|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 13||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 15 →|
The King sees the world he now lives in.
The silhouette of Theresa gently appears before the king once more, thankfully this time it is in the light of the world. Even the forests of Wraithmarsh are better than the underground caves forever in darkness. "Hero," her soft voice reaches to him. "We have much to discuss."
"What has happened to my people? What has the Court done to Albion in my absence?"
"I will come to that, but there is something else. Something more important than the past."
"Theresa I need to help my people."
"And if you listen to me, you will be able to. Do not worry about time, all time has ceased and we are outside of time itself. We could stand here for an eternity and still the world around us would not change."
The king accepts it, "What is it?"
Theresa smiles lightly, "I did not expect for you to be this close to one of the masks, and it is not the mask I had hoped for you to steal first. But since you are close to the Demon Door within this marshland, you must find it and open it. The mask of the Queen of Blades is a powerful one. I suspect that the Court will seek out the Knight's mask first so that they could start an initial attack on Albion, a true attack. And once the flames have died they would retrieve the mask of the Jack to control the minds of all creatures. Finally, they would find the mask of the Queen so they could forever rule Albion and all of the world."
"So we have an advantage, I can find the mask of the Queen first before they even begin their hunt for the Knight's mask. We can use it against-"
"Your enthusiasm pleases me, it shows me that giving you your youth back was a just decision. And it will serve Albion all the better. You will find the Demon Door in a straight path in front of you once you exit a cave that once marked the end of Darkwood. It is once my brother opened and one that you father has also opened. My brother opened it easily, only by getting fat, but once the Queen's mask was buried within, it's demands became more difficult. Once the marshes closed around it, the demand became impossible. I did not tell your father of what was truly buried within for his own protection. The Court was not a part of his destiny, and they were not a part of yours until just recently. The door closed with the death of your father, I do not know what it will want, but I can tell you that it will not be easy."
"I can handle a Demon Door, I have opened many in my time. I will do anything for the betterment of my people."
"Before this is all over, you will have to." Theresa smiles lightly once more, the king is not sure why. Her smirks have always been unsettling to him, and with her eyes being the way they are it was impossible to determine her intentions. This new blindfold serves only to make the determinations all the more impossible. "Now go."
"No." Theresa's smile disappears at this. "You must show me what they have done."
"Showing you the damage done will not open the Demon Door, and it will not change what has happened. You will gain nothing from seeing it."
"I do not want to gain anything, I know that it will not better my cause. But they have killed innocent men, one of my guards…he-"
"I know of your encounter with the guard once you awoke in the Chamber of Fate. They have killed countless more after that day."
"Showing you will not bring back their lives. It will only fuel your desire for-"
"Show me!" The king shouts with all the fire in his heart directly at Theresa.
"I will warn you of this only once. All of those who fight for revenge, fail."
"Your brother fought for you and when Jack of Blades killed your mother. Everything he did was for his revenge." Through the blindfold, he can feel Theresa's eyes staring him down, silently telling him something. He can feel her very soul reach into his and light a fire. "Show me."
"Very well, Hero." The words bite into him as the world around him changes. He sees the darkness of Wraithmarsh change into the bright sky over Bower Lake. He stands in the sky, hovering over the mines. He watches as the slaughter begins just as the guard said it had. He watches as the three dead bodies murder and maim innocent workers, men with families.
The king sees the three creatures speak to each other, then suddenly they separate. The three of them find the largest estates that bordered the mines. Each of the three knocked on the doors and graciously entered the homes. Moments later, each house erupted in a roar of flames. The grand estates, including Reaver's, fell within minutes. Out of them strode the burnt bodies of the three shadows, their bodies now completely unrecognizable. Together, they burned the remaining few estates in the area, and in the event that someone tried to escape the fires, they were taken by the throat and held over the fire. The Court watched as men burned within their fingers, and only dropped them once their twitching stopped.
His viewpoint changed from Bower Lake to the main gate of Bowerstone Market. The king now stood at the top of the clock tower, looking to the main gate. Three figures began to approach from the horizon, at first there was no sense of alert, they were only men. But as they came into view for the guards of Bowerstone, alarms were sounded. Guards were brought to the gate at full force as three burnt bodies walked purposefully toward the capitol city of Albion.
They were completely black, the former skin the occupied was now dried and clung to the bone, all hair was gone and replaced by bleeding skulls. These nearly skeletal figures with burning red eyes reached the gate. The guards questioned their business, obviously in fear of what stood before them. There was no answer, at least not in words. Suddenly, the Court exploded into action and possessed the weak minds of the guards. All of them knelt before the Court, but their loyalty was not rewarded. One of the three took a longsword from the captain of the guard and started to cut down each and every guard, one by one. The guards could only watch and obey as the Court ended all of their lives.
The people of Bowerstone Market hid in their homes as soon as the alarm sounded. But it did them no good, their fate was the same as those in Bower Lake. The homes and shops of the marketplace burned and fell all the same. It was now, when the market burned around the king, that something odd happened that has never happened before. The Court stood below him at the base of the clock tower, their heads tilted to the sky, as if looking at him. Suddenly, the one standing in the middle rose into the air and hovered mere inches in front of where the king stood. He panicked, how could they see him? This is a vision of the past, nothing more. The figure he presumes as the Queen opens her eyes wide, large balls of fire sitting within a blackened, bloodied skull. A large and maniacal smile cracks and spreads across the burnt flesh of the Queen's host.
The king's world changes once more and returns him to Wraithmarsh, the world still grey around him. Before him stands Theresa, looking somewhat more distressed than before. "I am sorry. I do not know how that happened, it…is beyond my knowledge."
"It's alright Theresa…these things are unnatural. They are to be feared just as they told me."
"I warned you that no good would come from me showing you what has occurred."
"I know. And now…I have a job to do. I will show her that I can be a Hero."
"So now this is a battle between you and the Queen? What of the other two, the Knight and the Jack?"
"Their time will come, and I will hurl them back into the Void. But the Queen will die, once and for all she will die. No form of evil Will power will save her soul this time." The king pauses. "I must go…"
"Yes, you must. Let me give you one last warning for what you will find beyond the door." The king waits patiently. "When we buried the mask, we buried it with an army that was created for its protection. An army known as the Knights Aberrant, they are not man nor any manner of creature. They were built and powered by immense strength of Will power. They will test you, and they will try to kill you if you attempt to take the mask. Be wary, Hero."
"I will." At this, Theresa disappears and the king's world returns to the world of moving time. The night has just begun, and it is a long walk through the marshes. The king has always dreaded the nighttime, especially while traveling through evil places. A long journey through the darkness lies ahead of the king once more, and he fears that many more will come after it.