Blood shot forth and dribbled down the king’s beautifully embroidered red and gold cloak, like ice melting quickly on the first hot day of spring. He loved that cloak. Elias knelt before his father, and tried to staunch his wounds with pieces of cloth ripped from the clothes of the nearby dead. Crying like a boy, Elias delicately picked up his father’s insides and tried to stuff them back inside his body. There was too much, the king looked as though he had been doused in spring wine. If only it were wine.
Elias sat helplessly, cradling his dying father. Tears dripped from Elias’ face, dripping onto his father, willing him to live on.
Never had he expected to be holding his father like this. Kings were supposed to be away from the action, merely overseeing combat. Elias had failed his father. The Deimos were too strong, unnaturally so. They could do nothing to stop them. The way the bodies had flown… it had to be some black magic. Elias shuddered to think of it. There was nothing he could do now, save for comforting his father as he lay dying.
Elias’ father, King Mark, coughed and sputtered suddenly, gasping desperately to extend his life, “Elias….Elias…..”
Elias drew closer to his father’s breast, arterial blood spurting onto his dented and dulled armor.
“What is it father? Tell me what I must do!” Elias sobbed at him, choking on his words.
“The Deimos. You must defeat them. They cannot rule…” the king whispered, his eyes lolled dangerously. He was fading.
“Father!” Elias shook him, distressed, “No! There must be a secret. How do I defeat them?”
“The only way to destroy their evil power is through magic, the same evil magic they themselves possess. Find the hermit Vye.”
Vye. The kingdom’s outcast hermit. What could he possibly know about the Deimos? Elias thought.
“Son,” King Mark’s arms yearned for Elias. “Don’t make the same stupid mistakes I did. I love you.”
Elias croaked a laugh, suppressed by his grief. He hugged his father tightly, ignorant of the mass amounts of blood and internal organs spilling out from his father’s torso.
The battle raged on around the king and his son, cradled alone in the middle of a copse of burning trees. Ash fell softly around them, blown by gentle breezes. Battle cries bellowed out in the distance, above the ring of married steel. Fallen enemies and comrades decorated the forest floor, their dull empty eyes staring infinitely at the brooding grey sky. All was lost.
Stunned, Elias rose, allowing his father’s corpse to gently fall from his tired arms. He chose a huge oak tree, untouched by the madness of battle, and laid his father under a small outcrop of roots on a soft bed of heavy grass and moss. Elias knew that his father had often walked solitary in these woods. It was fitting that he would lay here forever.
Elias unsheathed his sword and buried it in the earth beside his father’s head, above his right shoulder. His helm had already been placed above his left shoulder to honor the king’s death. A knight always left his helm with his king or lord to signify his shame in his inability to protect. Such a great knight Elias had turned out to be.
Elias picked up a burning branch and paused for a long time, reflecting upon his father’s life. Many kings were cold and informal, but King Mark was a warm, family man. It was Mark that taught Elias to wield his steel and inspired him to don the armor of knighthood. Finally, Elias set alight the bed in which his father lay. His body slowly smoldered and caught fire, but Elias couldn’t bear to watch. Enough was enough.
A grey warhorse limped into the copse, causing Elias to turn. The horse was painted with the blood of others, which was splattered down the beast’s sides and flanks. Perfect. Elias thought, now to find this hermit wizard.
Elias rubbed down the horse with his hands, shushing and calming the animal. He led it away from the now peaceful forest by the remaining pieces of the horse’s destroyed reins. Together, Elias and the horse slowly walked back towards the King’s castle and the life that was waiting within.
Elias knelt on the unforgiving ground, holding the charred remains of King Mark loosely in his arms. His father. The king's armor shook and clanked as Elias sobbed, but he did not hear it. The surrounding trees were still burning, and the falling ash and branches decorated the King's ruined kingdom. Elias' eyes burned with rage. He cried out to the empty gray sky, the helpless heir to the throne.
How did they do this? What granted them such power? God? Elias could not comprehend the destruction that had just ensued in his own castle.
He stood, letting his father roll out of his tired arms. Staring down at King Mark, Elias' body throbbed with emotional agony. He whistled for a horse, for there was nothing in sight, and his palfrey Sal trotted, defeated, back into the clearing that had been created by the Deimos clan. It was a wonder he had survived.
Elias' tears streaked down his face, blackened from battle, and his voice wobbled as he faked bravery and tried to comfort Sal, "our lives have been destroyed by the Deimos, Sal. We must take vengeance on my father's life and rebuild his...My empire."
Sal snorted, in agreeance, Elias hoped. Who am I kidding, he thought, the stupid horse only wishes for food and comfort.
Elias knelt once again and drew out a sword from the scabbard of his King, and thrust it into the ground, an improvised grave site to signify the honour bestowed upon the king's death. Elias made the sign of the cross over the corpse, and jumped up onto Sal, to leave.
He turned back, eyes red with grief and determination, "Farewell, King Mark. My father. I vow to avenge you and the kingdom I have grown to love as my own."
With that, Elias grit his teeth and rode hard after the Deimos, in the wake of their wrath.
He would discover the secret to their strange new power, he would beat it. He prayed softly, in between the laboured breaths of Sal, as he plunged towards night.
Hello writing friends. I'm starting to get used to this site and forum life in general. I haven't been a part of a forum since my younger days when I had an obsession with the Independent music scene. I think its awesome how I can blog here, and perhaps I'll start up an online novella. 1 chapter per blog post. Obviously it would be just for fun, and maybe I'd put some of those chapters into the dreaded review room for you to criticize and tear apart. What would you think about that? I'm already excited.
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