I have been slowly …oh so slowly…working on a story that I hope to eventually expand to book length. Since updating The Magic Earth Campaign is more complex than I at first envisioned I have decided to present the beginnings of an epic saga set in that world. I present The Fellowship of Fear! (Comments are very welcome)
Well actually just one of the Fellowship for now, but you get the idea….
Chapter 1 : Denzred
Scene 1 : The Bonfire
He stood before the fire, the smoke midnight black, burning meat stench hanging thick in the air. The knight in the soot-covered armour held his sword point down in a numb-fingered grip. His helm lay on the ground a few paces behind him, forgotten. He stared at the sizzling pile of corpses with tear streaks etched into the ash that covered his creased face. The Duke of Kent had requested assistance from the King and he, Sir Denzred the Landless had been summoned to take up his sword one more time… for God, for Country. The memory of the battle was fresh in his mind. These elves had been the last bastion of Evil within the borders of England and fought like they were possessed by Satan Himself. As he gazed upon the blackened corpses of their women and children he now knew why. The silvered crosses around their necks glittered in the flames as they began to warp and twist from the heat.
For two decades Sir Denzred had fought the minions of Satan at the behest of the King and the Church. He had never failed them and was viewed with awe and a touch of fear by all the other Knights and Lords. He had fought with honour and with grace, no man had sent more spawn back to the Pits of Hell than Sir Denzred, no man had greater faith in King and the Almighty. Now that faith was shattered, his renown tasted of the ash that floated up from the bonfire.
He took a deep shuddering breathe as he turned from the carnage, the sound of approaching hoofbeats having broken through the fugue. A figure in a white tabard with a gold dragon rampant and bright silvered chainmail astride a stallion stopped before him with a wide grin upon his face as he dismounted. Duke Alfrid had arrived to admire his triumph and his handiwork. He had a saddlebag in one hand and white and gold painted shield in the other. Kneeling down to open the satchel near the fire he spoke.
“This has been a glorious day of victory Sir Denzred! Raise your spirits, you have finally rooted the last of Satan’s minions from this land. The King shall look kindly on both of us.”
“I need nothing from the King, I was only doing the duty that was granted to me by Our Lord and Saviour.” Denzred muttered the words he had intoned countless times before without the relish that he once had.
“Oh come now, Sir Denzred! You may finally retire to a hold somewhere quiet and calm to farm the land as vigorously as you sowed it with the blood of God’s enemies in the past. I have it on good authority you will no longer be known as the Landless.”
Alfrid finally pulled the object from the saddlebag, a dead elven babe. He tossed it upon the blaze as he spoke. Denzred felt the world recede and the Duke’s words came as if from the end of a long tunnel. His vision filled with crimson as he let loose a bestial growl.
“God and King can fuck each other for all I care! I was not put on this Earth to kill women and children! I will never make amends for my sins but I can at least try…starting ..with..you”
Denzred raised his sword as he spoke this blasphemy and took three steps. By the time the third step was taken the Duke’s shocked expression and his face were removed from his skull. The corpse unceremoniously fell on its belly before the bonfire as Denzred turned around and stumbled back to pick up his helm. He coughed then gagged then choked as he vomited up what little was inside him upon the ground, hot tears of rage and despair joined the previous ones upon his grey cheeks. He took a couple deep gulps of air before straightening and steeling himself. His back straight he approached the Duke’s horse and heaved himself up into the saddle. The world beginning to come back into focus as he finally realized what he had done and that he had not been alone. Luckily the shock and violence of the events of the past minute had frozen the five or six men-at-arms nearby that had been throwing the remaining corpses and bits onto the bonfire.
Denzred looked around at the few men and saw them cower as he met their eyes. He did not know then that they thought they saw the Devil within that firey glare…only time would tell if that was Truth. He wheeled the horse around and with a flick of the reins the horse galloped off into the early morning gloom towards the nearby treeline.