Morning

Take a look to the sky just before you die
It is the last time you will
Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry
Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see

(Metallica, Ride the Lightening, For Whom the Bell Tolls)

One by one, they came. Those who denied and rebelled against society called this their society. Those who had no respect came to show their respects. Those who were alone came to take comfort in others. Those who hated each other came to put their differences aside for one night.
One by one, they came. Assembling at the fires, basking in their heat, trying to fend away the chill of the night.

And he came too. He was no longer one of them, yet he came. He came to remember a part of his life he would much prefer to leave behind, and to pay his respects to friends long gone. A dark figure on the background of the night, he just stood there, not really a part of things. Few people dared approach him and even the few that did didn't receive any response. Tonight, he heard only the dead. The living were of no interest to him.

Slowly, as the night progressed, the tones became lower and lower. Stories of bravery and bravado were replaced by tales of passed glory and comrades gone and deceased.

At midnight, as by an unwritten law, they all assembled at the central fire. Without a word, a goblet was filled with dark wine and passed around. Each person who got he goblet pronounced a name of a fallen comrade. Each name was answered by a horrifying cry by the rest of the circle.
The goblet eventually came to him. For the first time that night, he spoke. "Damn. CJ. Mad." Only first names. No last names were mentioned. Family ties didn't matter here. The only family they had was this one, tied together in ties thicker than blood. He raised the goblet to his throat and let the fluid burn its way down his throat. He passed the goblet on, and left the fire. A single character draped in white followed him.
"You're Billy Oblivion!" She ran up next to him. For some reason, he longed for human contact.
Against all his better instincts and judgement, he answered.
"I was."
Wow!" She had nothing better to say. He quickened his pace, disappointed from yet another person how saw no further than the name that went before him. Trying to keep the conversation alive, she shot out the first question that jumped to her mind.
"So, why do you wear sunglasses at night?" He paused.
"My eyes tend to freak people out. The sunglasses just make things simpler."
"Really?" She asked, trying to figure out what kind of game he was playing. "They can't that bad." Her hand timidly moved towards his glasses. He closed his eyes against the pain of viewing the bright light of the fires. "Come on, let me see." She pleaded. Rolling things across his mind, he decided to give the little brat presuming to be a runner a taste of the real world, and get her off his back. Slowly, he opened his eyes, letting the pain run through him.
They say that the eyes are the gateway to a person's soul. As he opened his eyes, all she could see was her own reflection on the cold steel of his eyes. For the first time in her life, she screamed.
The scream echoed not only through the silent night, but also through his mind. Pure instinct erected his mental barriers and sent out a counter attack that made shriek and collapse in pain.
"Never," His breath was heavy, "Do that again."
"I can't help it." She was sobbing. "It just happens." She paused. "You have to help me!" She grasped his collar. "Teach me. Show me how to control these voices I never asked for, to chase them out of my head."
"They never quite go away," He said sympathetically, "But we will try." He said without really understanding why.





A year latter, they all came again. Some old faces were no longer there, and some new faces were added, but the core remained the same. Those who denied and rebelled against society called this their society. Those who had no respect came to show their respects. Those who were alone came to take comfort in others. Those who hated each other came to put their differences aside for one night.
One by one, they came. Assembling at the fires, basking in their heat, trying to fend away the chill of the night.

And the two of them came too. Two dark figures on the background of the night, they just stood there, keeping their distance. As in the year before, and as would be in the year to follow and the year to follow that, at midnight they all gathered by the central fire. Again, a goblet was filled and passed around the fire, only the names of fallen comrades and blood freezing cries disturbing the silence of the night. The goblet came to her, and she wordlessly passed it on to him. Again, like he had done for the last twenty years, he uttered the same three words. "Damn. CJ. Mad." Each name was followed by a cry that would have frozen the heart of the devil himself had he heard it.
Wordlessly, the goblet was passed on. A tall pale figure received it, and uttered names never heard before. "Aina. Ehran. Alachia." After drinking, he quickly left the circle.

She was still trying to figure out who those people were when she felt Billy dragging her after that character.
"What are you doing?" She asked, confused.
"Those names," He answered, trying to talk and to follow the character in the same time, "are names of Blood Elves."
"Blood Elves?" She asked, "You mean the Elves that supposedly lived thousands of years ago?"
"Not supposedly. They lived alright." He continued rushing her, "When mankind were still fighting with sticks and stones, they built cities of stone, metal and magic. During the second Awakening, they reined supreme. When our kind first started to appear in that awakening, they hunted us down like animals. We are all compelled by blood oaths to hunt every last one of them down."
She would have answered, but the look of cold determination on his face left no place for questioning.

Finally, they cornered the figure in a dark alley.

"Stay back." He told her. "You aren't even nearly ready for something like this." The figure unceremoniously raised a shotgun and fired at him, hitting him fare and square in the chest. Quicker than the eye could see, two pistols sled from his coat into his palms. He raised his hands, at let out a dozen precise shots. They were both bleeding, and they both seemed not to care too much about it.
"Now that we're done with formalities," He shouted out, "I assume we can get down to business?"
"Turn around and run now, human" The figure uttered the last word with detest, "And I'll let you live."
"Funny," He smiled a smile that sent cold shivers down her spine, "They always have to say that." He dropped his guns and drew a shining knife from his belt. "Pure silver," He said to her, "The only way to kill them."
The figure dropped his gun too and began chanting in a strange and arcane language.
"Get down!" He yelled at her, as he started running towards the elf. A huge ball of fire sent him flying backwards.
He got up, brushed the ashes off his coat and looked backwards to see if she was ok. She didn't have the chance to take cover and the explosion hit her too. She was bleeding severely.
At that point, something inside him just cracked. A terrible roar escaped his mouth, like the sound of a thousand tortured souls being burnt in the pits of hell. His muscles began bulging, ripping his cloths. His nails grew into long sharp fangs, and his face contorted as his forward teeth became a pair of fangs. His skin became darker until it achieved the deep red color reserved only to the creatures of the lowest levels of hell.
The elf drew a sword and stood ready for attack, quietly chanting words of protection, defense and fortitude.
Steel clashed talons, magic with mentalism, elf with human, or perhaps it would be more correct to say elf with demon. Blood was drawn and bones were broken.
Eventually, a standoff was reached. They both knew they could not kill each other, and they both knew they had no other choice. The elf began chanting one final spell, as Billy gathered his remaining energies and pounced on him like a hungry animal. The sword was knocked out of the elf's hands just as he pronounced the final syllable of his spell. His body began to fade into a gray mist that quickly disappeared in the cold winds of the night.

She rushed toward him, ignoring her fear of the creature he had turned into, as he struggled to his feet.
"He got away!" Billy cursed.
"Don't worry about that now." She said, picking up the elf's sword from the road wet from the dew. "You won. It's over."

A gray mist started forming a human shape behind him.
"Look out!" She yelled, but it was too late. A knife, his knife, pierced his heart from the back.

His hand clenched the wound as he looked down, watching the blood of life slowly pouring out of him. He looked up at her and laughed. His laugh sounded like the rattling of hell's gates as the damned souls try and break them open. As his life began leaving him, he slowly collapsed. Pure rage guided her actions as the sword she picked up slit the elf's throat open, sending him to collapse down on the street next to Billy.

She tossed the sword aside and lent over him.
"The demon," He spat blood, "It can't be allowed to escape." He ran his finger over her upper lip. "My blood. The blood of your mentor." He dipped his finger in the blood of the elf lying next to him and ran it over her lower lip. "His blood. The blood of your first victim." Finally, he dipped his finger in her blood and ran it down both her lips, forming a small cross. "You have known death, You have known blood. You are no longer innocent. Now you are ready."
She screamed as he ripped her mental defenses open and forced the soul of the demon he carried alone for so many years into her mind.
"The voices. They're all gone now." He said, a single drop of blood running down his face instead of the tears he was no longer able to shed.

The sun began to rise, coloring the ally in a deep dark shade of red. He looked up at it, and for the first time in his life, actually welcomed it. His eyes closed, and his mouth, now without any fangs curled into a peaceful smile.





A lone figure, dark on the background of the rising sun joined the fire. The goblet was silently passed to her. She uttered a single word before letting the last drops of the fluid burn down her throat.
"Billy."

The End