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Prologue to The Plague of Ahrenzell

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The End of His World


There was little warning before the attack.

A man dressed all in white stood at the center of a small village, watching as his world fell apart before his very eyes. All that he had learned, studied, and expected didn’t matter. His followers, his friends, were slaughtered before him, and there was little more that he could than defend himself and watch the others die. He wasn’t strong enough to save them.

Never before could he have expected such a gruesome scene. Beasts raged through the surrounding fields, chasing down his screaming, terrified people. Dozens were killed within a matter of seconds. The buildings that had minutes ago been filled with cheerful men and women were now replaced by blazing infernos alit by a line of torchbearers that stood in a line in front of him. Some that had been inside fled in horror, but the army of creatures trampled the young as well as the old, killing them instantly with the sharp, dagger-like plates of armor on the beasts’ feet.

Many, however, simply stood still, eyes locked on the monsters unsure of what to do to defend themselves. War was nothing they had ever seen or heard of before, warfare completely foreign to them.

The Man in White found himself frozen as well until one of the creatures assaulted him from behind. In a swift thrust, he brought the end of the staff he held in his hand under his arm into the creatures chest, knocking it off its feet. Spinning around, he brought his weapon down on the creature, instantly collapsing its skull. Gripping the staff tightly, he walked slowly toward the army. Another charged him, but he simply knocked its feet out from under it and killed it with two quick strikes.

Within moments, he was surrounded. Beast after beast, assaulted him and one by one, they fell and the Man in White remained standing. Tears filled the eyes of the innocent and rained down upon the once peaceful land below them as the empty, inhuman faces of the cadaverous creatures before them struck them with fear. Hostility and vengeance replaced the feelings of carefree joy and unquestionable safety that had prior filled the land.

He fought like no man of the world had ever fought before. His staff once considered nothing but a walking stick and a mark of leadership had now become his most trusted weapon. His staff moved more quickly than even his own eyes could see as he crippled the creatures two, sometimes three, at a time. Thousands of years of preparation had prepared a select few for what they now faced. The rest lacked any hope at all.

The Man in White was one of three in the world that knew what was happening and the reasons for the extermination that had been enacted against them. The enemy’s order had brought about the certain genocide of their people. There was no stopping it, nothing he could do to slow the enemy.

All around him, he heard his name called by the innocent lives that that slowly dropped like the petals on a withering flower. There were no words that he could give them to comfort them, to protect them, or even to tell them the truth. Nothing he could say would change anything. The only thing he could do for them was to allow them to die with trust remaining in their hearts even if everything else was lost.

And so he fled. He abandoned them.

The end of his world came far too soon for the Man in White.



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Ahrenzell said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm
Keep your eye on the shelves. :)
 
Macx14 said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm
This is amazing!!! Is your novel getting published? If it is, give me the title. I would so buy it!
 
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