Tragedy of the Raven Part 1, Chapter 2
By Prince Nightmare
They had come for him very early in the morning while he was sleeping under a torn up old blanket in the back of the poorhouse. It was the cook of the poorhouse who had kicked him awake with a heavy boot.
Get up Raven, you little bastard. What did you do NOW? the ugly face of the cook stared down at him, his piggish eyes squinting in an angry way. Next to him stood Krischtiahn, the High Priest of the Einderesch, looking at him coldly.
Raven stared at him wide eyed. The man had always terrified him, he seemed so stern and aloof. The only ones he ever had a smile for were his Hunters. Raven crouched and shook his head, trying to make it clear he hadnt been up to any trouble. The cook scowled, making his face even more hideous. Krischtiahn didnt blink nor change his expression.
He definitely has the Blood. The Priest said, more to himself than to the cook. The cook turned to him and grunted.
A devils blood you mean. Not good for anything at all... always sick... dont do no work... what he do to you Hunters anyway to make you want to take him up to the Temple? He steal something, did he?
Raven trembled slightly... he avoided the Temple like a disease and was afraid of the Hunters with their swords at their thighs. He wasnt exactly sure what they hunted, or why, but they were fierce looking all the same. Raven had learned that men who looked savage often kicked him twice as hard and twice as often.
Krischtiahn didnt say a word, nor did he take his gaze off the shivering boy. Instead he grasped Raven by the arm and hauled him to his feet roughly, ignoring the look of pain on his face.
Raven struggled against the hurtful grip of the Priest, but little good it did him. The hand was like and iron clamp on his shoulder. All of Ravens weak, ineffectual kicks and punches did little to loosen it, and it wasnt until he sank his teeth into Krischtiahns thumb did the Priest grimace. With his free hand, he slapped the boy hard in the face. Blood spurted from Ravens nose unto the dirt floor. He whimpered.
Eh... teach that bastard to bite huh? the cook snickered in approval. Well, I wash my hands of em anyway. He turned and walked out the door, his heavy boots clunking the whole way.
Krischtiahn dragged Raven out the door without so much as a hint of an explanation. The village was gathered outside, watching the Priest roughly escort the scared little boy no one liked. A few people were bold enough to throw rocks at Raven, shouting curses as he was dragged by. One hit him in the nose, making it bleed even harder. He bit his lip and blinked back tears of pain and fear. Krischtiahn marched grimly ahead, looking neither left , right nor down at his captive. He ignored the villagers completely.
Finally they were on the outskirts of Lenstahn. The Temple of the Einderesch loomed ahead of them, its solemn gray bricks cheerless in the dull morning light. The Priest pulled the little boy in the ominous building, slamming the heavy doors behind him and locking them shut with a rusty click.
Glenn didnt sleep well. The phantoms of nightmares chased him all night long through the tunnels of his dreams...
The smell of blood was too vivid and the sounds of war echoed sharply. Men, carrying the banner of Gaurdia, ran over an empty hill, charging at nothing at all. Glenn was with them on his horse, charging in an empty field... but all around there were corpses... and fire... and a black shadow began to cover the sun. The men fell under the shadow and began to rot away... and the shadow turned to Glenn, its eyes like stars... and it spoke without a voice...
He almost fell out of bed. Catching his balance at the last minute, he sat up, breathing hard. Rennard was standing over him, with a concerned look on his young face.
... Are you all right, sir?
Glenn nodded, rubbing his temples. Just a bad dream. I have them sometimes, about the war with Magus. Thats all, just a bad dream. He sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than the young paladin.
Oh... Rennard fidgeted nervously. Well, sir Glenn... when you are ready, I can escort you to the Temple... Ill just wait downstairs, shall I?
Glenn managed a weak smile. Thank you, Rennard. I shall be with you in a few moments.
After the young paladin had closed the door behind him, Glenn sighed wearily and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Slowly, he dressed, trying still to shake the cobwebs from his head. He picked up the Masamune and admired the intricate design on the hilt of the sword. He remembered how he had thrust that same decorated steel into the flesh of a wizard who couldnt be touched by other weapons, and he remembered the flesh being cut and the ugly red stain of blood that had poured forth as Magus eyes opened wide with fear...
Glenn sheathed the sword quickly. Sometimes he thought he should just pitch the blade into a deep, deep lake somewhere and be rid of it. It had a life of its own and he was beginning to think it was not as a benevolent a sword as he had thought. The flashes of memories he sometimes got while wielding it were so vivid and gory he felt sick... but Glenn knew he couldnt stand to throw the Masamune away. It might fall into evil hands and then who could stand against its might? Besides... it was HIS sword now...
Still thinking about the sword, he made his way downstairs where Rennard was flirting with a pretty young waitress. When he looked up and saw Glenn, he blushed and bowed to him.
Sir Glenn...um.. are you ready?
Glenn chuckled. I certainly am. Though I think you should bid farewell to your lady friend here. Glenn repressed a guffaw as Rennard turned nearly crimson.
Rennard held the door open for him as Glenn stepped out into the morning sun. The villagers where a-bustle this particular morn, talking excitedly. Glenn wondered what the hubbub was all about. He turned to Rennard. Come now, young Hunter, tell me what all this business is about and why I was summoned to Lenstahn...
Rennard shrugged while he motioned a stable boy to fetch the Knights horse. I cant really say, Sir Glenn. All I know is that there is talk of a wizard somewhere in Lenstahn... the older Paladins dont talk about that sort of thing to us new Hunters...
Hm. I see. Glenn said thoughtfully. Well, I guess were both in the dark then. Glenn nodded to the stable boy as he grabbed the reins of his mare and mounted the steed. Rennard untied his horse from the post where he was tethered.
As they rode side by side, the villagers looked on at Glenn in awe. He smiled at them in a friendly way and was a little discouraged to see they didnt smile back. In fact, few had the courage to meet him in the eye at all. He frowned a little. Your villagers seem a little afraid of me...
Rennard looked up from his day dreaming. Hm? Oh...err... yes. They dont see knights often you know, especially not one of such prestige. Youll have to forgive them.
Glenn nodded absently. He got the feeling that the villagers were hiding something, as was Rennard... but shrugged the feeling off and smiled. Its a beautiful morning! What a view you must have from the Temple!
Rennard nodded. Yes sir! The view from up there is great.. as long as Krischtiahn lets you out of the study chambers long enough to enjoy it! he grinned impishly and Glenn had to laugh at him.
They reached the top of the hill where the Krischtiahn was waiting for them outside the Temple doors. Unlike the day before, his countenance was entirely grim. There was no hint of a smile as Glenn dismounted and nodded to him in a casual way. Rennard looked confused by Krischtiahns cold reaction.
Sir Glenn... I am so glad youve arrived. Let us go inside so we may discuss matters further. The bald Priest opened the doors and led them inside the dark walls of the Temple.
Glenns eyes had trouble focusing once he was out of the bright sunlight. It was so dim inside the Temple that at first he had a hard time making out his surroundings. After his eyes adjusted, he saw several paladins seated at a long table, talking quietly amongst themselves. Rennard took a seat next to them and Krischtiahn motioned for Glenn to do the same. Glenn sat down on the hard wooden chair and looked about the drab room. There was little decoration to speak of.
Krischtiahn rapped his knuckles on the oak table and cleared his throat. The paladins all turned towards him and waited silently. The Priest looked around at them slowly, and began to talk in a solemn tone.
As you can see, we have brought the famous Sir Glenn of Gaurdia here because of our situation. Sir Glenn is a famous Hunter in his own right even though he never took our Oath... but deeds speak louder than words! I have summoned him here today so he can finally get vengeance on the wizard who cursed him so long ago by ending his bloodline forever!
Glenn looked around confused as all the Hunters cheered. Krischtiahn raised his hand in a command for silence. He turned to Glenn as soon as the ruckus had died down. Now you can finally have the revenge on Magus you never had...
Glenn shook his head, not understanding... What do you mean revenge? End his bloodline?? Krischtiahn, I really do not get your meaning.
Krischtiahn grinned for the first time that morning, but to Glenn it looked sinister and cryptic in the dim light of the Temple hall. He motioned to one of his elder paladins. Sir Branahn... bring in our little wizard.
The burly paladin nodded and hurried off. Glenn watched him go, shaking his head while trying to figure out what was happening. He stood up, sliding his chair back from him and looking round at the happy faces of the other Hunters.
Krischtiahn... he began, I dont know what this is all about but revenge is the last thing on my mi...
He was cut short as Sir Branahn re-entered the room, dragging behind him a frail, black haired boy with pointed ears and wide, blue eyes that were full of fear. Glenns heart nearly stopped beating for an instant.
Thats Magus... son... you want me to...
Krischtiahn nodded. Kill him Glenn... end the darkness forever... the Einderesch may become obsolete but it is our duty to destroy the blood of the evil wizards that have plagued mankind for countless ages. Here stands the last of them...
Glenn looked at the boy who was trying vainly to break free of the paladins grasp. Hefelt a sickening sense of dread in his stomach as tears blurred his vision.
Go To Part 1, Chapter 3
Return To CT Fanfic