|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 16||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 18 →|
The King delves into the world of the Demon Door to find the Queen's mask
The dark house lies before him, all of its lights put out by the test of time. The front door is seemingly guarded by four standing suits of armor. The king approaches and sees that ear suit of armor is rusted and littered with dust and cob webs. Something about them unnerves him. Upon further inspection he sees that each one has a scabbard with steel swords that seem to be untouched by time. Without further hesitation, he unstraps the scabbard from one of the suits of armor and reties it around his own waist. It feels good to have a weapon on his hip once more.
Dust falls from the helm of the suit he took the blade from, just something more to disturb the king. He builds up his nerves finally and enters the dark house. Thankfully for the moon there is some light, if it weren't there the king would be plunged in darkness once more. Darkness is something he would like to avoid for some time. He slowly makes his way through the house, the wooden floors groaning with each step, dust falling from the ceiling above as he walks. His father once told him about this place, how the knights stood around a skeleton lying on a bed upstairs. The skeleton, his father described, held a journal close to its breast. And the journal described a man's life and his strange obsession with the Knights Aberrant.
But he was not here for a skeleton upstairs, Theresa told him of a cave behind the house. The king continues through the old house and finds the way outside towards the back. He leaves the house through the back door and immediately feels like some darkness has been lifted from his soul. This feeling is then shot back down once he lays his eyes on the entrance to the cave farther back. The gate to the fence is slightly ajar and features a lit torch next to it, this is the first light within this world that the king has seen. In front of the cave entrance is another couple torches, also lit. These torches are fixed in the hands of two suits of armor, looking ominously at the king. The torches are lit, but the armor carries as much rust and webs as the ones in the front of the house.
The king hesitantly walks by them, clutching the hilt of his new sword. Very soon after, he is engulfed by the darkness that calls the cave its home. Inside the cave, he sees the scores of suits of armor the cover the caves floor. There are hills of dirt that flow over them, and below one hill that reaches low, he sees a second layer of knights under the first. The king can't imagine how many layers there truly are. He starts to search for a place where the mask could be buried. Would it be with the knights? Would it be under all of the layers of them? Would it be buried in the very back under a hill? He does not know where to start at all.
"Theresa?" He calls for the blind seeress, half-heartedly expecting a response. He is about to give up hope on that venture until he feels a light sensation coming from his old guild seal. He pulls the seal out and watches as it illuminates a faint golden glow. Theresa's voice emanates from the seal.
"Hero," her voice reverberates through the seal. "You have done very well with making it this far."
"Theresa, where is the mask buried? I have no idea where to look, or dig."
"You will find the mask in the very center of the cave, it lies under only a few feet of soil. Be wary, the Knights Aberrant are always watching. They were placed here for the very purpose of guarding the mask from any and all who would attempt to uncover it."
"So, you're saying that I will have a fight on my hands?"
"Precisely. I have trust in your abilities, Hero." And with that, the glow from his guild seal was gone, and so was her voice. He wonders why she left so suddenly, but he passes it off as Theresa being her old mysterious self. He presses on and moves to the center of the cave, the Knights Aberrant all around him in their ranks. He can't help but wonder how many there are, how there could be an entire army of devoted soldiers just waiting under the dirt. He thinks back to his time as a young king, when desperation was high in the search for an army to defend Albion against the Crawler and his children. He wishes somebody would have told him about the army that hid behind a Demon Door in the marshes. His father had only told him about the few inside the house, not about the cave full of them that lay behind it. Why hadn't Theresa told him of these knights?
These thoughts plague him as he kneel down onto the ground and places his fingers into the dirt. With a final will of his spirit he dug deep into the ground and started ripping the dirt away. Dirt began to fly by him and pile up into his own little hill behind him. It isn't long before his fingers start to feel the pain of continuous digging, they ache and hurt at his constant pushing of their abilities. The dirt grows closer as he digs deeper and deeper into the ground of the cave, the Knights Aberrant watching closely with their lifeless eyes.
The king would now be able to stand in the hole he has made and still be beneath the ground level of the cave. With his hands crying to him, he puts all of his strength into digging further and further. Finally, one of his hands scratch against the top of something metallic. A smile spreads across his lips and he wipes sweat from his head once more. With his spirit renewed by this find, he digs around the object and uncovers it fully, it is a large chest. The chest is black and supposedly made out of a solid block of obsidian. Several carvings scour the surface of the chest, these carvings are accented by some sort of unnatural red glow. The carvings tell the story of the Hero of Oakvale and his first triumph over the Jack of Blades.
He stares for a long time at the evil-looking chest, who built this monstrosity? He doesn't dwell on the question, knowing that deep Will powers are watching over the mask. He takes this time, now, to catch his breath after digging several feet through the dirt. The king sits, studying the ominous black chest, the red glow seeming like blood ever flowing over the carvings. He sighs a breath of both relief and confusion over what is to be done.
Upon his pondering of the chest, the king sees that the top of the chest has a strange circle drawn by the red glowing carving. Several other carvings surround the circle and form the shape of the symbol on the top of the king's guild seal. He takes out his seal once more and flips it around., wondering if it is actually the key. With all of his hope flowing through him, he stretches out his hand holding the guild seal and places it on the top of the chest within the circle. The chest seems to accept his offer, so the king lets go of his seal. The guild seal twists around the circle and hums with a strange pitch. The noise echoes and nearly deafens the king, it seems to fill the entire cave.
The seal stops just as the black chest lets out a loud pop, yet, the noise continues to ring. The king listens as several mechanisms within the chest activate and gears start to turn. He hears the locks pull away and the chest cracks open on top right down the middle. The king scrambles to retrieve his seal and finally stop the deafening noise. When the ringing finally stops, it is replaced by the sounds of metal rubbing against itself. Just then, several arms burst through the wall of the hole he has dug. They reach and claw for the king, and their complete bodies will probably burst through soon after.
The king scrambles and opens the chest fully, and time seems to stop moving around him. There, lying on a bed of crimson silk, in all of its demonic power is the mask of the Queen of Blades. Its face is covered with powerful designs of red and purple, cracks cover it but do not break it. The eyes of the mask are filled with a strange aura of shadow, like a pair of eyes watching him.
The mask calls to him, "Wear me, and you will be the king that you always wanted to be. You will rule with utter dominance and none will ever question your reign. You will be given the power to stop those who threaten your existence, the power to stop the darkness that has plagued you for your entire life."
The king stares into its dark, shadowy eyes, listening to every word. He so desperately wants to rid the world of shadows and darkness, darkness that has plagued his life and well being since the days of his youth. But, he knows he is a Hero, descendent of the great Archons of the Old Kingdom. He cannot and will not give in to the evils of the Void, and the darkness that comes along with it. In a moment, he pockets the mask securely and looks upward to the top of his hole.
Standing in a circle around the hole are the Knights Aberrant, swords drawn and waiting for the king to climb. Suddenly, the arms that were clawing through the wall now burst through with their entire bodies. The king draws his sword swiftly and cuts them down. Using their armored bodies, he climbs out of the hole and starts to hack and swing at the scores of knights. Progress is good as their bodies form a large pile in a circle around the king. Sweat pours from his body as he continues his onslaught of armor clawing for his head. The Knights Aberrant fight like a well-oiled machine, slashing at their enemy in absolute unison. They fight as if they have spent these dormant years training and honing their skills somewhere within the inner workings of their creation.
With several minutes of fighting, the Knights Aberrant lie dead in a huge pile surrounding the king. The king stabs his sword into the ground and kneels, resting his head on the hilt of the blade. Beads of sweat fall from his nose and down onto the dirt, silence fills his ears once more. But, the silence is soon broken by the sound of hundreds of arms jolting out of the ground. This is followed by the full army of the Knights Aberrant climbing out of the ground and drawing their swords.
The king stands and draws his blade from out of the ground, he holds that in one hand, and a ball of flame in the other. Minutes pass while the sounds of the knights continue, no move is made. Finally, there is silence, the king cannot see what he will soon face for the pile of bodies is too high for his eyes to reach over. The king readies himself, knowing that his life is truly in danger, but he must get out.
The Knights Aberrant burst into action, climbing the giant pile of their brothers' bodies. Their blades in hand, they storm the center of the cave and a\strike at the king. The king fights valiantly, slashing at the oncoming suits of armor, being sure to protect the mask. His sword hacks off the heads of the knights and pierces their thick, rusted armor. When it starts to look more favorably for the knights, he then begins to use his flames. Fireballs scream through the air into the bodies of the Knights Aberrant, whatever holds them all together is extremely flammable. Knights approach and fall either by blade or by flame, their bodies continuing to pile before the king's feet.
Waves and waves of knights climb over the pile, and soon enough they start to overpower their enemy. The king is lost under the coming soldiers, their collective mass forming darkness around him. And when the fighting seems done, and nights appear to have achieved victory once more and defended the mask, their end began. The ranks of the Knights Aberrant met their doom that day within the world of a Demon Door, deep within a cave behind a dark house. Fire, fire from the soul of the King of Albion exploded outward and engulfed each and every knight in a deep inferno. Their bodies fell lifeless and burning onto the ground.
From out of the burning cave strode the king, scorched and bruised from his battle against the Knights Aberrant. He walks defiantly through the house, striking down the few knights that occupied it. He walks out of the front door and swiftly cuts down three of the four knights, leaving the one he took the blade from alone. The blameless knight swipes and hits the king's sword out of his hands. The lifeless suit of armor stares the king down and puts its fists up. The king obliges to the challenge and, in turn, raises his fists as well.
The knight moves first, aiming for the king's left side, but the king deflects. He counters and strikes forward to the knight's gut, the knight deflects also. They circle each other, both standing strong. They charge into the center of their circle and wrap up their arms, fighting for control. The king flashes back to he and Walter's early lessons, learning the art of wrestling. When all other weapons fail, the two men will fight each other in the oldest test of strength and skill that anyone can remember. He remembers these lessons well.
The king gains inside control over the knight and wraps his arms around the armor. He finds a good grip and flips the knight over his shoulder and onto its back. He mounts the knight and throws a punch at its head, it dodges the punch and flips the king onto his back. This time the knight throws the punch which the king, in turn, catches in his hand. The knight then throws a punch with the other hand and the king catches that as well. Using each other's momentum they push and stand themselves up. In a flash, the king swings and uppercut to one of the knights arms and it hits, flinging the left gauntlet off its body.
The knight reacts with a flurry of strikes into the kings gut with its right arm. The king could not counter them all, he must endure the pain of each hit. As soon as he sees a gap the king lunges forward and grabs the knight's legs, flipping it once more onto its back. The king now sends a wild sequence of attacks onto the knight, ripping off the other gauntlet and making serious dents in its helm. The knight is now helpless as it squirms and kicks in an effort to be free. It capitalizes on a slight mistake by the king, he leaned too far forward. The knight head buts the king and kick flips onto its feet. The kit staggers backward and clutches his face, the knight storms forward with its head leading. In one final call of Will power and strength, the king powers forward and outstretches his arm. The knight impacts his arm and his helm is sent soaring through the sky, the last of the Knights Aberrant was defeated. Tired, battered, bruised, the king stumbled towards the portal back into Albion. He crossed the threshold and the world spun and changed around him. As he fell down onto the ground and fainted, he heard the familiar sound of the environment of Wraithmarsh.