• Chapter 7: A New Terror

    The last hour went by fast. I hadn't found anything so far. I could still see the soldier far off to my left, which meant no one else had found anything. I was becoming bored. The last 6 miles seemed more like 50. If I were going at such a pace i'd reach Harken in no time. Harken is a HUGE triangular walled city, where the King resides. I had never been there in all my life but, those who have, come back with amazing tales of marvelous building, monuments and, people. I spurred Enclave, he sped up. I continued scanning the feilds. I double checked rocks to make certain that they were indeed rocks. I had a sudden impulse to wanna head off a little to the south. I traveled a little ways making sure I could still see the elite, who was now just a grey dot in the distance.

    We were getting to far from the other soldier but, I had a gut feeling something was to the South. I slowed my pace, looked behind rocks that I passed, nudged up close to bushes. Nothing... what a waste of time! Maybe the troops from Marnim never came, maybe they got lost in the forest. So much for a parade in my name... I spurred Enclave and, turned back towards the Southeast. As I turned I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Off a little more to the South I spotted a large brown lump. I coudn't tell what it was. I'd have to ride over and see, even if it ment loseing sight of the elite. I spurred Enclave back to the South, making our way to the lump.

    The Brown lump became bigger as we got closer, it was now the size of a quill pen's tip. No longer could I see the elite, they would come to see what I had found soon. As we closed in on the lump it began to form a shape. It wasn't a rock it was some kind of animal. Then it hit me. This was a HORSE! We got nearer. Enclave screamed, snorted and, stomped his feet wildly. I spurred him into circling the horse. The horse lay on it's side, blood trickled from it's nose to the dirty ground. It was not common that a horse just fall and, die. The only thing in these parts that could be considered a preditor would be, us humans. ''Enclave enough, let me off.'' I patted his right shoulder blade. He stopped but, protested going any closer to the dead steed. I dismonted, made my way over to the steed and, looked for a clue as how it died.

    Blood pooled around the steeds head. Deep, jagged and, bloody claw gashes lined the horses bare side. Flies gathered and, the stench was overwhelming. The horse still bled and no maggots were yet present. This was a fresh kill! What the HELL could of done such a thing! Mountain Lion's reside hundreds and, hundreds of miles to the North, up in the Iron Gorge Mountains. I covered my nose and, knelt beside the steed. There was a SADDLE! This had to be a steed from one of the Marnim troops. I opened a saddlebag and, peered in. Some bread, a flask of water and, a quiver of arrows. The gashes were deep, the flesh of the steed was torn to the innards. The sight was making me queasy. My head began to spin, I almost feel but, caught my balance. I staggered away from the stench. That was a first, I had seen dead men but, nothing like this. The steed was here so where was it's rider? I squinted, blocked the sun from my eyes and, scanned the area around me. I didn't spot anything, other then rocks and brush. I climbed aboard Enclave, spurred him into makeing a few more go arounds. We went a few hundred feet towards the East. I scanned the plains again. Nothing, we headed a few hundred more to the south. A flash of light blinded me for a moment. I adjusted my eyes and, out a little futher to the East two objects shining in the afternoon sun.

    The two objects reflected the sun's rays. Beams of light shot off in many directions. As we got closer the rays became brighter. I was blinded a few times. Rubbing my eyes my eyesight would come back. We were close enough now. I dismounted and, pulled Enclave along with me as we approched the objects. I covered my eyes over with my hands. I was close enough now to determine what these objects were. I lifted my hand, squinted and, peered at the first object through the light. It looked like armor... I manuvered to the left of the object to try and, see if I could avoid some of the blinding light. A symbol of a wolf's face was etched in the armor. The wolfs face was red and , it's teeth were etched in gold. I squatted and, looked again. It was a TROOP in the ARMOR! I feel back on my a**. Were these two men the Marnim troops!?! They had to BE!! I recoved to my feet, rushed to the troop. Leaning over, I blocked the sun's rays. I lifted the man's head and, removed his helmet. The troop was male and, looked to be in his thirties. Short brown hair and, a few old scars here and there. I checked the man for injuries, maybe he was unconscience. The right of this man's belly was torn out. A hole in the man's armor the size of my fist was missing, along with a hunk of the mans stomache. Claw marks left long strands of missing armor in their wake. What KIND of monster could tear a man's armor just with it's CLAWS!! This was bad really really bad! Fear filled my heart and, my stomache knotted. I quickly glanced around my sorroundings... nothing. This thing may still be around here! Enclave however was quiet and, would alert me of incoming danger. I searched the man for the stone. Reaching my hand under the man's silver armor, into his pocket. I felt around and found a pouch. It sounded like coins. I lossend the tie and peered in. About 20 gold coins and, a few silver. The man no longer needed this. I would make sure it was divided for alm's to the poor. The man didn't have anything besides that.

    Something was wronge. The other's in my group should have been here by now! Why was I here alone? DAMN I knew this plan woudn't work! I'd have to go back and find them when I was done. I placed the man's arms over his chest. I searched for his weapon, a few feet away I spotted a long blade. I grabbed it then, placed it in the man's hands. In low tone I said. ''Live by the sword, die by the sword.'' There was nothing else I could do. I made my way to the next troop, which was a few feet to left of the other one. This was a man as well. In the same armor. His black hair was a mess amongst the dirty ground. The man's neck was crooked and , at a right angle. Blood trickled down the man 's neck from what looked like bite marks. He hadn't worn gauntlet's like the other man. His finger tips were charred black. The work of some kind of inferior spell casting maybe. A silver chained necklace dangled from the man's neck. A gold locket lay broken next to him. I reached, grabbed and, examined it. It was just a common locket, some kind of gem was missing from it however. On the back however a name or phrase was engraved, I said the name aloud. ''Agate'' Hmm. I placed the locket over the man's heart and folded his hands across his chest. ''Live by the sword, die by the sword.'' I reached into his pocket's, as I did the other man. I found a pouch that was strangly warm. I untied it and, peered in. Two stones lay inside. Both oddly shaped and pointed at their ends. One a green emerald, the other a dull grey stone that was shaped identically like the emerald. I lifted the emerald and, gazed at it's beauty through the sun's ray's. It was the stone that was embedded into the man's locket. It must of fallen out on this man's journey here. I placed it back and, lifted the other. This stone was warm to the touch, my hand felt as if it were wakeing up from sleep. It was soothing however. I had to force myself to place it back into the pouch. This must be the crystal thing the Captain was talking about! So maybe there will be a parade in my name after all! I laughed and giggled. I have found two of the five men and have recovered the crystal that was soppose to be delivered to Clovis! I smiled. I had almost forgotten the dead men and, it surprised me when I looked up and, saw the man's helpless look.

    I whistled, Enclave galloped over. He didn't want to get near the bodies so I made my way to him. I tied the pouch to my right side. I petted him and, smiled. ''Well boy, we found em, maybe we will be FAMEOUS! Hahaha Who am I kidding, finding a few men and, a stone won't do us much huh?'' Enclave became restless and, began screaming and, stomping his feet madly. Foam formed at his mouth. ''Enclave whats gotten into you! Stop RIGHT NOW!'' He screamed loud. Never have I heard such a cry from a horse and, especially my horse! ''Whats wronge damnit! A stone stuck in your hoof?'' I knelt down to check, his hoof's were fine. A sense of dread seeped into my heart. My stomache tightened and, my right side began to twitch. My fear filled eyes wanted to wonder towards the east, towards the Owlcrest Forest. Back turned against the blinding light,. I looked out and, in the distance a dot of black approched. It zoomed at a rate i'd never seen before. My body refused to obey my commands's I stood frozen watching this little black drop grow, and get closer. I began to shake. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME!! Enclave stood still, now as this thing approched. His eye's too were as wide as mine.

    The dot was indeed not a dot anymore. It was someone or something on a black beast. As it approched it's form manifested into a black armored soldier on a steed darker then any I had ever seen. It's eyes were black no pupil's were visable. My heart sank. In one swift movement the soldier leaped from his horse, while it was still running and, landed with ease apon the ground. His horse circled us. The soldier approched and, halted a moment to take a look at me. I did the same. The soldier's armor was pitch black and, engulfed the whole body. The only skin I saw was around the soldier's eye's. It's design was one I had never seen or, heard about. Gauntlet's with pointed fingertips. Greave's that were pointed at the toes. The Breastplate skeletal. The armor appeared to have black rib's and, a brestbone. A long black cape hung from the mantle on the soldiers black spiked pouldren's. A Helmet consumed his face. Two large black horn's pointed towards the sky. The helmet's design was that of a praying mantis. It appeared light weight as the soldier moved in it with ease. The soldier approched me, I managed to move my hand nothing more. He came at me in an angry walking rush. He was going to crash into me if he didn't slow down! He halted in frount of me. His eye's gazed into mine. They were cold, vacant and, seemed to drain my very soul like a void. It felt draining I diverted my gaze. He streched his hand with palm faceing the sky. In a harsh tone he said. ''The Crystal NOW!'' I stuggled within myself to try and, draw the sword which hung from my back. No use s**t!! He continued. ''What am I saying you can't move!'' He laughed. ''My casting will not be so easily overpowered.'' He gazed towards the North. I turned my eye's, not being able to move my head due to this man's casting of some kind of spell. The elite were coming, their silver armor gleaming in the sun. The man chuckled. ''A little fun will do me some good. Now you stay put and, be a good boy.'' He patted me on the head like I was some kind of animal. WHAT HE HELL!! I stuggled and, struggled, Nothing gave. I tryed to talk but, my mouth woudn't obey. The elite would deal with this man. He turned his gaze back to me. ''You will want to watch this.'' His hand raised to his waste. It started to glow faintly purple. My body levitated a few inches above the ground. I began turning towards the North. The seven elite were approching. The man's hand lowered as did my body. My feet were once again grounded.

    The elite were a few hundred feet away when they stopped and dismounted. They gazed at the man. I tryed to yell but, still nothing gave. Squirly led the elite about a hundred feet away from where me and, the man stood. He called out. ''Simon, who is this?'' The man in the black armor responded with a friendly laugh. ''Me and... Simon go way back, come now.'' No! I fought and, fought as hard as ever. Enclave stood motionless beside me, foam still trickleing from his mouth to the ground. What was this man doin? I didn't have one clue to who he is and, he says he knows me? It's a bluff! Squirly get back!! They looked the black armored man over, a little nerveous to get any closer. Squirly looked bewildered, he shook it off and closed in. He gave the man no attention. He walked stright towards me. In the black armored man's hand, a black mist began to form. He took a few steps forward, hideing the mist which grew longer behind his back. Squirly came a few feet in frount of the man and, as he passed the mist behind the man formed into a black sword, spiked at the hilt. He swung his sword with ease, Squirly turned to see what the man was doing. The blade swiftly flew through the air, slashing him across the chest. Squirly's armor was like butter. Blood flew from the impact as he fell to the ground. The elite charged at the man. It all seemed so slow to me, maybe it was the spell that was cast on me. The six elite sorronded the man. One cursed and yelled. ''You b*****d! You will pay for thet! Squirly are you all right! '' Squirly lay there on the dirt coughing up blood. The man spoke. ''You fool's... You risk your live's for a single man? Haha! You Eastern scum!'' One of the elite ran, jumped and, tryed to cleave the man's head off. The armored figure dodged with ease and countered. He thrust his blade through the back of the man's armor. The blade erupted from the elite's stomache. He fell, as blood pooled around him. The remaining five men decided to take him on all at once. They closed in. The man laughed. The elite began swinging their sword's. He evaded each and every one. He spun, swung his sword from the ground upwards. It caught the elite in frount of him. The blade sliced through the man's chin splitting it in half. Teeth flew from his mouth. Another swift jab to the elite's chest ended his life. He fell to the ground.

    The men tryed their hardest, each trying to land a lethal blow. One of them did land a blow slashing the man's back. The blow left no mark. The man's armor was a peice of work. The man ducked at another strike, spun, recoved to his feet spinning. His blade catching the elite behind him. The elite was beheaded. Blood spewed into the air as the body fell. This was horrible this man was a MONSTER! He's killing the elite as if they were flies! A tear dropped down my cheek, as I knew my fate. The remaining elite backed off a bit, knowing their tactic had been useless. One of the elite removed a gauntlet. He made a fist, raised his hand into the air. Flames engulfed his hand, he spoke. ''You may be able dodge and dance BUT! Let's see how you deal with this!'' He unleashed it. A fireball flew through the air toward's the man. The man laughed as the fireball came close. It stuck him on the shoulder. His shoulder became a blaze. He laughed hard. ''Your casting is WEAK!'' Another fireball flew through the air, hitting him in the chest. He stumbled a foot backward's and, recovered. His shoulder and chest were ablaze. However They didn't seem to be effecting him. The man raised a hand now, a blueish flame erupted from his gauntleted hand. The two elite charged to stop the man's casting. It was to late . He threw the blue flame, it sped through the air. The elite on the left ducked. It was no use the flame smashed the elite in the face. He sceamed as the blue flame consumed. His face charred, I turned my eye's I coudn't bare the sight. The man threw his sword through the air toward's the one remaining elite. The elite slashed his sword to dislodge the weapon form the air but, missed. The sword made impact into his skull. He fell, hit the ground and, let out his last grunt.

    The blade in the elite's skull exploded into the black mist and, was gone. ''To bad... I wanted to play a little longer. Oh well.'' He turned, returning his gaze toward's me. He sped over to me. ''So you are the last one well... not for long.'' His hand raised, he grabbed me by the chest. The sharp fingered gauntlet's dug into my chest, as he pulled me off the ground. I was helpless, another tear rolled down my cheek. He looked to his right. An arrow caught the man in the head. His helmet was flung off. Long, wavy, red hair flew in the few gust's of wind. His skin was ashen white. Squirly had sent the arrow. The man scowled, dropped me to the ground and, made his way over to Squirly who was still caughing blood. The bow dropped from his hand's. His hand's fell to the ground. Squirly! You stupid fool you should of played dead! I stuggled. I was able to shake and, wiggle nothing more. The man stood over Squirly. ''Know this before I kill you. Your family and, friends will be with you soon.'' He wrapped his right hand around Squirly's neck. He lifted him from the ground. His hand tightened, Squirly's face turned red. Goodbye Squirly. Tears rolled down my face. I wished i'd never givin him the name Squirly. It was a joke damnit! The man lifted his left hand . Made a fist and, swung it, where it smashed into Squirly's face. Blood flowed down his nose. The man tightened his grip. A loud cracking sound followed. Squirly's lifeless body fell to the ground. The man dusted his hand's off, which wern't dirty. He returned to me again. He lifted me by my tunic. His gaze tryed to meet mine. ''You are quite young arn't you?'' His left hand grabbed my chin. Turning it left and right, he examined me. ''I may just let you live, give me the crystal.'' He stripped my sword and bow from my back. ''I will release my spell. If you don't want to give me what I ask... You will die.'' I felt the life flow through me once again. My stomache still a little sick feeling. I shook as I reached my hand down to the pouch. He eyed my hand. I undid the tie on the pouch reached my hand in. I grabbed the crystal. It's warm touch, it setteled my stomache. I let it go, dropped it back. I reached for the emerald, which was cold and, looked identical. I pulled it out, raised my hand and, presented it to the man. He quickly grabbed it. His gauntlet's scratched my palm. He grinned and, spoke. ''I will tell you my name. The people of Seets will come to know it well in the coming day's.'' He laughed. ''Spread it, for my name is, Void.'' He punched me in the gut then, tossed me onto the ground where, I slid across the rocks and dirt. He whistled. His horse ran up side him. He ran along side it, matching it's speed. He jumped and mannaged to mount. He raced toward's the Owlcrest forest.

    Enclave snorted, he was free of the spell now. I stumbled to my feet and, fell. My head began to spin. Enclave nudged me with his nose. I tryed to raise again but, fell. My stomache turned. I hurled my breakfast. My chest was killing me, blood slowly seeped out of the five puncture wounds. Enclave layed beside me. I began to lose conscienceness.