|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 7||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 9 →|
The King awakes from his fall down the hole once more, but he awakes to an even darker Albion.
The air was cool. Drops of water fell lightly; the stink of the underground was strong with the smell of rock and smoke. Among the scent of the underground was a lingering musk of rotting corpses; their blood pooled and mixed with the scavenging bugs of the earth. Darkness - darkness everywhere; it was the only thing to be seen. All else had faded into the black of the darkness. The world simply felt as though some of the good inside of it had been torn out… and the king was in the middle of it all.
He awoke to this darkness hours after Reaver had doomed him to fall. Even though heroes are built naturally to be able to withstand long falls, the king was very old. His aged body popped and groaned as he struggled to get to his feet.
"I wish I had my gauntlets; then at least I could get some light in here." As he walked around in the darkness, he couldn't help but to bump into the bodies that littered the ground around him. "What happened here?" Suddenly, the king heard a light moan from within the pile of bodies.
"Where are you? Who is that speaking? What happened here?!" The king became frantic as he searched for the voice.
"Here, my lord." The voice was very weak and fading. "They… they took us all by surprise… threw us down here."
"Who? Who has done this?!"
"It was… three men, my lord. Two other guards and… a miner. They… I don't know how, but they climbed up and out of the hole. We didn't have time to react to that before they threw the miner down onto the ground claiming that… that he had killed you." The man's voice started to fade and the king heard him cough and gag.
"Stay with me! You must tell me what has happened - how has this happened?!"
"Apologies, your majesty… The men they… they drew us all towards them with their claims and… just as they were about to execute the man, they turned on all of us. We had all gathered - all of the miners and every one of us guards… we were such fools."
"What did they do?"
"Slaughtered us all, your majesty. They butchered every last man and set the carriage ablaze, horses and all. Those of us that survived the wounds of their swords and fires… well… they kicked us down here. Then they threw down the rest of the bodies. I don't know how I… managed to… survive."
"You will continue to survive, brave knight, you will." the king assured him. Finally, he found the face of the man speaking. He was piled under many bleeding bodies.
"No, your majesty, no. It was a blessing from Avo that I lived this long… it was for me to tell you what… happened."
"You believe in the old god of light?"
"My lord… in the darkest of times… Avo was once a symbol of light. When it came out that he was a false deity made for getting money… all worship dropped. But Avo was always remembered as that symbol of light in the darkness. My Lord, when all hope seems lost and the shadows creep in, even a false god can give you the hope you need to fight back. He helped me survive just long enough. I was meant to warn you, your majesty, I can tell that much. These… men - whatever they are - they have powers. They burned the horses from their own hands… when we tried to kill them they regenerated, we couldn't kill them, my lord."
"It's all right… I will find a way." The king paused. "We have to get you out of here."
"Oh, there's no getting out of here for me, your majesty."
"What? No! Of course you are getting out, why wouldn't you?"
"The bodies that are… covering my body and placing immense pressure on my torso. And that's… well that's where they cut me… they cut me deeply. These men are the only thing holding me together."
"We can find a way… we will find a way. I won't leave you here."
"Yes you will. There is no way, my king. I have done what I needed to do here and… that's all I need."
"There is a way out of here." The king remembered feeling the air flow from when he first descended down into the Chamber of Fate. "There must be a way out at the bottom of the cavern…down from where the floor has fallen. We can use a rope to get you down there-"
"No," he said, cutting off the king. "I'm sorry for interrupting… but no. Leave me here and I will die knowing that I gave you the information you need to survive. I don't know how to fight them… but you'll find something… you're… you're..."
"Stay with me… Stay… with me!"
The man coughed as even more of the blood rose in his throat. "You're… a Hero." He heard a weak and small breath of air escape from the man's lips. The king felt around for the man's eyes and closes them shut.
"You… are the last one that will die because of me." The king swallowed his words hard, remembering that it was indeed himself who had opened the rift into the Void. He also knew that this was a hollow promise, one he knew he would not be able to keep. Something evil had walked into his land, and he would do everything to throw it back into the hole that it came from.
The king sat and felt for the flow of cool air that ran from the ground, searching for which side of the chamber it came from. He soon found that it came from the left. He stood on the edge of the ancient floor. The darkness beneath him was no different than the pitch dark he saw already; there was no light around him nor beneath him. He stared deeper into the darkness. "I will fear no darkness. I am without fear." He outstretched his arms and fell from the Chamber of Fate, down into the caverns below.