Fade to White: Descending into Darkness

Reads: 3972  | Likes: 4  | Shelves: 3  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

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


I'm very sorry about how long this took!!!



I was planning on finishing up a few chapters to release them week by week, but last couple weeks have had me work pretty hard at work, so I didnt have enough time to write as much as I wanted... I
will try this with 25 and on, though, so I'll say such in advance!



Anyway, now that that's done, Enjoy the chapter!

Chapter 24 (v.1) - The Eldest Civilization: Babylon

Submitted: January 04, 2020

Reads: 38

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 04, 2020

A A A

A A A

Chapter 24: The Eldest Civilization, Babylon




 

"Ah… well, you see…", Shirou said, barely concealing his nerves behind a facade made of a half-assed smile. The unknown soldier above him was unmoving, piercing Shirou's soul with his solid gaze as he repeated, "That energy, the light. If you yourself did not create it, you know who did so. Speak now or you and your unconscious friend will be left in his desert to die when the next Dune Tunneler arrives."

 

Shirou hesitated still. He didn't know what he was going to do with Lycana if he did tell her, yet he didn't want to die before reaching Babylon and lose his chance of finding Rose. His nervous look shifted to a solid stare matching the soldier's in intensity. The two eyes remained locked together until a voice came from the distance, where Shirou had just left. "Shirou! Where are you?!"

 

His attention had been taken completely from the soldier, who had lowered his weapon in the instant he saw the demigod's reaction to the female's voice coming from afar.

"From the look on your face, Shirou, the owner of that voice is the answer to my question."

With his remark spoken, he commanded his horse to go forward to the voice, leaving Shirou to scramble to his feet as he tried to stop the man's advancement in time. By the time Shirou started off into a sprint the soldier had reached the furthest reaches of the sand cloud, his sword drawn and held at his side while he charged toward Lycana.

 

Lycana limped carefully toward the sand cloud Shirou had wandered into before. He had to be in there somewhere, she was sure of it. He probably was just too far away to properly hear her. A couple more steps she took, before seeing a silhouette forming in the cloud.

"Shirou, there you are!"

 

"Lycana, get out of the way!"Shirou's voice shouted from the cloud as the silhouette Lycana saw shifted to form a person on horseback. Their horses had succumbed to the giant worm when it attacked them, so it couldn't be Shirou. Lycana reached her left hand to her side and called her hammer to her side as the figure emerges from the cloud. She moved her hand down a moment before it would reach her grasp, sending the sparking hammer shooting straight toward the horseman wielding the curved sword. 

He had a moment to respond to Mjölnir as it sailed right for him and he used his moment of time to leap off of the horse, allowing it to unfortunately take the blow for him as it dropped like a stone into the sand, sending the unconscious Alucard flying back from the sudden jolt and right into Shirou.

 

The man rolls in the sand for a few moments before taking a crouched pose a few feet in front of the unarmed Lycana, a dark magic circle appearing for a moment in front of his palm before he drove his hand into the sand. The top layer of sand in front of him shuddered and became displaced, a light cloud rising to ankle level before the sandy earth shot up and solidified quicker than Lycana could react, imprisoning her in solid, cubic-shaped sandstone.

 

"Gah!" Lycana shouted as she struggled in the tight space she found herself in, her face left uncovered so she could only watch as the unknown horseman…

...Sheathed his sword and approached her slowly? He looked over the girl's confused and angry face and back to the demigod, who had set Alucard beside him. "So, you were the one who unleashed that lightning…"The man said before turning around and kneeling down to pick up some sand. Grains trailed from his palm which a fingerless glove was worn over, revealing more of his tan skin. Another small magic circle appeared over his palm, drawing the sand into the center of the circle as a sphere before shooting it up into the sky. The circle turned green and fired a bolt high into the sky, colliding with the sphere and exploding into a massive green explosion which spread out as the grains of sand floated further away in the air.

 

A response, albeit delayed by a minute, came from far away. Multiple identical green shots fired from miles away, carried away by the wind and fading away with his own. 

"My subordinates will be arriving shortly with more horses and supplies, from the distance I'd say in roughly ten minutes time. It's another 10 hour's ride from here to the city, however." He said as he walked toward his horse, which had obviously seen much better days. Having taken a direct, frontal strike from Mjölnir, many bones had been broken in several places and had made it lame, should it survive the damage.

"This hammer…" he said, looking over Mjölnir, which had flown into the ground inches from the horse after impact, "It is quite… unusual. Not only can it create some sort of lightning, it is also capable of independent flight and…" He reached his hand and grasped the handle to be rejected with a sudden shock. "It doesn't allow just anyone to touch it. If my memory of the old tales are correct… You, girl, somehow came into possession of the Legendary Hammer of Thor, Mjölnir. This development is something my Queen would be delighted to learn."

 

"Queen? So you serve Babylon, then?" Shirou asked, drawing the soldier's attention as he answered "Yes, I do. I lead a group of men who patrol the vast desert and… Wait. That reminds me, why are you three here? Surely you are aware of the dangers of crossing the Southern Deadlands, no?" Shirou sighed softly as he replied, "Yeah, we are. Even more so now than when we started off. We're here from Alfheim to request your Queen's assistance in matters which could likely reach her doorstep soon, er- no offense meant to you and your scouts." The soldier raised an eyebrow in intrigue as he asked, "Oh, and what threat would be so idiotic as to attack us, the City in the Desert?"

 

"Hell itself." Shirou said in reply, his tone stern. "They destroyed Skögur in a single night and killed my friend's father, the King of Bloodfall, and have kill- taken someone… we care deeply about."

The soldier whistled, looking up at the blue sky. "So the rumors are true, huh? People who fled the apparent destruction of the capital came to our gates begging for assistance. The Queen… she wouldn't see them. Passed them off as mere rumors but kept the people. She's not entirely cruel as people say, you see. So long as you work hard and be of use to the city, you have a place in Babylon." 

He looked back down to the sandy ground, eyeing the unconscious Alucard from the corner of his view as he said, "Still, to think I put the prince of Bloodfall to sleep…- Ah, I don't mean anything rude by it…" 

His sideways glance turned into a full look at the vampire as he continued, "He was half-buried in the sand when I found him. Still awake and in pretty severe pain, from the Tunnelers bile no doubt. From the density of energy I felt from his wounds, some healing spell was at work, but it was struggling against the continuous burn of the acid so I used a spell to knock him out so the spell could work without him having to feel the pain."

 

The male, after he finished speaking, drew a small knife from a sheath at his back. He turned his attention back to his damaged horse, slowly running his hand down it's muzzle before undoing the part of the harness around it, slowly petting it to calm it down. Once it's breathing came to a pace considered stable, given it's condition, the man brought the knife to its throat and sliced swiftly. Blood sprayed from the wound as the horse struggled for a few moments, its movements slowing as it died, twitching idly before becoming still.

 

The two around him, Shirou and Lycana, looked down at the dead horse with a slight pained expression as it stopped struggling.

"Do not mourn for it. It was better it died here, as it would never walk again. As for transport my subordinates will be arriving shortly, in another minute or so. If you look due east you can see them riding from here." The two looked into the distance, turning around to look but all they saw was the sun setting.

 

"Ahem. The other way. That's westward, not eastward." The man said to the two, his tone laced with annoyance. 

"Oh… sorry-" The two said in unison with a muted tone as they turned around to face east, seeing the rising dust cloud from the incoming group of horsemen.

One, two, three… six soldiers in armor identical to the other man's ride more into view, just a few moments away from the four. The short distance closes between the four as the horsemen themselves stop quickly and dismount from their horses. 

"Commander Saab, are you unharmed?!" The group all said in unison, surrounding him while cutting Shirou and Lycana off from him. He raises his arms slightly and gestures for space, which his subordinates grant him immediately. 

"I'm honored by your concern, but I am completely unhae, unfortunately was not as lucky. Needless to say I'll be riding with one of you." The soldier, Commander Saab, said firmly, turning to gesture to Alucard and finally the other two behind him.

"These three have urgent matters for our Queen and as such need to be transported to the City with us. The unconscious one was wounded by the Tunneler we were sent to repel and needs a secure place to get properly healed."

His eyes meet Shirou's and then Lycana's before turning around.

"Load your things. Shirou, you shall ride with Kiran. Lycana, was it? You shall ride with Aaron. We don't have much time left before it's dark, I'd like to get part way back before nightfall." He says this to the two before walking to the horses, climbing behind one of the soldiers. Shirou and Lycana exchange looks before going after what's left of their supplies and meeting with Saab's group.


 

The sky has become mostly black, a slight trace of crimson light on the horizon. Saab's group, Shirou and company included, ride quickly back to Babylon. Prior to starting, just an hour ago, Saab had given the group an order to return with as little rest as possible. Saab's men were silently concerned by the order but did not question his judgement. Openly, at least. 

 

The horse's hooves beat into the sand, kicking up grains into the air as they quickly sprint back to the city. Shirou and Lycana held onto their riders firmly, Alucard tied around the waist to his. 

"Mmmn… u-ugh…" 

Groans came from the vampire as the jolting movements of the horse began to bring him out of his magically-induced slumber.

"Huh…- Wait- Where am I?!" He said in a panic, blinded by the darkness for a moment before his eyes adjusted, able to see monochrome shades in the dark as he scans the area for familiar faces. His eyes find Shirou's, who he tries to call out to before being cut off by the rider.

"Calm the hell down, man! If you spook the damn horse we'll go nowhere fast."

"And why the hell should I listen to someone who has me tied around their waist?!" The vampire snapped back.

"It wasn't my idea, jackass! Shit feels uncomfortable to me too, it's only on until we get to Babylon."

"Babylon? Who told you we were going there? Are you part of that bastard Beelze-" 

 

"Alucard, it's fine!" Shirou's voice called out, "We were found by Commander Saab and his men. They're taking us to meet the Queen, you don't need to worry."

 

"Shirou-?! Thank good- Ack!" Alucard shouted as he bent forward, bringing his hands near his back as he clawed at his sides in pain.

"Oh, for fuck's sake! You didnt say anything about having someone bleed on me!" Alucard's rider said in frustration, looking at the vampire from over his shoulder. Alucard doubled over in pain as his ring glowed a brilliantly shining emerald green as it continues to heal the wounds on his back, ushering him 

slowly into a painless sleep once again. "Tch. At least he's calmed down." The disgruntled rider mumbled to himself as he focuses on the path ahead. Lycana and Shirou watched 

Alucard's episode quietly and sighed softly, thinking the same thing to themselves.

"Is this… my fault too?"

 

Hours pass into the night, the moon once which was once rising into the sky reaches it's silver climax in the black sky. Shirou and Lycana have long since joined Alucard in slumber, sleeping quietly on the back of the horses they ride upon. A sudden jolt awakened Shirou, his eyes shooting open as he looks around in the darkness. His darting eyes meet a wall of flame, though that in itself was inaccurate. Lanterns burn brightly along a pale colored wall, a wall of sandstone reaching higher than the flames can illuminate. The torches illuminate a dark colored gate, seeming to be made of wood due to it's glossy sheen. Near the gate are two guards in light armor, approaching the group. 

"Evening, Saab. You're certainly out late. What happened?" One of the men ask. "I ran into a bit of trouble with the Tunneler I was assigned to drive off. Everything's fine, I'll report to the Queen in the morning, so would you let me pass?" Saab said with a matter-of-fact tone.

"Sure thing, but who are these people you've brought with you?" The other guard asks, his polearm's shaft resting on his shoulder as he asked.

"Ah, them? They're part of the trouble I mentioned. The fools actually thought sightseeing in the desert was a good idea!" Saab said, feigning a laugh that the guards returned. "So, they'll be a part of the report I assume? Alrighty then." The guard wielding a polearm said before turning to the wall.

"Hey! Saab's back! Open the gate!"

Silence followed for a moment, before quiet clicking eventually grew louder, followed shortly by the wooden gate opening inward to the wall. 

Opening wide the entrance to Babylon.

 

"For the time being, which might be a few days with any luck, you will be staying here. The rooms are that way and…" 

Saab's voice drifted off into the abyss as the two saw his home. It wasn't a mansion by any means, but from the various smaller brick homes out in the city, this home was certainly fit for a nobleman. Very spacious and modest in decoration, with beautiful design like a god had constructed the layout itself.

"Are you even listening?!" Saab shouted, pulling them out of their trance and back to reality.

He groaned and brought his hand to his crinkled nose, "As I said. The rooms are in the hall to the left. Mine is the one on the furthest end. You may choose any of the three vacant rooms. There are beds in either one, two in each. My home often becomes a barrack house for my unit, so I'm well adjusted to visitors. With that… Go get some sleep. You'll need to be well rested when I take you to Queen Leona in the morning." 

"Y-yes sir." Shirou said with a short, cordial bow, Lycana having left already with Alucard on her back.

"Good night, kid. I want to hear more of what you're here for too, but as I said…" 

"Yes, I understand, I'll be heading off to sleep now err… Saab." Shirou said, turning around to head to a room.

"Please, I'm off duty for now. Call me Jore."

"Right. Good night, Jore."

 

"Ah, hey Shirou. You heading to sleep?" Lycana asked as she saw Shirou rounding the corner. "Yeah. What about you?" 

"Mmn. I'll be here with Alucard… I'll keep him company while he heals up." She said, turning the knob on a door and entering. "Ah, alright! Good night, Lycana." Shirou said as he opened the door across from hers and entered, shutting it behind him. Lycana did the same, walking to the two beds positioned on opposite sides of the small room. Setting Alucard in one, she knelt down and grabbed the legs of the bedframe, dragging it closer to the middle of the room.

"So heavy…" she breathed out as she stood, looking down at the sleeping Alucard, left on his stomach to not disturb his back. Releasing a quiet sigh, she gently pet the vampire's golden hair and moved to her own bed.

"Good night…"

 

Shirou rested his white coat on the edge of the bedframe, his hands under his head as he stared blankly in the ceiling. His thoughts drifted as he slowly felt his weariness catch up to him.

"Rose… If you're still alive. I'll… I'll save you from him…" He thought to himself before turning to his side and drifting off to sleep.

 

"...I promise."


© Copyright 2020 Allen Darkmyst. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments: