This will be my Final Draft, which i may make small edits to.
Black liquid was dripping all over his face, he struggled as hard as he could, putting all his force into the task. It wouldn’t seem to budge, and then finally it moved. “Try it now,” the man said, rubbing his eyes. The engine huffed and groaned, but to no avail. “Damn I thought that would work,” said the man, oil all over his arm and face. “It’s okay Johnny, you can’t fix them all,” said an older man at the wheel of the 1990 Ford Ranger. “Yeah I know, but this one is important to me.” Johnny said as he put his hand through his hair in frustration. The old man put a hand on his shoulder in sympathy, “I’ll have George look at it, if he can’t fix it no one can.” He smiled his kindly smile, his wrinkles bunching up along his forehead and eyes. Johnny looked at him and gave a small smile. He was young and full of energy, his chin was sculpted and his jaw was powerful but he had a soft smile that could make any girl swoon. “Thanks Phil, I should get home my Ma is bound to be worried by now.” “Well get off then, tell Jillian I said hi,” Phil said as he smacked Johnny’s back, then he gave him a sad look, “How’s your Pa.” Johnny didn’t turn to look at the old man; he just stared off into the setting sun. It was moments before he realized Phil had asked him a question, “Still the same.” He said, and without another word he went to his car.
There were soldiers everywhere being cut down, left right by the dozens. They had no escape; the line was being driven back. Debris flying everywhere, this enemy was unstoppable, it had no emotion; it had no conscience; it had no soul. The hedge was square and trimmed to his liking, but he stared at it with content, as if it would grow back suddenly and he would have to fight again. He continued down the line to another hedge and then lost himself to the work. The commander was yelling at the unit not to retreat, push; gain ground. Find them in the endless dense jungle. He began to comply with the order, cutting deeper into the forest; deeper into enemy territory. Suddenly a loud voice came from the bush. An angry man, yelling at the soldier, the voice was familiar, it was the enemy. He was back in the mud, holding his gun, but it was not a gun, they were shears. The world flooded back to him and he was in California again, and the voice wasn’t coming from the jungle, but a man on the other side.
“What are you doing to my bush? You ruin it!” the man yelled furiously. The man on the ground started up in confusion. It was the enemy, but he could understand his words. He finally looked to where he was pointing; he had cut right into the bush and made a large wedge in it. Still he stared confused; he only did what he was ordered to. He always did what he was ordered to. “I am a citizen now you cannot treat me like this. You are going to pay for this,” he said then his anger flared up and in that angry state he said something in his native tongue. Suddenly the world went dark again, he had no weapon anymore. No. He is the real weapon. He jumped up and landed a solid punch to the Vietcong’s ribs, he had used his full force to launch himself into the punch so it didn’t surprise him to hear bones crack and crunch under his large pulsating fist. With the wind knocked out of him, he couldn’t react. The soldier took the opening and quickly swung his body backward and with a jerk used his full momentum to ram his elbow right at the open jaw, a snap and he knew he had just broken his jaw. Now he couldn’t call for help. Broken and bloodied, the man stumbled and fell to the ground, still surprised; still trying to find the life giving air that he so longed for.
The light was failing but he could still see it. Johnny knew what it looked like when two people were fighting; this was not it. His father was on top of their neighbor landing punch after punch across the man’s upper body and head. Johnny jumped out of his car after stopping next to the curb and went on a dead run to stop his father. Johnny tackled his father to the ground and held his arms down. “Dad it’s me your son, you are not in Vietnam, dad, the war is over. Dad listen to me!” he said as his dad kept struggling and speaking incomprehensibly. He started to calm down only to phase out of reality, into his eternity of endless horrors.
Johnny’s mother had come outside and had seen the end of the fight, she grabbed her husband’s hands and soothed him until he was back in reality long enough to get inside the house. The ambulance was called and the beaten man was taken to the hospital. “I’m really sorry about what happened I can’t imagine what got into him.” Johnny said. “It’s okay the paramedics said he would be fine just a few stiches and a night at the hospital, but this isn’t the first time something has happened—“ the girl paused, “—I know it’s hard for him but you need to do something about it, he needs constant attention.” Before she could say anything else he started talking again, “No Jenna, I can’t do that to him! I’m sorry about what happened, and I’m glad your dad will be okay, but I am not putting him in a home!” Jenna frowned and then turned serious, “If this happens again I’m pressing charges,” before any words could be traded she pivoted around and started toward her house.
Johnny walked through the door his head low, rubbing his temples. He saw his mother caring for his dad, he wondered if he really should send him to a retirement home, at least there he would get all the attention he needed. Johnny sighed and walked to his mother and kissed her head. He didn’t meet her gaze; he knew he couldn’t hold back the tears if he looked into her sad eyes. Johnny headed up the stairs to his room, looking at every picture on the wall. He missed those times, when his father and him would go hiking and fishing. Startled by a picture he didn’t recognize he stared. “She must have just put this up,” he said to himself. His eyes were burning holes into the picture. Johnny removed the backing and took the picture out, he folded it and put it in his shirt pocket; his eyes beamed and for the first in weeks, a truly happy smile came over him.
He couldn’t remember the last time he was outside. Time seemed to stand still when he wasn’t in a daze, but it wasn’t long until he would fall back into a stupor. It always started with gunshots. Then he was covered in blood. And the yelling, he could never tell who it was coming from. He always tried to save someone, but he could never remember who it was, or why it was so important to save him. His memories collided, flooding his brain, taking over every nook until he didn’t have a single coherent thought; only death. When the memories came time was meaningless, he couldn’t comprehend time when there was nothing left in his brain to grasp it.
He broke out of a daze when he heard whispering. He thought he saw himself, but younger. He finally realized it must be his son. They were talking about him, his son was so happy. He came up to him and started shaking his shoulder. “C’mon dad I need to show you something,” Johnny said, his face beaming. Johnny grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him up and led him out of the house. Johnny’s dad put up to resistance, “I did something for you. I hope you like it.” They came out of the front door and a car was sitting there. It looked oddly familiar to Johnny’s dad but he couldn’t remember. He could never remember. “Here,” Johnny pulled something out of his shirt pocket; it was a piece of paper. No, it was a picture. He unfolded it and then he froze. “It took us a week to fix it but it finally works again.” The picture had the same car; Johnny was sitting in the driver’s side, his head barely reaching the wheel, and his dad washing the car.
His dad started crying. Memories started flowing in, memories of his son, of before the war, everything that made him who he was. His whole life was coming back to him. He was free from the horrible nightmare. But then the gunshots came, blood was covering his arm. “No—“ he was free, why is it all coming back, he doesn’t want to live that life anymore. Then he realized he was actually hearing gunshots. This was his blood, he didn’t know what was happening but all he could think to do was jump on his son. Johnny was knocked to the ground, bullets flying through the air. His dad shielded him. The picture was on the ground, covered in blood.
Johnny was stunned; he didn’t know what was going on. He couldn’t react he was under his father, he didn’t even remember when his dad got on top of him, he didn’t remember when he got on the ground. The gunshots stopped and he could hear sirens off in the distance. When he woke he was laying on a bed. There was a nurse over him, “My dad. Where is he! Is he okay!” he started yelling, his abdomen hurt. “He took multiple gunshot wounds, and his heart gave out, we had to revive him.” She said as she wrote on her clipboard. “There’s still a chance he could go under but he’s okay for now.” Johnny started to get up, ignoring the nurse’s words to stay in bed. He had a mission and he wasn’t going to let anyone stop him.
His mother was waiting outside his dad’s room. She was sleeping in the chair; she was awake all night. He kissed her head and walked through the door. The sunlight was seeping through the blinds, trying to inhabit the room. Johnny sat in a chair and took in the sight. His father was sleeping, thankfully. He grabbed his hand and whispered in his ear, “Don’t leave me, please, don’t leave me.” A tear rolled down his face and dropped on his father’s hand. He sat there for what seemed hours, with no change in his father’s state. There was a knock on the door and a police officer entered. “Could we speak with you outside, sir?” he asked in a hushed voice. Johnny nodded and left the room. “We detained the gunman and brought him in, from what we’ve gathered he was your neighbor, pretty badly beaten himself, his arm was in a sling and with one arm he didn’t shoot very accurately.” Johnny was shocked; this was revenge for what had happened the week before. “His trial is in three days, you’ll need to be a witness.” Johnny couldn’t speak right then. He needed to get some air he nodded and then started outside.
Johnny stood outside trying to get his composure back. His wound had stopped bleeding, but he still felt a sharp pain in his gut. The doors slid open and a nurse came out next to him. “Your dad is awake, he wants to talk to you.” she said as she slipped back into the hospital. He came to his dad’s door and walked in. His dad was laying there; he still seemed to be unconscious. “Johnny, come here I need to talk to you.” Johnny sat down and crept closer to his dad. “Thank you Johnny. Thank you for saving me from that nightmare.” He said coughing in between breaths. “What do you mean?” Johnny said, puzzled. “You brought me back son, you brought back my life.” His hands were shaking while he lifted something; it was the picture. “If I don’t make it I want you to know—“ he started coughing again, “—I love you, and I want you to live your life from now on, don’t worry about me anymore.” He laid his head back down and closed his eyes. The machine started to beep continuously; suddenly nurses and a doctor ran in, pulling Johnny out of the room and closing the blinds. He didn’t know how to respond, he just stood there.
Johnny stood over the grave. He stared at it, thinking maybe he would jump out of the coffin. They started to fill in the grave after the coffin was lowered. Jenna walked over and put an arm around Johnny, “Thanks for coming, I know you had your differences but he was a good man.” Johnny looked into her eyes, “I’m sorry about what happened to your dad, Jenna.” She sighed and glanced down at the grave. “I love him but he made bad decisions, I just can’t believe he killed himself.” Johnny’s dad came up behind the two, his arm in a sling, and a little wobbly on his feet. “I feel bad for the guy; this was kind of my fault. Let’s go Johnny, your mother hates funerals.” Johnny smiled at his dad, standing tall sharing the same features as his son, “Okay lets go.” They headed toward the old 1990 Ford Ranger that brought his dad back from the dead.
Last edited by InfinateAnswers; 08-19-2012 at 03:29 PM.
Third WIP, for the time being. Tomorrow I'll decide if it will be my final entry.
EDIT: Yeah, this is my final entry.
WOE OF AGES
Screams echoed through the halls and beyond the caves into the Southern Winter's cold air. The Planes of Hazael banished from the men's dead gaze, and their ears tuned to an almost hypnotic chant. The first to rise was Varnt, a former woodcutter dragged into The Purge's hunger of men. His blood was still warm, and his skin still attached to his body. An eerie aura of blight surrounded him.
Alas, he understood nothing of what had happened. He couldn't make out the words coming out of the female demon’s bewitching mouth, or the grave whispers into his heart.
He felt... alive. Yet, mysteriously so. Hadn't he been slayed by a familiar figure moments ago? With his hand he felt a wound reaching deep inside, which then sliced clean through his shoulder. He spotted an elven blade that had been fed recently, and it lay on the ground. Yes, he thought, it had been her.
Following this, distorted memories came into his mind as his followers rose in the darkness. The Purge, the Elves’ arrival, Jeanne – his wife -, their dead daughter – gods save her from undeath -, the evenings in Neïv, Supreme Commander Holg’ath, Marcus and Gyfja, the orcs, his ten brothers, a blad-
“Rise! Rise! Come forth, my champions! By my wilt I bring ye back to this plane!”
From nowhere spoke this thunderous voice; surely it was heard even in Tadir’s home, thought Varnt, deep in the woo-
“What have you done!? Tell me! This… this isn’t what I wished…! This is… a curse!”
Without a trace of thought, the company limply grabbed their swords and approached the female demon. She kept screaming and flailing her arms, as night elf’s tattoos on her body began to shine with the light of a Full Moon, dimly illuminating the halls they were in. As her words became incomprehensible, Varnt’s strength and craving for the kill overcame him, until it compelled him to attack.
“Stop!” Six swords came to a halt, ready to spill the tainted blood. “She is not thy enemy!”
Enemy? Who was his enemy? The tainted orcs, and their lesser troll brothers? The civilized elves and their night elf ‘pet’, who upon their arrival to the oldest continent sided with such fowl creatures? The undead, forever banished from these lands 349 years ago? The demons of myth and legend, gods’ mistakes and man’s burden? Who? Who?
His followers repeated him, echo-like. “Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?”
“Our enemy is unknown”, spoke General Fathar through the hastened winds, “but if reports are correct, we are to face demons.”
Murmurs quickly arose. Demons! Everyone questioned, cursed, and prayed. Fathar added something about the elves, but no one listened. Despite their experience - having faced the fiercest of orcs, trolls and ogres - just a single demon would bring far more dread into their hearts than any other creature. Varnt, who stood close to Gyfja's brother, tried to stay at ease, but his mind was troubled with the memories of his hometown. Having survived the slaughter at the Gods' Valley, he longed to return home with his wife. He longed to cut wood again, just like he had done for almost 40 years. He longed to sit by the riverbed. He longed to sit by the warmth of fire. He longed, indeed...
A push to his shoulder brought Varnt back to winter. Rothar, clad in battered iron armor, muttered something, and advanced with reluctance towards Fathar's silhouette. Baltan, Gyfja's brother and a visibly older Laurus followed him. Varnt followed, too, as the six veterans set to cross the whitewashed gorges.
Throughout the journey no one spoke, and the only sounds heard were that of the wind and the men's armor clashing. After a few hours of walking, the weather worsened into a blizzard; snow felt like shrapnel against their nude faces, and a piercing frost crept through their armor as their hands and feet began to falter. Luckily, or perhaps unfortunately for them, they found an entrance to a cave while the sinking sun still struggled to pierce the clouds. Judging by the footsteps outside, and an unnatural fire coming from inside, they understood it was the place they were looking for. Without a single word, the six masked their heads with helmets, adjusted their armor, armed themselves with sword and shield, embraced death, and went into their grave.
The weak voices failed to get their attention. The female demon cursed the face on the wall, until she was silenced by a deafening roar and an incredible weight overcame her, forcing her to kneel. Then, the carved one spoke again, and, unlike the female’s, Varnt understood his words clearly.
“I have granted thee thy greatest desire, the immortality you foolishly sought for. In seeking it thou forsaketh thy brothers and betrayeth thy forefathers. Thou gave me thy soul and theirs; thy vessel twisted at thy wilt, not mine. But thou gave a soul to a soulless one, and rescueth me from oblivion. For that I stand thankful. Serve me, and thou shalt find path to elfdom once again. Else, thou shalt carry that curse unto thy grave. I bequeath thee these champions. What say you?”
The female demon stayed silent for a very long time. The six grew impatient, until a fierce voice broke the dead air.
It was Varnt.
“No! I shan’t bow to you, demon! My only rulers live in the House of An. I rather spend eternity in this gods’ forsaken place than swear an oath to your idolatry!”
A vermilion glow flooded the cave and the galleries it connected to. From the cave they reached an immense room, where elven architecture stood in ageless columns in rows of nine. It was empty, so they continued their path into confining halls. Their walls were engraved with elven symbols and patterns, graceful and delicately carved in the black rock. Wherever the six moved, they glowed, with a slow, steady pace.
The place was a labyrinth, they thought. They were following blind leads, attempting to hear a voice among the mountain’s beatings. They got lost several times, and found too many dead ends. Rather than frustrated or desperate, they were weary from alertness, and no enemy was to be seen. Only corpses of abominations and sacrileges; godless fiends lying in puddles and fires of their own blood.
At one point, the voice became stronger and stronger, and they were close to their target, whatever it would be. When Baltan announced the news, Varnt’s body filled with terror. He had been hoping, ever since they were walking through the frost, that they would never find the place. Or go inside, or follow leads and voices, or reach this hall, or find… her.
She was standing in the farthest end of a ledge. In front of her, an abyss, from whence incandescence illuminated the elven arcades. She was facing, and possibly talking to a colossus entombed in the cave wall opposite to her. Varnt advanced slowly, helplessly trying to evade the inevitable confrontation, and noticed that the giant's left arm was stretched toward the platform, as if trying to clasp whoever had been there when it was sealed away. He plodded until the six came to a point where they faced right into its immortal eyes. The elf heard them, and spoke, without turning back.
A stab to the back took away Laurus’s breath and stole his staff. The five remaining stood there, shocked and motionless. When he fell down, Baltan ran to help him, but his body set ablaze. Gyfja’s brother, desperately seeking the elf, was struck by an arcane bolt that pierced his chest. Angrily, yet afraid, Fathar approached Varnt. He screamed him something, something about fighting the elf and ending this, but he fell too; fright betraying the medals and awards on his armor. An axe slid until it touched Varnt’s feet, and when he turned around, he saw Rothar’s body being consumed by nocturnal fires.
A feminine figure approached Varnt, in blank stare, with blade and staff in hand. Wearing mage’s raiment, the night elf moved quickly and decisively. He was immobile. Memories overcame Varnt, both dear and hateful. Her wife and friends brought him back to his senses. Courage filled his body and soul, and when his eyes met hers, a sword slashed.
Staff and blade locked in duel. The dagger blocked all attacks, and the shield grew cumbersome confronting such speed. From the rod came fire, water, and lightning, but Varnt reacted quickly, and dodged the spells. He struck several times, but she struck more. He blocked several times, but she blocked more. It seemed the eyes on the wall had already decided a winner.
Eventually Varnt was too exhausted to continue, and came to a standoff. Perhaps it was his age, or the long trek here, that had drained his energies. The elf wasn’t as fatigued, but she bled heavily, and, as if doubting the giant’s judgment, she frequently stole glances at the wall. At one point she stopped looking, and started listening. Varnt did not understand her actions, until she readied herself, and advanced again. This was it.
A staff and an arm both flew through the hall. A dagger lodged in a chest and then sliced clean through a shoulder, before being tossed on the ground. He knelt, and fell; and the elf, prostrate, pleaded with fearful voice, “I… I shall give… you my soul… make me… eternal; grant me what I yearn for…!”
Suddenly, a veil of darkness fell over their eyes. Screams echoed through the halls and beyond the caves into the Southern Winter's cold air, while the Planes of Hazael appeared in the men's dead gaze.
Originally Posted by AyeKantSpel
I have to step down, life issues.
Originally Posted by Sky Green
I'm stepping down, I don't have the time to finish my story.
It saddens me to read this. Hopefully I'll see you two in future contests.
Last edited by Nicolas CB; 08-20-2012 at 12:16 AM.
I didn't give enough time to this, so I will pass out on this one. But I will write what I came up with.
The idea was for more of a soppy story I guess. That there was this man who died on the battlefield, and in the night of his death, there was a full moon and he was awakened. And he didn't knew why he was awakened. He was alive in the sense of being able to do stuff, but he was dead in the sense of he couldn't feel anything, pleasure or pain.
The lore was that this warrior was part of a fishing tribe, and in that tribe it was thought that when a good woman dies, her spirit ascends to the moon, so when the moon passes on the sky, she brings the tides closer to her, so she can look at what she left behind. And people would go in boats and celebrate the passing of the Moon. When a good man died, he would ascend and become a star on the sky, unmoving and protecting the Moon as it passes. All the bad people would end up on the sea floor, living in darkness, and when they could see the surface only on a full moon night, and they would see how the living turned their back on them, and always looking at the moon. So this was their religion so to speak.
But you know, this warrior died, but he didn't go anywhere, neither the sky or the deep sea. He was in a kind of purgatory but he didn't knew that, he was just confused.
One day he would hear a cry for help and that would jolt his emotions a little. He would rush there and find a blind young lady being assaulted by thugs. The warrior took care of things and the young lady pleaded for him to spend the night at her place, as a thank you.
You would later learn that this young lady was part of a really wealthy and prestigious family of the respective country. However she was kept far from her family, in a village, in secret, because she was part of a warrior nation, and her family delivered the best and most perfect soldiers and commanders and warriors ever. To have known that a person of that family had such a major problem as being blind was not a good thing. So they sent her away to a village with her grandmother, a guard and with lots of money. However the guard became lazy and was just drinking all day, and the grandmother died of old age or was bed ridden.
Our dead guy wouldn't rot, he died a clean death, a stab to the heart, so his presence amongst humans didn't seem suspicious, except that his body was always cold.
The hero went and stayed with the blind young lady.
The ideas was that, the hero had once a wife, who was murdered by his best friend. After that he felt like love is too painful in a way, so he stopped loving, but he wouldn't hate either. He became extremely calculated and cold. He was an excellent warrior, his techniques where really good executed. But he became soulless, he couldn't feel anything, mercy or hate, nothing, he was just like a machine, bent on doing his duty. So he as a person was not considered whole anymore. He lost his emotions.
So he was revived to become whole once more, and than take his place amongst the stars of the sky.
And that was the intent of the young blind lady, that she would make him whole again. Being blind she perceived the world differently. She was kind of tough in the sense that "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" and even when words hurt, she would be able to recover from that. But at the same time, she was kind of desperate, she was in her early 20s, but you know she was wealthy and you could have seen it on her clothes, she was blind, the guard was lazy as fuck, so she was a perfect target for thieves and rapers (has in rape not rap : P).
So the second point was that the Hero would teach the young lady on how to not be desperate anymore, help her with her real life problems, but not in the way of her becoming a zatoichi i guess. That's it I didn't knew where to go with this side of the story.
Eventually, both characters would have solved their issues, and the hero would have died and transcend to the stars.
So to put this all together and solve this, I didn't have time, but I wanted to post my idea anyway, get some feedback I guess.
Okay now, CLG.EU vs Fnatic RC, cya later.
__________________ ---When everything is fine, people create their own problems---
Death was simple.
Oh, how easy it was for me to reach it right now. I was looking at her through the faces of my enemies. And she was looking back. Always hungry for victims, never satisfied . Her countless claws kept grasping the air around me.
No. Those were actually the hands and deformed limbs of the creatures that were once humans. My comrades. My friends. My family. Most of them I lost on the field of battle, others were taken down by the plague and turned into monsters. Only now that I was watching them advance on our lines did I realize… there was no hope for us. I had the feeling this is the one tale that will not end happily. That our children will not live to tell their children about the war. About our victory over the undead.
- Now your sword is your life! – the booming voice of commander Perethos quickly made me forget about the feelings I had right now. There were still cities to fight for… No! My duty was not to fail today.
But still… What chance did I have of surviving. I was a librarian in my village’s library with merely three months of sword practice… against an army of fallen soldiers now turned into monsters. And yes! I was never trained for battle. I practiced my sword skills against an apple tree in my uncle’s garden. Why the hell did I enlist so early to throw my life in the field?
And yet here I am at the first line of defence. Just waiting to be slaughtered, eaten or even worse – turned into one of those nightmarish creatures. I would rather die by my own hand than serve the dread lords that were rumoured to be leading those armies of death.
I guess I signed my death sentence so early because like many others I had nothing and no one left. The last member of my family – my brother , I lost just two months ago. He fell victim of the plague. A few days after the funeral I found out that the priests had seen him walking in the graveyard. They told me he was faster than a starving dire wolf chasing his prey. I knew that he had become one of them… one of the monsters. I wandered the forests looking for him day and night, hoping that he would not rip me apart at the very moment we met. Hoping that he would recognize me.
Was I that foolish? He was dead! Walking around or not he was so damn dead. I …
- Never forget that! … - the commander seemed to have finished his speech and was now mumbling some sort of a spell. As one of the last paladins of the old order of the silver hand, he had learned many techniques and incantations from the empty libraries of the holy ones. I hoped he was going to make some miracles today. Maybe I should stay around him in order to survive a while longer.
Even though the commander was over sixty five years old he was covered in heavy armour and wielding a hammer so big that even the thought of me lifting this massive weapon gave a bitter taste in my mouth. Those paladin weapons were probably heavier than my whole body.
Suddenly a spine-chilling feeling took me over. I felt a strange smell. I could not identify it at first. Then I realized that was nothing else than the smell of rotting flesh. The hell fiends were so close I could now see the grass beneath their feet turning black, burning under them. A swarm of insects seems to have joined the undead .They were probably nerubians. I remember a large tome in my library about them, horrible creatures indeed. Trees that were unfortunate to be on their way were consumed by the large beetles or knocked aside. Even if we are to defeat them the ground around the battlefield will probably never heal. But that was not my greatest fear right now.
'' My sword is my life'' I kept repeating to myself. The grip I had over the light blade tightened. The time to face death was now. For the world of humans, for all my fallen friends, for Bethany – the girl I loved but never even talked to, for my family – my father and mother, uncle Brew … my brother. I will not fall today!
- May the Light protect you all! – commander Perethos raised his weapon above his head.
The battle has began…
A few seconds later the horror army stopped. I was looking directly at the monsters. All of them were deformed, missing a limb or having an additional one. Some of the creatures were carrying broken weapons, other were probably just relying on their claws and teeth. I even saw a human-like creature without a head carrying a large bone in his only hand.
I could hear prayers getting whispered all around me. If only I could remember at least one of them… But no! All I could think of now was how exactly am I to die. There was still time to turn around and run. Perhaps Perethos smashing my skull with his large hammer would be a better ending than what was ahead of us.
My dark thoughts were interrupted by a loud screeching roar coming from the dead army. The monsters began advancing again. Then I saw it…
A huge winged creature almost took my head off. The beast’s claws missed me by just a few inches. However the man behind me had no such luck. I saw the bat-like flyer snatching the poor soldier off the ground and taking him high above our heads. Even dampened by the screams of the undead approaching I could clearly hear the terrifying screams of the victim up there. Archers were trying to kill the monster but they froze when it tore the man apart and began to feast from his remains. Blood was showering over our heads. Now I was ready to get my head smashed by the commander. I was going to run…
Then I heard a familiar voice:
- Don’t turn your back on the light! – It was Perethos. I turned my head just in time to see him next to me measuring me with his eyes – Not now! Not yet! – his voice scared me almost as much as the enemy’s roars.
A dark shadow formed above my head. It was the flying monster wanting to fix his mistake of missing me the first time. I never realized that my sword was so short, now that I had to use it to fight such thing. I was not ready to be torn apart…
- Stand back! – the commander pulled me to himself and tossed me on the ground like I was a wooden puppet. He dropped his weapon on the ground next to me. What was he doing?!
- Your weapon! – for the first time that day I spoke. I was surprised by my own voice that moment.
Then I remembered... ‘’ Better than arrows’’ – that’s what a paladin once told me when I asked him what weapon would he use if he is to ever fight a flying creature like a dragon. ‘’ Faith’’ was his answer in the end.
Perethos looked at me for a moment. Then he raised his right hand towards the flying beast.
- Not all weapons are made of steel. – he said in a strangely calm voice.
Then the miracle happened. A few meters above him the huge bat suddenly stopped. A sphere of light formed around it. For this moment the night became a day, both armies froze for just a second watching the events up there. I was unable to see the grotesque face of the beast at that moment but if it had some conciseness I was sure it looked as terrified as the man it had killed a moment ago.
I knew paladins were capable of great things but this was exceeding all my expectations.
As quickly as it appeared the sphere vanished in the darkness of the night taking the flying beast along. Suddenly hope has returned.
But that feeling was short-lasting. Enraged by the death of one their own the undead overtook my attention completely once again.
- And you don’t remember anything else? – The armoured woman sitting next to my bed seemed irritated by my story. I could see here looking around for someone to take her place. But I insisted that she hears what I had to say. Her name was Elizabeth Stonebrew. The last dwarven paladin. She was covered in black steel like there was a battle going on just beyond the room’s door. But I knew dwarfs were like that. They were feeling equally comfortable both in a dress and in a thirty pounds of steel armour.
- No. – I felt sad I could not tell her more. – The last thing I remember was the fight with the flying beast.
- We call them gargoyles. – She stood up. She had to be one of the tallest dwarves I have ever seen. Her face now changed from annoyance to anger. Then I realized what was her concern about.
- Perethos? – I quietly asked but I knew the answer.
- The battle was won, however nobody knew what happened to him after it. – now here facial expression changed again. It was sad. – I was hoping that you would know anything since you were closest to him in the field. I was wrong.
How? Was it even possible? A master of combat, a leader on the field, a faithful man…A paladin of the Silver Hand to die, while me – a coward and a fool to live. Was that justice? Was that what his faith gave him in the end? How the hell did I survive at that night? I need to know!
Elizabeth Stonebrew stopped at the door like she was waiting for me to call her. To tell her that I suddenly remembered something about her fellow general. Although tortured by doubts she seemed to still harness hope for him. And who was I to diminish it.
- Wait, please. – I asked.
- I don’t have time. – she turned her head towards me. – What is it?
The courage I had gathered to ask my questions suddenly disappeared. I was being a coward again…
- How did we won the battle? – I remembered what Perethos said before the battle to his officers. He mentioned the undead army being countless compared to ours. Did a miracle happen or something… How ? How?
She opened the door. Beyond it I could see the corridor walls... all covered in blood and broken arrows. My heart stopped… No… this is not happening to me! The singing birds that I have been hearing from outside the window were now gone. Then I realized. The window was gone too! My bed was now covered in dirt and blood. The white clean sheets were gone.
Was that even a bed? No! It was a broken wooden table also covered in blood… My blood.
- Perhaps the battle was never won. – her voice had changed. It was too deep, too… unhuman.
She left me alone.
Alone inside the city of the dead. My screams probably echoed through the corridors for hours… I was one of them now.
Still 11:55 PM here so I hope I made it.
Well I had no time to refurnish it but this is my entry I think.
It rained as I pick up a letter that states "If you wish to avenge your family, come to Kraekya Graveyard. I will be waiting for you, Risor.
The person who wrote this must be a fool. He doesn't understand what he has done and what fate awaits him. I tear the letter with rage.
I never knew that this day would come. The day that I would loose everyone I cared for... I lost my family, my loved ones... I tought it was all over the day I left the path of a mercenary. The day I stopped needless bloodshed. How come I am here? Why does my past haunt me? Is it for revenge?
Long have I forgiven everyone, long have I stopped killing... but now, why? Why does fate torment me? What sought to reincarnate the demon within me? The demon that sought blood. The demon that never knew the value of life. Long have I tought to have killed it within me...but now... There is only one thing left for me, vengeance...
Iris, my love. Forgive me... forgive me for I will break my promise to you. The promise to never again take life for granted. But what they did to you, what they did to everyone... I also promised that I would protect everyone, especially you... Now that one of my promises are broken. What could I do but break the other?
But my soul can never be at peace. This body of mine can no longer rest. Until that moment... Until that moment I see him dead before me...
For now, all I can do is give a proper burial to all of you... and give it to all of you, I shall. I told myself this words while trying to hold back my tears.
Blaine, my first son... your mind was always full of curiosity and would give ideas to Mari to cause all sorts of ruckus...
Mari, my first daughter... You always cause trouble for everyone. You are always cheerful and lively...
Joanah, my second daughter... Your innocent smile is enough to lift up the fatigue of a hard day's work...
Iris, my wife... long had I met you... your purity and kind heart was what led me to change my path in life.
I recalled the times we first met, everyone feared me but you, you saw what no one else saw. You knew I could change.
As I prepared to bury each of them, the last of my tears flowed out from my eyes.
After that burial I planned to make my way with only my memories. Yes, my memories for my memories are what I only need. To recreate a weapon out of my memories is my magic.
Now I leave this place. Whether I return or not, nobody knows. There is no turning back now.
I taught I would be like my former self... I taught only my bloodlust would control me but what is this? I feel like there is something different. This feeling... It wasn't like before. Maybe I really have changed. Its surprising that I still have my sanity. But that is of little concern.
I know that place, the place he invited me to come. A graveyard far from people. A place isolated and dead.
He will know how a demon acts. This demon he has resurrected will tear him to shreds, without an ounce of mercy... Whoever he may be...
I move swiftly, hoping to meet this killer and know his motives. The memories of my family is my strength. I shall not grow weary for I have them by my side.
I hadn't noticed the passing of time and yet we are here in the this graveyard is where we stand. The scent of the dead fills the air. It seems like no one has come here to take care of this place.
I look around and saw fresh flowers over a grave. There are five of them with flowers each. I then hear footsteps nearby.
I immediately moved away as daggers came to take my life.
From the shadow of the night, I see someone running towards me in black coat and whose face is masked with dark cloth.
I immediately recreated two daggers, one for each hand, and swiftly moved in to engage him.
I parried his attack and aimed for his masked. I successfully removed a shroud of his mask which led him to remove it and reveal his face.
Yes I know this face. This face is the face of the assassin who goes by the name of Krisand. An assassin who became famous within assassins by the time I stopped killing.
"Krisand..." I whispered as I prepared myself once more.
"I'm glad you know me..but that wouldn't matter as your death is near." Krisand said as he prepared himself with his daggers.
"Why did you murder my family? Who told you to do it?" I asked as I take a step and tried to restrain myself.
"Killing him could wait all I should do now is disable him and extract information from him" was what first came into my mind.
Krisand didn't answer and tried to attack me instead.
"This would be your undoing." I whispered to the dead air and recreated several swords that floated in mid air. I replaced my dagger with one and the next second they flew towards the incoming assassin. He dodged them but by that moment I was already beside him.
I slashed him and defeated him in one blow.
"How... could this be? Defeated already? I wasn't even a match for him..." Krisand kept telling himself as he laid wounded.
"Now answer my question before I kill you" I told him as I glared at him and prepared my sword.
"Why did I murdered your family was it? A funny question I should say... Haven't you done the same? You are my family's murderer you demon!" Krisand replied with anger. "After you killed them my sole purpose in life was to kill you... but after my family's murder you disappeared. It was years later when I finally had a lead to your whereabouts it was then when I knew you had a family and quit being an assassin. A few months had gone by then when I planned to kill you alongside your family but you weren't there" the fallen assassin continued as he began panting heavily"
"An eye for an eye was it?" with pain were my words towards the one whose life met its end. "But nothing gives you the right to do what you have done"
I continued as I looked ahead and see the calm morning approaching.
So... the person who murdered my family was finally gone... but what is my purpose now? My family...I have finally avenged you. but then what do I do now? Maybe a peaceful end is what I desire. I passed out after that. Probably from the exhaustion. My family...I have finally avenged you.
Whats this light? This light is too bright. I feel like this area is hollow and yet I see some people over there.My family... I see my family?
My mind froze with only one thing in mind : run to them and embrace them.
The moment I came close Iris slapped me. "How could you break your promise to me?" she asked me. "How could you?" she continued as she embraced me along with our children.
Tears flowed down from our eyes. "I'm sorry..." I replied. " I'm so... so sorry" I kept apologizing as I embraced them tighter. "Live on..." Iris whispered to me as my sight faded.
The next thing I recalled was that I am awake once more in this graveyard. My battle isn't over. This was all just a beginning for many things and now I must choose :
Should I completely become the demon I once was or start a new life as what my wife wanted me to do so....
Currently working on multiple ending type campaigns, multiple routes and the like ^^
Well, the final versions. I've changed some things and this is it.
Among the Trees
‘’Charge! For King and Country!” he cried out in rage and fury as he spurred his men onwards, into the enemy ranks. He held his spear into the air and rode forward on his stallion, digging his feet into the flanks of the horse. He looked backwards and saw that they followed him, each of them in a frenzy, each of them crazed due to the moment. He was not fooled, however. They were all afraid. He could see it in their eyes. The eyes always betrayed someone and he could see the sparkle of fear in everyone’s eyes. Nonetheless they rode with him, into almost certain doom for most of them. True bravery was not the absence of fear, but ignoring those fears, he realized proud as he looked over his shoulder at them. These were brave men, truly, and he had been blessed to lead them into war, into battle. And now they charged, not for glory nor pride, but for duty, perhaps preferable to the earlier two. He grinned like a maniac as he fastened the pace, staring at the enemy ranks that were disorganized. They were with many, though. This was what the stories spoke of so highly and now he was going to be in one of those stories, as he had hoped for in his younger days. Perhaps he shouldn’t be so pessimistic, the rider thought to himself as they came closer and closer. Most of them had seen their charge but a lot of them were still gawking at his lord, his king, who was fighting a lonely battle, surrounded and trapped. They were close now. He felt the wind softly stroke his skin and play with his hair. The skin of his horse was soft, too, he noticed for the first time as his legs rested against its flanks. He smelt the woods, truly, perhaps for the first time. It was as if he actually felt the world for the first time, in these small moments, ironically.
And then came the crashing of spears and horses. One moment he had been on a horse, the other moment he was on the ground with an arrow in his eye, his horse killed underneath him, too. The blood of the horse sprayed over him and covered him in that red color, while he was suffering. The arrow had luckily not penetrated his head too much, but only now did he notice a spear piercing his limp body. Gods, it hurt so terribly, he thought to himself as he cried out in pain and anguish, the pain paralyzing him. Blood leaked out of him and mixed with the blood of his horse. Beside him laid Nearchos, who had also been on the horse. He was not wounded and stood up, leaving him here. He cursed him and he cursed the horse. What cruel gods had thought of pain!? His vision was now clouded with darkness on one side. He saw men fighting, making their way to his lord, while pain consumed him. It became the center of every thought and in his mind he cursed gods, kings and men, perhaps in a way to cope with the pain, until he felt himself weakening. He found himself spitting blood out on the ground with every passing second. The vision of his left-eye, his working eye, was diminishing as time passed. He fought vigorously against it, against the loss of blood, against death itself! But, as he weakened, he was eventually forced to admit defeat. He had hoped for more than this, his final bitter realization. He despaired and darkness overtook him.
‘’Elis! Elis! Wake up, you bum!’’ a low voice said, yelling angrily. He tried to ignore the damn voice as he was comfortably in his tent, but suddenly he felt a kick in his stomach and he growled in pain, before he opened his eyes. He slowly stood up, stumbling a bit around and almost losing his balance. Gods, he felt like shit, honestly, he thought to himself as he turned to the man that had kicked him to wake him, a rather tall and muscled man. ‘’My name is not Elis, you fool. Get out.’’ He replied, his voice cold and commanding, a tone he had practiced for. And now he could pull it off perfectly, he thought with a grin on his face as the man quickly scurried off, suddenly cowering. Hmpf. He walked, now having regained his balance a bit, to the bowl, which stood on a table along with some food, and dipped his hands in the water that was contained by it. He washed his face slowly and as he lowered his hands he stared into the water. He was glad to see that there wasn’t an arrow sticking through his eye. Gods, that dream had been horrendous and terrifying, he thought to himself. It had been a nightmare, a painful one at that, somehow. A cold thought crawled up his spine; what if it was prophetic? No, dreams were not prophetic, were they? He quickly reassured himself as he grabbed a piece of bread from the table and walked over to the rack on the other side. No dreams were prophetic, he thought as he grabbed the chainmail from the rack and wiggled his arms into it. It had seemed life-like, though, he realized as he grabbed his lance from the rack, too, as well as his sword and helmet. It had… nonetheless, it was a dream, he thought, cutting himself off. He was still here, right? And such a thing as happened in the dream was ridiculous. That was so, and somewhat reassured he left his tent, only to be greeted by an all-too-familiar face. For a moment he thought he saw his silver-haired wife, but alas, such an impossible wish would not be granted by the gods.
‘’Nearchos.’’ he spoke, nodding as he put his helmet on. It was a bronze one, designed to fit perfectly to the head, The front of his face was somewhat unprotected, though a bronze piece of metal protected his nose. Nearchos, meanwhile, followed him and had started speaking, but admittedly, he hadn’t really listened to what the man had said.
‘’… and the battle is going to be today, at noon.’’ Nearchos told him, finally finishing. At noon? Had it been noon in his dream? No, it had been.. dusk, he could remember that, at least. Dusk. ‘’Very well.. how many?’’
‘’Twenty-thousand or so. The king will crush them with ease. Both sides agreed on a plain – our cavalry will have the advantage.’’ Nearchos told him, his voice cold and impersonal as usual, though somewhat confident. It’s what he thought what professionalism was. Well, that or he was completely dead on the inside, he thought to himself. He surely hoped for the former.
‘’And how late is it now?’’
‘’Morning, sir. We march now.’’
‘’Well, let us get to our horses, then.’’ he said in a calm voice, a tone that would not betray how he truly felt.
A few moments later he found himself on his trusted steed. He quickly rubbed its manes, his men looking at him with frowns. They didn’t understand, he thought to himself as he turned his horse to face them all. Men similiarly armoured as him, armoured in chainmail, with lance in the hand and sword sheathed, along with stallions, perhaps the best. He gazed at them all. Nearchos, Illios, Askador, Azkaed, Dorean, Zamalso. The list of names didn’t go further than that and he turned to face every one of them, looking into their eyes to see if they were afraid. They all were, somewhat, and that was a good thing. Fear kept people alive. Inspecting for fear wasn’t the only reason he looked at each of them individually, strong, armoured men on great stallions – men you would not suspect of fear. He looked at them to memorize their faces. He didn’t want to forget, after all. At dusk these men might be dead, he thought to himself, a bitter realization he had tried to forget many times, but he had never succeeded. And so he always gazed at his men, memorizing their faces. He forgot them all eventually and then, then they were truly dead for him. Strangely, as he looked upon his men, they were somewhat different. More perfect? He couldn’t exactly describe it, but anyway, perhaps remembering them was his way of trying to keep them alive, even though it only in memory. Even though he had failed in his duties as commander to protect them. Even though. He had seen enough and pushed one foot in the flank of the horse, turning it around.
‘’Come, we’ve wasted enough time. We need to carry on.’’ he spoke before he pressed both his feet into the flanks of the horse and rode away, followed. The camp had already been emptied for the most part. Most soldiers were marching already and the camp was like a ghost town, except for the occasional camp whore walking through. A few men were posted at the outskirts to guard over the tents and such, but they were such a meager force he doubted they actually could protect it if something happened. He rode on, abandoning the camp and riding past the columns of soldiers, pikemen and swordsmen, marching through the small path which they were forced to take, in perfect order. They were in a wood, after all. He looked around – great trees cast a great shadow upon them, making it so that almost no sun really came through the leafs of the tree. These were ancient trees, one could feel it, smell it, see it. How old were they? Hundreds of years, perhaps? Thousands? One could suspect so, since these were thick and tall trees, thicker than any tree he had ever seen before. It was, unnerving, almost. Truly, he had not wished to be here, but alas, he had been obligated by his liege to be here, and so he had come here, in a foreign land, surrounded by foreign trees and foreign people. This was not their land, after all, and they had come here only due to his liege’s quest of conquest. He rode on, closely followed by his soldiers, trying to reach the head of the column, as he had been ordered to.
The cool wind started blowing hard and he felt it stroke his hair, even underneath his helmet. Strange. Leafs danced on the wind, guided by the wind, as if it was the dance partner. They danced and they danced, strangely, and more leafs joined the dance. It was.. quite beautiful, really. For a moment he forgot where he was, for a moment he just stared at the leafs with a smile on his face. And then, the cries came and the crashing of the spears, the same sound he had heard in his dream, came once more upon him and separated him from his trance, alas. And as his serenity, his tranquility, his peace, was gone, he looked around and saw what caused it. Hordes of men were descending from the trees, from the dense forest, each armoured and armed. Steel plates protected their bodies, decorated by symbols of beasts and battles, quite nicely, too. However, besides the chest and stomach, not much else was protected and they only wore mail on the places they did protect from stabs and blows. Despite the armour, he saw them attacking with a fairly great speed. Light armour, though well protecting, a secret these people had had for quite a long time. Their helmets, o, were perhaps even more decorated, though ugly in shape, twisted, leaving a lot of space open, truly, for these people did not, strangely, care much for helmets. They had not stuck to the agreement as to where the battle was going to be, he thought bitter. These men were savages without honor, a realization he perhaps should’ve made a long time ago. Time seemed to slow as they came closer, until he saw leafs, without movement, in the air, and all was frozen. He looked around. Panic spread over the faces of his men. Nearchos seemed calm enough, though he was a master in hiding his true feelings, in making masks for himself. Illios and Askador were looking around with shock, Azkaed merely stared at him, Dorean was reaching for his lance, and Zamalso was still looking at the trees, a dreamer who did not know that it was about to become a nightmare and that perhaps he would soon sleep a sleep he could not awake from. And himself? He felt fear. He felt panic, but.. he felt somewhat at peace, strangely, despite all that he might lose the coming seconds, hours, days. He thought of his silver-haired woman, back home, to comfort him for what was about to come. Such a beautiful creature, and now he was here, alas, separated from her embrace, her warm body. Such was war, alas. The gods were twisted for the creation of such a terror, such a horror.
And then time went faster, back to its original speed. All the actions he had seen, frozen, were now suddenly happening in seconds and he stared startled as all panicked and turned to face the charging warriors. Gods.. what was he supposed to do now? Fight for his life, yes, but.. what about his orders? Where would he need to go? The formations of soldiers before him broke up and officers screamed at each other, perhaps only seconds away from death. Cries filled the air. He had these cries before in his dream. A cold shiver crawled up his spine he quickly hardened himself, shielded himself from strange and illogical thoughts. The dream had merely been a dream, not anything else., he tried to convince himself. And then, the cries of men and the clashing of weapons and armour deafened him for anything else, any other sound. He saw Nearchos open his mouth and try to say something, but his words were drowned in a sea, no, an ocean of sound, of terrifying sounds. He had barely any time left to do anything, he realized, as the men out of the trees were charging at him and his group, and at the whole column. Officers were ignored and men counter-charging in random directions, furious at this cowardly ambush. Though scared, they did not have anywhere to go at the moment, for they trapped in a forest that not their domain, but the enemy’s, so they charged, trying to replace their fear with anger, as a way to survive. ‘’Charge! Attack! Drive them back!’’, these words, for a moment, could be heard before they were once more drowned in that ever-great ocean. The enemy came closer – he had to do something, move. He could not speak, for his commands would not be heard by his men, so he quickly raised his lance and pushed his feet into the flank of the horse, riding off as thousands charged and the two armies began to clash, with the trees and the leafs as the only witnesses to the battle. Horsemen without speed were useless, a lesson he had learned early, so he rode on, with more and more speed, trying to avoid the enemy to build up enough speed, for.. what, a charge? In this small space? Nonetheless, he would not be caught standing still, a foolish notion, but still one that was engraved deeply into his mind. Then, he saw a group of enemy warriors engage his fellow comrades, a group of soldiers that had stuck together in the chaos, pikemen, so he turned his horse and only barely avoided a spear to the throat, a spear that flew by with great speed and hit another soldier besides him, though he could not look upon him, for he was past the fallen soldier within a few seconds. He fastened the pace and then, the enemy coming closer and closer, he charged into them, his horse ramming an enemy warrior and his lance finding flesh to bury itself in, blood sprouting from the wound as if it were a fountain. He did not see where exactly he had hit, he only saw blood and enemies. Cries of the enemy group filled the air, and it was with that he knew his men had followed him. He looked right and saw Askador, he looked left and he saw Nearchos. Askador, though still scared, had entered somewhat of a blood frenzy, stabbing with his spear left and right, without aim, very concentrated. He followed his example and started stabbing the enemy soldiers, who were fighting the pikemen, trying to get closer to them while avoiding their pikes, now flanked by him and his horsemen. He felt his strength increase with every stab, his vision getting clearer as more men fell before his spear. Hyper concentration, somebody had called it once, or was it just a lust for blood? Suddenly, a warrior charged at him, making a path through his companions and the dead bodies. The man had the same armour as most enemies, a spear, and a helmet which was reminiscent of a hound, though he did not share their determination, seemingly, not their passion, perhaps only their fear. But still, the man charged forward with a spear in his hand and buried it in the neck of his horse before he had a chance to hit the man. The horse cried out and fell to the ground, him going along with it, his rather heavy armour making the fall quite painful. Now he did not see the deaths of men, only the blue sky, and for a moment, serenity overtook him once more, until he saw the man trying to shove his spear into his face. Before the man had chance to do so, he stabbed the man with his lance in the stomach. The enemy soldier fell over towards him and only with great effort was he able to kick him away before he was buried by the body. The man had only been fearful, he had seen that himself, yet the warrior had tried to attack him where others merely tried to evade. Gods, what a brave man, he admitted. He got up and looked at the mass of enemies before him, attacked by both his men and the pikemen on his side, but nonetheless, they kept standing. The pikemen were gradually being driven back, a group of warriors also attacking them from behind. The enemy had managed to penetrate their wall of pikes and were now engaging them from a short distance. He dropped his lance and unsheathed his sword, hacking and stabbing into the flesh of the enemy, though greatly armoured, not without weak spots. He kept hacking into the enemy, but they did not flee, no, they fought back with great fury, holding him and his men while driving the other soldiers they were engaged with back. The whole column started to disintegrate, he realized, under the fury and strength of the enemy assault. Men were fighting back to back as they were driven into each other. Formations were either scattered or pressed together. How many of these enemy soldiers were? Tens of thousands? So many? He did not know, exactly, but he kept hacking on. It was as if these people kept coming, inflicting wounds upon him and his companions, but not killing any of them, or so he thought. But for now, he had to stay alive.
And then a horn sounded. He knew the sound of it, booming and powerful, echoing throughout the part of the forests that were unoccupied. He froze for a moment, for that horn was no bringer of good news, no, it was the bringer of bad news. It was the signal for retreat, admitting defeat. But where could they run? He quickly climbed up the horse of Nearchos, his faithful companion and saw he was the only one unhorsed. He took quickly control of the horse. He looked around and saw the column disintegrating, fleeing for their lives as the horn had signaled that all hope for victory was lost. Small gaps had been created in the enemy formation and the men streamed through them, hacked down by axes, spears and swords and struck from afar by arrows and javelins. Truly, it was a massacre as the army routed into the woods and back to camp. All fled, none stayed to fight, for all knew the hopelessness of the battle. Terror was the best word for describing the atmosphere. And now, they all fled before the enemy, who they had previously thought to be savages, easy to beat. Oh, how wrong had they been proven! They ran and they ran. He raised his sword, instead of his lance, as he had dropped that and kicked with his flanks into the horse, quickly joining the crowd of fleeing soldiers, of dying soldiers, too. He looked around and saw Nearchos sitting on the same horse, and four others, still with horse, following him. Four? He slowed his pace to have a better look at them. Azkador, Azkaed, Illios and Dorean. One was missing. Where was Zamalso? Where was he!? ‘’WHERE IS ZAMALSO!?’’ he screamed out to Nearchos as he halted in the crowd of fleeing soldiers. His scream was not drowned in the orgy of sound, but nobody responded. Nearchos shook his head and the others didn’t say anything, or do anything, besides staring at him, their faces covered with blood and wounds. Blood and wounds. This.. this.. oh gods. Zamalsan. He still remembered his face from in the morning. Clean, well-shaven, along with a pointy nose. Zamalsan.. damn. Where had he lost him? Where? And then he remembered – the javelin hitting a soldier besides him. Had.. had that been Zamalso? Had these people not even granted him the death of a proper warrior? Rage built up inside of him at this realization and he cursed the trees and the forest, the gods and the heavens, the enemy and their leaders, in words vulgar beyond words, blasphemous and desecrating, his rage and fury perhaps at the greatest height they had ever been in his life. He had seen many of his men die, only to be replaced, but.. all of them had died properly in battle. None had been taken from the realm of the living so easily, so cowardly. The thought that Zamalso hadn’t even gotten the chance to defend himself properly was an angering one, one from which rage was easily born. Why? Why!? Why where the gods so cruel as to punish them with death, fear and defeat? He would not flee from their wrath. He would not flee with these cowards, he would avenge the man, he would sacrifice a dozen, a hundred, in revenge, in his memory, gods be damned, these warriors be damned! He had his horse turn around and in great anger he charged once more into the crowd of enemy warriors, all of whom were now chasing the routing forces. He slashed at them and swung his sword, he drove his horse forward and trampled the enemy. Bestial fury made his strength far greater than it had been before. He was thirsty for blood in his rage, and so was his sword, as it always found its way to the flesh of the enemy. His men followed him, fearful of receiving the same fate their comrade had received, but nonetheless not paralysed by that fear of death, of oblivion. They were not possessed by the same rage that had taken their commander, but they were angry too at the loss of their trusted comrade, fighting with much greatness, as their commander, because they were inspired by him. They charged and rode on, cutting their way through the mass of enemy soldiers. Personally, he just kept driving through the crowd, a frenzy, a lust for blood taking him over, along with his soldiers. Truly, had there ever been warriors greater, or more fiercesome, or more glorious? The enemy fled before their splendor, before their skill and rage. They were mortal gods at that moment, sowing death and killing all before them, though they were merely with six! They kept cutting their way through, paving the wood with the bodies of their enemies, until finally all fled before them and the enemy army left them alone, preferring to chase the fleeing soldiers. He wanted to turn around and attack them once more, but something caught his eye.
In the distance, he saw a banner, flying high and proud, covered by something red.. blood. A stag was upon it, a black stag on a golden field. It was the king’s banner. In the distance he also saw another mass of enemy warriors, surrounding the banner. The king was always with that banner. He.. he was surrounded by a great mass of barbarian warriors, most of them merely staring at the banner, gawking, while the others fought the last surviving companions of the king.
Gods. He.. he had been here before. He had.. been in this situation before. He froze, his blood frenzy suddenly ending, his passion cooling, a cold shiver crawling up his spine at the assessment of the situation, at the memory of that dream he had had. The rage he had possessed over the death of Zamalso, a fire once brighter than the fires of the Underworld, were now cooled, something only achievable by a thing incredibly shocking. Gods... The dream had been no mere dream, it had been prophetic, it had been truth! Truth! And now he was here, once more upon the same path as he had been before, a path that would lead to death and oblivion, for sure. He had dreamt of it. He had tried to avenge his comrade, forsaken the chance to flee and now he was here. Before him he could see that his king was in danger, and he had been sworn to serve him. He knew, however, what was down that path. Death, only.. he did not want to die. He wanted to see his silver-haired woman again, make love to her a thousand more times with the passion of the god of love and watch the years pass by, perhaps watch children grow up.. He was not old, he still had many years to live, many more years to enjoy life, see the world, many more years to be. He had everything to lose, but nothing to gain, and he knew that he would only lose. But.. he was sworn to his king, to his lord and liege. He would reap no glory as he had thought in the dream, gain no riches. He would only do his duty. How much was that worth? Was duty worth dying for? He didn’t want to die. His king had been a great ruler, once surrounded by men sworn to him, but now standing alone, accompanied by not much more than his banner. He could not abandon his king, not at this moment. He would never forgive himself for that, leaving his liege in his hour of need. Even if he died, he had to do his duty. He had to do it. He would do his duty with pride, where all other men had fled or failed. He owed that to his king, truly. His resolve hardened, steeled, all doubt was banished out of his mind and he lead his men once more forward, once more. He would miss his silver-haired wife. He looked up at the sky and noticed that it was now dusk, that the day had progressed so much that it was now dusk.
‘’For King and Country!’’ he cried out again as he spurred his horse forward, charging with great speed and only a few companions. And once more he felt the wind softly stroke his skin and play with his hair. The skin of his horse was soft, too, he noticed for the first time as his legs rested against its flanks. He smelt the woods, truly, perhaps for the first time. It was as if he actually felt the world for the first time, in these small moments, ironically. And the enemy came closer and closer, and the second before the clashing of spears and shields would begin, the hacking of swords into the flesh of the enemy, the world disappeared. Darkness overtook him once more, but he was able to drive the darkness away by opening his eyes.
And there he was. Wounded, woken up from his dream.. dream? He had relived it all. It was certainly most likely it was a dream, a delusional one. But.. it had too real to be a dream. Too.. real. It had been reality in it’s own way. Why had he been forced to relive the day? How.. how had that dream been so real? Who had such power to turn back time, change reality? Questions filled his mind in those moments, before the immense pain almost made it impossible to think. Thus he laid there, dying, his vision getting blurrier with the second. Gods. Had he been given a second chance or something like that? Or had it all been a delusional dream? He banished that thought from his mind. He knew it hadn’t been an illusion. It had been real, damn it, somehow he just knew that.
He was bleeding out. He cursed all that existed as he entered his last moments. He shouldn’t have charged into the crowd of enemies. He would never see his silver-haired woman again. He wouldn’t have any children, nor live long. Regret overtook him for a moment. But, as darkness overtook him once more, for the third time, he could see in his last moments a man with a crown mount a horse and ride away. He smiled as the fire of life within him was extinguished and he dreamt of his silver-haired woman.
Originally Posted by TriggerHappy
You're a user. The most respected position to have on THW.