Illario Dellamorte stood in front of the mirror arranging his collar. Somehow he didn’t seem to be able to place it quite how it should be. The jacket didn’t feel right either, it was too stiff. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that his cousin was dead and now he had greater responsibilities than he had ever hoped for.
Illario let his shoulders slump for a moment. He had always wanted to become the First Talon. He had wanted Caterina to choose him. But not like this.
There was a knock on his door. Viago DeRiva peered his head in the room.
‘You have a visitor,’ he announced.
‘Tell him I’ll be right over.’ Illario didn’t even turn away from the mirror. He felt obsessed with getting the collar to stand up right around his neck.
‘No need,’ said Viago. Through the mirror, Illario saw Viago motion a chair in a dark corner of the room where sat a man dressed in a dark cloak and hood.
Illario doubled over, stepping away from the mirror, gasping. ‘How did you get in here?’ he demanded. Illario turned to the door, but Viago had already left and closed the door.
The man in the chair lifted his head and removed his hood.
Illario choked on his saliva. He blinked several times. This couldn’t be! He was staring at the face of his cousin, Lucanis Dellamorte.
‘You’re dead! Which means you’re a demon!’
‘Well, I am the Demon.’ The man had his cousin’s voice.
‘No! This isn’t real!’ Illario backed away, his gaze transfixed on the man, his jaw tight.
The man with his cousin’s face stood from his seat.
‘Illario, it’s me. I’m not dead.’
Lucanis rolled his eyes. ‘Seriously?’ He sighed. ‘Just stop shouting. You want the world to know I’m not really dead? After all the trouble I went through?’
‘How?’ Illario kept his hand near his dagger. ‘More importantly, why?’
Lucanis lifted his arms in surrender. ‘So that you could be the First Talon.’ His tone suggested this should be obvious. ‘We knew Caterina wouldn’t give it to you otherwise. This way I can continue to kill from the shadows. We thought it would be best for Antiva.’
‘Viago and Teia,’ said Lucanis.
‘You’re…not…dead. You’re really alive?’
Lucanis let out a chuckle. ‘Yes, I’m alive. You didn’t think they’d actually kill me, did you? Give me some credit.’ Lucanis shook his head. ‘The Venatori would have come to Antiva had they not thought their agents had killed me.’
‘They’ll never know what hit them.’ Illario let out a mirthless laugh. He let his anger seep into his voice. ‘And you didn’t think of letting me in on your plan, hmm? Your cousin?’
‘Would you have been able to pretend I was dead as convincingly as thinking it for real?’ Lucanis spat back.
Illario lunged at Lucanis and struck his jaw with his fist. Lucanis was forced back into the chair, shock on his face.
With hard eyes, Lucanis stared at Illario who stared back, a mix of emotions whirling through his mind. Lucanis slowly stood again. The tension between them was as thick as it had ever been. Lucanis had given Illario what he had always wanted, but he had also lied to him. Honesty was a rare commodity among the Crows, but it was something Illario always thought he at least got from his cousin.
Lucanis’s gaze changed into one of pleading, a look he saved only for those closest to him, mainly Illario.
Finally, Illario stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Lucanis, a sob escaping his mouth. Lucanis’s posture softened and he returned the embrace.
Illario stepped back, clearing his throat. He looked into his cousin’s face, the man blinked, his eyes shining faintly.
‘I’m sorry,’ whispered Lucanis, his voice cracking.
Illario nodded. He turned around, taking a deep breath to regain his composure. This had not helped the issue with the collar of his jacket.
He turned back to face Lucanis. ‘All right, what’s the news then?’ he asked, prompting to know about any new plots.
‘You tell me, you’re the First Talon,’ Lucanis replied. He smiled mildly.
Again, the two cousins stared at each other for what seemed like a long time. Finally, Illario broke into a wide grin.
He stepped back towards the mirror, fiddling with his collar. ‘I hate you, you know that?’ There was warmth in his voice. ‘With all my heart.’
“The Demon Undead” is written by Celinka Serre (2020).
Disclaimer: This story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Dragon Age. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the Dragon Age universe belong to Bioware and EA. This fan-fiction story falls under Fair Use.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.