Today is a day of death. I could feel it in my bones as I lay down on the cold stone floor, each slab cut to my exact specifications to fit together perfectly as if it were a huge jigsaw puzzle. In the middle, I had put a pentacle. I used a mixture of chalk, blood from rats carrying the black plague, blood of a beast so old history had forgotten its name, and a fruit whose juice brought death within days to anyone foolish enough to taste it. I lit candles made from pure human bone, and burnt charred flesh to keep the light. I scattered drops of golden blood and prepared for my destiny…
The Great Fire of New York… as I walk away from the burning buildings with a smoldering torch, I laugh maliciously, and I can still smell the scent of ashes and burning flesh.
As I walk away, grinning, two men walk up to me. They handle themselves with ease and are both armed.
The taller man speaks first. He is willowy and has a pale complexion, almost as if he is a skeleton, but the eyes ruin the look. He has a killer’s eyes, cold and dark, with no regret or conscience.
“Aye,” he says. “Why are you out here so late?”
I look at them warily and say, “Who in the blazes are you?”
I quickly steal a glance at the tall one’s hand, a pentacle. He’s a sorcerer! The little man responds this time. He has an eerie grin that leaves no doubt that they’re here to kill me.
“And right after those nasty murders over in General Washington’s camp. It ain’t safe out right now.”
They both wear tricorn hats and long coats made of leather. As I ponder over my discovery, the littler man pushes past me in a rush.
“Blimey, Johnathan, look at that sight, the city’s burning… Johnathan?”
As the small one is distracted, I act quickly, shoving my fist through Johnathan’s body. As his gasping breaths end, I throw his body at his friend, still damp with gore and blood. As the smaller man turns, Johnathan’s body flies into his, throwing him backward at a literal breakneck speed. And as I slowly walk away, I can still hear the screams.
As I quietly cast my ballot in Congress, I already know the outcome of the vote. Anti-slavery. The South will not be happy. Perfect.
I smile as I walk up to President Lincoln, “So, Mr. Lincoln, where will you be tomorrow?”
“At the play, Congressman. Why?”
“Because I’ll be there too.”
One hour later, war is declared.
I slowly creep from my upper booth with my pistol. I have the President’s booth in my line of sight, but there are too many people around to see the act. I step into the hallway, behind the seats, and apply a chokehold on an usher, who manages one breath before it settles in. I hide his body in a trash can and proceed into the booth. I stab both guards in the back and shove them over, then I stab Lincoln in the back. Satisfied, I start walking away. Then I hear a gunshot. I see a man with a thin moustache running away from the booth that I had just been in. He runs straight into me, and I quickly tell him to keep running to a specific barn. He complies, and so, after I kill Lincoln, I lead the police on a chase towards my decoy.
As I circle back around to the White House, I swipe the amulet I am looking for.
“You’re next, Kennedy.”
The wind whistles by my head. I would have rather done this at night, but this might be my only chance to kill my mark. After my hired help failed to kill the Archduke and his wife, the job was left to me. Everything is ready, the real murder weapon lies next to me, and young Gavrilo Princip is set to take the fall for the crime as he stands silently in the crowd. I raise the bow level to my torso and quickly stand up. I pull an arrow from my quiver and slowly draw it back. I shoot it. The arrow takes the Archduke in the stomach, and as soon as his wife moves to pull it out, it crumbles in her hands. Slowly and painfully, a small hole grows from her abdomen until it becomes the size of a small bullet wound. As I telegraph my employer and collect my pay, I walk away from the scene, smiling.
De’ja vu. That’s what I feel as soon as I scope down on Kennedy. I have done this before, yes, I have killed the Archduke. As I hold the amulet up to the light, I see it has turned blood red. It is time. I check the tracker’s location. This is going to be an impossible shot, I think. Fine, I have done the impossible before. As I shoot a high-powered round towards Kennedy’s direction, I focus on the core of the bullet and move it, guiding it towards the President. I don’t see it connect, but I know it does when the amulet starts glowing.
As I quickly grab my bag from under my seat and stand up, a terrorist runs over, saying “Sit down.” But I don’t, and I slip a dagger from my bag, swiping at him.
“Ha, silly man,” he says.“I am wearing a bulletproof ve-”
Then my knife cuts through him like a hot knife through butter. I catch his falling body and set it on my seat. I grab his gun and a silencer and aim up. Suddenly, behind me, I hear a whoosh, and I duck. The man’s knife impales the seat behind me. I roll under his legs and snap off four shots, downing the two men that were charging at me. I jump up, catching the man with the knife’s neck in between my legs. I fall backward, snapping his neck. I flip forward, dodging three bullets, and I spin in the air, shooting the rest of the terrorists. Damn it, five bullets left, I think to myself. I kick open the cockpit door and gun down everyone there. I set us down in a small field and return to my seat. Soon after, a man goes into the cockpit and declares that he has saved us and killed all the terrorists. Concealment magic makes everyone believe him. As I walk out, I see a man scrambling around looking for the bag that I now have in my hands.
He must see me in the corner of his eyes because soon after, he starts running towards me. Yup, this is him. The self-proclaimed most esteemed broker in the Western Hemisphere, and I just knock him out. When he comes to, I am just burying the rest of the passengers. I remove all the bullets to be reused before I bury them, and as I shove the last of the dirt onto the top of the mound, I drag the dealer over to a makeshift bench.
“It’s been a couple centuries since I last heard you were active doing your master’s work.”
“I see you still have that quick mouth, Celver, not even centuries can change that.”
“Do you have the package you promised all those years ago?”
“Yes, I do. Here.”
I feel the hard wood shaft of the object and take off the oil cloth to check it. I then replace the cloth, satisfied.
2017, Somewhere in the Himalayas.
I am in a tomb. The air is musty, and the walls are made of sandstone. This is old, I can smell it. There is magic here, old magic. If the Voice led me on a wild chase, I’ll be very angry. I am Exnious, Brander of Hellfire, Slayer of Gods, Punisher of Mortals. Over the course of my long life, I have killed many: politicians, gods, kings, demigods, demons, angels. You name it, I have killed it. I have over 200 kills on target objectives and more in direct combat to get to those objectives. And I’m immortal.
Right now, I’m in the middle of one of those kills. I stop in a wide chamber, where I can see my target. Then the guards of the tomb come to life and raise their swords. They’re golems, ancient beasts made of stone. They’re crude, ugly creatures with huge, humanoid bodies. The stone used to create these would have been hard in the sorcerer’s day, but now it looks crumbly and brittle. I ready myself and tighten my grip on my sword and gun.
“Come and get it.”
My eyes burn away until all that is left is flame. My sword ignites, and my gun begins to glow from the heat. Then I charge. I zip forward and slide on my knees, cutting into the golems’ legs with ease. They fall to the ground, and I flick my wrist. Mid-air, my sword transfigures into a chain-whip. It coils around each of their necks, burning hotter until their heads fall clean off. My chain retracts back into a sword, and the fire in my eyes starts to dim.
I walk forward in the chamber until I reach an altar. Sitting there, proudly displayed for all to see, is a old skull. Its bone is yellowed with age, and more than one tooth is missing from its mouth. I quickly stuff it in my bag and run for the entrance of the cave. I smell it before I see it. A sickly scent wafts into my nose as I round a corner. Then I see it behind me, a thick cloud covering all else, dissolving the walls and the roof of the tomb. The ceiling begins to crumble as I run, and soon, dirt begins to fall from above. Then it starts crashing down in thick waves of rock, stone, and dirt. As a huge piece of sandstone is about to block the entryway, I slide low, reaching the exit.
As I stand up and look around, I brush the dirt off my long coat. I collect myself and walk forward into the wilderness. I have to report in to the Voice, I think.
“Well done. Those golems would have threatened my regime,” the Voice says.
“Thanks, and I don’t care about your bloody regime,” I reply.
“Aren’t we getting a little bit rebellious, my pawn?”
“No, not again. Please, no, don’t do it! AAARRRGGG, IT BURNS!”
“Let me make this clear, I am your master. You will obey me till the end of time.”
“Fine, please, just don’t do this again.”
“Hahahaha. So, pawn, are we ready to kill our next target?”
“Yes, lord. Who will suffer your wrath?”
Two days later, I sit on a rooftop overlooking a church. This church is controlled by the most powerful angel in existence, Saint Michael. This won’t be easy. I use a grappling hook to slide on top of the church’s roof. I punch a hole through the top and fall down. Spinning in the air, I dual wield two M16’s and kill all three of the guards in the church. But there is still one I must fight, the angelic one. I am dressed for holy war with blood iron armor (which is iron burnt with the blood of sinners) around my chest, lower arms, shoulders, and shins. Over the rest, I have a thick link of blood iron. In my right hand, I wield Soulblazer, a sword that hurts like all the pain one has dealt with over the course of a lifetime. It is also indestructible and can cut through any substance with ease. In my left hand, I hold Soulpiercer, a spear that when thrown, can return at will and is also indestructible. Finally, it can kill anyone who has done a sin. Atop my head, I wear a helm molded to seem like the devil’s very face. I am ready to face the angel.
I ready myself, my eyes burning away to show the fires of hell. Both my armor and my weapons begin to glow from heat. Then they, too, ignite. The pentacle burned into my skin all those years ago also begins to smolder. A pair of double doors are all that keep me from the altar and my destiny. With just a thought, I make the doors burn, the hellfire quickly consuming them. I walk into the main room and then fly into a pillar.
The heat radiating from me melts the granite before it can even touch me, and I fly forward at top speed. The angel is tall with silver armor adorning his entire body. Instead of a helm, he wears a white, billowing cowl that conceals his face. He also wears white robes. His wings seem to be made of light and are nearly blinding. He draws his sword and charges at me at the same speed. We clash in the air, trading at least a hundred blows, each countering the other, neither of us managing to land one on the other being.
As we trade blows, all a bystander would be able to see is a red-clad figure and a white-clad figure flying at each other. Such is the power of our blows that all that can be seen are many blinding flashes of light. We continue like this for many hours, both at a standstill with the other. Then, as we are beginning to tire, we each begin to hit our opponent. Finally, after ten hours of fighting, with a quick, decisive blow that he does not see coming, I manage to hack off his arm.
He staggers back in surprise, his arm falling limp to the ground. White blood starts flowing freely from the wound, his once clean garments now littered with blood, gore, and sweat. I kick him back and throw my spear in one fluid motion. The spear pierces his stomach and he flies backwards into a wall. As he hangs there, the spear pinning him, I walk up slowly, then I end him. I pull off his hood and see that this angel is not Michael, it is just one of his underlings. Outraged, I shove the item, a wooden shield, into a satchel.
As I claim what I have come for, I hear my master’s voice in my head once again, “Do you have the item?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Did you face any resistance?”
“Yes, from a one of Michael’s underlings.”
“And you dealt with him?”
Outside, I pull out a hunting horn. It is ivory with silver detailings and is also from 1604. I lift it to my lips and blow. One clear note rings out into the night. Then I hear it, the beating of wings. Suddenly, over the horizon, I see a dragon approaching. Its scales are a mix of copper and red, and it is closing in quite quickly. I pull out a bow and fix a blunt grapple arrow onto the string. Then I shoot. The shot caught on a strap of leather on the saddle, and I hop on.
As I fly on, I reach London, my hometown. I guide the dragon to a safehouse and feed it some raw meat. Then I go inside. This is my armory; it is the size of a small football stadium and is covered in weapons. I have enough to outfit a small nation. I have any weapon you can name and plenty you can’t; these weapons have tasted blood many times and are all still hungry. I hang up all the weapons that I used in the fight against the angel, and I walk into the room adjacent to my armory, the war room.
It is a small room but probably my most important one. This is where I plan assaults. Plastered around the walls are several colorful maps and computer monitors. Then there is the magic part. It is here I have an alpha level concealment spell and a beta level curse if the person entering isn’t me.
There I have some of my most prized items: a forge, and my entire library of grimoires, scrolls, and magical tomes. I have some of the most powerful books in existence. Some are so powerful that without some type of magical container, they would kill everything on the premises. It was here, one day, that I found the most powerful spell in current existence. It allows the user to control the minds of any being that comes into contact with the user. That was back when times were simpler, and I didn’t have this bloody voice in my head. Before I made that godforsaken deal with Him. I steel myself. No use on reflecting on past deeds. That me is dead, he died hundreds of years ago. Today, there is only the servant of the Voice, Exnious. I go into the back of the room and open the vault.
Inside, I have made one of the most powerful sets of armor in the cosmos. The last time I wore this armor, I killed a minor god and nearly died from the true god’s magic. It was a brutal fight with the god just toying with me and testing my limits. I then delivered a vicious blow. He nearly died, but before he retreated, he cut out my eye.
The armor is nearly indestructible and immune to most types of magic. It also augments my powers whenever I am wearing it, and it quickly decays when it touches exposed skin. Finally, it can make hellfire constructs out of thin air. It is made of an alloy that I engineered myself. The alloy is a mix of some of the strongest demonic alloys and holy alloys. It is also lined with titanium and steel for extra durability. My swords are energy based and consume magic as fuel. As a result, I can block most magic projectiles with them. I also have three tomahawks and a shield. The shield is indestructible, and the tomahawks are explosive on impact.
I am taking my battle to a new realm. It’s time to go to Hell.
As I walk through the crowded streets of London in my dark trenchcoat with my duffle bag containing all my weapons and armor, I make my way towards the Underground. There, I will go to Hell. All is ready, but the Voice is growing suspicious. If I am not careful, he might catch on. But, after all, I may as well be playing right into his hands.
As I board a train towards the Thames, I glance quickly at the passengers in the car. There is a young bickering couple, no trouble from them, a young, gothic man absorbed in his iPad, two middle-aged grim and serious-looking businessmen, and a man sleeping on a bench. I can tell that he is faking it and, in fact, is actually awake.
I subconsciously draw a knife, and the small movement alerts the sleeping man. He tackles me to the floor, effectively knocking me down. Almost instantly, he’s on me, putting me in a chokehold with one hand and trying to break my arm with the other. He’s no amateur, I’ll give him that. But he isn’t an expert either, I am. I use my other arm to break his, and I judo flip him hard onto his back. Then I concisely and cleanly snap his neck. It’s my stop now, though, and I melt a hole through the side of the train, jumping through.
I put on the armor and store the weapons through my belt, then grab an M4A1 assault rifle with a under-mounted grenade launcher. This one was custom made, completely red, and each bullet has been merged with the soul of a sinner. Each year, I go down to hell and handpick one hundred sinners for my gun’s bullets. These bullets can hurt celestial beings and hurt like all the pain the sinner dealt out in his or her life.
As I jump through the entrance to Hell, I check my surroundings. Yup, just the way I remember it, red with volcanic rock cutting everywhere. I land with a thud and slowly look around, checking my surroundings. Then I hear the flapping of wings in the air and see three demons speedily flying towards me. They land in front of me, landing with such a force that dust flies around them.
I clutch my gun even tighter and say, “Hail demon brothers.”
“Hello, Exnious. My brothers and I saw you here and were wondering what brings you to our realm. It is not yet time for you to collect your souls.”
“I am here on my own terms. Move aside or suffer the consequences. I once fought the holy one with these very blades, and against his power, yours would pale in comparison.”
“If you are here on your own terms, you will have to turn the other way and leave, unless you want force to be involved?”
I wave a hand over my pentacle, and it burns to life. A thick stream of magical energy flows from it to the side of my gun. I wave my hand again, propelling myself backward, and start shooting. The grenade shoots forth, landing at their feet.
One of the smaller demons catches it and says, “Your mortal toys will not work on us, Exnious.”
Then it explodes, blowing off his head. Bits of his skull and skin land on his friend, and they stare at him in shock.
“How is that possible?” the other small one says.
But huge demonic wings that are jagged and craggy sprout from my armor. As I fly from side to side, dodging fire balls and streams of lava that are sent towards me, I return them with high power shots from my gun. Soon, one shot lands on the other and finally on the small demon’s head, killing him. I throw down my gun and draw two tomahawks, throwing them in rapid succession. They spin through the air, one slicing through a larger demon’s wing and the other slicing through his head.
I charge forward with both of my swords drawn. Hellfire explodes all around me, and what shots I don’t miss, I deflect with my swords. I fly towards the remaining demon at hypersonic speeds, cutting through everything he throws at me until he finally draws his massive broadsword. It is made of a single sheet of stone, and engraved on the surface are tens of intricate runes to empower all the demon’s strikes.
I fly at him, and we connect in air, clashing in the sky of Hell. All of the air seems to explode with a combination of hellfire, magic, blasts of energy, and explosions. The battle is epic, and such is the power of all of our attacks that the landscape around us soon becomes mutilated and disfigured. The battle’s force can be felt in all of the realms, and as soon as I end the battle with a sword in his chest, I feel a giant surge of heat behind me, and I turn to see a huge, burning portal open out of thin air. Out of it steps my boss, know as the Voice by some, the King of Hell by most, and the Devil by all.