A Bitter Wind Blows

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Phaeoron
Viestit: 7
Liittynyt: Pe 02.05.2014 14:08

A Bitter Wind Blows

Viesti Kirjoittaja Phaeoron » Ke 20.08.2014 17:40

There was only bottomless blackness beyond where the lantern's light wouldn't reach the softly falling snow. A guardsman stood on the wall fighting drowziness. The puffs of his breath were clearly visible against the dark stone parapet spotted with hoarfrost. He pulled his cloak tighter about him and cursed silently, why hadn't he followed his cousin down south to the capital? He spat when his cousin's letter returned to his thoughts. "You wouldn't believe the girls down here, Jarmund!" He scoffed. I would do more than just believe, you cunt.

When he had dozed off he couldn't say, but he awakened with a sudden jerk as his halberd shifted where he leaned on it. A moment of panic squeezed his chest as he glanced about to see if anyone had noticed him sleeping on the watch, but there was no one about. He steadied his breath and tried to calm down, but as it turned out, he couldn't. Suddenly he remembered an uneasy feeling of a malicious presence that had gnawed at him before he jerked to full consciousness, and that feeling was only intensifying. His breathing came in shallow gasps, clouding his vision as he tried to peer into the depths of darkness in front of him.

He couldn't tell how long he had been scanning the blackness when he heard a sound. A clack of wood on wood. Had he imagined it? It seemed so far away.

No. Another clicking sound, softer, as if some percussive intrument that the black men of the far south played when they came here to beg in the summer. More clicks, there was definitely something there.

The clicking and soft clashes of wood seemed now to emanate from a wide area down in the darkness of the plain. Jarmund felt as if in a dream, mesmerized by the intensifying chaotic music, barely loud enough for him to hear. He began imagining shapes in the blackness below him, movement, and flashes of small blue stars blinking in pairs before disappearing among the snowfall. His panic was a steady thrumming in his ears, a tightening noose around his throat, a growing weight on his chest, and he dared not move. He was sure he was losing his mind; was it colder now than before?

Reality crashed in his face as an iron-studded ladder struck the parapet right in front of him. This was not a dream.

He reached for a horn slung about his neck in a leathern thong, his fingers thick with fear and the cold. As he raised the deathly cold metal to his lips, the last shred of sanity seemed to abandon him. A human skull climbed into view on top of the ladder, its pale blue eyes staring down at him without a sound. His vision was beginning to blur with tears as the skeleton climbed over the parapet with a rusted sword in its hand, gazing calmly right into his eyes with those dreadful, cold points of light shining in empty sockets.

Jarmund blew. He emptied his lungs into the brass horn with a might mustered by the growing terror in his heart. The sound felt shrill and remote, and he strained to put more force behind it.

His lungs were already in pain because of the ferocity of his exertion to sound the horn when they were pierced by cold iron. Another skull with blue stars for eyes climbed over the parapet as he lost his footing. He watched the snow hugging his cheek slowly turn from white to pink to red, and beyond it, dozens of skeletal feet quietly passing towards the keep behind him.

The fireside stories had come to get him. He hadn't been afraid of them for years now, having been able to shake them off in the same manner as all children shed their fears as they don their fearless masks of adulthood to hide behind. But now they were here. The Necromancers of the Dead City in Bitterwind Vale. Hah.

With that, he died.
---
Pikku foreshadowing talvi-teemaiselle Tomb Kings-poppoolleni jota ei varmaan tule koskaan fyysisesti olemaan olemassa.

Palaa sivulle “Tarinat ja novellit”