Writing Prompt: The epic battle is over. The kingdom lies in near ruin. You sit on the throne before the defeated Hero of Light. You are The Dark One. Today is first day of your rule.
Death, a faceless name. With but a breath it had extinguished all light from the world. There were not merely four horsemen at Death’s side, there were thousands. Fearless, undying creatures that stormed the mortal realms from lands on high.
Heroes had risen, to fight Death. Great armies amassed in defiance of this common scourge. But Death was undeniable. Death was inevitable.
Kraven held a dagger of purest, deepest grey to the throat of Saint R’Maya, the last of the Lords of Light.
A thin line crept upon Kraven’s face as his tongue flickered gently out across his lips, “There is not one other left, R’Maya. It is only you”
R’Maya’s eyes were closed, her face a beaten wreckage, war torn and scarred. Her lip lay split across her cheek, her body stripped bare of her robes so that her wings fell freely for all the world to see. Though these wings were so far a cry from what once they had been, now no more than mere racks of bone protruding from her back.
It was Kraven, that had seen to her wings. He had torn that blanket covering of feathers out one by one with only the dull points of his teeth.
“Perhaps now it is time to beg, R’Maya. Forgiveness?” Kraven raised his brow, lips folding over the question, “I hear that’s a righteous thing to ask for.” he turned the dagger from R’Maya’s throat and drove it into the back of her thigh, the leg already broken.
R’Maya barely grunted at the pain, her eyes remaining closed. She stumbled forward, blood trickling from the back of her leg.
“If you’d only ask, then it might be given.” Kraven tittered, letting out a hollow laugh. He plunged a hand through R’Maya’s weave of golden hair, dragging back her head, replacing the grey tipped dagger to her throat. “R’Maya,” he whispered, “why won’t you open your eyes?”
She couldn’t, for to look upon what stood before her would spell her end as surely as the dagger at her throat. She wouldn’t give it the satisfaction. Death.
The room around her was a pit of sullen shadow, what had been glorious marbled pillars lay in shattered ruin upon the earthly grounds, grounds that had not long past been gilded with mosaic tiles of the most beautiful complexion. But beauty had long since left this place. What earth was bare to see was a sickly shade of putrid green, a puss seeping from out off the dirt, the walls, the sky itself. There was a gentle rain, acid like upon the skin, and in the sky the night reined supreme. And not a star nor sun came forth to challenge night’s rule.
It had been just barely hours ago that the Sun burst into the most magnificent display of flame, erupting from its core to spill a light upon the land one final time. In the briefest of moments after the Sun’s eruption the Warriors of Light had believed victory was close at hand. Why else would the Gods have chosen such a time to flood the world with their warm embrace? Only this was not the Gods’ doing, it was their end.
Elation quickly faded to fear as in place of the rapidly dying light there came a darkness, so finite in its descent that just the very sight of it was enough to still the heart of those few mortal creatures that still drew breath. The Saints, the Warriors of Light, they too would fall in incomprehensible numbers in the few hours that passed there after.
Overhead of this room in which Kraven held R’Maya there fell a dome of pure and pale glass. Shards dripped down from the ceiling like twisted nails wrought upon the skies own blackened claws. There was no life to be seen save the two souls in the centre of this desolate pit. The world outside was silent.
“R’Maya, there is no light left in this world worth saving, don’t you see?” Kraven danced a finger along R’Maya’s split lip and cheek, “It may seem a pity, but you really must let go.” he drew back his hand and struck R’Maya hard across the face, “Please, just open your eyes.”
R’Maya remained silent, resolute in her purpose. Not to survive Death, but to deny it for so long as she could. Already Death had conquered the vast lands that roamed outside, fields tainted by the rivers of dull crimson spilled upon them. Humanity was a memory, those so very few that had managed to survive would seek Death themselves in fits of madness. Already Death controlled a populous enslaved by force of will.
“There is no need to postpone what will be.” Kraven took in one hand R’Maya’s hair, wrapping it harsh around his fist, then lifted the dagger to her scalp, “You can try to endure it,” he pressed the blade to the front of her scalp, peeling back the first flap of skin, “you can cling to what nobility, what loyalty, you feel you may still have,” he tore back another flap upon R’Maya’s scalp, summoning the sickening sound of skin ripping, “but those that cared are long since dead. You are alone, R’Maya. You are the last.” and with that Kraven tore off what little scalp was left and tossed it to the grounds, R’Maya’s hair still sewn in threads to that skin no longer hers. Yet she shed not a single tear, she let loose not a single scream nor cry of help. Instead her eyelids simply flickered before the gentle stream of blood that coursed down from atop her head.
Kraven shrieked in frustration, “You stubborn b*tch.” he grabbed her by throat, shaking her limply. R’Maya was weakened beyond reckoning, a leaf before the storm that was now Kraven. “Open your God damn eyes!”
“Enough.” a hollow voice that existed only in the mind echoed through Kraven and R’Maya, “I tire of your games.” the voice settled on Kraven, “Drop the dagger, leave the girl.”
Kraven obliged, and as the dagger left his hand it simmered to an ash, fleeing from existence. As did Kraven.
“My child,” the voice turned to R’Maya, and for the first time she flinched, a rising shiver creeping deep beneath her skin, “why do you fear me? What I offer is relief. What I offer is an end to your suffering.”
“You are the suffering.” R’Maya’s voice shook from behind gritted teeth, “I do not want your end.”
“There is no other.” the voice seemed to grin inside of R’Maya’s mind, and a cold hand came to rest upon her forehead, stemming the flow of blood.
R’Maya tried to pull away, but she couldn’t. She had not the strength, nor the will. The voice pressed further into her mind.
“You must open your eyes.” it beckoned.
R’Maya refused, but the calm behind her eyes was slowly giving in. The voice, the messenger of Death, imprinted in R’Maya visions of the new world order. Not a single light surveyed the vast and roaming landscapes of the earth, not a single creature wandered free of taint. There were no birds, no flowers, no trees beyond those few charred towers of bark. Villages, towns and cities all lay in ruin, the shadows consuming what little had been left behind.
There were but a few glimpses of hope;
A small child left alone in the war torn shell of a home, crying for their mother as they cradled for warmth in the bitter cold. Their end came in the shadow of something foul and full of teeth.
A litter of pups sheltering within the husk of a tree, whimpering over the burnt body of what might have been a sibling. Only now the body was indistinguishable from the rotting dirt around it. Their end came in starvation, a cruel mistress to meet with indeed.
A single flower sprouting from under cover of an unlikely placed rock. Its end came in the showers of acid rain after the rock was blown away.
Glimpses of hope, so soon snatched from sight by the clutches of Death.
A tear rolled down the blood stricken face of R’Maya, there was nothing left worth fighting for, nothing that would survive the baron wastelands of Death’s own creation.
“Forgive me.” she whispered, as at last she opened her eyes.
Copyright © K R Perry 2019