Vendetta Chapter 1

By Jonathan Priest

The world seemed deathly still. All was silent in this dark, blackened forest, as even the wind seemed to fear bringing notice to itself. Yet in the distance, a rustling of noise, footfalls upon the hardened earth brought attention to the lone figure marching through the waist high grass. He seemed unconcerned, nor was he truly conscious of the noise his presence made, for even if he were silent, the world itself would pause for him.

He walked into the midst of the shadowed forest, the blackness itself drawing upon him as a cloak, or perhaps it was he who became part of the darkness. He took a few steps forward and paused. His hands brushed the blades of grass, coming to notice the broken stems of leaves that alerted him that his querry had gone this way. Yet, in the silence, his mind gazed upon the scene, and he saw it for what it was. He lowered his head, his eyes gleaming with determination, as a subtle smile creased his hardened face.

He stood in the darkness a moment longer than he knew wise, but he could not bring himself to do what he must. Standing in deep thought, the man of darkness, took a deep breath of the pine laden air, and stepped purposefully into the clearing of the forest. Light gleamed off his blackened armor and reflected that darkness. In truth, the light itself seemed absorbed by this man, to the degree that the ebony forest carried a stillness of lifelessness upon him, and thus, his entire presence appeared as pitch as night.

He stood in the center of the clearing, his eyes focusing to the light as he glared about the heavy field of grass. And he spoke. "Shall we begin?" The words were as rasp as the darkness that seemed to carry this man in life, but any words spoken by this man, would turn the blood of any mortal to ice.

As he stood, glaring at the field of grass, a screaming cry of despiration pierced the air and shattered this man's solitude. He turned quickly to see an armored soldier charge through the grass, holding his sword with deadly purpose. Yet the man in the black armor seemed uneffected by this apparent attack, and with lightning skill, his right arm darted effectively toward the charging soldier. With a stopping blow, the armored man's right hand caught the unsuspecting soldier by the throat, holding him in a death grip. Yet the dark, lone warrior was all to suspecting of the initial danger, and his left hand grabbed the hilt of his powerful sword. In one steady motion, the warrior drew his sword, spinning in full motion, and catching a new soldier in the midsection. The silent, apparent assassing fell to the ground as the dark warrior turned his attention back to the helpless man in his grip. With a swift movement, and a sickening crunch, the man in black armor snapped his neck with but a squeeze of his hand.

A new soldier appeared from the brush, carrying a long Halibard, expecting to run the mysterious warrior through with a quick kill. But the dark warrior, still holding the lifeless body of the first, broken attacker, turned the soldier's body so that it would intercept the spear. The spear connected to the dead soldier as the ebony knight released his grip on the lifeless body. The Halibard blade dropped to the ground as the warrior pulled his sword up, cutting the wooden shaft in two. As the soldier stumbled backward by the sudden release of his weapon, the swordsman drew his weapon down, in the same arching motion, cutting the spearman open.

Two more soldiers appeared from the thicket, hoping to overpower this truely impressive fighter, yet, as the first reached this man, he swung his sword. The warrior ducked below the arch of the weapon, and bringing his own sword up, caught his next victim in the chest. His sword, temporarily lost, he clutched the sword of the dying soldier, pulling it from his slacken hand, and turned in a manner that would terrify the very demons that tormented his soul. The last and final charging soldier, paused in fright as he studied the determination and anger raging through this warrior. But like the others, this soldier was to share their fate. Regaining his composure, he grappled for what little courage remained after witnessing this slaughter, and threw his body at this dark armored warrior. It was all but an act of desperation, as the last remaining soldier fought with a bezerder fury that seemed to esculate his own skill, but as he swung his sword in blinding rage, the lone, mysterious warrior, caught the mans arm at the wrist, and twisted his arm painfully until the man dropped his sword. With a glancing blow, the overpowering fighter struck the soldier with the flat of his sword, knocking him to the ground.

"Pl...please don't kill me." the last man spoke. It seemed a last effort to persuade this man, pleading to whatever heart he might have, though this soldier doubted it would work. "I've got a wife, I've got children...please."

"Congratulations, you've just orphaned them." The warrior stated briefly, his stealy eyes buring a hole into his challengers soul.

"Pl...please, what do you want from me? I was told to attack you, we all were." The man said signaling to the littered landscape. "We didn't know who you were. Had we known, we never would have..."

"And so, you've made the mistake that a thousand others have made before you. And you paid for it." The fighter said, staring away from the soldier to gaze out over the terrane. "Where is Yuber?"

The soldier, terrified before, was now beyond words. "Pl...please...he'll...he'll kill me."

"You worry about him?" The dark soldier said, seemingly surprised at this defeated mans unwillingness to grasp the situation he was now in.

Reality finally dawned on this man, and he again found his tongue. "He...he said he was going to Kalekka. To gather more troops. I swear, I don't know what he's planning, I'm just a foot soldier and don't know the situation. I'm not sure why he'd go there. I swear, that's all I know!"

The dark soldier grabbed the last attacker by the throat and hoisted him to his feet. But he refused to let him go. He reached down to his belt and drew a knife, and brought it to his captives face, drawing a long, red line across his skin. He realeased the man, throwing him harshly to the ground. He then lifted the man's sword, and with a single motion, brought it to the hard earth, snapping the blade in half. With the broken sword in hand, he grabbed the nearly unconscious man, and effortlessly pulled him to his feet, handing him the sword.

"I let you live because you may serve my purpose. You have been broken. Go, and tell Yuber that I will come for him. Tell him Pesmerga is coming, and he will not be denied."


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