The armor-clad knight had been lost within the forest for days, he was tired and worn by his journey and so hoped to find a town. The forest was one of twisted trees and the knight felt as though the branches grew clawing at him. Perhaps he was delirious. The mission had been a very long one and he didn’t know when he would come to the end.
The sky was no longer visible through the thick forest branches and the knight couldn’t see if the day were still light or if night had fallen. Just as he was setting his gear down to make camp, a band of ghouls fell from the trees and gawked at him greedily. The knight rose from his knees slowly and never took his eyes off the creatures. He knew that if he didn’t defend himself, the ghouls would be picking the meat from his bones. He drew his sword from its scabbard and growled as he charged the ghouls.
It was ghastly. The ghouls slashed at the knight with blunt blades and hammered down on him with rocks and their claws. The knight slashed at one ghoul’s belly and entrails fell from the creature, but it persisted! It squealed in pain, but refused to give up on a meal and it continued crawling in agony towards the knight. He cut through other ghouls, but succeeded in killing none! He attacked and disfigured many; however, the undead creatures continued their lustful pursuit. The knight raised his sword high and brought it down swiftly, hacking the head from a ghoul. The body fell lifeless and the other ghouls stopped their attack and raced to feast on the flesh of their fallen comrade. The ghouls turned on each other and tore at each other’s skin with their teeth and claws. The knight ran away safely, though once he stopped to catch his breath, he vomited and fainted.
When the knight finally awoke, he was unaware of the time passage and found himself lost as he wandered the forest. But, however lost he had been, he soon approached the gates of a towering castle of black stone. How he had come to the hidden fortress, he did not know. Standing guard at the large wooden doors were two large and barbaric looking goblins. The goblins pointed their javelins at the knight as he approached. He took a breath and stopped before the grimacing creatures.
“I am the ambassador sent to negotiate with Lord Vinaez.” He said. “Is this Castle Valeshian?”
The goblins grunted as they lowered their javelins and opened the doors. The knight cautiously entered the dark castle; the grand hall was large and lit by candle and to the far side of the hall was a staircase. The doors closed with an echoing boom behind him. He breathed slowly, but the air was cold and filled his lungs with pain. His bravery had been diminishing since he took the mission, but now he felt a terror he had never known. A shadow appeared and glided down the stairs towards the knight, and he saw that it was a woman… a horrible woman. Her complexion was pale, her eyes a dazzling violet with pinpoint pupils, she had golden hair, and she was slender and dressed in a black and red gown. Malice betrayed her beautiful face and she carried herself as one of superiority with terrible power. To the knight, this pale mistress was terribly beautiful; she captivated him and he feared her completely. And as he knew he wanted her, he knew the woman was horrible and evil.
The woman looked down on the knight with her dangerous eyes as he spoke timidly. “I am here to negotiate peace with Lord Vinaez.”
She did not blink, but watched and studied. “You speak boldly… the others said no word.” Ice mingled with her rich voice. “Negotiate peace? Lord Vinaez will speak only to those he deems worthy, those who are strong and no one else. If you can prove yourself strong, Lord Vinaez will consider your people. But…” a smile of malice and pride flickered on her face, “…consider yourself warned; no one has ever defeated me.”
The knight stared at the woman in bewilderment as her form disappeared in shadows and a new more horrible figure stood in place. It was then that the knight knew his opponent was a nymph. Sharp yellow eyes, pointed ears, and piercings gave her a devilish appearance. She wore her black hair tight in a ponytail and dressed in a revealing tunic; muscle traced her slender figure and a spider web of tattoos covered her body. She gave a devious smile that revealed pointed teeth as she pulled a curved sword out of the shadows. The knight unsheathed his sword and they charged each other!
The nymph moved in defiance of nature’s laws. As the knight ran towards her, she gracefully pounced into the air and landed on his other side. She was like a serpent, graceful yet vicious. She moved with uncanny speed and easily evaded the knight’s blade. He tried repeatedly in vain to desecrate his enemy, but she danced around his every move. He watched in astonishment as the nymph split her one sword into two blades. She effortlessly glided through the air and appeared on the knight’s other side. He spun on his heal and came face to face with the beast. She lightly kissed him and before he felt the sting, her two blades sliced through his body.
The doors opened and the goblins ran to the nymph. She smiled at them. “Inform Lord Vinaez that the human scum is dead.”
The goblins moved the bloodied heap of what used to be the knight into a sack and carried it through the doors at the top of the staircase. The knight was just one of many killed by the mistress of shadow, and now time was running out. Failure would be man’s death. The nymph looked at her sword and smiled; there was not a drop of blood on the blade. She started back up the staircase, and as she ascended, shadow covered her and she vanished.