CHAVIAS - Forever Knight Brothers
Stone Peak, Black Mountains, Battling Border (radix’s captive for four years)
Chavias fought a mind haunted by nightmares. Vile things Radix had made him do. And vile things done to me. Black bloody nightmares that plagued his mind every moment his eyes were closed.
He’d been practicing abandoning his body to Spirit Run. Visiting other places. Other people. Making his mind blank in his body, as it traveled with his spirit on its adventures.
He’d managed to acquire a journal. But carrying it and holding the ink feather to write took extreme concentration. Since his body was not able to physically manifest, he was far from being able to touch people.
But I’m learning fast.
Today he abandoned his body and the awful images haunting him to roam the beauty of the Paladines. Running his fingertips across leaves and grunting in frustration when they simply passed through.
Blinding pain tore into his dream ripping the walls apart and making his vision blur. He was thrown back into his physical body, waking to agony. Having so recently healed from his wounds, he’d only yesterday emerged from the coma of anguish. He looked down at his heaving chest and saw it cut nearly in half from his right nipple to left hip. Skin and muscle parted, and blood filled the wound obscuring how deep it ran.
Palming it in an effort to hold it together he looked up at Okine who stood over him gleefully. A rusted dagger in hand. Dripping with Chavias’ blood.
“Wakey wake, Slave.” He cackled. “Time work.”
Chavias hated being called that. But it is what I am.
“What?” He blinked blearily, trying to sit up and grunting against the pain. Inspiring Okine’s hearty laughter.
“It’s a fine village.”
“Not when done.”
Chavias angled up on his elbows, gasping against the burn.
Ouch! Already his wound tried to seal but didn’t lessen the sharp bite of pain.
“He wishes me to raze it?”
“He wish nothing. He order.”
Chavias shook his head but clambered awkwardly to his feet.
“Now.” Okine tossed an elbow into Chavias’ cut abdomen.
Making Chavias grunt and double-over. Hand splaying to catch him from hitting the floor as he dropped to all fours. Huffing in agony. Clutching his side with his other hand.
“Move, Slave.” Okine grunted. “Take boy.”
Gilwynn Village, Netherlands
Chavias arrived in Gilwynn mostly healed but still favoring one side. Why am I here?
He knew lighting the town on fire would draw every Forever Knight in the area. He was mentally calculating how many that’d be. By knowing where most resided. Too many.
A crow cawed and landed on his shoulder. Same one? He wondered.
I should name it.
I’m drawing the knights to Gilwynn so Radix can go somewhere else. Chavias knew when he saw the size of the targue and two flying sarabi lumbering in the direction of the NetherRunnel bridge.
What’s that direction?
“Fire.” A Firoque man behind him rasped. Already mottled with the black blotches that marked him as being telepathically connected to Radix. He reeked of the odor of evil.
Rotting human bodies.
“Fire now.” He hissed at Chavias who grunted in response. Highly tempted to lop off the ugly thing’s head but knowing there’d be consequences back in Radix’s lair.
Consequences I’m too weak to withstand just now.
He glanced around the empty street hoping no one would emerge. No one I have to kill tonight. He willed.
Nonis nipped at his heels. An annoyance he continually kicked back as they herded him on. Their eyes watching him for Radix.
Dread weighed heavily on him when he saw two men rounding the booth at the end of the walk.
The heavy crow squawked and launched from Chavias’ shoulder. Taking to the sky on powerful black wings.
He was instantly grateful the Dread boy was armed with a dagger. And that I’d told him to hide aside the booths.
Oh, no. He closed his eyes and drew a steadying breath when he recognized them.
Two young men, brothers. The older one, James, had once served as Alazareth’s squire. Both had walked behind him through Billar Canyon.
They froze. Their eyes wide on him. “Chavias.” One murmured.
Chavias did the same. He stopped walking entirely. His gaze slid to the blonde-haired boy crouched next to the booths.
He slowly lifted the small knife in his fist, giving Chavias a questioning look.
No, Little Savage. Chavias gave a subtle shake of his head and the boy slowly lowered the knife. Gold eyes narrowing.
Just keep moving. Chavias willed the two men. He lurched forward, intent on walking around them.
“We know what you do now!” James called.
“You kill us!” The other added.
James drew a dagger from his boot, his brother pulled a hatchet from his waist.
“How about we end your destruction?” They proposed.
Chavias’ head tipped back. Chin lifting as he faced them down.
Don’t. He willed them.
“We’re going to kill you Chavias.”
There was a stillness in Chavias. A moment of realization. I could give up the fight. Let them kill me. Take all the misery away. He watched them approach.
“Yes, we’re going to kill you.” James’ expression was dark as he agreed with his brother.
Chavias leaned down to put his face in the other man’s. “Do it.”
James’ brow furrowed. He brought the dagger down into Chavias’ upper chest. The highest he could employ it with any strength.
Chavias grimaced but didn’t move.
His brother joined him by sweeping the hatchet.
Chavias grunted. Though used to being cut and slashed, the hatchet piercing into his right pectoral muscle was an unwanted experience.
James pulled another knife from his other boot and sunk it into Chavias’ ribs.
His brother pulled the first one free, shredding the muscles, which had clenched around it. Using it to stab Chavias in the bicep. As Chavias blocked his face.
“Why isn’t he moving?” The younger man asked.
“Kill him. Before he can kill us!” James shouted.
They drove their knives, stabbing and withdrawing and swiped into his sides and thick arms with the hatchet.
Chavias blew out a breath as he slumped to his knees. Surrendering to the promise of peace.
He closed his eyes against the grating sound of Radix’s chastising voice.
“You’re going to let these boys kill you?” Radix tilted to look between the men now feverishly stabbing his shoulders and back.
Seeing Radix’s withered form standing between the booths, orange eyes glowing, Chavias felt momentary terror.
“Do what you wish.” Radix dismissed, as he lifted a piece of fruit and began cutting into it with a jagged fingernail. “I will take them as my new warlords. I am sure they will be far easier to groom.”
James glanced over his shoulder back at Radix. “It’s the Demon!”
“Hurry! Finish him so we can leave.”
“Yes, do.” Radix scooped his fingers into the fruit and loudly sucked the sweet meat. “Do you suppose these boys will be as sturdy as you when they are bled?” He rasped thoughtfully. “In-fact I am quite certain I will learn much more from them. They do not know your clever tricks. Please do die. I will welcome these boys…” Radix turned and strode from the walk. Rounding the buildings and leaving.
Chavias’ head fell back in horror. Body jerking under every thrust of their knives. Knowing he weakened. Sensing the severity of his injuries.
He’ll torture them. Turn them into his slaves. The idea sickened Chavias. Imagining these spirited boys broken as Chavias had been. Shackled to the steel cot for endless hours.
They only wanted to save their brotherhood. He imagined the years of suffering they’d endure. He imagined Radix having access to two men he could send on missions rather than one.
How many knights would be exposed when these boys were drained of their blood for Radix to drink. Snarling, Chavias rose. A hulking mass reaching to his back.
“Get back down!” James grunted. Burying his knife near Chavias’ collar and trying to drive it downward enough to send Chavias back to his knees.
Chavias tossed him away with an elbow, dragging his swords out. His back heaved as he steeled himself to what he had to do. The younger brother came at him first. Chavias brought his sword down.
The younger man stepped from its trajectory.
Chavias expertly glanced to his other side and saw James returning. He swung his sword and it bit into James’ hand forcing him to drop the dagger.
James was quick enough to rip his other blade from Chavias’ chest and still managed to dodge Chavias’ curved sword.
Chavias glanced back to the younger brother and saw him turning expertly with the hatchet aimed at Chavias’ neck. Without any more attention than that glance, Chavias whipped the blade backward and it cut into the younger brother’s middle. Chavias jerked upward and forced the blade up to the sternum.
“Stop! No!” James rushed him shouting.
Chavias simultaneously blocked his stab by whipping his other sword up to protect his torso.
“How do you move like that?” James cried.
Devoting his attention to James, Chavias used brute strength to fold his arm back. Chavias let his sword fall and caught the blade when James dropped it. Tilting back enough to plant the knife up through the James’ chin. It separated the soft skin on the underside of his jaw and sunk into his vulnerable brain.
James’ arms flailed, as his nerves ticked.
Chavias swung his other sword around to instantly sever the man’s head. Ending any suffering he endured.
“No!” The younger brother gurgled from behind him. Trying to drag his body over the dirt. “Why?” He croaked.
“Why what?” Chavias crouched before him. Black eyes passionless.
“Why are you killing your own kind?” He crackled over the choking sounds of his body dying. He rolled to his back.
“You’d rather be dead.”
Then Radix’s slave.
Chavias pulled the half-moon dagger from his hip and put it through the man’s eye, watching as he stilled.
Chavias stood. Pausing to look at both defeated bodies and mourn the loss.
Shaking his head at the brutal torture tearing at his heart, his head fell back and he sent up a prayer for strength before finishing his trek to the center of Gilwynn.
Where I’ll light my bloody fires.
“They are dead.” The boy strode to stand over the corpses. Looking from one to the other made dark blonde hair swing around his forehead. His voice was eerily unemotional.
“Yes, they are.” Chavias acknowledged.
Chavias could think of rare few moments he’d hated himself more.