Even though he couldn't see anything, Marven knows the cause behind those screams. It is the sound of a one-sided massacre, a slaughter, a bloodbath. It’s the sound he could sometimes hear when he was laying in bed on those odd nights where he couldn't fall asleep, forcefully shutting his eyes waiting for the promise of rest that stubbornly refused to come while curling next to a peacefully slumbering Ardeth. He could hear them again after waking up screaming from those rare nightmares that would occasionally plague him, terrible dreams that would make his bedding damp from cold sweats, with Ardeth besides him hugging and doing her best to console him.
Marven guess that “they”… whoever the hell “they” are… have finally caught up and are in the process of butchering the poor souls who are too slow to escape. Marven bites his lips so hard, it nearly draws blood. Soldiers killing soldiers on the battlefield, although how harsh or cruel that reality may be, is still an acceptable reality. Those who take up the sword should be prepared to be struck down by those who could handle the sword better.
But the slaughtering of innocent civilians, in Marven’s mind, is an absolute evil. So-called soldiers who partake in that despicable act are life forms of the lowest order, and in the past Marven had quite an enjoyable time dispatching them to hell.
Marven gaze falls on the group that are gathering more and more in front of him. Although they did not dare get off their rafts/boats to set foot on the eastern river bank, a few of them looks like they were ready to bolt at any moment just so they could escape from the source that are causing the screams behind them.
Define a fucked-up situation? When you consider running head-first towards your sworn enemy (a heavily-armed sworn enemy with 120 year old grudge) to be a better, safer alternative than whatever hell that is chasing you.
Marven really wish Deek was by his side just so he could say that quote, and see if the man could come up with something better to counter it. But his silent and stoic second in command is currently about a hundred yards behind him, ready to act at the first sign of trouble.
Guess I’ll just take these guys prisoners for now and sort it out later. It’s going to be a long day. sighs Marven. Looks like he can kiss goodbye to the plan of having lunch with Ardeth and seeing the kids. Just as Marven was about to give the signal for his men to move in and claim the refuges as prisoners in the name of the Kingdom of Trev, he sees something in the distance that made his blood runs cold.
A figure in black is standing motionlessly on a raft that is floating down the Grand River of Kartank. Something about the way blood is dripping down his body and how the various cut-up corpses lay at his feet seems to suggest this figure in black isn't the original occupant of the water vessel. With no one steering or rowing, it would take some time before the slowly moving raft reach the Kingdom of Trev’s side of the river. And since the water vessel is travelling diagonally, it would reach the eastern shores somewhere further down the line.
Although the figure is still far off, Marven grabs the handle of his sword immediately from a combination of fear and instinct. That “thing” has no eyes, but Marven could feel “its” gaze penetrates his soul. Before Marven could yell for the people to get out of the water like a crazed lifeguard, the figure in black bends one of its knees before launching itself from the raft, destroying the water vessel in the process… right into Marven’s direction.
The “thing” lands near Marven with an explosion made from a combination of sand and sound. Marven would have been knocked back from the force of the blast wave, but years of training and skills manage to keep him upright. Marven is thankful for the shield that he’s carrying because before he could process what had just happened, the “thing” takes a swipe at him with its hand, forcing Marven to raise his shield. Okay, "hand" may not be the correct term, the “thing” has claws attached to its wrists. And judging from the damage one of them inflicted on his shield, those things are razor sharp!
Marven immediately discards the shield while jumping back and drawing his sword in one fluid motion, the damage from the creature’s first strike has rendered the shield almost useless. Before Marven’s heel could even land on the ground behind him, the “thing” follows up with its second attack. Marven blocks with his sword, the force nearly made his arms go numb. Marven launches a counter which if connected properly, would have cleaved the creature from its left hip right up its right shoulder. The retaliatory attack isn't successful, but it managed to force the creature to take several steps back.
Now that the “thing” has retreated for the moment, Marven could finally breathe and take this small window of opportunity to observe his opponent. The “thing” that is standing in front of him is a hollowed out suit of armor, black like it was forge in the deepest fire of hell, with claws for hands and talons for feet. All its joints have a faint blue glow which is tell-tale sign of magic. The creature looks like it could be the result of an unholy mating between a lizard and a cat, if the lizard has a habit of standing on its two rear legs and the cat was made from skeleton… and they both have a height of nearly 6 feet.
Marven didn't notice it earlier, but the “thing” also has a chain sword for a tail and its moving around like a snake. “Great, one more thing I need to look out for.” mutters Marven. Every part of this creature body is a weapon, from the arms connected to its shoulders right down to its legs and knees. It was as if a sculptor was paid handsomely by some mad king to create a statue made entirely out of knives and nightmares.
Before Marven could plot his next move, the “thing” lunges with such a godly speed, you would have sworn it had teleported next to Marven if you witness the scene yourself. Marven nearly didn't have enough time to block with his sword before the creature unleashes a side kick. The attack had so much power hidden in it, Marven’s sword breaks into three pieces and he is launched into the air.
Marven’s body flies several feet off the ground for a period that could only be described as eternity before Gravity finally decided to step in and make Marven into his new mistress. Luckily, Marven’s body has crash landed into some shallow part of the river. Unluckily, the creature decided now is the perfect time to use Marven’s body as a landing pad.
The first time the “thing” stomps on Marven’s chest, his body armor and the river manage to nullify most of the damage, but by the third and forth stomp , the river was running red with blood and a thought crosses Marven’s mind. This is how he was going to die, not on some battlefield or execution ground, not by an assassination attempt or sickness or old age. This is it.
Ardeth is going to kill me for failing to go to her parents’ anniversary party. thought Marven before everything in his world turns into white.