Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By Love Drawn

If Derek had known he would be there again, he’d have bought his flamesword, Burnfang. In all fairness, the narrow confines of the catacombs would have made it an…impractical choice. He had no lack of experience in close combat and so would rely on the weapons best suited to that type of encounter. He reluctantly conceded, as well, that any concentration of forces requiring the lethality of Burnfang would probably have already harmed his beloved beyond any necessity of saving her.

Running a hand along the dripping stonework, he smelled only the dankness, the decay, the rot and fetid unwholesomeness he had come to associate with the Dark Kind and their lairs…but nothing of her. The omnipresent darkness and closeness of his surroundings denied light and sound and there was, most certainly, nothing here he had any desire to taste.

He quickened his pace, his desire to escape the odious surroundings with the only woman he had ever loved being undeniable. He braved the dangers, not for any promise of reward but, for the simple motivation of boundless love for her. That his success might, once and for all, cement his position as an acceptable suitor in the King’s eyes, though, was definitely a factor.

An indescribable sense of foreboding from the chamber ahead gave him pause. Drawing his daggers from their oiled sheaths, he braced himself and inched slowly forward. Holding his breath without realizing he did so, he peered around the doorjamb. Only by dint of a life spent in martial training was he able to hold his emotions in check. A shout of rage died, unvoiced, in his throat. A slight trembling of his brawny hands and the track of a single salty tear down his cheek betrayed he felt anything at all.

Bound securely to a crude chair, the organza dress was torn and rent nearly beyond recognition as such. Dried blood from half a hundred superficial wounds caked her body and the bloody welter that had been her slim throat gaped wide with a horrendous tear. Though her eyes were dull and lifeless, the frozen rictus of her expression bore mute testament her death had not been an easy one.

Heedless of any threat, he strode forward. His dagger met little resistance as he cut the stained ribbon holding the cameo about her neck. It had been a present to her on her last birthday and had cost him a month’s pay. It did not belong here…in this place. Securing it in his belt pouch, he left the body behind; knowing it was but a husk. The spark that had made it his Belisandra had been snuffed out, never to be rekindled.

His boot heels rang loudly on the floor as he abandoned all pretense of stealth. Cold rage replaced the fires of heroism. His final duty to his princess was clear. He would kill anything and everything he could find in this hellish warren before he returned home with word of her passing.

This story was written for the weekly Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge prompt: if [she] had known [he] would be there again, [she] would've brought [her] [magic sword]

1 comment:

  1. This has the sweep and cadence of a grand story. Wonderfully realized, Jeffrey.