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Daughter of Realms

by Ember East

Chapter One

Amid the relentless cascade of raindrops, I crouched with near-feline grace on top of a weathered shipping container, cloaked in shadows. The rhythmic patter of rain on metal mingled with the distant sounds of overlapping waves, creating an eerie symphony that surrounded the docks.

My eyes scanned the surrounding forest through the heavy torrent of rain. My target tonight was a demon, a lower-level one that loved to feast on the intoxicated mortals who stumbled home every night. The demon had been seen hunting close by, and Wren, my closest and only friend had found it and chased it here in his wolven form. And so the hunter had become the hunted. 

My thoughts danced on the edge of anticipation, every nerve alight with preternatural awareness as I threw my keen half-fae, half-demonic senses out in the night. I frequently thought about this reality: being half-demon, I couldn’t help but notice the thin line that separated me from the very monster I was tracking tonight. Raindrops slid like liquid diamonds off my silver hair, and my body crackled with restrained energy.

For anyone else, the promise of their demonic bounty would have died in the downpour, but I was no ordinary hunter. I reached my hand up to my mouth, my finger resting on the point of an elongated canine, and bit down hard, blood welling to the surface. I quickly put the digit between my lips before the blood might be scented, and pulled deeply on the small wound.

A few precious drops of blood spilled down my throat like white-hot lightning as I felt my blood magic flow through me— a potent tool of my trade, sharpening my senses and heightening my perception.

Like a wave crashing against the shore, my senses surged to life. My amber eyes, aglow with a supernatural intensity, pierced the misty night, the darkness coming to life under the thin moonlight that managed to peak from the clouds. A chilling tingle traced its way along my spine, an intangible connection forming between Wren and me, who was drawing near. I drew a slow, steadying breath, the moisture-laden air filling my lungs with a heady mix of anticipation and determination. Through the cascading veil of rain, my gaze locked onto a shadow, darker than the night itself, writhing with malevolence. The demon, lurking at the edge of my awareness, had finally revealed itself.

As raindrops mingled with the magic that permeated the air, my heart quickened, ready to unleash the force that burned through my veins. I leapt from the storage container on silent feet, the vicious creature still unaware of my presence. I could feel Wren off in the darkness, getting closer now. He’d want me to wait for him, but the beast had begun pushing through the downpour towards the inky dark woods.

The scent of wet earth mingled with the acrid tang of a demonic presence, a noxious cocktail that pricked at my nose. I tightened my grip on the cold iron haft of my axe, my blood magic surging within me, a tempest of conflicting energies that promised both creation and destruction. Not wasting another moment I raced toward the creature.

The demon emerged from the shadows, turning towards me as I charged it. It was a grotesque fusion of flesh and nightmare. Its eyes glowed like smoldering embers and its snarling maw revealed rows of serrated teeth. A low growl rumbled in my throat as I met its gaze, determination clashing against the icy tendrils of fear. The rain-soaked ground squelched beneath my boots as I pressed on, the weight of my purpose driving me onward.

With a guttural roar, the demon lunged at me, all claws and baleful fury. I sidestepped the attack with a dancer’s grace, the rain-slicked ground aiding my swift evasion. My axe whistled through the air, meeting the demon’s hide with a resounding thud. The iron cleaved its flesh, eliciting a screech of pain that echoed through the stormy night.

But the monster was relentless. It retaliated with a savage strike of its own, raking its claws across my arm. Fire and ice coursed through my veins as I stumbled back, gritting my teeth against the searing agony. Blood mingled with rainwater, staining the ground in dark rivulets. The deep gash would heal soon, thanks to my supernatural healing abilities.

Desperation fueled my next move, I reached into the folds of my jacket, fingers closing around the hilt of one of my throwing knives. With a flick of my wrist, the blade sailed through the rain, finding its mark in the demon’s hide. It howled in anguish, its form writhing in torment. But still, it refused to yield.

Just as it turned to once again strike out, a primal snarl shattered the air. Wren, his russet fur glistening in the rain, burst onto the scene, muscles rippling beneath his drenched fur. His fangs gleamed in the dim light, and his green eyes locked onto the demon with predatory hunger.

Wren’s arrival renewed my resolve, together we were a force to be reckoned with. As the demon lunged at me once more, Wren intercepted its attack, his powerful jaws clamping down on its arm. The demon thrashed and roared, its struggles futile against Wren’s vice-like grip.

I seized the opportunity, my axe splitting open the demon’s back with a sickening jerk. It writhed and spasmed, its dark black blood bubbling out past the hilt of my axe. Wren’s jaws tightened, his fangs sinking deeper into the demon’s flesh.

In a final, desperate bid for survival, the demon tore itself free from Wren’s grasp leaving behind a trail of inky ichor. It staggered back, its breathing ragged and labored. With a primal snarl, it turned and fled into the darkness.

The demon’s anguished cries still echoed in the air as Wren and I exchanged a determined glance. We had wounded it, driven it to the brink, and now we intended to finish what we had started. The thrill of the hunt surged through our veins, our senses sharpened by the scent of victory mingled with the lingering rain.

Without hesitation, we plunged into the night, following the fading trail of blood left by the wounded demon. Our footfalls were muffled by the wet underbrush, our breaths coming quick and heavy. Each step brought us deeper into the heart of the unknown, closer to a realm where even the bravest of souls might falter.

The landscape twisted and contorted around us, the very fabric of reality warping as we gave chase. Shadows danced at the corners of my vision, and the air grew thicker, suffused with oppressive malice. The rain ceased to fall, replaced by otherworldly mist that clung to our skin like a shroud.

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