|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 44||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 46 →|
Henry screamed. His arms reached outward; each hand held a piece of Knight's broken mask. Henry stared into the sky as tears of sorrow and fury streamed down his face. The Knight of Blades was defeated.
"Good show, boy!" Reaver said nonchalantly from behind the King. "I say, you really had me going there for a moment. You almost had me thinking that you'd grown a heart after all this time that you were with your dear old daddy. But look at you! Once a killer, always a killer! That's my boy."
"Your boy?" the King asked, still recovering from his battle with Knight.
"When you raise a child in your shadow to become the man he is today, you call him your own." Reaver smiled while polishing a pistol.
"You've always been an insufferable ass, Reaver."
"It's about time you told me how you really feel. It took all these years, and now that we stand in our own graves you let me know what you truly think of me," Reaver giggled happily. "Since we're being honest," he continued. “Ever since your reign began you've been a nagging thorn in my side. All of your ideas and royal rulings that are designed to help the people get far in the way of all my plans!"
"And what plans are those?"
"To hurt the people! Don't you see? It hurt my production value enough that you ended child labor, but then you tell me I must let my workers take at least one minute breaks?! Before you came along and mucked up the place, I'd have shot people for going five seconds without working! I have lived a life on this wretched land far longer than you, my lord!" Reaver said that last my lord with quite an obvious amount of sarcasm and spite. "You are no lord of mine! And once you kill the two other fucking thorns in my side... you will get me my kingdom!"
"The one you promised me! I gave my ship, my crew, and damn near all of my life for your oh-so-righteous quest for good... and dammit, I deserve my end of the bargain!"
"I haven't known you to be one to shout, old friend."
"Oh, you must forgive me," Reaver took a handkerchief and coughed into it, "I've been through somewhat of a war I never wanted to be a part of. You owe me, Hero."
"I owe you nothing. Centuries of mistreating and murdering the innocent was cause enough for you to do some good in the world."
"Will you two stop your pointless bickering?" a deep, weak voice said from the ground.
"Henry?" the King asked "Did you say that?"
Henry still knelt on the ground, his eyes facing the sky with his arms outspread. He seemed to be completely oblivious to the world outside of his own mind.
"No, that was me, you old fool," the voice said again.
Reaver and the King looked down to the voice together and saw Garth's severed head upright. Somehow... Garth spoke and looked at them both. "Yes, yes we've all seen a severed head before. Just because this one still lives shouldn't shock you after all you must've seen in life. Where am I... and why am I just a head?"
"You mean you don't know?" the King asked.
"The last thing I remember is sitting in my warm home in Snowspire... I felt a dark presence enter my mind and then... I remember nothing until this moment."
"Your mind was under the control of The Court of Blades."
"The Court of Blades? Who the hell released them?!"
"That would be our beloved Monarch here,” Reaver chimed in. “But don't worry about that right now, old friend. I have a friend who may be able to help you in your... current situation. Come now," Reaver beckoned, leaning down and lifting the living head of Garth. "Let's leave the King to deal with his wife." Reaver took Garth and leapt out of the gaping hole he himself left in the wall of Archon's Shrine.
"My wife?" The King turned now to the enemy he had almost forgotten, the Queen of Blades.
"Is it so easy to forget your own wife?" Queen asked.
"You are not my wife; you are a dark spirit hiding in her body... my wife is dead."
"No thanks to you, Hero."
"I've had enough of your talk. I've had enough of you!" The King drew his sword and set it ablaze once more.
"Very well, we shall begin."
"Henry, let's end this together." He looked to his son, but Henry was still in a trance far from this world.
Queen laughed, "Your son will be of no help to you in this fight. It shall finally be you and I."
"Prepare to die, demon." The King flipped his left palm to face the sky and summoned fire into his grasp.
A dark portal to The Void opened in front of Queen. Slowly, two evil blades rose from the black pit which she called home.
One was pure darkness, black as The Void itself; its metal was not of obsidian, but a material not known to this plane of existence. The blade had two edges; the front was one smooth and very sharp edge which was designed to cut through the spine of a dragon with ease. The back was a hellish maze of twisting spikes created for the sole purpose of ripping into flesh and mangling its victims.
The second blade was whiter than the lightest cloud on the most peaceful day. Its metal was the solid light of the stars forged within the fires of the sun. This shining blade was made in the style of the ancient Katana. Its silken design was crafted in order to cut cleanly through every inch of a mortal's body; its edge is coated in a deadly poison, strong enough to bring a god to his knees.
The Queen of Blades wielded her dual weapons and stared down her prey. Her red eyes grew hot with intense flame, sending dark smoke billowing towards the sky. The King and Queen stood far apart, each nearly touching a wall of the shrine. Henry remained entranced in the very center, his gaze fixed on a far off sight. The two halves of Knight's mask sat cold and lifeless in Henry's hands.
"Your frozen son does not serve as a fitting audience for the feeding of my children. They have not eaten in so many thousands of years; it is fitting that their first meal is to be a fallen king. Whether it be by the light or the dark, your death is already destined. The world must witness your fate... and I know the perfect place."
Darkness clogged the King's mind and suddenly he had vanished. All that remained within Archon's Shrine was the kneeling form of Henry.
The King awoke from his blindness to a familiar sight - one he had been introduced to not too long ago. What was once a proud stadium filled with the tribes of Knothole was now a burning husk of its former glory filled with a different audience. The Witchwood Arena burned with the rest of the forest; the night sky above burned red with flame, casting an ominous glow over the sand covered battleground. Each seat in the arena was filled with a variety of confused creatures; many were surviving citizens of Albion, the people of Aurora, Reaver's pirates, various breeds of hobbes, Woltach's army of balverines, several hordes of bandits, and curiously the two reanimated bodies of commentators Allen Murray and Mad-Dog "The Strangler" McGraw.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Allen began, "I have not the slightest idea how in the hell I and my Crucible Champion colleague and I are animated once again here for you today, but I, for one, am excited for this showdown of the ages that I never knew I wanted until just this moment!"
"Yeah, 'at's right," Mad-Dog responded to his partner. "I was kinda enjoying my little nap, but I guess this is okay. Is this The Crucible nowadays, er are they just fightin'?"
"Well, Mad-Dog, I've just received word from inside my own head that this is a classic fight to the death between the King of Albion and the Queen of Blades!"
"I didn't know we 'ad a king. I want him to win so I can get to know his political style and all."
"We'll just have to see, my good friend! Let's get this show on the road!"
Queen readied her blades, as did the King. They stared each other down from across the arena, ready for their final battle. For the first time since the days of William Black, The Queen of Blades would battle the ruler of Albion.