*Wordcount: 857 words.
The yellowed bar-lights illuminated a dank, seedy bar. Various patrons sat, scattered around the room, drinking or chatting or passing out (or all three for the ambitious few). A man sat at a round table near the corner, alone, his long coat hanging off the chair and a wide-brimmed hat resting on the table. He set his glass of water on the table and surveyed the room with cautious eyes. The other patrons were ignoring him, but they didn’t concern him either.
He was here for something more dangerous, and a tad exotic.
He could feel the tension building, and he stood to don his coat and hat. It would start soon.
The ground beneath the bar rumbled, and the patrons looked around, bemused. Some started leaving. Soon, the bar was almost empty save for the man in the coat – who seemed suspiciously unfazed –, the bartender, and a few passed out drunks.
The rumbling grew louder, and glasses and bottles began to shake off of shelves and tables, shattering themselves on the ground.
The rumbling and shaking reached a pinnacle that, to those still inside, turned the world into a snow globe of broken glass and tumbling furniture.
Then, it ceased.
Reality needed a second to catch up.
The daemons filled the bar, stumbling over themselves in their slavering haste. A violet-red portal swirled in the middle of the floor, and the surrounding tables and chairs vanished into it. The bar counter itself had splintered, a sizable chunk succumbing to the force of the sudden appearance of this bizarre portal.
The man, his coat flapping in a foul wind that came from nowhere, was already upon them. Twin revolvers fired off, snapping off wings and claws.
He reloaded with a deft speed, and continued his assault.
The bartender died while reaching for a hidden shotgun, his entrails ripped from him and blood spraying throughout the room. Similar, grisly fates met most of the passed-out patrons (who had really shown a dedication to staying passed out in such a commotion).
However, soon the beasts turned their attention to the man in the corner.
They fell upon him in a fury of limbs and gargled cries.
He fought the encroaching tide of daemons, dispatching many in swift succession. The more he felled, the more streamed in to take their fallen’s place.
He was fighting a losing battle, but he wasn’t the losing type. Besides, he’d faced worse odds.
On top of that, he’d merely been toying with them.
He was muttering under his breath, arcane words in a foul, long-dead language.
The portal flickered, and the stream of daemons seemed to lessen. He kept up his esoteric chants, and holstered his revolvers. They were slowing him down.
He tore into what was left of the creatures with gleaming blades that he pulled from the lining of his coat. Each swift dagger sliced with ease, and a sickly black ichor covered them and the floor.
He pushed aside the last perished daemon, and stood in front of the faltering portal. He shouted the final words, completing the summoning.
The daemon that emerged was much larger than the previous lot, its sallow skin shifting and shimmering as it eyed the man.
“You summoned me. How?”
The man smirked. “You have something I want.”
“Oh, is that so? I have to let you down I’m afraid, although perhaps we could come to a compromise? I’ll kill you quickly, if you let me know how you knew my name.”
“And if I don’t?”
“I’ll kill you slowly.” The daemon forced out a grin.
Its hulking form, bent over to fit in the room at all, lashed forward. Visible muscles and sinew contracted and expanded, throwing it bodily into the man.
He slumped against the wall, his neck twisted and his body broken.
“That was it? A pity,” the daemon chuckled, an obscene grating sound. “I really did expect more.”
The broken body rose slowly, uncertainly.
The daemon regarded it eagerly. “I stand corrected.”
The body’s eyes had a fiery glow, and veins throughout the corpse took up a familiar glow.
“I’ll repeat, you have something I want.”
“Very well, you can have it,” Adanrian flexed its form. “If you can take it from me!”
The body chuckled, a sound that filled the room and came from every angle. “You misunderstand. I fully intend on taking it. I was simply offering you a warning, as courtesy.”
The broken bones twisted and grated, casting aside the daggers.
Adanrian glowered, and lunged.
The body, drenched in ichor, dug through the dead daemon’s innards.
“Ah. There we have it.”
Bones clicked and cracked and mended, and the man picked up his hat (which had been lost in the chaos).
The bar collapsed in on itself, being sucked into nothing as the portal waned out of existence.
A drunk, barely-conscious in the gutter, watched a man in a long coat and a wide-brimmed hat step calmly from the collapsing building. He regarded the man in the gutter coldly, before tossing some money on the floor beside him.
“Here,” he gave a cool, empty smile. “Drinks on me.”