Scimitar War: Prelude

Host

Something neared. Something warm…alive…human. Blood pulsed through the human’s veins, a siren song only the demon could hear. Blood was its true love, its glory, and it lusted for a taste of the sweet, hot nectar.

Cold stone confined the demon, a prison fashioned by man. Millennia ago, lured by the promise of blood and the power it gave, it had answered the summons of those men. But they had trapped it, forced its essence into the water of the sea, which it hated with every fiber of its malevolent soul. They offered only titillating droplets of blood, then stripped away the power for their own use. But finally, in their greed for more power, they had made a mistake.

Its captors brought a woman, the sole survivor of a wrecked ship. She was not of their tribe, so its captors thought to sacrifice her to the demon, expecting to harvest even greater power in return. They slit her throat and plunged her head into the pool that was the demon’s prison, but the demon was clever. It followed the strong, pulsing flow into her body and closed the mortal wound behind itself. It filled her mind with thoughts of vengeance, and rejoiced when she welcomed the union. It reveled in this new vessel of flesh, infusing her blood with its essence. The demon was free from its prison, still captive within this malleable shell of skin and bone and unable to return to its otherworldly home, but liberated. Strong with its host’s blood, and using her hatred toward those who had sacrificed her, the demon exacted its revenge.

Blood…

It reveled in the deaths of its former captors until every last man, woman and child lay consumed at its feet. Suffused with the power of their blood, it lured a passing ship and walked for years through the cities of men. Humanity provided an endless feast, but those who feared and pursued its kind discovered the deception, and it knew what it was to be hunted. And always, the compelling magic of the demon’s stony prison called it back to that place. Finally, it found the means to return.

Bloodwind…

The demon offered power in exchange for blood; a good bargain until the host used too much power without the offer of blood. The pact was broken and it burst free of its fleshy prison to feed upon the blood of a seamage. But it was betrayed, pierced by cold iron.

Pain…

Imagining release from this hated world, it fought to the death. Instead, it found itself once again in the prison of stone and water, weak and impotent, alone in the dark, powerless to escape.

Until now…

The human drew near. The demon felt her fear, her thirst.

Water…The projected thought used precious power, but the potential reward was blood. Cool, clear, delicious water

Finally, a tentative finger dipped into the water and…it knew her. Hair like fresh-spilled blood, skin like cream…Camilla…and her blood was hot with fear, hatred, and despair. The demon had lusted after her blood for years when she was under the protection of Bloodwind, but now…here she was. She touched the drop of water on her fingertip to her exquisite lips. Rapture…life…thirst…it thought. Another drop. Longing…thirst…hunger…

Her hands clutched the stone, and her lips neared the pool, touched its surface…she drank. The demon exulted as she drew its essence into her glorious vessel of flesh, bone and blood. Warm again, whole again, it reveled in the bliss of infusing a human body, swimming in the rivers of blood. It fed sparingly; she was frightfully weak and it was all the demon could do to keep her alive. Also, it knew her mind; Camilla would not be a willing host. And if she died, the demon would be stuck back in the cold, wet stone pool. Cautious, wary of her fear and of discovery, it soothed her mind and kept her alive with a thread of its power. It delved deep behind her thoughts, buried itself among her secrets, her dreams, and her nightmares. It was weak now, but the power would come.

It was Hydra once again…and it hungered.

Scimitar War: Chapter One