CHAPTER 1

The sound of dripping resounded through the dark room on a moonless night. Like a stubborn leaky faucet, it continued, seeming almost to grow louder and louder with every passing moment.

She didn't turn to search for the source of the noise-she already knew where it came from.

It was blood. Like the blood that soaked her, matting clumps in her long golden hair, flaking as it dried against her skin. The room was nearly coated in blood. It blossomed like morbid crimson flowers on the white cotton bed sheets. It stained the wooden walls and bed frame dark mahogany. It pooled in puddles of darkened crimson on the ground where the wood was slow in absorbing it. More still dripped steadily from the maimed bodies that lay about the room.

Two painful deaths had occurred that night. They had been painful for not just the victims, but the killer, too.

She was still at the scene of the crime, kneeling by the body of a young male Sea-elf. The dead man's eyes, a pale shade of almost luminous green, were forever open, staring lifelessly up at the ceiling,

They had been her friends. Well, one of the dead students had been her friend.. But the second- he had been much more to her than just a friend.

All that, all the things that had happened for the past three years, meant so little now that the three people at the centre of that experience were now lying dead around her. They had betrayed her, and she had succumbed to her rage.

Laughter bubbled up in her throat. It was hollow laugher, empty and cold, so much like the empty feeling that now consumed her.

The dead had paid for their betrayal-she had made sure of that. They had paid with their lives, with their pain. She was hurt, too, by making them pay. The things she had done would scar her for as long as she lived.

She laughed and laughed. It was so funny, in a twisted kind of way. They'd hurt her with what they'd done, so she had hurt them.

True, she would miss them. But she'd probably be better off without two lying bastards in her life. People like that didn't deserve to live, anyways.

They'd paid for their treachery. And she, in kind, would be paying for her revenge for the rest of her lifeā€¦

Syth awoke suddenly, sitting up in bed with a jolt.

It was late at night in her room at the shoddy little inn. Luckily, she only had to stay in the decrepit place until morning.

A light little breeze stirred in through the open window, dying feebly not long after it's arrival. A sheen of cold sweat covered her, making her skin shine darkly in the feeble moonlight.

Sliding off the bed and onto her feet, she walked over to the washstand by the door. Taking the rag that hung over the rung along one side of the stand, she wiped the sweat from her face.

It was the dream again, the one she had been having on and off for the past few weeks. No matter how many times she dreamt it, it still disturbed her.

And it would continue to do so. Because it wasn't just a dream.

It was the single most horrifying moment in her short life. She was re-living the consecutive murders of her friends Nulik and Taehr over and over again in her dreams.

Glancing quickly at her reflection in the washstand mirror, she breathed a sigh of relief at what she saw.

The mirror image of a young high-elf with steel blue eyes gazed back at her. Dressed in a loose, sleeveless brown cotton robe, her long, dark silver hair hung loose and dishevelled.

Her hair hadn't always been darkened grey. Once, not long ago, it had been golden blonde- her natural color. That was the shade it had been at the time of the murders, and her exile from the city of Darkhaven. Not long after, she had dyed it to the hue it now was.

So much had changed since that night. What she'd done had left a mark on her, a scar on her soul.

Those scars had turned her into something new. In a matter of hours, the world had held the first elven Demon in years. She, of course, was that Demon.

Demons weren't a race like gnomes or dwarves. They were people of any race, age, gender, and such who had been marked with the blood of someone they held dear. When someone commits such an unforgiveable crime, they are cursed, and become a demon.

Some say that becoming a Demon is not a curse, but a blessing. In many ways, it is.

All demons are gifted with a natural talent when they become a Demon, and because of such can become extremely adept at all things arcane, especially enchantment.

They are also given extra skill at killing and causing pain. Because of this, many Demons are given to the trades of Assassin and Dark Guard.

But Demons are afflicted with the incurable need to kill.

The bloodlust is triggered by extreme feelings of pain, fear and anger. When it begins, the Demon is put into a trance of sorts, waking only when their thirst for pain is satisfied.

There is no way to identify Demons with the naked eye. But they are easily told from other beings by simply looking at their aura. The aura of a Demon is an unmistakeable blood-red, no matter what the Demon's aura was before they became one.

Hunted and shunned, Demons are rarely left alone. Organizations like the Order kill them in the name of their Deity, Mithras, god of light. Claiming that Demons are a manifestation of Evil in the world, they regularly send out Demon hunters to kill the Demons.

Little more than assassins in purpose, Demon hunters are usually Paladins or Clerics. However, sometimes people from other career paths will assist in the extermination of Demons from time to time.

It had been almost three years since she had been banished from Darkhaven, her clan and her class. After living there for so long, she had been cast out.

Lord Magus, the ruler of Darkhaven, had established a law against harbouring demons within the territory. The law protected younger, weaker people who came to train at Darkhaven Academy, one of the best institutes for all-around study.

So she had been cast out, never allowed to return to the realm. And all because of what she'd done.

But that wasn't all she'd been thrown out of.

Her clan, clan Aiel, wasn't willing to accept having a Demon in their clan. It was made up completely of high elves, and they weren't very accepting of others' faults.

As if that wasn't enough, she had also been banished from the profession of Druid.

So much ill had come from one little night at an inn.

Only because of the Sorcerer's guild was Syth able to survive the past two years of her life.

Subject to several assassination attempts by not only Demon Hunters, but mercenaries sent by people in Darkhaven, hiding in the guild hall was forced upon her in order to keep herself safe.

After two years of training, she had been strong enough to make the trip from the hall in Somnustra to Cyrill. However, it soon became clear that the killers sent after her were also getting stronger.

And that was where her protector, Azoth, came in.

Summoned by herself at the guild hall, he was a darkness elemental bound to her as her guardian. His power was the only reason she was able to travel thus far. Soon, however, even Azoth wouldn't be enough to keep her alive.

That was why she was now travelling to Cyrill- to meet the party she would have to adventure with in order to get to Haidion Rih, the tower of demons, so that she could learn more about the curse that was put on her.

So she had gotten her aura shielded, to make sure no-one would be able to detect her as what she was. It was a security measure, because seeing auras was a common skill among most classes.

Heaving a sigh, Syth lugged a heavy tome off of the floor. It was useless trying to get back to sleep now, so she might as well read to pass the time.