You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: From the Mists, A Black Horse Rides  (Read 174 times)

The Black Knight

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From the Mists, A Black Horse Rides
« on: March 28, 2020, 12:52:17 AM »
[Memories. A cruel reminder of our past. Forever taunting us with lost youth and regrets set in stone.]

    I could smell it on the wind, the stench of fish, the taste of salt. Our boots broke through the underbrush as we marched. A few birds scattered to the air alerting our location. The four of us broke into the clearing, the light of the sunrise basking the field before us in a wet glow. My eyes trained on the masked man leading us. He moved with arrogance and pride, his boots leaving fresh imprints in the soil. My face couldn't help but scowl at his display. The very mocking nature of his body's movement as if he owned the very dirt. Two other men moved beside me, they spoke a few words as we finished our approach. Then a shout from ahead. My nose, mixed with salt and fish picked up a new smell, this one heavy and fermented. “Buna Ziua!” The masked man finally spoke. Leaning against a tree was a Barovian. You could always tell from the eyes. Whipped dogs with no hope. Only fear. I gripped my sword tight ready to draw.

     “Wait.” a silk glove was held out stopping me. “Let us gather first.” The masked man turned back around, I could hear the disgusting grin on his face. “You look like you’ve had quite the party my friend! Care to join me with some Tsuika in town?” A bottle was drawn and waved about. Like beckoning a pet, he drew the drunkard closer. “Why we’ve brought plenty of drinks with us! Why don’t we share some with your friends in the village? It has been a long night for us all, no doubt!” The two men beside me were calm and collected. They had done this before.

     We moved towards the town, the drunk leading the way as he sipped on the bottle like a teet. We broke the bend to the village ahead. It was small, only a few houses and shakes along the lake. Many of the men were already awake, some preparing nets while others prepared the rowboats. A simple place. Reminded me of home. Their movements stopped as their heads turned to stare. A few of them gripped simple spears. The peasant's eyes studied us- studied me closely. “It is alright, my friends! Buna Ziua domns!” Mask spoke, his voice still sickly sweet. “We come bearing gifts in exchange for a night of respite!” One of the men beside me firmly placed a barrel down onto the dirt. “Come! Collect your friends and join us!”

     The villagers moved, hesitantly. Beside me a whisper, “Why don’t you hang back a bit. Your armor tends to put people off.” I grunted, as they had come to expect from me. The wall of a shake made better ground than out in the open with these men. Observing was what I could do as Mask worked his magic. The Barovians seemed to ease as he drank with them through the slit in his face. “See? Good Tsuika! I spare no expense!” Soon more and more villagers came out of their huts to partake. Kindness seemed a drug to these people. Once hooked they would expect more. Mask just smiled with his voice as the last bit of the villagers appeared.
“Thank you, domn. Why travel out this far to share drinks?” The Barovian who spoke was older. He wasn’t drinking. I could tell he was still cautious. Too much talk from him and it would reignite in the rest of the villagers. “Why,” Mask said, his hands slowly removing the mask from his face, “sometimes we must indulge...”

     Blood. You can never get it out of your nose. The burning ash helps but it's the metal taste that works its way into you that remains on the tongue. Mask kneeled hard at work. His bare hands painting with the blood from the corpses. He was giddy like a child. I cleaned my blade on the back of a corpse. My compatriots continued burning the houses and shakes. Nothing different from the usual merc duties I’ve done before. Mask turned, his face now bare. It was handsome, with no cuts or bruises. Something was unnatural about it. It almost seemed chiseled like a statue. Too perfect. His voice commanded me, “We seem to be missing a few to our party. Why don’t you go search for them? Wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out.” With a grunt I turned. The main building, the center hall for the town, was untouched. My eyes scanned the windows. There on the second floor, movement.

     The front door splintered open. Its locks were not meant for a trained siege. The hall was still lit with the fireplace within. Cups and plates were scattered, food carelessly tossed aside. Whoever was eating left in a hurry. There was no back door they could leave through. My metal boots made the floor creak in protest. I used my blade to turn aside curtains and stab through the barrels around the place. It seemed upstairs was the next place to search. Shadows held sharp on the steps, their black mixing with my armor. Upstairs held a few rooms. The first, a classroom, its desks empty and books still placed on the shelf. The next room was a bedroom. Two beds were pushed up against the walls and a few toys lay on the floor abandoned.

     The last door would not budge. The handle turned but something kept it shut. The damned villagers had barricaded themselves in. My sword protested as I sheathed it. An ax would have to do the job. I grunted as the door splintered slowly. They were making me work for it. Past the door lay a bookshelf. Still, no sign of the doomed who placed it there. A good kick moved it out of the way. It hit something, something that whimpered. Two children screamed as they ran from the shadows into a corner. A woman lay behind the shelf. She shook as she attempted to stand. “P- Please! Please don’t hurt them!” She stood between me and them. “Take me! Tell them I was all you could find! Let the children live and take me!” Tears were running down her face. She could barely stand, the fear causing her legs to near collapse.

     I moved forward. She flung herself at my armor. Her fingers trying to grip onto my chest. “Please!” She screamed. I could feel it, deep down in my heart. That fear, that sorrow. “Please,” she whimpered. Lies. That was all this was. Lies. The crack of her jaw could be heard as I slapped her aside. There would be no mercy. Not for these children, not for the village, not for anyone. The two children cowered further into the corner. A boy and a girl. Tiny things, easy to lift with my hands. Their screams fell upon my uncaring ears. Their tears staining my uncaring form. There was one truth in life. One truth that all things will know. Best these children are taught it before they grow prideful of life.

     “No! Please!” The woman cried. She crawled after me with a puffed lip and bloody nose. “I beg you! I beg you domn!” One of my allies stood at the base of the stares. He climbed seeing me struggle with the children as they writhed to escape. “Well, good work. Our friend outside will be pleased. He said to take them alive.” The woman calmed at those words but the fear was still in her eyes. The man took the children from me, guided them down with their hands gripped in his own. “Shh,” he comforted them. “Come with me. Everything will be alright if you behave.” My gauntlet clasped down on the woman’s hair. She yelled in pain as I dragged her down the stairs.

     Outside Mask stood, his arms wide in welcome. His hands were clean now as he beckoned the children into the circle. “Come! It will be alright.” His voice was still sweet. The children listened, still in shock but commanded. The woman wept as she saw her fellow villagers, now corpses, around the central square. “You did well, Knight.” He smiled at me. I hated that smile. I was nothing more than a tool for his sick pleasures and I would not be fooled into thinking otherwise.

     “We are going to play a game! A special game! It will take you away from all of this but you must pay attention.” Mask kneeled a bit to look the children in the face. He wiped the tears from their eyes with a caring hand. The boy sniffled as he stared into Mask’s eyes. “I need you to both close your eyes. Close them as tight as you can! I am going to make a wish come true.” He patted them on the head. “Don’t worry. You are going to be just fine.” The woman beside me whimpered still. She watched but now was entranced with Mask’s honeyed voice. The children followed his command. Their eyes shut tight. Both whispered something, most likely the wish they wanted fulfilled. “Good, good.” Mask grinned, his hand roaming to his back. “Keep those eyes tight! The wish is going to come true…”

     Two motions were all it took. The dagger was quick and accurate. The children’s bodies fell limp onto the earth. Blood pooled out as the silence over the village deafened the ears present. It lasted long, the men standing around the circle waiting and unaffected by the cruel sight in front of them. Besides me, the woman howled. It echoed across the burning buildings and over the lake, the emotion a deep despair. She wailed, her lungs only pausing to take in a breath. Mask turned as he removed his clothing. The visage of his “perfect”  form now open to all. A chiseled statue of a man glowing in the light of the fires. “Bring her to me.”

     The woman was easy to move. Her body was limp as she wailed to the heavens. I knew no god was listening. None ever were. Mask beckoned to her with open arms. “Come to me. Come.” His voice still unwavering, his smile still spread wide. The woman finally moved of her own accord. Beckoned by Mask, she went. Her eyes still wet with sorrow and her wails still hollowed by despair. He took her into his naked form and with a simple cut, she was silenced. The village once more returned to peace. Mask still gripped her body as he chanted. The words like fire to the ears. Her form began to shift. Bones cracked and limbs snapped as they changed. The corpses back ripped open as red-scaled wings exploded into the sky. The other men around me kneeled. Their heads bowed in respect. Mask drew back as the woman- the devil let out a roar of pain as horns bored themselves from her skull.

     “You have summoned me again, my acolytes.” The devil's voice was sweet and commanding. She turned and observed the village around her. A look of annoyance on her face. “Pathetic.” She breathed deep as lights from the corpses flew and entered her body. “This offering is pathetic. You must feel so proud of having killed a bunch of weakling peasants and children.” Her clothes shifted and formed into red armor that accentuated her form. Finally, the devil’s gaze turned and looked upon me. The cold study of her infernal eyes taking me apart. “Who is this? A new one to your order?” She turned to Mask in question. “Yes, my mistress. The Black Knight. He seeks power as do we all.” He replied, his voice now filled with a vile pride.
     The devil stood, carnage around her. The blood on the soil seemed to writhe underneath her heeled foot. Her form is now full and inviting. The acolytes around me worshiped the soil she stood on, whispering and praising her name in that fiery language. Mask stood behind her, his eyes feeding upon her. That smile now bare for all to see in its sinister truth. I stood, arms crossed. She flexed her fingers, claws painted crimson at the tips. The glowing of flames now washing deep within her vessel.

     “Come forward, Knight.” She commanded, her clawed fingertip beckoning me. I moved as commanded. It did not surprise me that this group were pawns of a devil.
    “What is your name, Knight?” She stood before me, wings stretching.
     “Morien.” The words, as always, were painful to speak.
    “And, Morien, what is it you seek? Power? Wealth?” Her tone was lazy, rehearsed.
     “No. I seek to teach those too prideful the truth of the world.” My reply put her off.
    “Truth? What truth?” She was now intrigued. The men bowing beside me shifted to listen. Hesitant eyes gleamed up in awe at their mistress.
     “The only truth that remains. Death.” I did not seek her power. Only her resources.
     “Death? Why that is an easy thing to give.” The devil stated matter of factly.
     “Death is easy. It is the truth of it that I seek.” I was growing annoyed. She was playing with me.
     The devil cackled. Her smile was widening. “Truth of death. You are an interesting thing. What are you willing to offer for it?” Her smile dissipated. This was now her invested business.
     “Everything.” It was the only right answer. I will give everything to know peace.
     Laughter echoed out. The fire of the burning houses flickering, growing in strength. “This one is interesting. He can keep his soul. I have a feeling he will need it…” Her wings flapped as her form rose into the air. “And acolytes, do not summon me again with such meager offerings. I need stronger souls.” The devil’s form vanished into the mists. Only our sin remained. The sin and death around us.

The Black Knight

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Re: From the Mists, A Black Horse Rides
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2020, 01:05:22 AM »
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