Continuing to watch as things would unfold, the battle between the mage and the dark mage continued the way he had imagined. Compared to the other mage, Solmar's magical power probably did not mean all that much, making it that much easier for the dark mage to just scuff at his very presence. Remaining mindful of the black magic that flew around, as well as making sure not to get himself caught up in one of them, he did the only thing he could do at this point, which was to assess the situation to the best of his abilities and look for an opening in the man's defenses. Obviously, doing so meant that he would need to first figure out more about this guy, what made him tick. But more importantly, he needed to know what his magic did, and if there was perhaps something his own magic could do to stop that of the dark mage. Knowing that his own magic was considered holy by some, all it really was to Solmar was a means of putting down demons and other creatures that should not be in this world anymore.
It had only been due to this encounter with the undead wolf, the ghosts haunting the supposedly abandoned guild hall and the abomination of twisted flesh, bone and sinew that the young mage had come to figure out how his magic was effective against those kinds of beings as well as demons. Truth be told, he was quite glad to know about such a thing, as both undead and ghosts were beings that no longer had a place within the natural order of things and only acted as a force to upset nature. Whenever nature was upset, things happened like the earth going sour, plants dying and animals not being born right. While he was only a young one, he had seen a lot more of what nature had to offer than most people twice his age. This was because of his upbringing, or rather the lack thereof after his seventh year when the calamity that robbed him of his place in the world happened. When the demon called Vetis killed his parents, mauled the neighbors and killed various people on the streets that had the misfortune of running into it, the younger Solmar would never be able to return.
Though through the years he forgot where he had been born in the first place, it had forced him to find a new place, as well as figure out how to survive on his own without having any parents to act as role models or tell him what was okay and what was not. The ability to discern between right and wrong had always been a lot more grey for him than it had been for other people, but that much was to be expected when one grew up by following the laws of the jungle. Out in the harsh world outside of modern society, it was all about killing or being killed, as well as asserting dominance so an animal would not abuse what it might misconstrue as weakness and attack. So as he watched the Necromancer as he sent waves of blackness towards the barrier that surrounded Amalie, it was clear that he intended to just keep pouring it on in an attempt at eventually overwhelming it and breaking it entirely before overwhelming and consuming the woman who was hiding behind it. While hiding might not have been the right word, the fact that she refrained from attacking would most certainly give rise to such thoughts within the back of his mind.
What he could see when he looked upon the surroundings that were touched by the black waves, he could tell that it was not looking good. It was as if a concentrated death was radiating from his spells as the wood along the ceiling, the floor and the walls that were touched sporadically by it started rotting so fast that it became visible to the naked eye. Judging from that, he could only imagine what it would do if it were to come into contact with a human body, meaning the barrier was likely a good idea. If it were to go down, there was a likeliness that it would not leave much to be recognized by. That said, the man was a Necromancer, so it was likely that he would try to keep as much of their bodies intact as he possibly could. What with the bodies he had already lost due to the earlier fight, as well as his undead dire wolf no longer being in the business of delivering new dead bodies for him to tinker with, it seemed probable to think that he would start with using their bodies first. Whether there were more bodies, which seemed entirely likely given how many people had gotten lost over the past months, he would likely start with their entirely out of spite.
Not really looking forward to having his body become another part of some fleshy machination, or worse, to have his soul bound to something while being forced to do whatever the Necromancer told him to, there seemed to be but one way to deal with the situation, and that was through his sword. Feeling like he had seen enough of this man's magic to know that it was likely safe for him to approach from behind and lob off his head, it was at that point that he noticed something out of the ordinary. The man's shadow seemed to move around differently, not following the same moves made by his body. Noticing that his shadow also possessed horns and what seemed like a tail, the black haired swordsman was starting to get second thoughts with regards to how they should be dealing with this man. What he had felt earlier, which he had figured was likely due to all of the death around him seemed to be centered around this man, which actually made a whole lot of sense due to the fact that he was the one causing it, but there was yet more to it.
The more he focused his attention on this shadow, the more it seemed like this feeling he had was coming from it rather than the man it was attached to. At that point, he came to realize that maybe, just maybe, this shadowy thing was the reason behind this man's actions. Maybe by attaching itself to the man it could control his movement and his actions through a means of possession. Given how a similar thing had happened to him in the past, the idea of a man being possessed by a demon and forced to do evil things was not even that big of a leap, more so when considering the incredibly harmful and life ending magical power that radiated from his spells and kept the other mage from attacking. Making an executive decision at that point to turn his blade on the shadow, there was a good chance that he was wrong and that it would draw the man's attention towards attacking and killing him. But given the off chance that he just might be right here, he focused his demon slaying fire into his sword and leaped forth from his guarded position and towards the Necromancer.
At the end of his leap, he would thrust his sword into the shadow, causing his sword to go down straight through the floor boards. Once he did, the white flames from his sword started slipping from the blade and began burning the wooden floor, which seemed to draw quite the response. As the man started twitching, his magical assault beginning to fluctuate, the white flames were forced back as a dark power began to rise up from the shadow in the shape of a black almost liquid substance. Wrapping around his wrists, sword and ankles, drawing him into it in the blink of an eye. Feeling as though he got submerged in water, he saw how the guild hall disappeared and made way for darkness in all directions for as far as the eye could see. Floating around in it as the tendrils kept pulling him down, Solmar felt extremely cold as he got lowered further and further into it. Feeling as the cold made it harder for him to do simple things like maintain his grip, he was forced to let go of his sword as it sank deep down below into the abyss. Watching as it eventually disappeared entirely, it was around that time that the tendrils let go and he was left to just hover.
Even though everything was cold and it felt like being deep, deep under water, he could breathe normally, which made the whole experience rather outlandish as he had never been in such a situation before. Trying to orient himself as he was down there, he suddenly got the feeling that he was not alone, feeling his entire body shiver as a black being darted around within the darkness. As it was incredibly hard for him to move around on his own, the dark figure eventually came to him, hanging in front of him while sniffing deeply. Telling Solmar in a deep and raspy voice that he could smell that he was a demon slayer, it apparently thought it was quite funny that a slayer like himself had gotten trapped within the demon's personal space after foolishly lunging at and trying to kill a shadow. Chuckling at the thought, Solmar himself just pouted a bit at the idea of being laughed at, especially since his intentions were good. But all of this just went to prove and show that good intentions really did not mean much if one couldn't see it through up until the end. Continuing to look him over, the demonic entity did not seem finished yet.
Asking him why he had not just used his chance at stabbing the man from behind or lobbing off his head with his sword, the swordsman remained silent for a bit. When he thought about it, it reminded him of how he really did not owe the man in question a thing, and how he had only noticed the demon by accident once he was at the point of going in for the kill. In reality, he did not really know why he had done so, given how he had little to no connections with humans ever since the death of his parents and his relatives and acquaintances. Even more so, he had nothing to do with this man at all and really only had reasons for wanting to kill him, at least up until him noticing the demonic entity. Incapable of providing the entity with a clear question, it just huffed a bit as it ran a finger along Solmar's arm, cutting into it with a sharp nail and drawing a good amount of blood. Returning the finger to its mouth and having a taste of it, it narrowed its eyes as it apparently tasted something entirely unexpected.
Instead of addressing it, the entity turned its back towards Solmar as he posed another interesting question. Claiming that since Solmar had intended on killing the man, but had stopped in an attempt at saving him by killing the demon that possessed it, he asked whether or not being unable to take down the demon would mean that he would instead aim to kill the host body instead. Thinking of all the dozens of people that had gone missing, that had been killed and tinkered with, the young swordsman felt that maybe it would be best if he made an attempt at killing him so that all of this could end. But that was only going to happen if he was not going to be able to kill the demon itself. Chuckling at the answer, both Solmar and the entity knew that him killing the other was unlikely to happen, though he still had a trump card up his sleeve. Right now, he still hoped that Amalie would be able to overcome the waves of death magic and might make an attempt at aiding him in this battle, instead of just sitting behind a protective dome the whole time and not contributing a whole lot to the problem they were facing.
Unsure whether she wouldn't or couldn't, there was no denying that the two of them had only met moments before entering the abandoned guild hall. He couldn't know for sure if the person still up there would actually make an attempt at saving him if it came to the point where he would need it, which was very much the case right now. But as time went on, he was starting to realize that the help he had been hoping for would most likely not come at all. At that thought, it seemed that the entity could sense the feeling of power and hopelessness and decided to just keep pouring it on. Placing a hand on top of Solmar's head, the being allowed Solmar to see some of the memories of the Necromancer, things that seemed entirely pointless. In one, it showed the man in a large manor along with his wife, his two daughters and their staff, as well as a cat. In the next, it showed that the man was an employee of the magic council and did some paperwork that was beyond Solmar's own understanding. In the next, he saw how the family cat had gotten sick and eventually died, to which the man applied his magic in order to restore it back to life.
Judging by the way his magics looked, the magic of this necromancer had not always been dark and cold but used to be more like a warm and soothing light. When the memory that followed it had apparently happened after quite some time since the death and rebirth of the cat, it showed his two daughters lying on a bed with veils over their eyes, as well as the man's magic not being strong enough to restore a human being to life. What happened next were various memories showing moments of anger and sadness between the man and his wife, up to the point where he eventually lifted his wife down after she had hung herself from a tree in the garden. Beginning to understand a bit of why things were happening the way they had, images popped up of how he had unearthed the bodies of his daughter and had them laying on a table. There, he tried to clean them, clean being a relative term when talking about a decomposing corpse that had been in the ground for a while already. As the eyes went across the room, it showed him that his wife was laying on another table not far from that of the two daughters.
Though he had never seen such things before, the tools he saw laying around seemed like the same tools his mother had used when skinning and gutting deer for her work as a hunter. But these seemed to be sharper, more advanced tools meant for far more precise work, but that much was something even a blind idiot could see. And while he might have spent all of his time in the wilderness after being forced to run from society as a seven year old kid, it was clear that he was going to use those tools on these bodies, though for reasons he could not figure out. As the memories progressed to future points in time, Solmar saw how the man was pleading with whatever was willing and able to help him out, to which he was answered by the raspy voice he knew for sure was that of the demon. In exchange for assistance and amplifying his magic to the point where he could raise people from the dead, the man was to help him by doing whatever it was that he wanted. And what he wanted was for someone to act as his willing vessel so he could "learn more about what made human beings tick".
Likely misunderstanding at the time, the demon inhabited the man's body, turning the bright glow of his magic into a dark and cold version. While he did in fact restore the souls to their bodies of his family, that seemed to merely be the start of things, for the entity did wish to figure out what made humans tick. At that point, the disfigurement, torture and stitch jobs started with the entity using the body of the man to work on other people from his city that sought aid. Treated them all like willing subjects, he killed some in order to harvest their organs or limbs while stitching them to other people and seeing how they would adjust to it. Once the citizens learned what was happening, they banded together and drove the man out of his manor, burning it down during their raid and forcing him to make an escape. All of that was the reason why he had ended up in the abandoned guild hall, and why he had resorted to using a wild animal as his means of delivering fresh corpses for him to tinker and play with. Through the years, as the man who used to own the body kept slipping further and further away, the entity became stronger and just started playing with people's bodies and souls for the fun of it.
Removing his hand from Solmar's head, the entity showed a grin as it pulled up what he could only imagine was the soul of the man who had his body possessed by it. Being nothing more than this shriveled little thing that could barely be called a soul anymore, it was made that much more clear to Solmar that there was no chance at saving this man. The only thing they could do that was relatively humane was to put him out of his misery by killing him, though that proved to be an issue on its own as his sword had sank into a black abyss and he had no way of getting topside. Being entirely on his own in this, the entity then turned to Solmar again, speaking of how his soul would be suffering the same fate as his younger body would serve as a far better one. After all, the body of the Necromancer had gotten old, corrupted and weakened by the constant exposure to the demon's black magic, which had caused it to age a whole lot faster than the normal body would. Believing Solmar would not be bothered by such things as his body seemed far more magic rich and sturdy after years spent in the wilderness, there was also the added bonus of literally no one knowing him.
As such, the entity would be able to parade around wherever and whenever he wanted to as there was no one out looking for Solmar and no one who could possibly tell that he wasn't acting like himself. Turning itself into a black liquid form, it forced itself into Solmar's face, entering his body through his nose and mouth, making him feel like choking over and over as the darkness invaded him, forcing itself down until there was nothing left. Once it was over with, the first thing the young swordsman did was cough up a good amount of blood. Seeing how that blood had hints of corruption in it as it was slowly blackening, he figured that he would only have so much time before the entity would make an attempt at taking over. With that thought in mind, he started swimming as fast as he could through the black void, making his way through the man shaped hole in the air above him. Being the very same shadow through which he had entered this strange world, it seemed to make sense to him that this would also be how he would be getting back out of it. Taking quite a bit of time as it was not easy for him to pull off, his body starting to resist him at times, he eventually made it.
Sticking his arm out first, he put it onto the wooden floor boards, elbow first before using it to lift the rest of his body out up to his waist. Feeling as though his sight was gradually fading out, he could swear that as his vision of the real world faded away, he saw into another place entirely. Seeing the black entity inside of him as it was starting to spread itself through his subconscious, the black tendrils eventually hit a snag as they were stopped from advanced due to ivory white walls. When next a white figure stepped out of the wall and wandered over to the black entity, it looked it over for a bit before asking whether it was considered okay these days for one such entity to intrude upon the turf of the other. Seemingly being no wiser as to what was going on, the black entity confusedly replied to Vetis that it had not sensed any demonic beings inside of this body, and that he would make his way back out towards the Necromancer until he found a more suitable body. But as he tried to leave, it seemed that it could not, being stopped by the other being as Vetis kept it around. Instead of saying another word, the white entity disappeared.
Next, the white walls shifted and warped, taking on the appearance of a massive white maw that bit into and slowly worked down the entire black entity as a midday snack. By the time the black one had disappeared entirely and his body seemed to go back normal as the black veins retreated, all he saw was one last smirk from the massive maw before his vision was restored. As soon as it was, he fully lifted himself out of the shadow as the gateway closed, retracting towards the body of the Necromancer. When it finally reached him, the black waves of magic suddenly stopped as the light in his otherwise darkened eyes was snuffed out, causing the lifeless body to lumber for a bit before falling to the ground. Slowly making his way over to it and gripping the man by the wrist, the young swordsman could no longer feel a heartbeat, meaning the man's soul had most likely abandoned his body the moment the magic was released and the demon got eaten by a more powerful one. Choosing not to think about it too much just yet, Solmar took towards the place the Necromancer had stepped out of as he still had a job to do here.
Doing his best to locate them all, it did not take much time before Solmar found all of the missing bodies. Finding them all in varying stages of being carved into, having organs or limbs taken and sewn onto another, he did not think that he could leave them here like this for their relatives to find. No, instead, he went around in an attempt at collecting as many of their valuables as he could. Rings, necklaces, hairpins, anything that might be used by their relatives to recognize them by before using his white flames to set fire to the place. And in this, he was thorough, he would not just burn the corpses, he would burn down the entire building so no one would ever be any the wiser of what had happened here. Caring very little for the magic council and what they wanted, he figured it would be in their best interest as well as the guild hall would vanish along with the bodies. Once he made sure all of the bodies in the basement had caught on fire, he made his way out into the main room of the building where Amalie and the body of the Necromancer were.
Using his magic to set fire of the body of the Necromancer, it would most likely not be long before it would catch on and start burning the wooden floor before the flames from the basement would reach it. Knowing for certain that the place would be gone before long, he turned his attention towards Amalie for a moment. Not because of all the aid he had received from her throughout this encounter, but so that she could relay the message to her council. "Thirty bodies intact, ten taken apart and two more in the process of being sewn into another abomination. All set fire to. Before long, they and this building will be no more. I'm heading back to let their relatives know of what happened, you do whatever it is you need to do, though I wouldn't stay here for much longer. It's bound to get hot.". With that short report of sorts given, he ventured out through the front door and headed back into the woodlands that surrounded the place. Before he would truly leave though, he would make sure the resulting fire would not end up burning down the surrounding forests, putting it out if it came to it.
Once that was all taken care of, he would head towards the villages from which these people had gone missing from. Fully intending on returning their trinkets to them as he had nothing to gain from keeping them, the young swordsman without a sword hoped it would bring them some solace.
(4265 // 11118)
Downsizing by 4000 as it had already been turned in 4 months ago, which I forgot about entirely, my bad.
7118 words left.
Turning 7000 in for an A ranked free form.