“Tell me, Harold of the Whiteflower clan, why are you so eager to die?” the demon sneered.

It stood eight feet tall. Its wide smile was punctuated with sharp teeth with extended canines. Skulls lined its belt, hastily prepared for decoration. Bits of flesh dripped onto his massive armor plates.

In the left hand of the monster was my comrade, Peter. It’s large, meaty, clawed hand gripped gingerly at the back collar of the corpse. It dropped Peter into the mud. Face-first.

“You see how easily I fall your best warriors,” the demon pointed with glee at the body, “This one was was no different.”

“What will you say,” I drew my sword, the runes of power glowing as they became unleashed, “When I cut out your eyes?”

The demon’s smile faded into a look of contempt. Good. Rueful enemies make rash decisions.

“Human,” it spit at the corpse, “You will learn your place.”

It drew its weapon from it back. Not quite an axe, but not quite a sword. Its blade was worn too much for any cutting to happen. Tearing or bashing were its options. The weapon was as large as my body, and the beast wielded it with one arm.

“You see this?” it looked over the weapon, “My weapon is lightning. You are but a brittle tree. I shall spread you around this space, and no one will remember your name.”

“Your enemies think differently,” I bellowed.

Running towards the beast in a daring move, I sloshed through the mud. With my sword in both hands, I readied for a block.

The beast began laughing, and swung its weapon straight down with the force of a charging bison.

I raised my sword to deflect, and the power granted by the gods moved it aside. The monster’s blade sank harmlessly into the mud.

As it reached for me with its free hand, I plunged my blade into its chest. It moved the armor away like a bird parting the clouds.

It’s hand pulled me away, and I let go of the sword.

“No matter,” it coughed, growling, “You’ll die anyway.”

It’s other hand left the blade, and already I could feel its grip tighten. With both of its hands around me I could feel my organs caving in from the pressure.

But the grip loosened. The beast looked down at its chest.

Cascades of black blood fell from the wound. The runes were glowing white-hot now, and the power of the gods was killing it.

“What!” the demon let me go, and I fell into the mud with a clan and splatter.

It grabbed the handle of my sword, but drew its hand away. The hand began bleeding like its chest, and it began to yowl. At the same moment the two of us realized the same thing. It was going to die, and it was going to try to kill me before it did.

But the demon only got one step. It fell into the mud. Twitching, writhing, and shuddering in pain, it proceeded until the motion fell from its body.

“I’m sorry, Peter,” I looked over at my dead comrade, “I didn’t come back in time.”