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(DF) Downward Spiral

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1/5/2011 2:35:43   

Yes, the main character has intentionally been left anonymous. Discuss this story here. I would appreciate any and all criticism and/or praise.


Part 1: Mistakes

Day 1: These bandits were obviously amateurs. Twin ruts in the mud stretched down the trail that even an inexperienced mercenary would have picked up on. If they were this sloppy, then he could only imagine their fighting technique. He sighed with resignation and continued along the trail, crouching down and making sure to keep quiet. For a few minutes, all he heard was the chirping of the birds, but little by little, a new sound was growing in volume. After listening intently for a few seconds, his beliefs were confirmed. The sound was the creaking of a wheelbarrow wheel; he had found his targets.

Not seeing any more reason to be sneaky, he stood up straight and walked up directly behind the bandits. “Hey!” he shouted when he was just behind them. The pair of bandits jumped in surprise and whirled around angrily. Only two, he noted. Less than he was expecting. “Yea? Whaddyou want?” The mercenary grinned mischievously. “Oh, nothing. You see, I was just wandering through here on business, and I couldn’t help but notice that you’re carrying my paycheck.” He gestured to the treasure chest sitting in the wheelbarrow he had heard earlier. The first bandit spat a curse. “So you’re here to return it, eh? Let’s see you try.” The bandits drew their daggers and got into a defensive stance. “Great. I was hoping you would say that.”

With a steely scrape, he slowly unsheathed his sword, making sure to draw out the moment. With his sword drawn, he immediately lunged for the nearest bandit. The bandit tried to jump out of the way, but wasn’t quite quick enough. The sword made a nice gash on the bandit’s forearm, and the pain stunned the bandit just enough for him to be brought to a swift death. The mercenary sighed and turned to the other bandit. “So, you wanna be next?” he said while twirling his now-stained sword.

The bandit’s answer was to drop his dagger and sprint farther into the forest. He waited for a few seconds, making sure the bandit was gone before letting out a hearty laugh. “Ha! Just as I thought! Now, let’s see here…” He turned to the treasure chest, the item he was tasked with retrieving. He cracked the lid open and gave a low whistle at the sheer amount of gold inside. “Well, I guess he won’t be needing quite so much.” He was, of course, referring to his employer, some old coot who kept to himself. “I’m sure he’d be willing to part with, say three hundred? Three hundred sounds good.” He pocketed the gold with a smile and began the long walk back home, lugging the wheelbarrow behind him.

He arrived at his client’s house and set the wheelbarrow down with a groan. Carrying the thing had been much harder than it should have been. He noted that it was surprisingly dark already. Perhaps he should go to sleep after he dealt with the coot. He took a deep breath, exhaled, and went to knock on the door. The old man opened the door within seconds and immediately fixed his beady stare on the mercenary. The mercenary grinned sheepishly and gestured to the chest. “I brought your gold back. I don’t suppose you have my payment?” The old man continued staring for a few more seconds, and the mercenary shifted uneasily under his gaze. Finally, the old man spoke. “Oh, yes, you’re that person I hired to catch those thieves.”

“Yes, as I just said about ten seconds ago.”

“Is that my gold?”

“Again, yes, as I just said about ten seconds ago.”

The old man hobbled over to the wheelbarrow and opened the chest. Seemingly satisfied, he tossed a bag of gold to the mercenary. He caught it with ease and immediately began untying the drawstrings keeping it closed. He counted the gold inside, drew the bag closed again, and strolled off.

Piore village; not many have heard of it before. It was established long ago by a family that wished to get away from civilization and reconnect with nature. That phase didn’t last long, however. Soon they were clearing out the trees in the area to make their own little village. People came and went. Some stayed, others didn’t. The village expanded slightly, and the residents were content. Inevitably, the family died off. The other residents continued to keep the village alive, but they no longer expanded. And so, Piore became a small village far away from any real help, filled with people who had more than a decent amount of money and nothing to spend it on; in other words, it became a bandit’s fantasy. The people of Piore have continually tried to fight back against the bandits by hiring mercenaries or appealing to far-off cities for help, the latter option never yielding much in the way of support.

Right in front of his house, the mercenary stumbled and fell flat on his face. That was one way to be broken out of a reverie. He pulled himself up, dusted himself off, and went inside. Inside, he simply took off his armor and lay down to sleep.

Come, I await.

< Message edited by G.I.G.A. -- 1/22/2011 22:03:03 >
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 1
1/6/2011 4:40:25   

Day 2: He awoke to an unusual amount of noise coming from outside. Curious, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up, only to groan in response to the dull pounding in his head. He just attributed it to dehydration and continued with his day. By the time he finished washing up and getting dressed, the throb had already greatly diminished. After the morning ritual, he opened his door to find the last thing he expected in Piore: crowds. Everywhere he looked, he saw armor-clad adventurers either walking or talking amongst themselves in small groups, and all of the activity was situated around a growing mass of tents. He stumbled toward the tents in a daze. Perhaps his headache wasn't as gone as he had hoped.

What was he even doing? Satisfying his curiosity? Was that really all?

He brought himself back to reality to find that he was standing in front of a tent; the largest tent in the camp, he noted as he looked around. Having nothing better to do, hes simply walked inside.

The moment he entered, the man inside looked up from the paper he was studying. “Can I help you?”

“Ah, yes. I live here, and I was just wondering... what the heck is going on?”

“Oh, and here I thought they told everyone." The man sighed and set his paper down. "We received a distress call from an underwater city, requesting that we deal with an imminent threat.”

He grinned inwardly as a plan began to form in his mind, all thoughts of the headache forgotten. “I don’t suppose you have room for one more, do you?"

The man sighed once more. “Well, I suppose I’m the one you need to talk to. I’m the general here, or as the troops have taken to calling me, the payroll manager.”

He smirked, but grew sober again at a glare from the general.

“Now, how much did you want for pay?”

He grinned wolfishly. “Oh, I don’t know. How about three thousand, plus whatever I find on bodies?”

The general nodded. “Done. We leave first thing tomorrow, whether you’re here or not.”

The mercenary stood there, dumbfounded, just staring at the general. “Wow,” he said finally. “Heck of a budget you got there.” He quickly fled from the tent at another glare.

From there, he went to the tavern to see if he could find any work while he was waiting. He sat at the bar for what seemed like hours, and yet not even one approached him. That is, until a young man finally walked up and sat next to him.
“I take it you’re for hire?”

“You would be correct." He turned to face the young man. "What did you need?”

“Well, my father’s been sick lately, and I’ve been too busy taking care of him to hunt for food. We’re getting pretty desperate…”

“Got it, you need food. How much are you offering?”

“We don’t have much. Would two hundred be enough?”

He sighed. “I guess it’ll have to do. Be back soon.” He left the tavern and immediately began his ritual of preparing for a job. He went back home, donned his armor, checked his blade, and then headed into the forest.

Finding the trail of an animal was easy enough, so that just left the tedious task of following it. The rest was business as usual, although the silence of nature did give him a lot of time to think. What about, though, he had no idea. His mind eventually settled into thinking about the upcoming march with the army. He had never heard of any city under the sea before. How exactly could they get to the city, anyhow? He didn’t suppose there was some sort of magic potion that could help him breathe underwater. Was there a potion like that?

The snap of a twig brought him back to reality. He looked in the direction of the noise to find his prize. The boveox was grazing, blissfully unaware of his presence. The kill was quick and efficient. Afterward, he decided he had enough time to skin the corpse and carve out a chunk of meat worth about three hundred gold.

The walk home was long, the payment went smoothly, and by the time it was all over, it was late, and his eyes had begun to droop. He plopped onto his bedding, and in an instant, gave way to sleep's clutches.

He had no dreams.

< Message edited by G.I.G.A. -- 9/28/2011 0:15:08 >
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 2
1/6/2011 20:51:26   

Day 3: Today was going to be a great day; he could feel it. Perhaps he felt so great because he hadn’t woken up with a disorienting headache like yesterday. Perhaps it was because he was getting paid an absurd amount of money to sneak out of sight while any sort of battle began. No matter, he didn’t have time to make plans; the army should have been scheduled to leave soon. He completed his morning ritual, donned his armor, checked his blade, and set out, only to stop dead in his tracks on his doorstep. When he looked out into the town, he saw the same, old, empty town that he usually saw. The army had already left.

There was no time to curse himself or reconsider going on the expedition. He ran, and he ran fast. They couldn’t have gotten too far ahead; an hour at most.





How much longer?

You are nearing. I await.


“Well, look who finally decided to show up!”

He was slow to respond, still trying to focus on what exactly had just happened. When he finally came back to reality, he noticed a group of soldiers standing around him, looking slightly worried. “Hey… you okay there? You look really tired.”

He nodded, indicating that he was fine while he tried to catch his breath. He stood with his hands on his knees for a short while, but eventually felt well enough to stand up straight and speak. “Yea… ‘m fine. Just… a little tired… that’s all. Hey, you have any water?”

The soldier hurriedly offered his own flask. The mercenary grabbed it and drank it down greedily, almost choking in his haste. When he finished, he handed back the now-empty flask with an apologetic smile. “Sorry about that.”

“No problem. Hey, we should get going now. They’re starting to get a little too far ahead of us.”

“Yea, yea.”

The rest of the day was startlingly boring. The entire army did nothing but walk all day, and when night fell, the general instructed that they not even set up tents. “We’re falling behind schedule,” he had said, but all of the soldiers knew that he was just trying to impress the king with a swift resolution.

It took the mercenary a while to fall asleep, partially because he was still trying to figure out what had happened before he came upon the soldiers.

His sleep was yet again dreamless.

< Message edited by G.I.G.A. -- 9/28/2011 0:17:56 >
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 3
1/6/2011 21:39:23   

Day 4: Yet another boring day. All he had to do in the morning was wake up and dust himself off. After that came more walking. The time began to pass quickly as he slipped into a moving trance. He was occasionally disturbed by soldiers attempting to make small talk, but he usually shrugged them off.

When the sun was high in the sky and the air was scorching, the general allowed them to take a break. For thirty short minutes they were allowed to sit, talk, and rehydrate themselves.

Night fell, and soon enough it began to get cold. After a multitude of complaints from the troops, the general allowed the army to rest for the night. According to the general, they would arrive at the ocean early tomorrow, and that they should be prepared for whatever they may find.

He fell asleep as soon as he lay down.

< Message edited by G.I.G.A. -- 9/28/2011 0:19:14 >
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 4
1/9/2011 2:11:13   

Day 5: The general had kept his promise; they arrived at the ocean not long after they began marching. Up until that moment, he had felt good about the entire trip. Now that he was standing on the shores of the ocean, he wasn’t so sure. Yet again the question came to mind: How exactly was he supposed to breathe underwater? After a few minutes of uneasy waiting, several mages began to distribute some sort of odd potion that he had never seen before.

“What’s this?

The person who had handed it to him looked at him as if he was crazy. “Are you serious?”


“Oh. Well. It’s a water breathing potion.”

“A what?”

“It lets you breathe underwater. Drink it. It’s a concentrated dose, so it should be good for a few days.”

“Oh… Are you sure?”

“Yes. Drink it. It works.” The distributor was beginning to get impatient.

Wishing that the conversation was over already, he tried to dismiss the distributor. “Umm, okay.” He did as he was told after the distributor left. He didn’t feel any different after drinking the potion, which did nothing to help his doubts.

There was a brief rest in order to make sure that everyone had received and drank a potion before the entire army began marching again. Being underwater took some getting used to. First, there was the slight resistance to his movements, but nothing like the normal resistance of water. It appeared as though the potion was creating a thin bubble of recycling air around him, keeping water out of his lungs while increasing mobility. Magic was a wonderful thing.

They hadn’t been walking for more than two hours when they began to see the wreckage. At first they thought that the ruins were just normal shipwrecks, but the general wanted them to search through the ships just to make sure. What they found wasn’t shocking in itself, but the implication was horrible. There had definitely been people living in the wreckage, and by the size of the ruins cluster they found, quite a lot. If the state of the rooms was anything to go, there had been people living here no more than three days ago. Not a trace remained that clued to their demise; no bodies, no blood, nothing.

It was then that the general decided to tell the troops that they had reached their destination. Inevitably, the troops began to get uneasy. Some wanted to head back, justifying their cowardice with the excuse that they had completed their mission just by observing the town. This attitude didn’t last long, however. The general soon gathered the army and scolded them for being so cowardly. “Our mission was to specifically deal with the threat, not to check on the town,” he said.

The soldiers grudgingly agreed to stay, and soon they began to split into groups in order to scour the ocean floor for any clues on what exactly happened to the shipwreck town.

The mercenary ended up in a group with three other outcasts. They ended up half-heartedly poking through a stretch of ocean floor littered with large rocks. After a while, he decided to break the silence. “Do we even know what we’re searching for?”
“Of course not. This whole thing is just the general trying to convince himself that he’s making an effort.” The conversation lapsed into an awkward silence, and the mercenary learned not to ask any more questions.

The hours began to blur together, the landscape was bland, and not a word was exchanged amongst the team.

The day was nearing its end, and the team had decided to head back, having found nothing. About five minutes into their return trip, he was disturbed by a slight eddy. He couldn’t necessarily tell where it came from. Before he could worry about it, a thing glided out from behind a rock. Thing was the only way to describe it, really. It appeared to be humanoid, but its armor was just… wrong. It was all tendrils (moving tendrils, he noted) and what appeared to be rusted metal. He noticed that one hand was even a claw. It glided until it was just a few feet away from the team,where it stopped and looked at them curiously. Meanwhile, the entire team had drawn their weapons and was preparing for the worst.

Nothing happened for a good minute.

Then, the thing made its move. Actually, it didn’t move at all. The only sign that it had attacked was that one member of the team had dropped his weapon and began struggling. By the time the mercenary figured out that his team mate was being crushed, instinct had kicked in. Soon he found himself bolting across the treacherous rocky sea floor, not caring if he tripped or fell. All that he cared about was that he escaped the terror behind him. The other members followed suit, each of them going in a different direction. Little did the mercenary know, the thing had begun following him, keeping just out of sight.

Judging by the light filtering though the water, it was already evening by the time he got back to camp. He was pale and out of breath, the near-death experience still fresh in his mind. Soldiers who happened to be nearby began swarming around him.

“What happened?”

“Did you find the enemy?”

“What did he do?”

“Was the rest of your team killed?”

“What did he look like?”

By the time an officer reached him, he had curled into a fetal position, trying desperately to ward off the pestering questions. Then, he was standing, leaning on someone as his arm draped over their shoulder. He was being carried, on step at a time, to the inside of the general’s tent. He somehow ended up in a chair, sitting across from the general. The general broke the silence after a while. “So, do you want to tell me what happened out there?”
He hesitated for a moment. “Well, there was… I don't even know. This... this thing. And… I don’t know. It killed one of my team mates. I ran. I guess I’m lucky to have made it back at all.”
The general nodded. “Thank you for the information. Now at least we know-“

The general was interrupted by a soldier rushing inside the tent. “General! We’re under attack!”

“What?! How many?”

“J-Just one, sir.”

“What?!” They flew out of the tent to find the thing wreaking absolute havoc. Around it, soldiers were being drowned, crushed, or simply killed by their own fear. The general shouted a curse. He looked to the two soldiers accompanying him. “Well? What are you still here for? Go organize everybody! And make sure that everyone stays away from that thing until you’re finished!”

The mercenary and the other soldier dashed away without hesitation. Trying to organize the chaos took what seemed like an eternity, and every minute that ticked by added more to the body count.

By the time the army was organized into a rudimentary formation, the water was stained in a growing cloud of red. Now that the army knew what they were doing, the casualties were greatly decreased. They took their time and kept their distance. They were smart in when and where they attacked, trying to take advantage of openings.

The stress of the situation was starting to take a toll on him, and what was more, he could have sworn he heard whispers in his head at more than one point. Flecks of spittle adorned the corners of his mouth as he tried to keep his concentration. His hands were shaking. The red haze was everywhere. Bodies littered the ocean floor. How could they possibly win? They had an entire army, and this thing was beating them by itself. There was no escape. He was going to die here, and there was nothing he could do.


Before he knew what he was doing, he had launched himself at the thing, his eyes the epitome of rage. The thing had its back turned; it couldn’t see him.


Something else drove him.


He had to survive.


Yes, he could make it.


Muscles knotted.


It turned.


Pressure building.


He wasn’t going to make it.






Pressure dissipating.





The jostling of the other soldiers snapped him back to reality. He looked down to find the thing’s body. Just the body, though. The last few seconds slowly came back to him. He had killed the thing. He had severed its head. He had saved the remnants of the army. Despite his growing headache, he gave into the moment and joined the other troops in cheering.

After a few minutes, the general gathered the remnants of the army and issued them new orders. They were to leave tomorrow morning. Extra watchmen were to be posted during the night, just to make sure that no more of those things showed up. As a thank you, the general allowed the mercenary to be kept off of watch duty so that he could catch up on sleep. At that point, sleep was more than welcome.

He had a dream that night. He saw the thing again, and he saw it killing people. However, for some reason he was more fixated on the thing’s power, rather than the horrors it was committing

It can be yours

More glimpses of the thing. The water seemed to obey its command.

Simply take it. It can be yours.

It was swimming in a red tide, and somehow, he knew it hadn’t been red to start with.

Don the armor. Accept the power.

End of Part 1.

< Message edited by G.I.G.A. -- 9/28/2011 0:33:39 >
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 5
1/13/2011 0:55:55   

Part 2: Consequences

Day 6: He hadn’t slept well, partly due to another one of the headaches. Yes, another one. It seemed to him as if they had been occurring more and more frequently. He didn’t have time to worry about it, though; the rest of the camp would be away soon. He stood up and stumbled to the door, trying to think through the incessant pounding in his head. He had to go somewhere, but the question was where.

The headache had diminished slightly, but it was still hard to think through it. He found himself wandering away from the camp, out of sight of the soldiers on watch duty. The reason he was outside was soon lying in front of him. The thing had not changed since he last saw its corpse, but somehow he looked at it in a new light. He could only imagine what he could do with that sheer amount of power.

He could leave Piore behind. He could go to a bigger city, find more work, make more gold, live better. It wasn’t long before he was reaching for the body. When his fingers got within inches, he began to wonder how he would put the armor on at all. His question was answered as soon as his fingers brushed a tendril. It shot out and curled around his finger like a hungry animal pouncing on a morsel of food. Others followed, all writhing and squirming. Soon, his entire arm was covered in the writhing tendrils, and still they advanced. His shoulder, his neck, his waist, his legs; all were covered.

DF MQ AQW  Post #: 6
1/22/2011 4:23:12   

Day 7: Awake.

His eyes snapped open at once, and he promptly screwed them shut again. The slight light filtering through his window was just enough to aggravate his pounding headache. Wait a second, his window? His head wasn’t clear enough to piece it all together quite yet, so he lay still for a few more minutes. His headache had lessened by then, and then he was able to piece together that he was somehow back in his room in Piore. The clues were normally subtle, but his headache amplified every sound to a painful volume; the leaves rustling in the wind outside his window, the drip of the water tap, the springs in his mattress that creaked with the slightest movement; all contributed to the cacophony of agony ringing in head.

After another hour in bed, he could move with a reasonable amount of comfort, so he got up to get cleaned up.

…And stopped dead in his tracks.

Staring back at him from the mirror was the terror he had killed. There was something different, though. It had his face, and moved when he did. When the reality of the situation struck him, he was oddly calm about it. Rather than feeling fear or dread, like any normal person would, a smile of smug satisfaction began to creep across his face. By the time he walked out his front door, he was grinning like a madman.

He sauntered over to the tavern, confident that he would have no trouble finding work now. As he walked, he couldn’t help but think about how the army hadn’t paid him. He thought he deserved a bonus, too, for killing the thing. He reached the tavern, opened the door, and almost immediately, all conversation stopped. All eyes were on him. He stood in the doorway for a few seconds and glanced around at the people inside, slightly annoyed.

They were obviously uncomfortable with his appearance. He gave a low growl and stalked over to the bar to take a seat. It should have come as no surprise that he was soon all alone at the bar. Even the bartender had left with a hurried excuse. He said nothing and simply stared at the counter he was sitting at, and soon conversation began to drift back into existence. He had no idea how long he sat at the bar, motionless, waiting for someone to grow a pair and approach him.

It was late afternoon by the time he became aware of a presence behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and gestured that the person should take a seat. A thoroughly distraught woman took the seat next to him. Her need obviously had to pretty dire if she was approaching him. “So? Whaddya want?”

“Um… well…” She struggled for the words, on the verge of tears.

“Cmon, I don’t have all day,” he snapped.

“W-well, my father… he went missing this morning. I don’t know where he is… I think the bandits took him, but-“

“How much?” he interrupted.

“Umm, I don’t know. We don’t have much…”

“How about I take one thousand, hm?”

She choked. “I-I can’t spare that much.”

“Then I guess you can live without your father.” He made as if to get up to leave.

“Wait! Okay, okay. I’ll pay. One thousand. Just please, find him.”

“Yea, yea.” He could almost feel the tension in the tavern lessen as he got up to leave. He spat on the ground in disgust and stormed out.

Kill them. Drown the village.

He staggered at the voice and grabbed onto the nearest thing he could find, which happened to be the outside wall of the tavern. “…what?”

Prove yourself. Kill them.


You will serve.

He stood where he was for a few minutes, breathing heavily. What in the world was that? The presence seemed familiar, somehow. As if he had known it before. Either that, or he could be hallucinating for some reason. Either way, it wasn’t a good sign. He could worry about that later, though. Right now he had to focus on his job. It would get dark soon, so he had to get it done quickly.

There was really only one place where the woman’s father could be located. Over the years, the mercenary had become aware of a large group of bandits in the woods that holed up in a fort. They were the only really organized group he had seen in the area, and kidnapping was their trademark. Up until now, He couldn’t do anything about a group that big by himself. Of course, that would change today.

The fort wasn’t too far away from the town, and it only took him about an hour to reach it. The fort was bigger than he had thought. It was made entirely out of logs, and from what he could see, there was a main courtyard flanked by two towers. The place was too heavily guarded for stealth to be an option, so he was left to his favorite option: Brute force. He walked right up to the two bandits guarding the entrance. Almost immediately, one of them challenged him.
“Hey! Get out of here! This place is off-limits to you… whatever the heck you are, freak." The two mercenaries appeared to be average grunts; in other words, no challenge.
He grinned sadistically in response. “Didn’t your mother teach you that if you had nothing nice to say, then don’t say it?” A ball of red water formed between the two bandits, and promptly exploded. Droplets were sent speeding out at high velocity, and the bandits were torn to pieces faster than they could blink. “Apparently not, I guess.”

A rush of water tore the wooden door off of its poorly-designed hinges, and he came slowly walking in after it, splashing in the shallow pool that had formed. He paid little attention to the old man that was bound and gagged in the middle of courtyard and proceeded to scour the fort for any more bandits, leaving dripping corpses in his wake. He was only slightly aware of the havoc he was wreaking. Instead, his mind was musing over the sheer power he was wielding. Normally, something like this should be harder to attain. Perhaps he had just had a lucky break.

He snapped out of his musing several minutes later to find, much to his disappointment, that there were no more bandits left to kill. He sighed and walked back to the main courtyard to find a bound, gagged, and trembling old man. “I wouldn’t suppose you’re the one I’ve been tasked to recover, hm?”

The old man bobbed his up and down fearfully.

He smirked. “Alright then, I’ll just untie you and we can go.”

He did as he stated, and soon the two were walking back to the town, with the old man making a visible effort to keep his distance. As they strolled, the mercenary suddenly became aware of something. He sort of liked the situation. No, that wasn’t exactly the case, he thought. He liked that the man was scared of him. He liked being feared. Yes, that was it. He grinned at the realization, and wondered why he hadn’t figured it out sooner.

The mercenary wore a perpetual smirk as the two walked the last mile to town. Within a half hour, they came around a bend in the path and the town was suddenly in plain view. Almost immediately after, he was doubled up in pain and clutching his head.

Kill them. Flood the village.

“Who are you?!”

Drown them all.

“What? No, I can’t.”

You cannot resist.

“But…” He couldn’t finish his sentence before the pain receded, and he was left kneeling on the ground, panting heavily. He cast a glance to his side to see the old man cowering a good distance away. “Coward,” he growled, and continued to the village.

The handoff dragged on for what seemed like an eternity, and at one point he was on the verge of stabbing the woman in order to stop her from continuing to blubber out her “thanks you”s and “we can never repay you”s. He took the money without much interest and went straight home. It had gotten quite dark, and he felt absolutely wiped from the entire day. He didn’t even bother taking off his armor this time before flopping into bed.

Then the nightmares began.

He saw the tavern. People were drinking, chatting, and laughing as they always did. Flash. The tavern was filled with water. Not just water, he noticed. Bodies were floating in it like so much seaweed.

You must.


Quick flashes followed. Each glimpse was of a gruesome death, and each victim was a member of the village.

Go away!

You cannot resist. Obey.





Get out!
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 7
1/23/2011 14:10:43   

Day 8: He awoke trembling and sweating. He could clearly remember the nightmare from last night, and his skin crawled from thinking about it. After a few minutes, he regained his composure enough to get out of bed. He slowly swung his legs over his bed and moved to stand, but was immediately stopped by the massive pounding in his frontal lobe.

Drown them all.

He just couldn’t take it anymore. He had endured so much over the past few days that he had reached his breaking point. With a cry of rage, he smashed his fist into the wall next to the bed. Oh, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Soon, he was tearing open the mattress, breaking the head board, smashing the dresser, shattering the window. He had to break something; anything. Anything to get the voice out of his head.

He found his sword, and soon he was gouging the walls for the army not paying him, breaking the mirror for the voice in his head, smashing the pipes for his constant headaches, shouting for his nightmares to stop, roaring for the pain to go away, screaming for everything to return to normal. He bellowed his rage until his throat was hoarse; he tore things until his arms were sore. Suddenly, his rage left him, and he was reduced to a huddled, bawling mess in a corner of his house.

How could everything go so wrong? More importantly, why was all this happening to him? Why couldn’t these things happen to the old coot that couldn’t watch his money? Why couldn’t the overprotective boy be plagued with nightmares? Why couldn’t the blubbering woman suffer from mind-splitting headaches?

He needed to get away.

He ran out the door and sprinted for the woods, paying no attention to the headache that threatened to crack his skull in two. He needed to run, to get away from the voice.

You cannot escape.

But he could try. He reached the edge of the woods and barreled through bushes and branches alike. He paid no attention as the branches lashed the skin on his face and arms. His only thought was of escape.






The hunting dog got within ten feet before being washed away. The moment he generated the water, his mind sharpened to an almost superhuman clarity. He was under attack, and he needed to focus. He was now aware of ten more dogs closing in on him in an ever-tightening noose. They didn’t stand a chance against the flood.

You learn. Now apply.

A large group of bandits stepped out from behind various trees, and within seconds, they had him surrounded. One of the bandits sauntered forward and spoke. “Well well, if it isn’t the freak. You know, we heard what you did at the fort. Me and my friends here really don’t take too kindly to people who kill our associates.” As if on cue, every bandit drew and brandished his own weapon. The one that spoke first smiled. “We’re going to make you wish you were never conceived.”

Inside him, something finally snapped. The situation was hilarious. What could this puny group of bandits possibly do to him? Who were they to challenge him, the one that could destroy his village with ease? A slight chuckle escaped his lips, and slowly it built. It built and bubbled and fluctuated, and behind every whisper of breath that escaped from his lips was the full force of every ounce of derision he had experienced in the last few days. His eyes grew wide and he doubled over, gasping for breath as the laugh turned into a high-pitched scream; a banshee’s wail.

He straightened up abruptly and spread his arms wide. “Well, come on then! If you think you can kill me, then go right ahead and try! I can destroy you all without even lifting a finger!”

The bandits faltered and exchanged uneasy glances amongst themselves. Some even took a few hesitant steps back. There wasn’t a single one among them that didn’t regret coming along that day.

He sneered. “Cowards!” With a banshee’s scream of pure delight, he launched himself at the nearest bandit. Of course, the bandit tried to run, but he hadn’t gotten more than two steps before the mercenary’s blade found his flesh. That did it. The rest of the bandits turned and sprinted off as fast as they could. His laughter didn’t falter as a tidal wave enveloped the fleeing bandits.

He soon found himself sitting against a tree, with no memory of how. He continued to laugh insanely and uncontrollably for the next few minutes, it was just too funny. When the chuckles had finally died down, he was still wearing a madman’s grin.

You learn. Now apply.

Drown them. Flood the village.

The voice brought his last scraps of sanity racing to the surface. He had to resist the voice. He had to get away from it. If he couldn’t beat it, then all would be lost. Without hesitation, he got up and sprinted farther into the forest. If he couldn’t get away from it, maybe he could get away from the village so that he couldn’t hurt anybody.

He had to get away.

You cannot escape.

Yes I can.

He sprinted well into the night, until, at last, he fell flat on the ground from exhaustion. He fought to stay awake, knowing the nightmares would come. He fought and clawed for all he was worth, but inevitably, the icy black clutched him and pulled him under for a night of torment and terror.

Why was everything upside down?

Water dripped. He looked around, recognizing some of the town.

Not water, blood.

You will drown them all.


Time flew backwards. He could see the blood spilling from the wound. His sword was buried in the body. He had killed that person. He could see the tide on the horizon, heading for the village. He was happy. This is how things should be.

You shall serve.


Steel bit into flesh.


Water ran through the streets.


Bodies floating.


The walls awash in blood.

DF MQ AQW  Post #: 8
1/24/2011 18:52:12   

Day 9: Consciousness.








Drown. Flood. Obey.


You weaken.

You cannot resist.




You are close. Look.








I bid it.




Oh? It’s night…

He collapsed on the ground, just outside the village of Piore.

< Message edited by G.I.G.A. -- 1/24/2011 18:53:06 >
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 9
1/25/2011 19:07:32   

Day 10: Awake


His eyes snapped open at once. He was slightly confused at first, since he wasn’t used to waking up in the forest. He lay there for a few seconds before he remembered where he was, but that was about all he could do. There seemed to be a fog clouding his mind, like someone was trying to stop him from thinking too hard.

Then, he remembered what he had to do.

Almost immediately, he could think clearer. He needed to get up. He needed to get moving. He stood up rather laboriously and hobbled into town. Once he set foot into town, he grinned madly. The streets were void of people as he made his way to the tavern. Every few steps, his arm or neck would twitch. The moment was finally approaching. He was going to do it.

“Heehee! Finally!”


“I’ll show them. I need to!’


“Yes, yes, he wants me to.”


“And I don’t want to anger him, no no.”


“How many will there be, I wonder?”


“I hope there’s a lot, heehee!”


He stopped in front of the tavern, grinning from ear to ear. He didn’t even make to enter it when his grin faltered. He shouldn’t be doing this. This was wrong. He needed to walk away. The fog clouding his thoughts strengthened.


No, he needed to. The master bid it. His grin returned and his resolution renewed, he boldly strode inside the tavern. Conversation stopped immediately. Looking around, he could tell that almost everyone in the village was at the tavern that day, and that made him happy.


One of the older members of the town stood up with a grave look on his face and hobbled over to the mercenary. “Hey there! Good thing we caught you here, I just needed to tell you something.”


He finished walking up to the mercenary and looked him up and down for a few seconds. The mercenary could tell that he was repressing a shudder. The old man lowered his voice. “Look, some of the people here have been complaining recently.”

Twitch. “Oh really? I couldn’t possibly imagine what about.”

Something about the way he spoke made the elder’s skin crawl. Regardless, he continued. “People have been telling me that your… attitude recently has been slightly… disrespectful.”


“I hope you don’t take it personally, but the village as a whole is politely asking you to leave, preferably immediately.”


He should do it now. Right now. But he shouldn’t do it. It was wrong. Oh, but it was right. He needed to run, but he needed to stay. He needed to drown them, but he needed to spare them. Kill, preserve. Obey, refuse.




“The master…”

The elder, already apprehensive from the obvious instability of the mercenary, was on the verge of walking away and letting someone else take care of this. “W-What did you say?”

“The master… He wants me to drown you all.”



His grin widened. “And that’s just what I’m going to do.” Water, all he could see was water. Water swirling, water rushing, water, water, water. It washed through the entire building, it filled every crevice. The windows shattered from the pressure, yet still the water level rose. Nothing could stop him now, no fog could break his resolution.


And it was over. The whole thing had taken less than a minute. Either the villagers had been crushed by the pressure, or they really couldn’t hold their breaths. He had succeeded, but he had failed. He had given in, and it felt good. He should be proud, but he should be ashamed.


Your work is incomplete.

More are coming. Finish your duty.

He should run, he should try to salvage to situation, but he should stay and carry out his duty. The fog returned, but despite its efforts, one foot was being placed in front of the other, carrying him inexorably toward the point of no return.


He was standing in the middle of the road, having no recollection of ever arriving there. He didn’t dwell on it much, for a most wonderful sight was before him. The army, thoroughly ragged and tired, advanced into town, their eyes the peak of misery. He was immediately lit up by glee.


“Oho, revenge revenge. Finally revenge after these days, yes yes.”


After a few more minutes, the general got close enough to make out his face. Despite the mad grin distorting his features, the general could make out the mercenary that had killed the thing in the ocean, and promptly disappeared. Something was different, though. He resembled the thing now; how could that be? He kept his distance as he addressed the mercenary, and advised the remainder of his troops to do the same. “Hey there! We missed you a few days ago; what happened?”


He turned to fix his stare on the general. “Oho, you wouldn’t believe! The most wonderful… Oh, but what am I talking about? Heehee, do you really want to know what happened to me? Something tells me you wouldn’t, no no, not at all.”


“You know what think? The money. You never paid the money. You know what think about that? Rage. Oho, much rage. Should see the house, much destroyed.” He tilted his head inquisitively at the general. “Now what was talking about? Yes, the master.”


The general was perturbed by the entire thing, but his curiosity won out over instinct in the end, so he decided to inquire further. “What master?”

A slight giggle slipped past his lips. “Oh, you don’t know? Well, change that, shall.” He lowered his head as he began to converse with himself. “But, no. No, shouldn’t. Wrong, don’t listen. Fog, getting heavy. But, need to. He wills, I obey. Do not. Need to not. No, must. Cannot survive without. Have a choice. No choice, only serve.”





The general was becoming impatient. “Hey! I asked you a question!” He wasn’t even paying attention; he was too busy giggling to himself. He had finally found the source of the fog. It was something that had been so strong only days ago, yet had since withered to a husk. This was his conscience’s final stand. That such an insignificant thing could put up so much of a fight was amusing. He had only to cast it off, and he would be free from its chains; free to serve the master.


The general sighed. “Kill him,” he ordered. He almost sounded regretful as he said it, as if he couldn’t help but feel pity. The soldiers hadn’t even advanced five feet when the mercenary’s head snapped up to meet the gaze of the general, and on his face was the most devilish grin the general had ever seen.

The water enveloped all. It swirled and pounded and flowed and roared. It washed and cleansed and carried his will. It drowned them all. It flooded the village. It was everything he wanted it to be, and more. And, in the middle of it all, standing in the eye of the maelstrom, the mercenary was laughing maniacally. He had won. He had no other cares than obeying the master. The downward spiral of the last few days was finally complete.

Vesis had finally lost his mind.

DF MQ AQW  Post #: 10
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