Battle on the Golden Plain

November 13, 2008
A man in resplendent, shining armor walked into the empty plaza of a dusty old town. The ground was made of sand, and was cracking from the intensity of the sun. Old mud-huts and stood, deserted. His red velvet cape flowed in the slight breeze of the golden plain. His sharp, storm-grey eyes darted back and forth, searching for a prey that was not there. The man wiped the glistening sweat off his brow and bald head. The lines creased on his tan face as the sun glared. The smell of oils and perfumes permeated the air. The man drew his long and ornate sword, swinging it in a great arc. The shimmering blade was a beacon for all to see. The man yelled a challenged. He was searching. He came to this dusty old town, hoping his journey was ending; that his vengeance would be enacted. Suddenly, another man rounded the corner. His burly chest, thick arms, numerous battle scars, and grizzly demeanor implied that he was a tested warrior. The man’s long wiry hair flapped up and down as he jogged towards the armored man. His face was hard and stern, with the rough beginnings of a beard on his chin and upper lip. The man’s numerous leather trappings were old and hard. It was evident in the man’s stride that they were difficult to move in. Sweat poured off the man’s face and armor, leaving little pools in the sandy earth. The gruff man regarded the armored man with dark and battle-hardened eyes. The armored man simply stood his ground and returned the look with a piercing stare of his own. Suddenly, the warrior loosened his grip on the battle-ax he was carrying and relaxed his shoulders. The man explained that they were both looking for the same thing. No sooner had the words left the warrior’s mouth, when another figure shuffled out of an old thatch hut. This new visitor was old and frail. His limbs and body were naught but bone and skin, all muscle and fat having long since been burned away in extreme hunger. The man smelled of stale cheap ale, and his breath was acrid. The two other men gagged as this decrepit creature-of-a-man approached them. The bony man looked up at them with a tan and wrinkled face. Silvery-black hair jutted out of his nostrils and ears, mixing with his tousled and scraggily beard. His head had been shaven, but sprouts of silver hair were emerging along his skull. His clothing was of simple rags that reeked of human waste and body odor. The man had not washed in quite some time. He had not cleaned his teeth either, as evident by their dark yellow tint and chipped nature. The pathetic man-thing begged the warrior and knight for food or water. The warrior scoffed and turned up his nose. He did not care to spare his rations for such filth. The knight knelt to give the man some water from his leather canteen. Without warning, the bony man leapt at the warrior with a crazed look in his eyes. The warrior had no time to react, as the man landed on his chest and bit deeply into his neck. The warrior howled in anguish, as precious crimson life gushed from the wound in his neck. The warrior frantically attempted to stop the bleeding, but the damage had been done. The knight shot upright, stunned by the suddenness of the attack. The bony man stood, blood running down his chin and chest as he swallowed the thick liquid. The man’s eyes turned blood red, and seemed to glow with a primal fury. The man screamed towards the skies. It was a loud, piercing scream; a challenge to the gods themselves. The knight shuddered and clapped his hands over his ears as the torrent of horrible noise and melody exploded from the throat of thing that stood before him, for surely this was no man. When the scream had ceased the knight looked up at the thing. Its body had begun to burn, flesh crinkling and peeling off in sheets. Its eyes were glowing an intense red, and flames spurted from it’s nostrils; the flames of Hell. This was no ordinary monster; it was a demon of the black abyss. The knight rose and took up his sword. This is what he had been looking for. The knight circled, the demon following suit. It smelled of sulfur and burnt flesh. Smoke billowed from it’s back, like an unholy ethereal cape. The creature opened its maw and let out a roar. Its teeth were sharp as knives and its mouth and throat glowed like burning embers in a raging fire. Heat washed over the knight as it’s caustic breath made his eyes water uncontrollably. The knight suddenly felt weak, like a heavy burden had been set upon him. His vision blurred, and he struggled to keep his balance. The creature smiled, sensing its moment of victory was at hand. The knight staggered and tried to comprehend what was happening. He suddenly realized it: fear. Utter and complete fear was being forced into his mind. Other emotions washed over him; despair, anger, and loss. The knight closed his eyes. Visions of blood and carnage spread before him. An endless landscape of death was all around. The sky was thick with smoke and ash; the sun completely blocked out. Great fissures in the earth glowed red. Lava spurt forth in an orange and yellow rampage, before falling to the ground, scorching the dead bodies that lay rotting. The knight looked upon the scene in horror. Suddenly, he threw his head back and let out a mighty battle cry. He would not be beaten here; not like this. The knight opened his eyes and glared at the demon. His ferocity shown in his face, and his blade flashed as he slashed at the demon, lobbing its head off in one fell stroke. No blood came from the demon’s neck, just a discharge of flame and putrescence. The knight sunk to his knees; he had succeeded.

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