Eve of Despair
“Alrick, make sure to get the cabbage while you’re in town!” yelled Teresa. Teresa was Alrick’s eldest sister. Teresa has been Alrick’s caretaker ever since their father passed away in the Glynda Rising War of 1405 AD. Their mother succumbed to depression of his death and hung herself outside on the family tree. Nothing was ever the same for the two, however they persevered through the pain and anguish in the last ten years. “I’ll make sure to get that Teresa,” Alrick replied, waving goodbye.
Alrick began following the trail that connects his house to the village of Eiverus. The path was lined with majestic evergreens with heights that surpass the towers of Castle Lestelil, arching towards each other, an attempted embrace. Blocking most of the sunlight, producing a beautiful shade. “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it” Alrick said to himself.
The scent of freshly baked bread and wood stove crept the closer Alrick got to the village. The mouth of the trees opened to straw rooves and log homes, “made it” Alrick said. “Hey Alrick! It’s good to see you again!” shouted a young village woman. “Aye, it’s good to see you again too Klara,” Alrick said. Klara has always been Alrick’s best friend. After his parents passed away, she was always there for him, making sure his sister and him were not alone in time of need. “I know it’s only been a few weeks, but I’m always happy to see you” said a smiling Klara.
Klara and Alrick decided to go to the local Inn to catchup before Alrick took care of the errands that was requested by Teresa. As they entered, the sound of music filled the air, the people enjoying company of one another, it was a joyous atmosphere. “Here, lets sit here,” said Klara. A single table, two chairs, setup in the corner of the Inn. The corner of the Inn was always the best place for the two, as they preferred spending time amongst themselves. “So Alrick, do you have anything planned for this Lunar Festival?” asked Klara. “Nothing at the moment, why do you ask?” Alrick replied. “Well I figured, now that we are adults, we could go together and enjoy the festivities.” Alrick began to blush. “You mean, like a date?” “Well yeah,” replied a smiling Klara.
As the sun began to rest, the night began to come about. “Oh man, it’s already sundown! Teresa is going to kill me!” shouted Alrick. “I’m so sorry Alrick, we just kept talking. I know you had to run errands today, why don’t you come back tomorrow, and I’ll have everything ready for you.” Klara concernedly said. “Sounds like a plan Klara, thank you,” said Alrick, with a calming sigh.
A sudden shock pierced the joyous atmosphere, everything coming to a still. Villagers, halting, as if time suddenly froze in place. The Earth began to shake violently, causing all to drop to the floor. “What’s going on!” shouted Alrick. Ceiling fixtures began to rain upon everyone, crushing villagers in their stead. “Klara, we need to get out of here” Alrick cried out. He would grab Klara by the arm and rush to the exit. “Light, it feels as if I’m pulling a puppy,” Alrick said. As he turned around to see why there was no tension, Alrick was enveloped in emotions. “No...no...” murmured Alrick. Blackness enveloped Klara, as if darkness itself swallowed her. Alrick screamed in terror and pain. He rushed towards the black mist, but it vanished before he could make it. All he had left of his best friend, was her arm.
Panicked and frightened, Alrick stood, staring at the last spot he saw Klara, the Inn collapsing around him. Everything became silent. Tears streaming down his face, pounding the floor below him. “RUN!” a voice shouted to him. Alrick snapped out of his tranced phase, with out a thought, he rushed to the exit, making it outside into the Market. Nothing could prepare him for what his eyes would take in.
Smoke and embers filled the sky. Scent of blood and decay permeate the air. “What...is going on,” Alrick murmured nervously. Everything around him was burning. An orange tinge filled the area. Destruction laid out, screaming villagers running in terror, and creatures leaving death in their wake. “Chaos,” Alrick thought to himself.
Alrick stood and watched the chaos unfold before him. Unsure of what to do, shaking, sweating, he was confused. Suddenly an image of Teresa appeared to him. “Teresa! I need to get to her!” Alrick shouted. Inch by inch he began to walk. Breathing heavily, he began jogging, Alrick managed to muster up all the will in his body and began to sprint back to his house. Only deep breathing, and crackling trees, was all Alrick could hear. “Please be okay, please be okay, please don’t die Teresa,” he kept repeating to himself. Chest tightening, lungs in pain, he refused to stop. Alrick ran and kept running. “The house, I made it!” Alrick said to himself.
Stopped in his tracks, in the distance, an armored creature stood. Teresa, standing, by the power of the creature. Its hand wrapped around the back of her neck. Tears streaming down her face, blood pouring out of her mouth. “Alrick, cough, do not...come closer...” Teresa beckoned. “Teresa, no...no..” cried Alrick. The creature began caressing Teresa’s arm, moving from her shoulder to her wrist. It clenched her wrist and began to slowly pull. Teresa began screaming, getting more screechy as the air in her lungs expelled ever so quickly. Sound of bones cracking, tendons, and flesh ripping. Within seconds, the screaming stopped, blood pooling beneath her. In front of Alrick laid his sister’s arm. Stopped, with fear and disgust, Alrick’s body refused to move. Again! Another arm ripped from the shoulder socket and thrown to Alrick. Teresa’s screams weakening with each breath. Finally, the creature moved his fingers through her hair, then with a quick snap, had full control. The creature began to slowly tear her head off her shoulders. Blood spurting out as her carotid was eviscerated, her spine beginning to protrude, Teresa was finally gone. Teresa’s body fell to the ground, with a slight twitch throughout, going limp. With utter terror and despair, Alrick remained frozen. The creature slowly began stepping towards Alrick, with his sister head in hand. Slowly lifting the head with each step. Face to face with his sister once again. Frozen, Alrick just stared into his sister’s pale white eyes. The creature plunged its hand into her mouth and began ripping her jaw, blood spurted out onto Alrick’s face. The creature began playing with her hanging tongue as it was a toy, eventually letting go. With piercing read eyes, the creature looked deep into Alrick’s eyes. “What...what...” thought Alrick. Hot steel caressed Alrick’s chest, causing him to jump back, screaming in pain, breaking his frozen state. Alrick knew, this was his only chance to get out there. Mortified at the events that just transpired, he began running, and running. He lost everything, he cried, but ran, realizing he was, alone.
“Thou shalt rest when black fills the skies.” A faint voice whispered. Eyes springing forward in terror, Alrick awoke. Beads of cold sweat dripping down his face, mouth dry as a desert, gasping, as if battling thin air. “What, was that...wait did I black out?” Alrick murmured. Alrick slowly began inching his way back to his feet, pain filling his body, but he knows he must not stop. “I…need to…keep going…” proclaimed Alrick. In the distance, blood curdling screams could be heard from the nearby village. There was no turning back.
"Is that hooves clopping?" Distant sounds of horses were approaching Alrick, quickly. "I need to hide!" Alrick would find a dark, dreary cave close by. Covered in webs, a foul stench of death lingered outside the entrance. The galloping was getting louder, the horses were approaching closer. "It doesn't matter, I need to get into there and hide." Alrick crawled, moving decomposed animal scrap, trying to get as deep as possible into the cave.
Snarling could be heard from the outside. The horses were on top of Alrick's position. He covered his mouth, preventing any further sound from being detected. "Please, please leave," he thought to himself. The sound of hissing could be heard from outside the entrance. "Are...they talking?" he thought. Moments later, a screaming woman could be heard from the distance, drawing the attention of the "creatures". As they left, Alrick waited. Several minutes passed, only silence. Alrick gathered himself and began to inch his way out of the cave.
Alrick managed to pull himself out of the cave, only to look upon a hell torn land. There was nothing left, only fire and ash, he had lost everything and everyone that meant something to him. Alrick dropped to his knees, eyes wide, covered in blood and soot. He couldn't even cry anymore, he just had a look of despair.
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