This is not only the first story I'd ever thought of but is also the longest running and is the first time to be posted. As it progresses feedback and criticism is fully encouraged. I'll attempt to focus on it on a regular basis and might even end up setting goals on when I'm getting certain portions finished. Without further ado:
--Prologue Part 1--
The setting sun glowed a dull red-orange against the swiftly darkening sky signaling both the end of the day and the rapidly advancing storm. The small village had settled from its daily routines and all but retired for the evening save the few folks boarding up their windows in hopes of saving their homes from the wrath of the impending storm. Amongst the darkened streets a cloaked figure weaved in and out of the shadows quickly tracing its way across the sleepy little community. Every gap between buildings the figure stopped and peeked around the corner making certain the coast was clear before continuing on its trek. Only once was the figure forced to disappear into eaves of a building as two older men walked by talking about the latest town gossip.
“--And you think the old woman was correct?” One man asked the other.
“About the storm? Yes. The boy? There's no way. He's lived and grown here in this village. Helped us on our farm a few times when we needed it. He's good-hearted and young lad and the things she said were just cruel and completely absurd.”
“Whoa there. Think I may have struck a soft spot. I agree with you, I just wanted to hear what your thoughts.”
“Sorry. Little anxious to have the blasted hunters out of here and gone. They make me uncomfortable. Especially since they plan to hunt the boy. I do hope that he's managed to disappear before those psychos get hold of him.”
“You and me both,” the man smiled as they parted ways giving the cloaked figure a chance to move out of its hiding place and continue its path toward the outer edge of the village. There at the far end of the village the figure stopped on a doorstep only loud enough to be heard by those finding comfort from the rapidly increasing winds. A shuffling was heard on the other side of the door before it opened a crack relinquishing a little bit of light from the crackling fire.
“Hello?” Came a female voice as the door revealed a young blond worry written in her face as she attempted to discern who was at the door.
“Gina, it's me,” the male figure said pulling back the hood revealing a head of thick, unruly dark brown hair and set of blue-green eyes with their own unique yellow ring around the iris. From his appearance the man couldn't have been over twenty years of age but something about him seemed off.
Gina gave a gasp, throwing open the door in order to yank her visitor, then shutting the door quickly behind him and looking out the window to find out if anyone was now watching the house. Turning back to the man she glared at him with a look that caused him to visually shiver. “What are you doing here?” she inquired getting in his face forcing him to take a few steps back.
“It's fine,” he said smiling finding himself pinned between the wall and her prodding. “I lost them in the forest. Their dogs couldn't track a herd of bleeding cattle. They'll be busy for a while. I have a gift for Jonathan. Is he here?”
“Yeah, he's back packing up some of the bedroom, I'll let him know you're here” she informed him stepping back allowing him off the wall then disappeared around the corner. Moments later the head of Jonathan popped around the corner.
“H-hey Daemon, wasn't exactly expecting to see you here again,” He mumbled walking around the corner. He stood just taller than his visitor with close to the same hair color though his was far cleaner kept. “Thought you were making a getaway.”
“You expect me to leave without a proper farewell? That doesn't sound like me at all,” he said shaking his head. “Besides I got you something.”Couldn't exactly leave without giving it to you could I?” he continued reaching into his pocket pulling a long chain attached to a white tooth one large enough to be found on any of several local predators.
“A fang. Yes. I had hope that it would give you and your family luck. Especially since you plan on moving soon.”
“Thank you. Luck may be exactly what we need,” Jonathan said contemplating the overall situation. “We plan on taking a ship to the colonies, though I hear rumors of revolt.”
“I doubt that it's something you'll need to worry about. On that note I've probably overstayed my visit. I should go before the hounds start pawing at your door. Really though, thank you, for everything,” Daemon said extending his hand. Jonathan took it giving a firm shake and a grin.
“Stay out of trouble for once.”
“Best I can,”Daemon replied pulling up the hood of his cloak and slipping out the door. Outside he took a deep breath before running with inhuman speed both out of the village and into the woods at the outskirts dodging branches with incredible finesse pausing occasionally to scan the area taking note of marks made on trees creating a path only known to the person who made the path in the first place. Finding himself deep inside the woods, Daemon eventually burst into a grove skidding in the damp grass caused by the thickening air of the impending storm. Looking up he blinked as drops began to fall. The scent of moisture began to permeate the air. “Good that will wash away my path in town,” He mumbled climbing a tree at the far end of the grove. Midway up he reached into an alcove within the tree slowly pulling a katana and scabbard from within the trunk. “There you are my beautiful darling,” he mumbled tying it securely to his belt hearing a howl very nearby and moving toward him at a rapid pace. “Verflucht mutts!” he snarled snagging up some small twigs. Listening closely to the howls approach he gave his hand a few experimental flexes of his hand extending his fingers fully before closing his hand. The final extension of his fingers caused a set of black claws to extend from the end of each finger. Using his claws he quickly sharpened one end of each of the twigs forming each into a makeshift hand dart. Within seconds of finishing the last dart the dogs released a howl and the first lunged into the grove. With a quick motion Daemon threw one of the darts lodging it directly into the beasts neck causing it to drop instantly its lifeless eyes staring blankly forward. More hounds came bounding from the brush into the clearing each taking one or two spikes before falling to the ground none reaching the tree in which Daemon held his perch.
“This way men,” A male voice called a short distance away approaching from the same direction the dogs had come from followed by a large amount of rustling. Some seconds later the group of hunters trampled through the brush stopping on their tracks at the group of dead hounds. “It's here,” one whispered obviously the eldest of the group as age was written on his face more clearly than words on a page. Two of the others each about middle aged nodded and moved to protect the first's back as they moved toward the center of the clearing to be able to survey the area unhindered. The last two younger seemed to hang back obviously inexperienced for any type of hunt though the two of them seemed weighted down more than they should have been. The primary hunters stopped at the center of the clearing back to back scanning the area. “We know you're here demon!” the leader proclaimed, “Come face your judgment monster and return to the hell which spawned you.”
“I'm not interested in harming nor being harmed and am already leaving the village,” Daemon replied speaking loudly enough to create an echo off the trees causing the group to spin around to find him as he took advantage of the increasing wind to hide his movement as he moved from tree to tree. “I ask that you leave now and forget about me as a threat. The village needs no further strife from those that would be bounty hunters.”
“One can not forget nor forgive the threat of a monster lest it move to terrorize another village and brainwash its people. Show yourself!”
“I lived peacefully within the village for a decade and a half only to be insulted by a witch then chased away by those who would take thrill in killing an innocent,” Daemon stopped moving having stationed himself in the tree nearest the hunters. “Last chance leave the village. Forget this event.”
“Stop your banter, show yourself monster.”
“The only monster I see,” Daemon proclaimed jumping from the tree landing in the middle of the circling trio, “is wielding a gun.” He reached for the dagger at the first man's hip kicking him in the knee causing him to fall down and forward, using the dagger he turned standing upright lodging the dagger into the second man's neck. The third having noticed the commotion and turned around aiming his rifle at Daemon's head. Daemon hit the side of the rifle an instant before the man fired causing the bullet to fly harmlessly into trees. Continuing with his momentum turned backhanding the man across the face causing him to loosen the grip on his gun. Flipping the gun about Daemon used it to bash the man in the head causing his motions to stop as he dropped to the ground. The first hunter had finally recovered having backed up a bit he drew his weapon taking aim, he stopped right before pulling the trigger as it appeared Daemon was both standing there and not there at the same time. The figure seemed to melt into shadow causing the man to look around before a sharp pain forced him to look down finding the end of a blade poking through his chest. Being pushed off the blade the man fell to the ground laying still in wet grass. Daemon looked at the boys who both cowered weaponless clearly only having carried ammo and supplies on their person for the hunters they followed. “Go home, I had no taste for blood before and even less for an unarmed innocent,” he told them before turning and beginning to walk away. Before getting to the edge of the clearing he heard footsteps followed by the click of a rifle. “You want me not to sleep for the next year don't you?” he asked turning to look finding one of the boys pointing a dropped rifle at him. A flash of lightning struck the tops of trees dangerously close to the scene causing the boy to jump slightly his finger tightening on the trigger as the thunder vibrated through him. The two stared at each other even as the rain picked up and began to fall heavily upon them. “The sky already weeps at these passing events,” Daemon said looking up. “There is no need for this. I know you understand that.”
“You're a monster, a demon, in disguise fooling a village stealing from them for years. An abomination of your nature deserves to be eliminated,” the boy mumbled pulling the gun tighter to his shoulder. The other boy raising a hand opening his mouth as if to say something before averting his eyes and relaxing his posture.
“You truly believe that and then hesitate?” Daemon asked raising an eyebrow. “I was there for years. I helped people with work, I had friends family. Never once did I ever act against the village. I was chased from my home and attacked and yet I am to be the monster?” the boy shaken by the words lowered the end of his weapon before pulling it back up again.
“No, I won't believe your lies. You're a demon and shall die,” he pulled the trigger causing a loud click. The boy looked at the gun in a confused manner. Daemon grinned holding out an arm dropping a bullet onto the ground.
“Sorry, removed it when I hit him. I think you should go back to town and forget this night,” Daemon told them turning again then hunching slightly. The hunch in his back rose taller and taller within the shirt until it found openings in the back clearly designed for the appendages rising off his form. The appendages stretched before splitting into multiple sections, each finger reaching further a thin membrane forming between them. As the wings grew from his back his spine seemed to lengthen a reptilian tail writhing its way into existence a row of spines forming down the middle. The end of the tail making the end of it look much like a fan. Having fully formed the wings and tail, Daemon stretched turning slightly the two boys staring in fear and wonder the one holding the gun having stopped halfway through loading it looked down and dropped the gun slowly backing away. “Y-you are a m-monster, a demon!”
“I already told you I'm neither of those,” Daemon said calmly turning so as to make eye contact the yellow ring in his eyes reflecting the lightning in the sky. “'Twas not a monster lying in wait, nor a demon feeding on innocent. You've merely kicked a dragon from his roost, his home, his life. While many would be furious I find it was simply my time to leave,” Daemon paused smiling reminiscing his the past few years the boys again confused at their lack of understanding of the situation just stared until Daemon crouched slightly making both of them jump at the sudden motion. “Farewell, my home,” he proclaimed jumping into the air with a large beat of his wings taking to the air. The two would be hunters stared in silent reverence as the winged man before them quickly rose into the sky before turning to the horizon and disappearing over the tops of the trees. The two boys stared at each other both drenched, fear finally fading as they accepted what they saw as a threat had left and if they believed him, had no intention of returning. They both sullenly headed back toward the village half watching the sky expecting the dragon man to come swooping down on them to keep them from the safety of the village's borders. The sound of the rain in the forest having drowned out even the sound of the wind, the thunder having forced all the wildlife into hiding making the forest eerily empty as they trudged through the rising wind and mud. Finally reaching their destination and breathing a sigh of relief as they found the warm glow from the boarded up homes. Reaching the village, the boys found a man standing under an awning waiting for them. Approaching the man halted them raising a hand. “Where is the dragon?” he asked glaring at the two of them. They both stopped obviously shocked at both the fact he knew they were out there, but at the fact that he knew the enemy had been a dragon.
“Gone,” one boy told the man, “It left. Said it wasn't coming back and had no intention of doing anything to the village in the first place. I dare say it was sincere.”
“Sincere or no, you let the beast get away. Where was it going?”
“It didn't say, sir, why the interest? It is gone.”
“Gone and dead are two different things. And seeing as you don't know where it went,” the man paused pulling a pistol from behind him, “then you are useless.” He fired the flintlock hitting the boy in the chest. The boy's expression changed to one of shock then fell to the ground. The man turned on the other boy who had backed up considerably and appeared to be ready to sprint away. “Nothing personal, but I cannot let you live.” He fired again the thunder covering the gunshot. Before the man disappeared into the village to search for more information on its escaped resident. The man felt with any luck they might cooperate.