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Vesra

The Wolfen King

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Vesra

The Wolfen King

By: Vesra

 

 

 

 

 

The Sky Darkened and clouds gathered overhead as rain began to sweep across the valley and past the large stone walls that stood watch over the Kingdom. People scuttled and hurried about as the storm made its way in with the crack of thunder and spark of lightning. The like tiny knives the rain began to freeze and fall like daggers, stinging citizens and upsetting livestock as their owners began leading them into barns. Various shops and stalls were beaten and battered in the hail as even more yet fell. Signs were swinging wildly on their posts and hinges as doors and windows began to shut and lock, the people hunkering down to wait out the hazard.

 

Above the small town the castle’s silhouette stood out with each flash from the jagged bolts that stretched throughout the sky. Inside a group of knights, squires, nobles, messengers, and servants argued back and forth with the King sitting and watching silently in his chair by the fire. His furred robe draped to the floor around where he sat, its white color dancing with orange and yellow form the light of the flames like the cold cobbled walls that encased the room. Various heads of animals with fearsome expressions hung about mantles with banners, shields, swords, and axes scattered about on their own mounts.

 

“The situation is dire! We need to send an envoy to the outer towns at once to reach a peaceful solution!” The Duke who spoke these words slammed his pampered and jewel encrusted hand against the table. A knight in decorated steel retorted, “Nonsense, they will not listen to reason. We should march on them and be done with this! The more we spend time arguing and humoring these delusions of peace, the greater the task shall be.” A few others added their voices to the argument and the bickering went on and on as the King watched Blankley into the crackling fire.

 

A door in the corner of the room opened slowly, a servant stepping out and standing aside as a large imposing figure stepped form the shadow of its frame. Another knight, this one with well-tended armor that held two swords to his side, though the suite and pieces were decorated with elaborate and intricate designs like the other knights at the table, his was clearly not just for show as with each step the man took the floor shook with its weight. The room fell silent in his presence as the group turned to address him, the knights bowing to a knee and the nobles holding an arm over their chests. The Duke walked over and gestured to the table where a servant quickly began to prepare a goblet of wine. He gripped his helmet, its design resembling the gaze of a predator with two pronounced and glaring slits for sight that tapered to a point at the front that almost made it look like a hawk.

 

He removes the helmet and placed it on the table, picking up the goblet and smelling over its aroma before setting it back down and moving aside a cape that covered his left shoulder to waist with its dark fabric. “Captain, so good to see you here, we were just discussing matters concerning the rebels at the far town of Yourgsburg when Sir Gerald here suggested we move to assault them”, The Duke spoke his words with the grace of a serpents tongue that clearly did not sit well with the Captain. He turned to him and asked, “Well, what is wrong with his idea? If you have rates in your pantry, do you offer them cheese and conversation?” The Duke stepped back as his face contorted to a frown.

 

The Duke spoke once more, “I see your point Captain, but these scoundrels are demanding not only do we give them coin, but remove the taxes emplaced on the land they toil, the King’s land! Also, we have reports they have kidnapped the Prince of Edenbrook on his way to here and his life is at stake. A marriage between the Princess of Volsjager and the Prince of Edenbrook would bring out kingdom much profit and gain. We must ensure his safety and survival as they are also demanding the Princess accompany the delivery of over a thousand coins!”

 

To this information the Captain walked to the fireplace and looked to his King. He spoke swiftly as a man with purpose, “My King, I request four knights, and fifteen guardsmen along with three hundred counts of coin, perhaps five horses and one carriage.” The old and wrinkled King looked from under his golden crown to the Captain, the knights face firm and his dark hair settled to his shoulders. “You will carry out both plans? Bringing a sum of the asked amount and enough men to enforce this decision,” he said; “yet what are your thoughts on the Princess Sir Kroger?”

 

Captain Kroger smiled and lent him a bow before rising and grabbing his helmet, placing it back over his head as the fire’s light grew with embers dancing about the room. “She will be safe in the carriage of course; she will attend as a gesture of good faith. I assure you her safety will be my utmost concern.” The King nodded in agreement and waved the gathering away, a young girl coming to his side and escorting him away.

 

 

 

[The Following Morning]

 

As the sun returned to the sky and the clouds brightened, the town was once again back to life with people flooding to the streets to cheer on the Captain and his men as they passed. The Captain and four knights at the front, followed by a carriage which held the Princess, and a line of halberd armed men marching behind them down the streets and toward the outer wall, two large towers with a set of monolithic wooden gates between them. As they made their way through the streets people waved and smiled, children stood on their parents shoulders to catch a glimpse of the Knights and Princess as flowers flew at them. The Captain caught one of the flowers and placed it within his horse’s strappings, giving a wave to the crowd.

 

As they neared the towers, the two gated groaned and began to swing open for them, opening up to a wide open plane, with a dirt road leading off into the distance. The men chatted back and forth about how quickly they thought they could get there and what would happen when they did. One thing they all shared in common, was their confidence in the Captain. Some even were telling stories of him to the newer guards. The Captain himself remained silent along with the knights in the front. One guard whispered to another while they looked around the carriage to try and view their leader, “You know in the ‘Battle Of The Broken Swords’ the he single-handedly took out more than twenty men before the lines could even form. They say he can rip a man apart with just his hands!” One guard behind them scolded, “That is just rumors, I am sure our Captain is strong, but nobody is that powerful.”

 

Another guard ahead of then; an older man by the looks of him; looked back and spoke softly, “You boys are too young. I was there; he is the reason the battle got that name. He used to carry a giant sword in those days. One even longer than he is tall, I would bet it weighed as much as a bull. Well, he took that sword and charged right at the enemy lines. The armies of Stone Heart stood strong and were known for their skills in defensive tactics and armor, but he just cut through them like a fish swims through water, like they weren’t even there. Blocking didn’t even stop him, so many held up their swords to try and stop his blows, but they went straight though. When things calmed down and the lines all reformed there was a huge gap between both armies, with him in the middle, standing in a field of broken and shattered bodies, swords with half a blade dotted about the ground like grim tombstones.”

 

He looked back ahead, a worried expression on his face, “Those were dark days, and we have all changed since then. He gained the title of The Captain, he had always been close to the King, but that day he gained the favor of us all. We all respected, but feared that man. He may smile and wave as he passes a crowd, but don’t let that fancy armor fool you, that man is a monster in human form.” The guards all grew silent after his words and continued their march with only the crunch of their boots and clanking of armor, there were no more words.

 

As the group made their way the sky slowly began to dim as the Sun lowed to the far mountains, the sky turning a mix or orange and pink. They went on for some time, taking no stops as they pressed on. In the distance they could see smoke rising in dark plumes, the air around them warming. The Captain looked back and made a swift motion forward and they quickened their pace as he and the Knights galloped their way ahead and the men formed a circle around the carriage and began a brisk pace following them. One of them called out beside the door to the carriage, “Your grace, please stay inside and away from the windows!”

 

Soon they came to the cause of the trouble and looked upon the town in shock. The village they had been heading to lie in ruin. Smoke rolled off of the shambles and ember scarred remains of shops and houses, carts turned over and their contents spilled out onto the road. Captain Kroger carefully walked about, inspecting a smoldering dwelling before motioning to one of the knights who quickly came to his side. “Yes my liege?” he asked. The Captain turned to him and motioned to the rubble. “There is destruction here, but I do not find death.”

 

The knight looked around a moment before realizing what the Captain had, and soon the rest of the men caught on. The Captain and a Few Guards began looking through the town, moving through burning coals and scorched beams as they conducted their search. The other three knights moved close to the carriage and stood by while Kroger and the first knight continued. “With all this mess, one would expect to find signs of death. I have yet to find a single corpse. This riles me, and I think not this the work of bandits Sir Richard.” Richard nodded, “Indeed, a ponderous situation. If not bandits, then who could have done this Sir, an opposing army?” Kroger shook his head and took a knee, inspecting the road itself, “No, an army would have left footprints and tracks. The only tracks here are the mark of bare feet and shoes of peasants.” He began following a few of the footprints that were close together as they lead in the direction the group had arrived. “If they went that way, we would have…” His words fell short as he rose and looked in surprise, Sir Richard taking a step back. Soon all the men were looking to see what startled them and realized, with many left bewildered. The path they had just traveled through the plains was now blocked by a dark and decrepit forest.

 

One of the men fell upon his rear in confusion, “H-how is this so? We cometh through the open fields! What tis this trickery, be it a witch’s doing?” Another man nearby lifted him to his feet, “Witches are but a common tale you fool, there is no such thing.” The group began to argue back and forth about how the forest came to be, the Captain simple looked around in silence as he took in his surroundings. Then a sudden sound silenced the quarrel, as the horses cried out. They looked to find the animals gone and before any could question, the carriage jolted a few paces back.

 

Before all of them, the reigns of the carriage grew taught into the dark woods. A few men quickly ran to cut the leather, but were to slow as the entire thing was snatched off the ground and into the forest, its wheels snapping as it flew past trees and branches. Three men ran in pursuit immediately with two others close behind them. A moment of silence past before guttural screams and a horridly wicked snarl roared out. The remaining five guards formed a line and readied their halberds as the Captain rushed past them along with the knights, swords drawn. The guards following behind as they charged into the unknown and the group descended into the dark chaos ahead of them.

 

The sky above the treetop soon darkened even further as the stars awoke with the Moon rising into the sky and shining her luminous glow upon the lands. Beans of moonlight sneaking through the leaves and branches to give the forest an eerie lighting, not completely dark but not light enough to see that far ahead as the men stumbled and tried to make their way through. As they made their way deeper, searching for any signs of the carriage the forest shifted into an even more treacherous appearance. The trees now held no leaves, and all seemed to be dry and long dead, yet they still stood, their branches overhead stretching out to each other.

 

“We are never going to find them in this place, we must find a path. Whoever took her must have a trail through here at the least,” Sir Richard said defeated. The Captain looked about to take in the sight, and gave a heavy sigh, “Their purpose may not be to kill, with that strength they could have attacked, yet they stole her away. She may yet still live, but for now it is pointless if we cannot even see our way through this place. Set up an area and get some rest, set up rounds for guard posts. Something tells me we should prepare for another encounter.”

 

Sleep did not come easy for the men as they found a small clearing void of the briars and roots that wound their way through the forest, a small fire was built and two men stood guard at a time while the others slept. After some time Kroger and Richard took guard and leaned against a tree together, quietly conversing with one another as the night drug by. “Sir, this is all a bit strange don’t you think? I mean, the men don’t even want to acknowledge it, but it vexes me. These woods should not be here, and you know as well as I that there are no men that could pull the carriage into here like that.” The Captain looks up, the light of the moon glinting off of his helmet as he spoke calmly, “I could. Maybe they are not normal men, I do not believe in myths or strange telling, but you are correct. None of this adds up. Even the time seems to be wrong; did you not notice how night fell so quickly? And the stars to not move across the sky, the moon has remained in the same spot for hours. All is still and silent. It is most unnatural.”

 

A noise grew in the distance, a gentle humming like a soft melody that caught Kroger’s ear. He looked over to see a dim and pale light far into the woods and turned to Richard. “Stay here, I must see about something.” He could not place what it was, but he was drawn to this sound, to the light. It pulled him closer and closer, placing one foot ahead of the other without even clearly seeing his path. He made his way into a clearing, it appeared to be a small stream that cut through the forest and the light was the silvery dance of moonlight on its gentle waters. He stood there a moment, looking around with his hand on the hilt of his sword.

 

Just then he noticed it, how long had it been there and who was it, why where they here? He could feel his heat thumping as the questions ran though his mind as he watched the figure cautiously. Just on the other side of the stream was a hooded figure in a dark and ragged cloak faced away from him. It stood there silently as the soft trickle of the water was the only thing the Captain could hear. He stood straight and drew his sword from its sheath, the cold blade shining above the water, “Who are you and what is your purpose here?” He asked once more with anger in his voice, “I asked you who you were and why you are here!”

 

The figure did not move, but a voice came forth. It was smooth and soft, yet subtly it was amused, “Who am I? How can one who does not know themselves, ask another who ‘they’ are? You do not recognize this place I see? It would appear that the nobility you have found has diluted your memory. It is a pity.” Something inside Kroger ached as flashes of running through a bright and beautiful forest filled his mind. He took a step forward, the water flowing around his metal feet. “You will answer my questions! I know who I am; I am the Captain of the Royal Guard! I serve King Marcus and Lady Eliza! I have slain countless foe stronger that you and will not hesitate to quench my blades thirst upon you. So do not bother me with such petty musings, be you a witch?”

 

Still the figure stood motionless, a gentle breeze wafting over the stream and its cloak jostled in the wind ever so slightly, “You know the answer to these questions yourself, why hid form what you know to be true? You wear the banner of the ‘Great’ King upon your shoulder, the same King who took all that we had. You will see this to be true, you will remember before the Hati chases the Sun from the sky. You are Skoll, and you are no knight. Why not take off that armor and find yourself lost in these woods.” He gripped the handle of his weapon with fury and confusion raising it in preparation of a strike, but before his blade could fall another gust of with blew and the figure before him swayed. Suddenly the cloak began to be carries off in the wind, dispersing into leaves. The Captain sat at the edge of the stream, taking his helmet off and throwing into the water as he held his head in his hands, letting his sword fall to his side.

 

He pondered what had happened, and if it had happened at all. He looked to his shoulder, staring at the banner draped over his armor, two crosses axes over a round shield. He shook his head and regained himself, standing up and taking up his sword, placing it back into his sheath as he stepped over to the water and retrieved his helmet. He shook the water from it and turned its gaze to meet his own. The moon reflected off of the polished metal as he placed it back over his head and turned, heading back to camp.

 

As he made his was back he tried not to think about what had happened, perhaps he had just been fatigued and had a sleep deprived façade. As he neared the camp however, he noticed something wrong, Sir Richard was not against the tree, waiting to great his return. The fire was still burning, but not tended to, and there was no one to be seen. He looked left and right, making his way about the area before his foot his something. Slowly looking down his eyes widened with horror as he stared at the half buried face of a guard, an expression of utter terror stained to face.

 

He took a step back and his foot caught on something else, a hand reaching from the ground to grab at his ankle, he reached for his sword and quickly cut the appendage off and began a madman’s dash through the forest. He swung his blade constantly ahead of himself, clearing a path through the brush and thickets as he quickened his pace. He ran on and on, not stopping. The legendary captain had lost his composure, and was running on instinct as he hacked his way through, more than a few times felling a narrow tree with a single swing.

 

He could see something solid ahead of him; it was wide and tall, a structure of some sort, perhaps safety. He leapt over roots and slashed through wood until he was bashing his pommel on the large set of wooden doors. Slowly they opened and he ran inside, pushing them shut behind them, his armor rising and falling with his labored breaths. “Captain, is that you?” He heard someone call out. Slowly he turned to see the town he knew, several people and guards gathering with concerned expressions on their faces. He stared at them with a mix of disbelief and joy, quickly stepping forward and grabbing a nearby guard, lifting him form the ground with one hand in his flux of emotions. “I need to see the King! Guard the gate and be ready for anything, whatever you do, don’t open it, they are all gone!” A watchman nodded to him and dropped a heavy board across the gate as a group of men came to the Captain’s side, taking his arms over theirs and making their way for the keep.

 

They pushed the door to the inner chamber open and the exhausted Captain fell to his knees, holding at his cuirass and gasping. The King soon entered with a group of well armored knights and spoke to him. “Take that armor off so you can breathe better, and we may speak.” He nodded and began to strip off his armor, tossing the helmet aside and standing up shirtless, scars across his chest form his many battles.

 

He stammered out in-between breaths, “The forest, and my men. The town is gone, destroyed when we got there, be wary of the forest for it will play tricks on you.” He looked up to find the guards once more holding him up, and the knights with their weapons drawn. He asked, “What is the meaning of this?” The King sat in his throne and yelled out, “I have no time for your lies! You are to be locked away and executed at the first light of dawn. I took you in as a son and this is how you repay me? Take him away.” He could not comprehend what was happening as he felt the strike of metal against his skull; he turned his head to see Sir Richard, but how? Just before his vision faded, he looked past him and could see the body of the Princess, lifeless and impaled with a sword that the Captain recognized as his own. He glances down as the corners of his eyes closed in and a second blow struck him, he noticed his two sheaths, and only one sword.

 

He awoke in a tower, the light of the Moon shining in through a bared hole. He moved to get a view and held at his head, trickles of blood running down his face now dry. He looked out and past the town, and past the gate. There was no forest there, just an empty valley, and a small dirt road. He gripped the bars tightly as a vision flashed into his mind. He grabbed his head and fell back before another shook his thoughts.

 

A boy ran amongst trees, a group wolves ran close behind him as his swift feet carried him with ease. An arrow flew and hit one of the wolves. It let out a wince and fell into the brush; the boy turned to see and ran into a low hanging branch in his path. The view became cloudy, and his head pulsed with pain as it came back. A small boy lying on the ground as a horse rode into view. A young man clad in golden metal and his horse packed with wolf hide stepped down and picked up the child, “I am Price Marcus, son of King Elm. You are safe, do not worry everything will be alright.”

 

Another vision took its place in his mind, at first shaky but soon becoming clear. Groups of men chopping away at trees, huge pillars of wood crashing all around as the boy stood next to Marcus who pointed into the distance to a hillside. “I shall make my kingdom there, will you join me Kroger?” The boy looked to him and smiled. Soon the people were gone, and only stumps remained of the forest, burning with fire as loud banging and crunching echoed in the distance, two large towers rising in the distance, a large wall beside them, and wooden gates between.

 

One by one the visions pounded into his mind, a battlefield filled with bodies and the roar of men, the clash of blades, and a figure cleaving his way into ranks of opponents, a large sword falling like a cleaver. Then disturbing sights entered his mind, a convoy of knights and guards escorting a carriage through the lands. A village, with people smiling and dancing as a tall silhouette stood outside, drawing a sword. Like a dream the visions were hard to grasp and melted into one another. The village burned and people ran shouting only to be cut down by a quick blade. A carriage thrown into a roaring fire as a girl was lifted off her feet and impaled. He saw through the eyes of the attacker as he hacked and slashed his way through the guards and knights, their faces confused and terrified, shallow graves along the road, and a small stream gentle and calm with the moon overhead. Soon the moon was all he could see and the visions faded.

 

He was back in the tower, sweat dripping from his brow as he panted and grabbed at his chest, he reached onto the bed and pulled the cover over himself, the fabric dark and ragged as he stood and something caught his eye. The moon caught off something before its light was shrouded with a passing cloud, and as he turned his head he could see the figure he met by the stream, stepping forward with a hand outstretched to it, the figure mimicked his actions. Closer and closer they drew to one another before the cloud passed and the moon’s light shown into the room once more. He looked into the mirror and recognized himself, his eyes glowing gold under the dark garb.

 

He stepped calmly to the door, giving it a jerk. It shook but did not open to his grip. His eyes narrowed and he gripped the handle once more, and in a sudden movement pulled it from its hinges. The guards down below looked at one another with a grimace as they drew their swords. A knight moved past them and up the winding staircase. Shortly after there was a strange snapping sound and then the loud thuds of footsteps that grew closer and closer as they came down the steps. They charged up the stairway beside one another, letting out a yell.

 

The door to the inner chamber swung open as Kroger stepped forward, his gaze locked on the King in his throne. Two knights sprang from the corner at the Captain but he reached to the one to his left, grabbing his neck and snapping it to the side, dropping the limp body to the floor as he stuck his right arm out, stabbing through the eye slit of the other knight. He kicked the body off of his blade, the corpse bouncing off the wall and into a slumped pile. The next time his blade rose it was to the King’s throat.

 

“Why? I raised you, made you a nobleman, a captain! You were just some brat in the forest, and I made you into a knight!” The King trembled as the tip of the blade pressed against him. The moon rose in a set of windows at the top of the wall and shined into the room. The Captain took a look around at all the animal heads that hung from the wall, and then looked back to the King. “You took everything from me, my home, my family, and the entire forest. So now, just as you have a family of your own, I have taken everything from you.” Marcus could see in the corner of his eye, the moonlight cast Kroger’s shadow onto the floor beside him, but it was not the shadow of a man, but that of a wolf. A warm copper and rust like taste filled his mouth as the blood ran down his throat, Skoll’s eyes glaring into his as the life left them.

 

As his body slumped, Skoll gripped the crown and placed it atop his own head, pushing the former king form his throne and onto the floor, Skoll took his seat and rested his chin against his right hand. His eyes glowed in the dark of the room, the pale moon’s light fading as dark puffy tufts his its glow away and shadow descended upon the room, leaving two golden circles, staring from the darkness

 

That is the story of the Wolfen King.

 

Thank you for reading let me know your thoughts.

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Vesra

Since I just kinda typed it as I went along, and then posted it. This is kinda a rough draft, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few problem.

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Justme

@Vesra

Waaaa!!! I loved the story! I really like the way you construct phrases and your descriptions! :In love:

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Vesra

Thank you, it isn't much but I am glad you liked it ^w^

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