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Jul 28, 2012

20% cooler
In. So long as midnight Sunday means submit by Sunday 11:59 PM EST I'll get something in on time.


Jul 28, 2012

20% cooler
(998 Words)
Brooke thought it was the worst moment of her life when she watched her brother struck by a crossbow bolt to the neck and her uncle who cared for her like a daughter run through by a spear, killed with two other men whose savagery led to this point. She had been acting on adrenaline for the past few minutes, but now began to feel a great sorrow knowing she was going to die, standing alone in the forest next to her fallen kin, and facing down the longsword of a highly armored knight wielding it in two hands.

“Drop it.” He said, referring to the axe at her side she had instinctively reached for. “Knife too.” She followed orders.

The other knights regrouped, crossbows, spears, and other weapons pointed at her at all times. They were escorting a priest and had stumbled upon their robbery, her mind foggy with the details of when and how the killing began. “Banditry’s punishable by death.” said the swordsman. “You’ve likely killed your share of men, no reason why we shouldn’t do the same to you.”

The priest spoke. “There is another way.” He slowly walked forth, his black robes swaying in the mud but never getting dirty. “There is always another way.”
One of the knights seemed to catch on. “He’s right. She joins the legion.”

“Bullshit,” spoke the one with the sword at her neck. “She’ll never survive.”

The knight retorted “You saw what she did when that griffon broke loose; look how many drat TREES there are here! You think you or I could’ve made those shots?” The knights considered it. “The hell you care what happens to her anyway?”

The other knight was defeated, sheathed his sword. “She joins the legion.”

“Mark her.” The priest approached, bringing his hands to his lips before touching her right wrist. It was a bolt of searing pain that made her cry out, a burn marked into her flesh, the scar tissue forming the appearance of an iron band around the skin. It marked her purpose, and would kill her if she left it unfulfilled.
She had to journey to hell.

“Let her keep her weapons.” Spoke the knight who had nearly killed her moments ago. “She’ll need them.”

For nearly a full day Brooke travelled, pushing her horse and herself to their limits. Her wrist hurt when she slept, waking her and only easing when she pushed forth towards her destination. For the last third of the journey her horse had abandoned her from fear, her muscles in flames as she ran the entire way. She finally arrived at the gates to a citadel scorched with flame, the burning in her wrist being the only thing on her mind as she pounded on the iron knocker. She caught her breath for a moment, enough for two breathes before hearing the door open. She looked up, seeing a knight decorated in what immensely heavy black iron armor.

“Why are you here?” He spoke.

She couldn’t find words. She simply held up her wrist.

The man took several moments simply looking at her. She was flushed and still catching her breath. He waited a while before speaking, “The legion takes all. We venture into combat in four hours.”

She looked into the dark slits of his helmet. “I’ve just ventured a full day, I haven’t slept in hours, I haven’t had food, I’m… I’m not ready.”

He yanked her inside and closed the gate. “You will never be.”

She had only slept a few minutes after preparing her armor, and she was now forced to march again, this time into the gates of hell. Her wrist had still hurt the entire time, unceasing in its dull agony.

Past blackened woods they wandered through smoldering stone gate, on a bridge they’d build over a river of countless corpses and bones, most of them small. The entire place howled endlessly with screams and what sounded like churning. The other legion had formed a large circle around her while they started hewing down walking corpses with heavy hammers and axes. As they made their way deeper, the corpses grew more bloated, some to grotesque proportions, oozing towards them and shrugging off slices as they wailed. She started firing off arrows. One violently spewed bile, melting a soldier to the bone as it rinsed over him. They were not as bad as the cudgel wielding titans who took out multiple soldiers only with one blow, but would rise again after being struck down. She noticed this of certain legionnaires too, how they would shrug off mortal blows and keep marching towards the endless slaughter that was their duty. She watched as another soldier was bitten by a giant spider, only to scratch at the wound violently before countless tiny spiderlings burst from his abdomen.

“You hold that drat line.” Said a black-iron clad axeman, his obsidian blade spattered green and red with the fluids of thousands of battles. He waded towards the chaos before being engulfed in flames, along with the spiders and many legion in a violent firestorm as the floor erupted in a state unforgivingly common in the landscape.
Her leg was sting with thorns from some hellish plant. The wound was already bleeding through her armor, purple and red. She already felt faint, feeling the blood loss. So this is how I die, she thought. Already in hell… she nearly laughed to herself. It was the lack of blood she thought.

She remembered trying to pass out, but the pain in her wrist brought her back. She remembers being strung up for execution, being fed some insatiable hunger. It was a maw that stretched ceaselessly into a void, a horror indescribable. She remembers being quickly and brutally devoured.

She was roused from her sleep.

“We fight now,” said a man handing her an axe, his wrist wrapped in an iron band.

Her wrist hurt. She knew it’d only stop when the killing began.

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