The Demon Hunts the God

Lucanis looked down at the parchment that gave him his target. He stared at the wax seal stamped on it: that of the Inquisition. He threw the parchment into the fire; he had to get rid of the evidence. He cracked his knuckles. His targets usually knew he was coming for them; it would be no different this time.
         Lucanis could feel his heart beating in his chest. He was the Demon, how fitting, but even a real demon could not catch this target. How was he going to hunt one who did not wish to be found? His target was the most dangerous man to exist. No, not man, god. He chuckled to himself, shaking his head. His target was the Dread Wolf.
         Lucanis leaned a hand on the stone wall above the fireplace, staring down into the fire.
         The servant who had brought him the message was a young elf, perhaps a fresh recruit well disguised. The parchment had had only three words inscribed on it. “Your target: Solas.” Straight to the point, he could appreciate that. No useless embellishments, no time frame or constraints. This would give him much liberty in his search. There was also no payment written, but the elf who’d brought him the message had also given him a sack of gold. The Inquisition’s seal all but guaranteed proper payment would come once the job was done.
         Lucanis heard footsteps climbing the stairs to his room and the door opened. Lucanis didn’t need to look up to know his cousin had just entered his room.
         ‘What’s wrong?’ Illario asked. ‘You look like you’re about to be sick.’
         Lucanis took a moment to figure out how to tell his cousin he was walking into certain death.
         ‘Is it the Venatori?’ Illario asked.
         ‘A job.’
         Illario let out a one-breathed laugh. ‘You’ve never let a job worry you before.’
         Lucanis looked up and into his cousin’s eyes from across the room. ‘I might not return from this one.’
         Illario’s brows furrowed into a scowl. ‘Then refuse it.’
         ‘It’s too late, I’ve already agreed and accepted the first payment.’ Lucanis began to fiddle with one of his knives.
         Illario hesitated. ‘Well? Who’s the target?’
         ‘The one being that might kill me.’
         ‘Now you’re being rather vague,’ said Illario. He walked up to Lucanis. ‘Come on, let us make preparations. I’m sure whoever this being is doesn’t stand a chance against two Dellamortes.’
         Lucanis shook his head. ‘I’m doing this one alone.’
         ‘Nonsense! I’m going with you, and I won’t take no for an answer.’
         ‘Illario, no!’ Lucanis was firm. He placed a hand on his cousin’s shoulder. ‘Antiva needs you here. If I don’t make it back…’ He trailed off. He closed his eyes.
         ‘Then why are you doing this job?’
         ‘Because the Inquisition asks it of me,’ said Lucanis. He turned his head away and stared once more at the fire. ‘My target probably already knows I was approached. If I don’t hunt him, he will hunt me anyway.’
         ‘Sounds important, then,’ Illario said through clenched teeth.
         Lucanis snapped his head back to Illario. ‘I’m not trying to exclude you or push you out, Illario. I’m trying to protect you.’
         ‘Then let me come with you so I can protect you, then you can better protect me.’
         Lucanis could feel his cousin seething with the resentment they had yet to resolve. But he could also feel his cousin’s concern and the appreciation they always shared for each other.
         ‘I’m sorry, Illario. I must do this alone.’
         Illario looked down at his feet. ‘You still haven’t told me who your target is?’
         Lucanis looked around the room, his thoughts going back to his hunt. He knew he would have to search Solas’s last known whereabouts. The prickling he got at the back of his eyes when magic was being used or where the Veil was thin would guide him to his target. Solas was known to enter the Fade, even through dreams, but doing so with conscious effort used magic. Where the Dread Wolf slept, the veil would be affected. Lucanis also knew his search would probably lead him to what was known as the Eluvian Crossroads. He needed a way to enter that realm.
         ‘Say, how does one activate one of those elven mirrors?’ he asked.
         He turned back to his cousin, who stood eyes wide and mouth agape.
         ‘No. You’re hunting him? The Dread Wolf?’ Illario took a moment to compose himself. Lucanis could see him shaking. Lucanis felt his own trembling; he hoped he had it enough under control that Illario would not see his fear.
         ‘Why did you agree?’ Illario’s voice was low, almost a whisper, and filled with contempt.
         ‘Someone has to find him. I’m the best choice.’
         ‘Chorrada!’ Ilarrio shouted. ‘Anyone else can take the job, they don’t need you. This Fen’Harel is a god to his people, he petrifies anyone with the blink of an eye. He’s the most powerful being in this world. What I’ve heard of him… He’s going to kill you, Lucanis.’
         ‘But if I find him-’
         ‘If you find him what? If you find him and he kills you, then the Inquisition is nowhere closer to finding him, or you. Will you leave trail markers so others can find him too? We never leave a trail to our marks.’
         ‘Perhaps the Inquisition will tail me,’ Lucanis offered. There were many unknown variables about this hunt, but he didn’t need to know everything. He sighed. ‘The Inquisition has a reputation to uphold. I trust them.’
         ‘The Inquisition has its own spymaster,’ Illario argued.
         ‘But not its own Crow.’ Lucanis kept Illario’s gaze for a moment.
         Finally, Illario shook his head, his shoulders slumping slightly. His eyes softened. ‘There is a shop nearby that sells small artifacts. I’m sure they contain enough magic to activate those mirrors.’
         ‘Thank you.’ Lucanis turned and began climbing out of the window.
         ‘You’re not going now, are you?’
         ‘When else am I supposed to go?
         ‘The shop is closed!’
         ‘I’ll drop some gold at the shop. I have no intention of stealing, only of starting this hunt as soon as possible, which means immediately.’
         ‘You’re forgetting one very important thing though.’ Illario placed his hands on his hips.
         Lucanis rolled his eyes, suppressing a smile. He walked back to his cousin who wrapped him in a warm hug.
         ‘The Inquisition better have a good reason for asking you to do this. If you don’t come back from this one…’ Illario stopped, his voice cracking.
         Lucanis backed away, nodding. He could feel his cousin’s gaze on him as he jumped out of the window and onto the roof. He hurried across the roof to the next one, disappearing into the night.

* * *

         Lucanis’s search took him to a forest beyond Treviso. There was a specific kind of prickling associated with the Veil and to those who could play around in the Fade. He had learnt to recognise all that distinguished one kind of mage from another. A Venatori’s magic was different from a Circle mage’s. The magic here felt ancient.
         Lucanis came round near a clearing and found an Eluvian leaning against a large tree. How convenient. Interesting. He used one of the small artifacts he’d taken from the shop to activate it. The mirror began to shimmer fluidly. He hesitated for a brief moment, before reaching his hand towards the mirror. It went right through it.
         ‘Fascinante!’ Lucanis walked through the portal-like mirror. He emerged into an area that was filled with fog and, as he had suspected, dozens upon dozens of elven mirrors. Many of them were broken; some had moss hanging over them.
         Lucanis grunted as the back of his eyes prickled more intensely. The Veil was thin here. He’d been told this place was half in this world and half in the Fade. There was a distinct smell to it as well, as there was to his prey. He followed the prickling that had led him here and came to another unbroken mirror. He glanced behind him. If he was being followed, the one trailing him was very good, for he heard or sensed nothing.
         Lucanis walked through the Eluvian, entering a small gully. A small path leading to a stream led him to another mirror. Then he was back in the crossroads. He entered a total of five mirrors in this way, exiting finally in what appeared to be the Deep Roads.
         He hesitated, looking back at the mirror behind him. It still shimmered, he could go back. But no, he had given his word. He never backed out of a contract.
         Lucanis followed the dank pathway into a large domed room. Within the room, he found a magnificent mural painted on the far wall. In the center of it, the painting was of a large wolf, gnawing down at what he assumed was the world. Lucanis noticed the stained glass that formed the wolf’s eyes. He allowed himself a sideways smile.
         Something stirred to his right. Lucanis turned, ready to attack. Before him stood the elf Solas, the Dread Wolf. Lucanis tensed, however Solas made no move to attack. Instead, he lifted a bag that chinked with coins.
         Suddenly, the pieces came together.
         ‘It was you.’ His realisation was a statement. Solas smiled meagerly, nodding. ‘The elf was one of yours. You forged the seal of the Inquisition.’ Had there not been a guarantee of payment or some form of legitimacy, Lucanis would not have taken the job. ‘Bastardo.
         Solas took a few steps towards Lucanis, holding out the bag of money. His posture was slightly hunched. Light from a nearby Veilfire torch-lit his face and Lucanis could see the ancient elf was haggard. Lucanis cautiously reached for the bag. He still didn’t understand why Solas had wanted him to find him, but Lucanis had been an assassin long enough to know when he was being tested. He simply did not know what the test was.
         Solas cocked a brow, as though reading Lucanis’s query on his face. ‘So, you’ve found me at last,’ Solas said in a fatigued voice. ‘I suspect you have questions.’
         Lucanis inclined his head. ‘Si.
         Solas nodded and motioned to a pair of chairs. Lucanis understood now that this was only the beginning of his actual hunt.

“The Demon Hunts the God” is written by Celinka Serre (2021).

Disclaimer: This story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Dragon Age. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the Dragon Age universe belong to Bioware and EA. This fan-fiction story falls under Fair Use.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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