A loud, inhuman roar filled the air, a crash came through one of the large passenger carts carrying the wife of Archer Van Der Klerge and is pinned to the earth and held down hard by a very large woman, covered in dark fur and feline in appearance. It is Launa who is ready to slay the monster responsible for brutal and senseless murder of her secretive husband and son. She only knows of half of the plan but it was by horrific revelation of the other half that would put her in the emperor's trap. The emperor has summoned a possessive demon from the depths of hell and sends it on a little kill mission for Launa's husband and son. The reasons of why were not revealed at this time but knows her fellow guardians are behind the plan.
Days before the destruction of the hometown Launa called home, Archer's group is put in charge of a caravan that needs to get to the next town which the road is miles from the town of Haelen and not too far from the house Madsen and Welles lived. Everything counted on timing around the two meeting at the same time. Archer who has finally found someone who helped him break his obsession with fighting demons and monsters and settle into a healthy relationship to which they're expecting their first child. Fast-forwarding to the present, the plan is set in motion. Launa learns first hand that Oleander, her home town is under attack and is needed at once, Madsen had doubts and Welle's feared for her safety but they understand her duty and leaves. But to her horror, the destruction is caused by her the imperial guards.
The reasons for the attack were more revealing now that the guardians, her own people were behind it all and when she is under attack, she had to dispatch them to save what's left of the town. Finding one of her fellow guardians she learns of the next target and rushes as fast as she can. But it was too late, the house is covered in blood, signs of a terrible struggle were evident. And then she hears the sounds of her own son. Launa can't hold herelf together as she picks up her only child dying in her arms and screams to the heavens loud enough to be heard throughout the village but is music to the ears of the demon responsible as he tempts to to come after him. Launa now fully blind with rage, grabs her axe and crashes through the wall of the house to chase after it. Meanwhile at the caravan where Archer and his wife were on, the captain calls archer to the far front against his better judgment he leaves but suddenly the wheel of the cart where her wife is got stuck and will be there for a while leaving her a perfect target for the demon who is faster than Launa to come in is possess her.
The process is all forms of horrific, The poor girl can't scream for the demon in her prevented her from doing anything that would gain attention. She can only watch and cry as her belly swelled up three times its size, tearing her dress before collapsing quickly like a popped balloon. The demon killed her unborn child before killing her and possessing her body. What followed next was the brutal roar and crash that sends the entire caravan to a screeching halt. Everyone rushed to see what is going on but none can be more terrified than Archer witnesses the horror that lies before him. Running to save her wife he is brutally smacked far by Launa's hand as to not let him interfere for what she has to do now.
She knows that the woman the demon possess is long dead before she can deliver the blow but. Why didn't Archer, a long-lived skilled witch hunter and slayer of the damned sensed this earlier? The answer lied in the demon and a mysterious watcher who is parked in the caravan with Archer to make sure the execution proceeds smoothly. The demon taunts and tempts her into committing to the unthinkable. The demon tells Launa that “he knows” Launa demands answers but the monster drags her on, drilling into her innermost rage to the point where's she's blind to anything that would dare tell her to stop. Archer slowly recovers only to see the final moments of the woman who he de-powered over a century ago brutally drop the axe on the woman who would have saved him.
Launa can only cry for the loss of her family until she looks and sees the fury and rage of a man who in his mind has taken his one true happiness and sends a fiery power-blow to her face knocking her down. Now the one pinned the ground the Archer throws down several punches before Launa pushes him off and attacks him. Archer violently screams at her for breaking her promise to him. His decision to let her live so long ago came back to be the biggest and last mistake he has ever made. The caravan horde rushed in and separated the two and saw the terrible aftermath of the torn and chopped remains. Making matters worse, the townspeople of Haelen caught up to her after seeing the death scene from the house. Now just seeing the portion of the caravan destroyed and the body of a woman hacked by the woman who they trusted and and swore to protect known seen as a cold-blooded murderer.
Archer can only watch as a guardian who “just happened” to appear at the scene sees the carnage and orders the Haelen officers to arrest her for the murder, destruction of the town of Oleander. A charge that Launa knows she isn't behind but the guardian silences her and magically slaps a shackle around her head to prevent her from speaking further. Archer wants to kill Launa but is stopped even punched in the gut just to stop him from doing so because it would mean certain death to interfere in the actions of a guardian. Overcome by grief he resigns and can only reach out to the dead body of his lover, the former future mother of his child. He'll take this opportunity to finally slay this woman and get his vengeance. Little did he realize that is what the conspirators want.
In a distance the watchful eye of the Emperor as he sips on his wine and laughs at such a display. If this was the reaction he expects from those two he would have done this without having the need to set her and Archer up in the first place. All this because they went against the Emperor's wants. Being behind the scenes of both their uprising they have to pull the stupidest things imaginable to warrant the emperor's wrath: They had to be happy. Launa's curse that made her an immortal half-feline for her recklessness longed to no longer be alone and she found that in Madsen, they fell into a bit of forbidden love that gave them a son. This in turn gave her role as a guardian more strength because she's fighting for her son.
Archer after the death of his parents at such a young age and cursed by that same demon became an obsessed warrior contributing to what can be called the great purge. Trained by a great, he dedicated the rest of his life to fighting the demons that litter the continent to one day get his revenge. But then she came in, pulled him away from what could be a lifetime of chasing something that would destroy him and made Archer finally a free man. That did not sit well with the man who was behind their upbringing the whole time and nows the time to deliver the punishment on them in one swift blow. To that will be his advantage for the ultimate goal.
Yep, that's the real story behind this pic. To learn more you can read up on the chapters of Trickster's Retribution in the Vianderverse Stories Gallery.