The Lord of Night

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”  -William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Chapter 4 (v.1) - To Hell I Wander

Submitted: August 18, 2016

Reads: 128

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Submitted: August 18, 2016

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Somehow, dashing through the Tenebrous Silva and groping her way forward in the day time forest, Zonoran was able to made it back to her village, Roinvir. Her friends and family greeted her with the utmost worry, bombarding her with questions on where was she gone for the past month, and how did she managed to made it back to the village. Zonoran, both emotionally and physically drained more than anything, excuse herself by saying that she was sick, and retreated into her small wooden hut.

There, inside the warm, cozy space of her sanctuary, Zonoran wept her heart out. She laid upon her bed and sobbed until her eyes were swollen, and she felt as if her heart had been torn to pieces.

I should have listened to the words my parents left me with before they had passed away, she attempted to wipe off the streaks of tears from her face only to fail miserably, the love of a dangerous man is like poison to the soul. I should have listened to them. Should have heeded that warning. 

Some of her relatives had heard her cries, and called onto her to open the huts door. The elven maid ignored them, sullenly burying herself within a pile of blankets amidst the coziness of her bed. Before long, she descended into sleep, and an uneasy dream.

In the dream, she was living happily with Luxus. When she was about to kiss him, the necromancer turned into the grotesque grim reaper, and cleaved off her neck with his massive scythe. Zonoran woke up with a gasp, breathing heavily as if she had been running. A sheen of cold sweat was glistening upon her creamy skin, bathed by the tender moonlight.

It is already dark? I had not planned to be sleeping this long, The elven maid mused, struggling to get out of her bed. Shouts and clamors filled the night air, and along with them were the crackling of flames and clash of blades.

What on earth is happening? Zonoran pondered groggily. She stood upon her bed, trying to get a better glimpse of the village outside through the windows carved in the side of her hut. The elven maid was frozen in horror as she stared at the village blazing all around her. Vile orcs, armed with swords and axes, were roaring in bloodlust as they butchered the elven villagers. The horrid, monstrous creatures were mounted upon huge scorpions, their blades drained in crimson as they hacked at the frail, helpless villagers.

Zonoran gasped in panic as an orc spotted her gazing at the bloody massacre. It veered its mount toward her hut, and before long, the elven maid could hear heavy crashes against her wooden door, which had started to shatter and broke off in splinters. She screamed in terror as the door was smashed apart, and a band of orcs rushed into the cottage. In a flash, the marauders had overwhelmed her. The last thing Zonoran remembered were their blood-encrusted blades coming down in a blur.

Zonoran, Luxus pondered glumly, I cant even stop thinking about her. Never before in his four hundred years of life had he regretted anything as much as letting Zonoran went away the way she did. He had desperately wanted to explain to her, to clarify that those words he had said to the grim reaper were not true

If it the truth that I had told him, Luxus mused, by the oath of blood and shadows between us, he will reap out your souls and add it to his collection. I cannot let him do that to you, Zonoran, not now and not ever. Luxus had made a dark deal with the reaper, pledging years of servitude in exchange for access into the realms of the damned and in summoning the spirits of undead warriors onto this world of the living. The contract had stated that, should he be in love with anyone, the reaper could go after those people and took their souls into its possession, much like how Luxus had his spirit in the reapers grasp.

Zonoran, if you would just not run away before I could explain to you the whole situation Upon Luxuss face was a look of regret, and his gaze forward was tinged with sorrow, I love you, Zonoran, and everything that had transpired between us had been truer than anything else in my life.

All of a sudden, swooping down from the starry night sky was a gray-feathered crow. Its eyes were black hollows, and its form trailed bits of soot with each flap of its wings, as if the creatures had been conjured from dusts and ashes. It perched upon Luxuss shoulder, and gawked in a bestial language no one could understand but the necromancer. After it had finished the report, the crow flapped its wings and soared into the night.

With a startled look upon his face, Luxus exclaimed, Zonoran!” I had been the one who had driven her away. Luxus pondered woefully, if it was not for me, she would still be here, safe and sound. I will not let any harm befall you, Zonoran, not while I still draw breath!

Looking over his shoulder at Grathgor, Luxus motioned at the knight of thorns. Within a moment, the knight was beside him, his serrated falchion and spike shield drawn and ready. Lifting his staff, Luxus chanted an incantation, Calignine.” His voice was shrill and menacing, his words tinged with an aura of dark magic.  

Umbrosus Sceletus Bigae.” From the surface of the earth, streams of dusts and ashes gathered to form a grisly chariot of bones and debris, led by a pair of burnt skeletal horses. The beasts were shrouded in a shimmering coat of pale gray flames, their eyes hollow sockets amidst their bones, scorched black. Jutting out from the wheels of the chariot were barbed spear blades, designed to hack through enemies surrounding the vehicle of death. They give a shrill neigh as Luxus mounted upon the chariot, Grathgor nimbly joining him on the side.

Go! Gallop to Roinvir!” Luxus commanded, his face screwed up and tense. His voice was tinged with a sense of urgency and dread. I cannot lose you, Zonoran. Do not give up on me, not just yet!

The chariot stormed through the dim path leading through Tenebrous Silva like a bolt of thunder. The skeletal horses showed no signs of fatigue, and they galloped onward through the long night. Luxus was shaking, not from the cold, for he was used to it, but from the immense dread clawing at his heart. A sheen of sweat clung to his brows and forehead, and Luxus swiped it away nervously.

Zonoran, just wait for me. Stay safe! The necromancer pleaded, the inner voice of his thought tinged with desperation. The chariot zoomed pass the dark woods, and over bridges that spanned across the Distria and Tristria Rivers that coursed through the forests of Tenebrous Silva. At long last, Luxus could glimpse a cloud of smoke drifting up from the regions before him, and he spurred the stallions forward even more fervently. As the chariot rolled up to the village, Luxus stared at it in dread.

Numerous wooden dwellings of the elves were burned to the ground, their blackened ruins searing with leaping tongues of orange flames. Littered among the streets were the corpses of elves, men and women, old and young. Their heads were lobbed off, their bodies hacked apart, limbs dismembered. The paths through the village ran red with blood, oozing from the ghastly elven corpses, their mouths gaped open as if in a last scream.

Luxus dismounted from the chariot, which soon disintegrate into a cloud of ashes, and darted into the village, Grathgor following him close behind. The deeper Luxus went, the more agitated he became. There was not a single survivor in sight, only mangled corpses clogging the dirt ground. Along the way, Luxus encountered some orcs, clad in dented iron plates crusted with blood. The spoils of previous raids and massacres.

The necromancer lifted his staff and chanted a spell, his face twisted in black rage, Et vocavi vos, tutores cinis!” From beneath the earth emerged dozens of hands, gray as death. Conjured and brought to life from the ashes of the deceased, infused with the souls of ancient warriors, the ash guardians stood defiantly before the horde of orc warriors.

Occide!” Luxus yelled, and the guardians charged forward, their broadswords unsheathed and glinting dully amidst the blaze of the surrounding flames. The two sides clashed with screams of steel and iron. Their blades scraped violently against one another, sending forth showers of sparks to sizzle upon the sodden forest floor. The opposing forces viciously hacked at the flesh of their foes, the brute strength of orcs pitted against the undead resilience of the ash guardians. However, as the skirmish dragged on, with blows landed and blades slicked in blood, the orcs were increasingly daunted by the guardians unstoppable advance. Even with their heads lobbed off, chest plunged through, or limbs dismembered, the ash guardians marched on, rapidly regenerating and showing no signs of the injuries that were here only moments ago.

The orcs were instilled with a terror for these creatures that felt no pain, knew no fear, and had no remorse. As the orcs were brutally cut down, one by one, some of the remaining warriors fled in fright. The guardians went in after them, plunging blades through hearts, cleaving through skulls, slashing gaping wounds across backs and chests, beheading the orcs who had defiled this once beautiful village. One of the fiends managed to get away, and the only ash guardian equipped with a bow raised up his stave of rotten wood, and let loose a steel-tipped arrow. The arrow plunged directly between the orcs collarbones, and the wretched fiends collapsed face first onto the muddy ground.

I must get to Zonoran! Luxus hurried forward through the rows of burnt wooden huts, his minions disintegrating into piles of ashes besides him. With Grathgor by his side, Luxus strode to the periphery of Roinvir, where they are starting to glimpse the scuttling and moving shadows of orcs. Luxuss heart pounded in apprehension as he approached a cottage by the end of the path. Before him laid the pale and still body of Zonoran. Her eyelids were closed, her hands laid down limply by her side. Soaking the blue fabric of the elfs dress, a pool of blood, bright as rubies, was blossoming out from a sword thrust through her chest. Luxuss heart seemed to clenched on itself, as both terror and a black rage took hold of him,

Zonoran!” The necromancer howled, and made an attempt to reach the elven maid. The band of orcs surrounding the area had spotted him, and rushes forward to block Luxuss approach. Their grotesque mouths were parted in a snarl, drool dripping down from their curved fangs.

Bastards!” Luxus cursed, his voice wrathful. His eyes were wide and blazing with fury. “Get out of my way! Grathgor.” The necromancer motioned at the knight of thorns beside him. In a flash, Grathgor was charging forward into the ranks of orcs, his falchion brandished and the spiked shield by his side. Following the thorn knight were dozens of the ash guardians, silently rushing forward against the ranks of blades. Their blades fell in a mad frenzy, as if reflecting the feelings that were overwhelming their master and threatening to tear him apart. Luxus leaped forward, and was beside Zonoran in an instant,

Zonoran, please. Please stay with me!” Luxus cried grievously at the elven maids unmoving body. At that moment an orc hiding behind Zonorans hut lunged at him, its axe blade coming down in a savage arc.

With a roar, Luxus was on his feet, Umbra Nemorosus!” An aura of dust and ashes surged forward to envelop the necromancer, absorbing the force of the orcs swing. Hundreds of skull faces, crafted from ash and shadows, emerged from the dark shroud. Within the spirits clutches were swords and axes, spears and maces, weapons of every kind imaginable. They reached out their skeletal hands and hauled the orc into their midst, pinning him down and took turns plunging their blades into the fiend until the orc was nothing more than grisly chunks of flesh.

Around him, the battle continued to rage on around Luxus. Grathgor blocked the axe swing of a huge orc warrior, and rammed his spiked shield right into the fiends face. As it staggered back with a painful howl, the knight of thorns rammed his falchion into the orcs gullet. Withdrawing the blade, it was drenched in inky black demonic ichor and remnants of the demons guts. As he whipped back, Grathgor brought his blade across the body of another orc, instantly cleaving its body in half.

An orc gurgled blood and crumpled as an ash guardian thrust a blade through its throat. Another orc managed to behead a guardian, only to have its wrist chopped off, then its skull hacked apart in a series of blows. When they were done, the corpses of orcs clogged the streets, while the remaining fiends scuttled back in terror. Luxus let them go, not having the heart for a vengeful pursuit. He dropped onto his knees, and bent down toward Zonoran.

Zonoran, the necromancer whispered in a voice tinged with desperation. His eyes were streaked with tears, Could you hear me, Zonoran? Please, tell me if you could still hear me…”

Coughing up goblets of blood, the elven maids eyelids fluttered open, Luxus, she croaked, a thin stream of blood trickling down the corners of her mouth. Zonorans pale blue eyes were glassy, coated by the whitish film of death. “Oh, Luxus. I am a fool.” The elven maid shook as she coughed out another path of blood.

Luxuss gaze at Zonoran was drenched in a pool of sorrow. His eyes were moist as he struggled to held back tears. In a brittle voice, Luxus soothed the maiden, You are going to be all right, Zonoran. I promise. Jus do not move much. You are going to be alright.” Luxus repeated the words as if it was a mantra, as if he was trying to confine the elven maid as much as convincing himself.

It took me this long, Zonoran continued in a raspy voice, for me to realize how much I love you. This moment of my passing…” Zonoran whispered, her voice trembling. Luxus wanted to sooth her, correct her that she is going to be fine, and they are going to walk out of this together. Deep down inside, however, the necromancer knew that there is nothing he could do that could save her now. Absolutely and utterly nothing. With tears streaming down his face, Luxus listened on intently,

No matter which of the things you had said to me were truth and which were lies, Luxus, I love you. I felt hurt, and pained, but deep down, I still love you too much for it to matter.” With the passing time, Zonorans chest was rising and falling more slowly, and the elven maid was visibly struggling to breath.

Those days that we spent together, Luxus. Those were the happiest days of my life, getting to know you and spend our time together. Getting to embrace you and love you. Getting to acknowledge what a wonderful person you are, with a heart purer than the shroud of fear and desolation that pushed you away from others.” Blood was now soaking Zonorans dress, rendering it lack under the light of the surrounding flames. The elven maid raised up her hand to cupped Luxuss cheek.  

You are a good person, Luxus, always remember that.” She said, desperately gasping for breath, Do not give up on people.” In a shuddering voice, as if she could no longer hold onto her pain, Zonoran rasped, Never forget that I love you…” With a final gasp, Zonorans eyelids fluttered close, and her hands dropped limply onto her side.

Luxus stared at her in a mix of shock and horror, and howled, his voice drowned in sorrow, Zonorannnn!”

For a while, Luxus clutched upon Zonorans cold, lifeless body and wept his heart out. All of a sudden, he raised up his head, his eyes blazing with a terrifying intensity. “I will not let her leave, even it if meant giving up my soul in return!” Luxus exclaimed defiantly, his voice tinged with a bitter determination. In a voice that was like thunder, the necromancer roared,

Porta Infernum!” From the ground beside him erupted a massive double-doors, wrought from dull onyx stones. The doors were etched with the images of hundreds of souls screaming in horror, driven by reapers with enormous curved scythes. Ghostly flames licked upon the frames of the double doors, and its handles were wrought from bleached collection of bones. It was those handles that Luxus grasp upon and yanked the doors open, before leaping inside, diving into the lightless void.

Zonoran, I will rescue you, no matter what the cost! Luxus mused recklessly as he lunged into the realm of souls and spirits. Just before he was engulfed by the utter darkness beyond the doors, Luxus thought he could see the form of Grathgor rushing toward him, trying to stop the necromancer from wandering down the road onto Hell.

There is nothing you could do, Grathgor. Luxus pondered, his face grim and set. It is my own choice, and my choice alone. I had put my soul into this bargain, in trying to win back what is dearest to me

Emerging into a real where there seemed to be nothing other than darkness, Luxus landed on a narrow route of dark stones. Flanking him on both sides were abysses so deep that there seemed to be no bottom to it, and should he fell off the path, his soul would surely be consumed for an eternity. From the veils of shadows enveloping what is now his world, thousands, millions of hands belonging to wrestles spirits grasped out. They screeched inhuman wails and shrieks, reaching out and trying to yank Luxus to be with them. Their eyes were pitch-black sockets that seemed to follow his every movement, of the mortal who dared thread into the realms of the dead.

Luxus waved them away with savage cries and swings of his staff. As the spirits receded from him, hat is when the necromancer saw it. At the end of his path was the glowing form, the spirit of an elven maid. The spirit was robed in what had once been a blue velvet dress, with one of the fairest face he had ever seen.

Zonoran, Luxus mused as his heart seemed to have started to beat again ever since the moment that he had lose her. I will take you back from this accursed place!

The necromancer stumbled forward across the patch of rock and darkness, and called out to the glowing form of the woman that had been the love of his life, Zonoran!” Luxus said in a despondent plea, Come with me. I will bring you back to the place where we once lived!”

The spirit seemed to heard him, for she turned her head toward the hopeful look upon Luxuss face. Unable to contain himself any longer, the necromancer lurched forward and took Zonorans glowing wrist within his hand, Let us go back to where we belong!”

However, something seemed to be holding the spirit back, a demonic pull back toward the abyss whence she came. Luxus snapped his head back, and stared in terror at the huge skeletal hand clutching upon the body of the elven maid. Around him, a low, guttural voice, one that Luxus knew so well, boomed. Its tone was frigid, tinged with a sense of rage and amusement that instilled a sense of overwhelming dread within the necromancers heart.

Luxus, The grim reaper howled, as his massive skeletal face loomed up before Luxus, Even if it was you, the mortal whom I had known so well, and often dealt with, a living soul is forbidden from entering the realms of the damned.” The reapers tone was wrathful, but at the same moment betraying a slight sense of amusement. “Not even dwelling upon the fact that you tried to sneak one of my souls behind my back, out into the realm of the living.” At this, the grim reapers jaws moved in a humorless chuckle,

Oh, Luxus, even for you, there is a heavy price to be paid if you yearned to bring back a spirit who had once been in my grasp.” Unfazed, Luxus thundered back at the hollow face of the grim reaper, What do I need to give away, then? Luxus hollered in an undaunted tone, My eyes, ears, I could even give you my heart, if that is what you desired.” The necromancers tone was filled with a desire so unyielding, that he would be willing to give up anything in order to achieve it.

Oh no, Luxus, The reaper replied in a frigid tone, It is your soul that I desired.”

Luxus tensed, his mouth set in a grim line. He himself had half-expected that the reaper would force him into such an exchange. I am ready The necromancer mused in defiance as he listened on.

After your passing from the mortal realm, you will serve under me, as my collector of souls. You will roam the realms of the earth, harvesting soul of the damned that have gone astray, and brought them back to me. You shall never reincarnate again, for your spirit would be forever bound to me. For an eternity….” The reapers skeletal mouth quirked up in a malicious smile.

With his eyes blazing with a tenacious determination, Luxus declared, I shall take your offer in exchange of Zonorans freedom, and your permission for her soul to traverse back into the realm of living.” The necromancer spoke sternly, his voice devoid of any doubt or uncertainty. The only expression that betrayed the slight fear that under laid him were the quivering look within Luxuss stare.

Very well. Very well.” The grim reaper guffawed mirthlessly, his laughter shrill and ghoulish. “I will depend on you to pertain to our agreement, Luxus. When the time comes!” In an explosion of smoke and cinders, the reapers form dissipated like a cloud of ashes. Where his skeletal head once loomed, the huge double doors that had lead Luxus into this realm stood, spilling bright rays of light into this accursed place. Finally Luxus thought as he dragged Zonoran along with him back to the realm of living. As they dived through it, the light spilling through the gate before them shone like hope and the promises of a thousand suns.

 

A week after the incident

Zonoran, do not go wandering off on your own!” Luxus shouted after the elven maid, who was blithely darting across the verdant hill. The grasses were green shoots and sprouts, and the wildflowers blooming magnificently in the bright summer sunlight. The necromancers features were plagued with worry as Zonoran scampered off, heedless of his cautions.

It is fun to be alive, Luxus! You should stop brooding and come to join me!” Zonoran yelled as she nimbly bounded along rows of wildflowers dotting the lush hillside.

Luxuss gaze was fixated upon the twin strands of silver-white hair that fringed Zonorans blonde curls. It had been a reminder, a reminiscence that the elven maid had once had an encounter with death, and it only barely let her go. The necromancers look was one pure-hearted joy, mixed with a bittersweet sorrow. Zonoran had forgotten everything about her trip down into the realms of spirits, and had only woken up after that remembering that she had been gravely wounded.

She had been beyond grateful that Luxus had rescued her once again, and embraced him so tightly that Luxus thought she would have broken all of his ribs. With tears streaming down her face, Zonoran insisted that she will never leave him again, nor will he left her or hid anything from her. Luxus had agreed, despite the guilt of the knowledge of the dark secret the necromancer had been keeping from the woman that he loved so dearly. For he could not have told it to her, could not told it to Zonoran that he had exchanged his own soul for her salvation.

It would only bring her feelings of guilt, which I had no intention of burdening upon her. The death of her relatives and kinsmen had been more than enough to wound Zonoran. Luxuss gaze upon the elven maid was filled with affection, as she jovially called out to him to join her amidst the field of flowers. With a sigh, Luxus glanced down at his open palm. Across the skin of his right hand was branded a black mark, a spot where the reaper’s curse had been placed upon him.

This will always remind me that there is a deal between us to be respected, Luxus mused dreadfully, deal with the grim reaper is not something that could be broken, not without destroying oneself and everything the one held dear. Luxus mused in a resigned manner.

It does not matter. Even if I would never reincarnate and able to experience the joys of living ever again. Luxuss gaze upon Zonoran softened to one of fondness and care,

In that way, Zonoran, I could watch over you, and be your guardian angel. Forever…...  


© Copyright 2020 S. K. Inkslinger. All rights reserved.

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