|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 47||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 49 →|
The King of Albion sprinted down the darkening path to the Bronze Gate; he carried with him the halves of Queen's mask and her nameless white blade. The lost spirits clamored for the King's mercy as he whisked by them. Claws, hands, bones, and screams all reached from beyond impenetrable bars trying to grab the King and force him to share in their doom. He ascended the lonely stairs and the sky darkened, the flames grew higher, and he felt the terror of what may lie beyond the mystic fog within the gates. The King braced himself and stepped through.
Molten rock and blazing fire erupted from the bubbling pit and soared into the sky. The lava rained all around the already dead landscape. With the violent eruption, the King also heard cried of anger and fear from horrible monsters from far off ahead. Amidst the hellish inferno, The King's son stood at the very edge of the earth wrapped in a crimson cloak and hood. "Henry?"
Henry used all of his might to repel the evil spirit forcing its way into his mind. The mask stared into his eyes, desiring to be worn. His strength began to give; he held the mask far away from his face but his muscles could only hold so long. Though his father looked on and saw the essence of evil and darkness swirling around him... Henry stood in his forest home in Witchwood. Henry could see his wife and son, he could smell the pine trees, he could feel the gentle breeze. All he heard was silence, save for the whispering of thousands of voices speaking in one; they were soft, kind, caring, dark, evil, good, just, and unjust all together. Wear me. Wear me and you will see your family reborn. You will hold your wife and child again. Wear me and you will live out the rest of your days in peace. Wear me and you may rule. You will be a King, you will be a Hero. Wear me. Wear me. Wear me and you will unlock the means to live out each and every dream. The Darkness will fade, your past will be over, the sun will rise on the new Jack of Blades. "No!"
Henry could not hear his father screaming. Now Henry stood in the throne room of the castle. Wear me and the world will be yours. The peasants will bow to your every will. Your armies will strike fear throughout all hearts. Wear me and your power will be unlimited. Become whom you were born to be, Hero! "Get out of my head!" He felt his left arm clench, his strength was about to give out.
"You're running out of time, Hero." Now Henry heard Jack's voice plain and clear over the thousands of whispers. His laughter made his bones shiver; he opened his true eyes.
Henry stared into the living eyes of Jack's mask, they burned with flame and shadow. Wear me!
"No!" Henry gave one last push away as Jack laughed again. His father grabbed him and brought him and the mask to the ground. The mask flew several feet away and fell lifeless.
"Henry! Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Father...Queen?"
"She is defeated."
The King placed a hand on his son's shoulder. A tear came to his eye, then it slowly rolled down his face. Henry gazed downward to the fiery ground. The King felt Henry tremble and become tense. "My son..." Henry looked up, a tear falling from each eye. "She is at peace now. She is free."
Henry nodded, another stream of tears followed. "Thank you." Henry stared into his father's eyes. For the first time in so very long, Henry truly knew his father. He saw that they shared the same grief, the same sorrow, the same joy in knowing that his mother was finally at rest. "I love you, Father." The words came out of Henry's clenched throat, words he has not said to him since they day they went on their first adventure. Henry finally knew that it was not the last.
"I love you too, my son." The King smiled.
"Ah, the bond of a father and his son." Jack's mask hovered in front of them, it has now reclaimed the cloak that covered Henry. "The masks of my brother and sister... broken." Jack laughed, surprisingly something the King and Henry had not expected. "They were weak. Just as you are, Heroes."
Henry looked at his father who now clutched the glimmering white blade of Queen. He smirked at his father, and nodded. The King of Albion lifted the blade, then set it aflame. His eyes burned with the same ferocity of the sword. "Goodbye, Jack. You have lost." The King smiled as he stepped forward and swung the sword high.
An enormous wisp of shadow lurched from Jack's eyes and deflected the mighty blade, it flew backward and landed at Henry's feet. The King doubled over in pain, grabbing at a now injured hand. Jack roared with demonic laughter. "No, Hero. You have lost." Jack's mask flew from one point to the next and latched onto the King's face.
"No!" Henry screamed, he grabbed desperately for the sword at his feet. With one great leap, he swing and impacted with the mask. Flash of white. Time moved slowly. Henry saw in the briefest of moments that a woman in red appeared before him; her hand met the evil mask that dominated his father's face. The sword, mask, and hand met at one point. Henry heard a large crack and then there was nothing. Henry stood alone once more at Archon's Shrine.
He searched frantically for any sign of his father; but he was alone. Henry fell to his knees, one small tear fell from his right eye. Once more, flash of white. The woman appeared in front of him, her hands clasped at her waist, her eyes covered by a patterned rag. "Theresa... it's you."