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Darkness Leaves No Survivors

By Khristopher Howard All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Chapter 1

Note from the Author: “I’m not looking to publish the entire book through here, but I would like to see how people react to my story thus far. Otherwise, I hope you guys enjoy it :)"

As the thunder clapped and as lightning struck the earth, rain began to fall on the broken and shattered ground. The sun shined vainly with all its might, but was only able to peek through the gray-ish black clouds that blanketed the once clear skies.

The boy lay sprawled on the muddy ground, wide eyed, and still gasping for air, the smell of death so pungent, it would have made even the most insusceptible of men dizzy. Feeling as if he had single-handedly finished a triathlon, he struggled to sit up with what remained of his strength to face what was left of a battlefield ravaged by war.

He rubbed his eyes and attempted to get a more clear vision out of his blurry sight, but only helped in spreading the dirt, rain, and blood around his eyes. His slightly darkened tan could barely be seen through the mud as well as the scattered, yet mildly bloody cuts and bruises. He carefully removed the dirty water from his eyes to reveal the numerous shimmering, blood red diamond slivers scattered throughout his shiny, mirror like sliver iris. He brushed off the sleeves of his shadow black, leather trench coat that rested just a hair above his armor boots.

He shook and held his head as he tried waking himself up. He ran his fingers through the night black hair; heavy from the water trapped in each lock.

“What happened?” The boy groaned under his breath, as he brushed his hands together. “Ugh, I feel like crap. How much did I miss?”

His vision slowly cleared as he held his lowered head, which was throbbing with immense pain. As the drenched ground beneath him came into view, he raised his head. What he saw stopped his heart and left him speechless.

He sat there distressed and trembled with fear, looking over the bodies lying on the ground. Men, women, and horses, all in battle torn armor blanketed the field. Every corpse was donned in armor, but six separate color schemes and sigils separated each one, seemingly leaving a damaged and almost shattered rainbow across the field. Weapons of all nature and size were scattered across the field and outnumbered the bodies a hundred to one. The boy tried vainly to keep his composure as there were no signs of life whatsoever.

What . . . what happened? He thought, the pain in his head pulsing in sync with his heartbeat. Everyone’s dead, but . . . but how? I remember the armies had just spread across the field just before . . . just before what? Rrgh, why can’t I remember?!

The boy stood up as he looked around. Though he was only 5’ 10”, he felt like a giant who was the last man standing in a planet-sized war. The once green field he remembered is now nothing, but a barren wasteland where dirt, blood, and water have mingled together.

He took a full view of his surroundings in hopes of finding something or someone to help get his bearings, but the raw vision of death stretched for miles in every direction. He had no clue where or when he was.

“There’s nothing left. . . There isn’t even a buzzard. Lord, what happened here—” His battered body began to shake and caused his armor to slightly rattle. Tunnel vision slowly overtook the boy for what seemed like forever. He forced his eyes close and attempted to calm his rapidly beating heart.

Calm yourself, man. This isn’t the time to lose control. He gripped his red shirt tightly as his breathing slowed to a regular rhythm. “We need to look around. I can only hope and pray someone is alive in all this chaos.”

He went to take a step forward when suddenly, a strong, sharp pain jolted through his body that brought him to one knee. He cried out in agony and glanced down at his right side as he held the source of his pain. He removed his hand and revealed a hole the size of a button in his armor. He did his best to keep his composure as both his hand and the wound were drenched in his own blood.

“What? ’the hell did that happen?!” The boy was suddenly frustrated. “I don’t remember getting hurt!?” He closed his eyes and tried his hardest to remember what happened. “I remember our mission. . . I remember getting the heart, but we were ambushed. That little prick lied to us—“

His face tensed up and he clenched his hand into a white knuckled fist as he began remembering bits and pieces before he blacked out. “Then the whole war broke out and then. . . Grr, Why can’t I remember anything after that?”

“Wait!” He quickly opened his eyes and looked around the field frantically. “Where is my team? Verum, Karona . . . Amora?” He pressed his hand against the wound and struggled to his feet. He began crying out through the echo of the rain.

“Karona! Verum! Amora! Where are you!?”

He yelled as loud as he could, but after a minute or two, the boy lost hope and almost lost his voice. Though he fought as hard as he could, tears began falling from his heavy eyes and mingling with the rain. He lowered his head as the tears continued to flow.

They can’t be dead. God, please tell me they are alive. Please God, I’m begging You.

He opened his eyes toward the ground and saw a sword lying at his feet. Mud was splattered all across the blade as well as the handle. The boy leaned down to pick up the muddied weapon. This six foot longsword had a double-edged, tungsten carbide blade and held a palm sized crystal star that was embedded into the center of the cross guard. The sword was dressed in black and red, dragon skin like leather that stretched from underneath the guard all the way down the iron grip and stopped just above the silver, fireball shaped pommel that contained a dark red, cross-shaped crystal in the center of it.

As he tightened his grip, the crystal star began emitting a white light that could barely be noticed. Fear began to ravage his heart, as he quickly reasoned with himself, trying to remember what happened.

This is mine but, Verum, Amora, and I— we were taking on a swarm together, but I tossed this to Amora and ran for the crystal. So why was it laying here? Did they—

He closed his eyes as he gripped the sword tightly and his mind slowly drifted into a memory so distant, it could have been passed off as a dream. The sound of metal striking together rung through the boy’s ears as memories slowly emerged from the darkness of his mind. Because his mind was still fuzzy, only mere images flashed in his mind like a slide show from a camera.

He first remembered himself as he stood in battle stance, surrounded by a horde of shadow like, humanoid creatures dressed in cracked battle armor. The creatures were constantly attacking him as he defended himself with the same sword he currently held in his hand. His memory played a brief segment as he remembered him being on top of a creature as it soared through the air, then bracing himself as he plunged his sword into the torso of a creature, and its lifeless body crashing into the ground with a great force.

He then remembered as he saw the remains of the creature quickly disintegrate into a black and purple, odorless mix of smoke and dust that slowly faded into the wind.

Tsk, my head is still killing me. I can’t remember any more about that fight. Rrgh, all right, let’s see. . . Amora . . . I remember she was fighting by herself, but she was fine . . . right?

He thought as he strained himself to remember. Slowly, faint images began blinking in and out of his mind. Images of a brunette dashing in a crowd of those creatures, piercing them with her sword before they even realized what happened. He clearly remembered watching with an inner feeling of comfort as she defended herself, leaving a cloud of black and purple smoke in her wake.

“That’s right, I remember that. Then she yelled something to me, but—“

He focused as hard as he could to regain and continue the memory, but he groaned in frustration and pain.

Ugh, I can’t remember what she said to me. I hope and pray it wasn’t something important.

The boy’s memory began fading back as he remembered visions of a young blonde girl.

Ok, I’m trying to remember, Verum made it out alive, I made sure of that. We fought side by side and—

Visions played of the blonde and him as they made eye contact and nodded to each other. He remembered as he got closer to a creature that was flying through the air, though he couldn’t remember how the creature ended up there, for the creature had no wings. He remembered looking back at the blonde as she quickly threw her sword to him.

Tsk, I told her I didn’t need any help. But I guess there’s no point complaining now. That thing was dead and I’m still here, well somewhat.

The boy’s humor slowly began to give way to a grim vibe as the memories began getting darker and more scattered. He remembered seeing an object shining in the distance past a surrounding group of those same creatures. He remembered handing the sword to the brunette and took off toward the object.

Images of him dancing around and through weapons being swung at him played through his mind. He softly laughed as he reflected on that particular memory.

Yeah, that probably wasn’t one of my brightest moves. Still I handled it like a pro and made it through just fine.

He remembered as he came close to what looked like a glowing diamond, but it suddenly snapped to him that he was thrown to the far left of the crystal.

His memories of the past grew fuzzier as the feeling of losing consciousness and hope began to overtake him in the present. The dense, cold wind hit him as he tried his hardest to remember more, but he couldn’t remember anything beyond that.

I remember that I was hit . . . hard. Those two moved closer to me, but after that, it’s blank. I can’t remember what happened after that.

He paused as he contemplated the heart gripping possibility. Don’t tell me the three are— No. . . . no please, God no. His eyes began welling up with tears to the point his eyes felt ready to burst like an overflowing dam.

The boy struggled and fought as faint, yet distinct voices in his head continuously told him that they were gone. The thundering rain slowly died off as a few minutes passed. He gritted his teeth and squeezed the dragon leather grip of his sword with both of his hands.

No, they’re alive still, I just know it.

He wiped his tears away as he reaffirmed himself that there was still hope. He decided to go and search through the bodies for any signs of them, but he wanted to take care of his wound first. He searched himself to see if he had any supplies left, but he had nothing on him other than his sword now sheathed across his back.

He staggered in agony with every limp he took, grunting as his feet constantly shifted and slid in the dense mud. It felt like an eternity for him as he made his way to each pile of bodies.

He glanced at each of the soldier’s pale, expressionless faces as he hobbled by them. Each face seemed to hold a shard of memory for the boy as each face he saw triggered a split second of memory in the back of his mind. Sensations of adrenaline rushing through him, the sounds of swords clashing, shouts and battle cries all echoed through the boy’s mind with no end to it.

“Tsk, I can’t remember what happened.” He struggled as hard as he could to make sense of the memories. “I remembered that I was a part of the whole struggle. But, how did everyone die? Did . . . he actually win?”

He continued to struggle to remember what he could as he continued. His mind drifted from vision to dream and back again, but was suddenly shocked back into reality from the pain of his wound.

“Rrgh, I need to stay focused, I gotta get this annoying, tsk, wound patched up. There’s gotta be someone who’s carrying medical supplies nearby.”

He tried comforting himself as he pressed his wound and desperately searched for medical supplies. After a while of scavenging through pile upon pile of lifeless shells, the boy grunted in anguish;

“There’s nothing here. The medics don’t even have any supplies; not even a used medical wrap.”

Even after all of his efforts, he was only able to find some rations, but barely enough to feed a mouse.

This isn’t even close to being enough. Judging by the look of things, it’s not like I have a lot of options. He contemplated to himself as he continued to scan the battlefield, No! I refuse to be this weak. Show no weakness, show no fear, show no mercy; remember? Someone’s gotta be out there in this God-forsaken place.

He placed the rations in a small, wrinkled, brown pouch strung at his side as he trekked on. It was a constant struggle as he attempted to contain the core shaking fears and doubts screaming in his mind.

He slowly made his way toward the middle of the field, where a mound of bodies laid one on top of the other as if someone placed them like a pile of trash.

“Heh, well, I guess if I was hungry enough, I could start cannibalism.”

He tried lightening his mood as he continued to hobble through the field. But suddenly, another jolt of pain streaked through his body and brought him to one knee. The boy grunted loudly in pain,

“I can’t keep going like this; I won’t be able to clear the field with how bad this is.” He knelt down on both knees, his hopes and his heart completely sunk. “Is this seriously how things are going end?”

He unsheathed his sword and carefully weighed his chances of survival as he stared intently at his reflection within the crystal star that now looked as if there was not even a glimmer of light.

”Fine then, let this wasteland of silent chaos be my grave. Heh, look at me, waxing poetic in my final moments . . . pathetic.”

The boy dug a divot into the ground and, with what strength remained, stuck his sword at an angle aimed toward his body. The boy leaned forward and rested the tip of the blade against the center of his shirt.

There’s nothing left. For all I know, they’re all dead. I’m not going to be any different much longer; not in this battered condition.

As he closed his eyes, he leaned a little more against the tip. He began wincing and softly grunting as the tip of the blade barely punctured his skin,

“It’s just like he said. . . ‘Light always wavers, but darkness is absolute.’”

“. . . iles”

He quickly opened his eyes and gazed back over the land.

“. . . iles, where are yo. . .”

What is that?

He pondered as he saw a shadow moving in and out of the mounds of bodies with haste. He could hear a voice coming from the shadow.

“Miles! Are you out there?!

Someone’s alive! I knew it!

He sprang to his feet, full of life and hope once again. He picked up his sword and began to shuffle along as quickly as he could toward the shadow, waving his empty hand like a madman.

“Hey!” he cried, “Over here! Oh thank you God. I guess my story’s not over yet.”

Moving as quickly as he could, he ignored the pain coursing through his body as if the wound did not exist at all. As he continued to move, the shadow grew closer and closer to him becoming more and more clear.

“Miles! Is that you?”

The shadow that was once a moving, blur in his vision has now become the figure of a woman in armor.

That’s her! That has to be her!

He thought to himself with excitement, a renewed smile on his face and a warmth in his heart that he had not felt in what seemed like ages. He continued to call and move toward the woman in armor with a renewed strength. He could hear her cry out his name with joy and relief in her tone. The woman began running to him as she called out his name.

“Miles! Miles!”

Yes! That is her! Thank You God Almighty! She’s still alive. Summoning his remaining strength, he cried. “Amo—”

Just as he went to call out the woman’s name, a large window of white light suddenly opened in his path. Unable to stop himself in time, he hobbled straight into the window. The moment he stepped through, the light immediately disappeared with him along with it. Miles’ once red filled vision, his once broken and destroyed world, the woman he saw and knew, now faded into unending darkness.

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