Tragedy of the Raven Part 3, Chapter 3

By Prince Nightmare

Two knights from Guardia, Sir Kyel and Sir Tuefel, were sent out to scout the area for remaining barbarian raiders two days after the strange, savage looking ship was spotted sailing away. The younger of the two, Sir Kyel, had just been knighted and this was his first order from the royalty that he had pledged his allegiance to. Sir Tuefel was getting on in years and could no longer fight as well as he once had, but nonetheless, he felt the mission was degrading to any knight.

“Why didn’t they send the guards out to do this?” he moaned as they rode through the forest near the town. “This is not work for a knight! This is work for peasants with nothing better to do!”

Kyel ignored the old man, refusing to let the constant whining get his spirits down. In his eyes, this was a very important mission. “What if there are still northmen around? Do you think peasants could fight them off? What if we find someone wounded? Could a peasant carry them back to the healer as fast as we could on our horses?” he reprimanded the older man, feeling strangely like the more mature of the two.

“Lad,” Tuefel scowled while urging his lazy horse on, “all we’ve been finding is dead bodies. Five so far, and who knows how many today? There aren’t any survivors. Those savages either kidnapped their victims or slaughtered them.”

They rode on in silence for a time. The woods were silent, save for the sound of crows cawing in the distance. Kyel knew what that meant, but he didn’t want to think of it.

“Another corpse over there, young Sir Kyel… crows always scavenge off the dead… come on lad. Let’s go see who it is and give them a proper burial.” Tuefel sighed heavily and tugged at his thick mustache. “Such a shame, a damned shame this had to happen…”

They came to a small clearing and the scent of carrion filled their nostrils. A flock of crows was picking at something, though Kyel couldn’t make out at first what it was. A wave of nausea spread over him as he watched a crow pick out an eye and swallow it greedily. From the size of it, the corpse was that of a child, no more than ten or twelve years old. Kyel resisted the urge to vomit as Tuefel got off his horse and scattered the crows with rocks. The birds flew off, cawing angrily.

“It’s a boy,” Tuefel said, kneeling by the dead child, “with black hair. You know of any kids around here with black hair?”

Kyel covered his nose with the front of his jerkin to keep the stench from totally overwhelming him. Slowly, he dismounted and knelt down by the older knight. It was a boy with black hair, he saw, thought it was hard to distinguish the face. It had been smashed in by a blow from a club or some other blunt weapon. He tried not to gag as Tuefel turned the body over to look for any distinguishing marks. Small white worms wriggled on the ground where the corpse had lay undisturbed. Kyel turned his head from the disgusting scene.

“Come on lad, if you’re going to be a knight, you have to learn to look Death in the eyes. Now, the only boy I can think of around here with black hair was that devil spawn that Sir Glenn was raising. It’s probably him. Even those savages are too smart to capture a bastard that’s obviously touched by a devil.” Tuefel rubbed his bristly chin as he stood up. “Aye, that must be him, all right. Well, I say we burn him instead of burying him. Or we could just let the crows have ‘em… but who knows what kind of curses he’s got that could poison the scavengers. Let’s build a pyre and burn him.”

Sir Kyel nodded quickly, wanting to get done with it and get away from the spot as soon as possible. He was feeling very ill.

The two knights quickly built a pyre and put the corpse upon it, lighting in with a firestone. Without saying a prayer for the dead child, they mounted their horses and rode back towards the castle.


“Send him in,” King Lycadis motioned to his messenger, “I don’t want to keep such an honored guest waiting.”

The small messenger, dressed in the piebald tights of a jester, nodded and scurried off. Moments later he reappeared into the lush throne room with Glenn.

“Sir Glenn! I am honored, truly! What brings you here to the Palace?” King Lycadis greeted his old friend, rising from his throne and throwing an arm around Glenn’s shoulder. Glenn did not smile however. The King looked at him, confused for a moment, but understanding spread over his face. “It must be about that boy you were raising… the one we found…”

Glenn’s eyes lit up. “You found him, Sire? Where is he?” Glenn looked behind him as he heard Magus, who was covered in head to toe with a long, black robe that concealed his identity, come into the throne room. In his arms he carried Aria, who was looking around with a smile on her face. “They found him, Mag…Janus!”

The King cleared his throat and looked askew at the silent stranger in black. He glanced again at Glenn, who was now grinning from ear to ear with relief. Lycadis rubbed his temples. “Uh… yes, earlier today two of my knights found the boy you are looking for, Glenn… but he was already dead. I am truly sorry.”

Glenn’s smile faded instantly. “No, there must be some mistake, my Liege, Raven wouldn’t have let the barbarians catch him…” he felt a trembling hand on his shoulder and turned around slowly. From behind the hood of the robe, he could barely see Magus’ face, pale with anguish. Glenn’s hands clenched tightly at his sides. Raven couldn’t have died! There was no way! He would have known somehow… he would have felt it like he felt the emptiness when he knew Lucca was never coming back. “Oh Light, this is a mistake! Where is the body? If I can see the body I can tell you that it isn’t him!”

The King slumped wearily back into his throne. “They burned the corpse, Glenn.”

“Burned it?!! What kind of brutes do you name as Knights of Guardia here, Lycadis? What kind of savage burns a corpse instead of giving it a burial that will send his spirit to the Light?!”

The King’s eyes hardened and he glowered at the knight who had not so long ago saved his kingdom. Lycadis felt he was in an awkward spot. It was unforgivable to reprimand the King in such a brazen manner, but Glenn had saved the life of Leene from Magus the Black. “Glenn! I will not have you talk to me in such a way! I am your King, and I demand respect. The knights burned the body because that boy was cursed!” Glenn started to protest angrily, but the King cut him off, his deep voice booming in the throne room. Aria began to cry, not sure of what was going on, only knowing that the King kept saying that Raven was dead. “Don’t deny it, Glenn! Any man could see that child was demon spawn! I can only reason that you took him in because the boy had put a spell on you somehow… why, there are many who whisper he is the bastard of that damned wizard Magus, the Devil burn his soul in Hell!… it is better this way, Glenn.

Glenn’s face had gone pale with rage. He gritted his teeth as his hand trembled, wanting to grab the handle of the Masamune and plunge it into the King. As his fingers inched towards the mystical blade Glenn’s fevered brain tried to fight the sensation of hatred that filled him. The sword… if he could only wield the Masamune again he would have all the power he wanted…power to destroy this arrogant King… His fingers had nearly closed around the hilt when he felt a strong hand grip his shoulder painfully, bringing him back to his senses. He spun around and looked at Magus, who was shaking his head. Glenn’s breathing slowly calmed and he peered at the blade… why was it trying to control him now?

The King, meanwhile, had been watching Glenn’s inward struggle. His eyes narrowed. “Have the boy’s spells effected you so much that you would turn against me, Glenn?”

Shakily, Glenn shook his head. He was about to say something when Magus stopped him again.

“Glenn, let me talk to the King.” The wizard said, pushing back his hood and handing the sniffling young girl to Glenn. She clung to his neck and looked with wide eyes at the several guards that stood in the throne room, glaring at the threesome with fearful, hostile stares. The King himself pulled a small dagger from beneath his royal cape. Magus looked at them all nonchalantly and turned back to the King, who was trembling and pale with fear. “Sire, I mean you no harm. It is true the boy is my son, and I have come to claim him and make peace with Guardia. If my son is truly dead… please, let me see his bones so that I may know he is dead.”

“YOU! You are DEAD! You died ten years ago!” Lycadis’ eyes were wide with terror as they rested upon the man who had nearly destroyed all of Guardia almost twenty years ago. “The sages said you died! You are a demon come back to plague me and my kingdom!” Without warning, he rushed at the mage, slashing his dagger through the air in a reckless attempt to destroy the hated wizard. Magus simply stepped aside and the portly King tripped over his own robes.

“Sire, truly I mean you no harm. I know that I am responsible for a great many deaths in this kingdom, but I have overcome the Darkness and stand before you now as a friend. Now if I could please…” Magus was cut short as the King hoisted himself up and threw the dagger with deadly accuracy. Magus ducked just in time as the blade went whizzing past his head. He turned to Glenn. “This isn’t going to work…” he said softly. “They still hate me too much.”

“I’ll put you on the same pyre as your damned son, Blood Wizard, and then you can see his bones up close! Guards! Seize him! Seize ALL of them! Take the girl and put her with the serving ladies for now!” the King ordered as the guards shut the heavy doors to the throne room, locking them securely. They formed a half circle around the two men while brandishing their broadswords.

“Why are they doing that?!” Aria said, looking around in a frightened manner. “Tell them to stop! I don’t like this place anymore!”

“Magus… ?” Glenn whispered as they stood back to back, waiting for the inevitable attack, “I’m afraid to use the Masamune… it… it has changed… What are we going to do now?”

Magus didn’t say anything for a moment. The guards advanced closer, the tips of the swords mere inches from the throats of the two men whom they had been ordered to capture. However, fear made them overly cautious. Many had fathers who had fought and died against the wizard they now faced, and none could forget the stories of the legendary knight Glenn and his magical sword. In a very quiet voice, Magus finally replied to his companion, “Glenn… hold on to the back of my robe and close your eyes.”

“But I thought…”

“Just do it, Glenn! Don’t be a stubborn ass like usual!” Magus hissed at him while taunting one of the guards. The guard leaped back, shaking his sword but too afraid to do much else.

“Fine…” Glenn growled. It was true the mage had purged the Darkness from his soul but the wizard still had a temper… it was almost as bad as his own. He gripped the black robe firmly with his right hand. “Aria… close your eyes.” He nodded in approval as the young girl did as she was told without a fuss. “Good. Now hold on tight to me and don’t let go!” Glenn gripped her close with his free hand and closed his own eyes, waiting for the wizard to make his next move.

“Get them, you dolts! Before the wizard kills us all!” Lycadis was screaming and jumping up and down in a rage. “Get them or I’ll have all of you thrown into prison for disobeying a direct Order !”

That did it. The guards began to rush them. Glenn gritted his teeth and wished Magus would hurry with the spell. He was sure he was going to feel the cold bite of steel pierce into his stomach any second now. He could hear the guards’ footsteps only a few feet away. “Hurry up Magus!” he said under his breath.

“Est Mard tre Unter’Gein!”

In an instant, Glenn felt a cold spread over him and from behind his eyelids he could see bright flashes of light. He had the sensation that he was traveling very, very fast. Suddenly, he felt himself falling on his back and hitting something hard. The wind was knocked out of him and he could hear Aria sobbing a bit. “I didn’t like that ride, Uncle Glenn!” her small voice was both angry and scared.

Glenn opened his eyes and tried to take a deep breath. He saw that Magus had landed gracefully next to him on the hard packed ground. “Where are we?” he asked, looking up at the wizard. Aria clambered out of his arms and began to angrily kick at the mage.

“That was mean! You made Uncle Glenn fall and it was scary! If that’s flying I don’t ever want to do it again!!” her small fists beat on Magus’ chest as he hoisted her into the air, looking somewhat contrite.

“Uncle Glenn fell because he’s clumsy, that’s all. And if we would have stayed in that other place, we would have been hurt a lot worse. I promise we won’t do it again unless we absolutely have to.”

Glenn sat up slowly, rubbing his back. They were in a field far from the castle. He could see the spires of the Palace miles away in the distance. He stood up wearily. “He can’t be dead, Magus. It couldn’t have been Raven…” his shoulders sagged as an emptiness filled him. “It just can’t be… why did I have to lose both of them?! Mother of Light!” he sank back down to his knees and choked back the urge to cry. His whole life seemed to be caving in.

Magus knelt down next to him. “Glenn… if it was my son who died, I don’t blame you. It wasn’t your fault at all.” He put a hand on his smooth brow and sighed heavily as if a great weight had been placed upon his shoulders. “I wish… I wish I could have known him. At least you knew him. My only son… and I never got to hold him even once.” The wizard was silent for a long moment as he looked at the ground. “Glenn, there is something I have learned. People die. We can’t change that… we have to go on. For a long time I didn’t believe Schala was really gone, but I know now I will never see her again in this lifetime…” he wanted to say more but couldn’t get the words to come out. A deepening sense of loss overwhelmed him.

Glenn nodded silently. “I know, Magus. I just don’t want to believe it. He was like a little brother to me…” he raised his head. “Where’s Aria gone off to?”

The little girl had wandered a bit in the vast field and was chasing butterflies. She had already forgotten about the events that had just occurred. The two men watched her for a moment, wishing they too could forget all the terrible things that had happened to them.

“They are going to be hunting for us, Glenn. You know that, don’t you?” Magus asked the knight, who was still watching the young girl playing.

“Yes. We have to go away, don’t we? And I thought I had finally settled down after all my years wandering around…”


Go To Part 3, Chapter 4

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