Friday, May 15, 2015

Gregarious Mills

  The only trace, is of his footprints, that rapidly disappear with the continuing fall of the oncoming snow. The trees, having no effect, stand silently erect, as their branches droop heavily as if upon the confines of sleep. The skies, now darkened, mirror the image of the landscape, that confers the forest with such apposite dread. Mills, silently creeps further inward, as the forest itself seems to undulate along with his own beating heart, that in turn appears to rise with every step, every sound, every breath that breaks through the silence. Suddenly, among the trees, a figure, a shadow, a figment perhaps.. shifts among the silhouettes of the forest. An as Mills begins to prepare his bow, he hears a faint voice call out from abaft.
"Mills.. Mills! It's okay, let him go!"
Off in the distance, a spectre arises, a pale creature that is quite indistinguishable from the snow itself. "Mills!" The voice calls out once more. An as an addled discern begins to form upon his brow, Josephine, fully emerges from this pale apparition." What are you doing here? This place is far too dangerous for someone as ill prepared as you."
"I know, I am sorry! But you need to stop this. As there are more pressing matters that you need to attend to."
"More pressing matters!" Says Mills, indignantly. "What could be more important than this. That man, that thing.. Tried to kill our king! My father! What better place is their for me to be but here."
"I know Mills, I know what you must feel, but if the king is correct, much worse things are to come."
"Much worse..What do you mean?"
"Just come back, your father will provide the
"Very well." He remises." Very well."
   Mills can still remember the stories from when he was a kid, the stories his father would tell him when he was upon his bedside. Even today, they say that this place is haunted, they say that the remnants of the dead still roam within the confines of the forest. Even the name, the Sepulchreal Forest, brings about fear in the hearts of many.
Mills father, the king, built the castle walls with this thought in mind, as what better way to fortify one's castle but with the haunted minds of men. It all started, ages ago, when a small group of men, on the run from such imperial forces, took refuge in this very forest. As the months passed by, winter fell.. as did they. One by one they fell to the cold, the ice, the barren landscape, lost.. without any direction to freedom. Even the few that did, supposedly, find their way, were to only find the end of a sword. If this be true, Mills ponders, how could they not have found their way out, and why did they stay for so long, knowing that their doom lie in wait. Some people say that the object they stole was cursed, that the forest itself was cursed, the truth though, as Mills sees it, is that no one knows for sure. More than likely he imagines, is that the imperial forces dredged their way to the hideouts of these men, and cut them down where they sleep.
"Mills!" She asks." Do you think that the stories are true? Do you think this place is actually haunted?"
"Well, legends such as this do normally have a basis in reality."
"But do you believe that they are true?"
"Its only true if you believe as such, that's why my father built the castle so close to here, as most people still fear this forest, maybe with good reason."
"You do realize you're avoiding the question." She smirks. Mills laughs, quite jovially, as she says this, all while continuing on in his course in silence.
When the forest ends, it opens up to a great field, like a blossoming flower on the verge of spring, an out ahead, upon the snow covered flurries, one can see the outlines of the castle town, the soldiers upon its brow, are barely visible, but the bright red flags that fly valiantly upon each pier, is clearly visible like a beacon of light onto a fog covered ocean. As they walk onto its grounds, Mills fails to realize, until now, that Josephine happens to sport the most ill suited of attires. She wears a long white dress, that drags itself upon the snow, her arms, bare to the elements, shiver in frustration over her forgetful nature, as they wrap themselves around each other fighting for warmth.
"Here!" Says Mills. "Take this, it will keep you warm till we get back." He hands her his jacket, wrapping it around her frame like a blanket, as she looks on with compassion.
"Thanks." She whispers." I appreciate it."
"Sorry I didn't realize it earlier," he smiles,"my sincere apologies."
"That's okay." She says in jest." You have always been the distracted one."
Despite the snow, the crowds still impede upon the streets with an impudent nature, forgiven in the fact of the apparent chaos that ensues, as they carry their respective cargo as if walking on a thin layer of ice. The houses, having such a thematic atmosphere, look almost stoic in their respective climates, as though they all stand tall like the many guards of the castle. Up ahead, lies the marketplace, which is surprisingly busy considering the current conditions that impede, and farther still, lies the castle, further protected by a large moat that surrounds its walls. Various soldiers still decorate its exterior, as the walls themselves are covered over in dead vines, dirt, and other assorted artifacts of a nature gone unhindered. While the soldiers themselves are covered over in a fresh blanket of newly fallen snow. Inside, pillars line the floor, that rise up out of the ground like giant oaks. Accompanying each is a small light, a torch that oscillates quite erratically as though its very being is flickering from existence. This hallway, in particular, eventually diverges into two separate corridors, and a handful of steps that lead up to a small unassuming wooden door. It is here, that Josephine decides to take her leave.
"Mills?" She says unquizzically." Greg, this is where I have to take my leave. It was.. fun though, if you were to ever do it again some time. "
"Yeah!" Mills laughs." You should really be saving me more often."
"Well if that's the case, I think I will be keeping your jacket." She smiles, before taking her leave.
Beyond the wooden doors, a throne, empty and   disconsolate, with only two guards standing upon each side trying to look so gallant in their apparent idleness. But as Mills creeps ever closer, a voice rings out, such a voice with muffled familiarity, it's just than, from beyond the pillars, the queen, emerges from the shadows of the next room.
"Gregory! I am so happy you made it, I see Josephine has found you, with little trouble I hope?"
"Yeah, I was in the midst of the forest, upon the tracks of the assassin."
"Well don't worry about him, he is taken care of."
"Taken care of, how do you mean?"
"You will find out soon enough, as your father will fill in the rest."
Beyond the darkness, lies the King's chamber. It is mid sized, surprisingly bourgeois, and consists mainly of a small bedside table, and a four poster bed. A two tiered chandelier, made of crystal, hangs in the middle, an oddity considering the rest of the room.
"Father." Mills whispers." how are you?
"I am okay my son, I may be old, but i am not so easily taken." He gasps." Does your presence mean Josephine had found you in a sufficient manner. "
"Yes, everything went well, but why, I ask, did you bring me back while I was on the brink?"
"Did she not tell you as I had planned?"
"All she had said, was that there's a more urgent matter, that needed my attention."
"Ah! I see I see. There is an urgent matter, one that is far more important at the present time. It consists of the fact that that man, was no mere assassin, in fact, I don't believe that his goal was assassination at all."
"How do you mean, he did try to kill you, that is a fact one cannot so easily ignore."
"I know how you must see things, but trust me, his mission was far more sinister than merely killing me. Do you remember a few years back, when we pillaged the Isles of Archeonulus?"
"Yes, I do. There was nothing there, beyond the forest and the trees.”
"Well, as you may very well know, things are not always as they seem. As we did find something, but something far greater, far more sinister.” He pauses.” At least according to the People of Mount Nukkidega."
"Why haven't I heard about this?"
"Only a few people knew about this, only a few people could. I didn't want this item's whereabouts to get out, as the myths of old, are still widely known, still widely believed."
"You do not speak of General Tunibrious, as you cannot be serious."
"Yes.. It appears that his legendary helmet has been found, and it is an item most worthy of destruction."
"But it's just a legend, a myth. A story passed down from the Great War of Endelboor. Probably from his own soldiers he himself commanded."
"Nonetheless." He mumbles. "What you believe, matters not, it is the fact that they, themselves, believe, that makes such a
  Endelboor was a city to the south, bordering the Torpid Desert. It was the final battle of the great general, already apart of legends, and myths by that point. But as is now known, that was mostly by his own hand, and the hands of the soldiers he led to battle. It was said that when he died, his essence, his being, being so great, did not die along with his body, but was transmuted in a sense, into the armor that he bore, and the most powerful being his helmet. As for what the rest of his armor is concerned, nobody knows what has come of it, or if it even survived said skirmish. In fact, the woman who took his place, was believed to wield the very helmet in question, which most say was the very reason she was so rushed into power. After her defeat, many years later, the helmet was believed lost, stolen, destroyed, or any other number of theories that still persist to this day, that is until now.
"So, dare I ask?" He whispers, charily." But have.. Have you dared try it on."
"No!" He says sternly." That is not the course we should, or need to take. As if the stories happen to be true, with great power, men are easily corrupted."
"As you wish. But then may I ask, at this juncture, what is to become of our would be assassin."
"The woman you call Josephine." He says quite fugue like." She was sent out to find him, a task that should prove her merit, hopefully quite warily.. at that."

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