Warfields of Wrath
The Last Song of Sins Story
Nothing could have prepared me for being in the Warfields of Wrath.
I’ve been to all those damned realms in the Land of Sins by now, and they were all terrible in their own way. However, there is a different kind of wickedness in a place that gets stronger by the amount of blood spilled on the ground, by the amount of bodies piled around and scattered like they were nothing but pawns on a chessboard. Demons, mortals, and angels alike, turned into the fuel which made the Warfields the most deadly realm in the Land of Sins. I thought I’d seen cruelty before, but nothing compared to this.
Normally, if a normal person heard about a battle happening between demons and angels, they would cheer for the celestial forces, right? Well, so would I, before seeing what those angels became once they came in contact with the wicked aura that permeates the Warfields of Wrath. They kept claiming they were fighting for the greater good, and probably some of them believed that, but the way to hell is paved with good intentions…
The lives lost in those senseless battles were obviously the worst part of it, but every detail about Odi’ram’s domain was despicable. The smell of rotten corpses, the blood flowing in every rock, and the screams which seemed endless… I just wished it all stopped for a few minutes.
Since the angels didn’t seem like the holy salvation they used to be, when I arrived at the Warfields, there was already a group of mortals making a plan. A suicidal plan, might I add, but better than nothing. Vanchu had determination and good ideas, I’ll give her that. Fortunately for her and the others, I arrived just in time to turn the plan into something plausible.
“Let’s just break through the entrance doors! They will be so confused that we will make it far enough to get to the Warhorn. And whoever crosses our way… BAM! Sword to the neck!”
“I admire your bravery, Vanchu, I really do, but if it was that easy to get the relic, the angels would have done it by now,” Rhys said in such a neutral tone that it barely seemed like he believed the plan was absurd.
“Let’s try not to die, shall we?” I suggested. “I propose something a little different. Those demons love a fight, right? Well, let’s give it to them without putting our lives on the line. The angels are surrounding Odi’ram’s lair, only waiting for a chance to strike. If we start a conflict, the demons won’t be able to resist the urge to fight, and the angels will take the bait. While that happens, I can sneak inside and grab the Warhorn.”
“You won’t go alone, there might still be guards inside even if the demons go into battle…” Maximus said. “I can come with you, clear a path, and defeat anyone you can’t sneak past.”
As usual, a dangerous course of action, but I’m pretty sure I had made it work in worse conditions before.
It was settled, Maximus and I just had to wait for Vanchu and Rhys to start the show. Vanchu was a killing machine, and crushing her enemies didn’t even make her break a sweat. The half-orc was born to fight, and if someone could survive for years in that hell, it would be her. As soon as she killed the first mephit near the entrance, the other demons appeared as moths to a flame, which forced Azazel’s forces into action. Thank the gods, they were all so predictable.
Rhys seemed out of place on the battlefield, most people in the Warfields of Wrath were taken over by their most violent feelings, but being a fell, nothing could really affect him. He was silent and surprisingly agile with the giant sword, able to bring down any enemy Vanchu missed. They made quite a team.
Of course, it was a relief to have someone like Maximus with me. He was an unstoppable force, a huge half-giant who could beat as many enemies as Vanchu, if not a little more, but it was better if no one told her that. Maximus always fought like his life depended on it, and this time he was probably right.
The sudden attack and Azazel’s presence on the battlefield made Odi’ram leave his lair, bringing along many of his most dangerous demons. Both the Ruling Sin and the Archangel faced each other as if it was the last battle, and I hoped Vanchu and Rhys could get out of their way before they got caught in it.
And there it was again, the endless screams and disgusting noises of metal searing flesh… It was the only way I could tell what was happening outside, but I had to focus on getting the Warhorn as soon as I could. While Maximus and I sneaked inside Odi’ram’s lair, I couldn’t find anything besides imps and mephits guarding the place, which were easy to defeat. If all the Ruling Sin’s powerful forces were outside, it meant our plan was working quite well.
I must confess, I was usually more careful than this. On a normal day, I would take out the imps without them even noticing I was there, but well…
I was angry. Quite fitting for someone trapped in the Warfields of Wrath, almost poetic.
But how could I not be? I had spent weeks trapped in the Carnival of Lust, with no access to my memories and being a toy to two Ruling Sins. It was honestly a miracle all the performers escaped safely from the Carnival before I set everything on fire. As I said before, I was angry. I was even more furious now because, yet again, I was having to defeat a Ruling Sin and carrying the weight of many mortal lives on my shoulders. They weren’t innocents, but no one in the Land of Sins truly is. I’m not quite sure how long we searched inside the fortress until we found the room where the Warhorn was being kept. I’m pretty sure I’ve even passed through that same hallway more than once, but the funny thing about anger is that you are so out of your mind that details go unnoticed.
Deep down the Ruling Sin’s lair, there was the room we were looking for, the Warhorn of Vengeance’s sanctuary, guarded by a Lava Horror. Naive of me to believe none of the elite demons would stay inside to guard Odi’ram’s treasures. We stopped and hid in a nearby corridor. It was a difficult creature to defeat, especially because those damned beasts had the terrible habit of exploding into six imps when they fell. Truly annoying, to say the least.
“Leave it to me,” I heard Maximus’ voice behind me. “I can take it, or at least distract it long enough until you are out.”
Normally, I would have argued that we should take that monster together, but anger blinds people and my mind was filled with our objective: grab the Warhorn of Vengeance and finish Odi’ram once and for all. I agreed, and Maximus moved away from me until he was far enough to attract the Lava Horror’s attention with a war cry and keep me out of it. The monster screamed in return and charged in his direction, without turning his heads or thinking his enemy might not be alone. Maximus retreated, leaving enough space for me to get in the room. I took the opportunity and ran towards the opened doors, throwing myself inside and closing the room shut behind me.
It wasn’t anything as glorious as the treasure rooms other Ruling Sins had. The Warhorn of Vengeance was right in front of me, glowing with a red aura that illuminated the place. We had made it through the worst part of the plan, it was easy now, I just had to run away with the Warhorn and bring it outside. Maybe if Azazel used its power… No, it was stupid to let the archangel hold the Warhorn, we all knew that, we just didn’t say it out loud while we made the plan. Only a very powerful being could use the Warhorn, and Azazel was surely a good candidate for that, but we could see what the angel refused to acknowledge: the Warfields of Wrath had corrupted him, he had probably been a fallen angel for quite a while now, maybe he wouldn’t even know what to do once the war was over. I had my guess. If he put his hands on the Warhorn of Vengeance, maybe he would get Odi’ram’s place as Lord of Rage. It wouldn’t be the first time a creature other than a demon took the place of a Ruling Sin, and Odi’ram himself wasn’t a fiend before becoming the ruler of the Warfields of Wrath… It was too dangerous to let this relic fall into the wrong hands.
Maybe I could use the Warhorn…
I forgot for a moment that Maximus was fighting for me outside the room. I didn’t even think about Vanchu and Rhys on the battlefield, escaping both demons and angels, because I was too focused on this dangerous thought. Maybe they weren’t even alive anymore, how could I know? I just walked towards the Warhorn, hearing whispers in my mind.
The object was calling for me.
I’ve defeated five Ruling Sins by now, six if I considered both the Ruling Sins of Lust. Wasn’t I strong enough to use the Warhorn of Vengeance and defeat Odi’ram? What other mortal had made such a journey and survived to tell the story?
What happened next took only a few seconds, but in my mind, it seemed like hours.
Foolishly, I grabbed the Warhorn, with the full intention of using it. However, the moment my hand touched it, I felt demonic magic rising through my arm. Even my lute responded, reverberating with its own magic. I thought it might be a sign I could use it, just as I had used my lute to defeat every single enemy who crossed my path. I remembered the moment I set fire to the Carnival, how powerful I felt, and also the satisfaction of seeing demons who wronged so many people finally getting what they deserved. Maybe I could become even stronger…
And that’s when I threw the Warhorn into the ground, breaking it.
Time seemed to stop all around me.
That was the true danger of the Warhorn, the illusion of infinite power, the strength to crush down all your enemies, an endless cycle of rage, fury, wrath… Death. That’s why it had made Odi’ram so strong, as long as there were living beings to fall in his traps of neverending battles, he couldn’t be defeated. If Azazel got the Warhorn, we would only make the cycle restart, a Ruling Sin who was a fallen angel before might be even worse than Odi’ram, who began as a mortal… Did I almost become a Ruling Sin while blinded by rage? It didn’t matter anymore, because the Warhorn was broken right in front of me.
My thoughts were interrupted by a furious roar coming from outside. When I turned around, I realized the whole room was on fire, breaking apart just like it happened to Avaritium’s castle. By the screams outside, which got even worse than before, I imagined the whole Warfields of Wrath were being consumed by the flames. More than usual, anyway. I ran in the direction of the door without even blinking. I had to reach Maximus, if he was still alive, we had to get Vanchu and Rhys, alongside any mortal still standing, and then we had to find a way to leave the Warfields of Wrath… But when I crossed the door, I wasn’t in Odi’ram’s lair anymore.
The sudden change of location made me trip and fall to the ground. No fire around me, no more screams nor corpses, no more demons, and no sign of the Warhorn… I soon noticed that I wasn’t in the Warfields anymore.
The floor under me was a big puddle that filled the whole place. I was inside a a huge area that extended into the darkness, with small dots of light illuminating my immediate surroundings. The water was like a mirror, and I could see my reflection, only deformed by my own movements creating waves around.
“You came further than I expected, I’ll give you that.”
I jumped, startled by the sudden voice, which I had unfortunately already heard twice by now. I put myself on my feet and grabbed my lute, spinning around, trying to find the source of the voice and ready to defend myself with my magic. However, the only thing I could see was part of the water growing and forming the image of someone, a human woman… It was me.
My reflection was standing right in front of me, like a damn doppelganger. This creature was smiling at me, with a wicked look in its eyes, and talking with the voice I learned to fear the most in the last days.
The Ruling Sin of Pride.
“Let’s make the count, shall we?” My water clone began to walk around me, I moved my head to accompany it, holding my lute firmly and ready to attack. “Avaritium is gone since you destroyed his castle, Desidia can barely move after she woke up, Vorax is still eating himself up, Irinia’s body is still sinking in the Bottomless Sea, and Erosius and Mania became a pile of ashes… Oh, yes, of course, Odi’ram became dust right after you broke the Warhorn. Quite impressive, I guess I’m the only one left now.”
“Let me go,” I said, trying not to stutter. I’ve seen enormous demons as Ruling Sins, but the avatar of Pride was the one with the most intimidating presence, and he wasn’t even really in front of me. “I won’t do anything against you.”
The doppelganger stopped walking and laughed out loud, its face deformed so much that it barely looked like a human anymore. I took a step back and In the blink of an eye, my copy moved and stopped right in front of me, which sent a shiver down my spine.
“You can’t defeat me, I’m not weak like those fools. The only reason the Land of Sins exists is because I command it,” the copy smiled at me again, “and you are not as infallible as you believe, Eve Fargrace. Don’t you think I noticed? You almost succumbed to wrath.”
“‘Almost’ is the keyword there. I broke the Warhorn, you can’t tempt me into becoming one of those monsters.”
The copy’s face changed, taking a serious expression that made me believe I had just hit a nerve. I was about to open my mouth to keep challenging the Ruling Sin, but my copy was dismantled right in front of me. Water flowed everywhere and I took some steps back, protecting myself.
Only when I moved my head to avoid the spilling water I saw something with the corner of my eye. I lifted my head and held my breath.
There, finally, he appeared in front of me.
A throne had emerged from the water, a dusty object held up by imps, who seemed more like statues than living beings. That wasn’t what caught my attention though, because there was afiend sitting on the throne, the one responsible for all the misery that transpires in the Land of Sins. As I usually say, no one is innocent in those demonic realms, under the Ruling Sins thumb, but it’s undeniable that it was Pride’s action that made this it all possible.
He looked more like a humanoid than a fiend, like Desidia, but his aura was even more menacing than before, when he was just an intimidating voice in my head. He had four wings and another two imps held a crown above his head. It was a slim creature, but I was sure I couldn’t defeat him in single combat even if I dared to try.
“So… Finally the Ruling Sin of Pride appears.”
“I’m sure we’ve passed such formalities, you may call me Faustus. And I guess, Eve, that you might be right. Your weak spot isn’t wrath, maybe your sin has more to do with me than Odi’ram…”
“I’m nothing like you!” I screamed, outraged by the comparison. Maybe I should have been more careful around such a creature, but I had gone through one hell of a journey until this point, patience wasn’t in my mind right now. “I would never create this hell and put so many people through this suffering!”
“Wouldn’t you?” he leaned on his throne, and the imps moved with him to keep the crown right above his head. “Are you sure? It was your actions that made many of your so-called friends suffer. You don’t even know if most of them are still alive. What if I punished them all by now? Have you considered that not only Zaloth died because of your selfish adventure and your silly little song?”
No, I hadn’t, and the thought of it broke my heart.
I felt my knees getting weak, and I fell to the ground. Many thoughts went through my head, possible snarky answers or arguments I could give him, but was Faustus really wrong? Everytime I defeated a Ruling Sin, I turned my back on the ones that helped me and moved to another realm, seeking a new demon to defeat. I didn’t even have to think so far off, I barely considered Maximus’ well-being when I destroyed the Warhorn. The Warfields of Wrath could have become a cemetery to all mortals for all I knew, the only thought in my mind was grabbing the Warhorn and defeating Odi’ram.
No one was innocent in the Land of Sins, especially me, apparently.
Didn’t I say the path to Hell was paved with good intentions? The angels weren’t the only ones who got corrupted after all.
“Come on now, a few words won’t defeat you, rise up.” I wasn’t sure if he used some command magic or if I was just terrified, but I obeyed, getting up and staring at him, not feeling nearly powerful as I had a while back. “You want to leave the Land of Sins, right? And I want you to stop messing around my domain. So let’s make a deal, shall we?”
I was ready to say no, trying to come up with some idea to leave that place without having to directly attack him. If he was the true ruler of that land, my lute given by Avaritium couldn’t do much against his powers. Before I could come up with something, Faustus made a movement with his hand. The water below us rose up, creating a door, and instead of wood or metal, it was made of light and glass. At first, I could see my startled reflection in it… But not only that. I took a step forward and saw more than myself. I could see mountains, waterfalls, full cities of people who weren’t pestered by demons on a daily basis…
It was the world beyond the Land of Sins.
“You want to leave so badly… Then do it,” Faustus said to me, while I got even closer to the door. “Go, find your freedom, play your song in many cities, and get the life you’ve wished for all this time… But never come back.”
Faustus was definitely the crueler of the Ruling Sins. In a few moments, I realized exactly what he was doing.
A few moments ago, this offer was everything I desired. Avaritium taught me, even if it wasn’t his intention, to never take lightly a contract with a devil, but that one I would jump into accepting without hesitation. However, as the Ruling Sin he was, Faustus played with my pride and my sense of responsibility at the same time.
I took a step forward and grabbed the doorknob.
“Come on, Eve Fargrace. The choice is yours.”
I opened the door, feeling a breeze from outside. The world I craved so much to know… And yet here I was…
Shutting it down. Forever.
I wasn’t a perfect hero, but I also wasn’t that selfish.
Yes, maybe I could finally achieve my freedom going through that door, but what about anyone else?
He could probably kill me now, but maybe he wanted to defeat me in a more poetic manner. If I left the Land of Sins, as he offered me, he would get rid of a problem and surely could still find me anywhere to torment me or even to demand a favor. However, what is a better way for pride itself to defeat anyone by toying with their heads?
Well, I defeated every single one of the Ruling Sins by now, and Faustus was about to be my next target.
“Sorry to deny your offer, Faustus, but I have some unfinished business here yet to solve.”
I turned around, grabbing my lute and ready to strike him, but as soon as I took a step forward, he and his throne made of fiends disappeared in an instant. I could hear his faint laugh in the distance.
“We will see each other soon, Eve,” his voice came to my ears.
Well, bring it on, I’m not scared and I’m not going anywhere.
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