This is the year of 2, so how about a small preview…

– Chapter 1 –
It Begins Again

As far as the eye could see, desolate plains of grey ash. Stale mist drooped across a silent, lifeless landscape. One can only recall, with great longing, the vivid colours of the living world. In a place absent of both of sunlight and darkness, forever shrouded in mournful cloud, time stands still. The permanent quietude is maddening to all those lost in Purgatory.

The mist parted like silk webs. A gathering of figures emerged from the whiteness in growing numbers; a troop, a squadron, an entire army, trudged across the dry land in an endless march.

Every man and woman held a various weapon, each in disrepair. Chipped swords, rusty axes, twisted knives and decrepit crossbows. Armaments that had been carried for so long that the weapons were now extensions of their owners.

A tall man led them. He stopped, raising a huge arm into the air.

“Hold,” he boomed.

The army behind him halted with a clatter.

An enormous, bulbous shape emerged from the mist. A huge, broad animal on four stout legs strode into sight. Lined with rough, grey scales, the whole front of its torso a huge circular mouth crammed with thousands of sharp teeth. The monster gurgled as it confidently strode toward the procession, swaying its frothy maw from side to side, seeking out prey.

“A Soul Destroyer,” the tall man grumbled. Suddenly the ranks shifted. A single soldier armed with a broken bow pushed his way through to the front of the crowd, wailing frantically.

“Release!” he cried, running past the started procession leaders. “Release at last! I can take no more!”

“What are you doing?” the tall man demanded.

“I implore you, great one! Feast on my soul! Release me from this unceasing torment!” the desperate man screamed, dropping and crawling on is knees.

The soul destroyer whipped about and loomed over the wailing soldier in an instant. Its mouth craned open, lips unfurling, its teeth protruding outwards like a mountain of spires. Grey, twisted arms erupted from the mouth, crashing down and all around the pleading man, latching onto him tightly.

The man seized up, lurching back and seething with noiseless agony. The arms wrapped over him, fingers drilling into his skin, diving between his muscles and coiling along his bones, the clawing arms of a thousand lost inside the Soul Destroyer. The snaps of his breaking body punctured the air. The man finally screamed in horrific pain, turning red as blood poured from his splitting skin. The monster reeled him inwards, the mouth closing in as the man exploded; a shrieking, flailing mess of bloody tendril hooks and torn flesh, dropping like meaty flakes into the waiting mouth.

A single bloody foot plopped to the ground. The monster leered at the rest of the army, lashing its mad array of twisted arms eagerly. The army readied their weapons. The monster descended upon them.

The soldiers fought back. They were snagged and dismembered. Molted grey body parts flew about, and sludgy, oozing blood scattered across the grey plain.

“All retreat!” the tall man cried. He cracked his head to one side. An acute sense stirred his attention. Something else approaching.

A blot of black smoke wandered forward, walking at a stern pace. It was a knight, adorned in coarse black armour, cloaked in a swirling black aura. A pair of narrow eyes peered up, burning with purple fire. The knight drew a slender, thorny spear from his lightless form and quickened the pace, rushing towards the Soul Destroyer.

The monster twitched, suddenly aware of the new presence. It retracted the reaching arms from its mouth and stomped about, focused on the new prey running straight for it. The Soul Destroyer unfurled its lips once more, the arms re-emerged, firing like a maelstrom towards the black knight. The knight chopped through, rushing through the forest of flailing hands where a single one could snare him. The knight’s aura erupted, burning through the tendrils like a searing black fire, charging spear first, head long into the mouth of the monster. The knight thrust forward, diving into the calamity of teeth and hooks.

The army and its leader watched in stunned awe, unable to see the fate of the knight through all the flailing and black fire rising into the air. The Soul Destroyer soon twitched with unease. Its body staggered, the front of the torso drooping like a sick animal. Its grey scales scorched into blackness. Large, black spikes burst from its body. The beast buckled and wailed, suddenly consumed by a black fire and burned from the inside, singed to ash.

When the smoke cleared, the knight; still cloaked in his aura. The knight turned his attention sharply to the crowd. The army raised their weapons to him, but the tall man drifted forward confidently.

“You… you are…” the tall man started, his knees buckling beneath him.

The knight gave a slow nod, glancing at the tall man with cruel, purple eyes.

“My lord!” the tall man shouted, giving way to a grovel. The rest of the army followed, all collapsing to their knees, bowing humbly to the black knight.

The knight stood silently. Trails of black energy still drifted from his aura, coursing behind him like vapour. One, long strain serpentined outwards like a tail, leading off beyond sight. A solid, black lifeline, connecting him to someplace unseen.

“There is a way back. I have returned for you all,” said the black knight.

“My lord, we are not worthy of your presence,” said the tall man. “I am legate Scelzar. I have failed you. I have failed all of Dolorin.”

“I know who you are,” said the knight, slowly kneeling on sharp greaves, meeting Scelzar face to face. The black knight reached out, placing a sharp, black gauntlet onto Scelzar’s shoulder.

“You have not failed me. You have all survived, that is all I could have asked of you.”

The legate kept his head low. His body started to fade, turning to ink, until his entire form evaporated into black smoke.

“You will return with me,” said the knight. “We will all return to the living world, as one. The time of the Dolorin’s vengeance has arrived. Another Bloodfest begins.”

 The entire army faded away, one by one, vapourising and fusing into smoke, as if burning inside an intense fire. The trails of black flowed into the knight, fusing with him, until the knight stood alone, pulsating with black smoke. He turned and walked on, as the mist of Purgatory shrouded over him.

The lifeline attached to his back trailed off, to somewhere else entirely.

Bloodfest II, scheduled for release this year. Currently 33% in final proofread phase.

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