It was raining. Thats the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about that night. I was out on the old dirt road on my way back to my grandparents cabin, avoiding the lake-sized puddles.
It was dark. The second thing I remember. The road was through a dense forest, so even if it had been daylight, itd still be dark. Id gone to the nearby town to pick up some groceries. Grandma had thrown out her back again while gardening and Grandpa was in a wheelchair, so I was the only one who could go, not that this was a big deal to me or anything. This wasnt my first time Id run her errands for her, but I wasnt prepared for what was to come.
It was just a normal, rainy, summer night. The false assumption of security is another memory that will never fade. Just how wrong I was can never be put into words.
I was about halfway back to the cabin when I heard distant sounds. I stopped, listening. They got closer and as they did I heard sounds of metal hitting metal. Scraping, sliding, clashing sounds. They stopped for a moment and I wondered whether it had all just been my imagination. A minute passed, and another, still nothing. I shrugged and began to continue on my way.
Suddenly, a figure burst out from the side of the forest and threw itself to the ground in front of me. It was a man, about thirty years old. He had shaggy dark hair that was caked with mud and grime all matted down on his face from the rain. The thing that stuck me the most was the way in which he was dressed; in armor, made of steel, and a dark red cloak.
I stared in shock at the man in front of me, who was just now noticing the frightened black haired girl holding a bag of groceries.
He cursed under his breath and quickly staggered to his feet, clutching his chest. Go, get out of here! He shouted at me.
I nodded, not sure of what to do in this kind of situation and began to run past him, towards the cabin and safety. I glanced over my shoulder to see him looking around, as if expecting to be attacked.
THUD I had run into something hard. I turned my gaze forward as something grabbed me.
Ow! I yelled. The grip of whatever it was certainly wasnt friendly. Glancing up I made out another large armored figure; however, this one was wearing all black.
it looks like you wont end up accomplishing your goal after all, Therain, A deep voice issued from the massive black helmet atop the body of armor.
The red-cloaked figure cursed again. He lifted a sword, only now had I noticed it.
Give up, youve failed, and unless you want to have the death of this innocent girl on your hands
I felt something cold and sharp put up to my throat.
I was complete at a loss for thoughts at the moment, other than I wanted to live.
Therain, the man in the red cloak, dropped his sword in defeat. The black armored man, who held me, released his hold but kept his sword at my throat.
Where does the order hide its headquarters? the black armored man asked, tell me and I might spare your life as well as the girls.
Therain glared at his opponent, I dont think Im telling you that.
Well, then I guess you dont care about saving the girls life or your own for that matter.
Mine, what a joke. I know I dont have much longer to live, he undid the clasp that held his cloak on. Pulling it over one shoulder he hesitated for a moment and started to mutter something in a language Id never heard before.
No! shouted the black knight. He pulled his sword away from my neck and charged at Therain in an attempt to stop him.
It was too late however; Therain finished his incantation and threw the red cloak at me.
The black knight lunged for the cloak, but it passed through his fingers as if he were made of smoke and it continued its flight straight at me.
Throwing up my arms in front of my face I braced for impact. The red cloak engulfed me and all I could see was its dark red color as I fell to the ground.
The sounds of combat rang out once again as the two fought. One fell to the ground with a splash as his form landed in a puddle.
I had hoped it was the black one who'd fallen, but it was not so.
Footsteps came close to where I was, still under the cloak. The black knight yelled in frustration; he seemed to be searching for something. He was dragging his sword on the ground while kicking up the dirt, or so I imagined, so he must have been looking for something small.
Footsteps of armored people suddenly surrounded the location. Over there! shouted a voice. The people began to move in faster and the black knight muttered a quick something and a loud SNAP sounded.
Whered he go? yelled a voice now arriving at the scene, it was a young womans voice. Therain? Therain? she called Whered that idiot go?
Maam! shouted another voice, Hes over here.
Footsteps rushed over to where I imagined the red knight lay.
Therain! Are you alright? the woman asked.
No, but it doesnt matter, Therains response was weak. Damian, he got away.
Save your strength, the healer is on his way.
Too late, an innocent got involved.
A gasp came from the woman, You
threw your cloak?
Yes, shes over on the other side of the path, I knew I couldnt save both of us
Damian managed to hit some vitals
The woman stood up and approached my location. Youre still alive, right? she asked before pulling me and the cloak off the ground.
I was at a loss of what to say, I was confused, a little scraped up and scared for my life.
Whats your name, girl? she asked with little patience.
Voyans, I managed.
Well, Erine, Therain is giving you his power and rank in our order, I think it would be best if you spoke with him before its too late.
I couldnt find any words to say, so I followed the woman over to where the dying knight lay.
Erine, I am sorry, Therain apologized when I approached him.
Okay, weird, why was he apologizing when he was the one about to die. It looked to me that it was my fault his life was ending.
will try to explain
with what time I have
he started. When a knight of the Forty-Third Order transfers his cloak to someone, he gives up his life, He paused to take a few quick breaths, Myian, I dont
to do explain this
He spoke to the woman beside me.
She nodded in response; her face was emotionless, save for her eyes, which seemed to contain more sadness than possible.
Therain continued, The order
the normal world
the reverting forces
the black knight
and others like him
want to control
the population level and
of the world
I stared at him confused.
a world dictatorship
is what they desire.
Two more sets of footsteps came running up the path. Therain! Are you alright? called a young mans voice.
The newcomers were both clad in armor, one carried a long staff and the other a short bow. The staff carrier rushed over to Therain.
Therain! he called to the fallen knight.
No response came from the red knight; he had died while we hadnt been looking. Now a peaceful, but somehow concerned look crossed his forever still face. What came next was a blur of overwhelming emotion. So much grief came from the four comrades of Therain that I found myself crying over an almost perfect stranger.
A few moments of silence passed before it was broken by Myian, We need to get to headquarters now, she stood up quickly, brushing some tears from her face. The rest of the group got up and stepped back from their fallen comrade as the young man with the staff drew a quick circle around the body and muttered a few words I failed to make out. Suddenly a warm blue light engulfed Therains form as it sunk into the ground.
Im sorry I couldnt give you better, captain, the staff wielder muttered softly staring at the spot where the knight had been. The group started to walk away as he turned to follow, but stopped for a moment when he realized I wasnt following. Erine, you have to come with us now, he held out a hand in my direction, a smile full of sorrow spread across his face. I hesitated for a few seconds, hoping, praying this was a dream and soon Id wake up in my grandparents house. Wait, my grandparents! What about them?! I couldnt just leave like this! They needed me!
I cant! I shouted and ran off down the road towards normality.
Wait, Erine! the magic user called after me, but I ignored his pleas and ran further.
Youre running away, what a coward, a voice sounded in my head, Dont tell me this is what I got for being valiant
that knight? Therain? Okay, now I knew I was officially going mad.
Yes, its me, but Ill only be here for a few moments, Xyellene was kind enough to grant me this much.
Never mind, I dont have time for that. I need you to trust my comrades.
Just out of the blue, I dont know whats going on!
Youve just got to trust them, theyre all good friend of mine, and good people.
memories of the past half an hour flashed at a frightening speed in front of my eyes.
Just do it, I know youre confused. But, please, I did give my life up for you; dont let that be in vain. Therains voice pleaded.
I gave in quicker than I would have liked.
Good. Now will you stop running so that they can catch up?