When I first started writing fantasy as a teenager, I created a villain I loved so much, he had to have his own story. I realized the other day that I’ve never posted some of my writing here. Without further adieu, here is the prologue to my villain’s story. A bit of a content warning though. There’s some gruesomeness involved.
Meridan blinked while the groans of the dying pierced Heaven. A red sky pulsed above. Or blurred. It was hard to tell with only one gemstone to see through. A sticky substance trickled into his mouth. The familiar taste of salt and metal nauseated him. He reached his arm to wipe it away, but a bloody stump greeted him. The rest of it lay a few feet away. At least his legs were still attached this time.
A spasm wracked his body. Where was Naphale? That blasted creature took longer to arrive each time. Meridan could deal with the pain. But his body wouldn’t survive for long. Not with enough wounds to make a slaughtered pig feel lucky. He reached over to grab the severed appendage with his good hand, but his body rebelled.
Naphale hated doing extra work.
Meridan’s body quivered while another spasm rocked him. His vision faded and pain shot through him like lightning. He let out a feral growl while he pushed back at the agony.
A tall, tan-skinned man with long golden hair stepped up beside him. He wore a white tunic, and a thin gold circlet sat atop his head. His eyes moved up and down Meridan’s body, then narrowed.
“Just put me back together.” Meridan’s chest burned with each word.
Naphale looked into the distance and shook his head. He took a knee and leaned close to Meridan’s face. “This is a waste of resources, friend.”
Meridan ground his teeth together. If his mouth wasn’t so dry, he’d have spit at the fiend. He shook, and an icy cold seeped into his legs. “I kept my part of the bargain. Now it’s your turn.”
“Not this time.”
A cold worse than the numbness of death gripped Meridan. “What?”
“I refuse to sanction your foolishness anymore. You’ll never kill him.” Naphale touched Meridan’s chest with a finger, and heat streaked through his body. A large gash in his chest snapped shut while his back arched. Naphale pulled away,and Meridan thudded to the ground gasping.
“Swear to give up your vendetta.”
Meridan growled. “Never!” His breathing quickened, and his nostrils flared. “I’ve seen Gods die. Even you can die.”
Naphale gave a wry laugh and stood. “You won’t defeat this one. Not your way.”
“We got further this time.” The cold spread up Meridan’s thighs. “We made progress.”
“You lasted for twenty minutes.”
Meridan closed his eye. That twenty would turn to forty. Just a few more assaults and he’d get close enough for a shot. That’s all he needed. One opening, and he’d have justice. Not even a God could dodge his marksmanship. But that shot wouldn’t come if he died. Not even Naphale could bring back the dead.
“Give me another chance.”
Naphale stepped over him and picked up his severed arm. He set it on the ground next to the stump that remained. “Is anything else missing? You know I hate reattaching fingers.”
Meridan shook his head and let out a deep breath. He’d get one more chance.
Naphale grabbed him by the hair and yanked his face forward. Agony shot through his back and chest while rage-filled eyes bored into him. “I’m done playing games, Meridan. Renounce this quest now.” His eyes cooled, and he dropped Meridan to the ground. “I’ll destroy you myself before I see my investment wasted again.”
There wasn’t much time left. “I’ve done everything you asked of me.”
Naphale laughed. “Always with this assault as your goal. I’ll have you fully this time or not at all.”
Every vile job. Every cruel murder. It always led to this. Serving Naphale was just a means for revenge against the God who stole his eyes. If he couldn’t have his revenge, then what good would being alive do him? Meridan thrust his jaw out and shook his head.
Naphale heaved a sigh, then walked away.
The numbness slipped into Meridan’s chest. He would be gone in minutes. What then? What God would take him in death if Naphale abandoned him? Pinpricks formed on his neck. “Wait!”
Each word came in gasps. “I renounce my revenge.”
Naphale’s hand pressed against his chest, and heat poured into him. Muscle and tissue reformed while his body thrashed about. The bones of his arm reattached themselves, and new skin covered them. His sharp pains faded to an aching throb until Naphale released him. When his body stilled, Meridan breathed deep. The red sky shone clear now, his other eye restored. That is, if seeing everything tinted in red could be called restoration. Solid gemstones rested in eye sockets that should have held his eyes.
Naphale’s gift when they first met. A supposed guarantee of good things to come.
His stomach contracted under the sickness produced by Naphale’s healing. He was used to that by now though. Meridan grunted as he slipped into a sitting position.
“Can you walk?”
Meridan nodded and stood. The groans of the dying had faded to the silence of the dead. “Better than waiting for a Messenger. They’ll know you’re here by now.”
“Unlike you, I’m allowed here.”
“Then get me out of this place.”
Naphale inhaled deeply and blew a gust of smoke out of his mouth. A murky cloud swirled in front of Meridan until it materialized into a mirror-like object.
“Go. My servants will attend to your recovery.”
Meridan took a last look at Heaven, then stepped through the portal onto a marble floor. The smoky portal dissipated.
He clenched his fists. He’d get back someday. Naphale didn’t know everything.
His lips curled into a wicked grin. Perhaps this might not be so bad after all. Killing Naphale would be a succulent appetizer to destroying The Most High.