|"An Evil Presence"|
Symbol of a Hero's Status
|Series||Siege of Samarkand by Henry Winstone|
|← None||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 1 →|
"An Evil Presence"Edit
The Black Dragon counselled his men, his steel eyes washing over every soldier that stood at attention. The moonlight bathed them, making their armour glimmer like the heavens, their eyes dark and murderous behind their helmets. Each soldier’s posture and appearance told a story, from the many scars, to the ritual Samarkand tattoos that peaked out from under military wears. They were his comrades, his brothers in arms.
“We have trained many seasons for this chance,” his dark voice echoed amidst the deserted street of Necropolis, not even the traffic of the dead stepped out from their hovels. The first flakes of winter began to drift over the horde of swordsmen, melting before they could rest on the Dragon’s bare shoulders, his aura burning with the heat of his will. “Their King shall fall.”
“Xue!” Chorused the men. The synchronicity in their actions made them seem like one entity, made of the same eerie sinew and mind, made all the more sinister by their surroundings and the promise of retribution hanging in the air.
“Who are we?”
“Hei Shen! Hei Shen!” Their baleful chants echoed across the winds, arousing the midnight howls from Balverines in the Foothills.
The Black Dragon stepped from his plinth; his two master katana flanked his sides at a ninety-degree angle, an extension of himself like fangs to his notorious moniker. He stepped into the shadow of a dilapidated structure, waiting for him there were his Generals. They were two, one tall and strong, and as he stepped into the moonlight, the scar that zigzagged down his chin, to his clavicle, became evermore gruesome. A gift from a past won battle. The second was younger, and no more than a waif of a man. But he was cunning, intelligent and it was because of him that Da Zhong's army was more than ten ex-Imperials.
“We have acquired the weapon," said General Qing-nian, his scar having stripped the emotion from his facial features long ago. The Black Dragon regarded his General with cold reserve, and then the ghost of a smile warped his sharp features.
“He’s travelling, sire.” General Hyousuke looked towards the Northern Wastes, his youthful appearance made softer by the bright moon. "Riichirou is stationed for the ambush."
“Very well, wait for my command.” Said the daimyo. He rolled his neck, the tattoo on his back, a Black Dragon, looked to be coiling with his anxiety to do battle. “I wish to witness the king’s final breath.” He stepped away from his Generals, vanishing into the shadows of streets that constituted the network of Necropolis.
The ambush happened just outside of Wraithmarsh, and the king's guardsmen were slewed before either one could handle their pistols. Da Zhong stood like grandfather death before the man who let his homeland perish, his muscles flexed, grip tightening the hilt of his katana. The marsh was alive tonight, insects and other unmentionables talked amongst the brush, watching humanity at its lowest. The Black Dragon raised his blade, and by the jury of his peers, butchered the once proud king and left him for the hollow men.
- Xue (血 xuè) - Chinese word meaning "Blood".
- Hei Shen (黑神 hēi shén) - Chinese word meaning "Black", the name attributed to Da Zhong's followers.
- Daimyo (大名 Daimyō) is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings.