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A Knight in the Darkness will shine...

Theobald

By Tomos JacksonPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 15 min read
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(Not exactly how described, but it will do as a general reference)

Theobald rode through the silent streets of Gunserick. A small city in Northern Campania. It was night, the moon shone high in the clear heavens casting the shadows back to lurk in the fringes of the streets. The light of the moon shone down and reflected off of Theobalds armour and that of his horse Dasmos, glinting like a lone star wandering the terrestrial night. A sword at his side and purpose in his face Theobald made directly for the cathedral in the Center of the city. It’s towers spiked high into the sky and the whole structure dominated the Center of Gunserick.

The clattering of the horses hooves echoed off the eerily silent streets and surrounding buildings and the clinking of Theobalds armour was distinct to in the darkness, flashing occasionally in the moonlight. As Theobald drew closer to his destination he saw that the Cathedral stood on a small Island around which the town had been built, with the surrounding water acting as a moat on all sides of the grand structure. circling around the perimeter of the water seeking an entrance to the Monstrous building finally spotting a bridge that spanned across the water towards the Cathedral. Here it was that Theobald saw the first sign of life since he set out for this task. A group of what appeared to be six soldiers seemed to be lounging on or around the bridge. For the life of him Theobald couldn’t make out if they were meant to be guards or merely foolish loiterers, but spurred Dasmos on regardless.

Heading straight for the bridge he reigned in Dasmos and raised the visor of his helm. Theobald called out to the men on the bridge without care. “Are you men fools to be here at this hour? Or do you stand guard before the demon’s lair?”

The men at the bridge laughed when they saw him. It wasn’t quite the reaction Theobald had been going for. Nonetheless he continued. “I, Sir Theobald Barristan, while travelling to this city, have been called upon by the good people here, to slay the monster that abides within this once holy place.”

This only seemed to make the men laugh harder. One of them pointed towards him and spoke “Look at ‘im boys! ‘Abide within’ who even talks like that for real eh lads?

Theobald felt his temper rising at the rogue’s insolence. Drawing his sword, glinting in the darkness as it caught the light of the moon, Theobald held it before him threateningly. “I do not come here to banter, but to vanquish an evil. If you would stand before me I will cast you aside like the dirty rags you are before marching into this holy place and cleansing it of your filthy master.”

The guards were not impressed. There were a chorus of “oh look at ‘im now, all shiny and threatenin like!” Or “oh I’m shakin in my boots m’lord, please don’t ‘urt me!” Followed by raucous laughter. Eventually, the one who’d spoken up first and who seemed to be the leader, raised his hand and they were all silenced. Taking a few steps towards Theobald, the rest following just behind, he addressed the knight, “Come now my lord, the only reason you’d be ‘ere, and on a night like tonight of all things is if you had no idea what you’re doin’. I’d humbly suggest that you turn that fancy horse of your around and just ride on out of this town. I’m telling you this cause I’m a nice guy and tonight I’m feeling generous.” This got a raucous laugh from the rest of his crew as the tramp-like fellow grinned a broad grin at the knight holding out his arms in a mockery of magnanimity.

As the group drew closer Theobald saw a curious thing. Beneath the hoods and helms on their heads, all six of these men had sickly, unnatural yellow eyes that seemed glow slightly within their variously scarred and ugly faces. Trying not to let the sight disturb him Theobald straightened up and looked down on the man. “I did not come here to turn my back on those in need. I have come here to slay a beast and all those that follow him are beasts to be slain also.” Slamming his visor down over his face and wheeling Dasmos to face the six foes before him Theobald finished, “Turn aside from evil, or I will cast you from before me and send you to meet yet more demons to whom you can enslave yourselves.”

The leaders grin became apologetic and he held his hands out and shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t say I didn’t warn ya m’lord. What happens next was your own doin.”

“Let no man say otherwise.” Theobald replied. With that he lowered his blade and charged.

The distance was not long. Theobald expected his opponents to scatter, but they just stood where they were, a wicked grin now across all their faces and for a moment Theobald thought they were going to let him ride right over them.

Then they moved.

With blinding swiftness and grace two dove left and three dove right while the leader at the Center, and directly in the path of Theobald and Dasmos leapt forward too high and too fast for it to be a natural leap and it collided directly with Theobald with enough force to knock him off the saddle bearing him to the ground and easily landing on top of him. Stunned and breathless, sword knocked from his grasp, Theobald lay gasping beneath his visor as the vile villain loomed above him, his wide, now maniacal grin, highlighted by his wild sickly yellow eyes and accompanied by more natural, if just as vile yellow teeth.

"I told ya to leave while you had the chance my lord" The creature spat out the last two words like they were a bad taste in his mouth, "but you didn't listen. Your kind never does." He bent down to raise Theobald's visor, and Theobald could hear Dasmos whinnying in terror as the other guards struggled to secure him.

But Theobald was no amateur. A veteran of countless battles and fights in his life he wasn't done yet. As the creature wrenched open the visor to gaze upon is seemingly defeated opponent, Theobald threw his arm up palm open as a hidden blade extended from his vambrace and sliced the creature across the face.

Roaring in surprise the creature threw himself back and off of Theobald who kicked out to knock him back allowing him space to scramble to his feet, grasping out for his discarded blade as he did so to stand and face his opponents, all but two of whom were now facing him, those others still wrestling to get a hold of Dasmos who reared and kicked at them as they tried to approach. Fast as they were, the warhorse was no more a stranger to combat as Theobald himself.

The leader, the "man" whom Theobald had wounded wiped at the blood across his cheek, which was thicker and had a faint oily yellow sheen to it unlike regular blood of which Theobald was very familiar. He looked at the knight now standing against him and his comrades in a ready wary stance. "That's a fancy gadget you have there. I don't consider your kind to lower themselves to such trickery. But perhaps you ain't as noble as you appear either eh?"

The four cronies now moving to flank Theobald on both sides leered at the leaders words mockingly. "You speak too much." Was all Theobald replied before he made his move.

Fainting forwards at the leader in the center he whipped around suddenly cutting at the villain on his left, who tried to dodge but despite his unusual speed still received a diagonal cut from right waist to left shoulder. Damn. This was starting poorly. Theobald hoped to take him out of the fight completely with that blow. Nonetheless he knew what was coming next, his years of fighting in the field giving him a sense of tactics akin to second sight in combat. Pivoting on his left foot rotating to the right, and swinging his sword as he did so, Theobald caught the creature who started on his right just as he was coming to attack Theobald from the rear. Surprised by the knights foresight, and undone by his own speed, the villain ran neck first into the blade which cut skin, sinew, muscle and bone, decapitating the vile creature which flew another few feet across the street around the cathedral before crumpling to the floor and tumbling away, the head, still with an expression of rage and hunger pasted to its features following behind the corpse.

Now facing back where he'd started from Theobald thrust the tip of his blade forward towards the third man who had rushed at him and felt the thud and sickening sound of metal piercing skin flesh and severing bone as the man impaled himself on the tip.

Theobald gazed coolly at the creature's dumbstruck expression before planting a foot on his chest and hefting out his blade, letting the man side to the floor in front of him. The whole action had lasted mere seconds and two of the strange things had been downed while the other two were slightly injured.

The leader and his remaining compatriot hissed at Theobald, who merely gave a half smile and a mock salute with his blade. "You are powerful, clearly imbued by some dark forces of the evil within this place of God. And yet you still stand no chance in the face of his righteous followers."

The two only hissed again furiously like a pair of vipers. The leader looked to his companion who curiously seemed to throw his hands out muttering under his breath.

If not for the lack of any results, Theobald would have guessed that he was attempting to cast a spell, but he couldn't be sure with these strange monsters of men. The leader snarled and hit his compatriot across the shoulder before turning to face Theobald again. "If you wish our masters blood, then you must come and take it through us." the leader said.

"If you insist." Theobald raised his sword ready once again and rushed towards the leader, hoping to finish him and cause the other to flee for his life. Besides, from where he stood he could see that Dasmos was beginning to tire. The two creatures attempting to subdue him were battered and bleeding from the attempt but they had cornered the horse against the moat and were closing in for the kill.

However, as Theobald leapt over the corpse of the third man he had impaled in the chest the man's hand suddenly shot out and grasped Theobald's leg with incredible strength. With a cry of surprise Theobald went crashing to the ground at the feet of the other two.

With that, all three of them were on him in a flash. Face down in the ground his arms and legs were pinned by the two cronies while the leader hefted up the sword. "Now to end your overly puffed up and pandered life." Theobald struggled against the other two trying to free one of his hands of legs to fight back but it was useless. They were too strong. Laughing the leader lifted the blade to bring it down on Theobald's head. Accepting his fate, Theobald closed his eyes and began to pray to God to accept him into the afterlife, despite his sin.

Suddenly, with a blinding light and a roar followed by the feeling of sudden and searing heat the three creature's went from crowing in victory to screaming in pain and agony. The pressure on his arms and legs vanished and Theobald whirled on his back to see his three captors ablaze in flame. Looking towards the source of the fire, Theobald saw a dark skinned woman, dark haired and in a long white dress rimmed with red along the edges advance, fire blazing from her palms and a fury to match in her expression and eyes the colour of rubies.

For the longest moment Theobald was certain that God had sent this beautiful guardian to save him from his enemies. But as the woman approached she offered the knight her hand, and when he took it she grasped his gauntleted hand firmly in a way Theobald had only associated with the terrestrial beings.

"Are you alright Sir knight?" She inquired. Her tone was firm but gentle and her voice was a wonder to his ears.

"I... I am now my lady. Thank you for your timely rescue." Theobald stammered back. Quickly recovering himself he held up her hand and said with a small smile, "You feel too real to be an angel of God, though appearances would suggest otherwise." A small smile of her own touched the woman's lips at this, though it was barely perceptible.

A thought struck him like thunder and he spun to face where he had last seen Dasmos fearing the worst. Standing beside the horse attempting to calm the beast, with a great deal of success to Theobald's surprise, was a young man, brown haired and pale skinned like himself. He wore a hauberk of slightly tarnished mail over a white shirt and trousers, likewise tarnished and in need of repair in some places, but apparently of high quality make. The edges of the mail were rimmed with a golden material. On his feet were a pair of blue and gold boots, muddied and well traveled by long time on the road presumably.

Theobald turned back to the woman who still stood next to him, noticing just now that he saw her profile as she too looked at the young man's progress with his horse, that she had pointed ears. "Who are you two?"

The woman turned back to him, "My name is Fyra, former student at the College of Magic in Campestria, and this" she said gesturing to the young man now approaching with Dasmos, "is Naythan. A young cleric, also from Campestria, and my partner."

Naythan, who was by now within earshot held out his hand, "A pleasure to meet you sir..." he trailed off

"Theobald. Theobald yr Afon." Theobald finished for him taking his hand.

Naythan frowned. "An unusual last name if you don't mind me saying. Where are you from?"

"I am from the isle of Brantir across the Northern sea. I've come here to..." he stopped for a second thinking quickly, " to aid people in need. I travel the lands and go where I am needed."

"An honorable calling. Your family must be proud of you." Fyra said. Theobald, thought he detected a hint of sadness in her voice. He hesitated before answering carefully, "They support my cause yes."

Naythan was looking at him suspiciously so Theobald moved the topic on. Turning to Fyra he gestured to her ears, "I see that you are of the dryadalis people? They are much revered in Brantir from the time of their empire in our lands."

Fyra lightly touched her ears at this. "Yes I am of that people. It pleases me greatly that there are yet those that appreciate us even in lands as distant as Brantir."

"Indeed. Much of what your people taught us is preserved in the South of the island and even a school of magic remains. Our queen has blood ties with your people and leads the magic users that hold true to these old teachings."

Naythan spoke up, "As much as I would wish to chit chat some more about the, admittedly fascinating aspects of your culture and people, I believe that there is an evil yet to be slain."

Theobald straightened, the original purpose for his being here returning to him. "You speak the truth Naythan. Will you accompany me to slay this beast? You are clearly powerful and well versed in combat both mundane and arcane. I would appreciate your assistance."

Naythan nodded, "you shall have it. Though from what we saw you are quite capable with the sword yourself. That move in the beginning was very impressive, could have dealt with three of your four opponents at the start if it were not for the power of the Aremosian pulsing through their veins."

Theobald was taken aback at this casual mention of his early moves and knowledge of the creature they now faced. "Wait!" he sputtered, "You were here at the beginning, and yet you waited until the end to assist me? Why? And what is this Aremosian that you speak of."

Naythan shrugged, "Well we did help a little. I blocked the use of any magic that they were trying to use to give you a fair chance, but we were curious to see how you would fair."

"Curious to see how I would... You did what? Blocked their magic? How is this possible." Theobald's mind whirled in confusion at all these revelations at once.

"We have not time for this or any lengthy explanations.” Furs broke in, “This foul Aremosian beast must be slain or these people will not be safe. Once this is done we can answer your questions. Indeed we may have another quest for you good Sir Theobald." With that the dryad strode forward followed by Naythan towards the now unguarded moat the surrounded the darkened cathedral.

Theobald just shook his head and took Dasmos's reigns. "My friend, we have walked into a far stranger world than it first appeared." The horse simply snorted in acknowledgement and Theobald lead Dasmos after his two new companions into the belly of this Aremosian's lair. Whatever an Aremosian was anyway...

Adventure
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About the Creator

Tomos Jackson

I love how inspiring stories and character can be. I try and replicate that in my own writing to not only give inspiration, but also to encourage the reader to consider important matters through a more enjoyable and digestible fantasy lens.

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