Chapter 13: Massacre
The night was cloudy as the strong wind passed through the large trees, making the leaves rustle like a whisper and some branches to move and fall. The lighthouse of Teirm was once again lit, signaling yet another storm in the sea. The two soldiers guarding the gate shivered from the cold, covered themselves with their capes and moved their legs as they tried to stay warm in vain.
"Blasted guard duty! Blasted cold! Why do we even have to guard this gate anyway? It's not even the main gate and the army in the city can handle a bunch of rebels." One of the soldiers complained referring to the war that was occurring further south.
"You know very well why. We were caught playing cards, gambling...And its not a bunch of rebels. It's King Orrin's men. They managed to take Belattona and who knows what else since the last reports. At least we're miles away from the war, so it could be worse." the second soldier answered bitterly.
"I can barely feel my hands and legs, much less move them from the cold. Fat lot of good I'd be if an attack came. I say if the governor is so concerned about the city's security he can guard the city himself instead of sitting on his comfortable throne doing nothing all day!".
"Can you shut up? I'm tired of your constant complaints." The other soldier replied.
"But admit it. Wouldn't you rather be in one of the taverns drinking yourself blind or in the company of a beautiful lady?...Or two?" the first soldier insisted with a wink.
"Or would you rather stay here and guard the gate until you freeze to death?" he continued.
"A nice big fire and a warm cup of tea would be good for a start." the second soldier replied, imagining the scene with a smile.
"Not even Galbatorix himself would attack the city at a night like this and yet here we are...." the first soldier said still cursing under his breath.
For a few minutes there was silence as the second soldier didn't respond and looked in the horizon as big waves crashed in the beach and the only thing he could hear was the thunders and the whistling of the air as it raged on.
Suddenly between two lightinings that almost blinded him, he thought he saw a figure approaching at a fast pace. He yelled a challenge for the figure to stop as his heart raced from the unexpected arrival.
"Who goes there? Show yourself!" The soldier yelled and the first soldier turned surprised. They looked carefully at the darkness, trying to spot the figure again.
"Damn it, you almost gave me a heart attack! It was probably nothing, just a small animal." one soldier said.
A lightning lit the sky and the second soldier saw the figure again.
"Who goes there? Show yourself!" he shouted for the second time in a few minutes.
This time he was sure, he saw the figure, approaching fast, not intending to stop. The figure was wearing a hood, and had a sword drawn as he was coming towards the gate. The two soldiers lifted their halberds towards the approaching figure determined to stop its advance. Time passed fast as the figure slowly decreased the distance, growing larger and larger by the second, until it took the form of a weird old man. The first soldier laughed relieved, releasing some of the tension that had been built inside of him believing him to be a harmless old fool.
However, with a yelp he barely managed to block the old man's sword from lopping off his head as with superhuman speed he tried to behead him. The soldiers cursed as they attacked the old man but no matter the strength of the attacks or the strategy they used, their attacks were blocked. The old man laughed maniacally as he was getting better by the second with the use of his sword. With a sudden move he lunged forward and cut the first soldiers arm off. The soldier yelled, cursing the old man. He attacked with his good hand attempting to trick his opponent in believing he was retreating but at the last second he blocked the sword coming his way and attacked. His sword was blocked and then with a circular movement the old man beheaded him.
The second soldier couldn't believe what he just saw. He knew that the being in front of him was powerful and that he had no chance against it by himself so he ran as fast as he could and grabbed a horn. He lifted the horn to his lips and with the corner of his eye he saw the man swinging his sword. He could still avoid the blow, but that would mean he would not get a chance to alert the others inside the city. In an instant he made his decision as he took a deep breath and blew with all his might. He felt a sharp pain in his stomach and then at his throat and a difficulty to breathe. A few seconds passed and everything turned dark.
The shade Tenga looked at the bloody corpses at his feet with disgust. His plan had slightly changed as the city had been alerted of the attack. He didn't have much time. He took a deep breath, smelling the wet ground and the smell of blood, finally deciding to move forward. It was time to exact his revenge for the long years of banishment he had suffered and no petty soldier would stand in his way. With a burst of power from his mind, he destroyed the gate with a loud noise, the wooden door breaking in hundreds of pieces, as a large part of wood was still hanging from the door's hinges. He had never had need for words to perform his magic, and the shade marveled at the raw power that left his body. He was surprised that Tenga had been such a powerful magician.
He saw the blast had killed a few soldiers that had run to support the soldiers at the gate, but the area was clear for now. He moved towards the center of the city and the governor's palace as fast as he could, stopping every once in a while to kill a soldier or two blocking his way. A large group of soldiers appeared in front of him as they had finally managed to assemble and a wall of steel and spears appeared in front of him, blocking the way to the governor's castle. The shade attacked the line of men, surprising them as they thought he would surrender. The first two men fell faster than the eye could see, but then a third man managed to hit the shade on the arm and a fourth managed to cut the fabric holding his hood, revealing his blood red hair to the soldiers.
"It's a shade!" a soldier shouted right before he died from the shade's sword.
The soldiers looked panicked but still attacked with all their strength and skill, causing problems to the shade who had to use magic many times to save his heart, the only weakness he had. Soldier after soldier, the men fell in front of him, unable to withstand the strong attacks and fast counter attacks. He grabbed a shield from one of the dead soldiers and barely managed to avoid a flight of arrows as they whistled near him, and he felt the thud of the arrows hitting his shield, until it resembled a porcupine. At last, the soldiers line broke and they retreated deeper into the city, where no doubt reinforcements were waiting. The shade shouted, his rage growing with each second that passed. He wanted more blood, more suffering, more pain. They would all pay for the long years of banishment, he thought.
He saw children screaming and running away and women crying and he ran towards them. He stabbed a child as he ran away towards his mother and soon after she met the same fate. An old man threw a dagger that missed his neck by inches and with a thrust of his sword he cut the man down. He continued his blood rage, for a long time, killing indiscriminately until the soldiers came again. The shade burned the buildings of the city, one by one, all the while laughing and swinging his sword, each blow injuring or killing someone. A soldier attacked him and hit him on the shoulder, and the shade fell, losing his balance. He rolled away and with a blast of his mind, he burned the soldier that had thrown him down. He lifted himself up again, the old bones of Tenga's body creaking.
The hours passed and the shouts of dying men decreased as the storm of Teirm slowly faded. A sea of bodies surrounded the lonely figure as the last of the desperate soldiers were trying to hold the shade off for some of the citizens to escape the city. The shade had no intention of killing these men and women. He wanted the word to spread, he wanted it to be known what would happen if they crossed him. He slowly killed the last remaining men. His clothes were covered in blood and gore, his sword was red and dull and his shield had broken in more than one places.
An image came in his mind, a dark figure kneeling in front of his dead dragon, the man looking at him with fear in his eyes. "The only way to avoid pain in to inflict it on others before they can harm you". he had told the young man at that day. The young man who had grown to be king, the young man who had double crossed him, sending him to an eternal prison.
He had exalted his revenge in the city but he was still not done. He would burn every last building of the city and he would rest for he had much work ahead of him. The city was once again silent, the only sound that could be heard was the slowly fading storm. Many more cities needed to burn for his revenge to end. He released a last terrible scream in the air, that covered even the last remaining thunders of the storm.