Terren versus the demon Saerevice–otherwise known as Scream–is one of the most climatic parts of “I Was Called”, without actually giving too much away. This scene has helped me to get through tough times, and I hope it can be an inspiration to anyone who reads it.
“Hurry!” shouted Curser, crawling forward from where he was sprawled on the ground. The rumbling increased to a point where Terren’s very skin was vibrating uncontrollably until the surface of Montairyus burst open, chunks of earth flying through the air, and the shape of a giant and wriggling snake came into view. The creature’s body was a light shade of pink like a worm, but it’s more solid and controlled movements with a hint of deviousness gave it the impression of a serpent. A roar then resounded from the cloud of dirt and the silhouette of a lioness’s head came into view.
Terren struggled forward from the Dishonuz behind him, using his elbows to scoot away from the beast. He was on his belly, and he could feel that the Dishonuz grew closer to where he was, so flipping himself around he grasped Gladeus and drew the blade. The sword exited the scabbard with a ringing tone that Terren loved and he suddenly felt confident. Even as the blade exited the scabbard and the ringing sound faded away the world began to shift and the light began to dim and blur. Everything around Terren except the Dishonuz became hazy, and Terren could not define which of his friends was which, but could only see their shapes next to him.
All sounds around Terren still existed, but as he watched the Dishonuz move towards him, swerving like a serpent with eyes full of hatred, he heard a strange noise. Like leaves on trees waving in the strong updraft of a storm, like the burn of heated iron to flesh, like the hiss of a snake when disclosing itself to its prey, a black mist began to form near the head of the Dishonuz. The beast seemed to take no notice of the darkness that was gathering on its body, but snarled at Terren with its lips curling upward, revealing its white teeth.
The mist began to clear and in its place riding on the Dishonuz was a demon, one of the seven that Kartrus rarely released, this particular one named Saerevice, but known more commonly as Scream. Saerevice’s body was the body of a human skeleton, distorted and unearthly with a grin of horror etched on its face. A long cloak clothed the creature of death, and its color was dead silver, lacking life or radiance. The demon had no weapon of substance, but what he could do was far more dangerous than any kind of weapon made by man, elf or Gillik. Saerevice could paralyze his victim, only then to take their life by a dark evil invested in him. The demon was called Scream because, when he used his dark mystical power, literally grasping his victim and making it flow into them through his hands, the pain was so terrible it caused his victim to scream until their voice gave out and they could speak no more. It was said that Kartrus had done the same to Scream when the demon had been a human, and so Scream had inherited the power to destroy the voices of others in a horribly painful way. To be fighting this demon was especially scary, for this demon was especially powerful. Having Gladeus encouraged Terren to be confident, but he was still anxious and afraid to duel such a creature, not mentioning the beast it rode on.
Slowly Terren stood, but as soon as he assumed a comfortable and defensive position for fighting his surroundings began to change. The light swirled around him so he was dizzy and the shapes of his friends disappeared. Falling to the ground again with his legs weak beneath him his head began to ache and he felt queasy within his stomach, both from fear and the constant motion around him.
When everything was still again Terren found that he was on the ground, supported by his elbow with Gladeus in his hand with his arm out in front of him. He was on grass—soft, cool grass—and nearby was a wood with tall evergreens and poplars. In a small ravine ran a quick flowing stream of water, glittering in the light and emitting a lovely sound. High in the sky was a dimming blue, and near the horizon was a stretch of serene pink. In front of him there was a bright yellow light. It was strange though, for this light was a block, for it did not disclose what was before Terren but hid it; it was darkness in disguise. Oddly enough, Terren could look into the light without bothering his eyes and yet nothing could be seen behind it or in it.
Then from the light something began to stir. A shape or figure of some sort was moving towards the Fadehawk. Although he didn’t know what it was, Terren rose and prepared himself to duel whoever would challenge him. As the figure came closer, Terren distinguished the shape with a look of horror and determination. Through the empty eye-sockets of the demon, the golden light was showing. Out of his ears and mouth, around his ribs and forearm the light flowed, bright but opaque. He still wore his cloak, but it was but a dark outline around him.
Without the Dishonuz, Terren felt less vulnerable, so stepping forward slowly he proceeded to attack.
Suddenly the eyes of Scream seemed much larger and Terren suddenly felt like he was being sucked towards the ground. Though there weren’t really eyes, Terren could feel the demon heavily focusing on him; the demon’s enchantment had begun. With an effort, Terren took another step forward. Consequently, Scream raised his hands, pointing them at Terren like he planned to grasp him. Terren tried not to look into the demon’s eyes, but he was somehow drawn to them, the empty holes that light flowed through.
Without moving his arms or legs Scream shot forward, aloft in the air like a ghost towards Terren and the light suddenly became so intense Terren felt his vision wavering. The demon reached for Terren, a red flare of light being emitted from his hands. Motivated by an urge to break free of the control Scream had over his body, Terren slashed upward at the demon, striking it on its right arm.
The roar of the Dishonuz came in response. Terren was completely unaware of how it came to happen, but he was suddenly back with the elves near the Jerhash camp. He, apparently, had just cut the Dishonuz on its mouth as it came to snap at him from where he lie on the ground. Stumbling to his feet he darted away, Erock in front of him shooting an arrow at the beast. The Fadehawk guessed that Erock had hit the Dishonuz, for behind him another roar resounded so loud it shook the ground. In front of the group, there was another group of thirty Jerhashes. Most of them were scuffling with other slaves, but some were still, watching for other defectors or eyeing the Dishonuz with fear. The sight of other Jerhashes ready to attack more slaves disheartened Terren. Then, Terren noticed a long line of Jerhashes watching about a hundred yards or so away to his right, and they stood their cheering. It was then that Terren realized, with disgust, that the Jerhashes were going to watch the slaves be devoured by the Dishonuz, or witness which of them was skilled enough to defeat the beast. The Jerhashes also acted like a wall, forcing the slaves that tried to retreat back towards the Dishonuz, and when the beast came towards them, themselves, they hindered it with a volley of arrows. The idea of the Jerhashes suddenly staging their own gladiator fight made Terren even more indignant towards them, and he realized that if he and the elves were to escape, they had better do so quickly.
A loud boom behind Terren told him that the Dishonuz had gone underground again and was burrowing beneath him. The ground was vibrating again and Terren could feel himself losing his feet. Everything that had happened was so strange and mystical that Terren was nearly confused and dazed. As soon as he began thinking about his encounter with Scream he found himself nearly losing his friends amongst the running slaves and Jerhashes.
The ground shook with even greater force and Terren could hear the Dishonuz coming towards the surface. Rocks and dirt flew everywhere as the Dishonuz broke through the ground. It traveled high in the air until it reached nearly thirty feet where it looked at Terren with hatred and vengeance. Terren looked for the elves, hoping to find help, and then back to the Dishonuz to find that Scream was sitting on his back. The sounds around Terren muffled and his surroundings became fuzzy again. As far as he could tell, he was still within the Jerhashes camp, and Scream hadn’t taken him anywhere that Terren didn’t know of. This made Terren feel more comfortable, knowing that he hadn’t been isolated into a strange world where he was trapped, having to fight a demon to escape.
From where it suspended itself thirty feet high in the air the Dishonuz dove towards the ground, ramming its head into the surface. There was hardly enough time for Terren to think of how to react before the Dishonuz had gotten its long body beneath the surface. Despite being so large, it was a quick creature. The Dishonuz must not have gone very deep, for beneath Terren the ground began to sink. Terren hopped to the side and just in time as the Dishonuz burst out of the ground where he had been standing. Terren turned to face the beast from where it climbed higher and higher to his right. The beast was too far away for Terren to attack, but the Dishonuz came towards him, snapping at him with lightning-quick speed.
Terren hacked at the Dishonuz, giving it a shallow cut on the side of its neck. Spinning on the ground so its head was on its side the Dishonuz snaked towards Terren again, curling his body around the Fadehawk. Scream shifted his position to prevent himself from being squished and the very motion made Terren wary of the demon’s presence. With a burst of speed the Dishonuz nipped towards Terren, its eyes angry and fierce. Terren lunged away from the jaws of the beast, stabbing as he did so. His blow sank into the neck of the beast again, nearly hitting Scream as well.
Terren quickly pulled back Gladeus from the Dishonuz’s flesh. Then he took a step backwards; the Dishonuz was sure to be furious due to the pain inflicted upon him. Terren’s heel struck something hard though and he tripped, falling on his back. As soon as Terren struck the ground with an unpleasant thud the world seemed to slow down. Scream, in the time illusion that was occurring, slowly leapt towards Terren from the back of the Dishonuz. The demon’s eyes grew immensely once again, focusing on Terren and endeavoring to control his body.
Terren fought hard against the power of Scream, but it seemed of no use. His body felt like it was becoming heavier by the second. Scream landed on top of him, grabbing him around the neck. Terren tried to lift Gladeus, yet it felt as hard as lifting a thousand swords at once. And now, to Terren’s disadvantage, Scream was no longer subject to how slow everything was happening. Gripping harder around Terren’s neck the demon slammed his head twice against the ground. Consequently, Terren felt himself beginning to lose consciousness. Scream nearly had control of his body, and Terren was already straining so hard against the demon’s will while he was endeavoring to fight against him physically, he felt the urge to give up.
What was he doing? Only a day before, Terren had found it necessary to accept the misfortunes happening to him and the elves. And yet what was this? Scream was taking him and with dwindling effort and determination to fight back, Terren was ready to yield. He would give in to Scream’s power; the inevitable could not be avoided. The Fadehawk had tried and now he accepted death when it came. He was prepared to give his entire life for his mission, to rescue Earyis but he could continue no longer. His time of departure had come and he would accept it. Very well, if his fate was to die here, so be it. “May the elves rescue Earyis,” he thought.
Then as he prepared to hand over his life to Scream he closed his eyes, attempting to find peace. Suddenly, Terren lost control of his body, he felt nothing, and he knew that Scream was now preparing to work his final mystical power upon Terren; the one that would take his life. A loud and frantic voice called, “Terren! Terren!”
Terren paid no heed.
Then an image came into Terren’s mind. It was of a male adolescent, perhaps sixteen years of age, with large round eyes. They held a look of eagerness to obtain whatever they desired. Beneath the right eye of the teenager was a dark birthmark. His nose was rounded and his lips were thick. His chin was square and his face was thin. A fine head of curly strawberry-blonde hair went down nearly to his shoulders where it billowed softly. And Terren knew it was Earyis.
Then another image came into Terren mind. It was of Earyis, back in Thry, as a baby in his cradle. He was the epitome of life and how precious it was. “So why do I give mine up now?” Terren questioned himself.
“And what of me?” Terren thought he heard the image of the older Earyis speak, “If you were never here, Terren, and if you just give up, how will I ever know true happiness? Is this really how you want to die, without fulfilling your quest?
“If you die now, who will save me?”
With a burst of energy Terren managed to open his eyes. Scream was leaning over him and from his hands a red form of lightning sizzled. The demon reached forward; Terren still couldn’t move. “It is because we stand here…” Terren remembered Curser saying about Kartrus and the flaws of his power, “….he fears our desires for good…he knows that his power only prevails if we give in to it!”
Releasing an airy scream, Scream struck at Terren. Terren closed his eyes as hard as he could and focused on the thought that although Kartrus and his minions were extraordinarily powerful, he was not helpless. He focused on how he could not give up doing the greatest thing he could because Kartrus’ forces were overpowering him and his death seemed near. He would not let Kartrus stop him from carrying out his commendable quest.
The sound like a bell toning reverberated through the air as Scream struck Terren with his hands on the Fadehawk’s chest. The strange form of lightning, however, seemed to pass over Terren, striking the ground on either side of him. Terren opened his eyes and stabbed the demon in the throat with Gladeus; the Dishonuz roared in response.
Terren, just as before, was on his back. The sky was perfectly blue, becoming lighter as it reached the horizon. It was decorated with two wispy clouds. Shadowing Terren was the Dishonuz, roaring in pain from where Terren had struck it in the throat. Terren roused himself to his feet. To Terren’s left, Curser ran forward to the Dishonuz and plunged his sword through its neck. The beast shook wildly, wriggling free of the elf’s sword. Curling his neck towards Curser the Dishonuz roared. Then a choking noise emanated from the beast, and it gurgled before falling to the ground. Terren approached the beast cautiously, seeing that an arrow had been put into its mouth and partially into its gullet.
Slaves and Jerhashes cheered alike at the Dishonuz’s death. Once again, Terren realized, the group had been unable to escape the Jerhashes. “That is okay, though,” thought Terren, “we will escape. We have to.”
As Terren walked with Curser from the Dishonuz, his mind fell to wondering about the voice he had heard, the one that had called his name twice. It hadn’t sounded like any of the elves, so he wondered who had been calling his name. Furthermore, he contemplated how close death had been to him, and that by merely a recognition of the possibility of Kartrus’s defeat was he able to subdue Scream. He was vibrant with wonder, deciding that, should he not have recalled Curser’s words, perhaps he would have been killed.
The elves approached Terren and Curser who were being surrounded by groups of slaves and Jerhashes, praising them for fighting the Dishonuz. Erock was the first to reach Terren, and he said, “What kind of fighting style was that where you lay on the ground like your dead until the very moment when you’re nearly killed?”
“Yeah,” said Curser, “what was wrong with you? Are you okay?”
Terren smiled sheepishly, but also with a bit of relief, “I just fought Scream.”
Each of the elves was silent; from somewhere within the horde of slaves and Jerhashes angry voices sounded out demanding the army be reassembled. Rtoa shook his head, “What!?”
“I fought Scream,” Terren repeated. “He was riding the Dishonuz.” Terren was silent, waiting for the elves to say something, or at least to believe him, but they said nothing. “I feel like there was a special kind of magic he used. He was here, but he wasn’t here. He transported me to a different world, made nearly all things around me look…wrong, and seized control of my body.”
Once again the elves were silent. “And you are all right?” inquired Ambriea in a quiet voice.
“I am now,” Terren grinned.
Ambriea nodded in response, and the other elves sighed. “Your story is hard to comprehend,” said Rtoa, “but I believe you. Such demons do have the power to choose to not fully be present, but attack their victim in a certain way so that their victim has no help.”
Grim, Terren nodded in acknowledgement. Now, in companionable silence, Terren and the elves were marched back by a group of fifteen Jerhashes to where their battalion was reassembling. When their escort left them, Terren cast his eyes over the pleasant landscape, eyeing the forest and enjoying its beauty. Yet, near the edge of the woods between a group of thin trees he distinguished a gray shape, tall and still, and menacing from under the shadows where it hid. “There,” Terren pointed quickly with his finger, “by the edge of the forest. Can you see him?”
For a few seconds the elves looked and then Curser’s eyes grew wide. “I see him!” he said.
“What should we do?” asked Tarshieba.
None of the group responded, but Terren drew Gladeus and said mentally to the demon, “I am ready for you.” And the shape suddenly disappeared.