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The White Cloak
The crackling of leaves was such a soothing sound as I walked down the path. I shivered slightly as the time of twilight was passing to bring the dark night. I think I only shivered because I greatly disliked the dark; my white phantom outfit was made of the finest fabrics and kept me fitfully warm. I believed I also shivered from taking this path into the small grove that separated my father’s land to Lord Lyon’s. My family was graciously invited for a night to a ball away from the reckless commoners who took so much joy in vandalizing our property. This night seemed to put everyone in a wild fit.
My thoughts back on the Lyon family, I think they had two daughters or maybe three. One was almost four summers old, very rambunctious and the other perhaps around my age or older. I stopped my loud traveling as something horrifying dawned on me.
I am eligible to be betrothed and so is Lord Lyon’s daughter…I shuddered at the thought of her visage. In a few simple words she was a shrew, hardly a worthy wife for me. After some brief thought I concluded the problem to be irrelevant, there would be plenty of other young suitors wanting her dowry, and at this rate I may never get there in time.
I was now thoroughly pleased I had stayed behind to catch up on my reading. Truly, father would be appalled if he heard I was traveling alone and through the woods. Still, the idea of the perils I could face…they excited me.
Quickly, I lit up my only light source, a lantern, and I continued towards the wooded area.
“I…would not go in there if I were you.” I almost jumped out of my skin as I turned to the voice. There was a young man, just a bit taller than me. His clothing was unusual. His face was concealed by a dark hood that was connected to a jacket of the same hue.
“Who are you?” I swore no one was there before and no crunching leaves gave away his presence. His stature made the hairs on my neck stand on end. I had a bad feeling about this.
“Don’t you recognize me, Master Lucius?” something about his voice made me want to shudder. I felt my skin begin to prickle.
“How do you know my name?”
He snickered wickedly, “You are the future of this town. It’s your inheritance. Of course I would know who you are.”
Did that mean he lived in the town?
“Who are you?”
He leaned against a nearby tree and sighed loudly, “Ah, such a simple question with so many answers.” His hands disappeared into his coat pockets, “I suppose I’m an exile, you see five summers ago me and a few others were driven out of the town…”
“I was asking for a name,” I answered hotly, his talk was…bothersome and when I reached Lord Lyon’s home, I wanted to inform father about this person.
“Tamesis,” he introduced formally with a bow and when he stood he removed his hood. I stared horrified at his face.
“Witch,” I took a cautious step back, he laughed hysterically.
“Yes, yes that’s what I was accused of.” Tamesis continued to grin. His face simply put was beautifully foreign. His pupils were unnatural slits that were an odd color of violet, and purple tattoos danced along the borders of his face. I had a feeling they connected to the tattoos that were on his hands. What scared me the most, what truly sickened me was his hair was somehow dyed to match his eyes.
It was a monstrosity.
“Child of Satan,” I continued to make as much distance between us as possible, “have you and your other followers come to take revenge on the night your powers would be so strong?!” I felt my heart drop as the witch’s cackle echoed eerily through the woods like there were hundreds of them a jeering chorus.
“Master Lucius, be reasonable, why would we return to someplace where the townspeople would gladly kill us?” I didn’t understand it, but his lies made sense, “No, we only stay out of that part of the woods when she comes. It’s her domain tonight.”
“Also a very simple question with many answers,” I stood there confused. Tamesis continued. “The ‘she’ that we speak of, we also call her the White Lady, but her origins are a mystery to many. Some believe she was wrongly hanged for witchcraft and now haunts the woods for justice, others think she haunts the woods looking for her lost lover, taking young men that resemble him. Well, that’s almost correct.” He snickered at some unseen folly, something I did not know.
I wanted to run, run from this madman’s talk, but some unknown force held me to the ground. His tale made my blood run cold. He stared off when he told his tale, but his horrible eyes fell on me and I felt my heart bursting inside my throat.
I took a deep breath and I sputtered out, “That’s nonsense.”
“Well, yes, I figured you’d say that.”
“I do not believe your lies. I’m leaving.” But the spell that was cast made me stay in place. His seriousness was even more intimidating than his cocky demeanor.
“I didn’t come all this way to have a small chat, Master Lucius. I warn you that if you go into those woods you may not come out alive. I hope you will not take that chance for the sake of thrills.”
How…? He must be a clairvoyant, but I couldn’t believe he was right.
“I would never…”
“You are a lord’s son, you could have ridden a horse, and taken guards to protect you from bandits, but here you stand alone with a dingy lantern to light your way.” The playful smirk returned as he feigned to be deep in thought. “Did you believe I had telepathy, Master Lucius?”
“Enough!” I yelled I wasn’t about to be spoken to like a petulant child! “Am I leaving to go to a party before it gets any darker, and I warn you, if I ever see you again you will live to regret it!” The spell was shattered and I could finally move.
“If that’s what you wish.” The man called Tamesis stepped away from the tree and walked away along a soft patch of grass. That was how he snuck up behind me! So maybe he didn’t have powers, but he certainly was a witch. Who has such odd colored hair?
I put the witch out of my mind and instead I hurried into the woods. I was very lucky tonight for a full moon was lighting my way. There wasn’t anything dangerous in those woods besides the obvious, which the witch had said, but those simpletons wouldn’t dare walk the woods on All-Hallow-Even. They were fools who believed in old superstitions, I wasn’t afraid of such things.
I relaxed my pace when suddenly the light of the moon was snuffed out as if the wind blew a candle out. I was in complete darkness save for my tiny lantern. It was only a few steps when I felt something watching me. Things watching me from the undistinguishable black forms ahead.
Watching, watching with piercing eyes…
“Are you following me witch?!” I demanded swinging the lantern around wildly. I half expected his purple, serpent eyes to pop out. Something grabbed me! I turned. It was merely a low branch getting caught on my cloak.
I could hear him, I told you not to go into the woods, Master Lucius, I warned you…
No, no, no, he’s not here, just my imagination…. I just looked at the path and kept going then I would be at the estate have a good time at the party and make sure to avoid that shrew. Avoid that shrew at all costs.
That’s right, let that calm you down. I took two more steps.
What was what? Just an animal, that’s all…just an animal…I took another three steps.
Crunch…crunch, crunch, crunch…
Why was it getting louder? Is it getting closer? I started to run.
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch…
Getting closer…getting louder…what was it? What was it!?
“Leave me alone, witch!” The branches were clawing at me, trying to hold me back!
CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!
The white lady! The white lady was coming for me!
Told you not to go…
I screamed and stumbled into the dirt, my lantern clashed and rolled away from me. I tried to get up, but my feet refused to carry me any further. I heard a wailing screech I didn’t know if it was my own voice or the white lady’s I simply cowered into a small ball.
Boo-doom, boo-doom, boo-doom…
That sounded like hooves…
I peered cautiously and a small doe pranced gaily down the trail, stopped in shock at my presence and ran off.
Astonishment and relief swarmed inside of me and I simply rolled onto my back and laughed hysterically. I was scared of a doe, just a brainless doe! My laughs of joy could have competed with the witch’s cackle as they echoed cheerfully with the trees.
It was all in my head. I let those crazy stories get to my head.
I simply laid there looking at the dark branches clawing at the sky. Now that my fear had vanished, I noticed it truly wasn’t that dark than I had perceived.
I should probably get to Lord Lyon’s estate. I’m sure they’ll be shocked that I arrived. I hoisted myself easily compared to before. My hands burned and my knees felt like rubber. I took light steps and picked up my lantern and hobbled on my way.
My trip was…normal, like any other walk I would have taken in the daytime. Nothing scary at all, and as the trees thinned out the moonlight illuminated the night once more. Finally, I saw the first few houses. I was almost there.
“Excuse me…” I stopped startled at the soft voice and found its source to my right. There, a young lady stood a few feet off the main path in a white dress. Her skin was very fair. Her hair was a honey blonde with blue eyes and a rosy complexion.
She approached me with caution, giving me a quizzical expression. “Are you a ghost?” her voice was a charming and girlish mixing with that of melodious and womanly.
“No, of course not,” I answered indignantly, “what makes you think that?”
Her smile was sweet and humble, “The mask…”
I touched the mask partly obscuring my face. Of course, I had forgotten I was dressed as a white phantom. I restrained the mirth that was wiggling inside of me. I was probably more horrifying than anything in those woods.
“May I ask where you are going?”
“To a party…,” I answered without thinking, she took this information in.
“May I also ask why you are out so late at night alone?”
“I should ask you the same thing. A young lady shouldn’t be unaccompanied so late at night.”
Her smile never faded, “Then perhaps you would care to accompany me? I was just returning to my home.”
I extended my arm and she took it, “I’d be honored.” I felt myself shiver. She was so cold. As we started to walk a fog seemed to cloud my vision and only the young lady in front of me was visible. Hmm…how strange, I didn’t hear the leaves being crunched beneath our feet. I think I was hallucinating as those heavenly blue eyes turned demonic red. A sharp jab ran through my neck numbing my entire body, and then I was falling in darkness…
Two weeks later…
“Young Master Lucius’ cloak was found floating down the river. The only color was a splash of scarlet on his cloak. His body hasn’t been recovered, but they believe we killed him. Isn’t it humorous? His foolishness and fascination for adventure becomes our punishment.” Tamesis patted the grave he sat against, “I figured you’d think that, brother.”