Discourse in the Night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
On the eve of battle, a notorious vampire warlord and a human lord discuss the potential outcome of the war between the living and the dead.

Submitted: August 14, 2017

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Submitted: August 14, 2017

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Discourse in the Night

With the moon overhead, a battle rages outside the city of Penkurth. Inside Castle Karth the vampire Albrich von Karth and the human lord Malkom engage in discourse concerning the situation at hand.

Albrich: You have come to kill me?

Malkom: No.

Albrich: Then you have come to discuss?

Malkom nods solemnly.

Albrich: Very well. Then let us talk.

Albrich extends his arm towards a chair, offering it to Malkom. Malkom chooses to stand. Albrich nods, then turns towards the grand window overlooking the city. Flames from the distance dance on his face as he stares out towards the battle.

Malkom: You must stop this madness.

Albrich: Why are you really here, Malkom? Did they send you here as an attempt to distract me?

Malkom: I came of my own accord.

Albrich: Then speak sense. You know me, Malkom; you know who I am and what I aim to do. Therefore, you should also realize that there is no turning back at this point. I must see this through to the end.

Malkom: And an end you shall bring - to all things, if you do not cease this foolishness. Look around you; your war has brought chaos and destruction - not peace! You are helping no one.

Albrich turns his head slightly towards Malkom.

Albrich: Am I not? Have men not aligned themselves with one another? Vannemar and Ossitia, once sworn enemies, have now taken up arms together against a common foe. Men no longer squabble against one another; they’ve no time for that - not when they’re all equal in their desperation for survival.

Malkom: So that’s your goal? Raze their countries with their dead in order to force them to broker an alliance?

Albrich: To an extent, yes. Men need monsters, Malkom. Otherwise they become them.

Malkom: When does it all end… With your victory, or theirs?

There’s a noticeable pause before Albrich responds.  

Albrich: I… Do not know. I wish that I did. I’ve run the scenarios through my mind, but there is no noble outcome. If I win, they exist in perpetual fear and anxiety.

Malkom: Aye. Then let them win.

Albrich: Would that outcome be any better?

Albrich now turns fully towards Malkom.

Albrich: If men win they will celebrate. Solidarity will be at an all-time high. Monuments will be erected to remember the fallen, treaties signed to forgive past grudges, and all will sigh a breath of relief. But how long before they resume their petty scheming? In time, the new generations will forget the actions of their ancestors. The men and women they once saw as brothers and sisters will become to them nameless and faceless. And as the statues of their fallen heroes crack and crumble, they will raise swords for a new cause… Only against men this time.

Malkom: Peace, no matter how short-lived, is better than an ever-lasting war; solidarity and all.

Albrich: I agree.

Malkom: Then you will end this prolonged war?

Albrich: I will. In due time. But not forever.

Malkom: Speak plainly.I tire of your riddles, nightwalker.

Albrich grabs a glass off the table and empties it in one go.

Albrich: Like you’ve said, a war with no end is cruel. So I shall end it, for a time. They will have seemingly wiped out a great evil, and rejoice. But I shall always be there; in the darkest corners of their mind - as a reminder, and to keep them true. And, if I feel they are beginning to descend into disorder, I will return, threatening to bring about their permanent end.

Malkom: That is your solution? Your plan?

Albrich: It is a plan. You do not agree?

Malkom: And how many men and women will your constant reinforcement kill each time?

Albrich: (with bitterness in his voice) As many as it takes. Man has twisted this world to fit his needs, never working to live in harmony with what was already here. They will adapt or die; I hope for the former, but I can guarantee the latter.

Malkom: Why not rule them?

Albrich: Hmm?

Malkom: If you’re going to play the conqueror, why not take up the mantle of ruler? Keep them in line with your presence as much as your strength, and put away your armies for good.

Albrich: I have already considered this. It will not work.

Malkom: And why not?

Albrich: My direct involvement will only spread paranoia. They will not take kindly to a foreign king, least of all one that has won them over with their own dead. There will always be those that despise and plot against me, and they will be in constant clash with any that support me. I’ve done so much to unite them, it would undo all of my work.

Malkom: And when you die - when you finally die, who will continue your work? Who shall be here to maintain the new status quo?

Albrich: I have high hopes that by that time the world will no longer have any use for me.

The sound of a warhorn rings out through the city.

Albrich: Good news?

Malkom: I had hoped you would see reason. Forgive me for lying to you.

With that, Malkom throws himself to the side. As Albrich opens his mouth to speak, a large ballista bolt shatters the window, impaling him and pinning him against the wall on the far end of the room. Albrich’s body stands lifeless, bleeding profusely. As Malkom picks himself up he sees the once lifeless body twitch ghoulishly. Within moments Albrich awakens and begins pushing himself backwards off the bolt, with grunts leaving behind pieces of his entrails and other organs on the polished wood.

Malkon: (Horrified) All-Father preserve me.

Albrich turns slowly towards Malkom, holding his bleeding stomach. His lower jaw is coated in blood from his mouth during impact.

Albrich: No need to apologize, Malkom. You’ve made your choice, now live with the consequences. After all, in the end we are always alone in our actions.

The scene ends with Albrich limping towards Malkom, while shadowy creatures fly past the window towards the heart of the battle. 


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