Azura The Key
Chapter Two: Hunter
A dark-skinned lady covered in marking on her arms, legs and side of her face is seen battling with a of couple humanoid figures whilst wielding two twin blades. As she slashes through them, a dark goo is left on her blade and they disappear into a dark mist. She stabs the last figure in the stomach causing it to gurgle and choke on its own bodily fluids, blackish blue goo spills out of the comers of its mouth.
”Y-you know that w-well n-n-never stop c-c-coming after you -right? ” said the demon in between gurgles as it chokes on its goo, then it smiles wide with the same goo now staining its razor-sharp teeth. She withdraws the blade from its stomach and proceeds to slash its neck thus decapitating it. Goo erupts like a fountain from its neck and baths her face and then the evil humanoid smirks as he dissolved into dark mist.
Id be surprised if you did ” she says before wiping off the goo from her face. It did not matter how man she killed: they would always come back. While she is trying to wipe off as much of the sticky mess coating her, she hears a slow clap behind her from the shadows and pauses. She proceeds to sniff the air and now sports a half smile on her face; without turning around and with a sigh she addresses the owner of the sound.
”I know it is you Membe ” she says whilst rolling her eyes. ”I can smell your body adour from miles away ”
A hooded figure walks slowly into the light, its a man of lean build wearing dark loose clothing. He keeps a safe distance between himself and the lady.
”First of all. I do NOT smell Membe says with a frown ”and secondly, how were you so sure that it was me? ” He queries with a pout on his face. She finally tums around and faces Membe with traces of the goo still left on her face.
”I cannot decide which answer fits best ” She says and then proceeds to wipe her face again with the back of her palm then cleans it on her skirt before continuing. ”Maybe it is fact that there was a thick smell of desperation mixed with sweat or maybe its the fact that you stink… A lot, with or without the added hint of desperation. Like I said, either way; I can smell you from miles away ”
Membes face scrunches up in embarrassment and then tries to sniff his armpits.
”I do not stink; this place just smells bad and its probably rubbing off on me. ” He says with his arms crossed. She stares at him for a few seconds before speaking
”Sure of course you Do not and I Do not have a price on my head. ” She says sarcastically.
She then wipes her blades clean with a scrap of cloth lying on the floor but sheaths only one of them.
”Speaking of heads, I think you shou-.. ” the rest of his speech dies out when she points a blade at him and he makes a move to take a step back with his arms raised.
”Let me stop you there. ” She says with the blade still pointed at him. We have had this conversation before on countless occasions. Although its the only relatively sensible that has ever come out of your mouth, my answer still remains the same. ”
”Im happy that you agree that its a sensible idea. Also, you do know I can just disappear right? So, you pointing your blade at me is pointless. ” He says but still staring at the blade with a hint of fear. She smiles and takes a step forward. Membes back is now against the wall.
”Should we test whats faster? My blade or your spells? ”
Id rather not. ” He says ”I wouldn want to prove you wrong and hurt your pride. ”
She takes another step and now the blade is lightly touching his chest which causes him to flinch and squeeze his eyes.
”Oh, is that so? ” she says with a smirk ”Then why did you flinch? ”
He opens his eyes when he feels her step back. She lowers the blade and places one hand on her waist still sporting a smirk.
”I did not flinch ” he says with a pout. ”Its cold in here, it was just a mere shiver so, do not get cocky. Anyways as I was saying, that demon was right and you know it. They will never stop. ” He says exasperated.
”Your plan is stupid and I refuse to be anyones pawn. ”
But you are a pawn. You have been one since your existence. ” He says and her smirk is
”Membe let me make this clear because I feel like I wasn the previous times we have spoken about this. I am a couple of things; a fighter, a survivor and most times Im referred to as an abomination but I am no ones pawn. ” She says with irritation laced in her tone.
”Azura, soon you will have to pick a choice on whom to serve. You cannot keep walking in between both worlds ”
I can and I will ” She says angrily. The irritation has quickly transformed into anger with every
word that fell out of Membes mouth.
”Your path was already carved out and cursed when your mother conceived you. You cannot escape it Azura ”
”That is where you are wrong Membe ” she replies with a dry chuckle. ”My mere existence is proof that fates can be changed. ”
”Do not be foolish Azura. ” He says, and with that he disappears in a cloud of smoke.
”Damn you and the fates! ” She says, angrily staring at the spot he was before he disappeared and then spits on it ”My mother chose her path and so will I. ” She finally sheaths her blade and walks out of the building and into the night.
I am Azura and I am an abomination.
I wish I could say that it wasn always like this; that I did not always spend 95% of my time leaving in the shadows and fighting demons, bounty hunters, occasionally overzealous an overzealous normal villager and whatever they cooked up in the underworld.
I should have known I was not normal when I could hear and remember everything that happened while I was in the womb. I just thought it was normal that I must have had a special bond with my mother. But the fact that I was the size of a one-year-old when I came into the world should have been another dead giveaway.
The forest isn safe at night.
Fear the darkness.
Revere the gods for they know best.
These three rules ensured that we stayed safe and saw the next day. These rules were passed from the gods to the ancestors and down multiple generations too numerous to count. They were as old as my village and these same rules seemed like part of a fable. The remnants of a forgotten people who once walked this earth.
The village diviner had one important job amongst their other duties; they were supposed to make sure that no one forgot and that the rules weren broken. In the event that they were broken then there were punishments and sacrifices to be carried out for the cleansing of the land and appeasement of the angered gods. But what happens when a diviner breaks these rules or a rule that did not exist.
My mother was a diviner just like her mother before her. My mother desperately longed for a child, it did not matter if it was paralysed or healthy. She just wanted a child bom of her own flesh. My grandmother was lucky enough to have had my mother before she was appointed as a diviner because in a normal setting, diviners were supposed to raise the child anointed by the gods as their own child rather than conceiving children by themselves.
My grandmother was the only diviner appointed by the gods who wasn a virgin Sometimes I wonder if this singular reason could be responsible for how my mother turned out and why she decided to rewrite her story.
The circumstances surrounding being conceived and my birth are as strange as they are abominable. Like I said earlier, I am not normal and not just because I possess my mothers memories. Memories which were not passed down from mother to child through word of mouth but rather I came into this world armed with them. I have had these memories since the night I was conceived.
My mothers desperate need to have a child drove her mad and made her fearless.
The diviners hut is filled with effigies of gods and symbolic chalk markings on the walls of the hut. The floor of the diviners hut was littered with chicken feathers and splotches of blood and right at the centre of it all sat the diviner.
She is a light skinned woman with intricate chalk markings covering every inch of exposed skin on the left side of her body. She is dressed in a white full- length wrapper with a single waist bead carrying a turtle shell. The left side of her face is also decorated with white chalk markings.
Before her is a circle drawn in chalk with a labyrinth of symbols within it, the symbols are written in blood and at the centre of it is a pile of bloody chicken feathers, chicken entrails and two severed index fingers. After assembling everything, she began chanting.
”A child I want, a child you can give. A piece of me I offer as a gift, take it and grant my wish. ” What had started out as a low whisper slowly increased until she was screaming at the top of her voice.
”A CHILD I WANT, A CHILD YOU CAN GIVE! A PIECE OF ME I OFFER AS A GIFT, TAKE IT AND GRANT MY WISH! ” Then her voice dropped until it was just a mere whisper again.
This went on until the circle and bloody symbols started to give off a bluish glow then she picked up a dagger and then sliced her palm open with it. Blood dripped onto sacrifice from her outstretched hand and then she rubbed the bloody palm on the left side of her face. Suddenly, she was not alone in the room anymore; shadows were cast by the lamp which began to length and take strange shapes.
A flash of blue light erupted from the circle. The light knocked the diviner out and her waist bead cut.
A huge shadowy creature came up from the circle and released a loud grotesque shriek.
I caused the domestic animals to break free and flee. Some ran in to the village square where they frothed at the mouth and died whilst others ran into the forest.
The figure took shape and spoke ”Finally, after centuries of being under the control of the gods. Subject to their whims and treated as mere servants. Finally, our time is here! ” It hovered over the unconscious diviner smiling while touching her cheek and stomach. It squeezed her jaw open and spat a little blue pebble into her mouth, she subconsciously swallowed and her stomach glowed blue around where its hand was. It rose up and threw its head back in laughter then it stopped as abruptly as it started.
It spoke again ”Soon my little pebble will be bor and Ill come back for it, but only when it has reached its peak. Then the gods would be fully under my control forever. ” Then it retreated back into the circle and took the oddly shaped shadows with it.
As the diviner came to, she noticed something in the flickering light of the oil lamp; the last of the shadows were slowly retreating back into the earth.
She rubbed her stomach whilst smiling. The circle still lay before her but consisted of only ashes with smoke coming out of it. She felt around her waist for her waist bead but saw that it lay in pieces on the floor then she stared at her palm where she had made an incision and saw a mark that resembled a branding; the deed was done.
She threw her head back and laughed ”Who said that destinies cannot be rewritten? ”
She walked into the inner room and came out armed with her belongings stuffed into 2 large raffia bags. She left in the cover of the night, she knew sticking around till morning would be very foolish and a suicide mission.
Animals always know when something is wrong.
The moment the ritual started, all animals got tensed up, wild and domestic alike; fur standing up, hackles raised, chickens squawking loudly in their coops and dogs whining. As the flash of bright light appeared, the animal frenzy increased. The light disappeared and everywhere was quiet, animals had fled. Every living creature in the forest and livestock that did not die as well had disappeared , even the most loyal of all creatures too; the dogs.
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