The word limit is such a damn pain. No miracles this time. I had to write chapter, then skipped forward and somehow made a chapter that barely stands on it’s own, grr. And no, I did not rename the story (again) this is another one. And if you think I droped Emperor of One this round, you’re wrong, this thing here is a prequel! HA!
And I really considered writing a chapter in Emperor of One, but I kind of dug my grave (as far as theme requirement goes) with how I ended it last time—basically no feasible way to skip forward to something that fits, yey me.
Like I said, this is Ch.2 of Act I, you can read Ch.1 (Oasis) at the archives
1498 words (according to http://www.wordcounttool.com/
@Mario: I’ll only update this post so if I forget to write Final Entry by the end of the contest, just consider whatever is here the final version.
Act I - Penumbra
Night of the Execution
The evening of the execution came to pass, and night came. Warwind left the guards to search for Lilet and went to retire for the day, or so the tribunal thought. That night, accompanied by his men, he went outside town and in the forest met with Lilet. He explained how the guards will figure out she had escaped the town and will broaden their search soon. He threw to her his father’s lantern. Warwind then told her how she can use it to pierce the fog of the Sealed Forest and venture into a place known as the Castle of the Silver Moon, where nobody would be able to chase her. He would escort her there to make sure there is nothing with any thread. And so, lacking choice in the matter, Lilet followed with Warwind’s suggestion.
The road towards the castle was rough track though the forest with only the red and white light of the lantern to guide the way. Aside from the trees, grass and the smell of the bog, no living thing stood in front of them. It felt like they had walked for half a day, but when they reached the castle and exited the fog it was still night.
The castle was covered in thorns. Warwind’s party took a short break, then told Lilet they need to grasp the element of surprise, now. She paused, and then just gave a nod in agreement, and so they ventured in. It was not long and they came to a room with a sword implanted in a painting on the wall. At first glance the painting showed a giant dog, beasts of fire, darkness falling from the sky, a sea monster with nine heads, the ground dying, and seas boiling. Warwind approaches the sword and attempted to pull it out of the wall. He tried several times but the sword did not budge. He calls several of his men to pull together, to no avail.
“Lilet, come here and try to pull it out.” said Warwind
“Is it… necessary to pull it out?” said Lilet
“It may be cursed, leaving it is dangerous.” said Warwind, staring at the sword
And so she approaches the sword and grabs it.
“I feel energy coming from the grip.” she says
“Don’t worry I’ve felt it too.” said Warwind
And so she pulls on the sword, with all her might. The sword doesn’t budge but the walls shake.
“Try again Lilet.” says Warwind
And she does. She pulls and she pulls, and the castle shakes. And eventually as she pulls spikes impale her hand from the grip. She wants to let go but the sword compels her to pull harder and the castle shakes more violently. Then the sword edge cracks and the long shaft which was the swords grip breaks off and Lilet rolls on the floor still hanging onto the grip, or rather the grip still holding to her hand. She tries to get up, but her feet won’t hold her, and she sways around until she hits the window on the opposite wall. Her hand is now covered in blood.
Warwind and one of his men heads to the blades remains, their faces perplexed.
“Lord Warwind.” said Lilet
“Is that fog outside magical?”
“Yes. Only the lantern can pierce it.” said the assistant
“Then doesn’t that mean one of us is stranded then.” replies Lilet
“If you take the lantern, I won’t be able to leave, if the lantern stays with me you won’t be able to leave.”
“Don’t worry miss, you just come with us and then come back to the castle on your own.” replied the assistant pointing at the lantern
Warwind pushes him back and yells.
“Your services are no longer required girl.”
“Sorry, but have you any last wish.”
“I knew it. You’re no friend of my father.” said Lilet
“My only wish in life was to become a knight.”
“Your father was a demon hunter. The title is equivalent to that of knight.” said Warwind
“Since the children of knights have the right to become knights themselves, you have it too foolish girl.”
“My father wished for me to become a fair lady, but my desire has always been to become a knight. Thank you.” said Lilet
“You do understand a knight must protect the weak, which would include even those fools whom sentenced you to death.” said Warwind
Lilet smiled, stood up and said “Yes, I shall protect the foolish as well.” and charged towards Warwind with the grip of the weapon still in hand. Warwind aimed for her legs but Lilet blocked by forcing the grip into the floor and countered with a kick to his abdomen, knocking him back and on his knees. She then leaned on the shaft forward to loosen it from the floor and with her right hand grabbed the bottom of it, and swung it from the back, over her head, forward; just like an axe. But the shaft did not connect with Warwind’s head. One of his soldiers parried the blow with his spear, while another lanced her heart from behind. As the soldier jerked the spear out, Lilet fell to her knees while leaning on the shaft.
As her life fled from her lungs, magic runes and smoke appeared on the shaft, and more blood continued to drip from her hand. Everyone took several steps back, weapons ready to strike. Lilet could not see the markings, as her vision had faded to darkness long before her knee touched the ground. She looked up but saw only darkness, she looked down and then a scream chilling as the winter wind yelled “DON’T look down!” As she lifted her head a giant phantom had appeared before her at no more then an arms length.
“W-Who…W-What are thow?” asked Lilet
“I am the spirit of the void, Mephistopheles, once of your world, but no longer.”
“The sword you hold is a special medium, known as The Reaper’s Grimoire.”
“Over the millennia, as a weapon, it has had many names, Valkyrie, Vajra, Nægling, Gungnir, Caladbolg, Durendal, among the most common.”
“Only those of pure spirit who die a honorable death in battle may wield the sword, and only a maiden may release it’s full power.”
“So what say you young sword maiden, will you hear my plea?”
“Don’t tempt me demon. I am the daughter of a demon hunter, I know your tricks and of your temptation. Begone! I shall not sell my soul to you.” replied Lilet
“I am one of seven masters of fate. I am a demon, but not a devil.”
“I do not wish for thow soul, nor the souls of other mortals.”
“Had I been a devil and wished for souls I could have had those of the fools you’ve fauth.”
“And you are a witch. You have a incomplete soul since the day of your birth, hence your ability to merge with nature’s elements and use magic with out a magic stone.”
“But a incomplete soul lacks clarity, not even the greediest of devils would bother.”
“I ask of thee only one task, prevent the apocalypse.”
“I am a knight, demon. I shall not yield to your fiendish tongue.” said Lilet
“How should I know if your actions are not merely a consequence of some restraint.”
“As a knight, I am nothing like you, who seeks any means to your ends, I work only in the service of justice and the weak.”
“BEGONE I say!” screamed Lilet
“It is because thow are a fledgling knight that I make this plea.” replied Mephisto
“Is the risk you would bear as my agent, not worth saving the people from oblivion?”
“Name the terms for this service I ask of you.”
Lilet, paused for a moment and considered his words. Then asked that she will agree to his task if she would keep her freedom of choice and if the task was only to be accomplished following the code of knighthood and justice. Much to her surprise the demon agreed to her terms. The blood that had dripped onto the sword was suddenly absorbed into the shaft sealing the pact, her skin turned white as snow, her hair turned black as night, her wounds threw smoke and closed. And as she lifted from the ground and opened her eyes her iris and pupil turned white, and a black disk surrounded them. As she took hold of the sword with her left hand and raised it up and pointed it to her right, facing back, a white blade appeared. Mephisto then whispered to Lilet:
“The blade is your very soul. It shall never dull and never break.”
“It’s edge will cut and kill anything, even a ghost, even a god.”
“May it serve you well, for you will need it.”