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A Hero's Loss

The fire crackled lightly as I sat there thinking, feeling calm staring into the flames. This was my third night on watch in this small village. I was sent here on the orders of my commander to investigate young girls going missing at night. I thought it seemed very cliché but I wasn’t the type to speak against orders given. A young recruit was sent to me, D...Dan yeah, Dan is his name. He was quite jittery and looked very meek. He only carried a small dagger rather than the usual gear, a long sword or mace. It didn’t bother me that much, he was smart and his problem-solving skills were beyond compare… Still, though, he was quite the chicken.

I sat up yawning rubbing the sleep from my eyes, it was the hour of twilight and nothing had happened all night. Dan was sitting up asleep and the village laid still. I stood up and stretched, cracking my neck as I observed the roads to my right and left. Something caught my eye, a black figure moved from view behind a house as I was cracking my neck. It seemed too small to be a man. I kicked at Dan lightly to wake him. He was about to groan and ask what but I covered his mouth and beckoned him to follow. I withdrew my blade, Dan did the same but he just shook as if he was cold. We crept toward the house with caution. A loud gut wrenching scream of a woman was heard from the house. Dan dropped his dagger and began cowering, covering his ears. I charged at the house breaking through the door looking for the source of the scream.

A small dark figure stood over a limp body of a girl, there was no blood but the girl’s body suddenly glowed an eerie gray color as she slowly dissolved into small particles of light fading upward. I stood there, unsure of what to do, the dark figure turned slightly, its face became illuminated by the glow of the now fading girl. Fern green eyes gleamed at me with a tight smile. It let out a small grunt of sorts before darting past me, my eyes unable to follow. I glanced quickly at where the girl had layed, she had vanished. Not a trace of her, not even the night dress she had been wearing. I rushed through the door outside, my eyes darting left and right. Dan had stood up, eyes closed, his body was almost like a doll of sorts. He had a wide smile on his face. I began storming over to him to scold him for cowering but I stopped, something had changed about the boy. He let out a menacing laugh as his eyes opened, fern green eyes danced is his sockets as he turned quickly and darted towards the main entrance of the town, his limbs tangling as he ran as if he had never run before. It wasn’t Dan anymore; I gave chase rushing, my chest becoming heavier and heavier as I ran. Despite running awkwardly, he or whatever it is was quite fast. I crossed a shallow stream of water which was knee high; I could see an abandoned church and graveyard a few meters ahead. I rested for a moment, sitting as I watched the boy scurry into the church still laughing. I stood again using my sword to steady myself.

The church stood still, lifeless. The stench of rotting filled my nostrils. The morning was near and sunlight shined through the cracks in the church. At the altar stood the doll like boy that was once Dan, he turned to face me, his skin a pale white, his bones distort and out of place. His body suddenly fell to the floor, limp like the girl’s had. A black phantom in a heavy black armor of sorts brandishing a black great sword formed in front of Dan’s corpse. Four colored orbs floated around the phantom, one orb reminded me of the girl who disappeared, an eerie gray. The phantom took heavy steps towards me. His footsteps echoing with heavy thuds. I took a deep breath, I whispered ancient words of the old gods and wavered my hand over my blade, it began to glow with a faint white light. The phantom swung its great sword at me recklessly. I barely dodged, rolling into old pews, smashing through them. Splinters dug into the flesh of my arm. I grunted as I stood again, the phantom lifted its great sword over its shoulder again. I dashed at it with my sword ready. I pierced it through the chest. It let out a hollow laugh like a ghost. The glow of my blade grew stronger and the phantom began to crumble. The phantom pulled me off it with its free hand as it began to go into a frenzy letting out distort screams. The glow of my sword grew stronger until it was blinding. The phantoms distort screams grew louder, deafening me. I lost consciousness.

I woke a few moments later. My ears ringing, the sound muffled. I lifted myself off the floor to study the church. My blade lay on the floor surrounded by four young women unconscious, I hoped. I checked all four, they were breathing faintly. I guessed it was midday as sunlight shined brightly through the cracks and as I looked up I could see the clear blue sky. Dan’s body was nowhere to be found. The Barracks had held a service for him after I had given in my report of the events. Folktales began to spread of a phantom curse upon the lands and how a valiant knight saved four maidens…

I didn’t find myself to be valiant… I let a young man, nay a child... die.

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