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(DF) The Long Dark

 
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12/28/2016 5:06:49   
NagisaXIkari
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"The more one is absorbed in fighting evil, the less one is tempted to place the good in question."

Prelude: The Light of Valor

"There is only one good. And that is to act according to the dictates of one's conscience."

They did not know what time of day it was. They weren't in a position to take it into consideration, but while those outside the battlefield would say the sky was black, they would also say that the sky above where the paladins fought the undead hoard was in a perpetual state of midday.

Ghosts, spirits and spectres would wither away in the light cast by the paladins. Bone would be turned to dust under mace and hammer. The decaying flesh of the newly resurrected dead offered no resistance to neither sword nor axe.

To some, the threat of an undead invasion was a cause for panic, but for the paladins it was just a mundane task. Most of them were even bored of it. For a small few it was still exhilarating to fell undead and be a hero. There weren't many and some veterans found their idealism to be tiresome, others viewed it through a nostalgic lens.

But there were always those who took things a little too far. Someone whose very existence seemed to only be validated by being a hero. It was enough to make veterans who fought against Sepulchure's hoard uneasy. Someone whose light only brought darkness to the eyes of those who gazed upon it.

Chapter I: The Cellblock

"There are things you can do while you're immobile. A suggestion would be to make your final repentance."

The Hunter guarded the entrance to ensure nothing left the forsaken halls of the asylum while the paladin marched down the main hall, looking for anything that would dare try to escape and pose a threat to the people of Arkham below. And there was something lurking within the dimly lit halls. He could hear various creatures flee as if they knew they would be vanquished by the righteous blade bestowed upon him and were only prolonging the inevitable.

Something else also lurked within the halls of the asylum, always accompanied by the sound of steel dragging on stone and always near but never visible.

The Paladin was certain it was not his blade as it was fastened securely to his waist and he wouldn't dare desecrate his blade by dragging it across the surface of anything he had no intention of exorcising. He was certain of it.

The hall was decorated with statues and symbols he recognized from time spent in the Sandsea, but did not know the meaning of. Statues of jackal-headed creatures flanking doorways and emblems of scarabs on cell doors.

Some cells were open for him to see inside of. The occupant long gone for reasons unknown, the cells dirtied in a variety of strange but often disgusting ways. One cell in particular stood out as within the floor and walls were various runes and symbols that had been carved into them while other cells with such markings made by their previous inhabitants had only been done so in whatever was on hand. Then there were the closed cells.

Peering through the small window in the door, the paladin could not see the occupant, but if he listened closely, he could hear them cowering. They knew judgment was at hand.

It was surprisingly easy to force open the cell door. The paladin did not know how or when he got so strong, but he thanked the Avatars and stood in the doorway, a zombie scampering to get away from him. Odd behavior for a zombie, but it did not matter. It was an affront to the light and a mockery of life that must be destroyed.

Another minion of evil destroyed. He was making Lore a safer place and he would continue to do so.

In another cell was a creature made of the parts of various monsters in a cell with only iron bars on the door. It too was cowering in fear.

Grabbing hold of the bars marred his gloves, but he would not let the creature's dark magic hinder his mission and soon enough, the door opened. Judgment would be passed.

He continued down the hall, eradicating the undead hiding in their cells, paying no attention to their odd behavior. These were creatures that had no business returning to the pure world of the living and making a mockery of it. By destroying them, he was making the world a better place. He was being the one thing he had always dreamed of being: A hero.

Chapter II: The Hall

I was assailed by memories of a life that wasn't mine anymore, but one in which I'd found the simplest and most lasting joys.

The dragging sound persisted as the Paladin entered the courtyard, only one door being visible, but he didn't acknowledge it or the scent of decay. As a Paladin, he was accustomed to the scent of decay. It let him know, the undead were near, but it wasn't important right now. He was captivated by the statue in the center of the courtyard of a winged humanoid in the midst of slaying a serpentine monster with a lance. A sight that filled him with glee when he gazed upon the stern face of the winged one. Gazing upon the panicked look of the monster, his feeling of glee seemed to melt away.

He could feel the smile on his face, but in the back of his mind he could feel something gnawing away at him. Somehow he found the monster's plight relatable. It made him angry and sick that he could somehow relate to a monster.

Looking back at the winged one's face, he felt his smile turn into a snarl as a feeling of betrayal came over him.

Images flashed through the Paladin's mind. Images of other paladins with their weapons ready and pointing at someone and shouting commands to surrender. They confused and angered him until they changed to images of breaking the bones of skeletons and zombies, vanquishing spectres and wraiths, images that brought him joy.

He looked at the face of the winged one. The winged one did not look at him, its gaze focused on the monster.

The Paladin turned his gaze away from the statue and looked beyond it at the door leading to the tower. It would be a fine location to look over the asylum he had purged and the town below the hill it stood on.

The Paladin struggled to hold the handle of the door. For some reason they were wet even though it made no sense for them to be wet, but he'd eventually heave the door open. Wherever that strength had come from, he was grateful for it.

The front hall of the tower was a shrine of darkness and madness. The walls were decorated with arcane symbols and the triumph of darkness and evil over the light. The destruction of the Falconreach Guardian Tower. The hoards of Sepulchure's and Valtrith rampaging across Falconreach and Greenguard. The Doom Dragon and the darkness it spread.

The Paladin was sickened by these images. Had he been a Paladin at the time, those things would have never happened. He was certain of it.

He moved down the hallway, the walls giving way to mirrors that shook with the sounds of steel scraping stone. On one side he could see himself in the mirror. Proud and noble in armor of gold, silver, and red. He stood as a hero. Other images appeared in the mirror of other Paladins in the same armor, but they looked weak and cowardly. The opposite of him and how a Paladin should be. The types of Paladin that had sympathized and worked alongside the likes of Zorbak and Vayle. Servant of evil.

The Paladin's in the mirror brandished their weapons.

"Drop your weapon and surrender!"

"You're unfit to be in this Order."

"You brought this upon yourself."

Glass shattered as the Paladin drew his sword and swung it across the mirrors. He was a hero. He would purge the world of darkness, starting with Arkham Asylum.

More images flashed through his mind. The Hunter at the Asylum gates letting him in. But he wasn't alone. Others were present. Paladins.

"Yes, this will be a suitable place for him," The Hunter said.

In the other mirror was a single figure clad in the black and dull gold armor of the Death Knight. Another enemy of the light. One he had fought before and vanquished.

The Paladin raised his sword. The Death Knight raised their enormous blade, aping the Paladin's movements. Being mocked by such a despicable creature enraged the Paladin further. He lashed out. The Death Knight lashed out. The mirror shattered and with it the Death Knight.

In the remaining mirrors, the Paladin saw visions of himself slaying the servants of darkness and his anger melted away.

At the end of the hall was a fork separated a glass cylinder holding a sphere that projected the asylum and the Paladin's journey to it. Despite the light of the sphere, a shadow was cast over the display, but he knew it was him. But what he wasn't sure of was why he wasn't alone.

Chapter III: The Left Path

The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding.

The mirrors continued down the hall and within them the Paladin could see images of other paladins standing among the broken and decayed remains of fallen undead.

"You brought this upon yourself."

"This is not how we do things."

The Paladin could see his breath and even through his armor, he could feel the cold creeping in.

"You're a disgrace."

The mirrors shook with the dragging sound, steadying only as the mirrors began to become covered in ice.

"How does it feel to be forsaken by the light?" a cold, menacing voice asked.

"I was not forsaken."

Within the icy walls, a figure clad in fur trimmed blue, grey, and black armor with skulls on the pauldrons and a black crown that covers half the wearer's face. The bottom half of the wearer's face was obscured by shadows despite all logic.

An Icebound Revenant. A creature of darkness born from ice. Like the Death Knight, he has bested them in battle.

"Then why are you here? Can you even remember why you came here?"

"To vanquish the darkness within the asylum. To fulfill my duty as a paladin."

"Is that what they told you? Or is that what you tell yourself? It takes a strong man to deny what's right in front of him. And if the truth is undeniable, you create your own."

"I am a Paladin! I am a defender of the light. That is what I see and that is the truth."

The Icebound Revenant laughs while the Paladin draws their sword, steel scraping against ice as the Paladin carves a line through the wall and continued to do so as the Revenant laughed until it vanished.

The Paladin sheathed their blade, steel scraping ice. A noise that continued as the Paladin walked down the frozen hallway.

"You brought this upon yourself."

"This is not how we do things."

The images of the paladins shifted to Icebound Revenants and Death Knights before vanishing, the ice clouding over with darkness until even the hall was pitch black and he was all alone in the the long dark, the maddening scraping sound ever present.

The Paladin walked for what seemed like ages, shivering beneath his armor while the scraping rattled his helmet, threatening to split his skull.

The darkness began to retreat, but the ice remained and even snow began to form as if it just emerged from the ice covering the stone floor. It dampened the scraping sound to some degree.

When the darkness broke, the Paladin found themself back at the fork in the hall with no recollection of having turned around.

"Can you even remember why you came here?" a voice called out from the right path.

Chapter IV: The Long Dark

Man’s consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it.

No light came from the path and what little light from their position could show was the floor was covered in black snow like the snow that blanketed Falconreach all those years ago because the prophesied World Destroyer, staunchly protected by some hero refused to fight and chose to submit to the darkness out of some sense of duty and self-preservation.

The black snow crunched beneath the Paladin's feet as they went down the hall towards whatever may lie ahead.

The hall began to brighten with the flicker of orange, yellow, and red. The colors of fire. Emerging from the fire came the shapes of beings in tattered clothing and damaged armor, their decayed faces frozen in fear, anger, and pain, macabre weapons embedded in their bodies.

The Paladin remembered everything from that time. It was the result of one of many failures at the hands of Lore's so called heroes. Falconreach burned while the abhorrent creations of the darkness ravaged the kingdom making a mockery of the light and life itself.

"Did you even hesitate to strike them down? People you vowed to protect and swore loyalty to and you struck them down like you would any other monster," a voice spoke from within the fire and apparitions.

"Why would I hesitate to vanquish the creatures of the dark? Because they take the forms of those who were once human? The darkness won't just try to destroy your body, but also your mind. The Paladin must steel both in order to triumph."

"Is that so?" The voice asked. "You think what they are in the present negates what they were in the past? Even the most mundane skeleton was once someone with friends and a family. A life that may have been just and fulfilling until their own light has been snuffed out."

"The past isn't what matters, but the present. The dead had their time and to invade the world of the living is to threaten the light of the living."

"And if their time is premature? Is it right to deny a parent the luxury of not seeing their child grow up?"

"You think a being without light could have a future in this world? Impossible."

"Is it really?" an apparition of a decayed woman, a SkullStaff of Doom protruding through its body.

"We were comrades," said a Guardian, a ShadowReaper of Doom in its back.

"You could have saved us," said what was once a villager.

"You're supposed to be a hero," said another Guardian.

"I am a hero!" the Paladin shouted, the colors of fire dying as if extinguished by their words. "A savior."

"You're no savior," the voice said in the dark. "Your talents lie elsewhere."

A sense of familiarity creeped over the Paladin. One they had tried to suppress since first hearing it. They couldn't place where they've heard it, possibly fighting the urge to do so.

The snow seemed to get deeper as the Paladin continued down the hall, the cold seeping through their armor and to their limbs. The Paladin's teeth began chattering beneath their helmet, like the bones of so many skeletons fell at the hands of the Paladin. It was enough to resist trying to remember where that they had that voice.

Anticipating another visit from the Icebound Revenant, the Paladin sluggishly gripped the pommel of their sword, but as the snow got deeper, nothing came. Even the scraping sound was eventually too muffled by the snow to be audible.

The Paladin didn't take their hand off their sword, either continuing their precaution or because they were too cold to move their arm.

Trudging through the snow, a pale light like that of the moon illuminated a doorway, a Death Knight standing before the Paladin.

"A mirror never lies. They know. Everybody knows. Do you not see what they see? A mirror never lies. I see what they see. Everybody knows," said the Death Knight, its voice giddy with excitement as if it knew some scandalous secret.

That sense of familiarity creeped over the Paladin again, but they were too cold to fight it. The Paladin recognized that voice, but refused to accept it.

"Everybody knows."

Chapter V: Through the Looking Glass

Only a few find the way; some don't recognize it when they do; some don't ever want to.

The Death Knight reached forward, their arm lashing out of the mirror like the tentacle of some great underwater beast, the Paladin too taken by the cold to attempt to evade, they're pulled into the mirror, feeling as if they're being pulled underwater.

The Paladin found themself in a forest, sitting against a tree, sword across their lap, resting. They recalled this moment with some clarity. It was when patrolling an area in Greenguard, possibly before The Rose came to power, maybe some time after. Some parts were hazy.

The Paladin was resting as even with the canopy provided by the trees, it was still quite warm in the forest. Warmer than usual.

Images flashed before their eyes. They were like looking at a wet painting, the colors running down the canvas, muddying the original image beyond recognition. The images faded and on the surface, all seemed normal, but there subtle things that made the Paladin doubt the legitimacy of what they were seeing.

Birds sang, but their chirps were off tune creating a horrible cacophony. He could hear a nearby stream, but it too wasn't right. It sounded like a plug had been pulled and the water was draining. Leaves rustled not far from their position, sounding like glass shattering as a bear, a symbol of strength and confidence emerged from the woods.

But this bear was timid and weak, struggling to move. Its fur was matted and falling out in clumps while parts of it appeared as if something had been eating it and continued to do so even now.

The Paladin stared through the vacant eyes of the bear, watching as they slowly disintegrated until staring into the blank sockets left behind, seeing nothing but darkness.

The Paladin raised their sword and began to stand, stopping when they noticed a snail crawl across the edge of the blade and once again heard the voice they had been unable to place, not wanting to remember.

"I watched a snail crawl along the edge of my sword. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a sword... and surviving."

The voice spoke in a dull monotone that echoed slightly as if the one speaking were wearing a helmet.

The Paladin stood and raised their sword towards the decaying animal, the snail still crawling, as if unaware of its impending end.

"Would you sacrifice that life to end mine?" the bear asked, its voice deep and clear in spite of or despite its decaying vocal cords.

The Paladin watched the snail silently crawl along the blade of their sword, thinking that they should remove it, but what if the bear attacks during that moment? They vowed to give their life to defend the people of Lore, but did that vow extend to even the lowest of creatures? How many such creatures had they ended just patrolling the forest without giving it a second thought?

"Would you attack me if I were to save it?"

"I cannot say," said the bear, muscle and flesh beginning to become exposed around its face and body. "I suppose while I'm still coherent I won't, but do you trust me enough to believe me?"

"Why should I trust a creature such as yourself? One with no purpose, but to threaten and destroy the lives of others."

"Is that not what I did in life as well? How does no longer having a pulse change that my entire purpose was to threaten and destroy the lives of others in order to survive?"

"That's just nature," said the Paladin. "All life sustains itself by threatening and destroying the lives of others. But the Undead have no life of their own to sustain."

"So would you have taken up that sword against me at any other time? I'm just trying to survive after all."

"Of course, you're threatening my own existence."

"But I had my own life to sustain. Can you say you value the life of others if you're willing to end them for your own sake?"

"Of course I can. The undead disrupt the natural order and threaten not only my existence, but the existence of all living things."

"And right now you're threatening the existence of that snail in order to strike me down."

"Then let me save it!"

The Paladin reached for the snail as it neared the tip of their sword, while the bear stood on its hind legs, fur and flesh dropping off its torso, exposing withered organs as it stepped forward. Reacting instinctively, the Paladin thrust their sword into the bear, the snail sliding along the edge of their blade, letting out a high pitched scream. The bear fell backwards, pulling itself from the sword.

"Can you even remember why you came here?" asked the bear as it slumped to the ground, its bones turning to dust.

More hazy images flashed through the Paladin's mind, the scenery changing to that of the hill that looked over Falconreach. Guardians, civilians, and others scrambled through the wreckage of the Guardian Tower after the Flying Fortress had crashed into it. The Paladin did not move. Someone shouted at them, but they did not hear.

"What kept you from helping?" said the voice. "Was it fear? Anger? The realization that you found yourself valuing life less and less as time went on?

The Paladin tried to speak, but the words died on the tip of their tongue. They wanted to scream, but it felt like their throat was filled with sand.

"How long have you been with the Order?"

The hazy images continued to flash through the Paladin's mind, becoming slightly clear as the world around them changed. They could make out the faint outlines of other Paladins, hear their muffled unintelligible voices.

"It wasn't long was it?"

"You are no longer welcome within these halls," an angry male voice said.

"Return your sword and your armor this instant," another voice said.

Shame crept over the Paladin. Shame which eventually became anger.

"You're not a hero," a female voice said.

"Yes. I. Am!" the Paladin shouted, swinging their sword.

The sword scraped against the stone walls of the stairwell they stood in. The Paladin looked behind them, but saw only the Death Knight staring back. The Paladin raised their sword, the Death Knight mimicked their actions, further enraging the Paladin and lashed out. The mirror shattered, revealing the hallway they had come from, the black snow still on the floor.

The Paladin turned back to the stairs and walked, the scraping sound resuming, becoming more maddening as they begin to climb the dark tower.

Chapter VI: The Climb

“Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying, anxious place. “The Past Tense,” I suppose you’d call it. Memory’s so treacherous. One moment you’re lost in a carnival of delights, with poignant childhood aromas, the flashing neon of puberty, all that sentimental candy-floss… the next, it leads you somewhere you don’t want to go. Somewhere dark and cold, filled with the damp ambiguous shapes of things you’d hoped were forgotten. Memories can be vile, repulsive little brutes. Like children I suppose. But can we live without them? Memories are what our reason is based upon. If we can’t face them, we deny reason itself! Although, why not? We aren’t contractually tied down to rationality! There is no sanity clause! So when you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit… you can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away… forever.”

Climbing the stairs, the Paladin would come to a door every few feet. Sometimes it'd be to their left, other times to their right, but there was only ever one. The first door was to their right, bearing the same insect emblem as in other parts of the asylum. They opened the door and inside was a glimpse into a time long past.

Several Paladins stood before another, their weapons drawn the other also had their weapon drawn. What set it apart from the other Paladins was their armor was dull. Not like dirt and grime, but as is if the light was fading from it.

"You are no longer welcome within these halls," an angry male voice said.

"Return your sword and your armor this instant," another voice said.

"You're a disgrace."

"You're unfit to be in this Order."

The Paladin in the dull armor lashed out, striking another. The others retaliated, but they did not strike to kill as the Paladin in the dull armor did.

The Paladin in the dull armor staggered back, feeling the bruises and fractures delivered upon them.

"Drop your weapon and surrender!"

The Paladin in the dull armor, attacked, but could not connect.

The door slammed shut, blocking off what happened next.

"It's all coming back now, isn't it?" asked the voice. "The reason you're here and that maybe you're not who or what you think you are."

"Shut up," the Paladin said. "You don't know anything. You're nothing. You're just a voice."

"I'm not just a voice. I'm a very particular voice."

The Paladin continued up the stairs, the emblem of the scarab dotting the walls began to move they more they climbed as if they were trying to escape something. The emblem on the door that came up to the Paladin's left was halfway up the door and still inching its way up. The Paladin opened the door.

They could see someone begin hauled down a hallway, their features indescribable.

"Destroy their sword and armor. It's been tainted by darkness. We can't use it," a male voice said.

"What will we do with this one?" another male voice said.

"Lock them up for now. The Captain will know what to do."

The door slammed shut.

"Ringing any bells?" the voice said.

"Whose trick is this? Why don't you show yourself?"

"I have shown myself. A few times now. You just refuse to accept it."

Another several steps, another door. The Paladin tried to move on, but found themself rooted to the spot as if someone or something wouldn't allow them to continue until they looked through the door.

On the other side of the door was someone sitting in a cell, multiple voices could faintly be heard.

"What are we going to do with them?" a female voice said.

"In a far corner of Doomwood is a town called Arkham. There's an old Rose prison there. That's where we'll put them," a male voice said.

"How do you know that'll work. How do you even know such a place exists?" the female asked.

"Privileged information. And the one watching the only entrance will ensure this one doesn't get out."

"Understood, sir."

The cell fills with light as the door opens, multiple Paladins entering.

"You're being transferred," the female said.

The cell door slams shut and the Paladin finds themself able to move again.

"Starting to add up?" the voice asked.

The Paladin continued their climb. Who thought they'd want to see this? It meant nothing to them. This wasn't their life. It was never their life.

Another door, another vision.

The Paladins escorted their prisoner through the farthest reaches of Doomwood that even under the light of the full moon seemed darker than many of the other areas in the region they passed through.

"Didn't you once use to live in a town back there," a male voice asked, striking up a conversation with another male Paladin who had no visible weapon.

"I wouldn't say lived, but I stayed in Innsmouth for a bit. I sort of found the place by accident and meant to only stay for the night, but..." the Paladin trailed off.

"But?"

"There was a boy there and he seemed so lost in his own town, so I stuck around a bit, acting like a big brother of sorts. Taught him about the Order and what it stands for, that sort of thing."

"Think you could've tried that with this one?" the first voice said.

"Under different circumstances, maybe," the second voice said.

The door slammed shut and the voice laughed.

"Now are you getting it or do you still deny what's in front of you?"

Coming to another door, the vision the Paladin saw was just like the one they saw in the frozen hallway, but this time it was like looking at it through their own eyes. As if they were there.

"It's been a long time since someone had been condemned to these halls," the Hunter who stood at the entrance said, their voice like thunder.

"We were told you'd ensure they never got out," a male Paladin said, trying to steel their nerves, but a hint of fear in their voice betrayed them.

Something about the asylum guard unnerved him, but he couldn't place why and he did not wish to ask.

"You heard correct," the Hunter said moving to open the doors to the asylum.

The Paladins caught a glimpse of the main hall that doubled as a cellblock with its bizarre symbols scattered around like the place was some kind of gathering grounds for a cult rather than a prison. They didn't escort the prisoner inside, resolving to unshackle and then shove them through the door which the Hunter promptly closed, the door the Paladin looked through closing as well.

"How long do you think you can keep this up," the voice asked. "How long do you think you can pretend to be someone and something you're not?"

The Paladin continued trying to ignore the voice, but like the scraping it too was maddening. But neither were as maddening as their attempts at suppressing the sense of familiarity that came with the voice.

The Paladin came to another door, inside they could see the prisoner wandering the hall, looking over the remains of people and things that had long since been abandoned following whatever caused the asylum to fall.

They found a sword and a suit of armor, stained and marred by years of neglect, but there was something familiar about it, like perhaps it was armor that belonged to a knight or even a Paladin. The prisoner reached out and touched the armor. It began to darken like the world outside Darkovia when the sun set or when the Doom Dragon took flight.

The door slammed shut.

"Who was that? Is there someone else here?" the Paladin asked, expecting the voice to answer.

That would explain the scraping, wouldn't it? Someone else is present and they're following close by yet somehow unseen.

"Why don't you climb to the top of the tower?" the voice asked like someone who was trying not to laugh would.

The Paladin raced up the stairs, the scraping sound also picking up speed, keeping pace with them as if whatever was making it just might now be making itself known. The Paladin stopped and turned around, but there was nothing behind them except stairs.

"Can't you feel it? You're almost there."

The Paladin continued until they reached the final door at the top of the tower when finally their will to suppress the familiarity of the voice broke.

It was their own.

Chapter VII: The Fall

"The fall of peoples and mankind will invite me to my rise.

The Paladin pushed open the final door, the interior of the room being nothing but mirrors as if the entire room had been constructed entirely of glass. Entering the room, the door vanished behind them leaving behind only the reflective surface that made up every other inch of the room, but they did not see themself in the mirror. They saw nothing at all.

It wasn't until moving towards the center of the room, the scraping sound persisting, a scratch in the reflective surface of the floor following them that something began to appear in the surrounding mirrors. As the Paladin got closer, so did what was in the mirror.

In the mirror was a Death Knight, dragging its heavy blade behind them.

"Now do you get it," the voice, their voice said. "All you, no I have seen? Everything I have said and heard? It was all you. All us."

"That...that can't be," the two said as one.

"It is."

The Paladin spun around the room seeing only the Death Knight mimicking their motion, a circle being scratched into the floor.

"All this time I tried to deny who I was and for what? I was afraid of what I would think about myself. About what maybe others would think about me. But I know what others think about me. They're the ones who condemned me to this place."

Steel scraped against glass as they raised their blade. For a moment it still looked like the mid-sized sword of the Paladin, but it became quickly apparent that it was really the heavy black blade of the Death Knight, an emblem of a demon staring at them, its eyes giving off the same red glow that radiated around the blade. A blade so large and heavy they couldn't help but drag it behind them as they walked.

It was then they noticed the ring worn over their gloves. They lowered their blade to further inspect the ring, their hand blurring as if leaving its own shadow.

They thought back to when they were pushed through the asylum doors and the weapon and armor they found. They don't recall putting the armor on piece by piece, but that just by touching it, it grew dark and enveloped them, molding to fit their body. Did the ring appear the same way?

They noticed the cloak, wrapped around them in an embrace that offered no warmth or comfort. They noticed other pieces of equipment as well. They couldn't feel them, but they could see and touch them. A helmet, belt, and necklace.

The Death Knight began to laugh, their laughter growing louder and more ferocious until the room shook and the mirrors began to crack and eventually break apart.

"So this is what it has come to," said the Death Knight staring at their splintered reflection as it gradually fell to pieces. "Condemned to walk these halls being unable to live nor die and this is what they call justice?"

Epilogue: The Death Knight

"It is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence - that which makes its truth, its meaning - its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream - alone..."

The Death Knight wandered the halls of the asylum, the meaning behind the various scarab and jackal-headed statues scattered around the grounds became apparent to them. They were symbols of rebirth. They died as a Paladin and were reborn as a Death Knight.

Seeing the statue of the winged humanoid fighting the dragon in the courtyard, the Death Knight with a single stroke of their blade removed the head from the statue, the head falling into the dirt with a thud. It landed in such a way that the angry eyes of the winged one stared up at the Death Knight like it was now directing their anger at them rather than the dragon.

Walking down the halls, the Death Knight saw the creatures in the cells for what they really are and when coming across those that they had slain under the belief that they were a Paladin, slaying the undead what they really were. Creatures that may not have been of this world or possibly any other, but all cowered as the sound of their blade scraped across the floor.

The Death Knight set their sights on the entrance and what they would do upon leaving. Perhaps unleash the monsters still locked up on the world, or possibly find the Paladins that condemned them to this fate. But even their blade or possibly due to interference from the Hunter kept them from cutting through the door. Not knowing the identity of the Hunter, the Death Knight believed they would outlast it, but until then, they wouldn't stop trying to carve through that door.

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 2/1/2017 1:13:52 >
DF  Post #: 1
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