Chapter 1:

The Broken


I failed. The first rays of the suns light finally begin to creep above the mountains, casting great shadows across the land, I stare at the ground, thoughts of the past few hours still flashing through my mind. Bookmark here

They trusted me to be their shield and yet I could not save anyone. With my breath haggard and heart heavy I continue down the path away from my regrets back towards the waking world. I shake my head clear and leave the darkened hellscape behind me as it gives way to more natural greens of untainted lands.Bookmark here

The stabbing pain in my arm ceases to recede and I wince as I remove the bandage to check the damage, the deep blue pulsating vein that has affixed itself to me remains. It has stopped spreading across my forearm but who knows how long that will last. Bookmark here

I should not have let my guard down but how could I not, she was my love I could not raise my sword to my beloved. I want to scream her name, but I lack the energy to do it. Bookmark here

 The pain suddenly increases, I fall to my knees, my whole body wishes me to simply lie down and give into the pain. But that is something I must not do, for her and everyone who perished in my home. I will keep going. I will find a way to beat this darkness. I look down at my chest armour, stained dark by the sins I have committed. I never thought that it could get this far we were told that within this valley, we would be safe, we were told that this force was all but a myth. We were lied to. I rebandage myself and head onwards.Bookmark here

I hear the sound of the river flowing nearby, I must be getting close to the next guard post, I head down to the riverside, here is far enough so that I should not be seen, I use its waters to clean myself and my armour, would not want to show up looking like this. It would cause too many questions, questions I do not care to answer to these people. Bookmark here

They didn’t come to our aid when we needed them. Why should I have to explain myself? With my armour cleaned I head back up to the main road, soon it will wrap back around to the bridge. I can hear the muttering of guards on duty. Good, it means these people haven’t been turned yet, as much as they have my ire right now. By now the sun was climbing into the sky, its warm breath beating down onto the land, revitalising the foliage following a long night, the morning sun has always been a pleasant feeling for me. Bookmark here

I see the defenses ahead of me, across the bridge its gate remains steadfastly closed, flanked by its two ramparts giving a good defensive point on the river, the dark grey stone that makes up its construction being a hallmark of the Kingdom of Ebonsfall, the rocks gained from the mines around the many mountains that surround this whole valley. I look back at the mountains, once they seemed to be an impenetrable barrier that kept us all safe, unscalable and aside from a few guarded passes completely impenetrable. Bookmark here

The mountain tops so high that they peak above the clouds, I am told that no man has ever reached the top, though many have tried. Once the people here revered these mountains, the capital city is even named after them but lately their divinity has come into question. These mountains prove almost useless against the dark tide. While I am lost in thought a guard spots me “Halt, state your name and business” he commands me high up on his gate, Bookmark here

“You know damn well who I am, let me through I need to get to the city” I give a short reply, I’m not in the mood for this right now. I have business to attend to, though I dread what that may entail. Bookmark here

“Ah it’s you Einar, why didn’t you just say so, oi rookie open the gate let ‘im through” he laughs as he speaks. Bookmark here

Right now, I don’t feel deserving of the fame I have garnered but if it lets me get past this faster, I will accept it. The large grey iron gate begins to creak as it is cranked open. The archers on the ramparts finally lower their arrows, there are about twenty-five guards here at any given time, with a few rawks, a species of bird native to Ebonsfall the ferocity of a hawk with the intelligence of a corvid, to get reinforcements here within short order. Bookmark here

The gate is fully raised, and the same guard from the gate comes to meet me, a large grin on his face, not sure why he is so pleased to see me, but the feeling isn’t mutual. His dark grey armour casts an imposing figure, its angular shape obscuring the build of the man beneath, but his unpleasant smile runs completely counter to that. I am not sure if he is trying to make me feel comfortable but if he is it is not working. Bookmark here

“The name’s Casimir by the way” he says patting me on the shoulder, “So, what brings you round ‘ere, wanted a break from the Missus” he laughed as he spoke. Bookmark here

I grind my teeth holding back my reply, my arm begins to sting once again at just her mention. Bookmark here

“Something important, just let me pass, and do not speak of her to me”. He looks at me as if I had just said something extremely rude, I am not in the mood for small talk. I suspect it was these guards that ignored the plea for help, but without proof nor a motive, there is no reason yet to act. Bookmark here

“Alright, alright I’ll let ya pass no need to glare at me like that” he says, I didn’t even realise I was glaring at him, need to be more careful with that, finally I am allowed through and can continue on the south path towards the city. Each step filled with more dread than the last. As I walked, I hear the caw of a rawk and see it fly overhead, its path also leading towards the great city. As it flies over the small forest ahead, beneath the sounds of the birds chirping, I march on.Bookmark here

The road on this side of the river is far more worn, a sure sign you are heading to the capital, many men and many horses travel this path but right now I find it empty, must be too early in the day for traders and the like to be out, I look up, the sun clears the tops of the mountains now, but has not yet reached its apex, it must still be early. Beneath the sounds of the wildlife, I bust through the treeline and at last I can see it. The great city of Ebonkeep, named after the great Ebon mountains surrounding the kingdoms main land. My current goal, and probably one of the last places I want to be right now, but there are people there that deserve to know what happened regardless of how they will feel about the deliverer of the message. Bookmark here

The city is bathed in warm sunlight, its grey walls, the same colour as the rocks of the mountains, surrounding so many lives, keeping them safe. The many towers adorned around the perimeter, all shaped to match that of the mountains, if you were an outsider, you may be mistaken for thinking this place was naught but a smaller group of them however, its simply the architecture that was desired, chosen as it was as it was to be as good a source of protection as our natural barriers. Bookmark here

And in the centre of it all one building towers above them all, the great hall, where the King and the others who rule reside, its peak challenging the sky, its highest point offering the ruler full vision over all of their domain. There is no place in the city where their eyes cannot reach. Once I would have been in awe of this great feat of architecture but now every step I take leaves me more shaken, I clutch my arm, once again the pain flares up. I can control it for now.Bookmark here

Now that I am much closer, I see the many horses and carts, traders and the like preparing for their daily routines, it must be time for the day to truly begin, the city will soon come to life as people go about their days. I pray that this tranquil scene remains, and that these folk are spared the horrors that we succumbed to. After all this time the adrenaline that was pushing me forward begins to wear off, I begin to feel the fatigue setting in, I feel like I have been awake for days, yet I know for a fact it has only been one night without sleep. But with her gone time might as well be standing still. There are plenty of inns in the city, I’m sure they’d let me go have a nap there despite it being morning and failing that I’ll just sleep on the street.Bookmark here

I’m finally close enough to the city to hear voices, though they drown each other out rendering the crowd an inaudible mess, I see the giant main gate that forms the entrance, it currently remains open but guarded to allow people to get about their business in a slightly more efficient manner. Among the guards I can see a familiar face, Edwin, a councillor in the city, stands in a group chatting, he is likely the only person I trust in this city. He sees me and waves, then gestures me to him. I comply, he was one of the reasons I am here. Bookmark here

“Good grief, you look far paler than I remember” he says, Bookmark here

“Huh? I look that bad” Bookmark here

“A raven was sent noting your impending arrival, yet it didn’t say why, to what do we owe this honour Einar” he asks voice dripping with sarcasm, Bookmark here

“It didn’t say why as I didn’t give them a reason, I don’t trust that guard, I think he’s hiding something. Anyway, I’ll tell you why I’m here once we get inside, it’s the type of thing I would like to discuss in private.” I reply looking past him at the open gate. Bookmark here

“Oh, you mean Casimir, yeah he seems like a shifty fellow, not really sure how he got to that position. Right then, we’ll head to my quarters, we can talk there, you remember where it is don’t you?” he asks as he turns to walk into the city. He flourishes his cloak as he turns, an expensive looking blue fabric, appropriate given his position. His golden hair gleaming in the morning sun as he turns back towards me, it’s almost blinding, “Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s go.” He gestures me to follow. Bookmark here

I of course remember where his quarters are, on one of the lower levels of the great hall as despite being an important person only the most trusted were allowed positions on the higher floors, and Edwin had done much to aggravate those in power. As we walk along the main path, flanked by a constant stream of buildings, various taverns, shops, traders, smiths and people’s homes, the streets bustling with the sounds of a city alive, a steady flow of people going to and fro, people of all walks of life, no matter the race, no matter the creed, all were welcomed here. The kingdom of Ebonsfall being the safest and richest land on the continent, the special minerals and metals garnered from the mountain mines forging the finest of armours and weapons, fetching a high price from all of the other Kingdoms, this place attracts all manner of people, as my eyes fall on a couple of urchins, bags of gold in hand slinking into the gaps between buildings. I am reminded that although this city is a sight to behold, I cannot stand being between its walls, I don’t feel welcomed, it’s too loud, there are too many people around and I find the smell to be rather unpleasant. I worked my entire life to get away from these places to live on the outskirts, being able to bask in the tranquil song of nature, but that life is forever gone now, reduced to nought but a memory. Bookmark here

“You don’t seem comfortable” he says breaking the silence, Bookmark here

“I don’t like the crowds” Bookmark here

“Yes, so it would seem, you were offered one of the finest houses in the city by the King himself and yet you opted for a house out in that village, a house you wouldn’t have gotten without me” he says in a rather smug tone “Despite a certain governor’s protests.” Bookmark here

“And I have thanked you a thousand times for that, moving into that home was the best day of my life, we were to start a family right there but…” my voice trails off, I couldn’t help it the pain was still very much fresh. Bookmark here

“Actually, I believe you only thanked me five times in total, I have been keeping count,” I feel like he senses my unease and was quick to move past it. “Now that you are in the big city we should go for a drink later, unwind, help get that scowl off of your face” it’s a nice offer, one I would like to except. Bookmark here

“Maybe later” I say mostly under my breath, I’m not even certain he heard me as he continued going forward. Now that were a lot closer the hall looks even more monstrous than it did from the outside, its great spire reaching to the sky, I had to crane my neck to see to its peak. Bookmark here

“Well, we’re here, lets head inside” he says. I nod my head and follow him in.Bookmark here

I enter his quarters, a fairly large room with all the amenities he might need, it is almost like a small house within this tower. The smell of oak fills the air, not an unpleasant smell but it is rather strong. There is a door to the left of the room, a table in the centre and a workspace on the right, but no kitchen. From the table a butler picks up a small stack of plates and rushes out of the room. I take a seat at the table and wait. He comes into the room with a glass of water in each hand. Bookmark here

“I see you are making yourself comfortable, I figured you would be thirsty so here” he says handing over one of the glasses. Bookmark here

“Thanks” I say before gulping down the entire glass. Bookmark here

“You might want to be a little slower with that, don’t need you throwing up in my room” he jests. Bookmark here

“I’ll be fine, I haven’t drank anything since last night, this is just what I need.” I reply, putting the glass back down. Bookmark here

“Anyway, are you going to tell me what happened, why you look like death and why you came to the city” he asks. Bookmark here

“Fine.” I began to regale the events of yesterday in all the detail I remember.Bookmark here

“So why did you wear all that armour anyways, we’re only on a short hunting trip,” Mitsuko asks. 
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“Would you like to take a boar charge head on,” I tap my breastplate “at least this might keep me alive.” Bookmark here

“But it’s so noisy, you cling and you clang with every step, it’ll probably chase the game away.” Mitsuko remarks. Bookmark here

“I’ll make sure to walk real quiet.” Bookmark here

 “Very funny,” Mitsuko rolls her eyes and we continue deeper into the woods, this far east of your village falls directly beneath the shadow of the mountain. It also happens to be where a lot of the game we like to hunt roams around, be it boar or deer and the like. Bookmark here

“How many arrows did you bring anyway?” I ask her. She raises her quiver; two arrows jut out. Bookmark here

“I should only need one but its always nice to have a backup right,” she gestures to my waist. I draw one of the swords is referring to, Bookmark here

“Very true,” I draw the other, a sword in each hand. “You never know when a situation will call for two swords.” I say striking an aggressive pose. She laughs. Bookmark here

“I’m sure when we see an animal your two swords will come in real handy.” She draws her bow. Bookmark here

“The bow is your weapon, the sword is mine. You know I've never even trained with a bow, I prefer to meet my opponent head on,” I swing my sword forward, “should we see who is the better duelist.” Bookmark here

“And that is why you’ll never be a good hunter, most animals don’t have your mentality of combat, its live or die, that is all.” She spots tracks on the ground “These are somewhat fresh, lets follow them.” Bookmark here

“See, most animals are stupid.” I say. We begin to follow the tracks after about a minute she holds a hand up, I stop in my tracks. She nocks an arrow into the bow. I look and see a deer just standing there, completely unaware of the danger around it. Bookmark here

I look at her once again, her face taught with complete focus. Even now she was more beautiful than any other person I had laid eyes upon. Her eyes portraits of a world even better than this one. The arrow flies, right through the deer’s heart and the beast topples over. Bookmark here

“Nice shot” I tell her. Bookmark here

“Thanks, want to go check it, might not be dead.” She says. Bookmark here

‘Certainly looks dead’ I think to myself. Together we walk over to the body of the animal, she pulls back her arrow, wipes it down and returns it to the quiver. Bookmark here

“Well what are you waiting for?” She asks me. Bookmark here

“I’m not carrying that thing on my own, it’s a few miles till we’re back home.” I argue Bookmark here

“But I killed it though.” She pouts Bookmark here

“Yes and I have been great company, we have both pulled our weight on this one.” I say dryly. She smiles and stands by the deer’s head. Bookmark here

“So I get the deer’s butt, just what I’ve always wanted near my face.” She laughs and we pick up the deer. With two people carrying it I can barely feel the weight at all. We start the march home chatting and laughing all the way. These moments are the ones I live for, being with her is the best thing that has happened to me. We return to the village to an arrival of cheers from the others, surely happy to see fresh meat will be on the menu. We may be a farming village, but game comes round this area rather rarely, most of it from our hunts. She sets the deer down and asks the others to prepare it. There will be a great feast tonight.Bookmark here

Back in our home she puts her bow away and we prepare for the feast. Bookmark here

“You’re not going to wear the armour to a feast as well are you, how many boars do you think will charge you here?” one side of her mouth curling to a smile. Bookmark here

“I don’t really have an excuse this time, I am just more comfortable with all this.” I respond. Bookmark here

“I hope you don’t plan on wearing it later tonight.” She looks into my eyes. I take her into my arms. Bookmark here

“We’ll see” I say before giving her a kiss. Bookmark here

“You know, meeting you was the best thing that ever could have happened to me.” She says. Bookmark here

“Really, you could have had a life in a big castle with all the money in the kingdom, instead…” I gesture at myself. Bookmark here

“I would take you over all the castles in the world.” I blush a little as we embrace once again. Bookmark here

“Smells like the meat is almost done.” I tell her, “should we head out.” Bookmark here

“Right now I kind of want to just stay in here, but we did hunt the thing so, yeah let’s go.” She says after little deliberation. We step outside. I stop and look around, its far darker than it should be, like the air itself is clouded with fog. It looks almost red. We head to the centre of town where the feast was to be held and I am stopped in my tracks. All the villagers stood there, frozen staring away from me. Bookmark here

There stands about fifteen men? fifteen things, I’m not too sure. They ooze the same deep red fog that permeated the air. There is no way these are humans. Bookmark here

“What’s going on are we being attacked?” Mitsuko asks me. Bookmark here

“I don’t know…” I continue to stare at them. They look human but something is not quite right, some have limbs hanging limp from their joints, others with them backwards. Then I see it, three of them different to all the others. These ones armoured and armed. Two bearing the armour of the Ebon Knights. Sworn protectors of the mountain and those who keep the paths safe, their jet-black armour representing the bottom of the mountains where they were posted. The final armoured one, bore the crimson armour of the Redtooth Elite. Some of the finest soldiers that are kingdom had to offer, they would take on the jobs no normal soldier could dare to do. The Elite locks eyes with mine. I had heard stories about creatures like these, but they were supposed to unable to pass the mountain. These couldn’t be those same creatures. Bookmark here

“Everyone stay calm…” I tried to say, but my voice was drowned out by a gurgling scream from the Elite. Then they all rushed forward. Bookmark here

At once chaos erupted as the beasts ran into the hapless villagers spewing fog all over obscuring vision, some were able to run away but were being chased, I don’t know how long they could keep that up. Bookmark here

“Here.” I command as I hand one of my swords to Mitsuko. “Stay with me, I’ll keep you safe.” She nods her head meekly; I’ve never seen her so frightened. I draw my sword, hold it in a guard stance and walk into the centre. Bookmark here

A creature turns away from the villager he was chasing and leaps at me. I sidestep and bring the sword down. The creature falls to the ground body split in two. I turn away. My wife screams and I look back, the two halves of its body reach together with the deep red fog, then they begin to coalesce. Bookmark here

For a moment I am stunned as the creature rises up once more, the moment passes as the creature lunges at me. I block it with the sword and as I go for the counterattack another jumps at me from the corner of my eye. Only it is impaled on the edge of a sword, red fog seeping from the wound. A blow right through the heart. Bookmark here

“Thanks” I tell her. I bash the other creature away, trying to create a bit of distance to take on the two of them. However, the other one does not rise. Okay, so you have to aim for the heart. I try to shout above the commotion Bookmark here

“EVERYONE, IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING SHARP, AIM FOR THEIR HEARTS.” I don’t know if anyone heard but it might just give them a chance. Bookmark here

The first creature lunges at me again, I block again but this time respond with a thrust that goes right through the heart. Its body falls limp to the ground. Bookmark here

“You okay?” I look to her again. Again, she nods her head. It’s becoming a little hard to see through the fog. I can’t hear much over the sounds of screaming and fighting. I rush to the nearest sound. There I see something, a sight that will haunt me for as long as I live. Bookmark here

A creature slashes at a villager’s arm, making a gap in the flesh that it then wraps its hand around, red mist flowing from one arm into another. Immediately his body begins to turn, his arm snapping as his body takes on a new shape. It then begins to ooze the same mist as his killer, and both turn towards me. They aren’t too difficult to fight one their own but if they get to the whole village, I’ll have to fight through about thirty more of them. Bookmark here

“We’ll take these two together, you take the left one I’ll take the right one, stay by me and just tell me if you need any help.” I say to her. Bookmark here

“Okay.” She readies her sword, emulating the way I held mine. We charge and thrust our swords into their hearts. Two more down. Out from a little cubby emerges another villager face wrought with fear, he comes up to me but cannot form words. Bookmark here

“It’s okay.” I tell him. He nods, it’s becoming all too obvious these people have never seen battle, though even I haven’t seen anything like this. Bookmark here

 “Do you think you could make it to the guard post on the river?” I ask him. He looks at me quizzically. “We probably could use some help.” He nods. Bookmark here

“I’ll be back soon.” He says and smiles as he takes off towards the river. Alright reinforcements will be coming, I just have to hold out. Bookmark here

Continuing through the dark we end up face to face with three other armoured ones, two Ebon Knights and the Redtooth Elite. The Elite looks at me again, it almost looks like the thing smiled. The two defenders charge forward. Bookmark here

“Get behind me. I’ll take these two” I order her. These seem more dangerous than the others. Since the heart is the weak point, I need a way through the armour. I know where the armour is weakest but none of those places lead directly to the heart. Their charge ends and the first one swings his sword down aiming right for my head, I raise my sword to black and using the leverage I have push him aside as the others swing tries to connect with my side, another block and I bash him away. Bookmark here

Again, they come forward and again I am able to push them back. They come forward a third time this time coming from either side, I doubt I could block both, so I choose the one on the right and charge towards him. I clash with his sword and pull mine aside as a sidestep in one motion. The creature lunges forward off balance, I slash at the back of its legs and bits of fog begin to seep out the creature falls. Bookmark here

But before I can capitalise on it the other one reaches me. Forced on the defensive again I must keep blocking, behind them I see her just, now she is stuck fending off a couple of the unarmed creatures. I curse under my breath; I need to deal with these quickly. Bookmark here

Our swords lock, with all my strength I push down on the blades and push my sword into his, as the creature pushes back, I attempt the same trick once again, only this time the creature doesn’t stumble, instead it throws out a wild slash, it connects with my armour, leaving me unharmed, but winded. Bookmark here

As I struggle for breath, I see the other one beginning to clamber back to its feet. I charge at the standing one and collide with it, knocking it over with a shoulder bash. I bring my blade down onto the one trying to stand separating its head from its body. Now with an opening I grab the limb body and thrust the sword down right into where the heart should be. I feel its body shake and it begins to fall. I pull my sword free and return to a guard stance. That’s one. Bookmark here

I then turn my sword and grab it by the blade. Holding it backwards I begin to strike at the creature’s breastplate with the pommel slowly putting a dent into it. If I can make it weak enough maybe the sword will go in. Some of my attacks are blocked but it seems the creature does not deal well with this frenzy of attacks. Eventually the armour cracks and I step back and return to holding my sword properly. I slowly start backpedalling trying to return to where Mitsuko is, the creature perhaps thinking it has the advantage lunges forwards thrusting the sword, I bat it aside and perform a thrust of my own right into the crack, the blade goes through and the creature falls. Lifeless once again. Bookmark here

Behind me I hear the clattering of steel against the ground. I turn. Bookmark here

“No….” I whimper as Mitsuko's body slumps to the ground, a single creature left standing above her. Bookmark here

My body is overtaken with rage, and I break out into a sprint towards the creature and in one thrust impale it on my sword. I reach for her, a wound on her arm. The red mist already flowing in. Bookmark here

“No.” I repeat and hold her in my arms. I feel her body convulsing, but I don’t let go, I can’t let go. I look into her eyes, she looks back, the blue of them beginning to fade. Bookmark here

“My love, don’t leave me.” I cry out. She reaches a hand to touch my face. Her mouth words I love you. And then the mist tried to take her. Her eyes washed with deep red as she began to flail at me. Her face stuck in horror. Bookmark here

Even now she didn’t want to do this. Unfortunately, I know I can’t stay like this forever. She reaches down and claws and bites at the skin on my left arm. I feel it tearing, the end is close now. I lift her head and look into her eyes once more. Bookmark here

“My love” I say tears in my eyes. The creature suddenly stops and lets its arms droop by its sides. I release her from my grasp, and she just stayed there kneeling for a little while. The pain in my arm is excruciating as I see a small blue growth begin to form, this isn’t quite like the other times. What did she do exactly? Bookmark here

She looks to me and tries to speak, there is no noise but her lips mouth one word “live”, then she is fully consumed. Her body lunges at me again. I block the attack and realise that there is only one thing I can do, I put my sword through her heart, as I shatter my own. Her body flops to the ground. I sheath the sword I gave to her, and I simply stood there. Body unwilling to move. My arm screaming in pain. What have I done? Bookmark here

The fog seems to have lifted and I turn around. There about two dozen undead stand and in unison they turn towards me, the Redtooth Elite once again looks at me, this time focused on my arm. A rumbling voice reverberates through all of them Bookmark here

“For a long time I have searched for one such as you.” “Do not mourn what you have lost, celebrate, for the gift I have bestowed unto you will last an eternity.” I look to my arm, eternity, I wonder about that. Bookmark here

The cacophony continues “Now become one with me and you will have everything you have ever wanted.” I already had what I wanted. I look upon the crowd, many of the lifeless faces I recognise, people who up until today I would share feasts with. Now they take on that form. “In time my great tide shall wash over the whole world once again and we will all sing in great harmony.” “Come now EINAR, accept my gift into your heart.” Despite the pain shooting into my arm I raise my sword in defiance. Alive or not, I will not forsake her final words. I will not die here. I will not become another creature in this thing’s forces. Surely the reinforcement should be here soon. Bookmark here

‘Just a little more’ I tell myself. “Ah you choose to go down fighting, noble, but foolish the end will be the same. Why fight the inevitable Einar.” I don’t dare to ask why it knows my name. Bookmark here

The unarmed ones begin to charge, all at once. I steel myself once again. Bookmark here

“Live” her voice echoes in my head “it’s live or die, that is all.” I run into the horde and begin to slash and thrust my way through them, in the frenzy I take many scratches and bites but no matter the pain I continue forward. A thrust through one, a downward slice to the other, all aimed for their hearts. One by one the creatures fall. Bookmark here

After the last one is down I fall to one knee, my body exhausted and the many cuts and tears seething at me. The Elite looks down on me the voice rattling its body once again, “You fight well, you will fight even better with me.” It readies its sword and comes forward. The pain in my left arm suddenly rises.Bookmark here

 “Live” her voice drowning out my thoughts “Live.” Suddenly the tears on my body seep with a fog, not red but deep blue, and the wounds begin to close. Bookmark here

“Thank you.” I say to her. I stand once more. “Yes, you are one of them. I must have you.” The voice exclaims. The Elite’s sword clashes with mine and we begin to dance, trading blocks and parries. It fights unlike the others. I go for a forward thrust, the creature grabs my sword and yanks it free, tossing it aside. The blade slicing its hand as it went, I tackle it to the ground and begin to pound onto its sword hand, trying to wrestle it free. It’s no use, his grip is too great. It manages to reach around and slash the back of my leg, behind the pain in my arm, this feels like nothing. Bookmark here

I stand up once again and unsheathe the other sword. It’s always good to have a backup, I thought. The creature lunges forward, sword pointed at my throat, I parry the thrust, giving me an opening, I bring my sword down onto its wrist, right at the small gap in the gauntlet. It’s iron grip falls loose as its hands are severed and his sword slams against the ground. Before it has time to regenerate, I slash at the back of its legs bringing it down. I kick the back of its armour, forcing it onto all fours. Take a step around and bring my sword crashing down onto his neck. Then using the same method as before I plunge the sword into its heart and finally fell this beast for good. Bookmark here

Then, silence. The voice and the fog finally fade, and the night sky returns once again. I walk back over to her body and fall to my knees. The pain in my arm rises once again. I punch the ground, anger taking control for but a moment. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry” I say as I just stay there, body unwilling to move again. She was the bright light that showed me my path. Without her... darkness. After what felt like hours, I stand once again. “I love you. Now and forever.” The same line I used at our wedding and the last thing I said before walking away. I need to get to the capital, they need to know, and I have questions that need answering. Bookmark here

After finishing that rather long story, I look to the floor, my arm seething in pain. Of course, I could not be over it yet. I raise my head and look him in the eyes, Bookmark here

“And that’s why I’m here” my voice somewhat hoarse, without a word he pours me another glass of water. Bookmark here

“I guess that’s why your arm is all bandaged up, I don’t really know what to say, to go through all that… I’m surprised you made it here.” Bookmark here

There is a solemn look on his face as he spoke, the first time I have seen him like this. “You know he is going to lose it over this, he was never happy in the first place. Are you sure it was smart to bring the news yourself” he continued. Bookmark here

“He has every right to be angry, but he has to hear it from me, a rawk won’t do. I have to admit what I did,” “Also it’s not like anyone else got out anyway.” I once again look away. Bookmark here

“No one…” he looks away lost in thought. “Well, you must be exhausted, through here is my bedroom, get yourself some rest, you can speak to the governor after that.” He says as he opens the door to my left and reveals a large double bed, freshly made, right now there is no place that looks more inviting. Bookmark here

I remove my armour and put it on the floor at the foot of the bed and climb in, the bed is a little small for me but the second my head reaches the pillow it all fades to black.Bookmark here


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