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DeLawrence Washington

Horror Action Fantasy


3.5  

DeLawrence Washington

Horror Action Fantasy


M. Knight

M. Knight

7 mins 111 7 mins 111

Becoming a Knight was never easy, but it was all I could imagine. I was a boy from the slums carrying a name worth less than the air it took to speak. My mother was a whore who abandoned me the moment I learned to walk. My brother died shortly after that. Knighthood was my dream because it held the chance to make something of my name and become more than life's foil. 


But sometimes dreams were just that. My life's story was nothing original. For every night I laid awake contemplating my purpose, there must have been countless other souls sharing the same dread. 


Knighthood was never within my reach.


There was another way to earn the honor, though it came with many lesser titles. Adventurer and Hunter were the most common. 


Though it was around long before my first breath, magic was taking on a new life. A new school of study grew more prominent by the day, but only because of a discovery that changed reality. Creatures, and in their blood held the key to creating magic unseen. They called these new magics "spells." They were activated by words written on special parchment crafted by scholars. 


Magic wasn't important to me. Creatures were my future. 


Knights protected the land, acting as defensive measures. With creatures retaliating against us, what the kingdom needed were heroes willing to be offensive players. Though I couldn't fight as a Knight, I could join the ranks of Hunters. 


My first step was attending a local recruitment meeting held by a long-time hunter named Shawn Hyde. With the build of a Greek God and the charisma of a king, he was inspirational...until he opened his mouth to speak. 


"So you want to be hunters? Do you want to be adventurers traveling the land cutting down ungodly beasts? Well, allow me to make a few things clear. We will not turn you away. We are far from knights, and the king does not pay us," he said before an audience of men. 


We sat by the light of a campfire on the outskirts of town walls listening to hunters make their pitch for why we should join their ranks. Shawn was the only one to mention true adversities worth fear or hesitation. I could see his colleagues disapproved, but I respected the blunt honesty. 


"Most of you cant hold a sword, and even fewer carry one. If you think what we do is like hunting wolves, go home. If you think this will be fun, go home. Many of our recruits die on their first outings, but as I said, we won't turn you away," he continued to say. 


He became my mentor if I could call him that. He took me on my first crusade as a Hunter. He didn't have a riding companion. I thought I struck gold when he agreed to take me with him. It wasn't knighthood, but growth. 


I spent the last of my coin on cheap armor and a dagger to celebrate. 


Our first adventure was to track down and slay a dragon. It would be my first encounter with a magical creature, and a grave encounter at that. 


We found the dragon's nest up in the mountains of Reyes. They were snow-covered mountains in the far distance from my hometown of Elk. After traversing dark caves and avoiding deep caverns, we located the beast. It was smaller than expected but large enough. We stood over its sleeping body and felt the heat of its fire radiating from its full belly. It was in a hibernation utterly unaware of our presence. It looked to be an easy kill. 


In the dark, the only source of light was our torches. And then the twist took me by surprise. Before I could pull my dagger, Shawn offered me kindness. He gave me his sword to let me cut the beast open. He took a step back, and I took a step forward before raising the blade.


How did I not see the signs of my fate? A famous Hunter was a natural contradiction. Most adventurers died quickly unless they took on lesser jobs. There had to be a reason why, there had to be a reason how Shawn managed to survive for so long.


Dragon scales were near indestructible, but the spaces between them were soft. I had to make a killing blow, or we were in for a fight. In a single motion, I stabbed straight through the beast's heart. It awoke and flailed around, but the blade was still buried. Before long, the creature fell over, and its blood of green sloshed and pooled around my boots. I approached the dragon slowly, and only after long moments of checking it for life did I retrieve Shawn's blade. It was my first kill, my first hunt, and my last mistake as a Hunter. 


I was a fool. 


I turned to rejoice with my partner and mentor only to find he was hidden behind boulders and stone. Why was he hiding? I didn't have to wait for an answer. 


As I held the blade like a trophy in my grip, explosions threw my body and caught my eye. Red smoke filled the cave-like flames riding the wind, and there she was. 


A witch. 


With magic, she took the blade from my hands and the inadequate armor from my body. She left me naked and bare. I found myself levitating with my feet in the air as she came near. Though I never saw the face under her red robes, I heard her voice clear as day. 


"You seek to doom us all," she said.


Her voice was like a constant echo that only grew louder. 


"You have killed a guardian of life. There are so few to protect this world from true darkness. What say you in defense of your crime?" She persecuted me.


Her magic kept me silent, paralyzed and trapped, but I had no words to respond to such accusations. Either way, Shawn kept to his hidden post, and never attempted rescue. He knew what was happening, and he saw it coming. 


"For your foolish actions, you will be a foolish creature, for your hunting of the majestic you will be hunted. I curse you to a life of beastly inhumanity," the witch continued. 


She spoke as she cast magic around my form turning my body in on itself. My bones crackled, my ribs popped, my eyes went blind, as the pain refused to stop. 


I awoke moments later to pick myself off the ground, and he was there. A single torch illuminated Shawn's face. He was all that I could see in the darkness. I was still alive, but not myself. I could feel the changes made to my form. In my mouth, teeth were sharper than natural, and my body was covered in fur. A tail was found sprouted from my spine, and as I looked around, I saw only him. He was responsible. 


"Shawn?" I begged for an answer. 


"Matt, you're alive? What has she done to you," he said with dishonest concern. 


"What has she done to me? What have you done to me?! You left me to die!" I exclaimed.


I examined myself further, realizing my boots no longer fit as they should. My feet were that of hands. 


"I think the damn witch has turned me into a," I began to speak. 


Before words escaped my lips, I was knocked unconscious. It was Shawn's doing. He left me there in that cave, seemingly to die alone. 


But I didn't die. Perhaps that was the worst. 


It took me days to find my way out, and weeks to return home without a horse. When I reached Elk, I found that town folk I grew up with couldn't stand the sight of me. Magical creatures were seen as a threat, and I was no difference anymore. 


On my own, I was left to spend the rest of my days as a monkey in cheap armor. I returned to the dragon's cave, and it became my home, the only place I thought I could live.


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