impressive, very impressive. Still, it will not change anything. You are just a human…Gods have fallen before me, and their souls were just as pitiful as the humans.”

The swordsman said nothing, merely glaring.

Rentui blinked, looking at the swordsman very carefully. After a moment, he grinned.

“Yes…you look so much like him, you must be…” He muttered.

“Must be what?” The swordsman asked.

“There was a human who came to challenge me, a bit before this,” Rentui said. “He was one of the Faron line-the ones who bind my kind’s souls to themselves to gain their power.”

The swordsman’s face suddenly went blank. “Faron Line? Binding? …Bein?”

“Bein! Yes, Bein-that was his name, wasn’t it?” Rentui mused. “The stupid fool…he died very quickly.”

“You killed Bein?” The question came all in a rush.

“Of course. I couldn’t let him destroy me, could I?”

“Damn it…” the swordsman hissed. “You demons are all the same…”

“Now, Now, Human. You didn’t call my kind that until the Great war, when we showed our true power. After all, before that…what did you call us? Non-humans? Non-beings? Inferior?” Rentui’s tone became angry, suddenly. “Just because we had whiter skin and hair, darkened eyes, and pointed ears?”

“I can’t vouch for what Humans have done in the past, but I do know that this reckless slaughter is wrong, Rentui! You have no right!”

Rentui stared for a moment, then began to chuckle. “No right…?” He laughed. “No Right?”

“What are you…”

“No-No right?” He laughed a bit harder. “After all…Oh, that’s rich…”
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Eski Eskerkins

March 2011

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