Dawn Harshaw / Zombies VS Vampires VS Demons / Demon Assassin Executes Vampire Council (short story)
When you change, make the world adapt to you. When the world changes, adapt by changing yourself.
If the feedback between is distorted, growing in power will be accompanied by growing in delusions - which hide your weaknesses from yourself, but highlight them to others.
- Dreamer's Handbook
Nehre slit the councilman's throat. One down, two more to go. He waited until the croaking and gurgling subsided, and pushed the bound body backwards onto the cold castle floor.
"Please, don't do this! I'll pay you double- no, thrice as much!" The second councilman rocked back and forth on his knees, wailing.
In his younger days, Nehre would have spent a few moments considering such an offer, but the panicky, begging types never proved reliable. Even if he felt inclined to accept, his contract with EnrRrei bound beyond mere words.
Nehre removed a wooden stake from his belt and looked for something to hammer it in with. These vampires sure are resilient. Like wasps, they refuse to die.
"I demand that you set us free!"
He knew of two sure ways to kill a vampire that were within the realm of practicality for an assassin: decapitation and a stake through the heart. Decapitation was messy, and the scent of all that fresh blood travelled far to attract other vampires. Using a stake was cleaner - the sharpened piece of wood inhibited the natural regenerative powers of vampires - but it was extra weight to carry.
Without a stake through the heart, even the guards whose necks Nehre broke while infiltrating the castle could make a successful recovery - they might need transfusion to enhance the regeneration, though.
"Please! Do you know who I am?! I'm First Councilman of the Reach Initiative! I'll be avenged!"
Nehre drove the stake through the unbeating heart of the first vampire's bled-out body. It's funny how they oscillate between pleading for mercy and threats and demands, like broken toys. Their personalities unravel without any additional effort on my part.
"Don't do this! I'll make you rich!"
Nehre stood up and pressed the bloody dagger against the blabbering councilman's throat. "Reach Initiative, you say? Perhaps your death will teach your clansmen not to reach towards things which belong to EnrRrei."
Due to overexertion and panic, a muscle on the vampire's face started twitching uncontrollably. "EnrRrei? The demoness? You're a thrall; that's why you could overpower us with your bare hands! I'll give her anything she wants, just don't kill me!"
Nehre's relationship with EnrRrei was a mutually beneficial one: she provided him with demonic strength and a supernatural sense for the lifeforce around him, and he performed assassinations exclusively for her, for which he was compensated on a 'per case' basis. It's good she's not a micro-manager like the other demons.
Nehre saw only empty clinging in the vampire's eyes. "You don't have anything to offer her," he said, and slit the First Councilman's throat. He waited for the gurgling to stop and pushed the body onto its back.
One more. Nehre was almost sad his mission neared its end - he would miss castle Aluin's serene atmosphere. He didn't care much for the pretentious decorum the vampires tried to infect the place with; this castle in the mountainside survived millennia and showed no intent of buckling before the ravages of time. I wish the usual hellholes I get sent to had the same spirit.
Nehre expertly drove the stake home.
He was occasionally tempted with a longing for a greater challenge; a foe that would truly test his skills of combat. As a place of politics and diplomacy, castle Aluin didn't offer much in this regard: only absent-minded elders and hotshot guards making rudimentary mistakes of overconfidence. The rational part of Nehre's mind took pride that it was superior planning and tactics which made combat flawlessly unchallenging - the hallmark of a master assassin.
Nehre looked at the third councilman kneeling on the floor; hands and feet bound tightly. "You don't say much, do you?"
The vampire shrugged.
The quiet, rational types are often most dangerous, but this one seemed to look inward, preparing for the journey death would bring.
"Any last words you want to say?"
The councilman took a deep breath, and exhaled in a sigh. "No. Make it quick."
Nehre nodded. He wondered if he'll have this much composure when his time comes. Maybe I'll die from some horrible sickness, with no one to fight except Death itself.
"Very well. Ready?"
Nehre raised his dagger to end the vampire's life as painlessly as possible. Just a fraction of a second later, Nehre's other arm swung involuntarily and blocked the dagger from connecting - the force knocked it out of hand. What the-
Before he could figure out what was happening, Nehre's mind instinctively withdrew to a safe place from the engulfing rage. He observed from afar as words erupted from his own mouth and roared at the councilman:
"Abn brego mrreih, inmahr avvegrh vol ENRRREI!"
Experience taught him that the secret to surviving a demonic intrusion was to let go at once - lest the rage consume all if he resisted - and wait out until control was relinquished back to him.
A couple of seconds later the crimson haze withdrew; he blinked a few times and clenched his fists to make sure he was himself again. The vampire's eyes looked back at him with terrified surprise.
Nehre's short-term memory held new information: "EnrRrei sends her regards. She tells me you voted against a raid on one of our camps, is that correct?"
The vampire nodded. "It was a bad plan; wouldn't have worked."
"Your forethought earned you your life today, First Councilman. Congratulations. EnrRrei wishes you to know that despite... recent events, she's open to future cooperation."
The vampire grunted a barely articulate 'thank you'.
Nehre collected the dagger that fell out of his hand and sheathed it. Enough excitement for one day; these unexpected visits take a toll on my nerves.
"As much as I'd love to stay and strengthen diplomatic ties... it would be detrimental to my health. Please hold off on yelling for help; I hope to relax and admire the scenery on my way out."
Dawn Harshaw / Zombies VS Vampires VS Demons / Demon Assassin Executes Vampire Council