|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 41||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 43 →|
The Queen of Blades has Risen, and all must bow to her will.
"Mother!" Henry shouted as the Queen of Blades leapt forth and struck the ground with her fist.
She laughs, her demonic voice bellows deep within the minds of the Heroes. "Your mother is dead, Hero. Her body is just a vessel now, an empty shell destined to house my black soul for the remainder of eternity. Her soul is lost in the endless dark of The Void."
"How dare you poison her body with your darkness! I will rip that infernal mask from her face!" Henry grips his blade and lunges for the Queen. He tilts his weapon and swings it in an upward cut, aiming for the spot in between the mask and it's host's face. The blade hits its mark perfectly, but a powerful bond repels it. Henry backpedals and swings again, this time from above. Once more, the blade is repelled. Henry falls to the ground with a thud.
"Henry!" His father shouts.
"I can do this myself!" Henry screamed in return.
"You cannot break the bond, you cannot separate the mask!"
"Do not tell me what I can and cannot do! I do not see you trying to save mother!"
"She is gone Henry, she is dead, there is no saving her."
Henry rises and rushes at the Queen again. And again he is flung back by the force bonding the mask and its bearer.
"She has been dead to me for all these years. Dead! I was a weeping child who had lost his mother. I was lost, and I had to find my way through this shithole of a world. I worked through years of pain and regret just to remember what it felt like to be happy! I have been an empty shell since the day YOU didn't help her! And here she is…her body is here and it is awake, she is alive right in front of me…all I need to do is help her!"
"Son…you cannot help-"
"And here YOU are! Right back where you were all those years ago…doing NOTHING to save her! To think I was proud to call you my father after you slew the kraken in the ice, to think I actually wanted to be like you. I am nothing like you." Henry raises his claymore, readying it for another assault. He is suddenly stopped by an unknown force. He is forced to drop the weapon as his body rises into the air by a cloud of shadow.
"Your pointless bickering amuses me…as does your feeble attempts to separate the mask. As I said, her soul is lost for all eternity, bound to navigate the hopeless dark until time ceases its progression. You said you were nothing like your father…this is true for all except your blood. I agree with you then, as blood is hardly a just cause for likeness. But, I believe I can assist you in adding another common attribute." She flips her cold hand so her palm faces the sky. "Welcome to the Darkness!"
"No!!" The King screams.
The gripping shadow surrounds Henry, seeping into every visible orifice. Henry cries in agony as the darkness crawls into the depths of his mind and his soul. His body falls to the ground in a wriggling heap.
"Henry…What have you done to my son?" The King looks to the evil mask resting on his beloved's face.
"Like father, like son. Maybe this time…the darkness will not kill your loved one as it did with your precious Gabrielle. Perhaps he will survive and be just like his father. But it matters not, you will all be dead soon enough."
"So why do you not just kill us now and be done with it?"
"If you desire to die and join the lost souls in The Void…then it would be wrong of a Queen to deny the wishes of her subjects. So be it." Shadow leaps from her fingers and wraps around each hand. It builds upon itself, spawning two black blades dripping in ooze.
The King falls to his knees, awaiting his final breath. Funny how the world slows down when you close your eyes…waiting for the end. It gives you time to think, time to remember. Memory has a strange way of changing everything when death comes to take you away. The King remembered his wife when he met her, when he married her, and when they welcomed a child into the world. He remembered his son's first words, his first step, and he remembers the day the set out on their first adventure. There was a time when the King thought it would be their last adventure, and it ended in tears and separation. But they have had one hell of an adventure here…together. Even though their last moments are spent in spite, they are spent together…which is something that the King never thought would happen after Henry ran away. While the Darkness creeps in, he knows he has spent his life while in an effort to defend Albion. He was a just ruler, a good Hero, and in his eyes…a good father. "Darkness take me…I am ready."
The queen raises her black blades and readies them to strike. She begins her swing, but it interrupted by a body crashing through the stone wall of Archon's Shrine. Reaver lands directly on the Queen, toppling her over.
"A little assistance would be appreciated!" Reaver shouts, pulling out another of his "last resort" pistols. Woltach smashes through the roof of the shrine and lands on Reaver, denting the floor below them with his body's force. Reaver fires but the bullet barely leaves a mark on his tough hide. The great White Balverine lifts Reaver by the throat and readies his claws to strike. The King rises defiantly, swinging a burning blade to Woltach's raised arm.
Half of his arm falls to the ground, black blood now oozes from the gaping wound. Woltach howls, his normal tone now distorted by the darkness that ensnares his soul. Woltach drops Reaver onto his feet and swipes at the King. That arm now is removed by a larger blade. Black ooze flies with the blade and splashes along Woltach's body. The balverine falls to his knees and looks at Henry, standing with wisps of shadow circling his body. Woltach snarls.
"Henry!" Th King shouts happily.
Henry merely looks at his father with intense eyes, orbs of fire with black shadow weaving in and out. "Hello father." He smirks as he applies his cowl back onto his head. "Now let's kill these mother fuckers!"
"That's more like it!" Reaver says approvingly. He and the King join Henry's side in front of Woltach. Henry raises his claymore, Reaver loads his pistols, and the King ignites his blade. They are ready, but the Queen is noticeably missing. They have no time to dwell on this though, they have work to do.
"Goodbye Woltach," the King began. "You have lived a full life…but it is time to go now." Balverines circle around the shrine in hordes. They bark and snarl at the sight of their supreme leader on his knees, his arms lying in heaps on the ground. But something tells the King that they know it is not really their true leader, or else the three of them would already be dead. One of the larger white balverines is silent, he stares directly into the King's eyes. The creature nods to the King, telling him all he needs to know. "I'm sorry my friend."
The three move as one unit, surrounding the defeated Woltach. Swiftly, they strike the skull and pulverize it, leaving no room for regeneration.
"One bastard down. Where are the other two?" Reaver asks, looking around curiously.
Suddenly, the three of them are lifted by shadow and immobilized. They watch in horror as the mask of the Knight rose from the ground and flew to one of the shrine's entrances. The opening looks out to the opened Bronze Gate, and in it stands the Queen of Blades. Next to her stands the familiar figure of Garth…the man who now wears the mask of the Knight of Blades.