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|I wrote this as the concept story for a first-person style computer game that my brother and his friends are working on.||
For over one thousand I have slept without rest beneath the cold dark earth. Over one thousand years have passed since that day. The day I was defeated.
The sun covered the lands in a blood red light that day, as it struggled to
pierce the rancid gloom of war. It had been a long time since I had seen it
any other way. Ever since the demon had first appeared, peace seemed but a distant
memory. From whence he had come, none could say. Some said that he had escaped
form the burning hells, others, that he had been released. There was however
one thing that they all said. That he could not be slain. As kingdom after kingdom
began to fall to the demons hordes, word quickly spread that no blade could
pierce his skin, although I am yet to meet a living man who can testify to this.
As armies were massacred, and the lands they once protected were ravaged, hope began to fade from the people. It became well known that the only difference between those who fought and those who fled, was that the ones who fled lived a little longer.
As our enemies pressed in around us, the king came to me, his face like so many others, as pallid as ash. “You must do something,” he pleaded, “as captain of the knights it is your duty.” I wanted to ask him what exactly he wanted me to do. Most of my soldiers were either dead, or had fled with their families, but I didn’t, after all he was right. It was my duty.
I brooded over what to do for many days. Part of me wanted to abandon the kingdom and take my family into hiding like so many others, but even if we did survive, what would it offer us? A life of scavenging? A life of constant fear?
Finally, when all but the faintest glimmer of hope had left me, I made my decision. It seemed foolish, even to me, but then it was better than waiting around to die. I resolved that if there truly were no weapon that could slay the demon, then I would have to create one.
And so it was forged, from the finest quality steel, the bones of those who had fallen and a generous amount of my own blood, fused together by the magics of the most powerful sorcerers who still lived. I was surprised at how many had answered the call, from Alchemists to Necromancers, they all lent their skills. The sound of smiths’ hammers rang from the forge both day and night until at last it was completed. A weapon built for one purpose. A weapon built to kill but a single foe. The Sword of Souls.
I picked the sword up from the anvil, the four skeletal fingers of the cross-guard reaching both around my hand and the blade, as if binding them both together. It was still warm, and the blade still bore black soot from the furnace. It felt light in my hand and as I touched its edge to my finger, it immediately drew blood.
With the creation of that sword, a spark of hope was born amongst the people and as news of the weapon spread like wildfire, so too did the spark grow into a fiery thirst for vengeance. The people began to rally behind me, to rally behind the sword. So many came; like a parched dam at the breaking of a drought, the army swelled rapidly to an unbelievable size.
The fighting was bloody and hard, but for every man that was slain, the wrath of the others was reinforced. Men who had never lifted a weapon before now fought with the courage of a hardened soldier.
At last we began to cleave a path through the armies of the enemy. It seemed that the demon had also heard of the Sword of Souls, for he no longer fought from the front lines, instead he cowered in his castle of black stone. The castle we stood before on that day.
It took less than a day of besiegement before cracks began to show in the ranks of the castle’s defenders. As the blood stained sun crept towards the western horizon, I charged forth through the enemy lines. As the soldiers loyal to the Sword continued to fight the dwindling creatures of the enemy, I entered the shadowy passages of the castle. The few enemies who I encountered as I stalked the shadows, fell effortlessly to my sword. I pushed my way through the great wooden doors of the throne room. They creaked shut behind me on ill maintained hinges.
The westering sun shone brightly through the long windows on my left, casting the great, pillared hall into stipes of crimson and black. The demon sat on his obsidian throne at the far end of the hall, as silent and still as the dead. The only hint of life was the fiery glow of his eyes from behind his blackened iron helmet. Not until I was but a few paces from his feet did he stir. Without the slightest movement of his head, the demon’s eyes flicked like candle flames towards the weapon in my hand. And then he spoke: “So this is the sword that is supposed to be my end?” his mouth curled into a sneer as he continued. “Fool!” he laughed, “No one can kill me! Soul Blade or not, today will be your end!”
I didn’t want to allow the foul creature to conjure any tricks, so I lunged forward. He rolled to the side, moving extraordinarily fast for a creature of his size. As I made a second attack, he drew a long steel blade from beneath his cloak. Silently, I cursed myself for having underestimated his fighting ability; indeed, his skill seemed at the very least, equal to my own. We fought for what could have been hours but at last I began to gain the upper hand. The demon seemed to be tiring. As I smashed my sword against his, he would stumble back; his attacks became less frequent. Over and over I struck at him until finally he stumbled and fell right back onto his dark throne but before I could strike final blow that I had been anticipating so long, I was hit heavily from behind. I stumbled forward, almost right onto the point of the demons sword. I looked around to see that the hall behind me had filled with dozens of unholy creatures. Where they came from I do not know. Perhaps they had been hiding in the shadows of the pillars. Feverishly, I began to slay them. Each of the creatures fell easily, but there were so many of them. The floor became slippery with their blood.
As the last of the creatures fell, I became aware of my own exhaustion. The
effort of breathing brought pain to my chest. I turned once more to face the
demon and I prayed that the time had not allowed him to recover. With my last
remaining strength I broke into a run. I was determined not to give my enemy
any more chances. As I neared the throne something closed tightly around my
right ankle. As I fell towards the stone floor, I looked back in horror to see
the impish hand of one of my fallen enemies clasped tightly around my leg. How
was I to know that the thing was still alive! It had no head! My elbow smashed
against the cold floor. The Sword of Souls spun across the floor and stoped
at the demons feet. The creature behind me lost its grip on both its life and
my leg and I struggled to regain my feet. I had risen no further than my knees
before the demon was upon me. With the speed of a hawk, he swept up the Sword
of Souls and stood before me with its point at my chest. I looked up into his
eyes but no mercy or even pity did I see there, only malevolent hatred and gloating
triumph. “As I told you,” he snarled, “No one can kill me!”
Behind me, I heard a loud creak as the doors of the throne room were thrown open. Before I could tell who it was that had entered the room, I felt the icy touch of steel, pierce my heart.
If it was when the sword was first forged or when I were slain upon it, I do not know but somehow my soul has become bound to the sword, and the sword, bound to its destiny. While the demon still lives, I cannot rest.
For over one thousand I have slept without rest beneath the cold dark earth.
Over one thousand years have passed since that day. But now I have been awoken.
Now…I will have my revenge.
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