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Chronicles Of The Red Veil - Volume 2, Chapter 1

- - - - - chapter chronicles red veil volume

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The Knight pulled himself slowly across the sand. Small crabs scattered around him, towards the sea from where he had emerged moments earlier. Salt water rushed ashore lapping at his ebony plate leggings. When he was finally clear of the tide, he rolled over on his back and tossed aside the steel shield embossed with a Silver Serpent. One red crustacean decided to take shelter beneath the discarded shield rather than return to the sea, peeking out only once from his new home at the marooned man. The Knight slowly reached up and removed the black helm of Samurai design from his head. Long locks of jet black hair fell about him in contrast to the white sands of the beach. He set the helm on his chest and inspected it with his weary dark brown eyes as if seeing it for the first time. He chuckled to himself, almost inaudibly, realizing how out of place his head piece would be in Sosaria. Surely it would incite more than a few curious looks when he finally made it back to the streets of Vesper. If he reached Vesper.

It had been many years since he had departed from the ports of Britain. He laid his head back on the sand and contemplated the time that had passed since he'd left his home. The long voyage to Logos was bittersweet, escorting his sister back to the Mathematicians of those lands. His eyes welled slightly as he visualized the farewell; his sister waving to him enthusiastically from the longboat. She promised she would see him again soon, but her eyes told him she meant never to return.

He struggled to sit up. Leaning on one arm, he reached to the backpack at his feet and pulled it on to his lap. His helm fell from his chest and rolled towards the shield like two companions reuniting. Opening the pack, he withdrew a package bound in parchment and sealed in wax with the sigil of his family. His sister had taken his vow that he would not open the gift until he was safely home. The Knight laughed loudly, and more of the crabs scampered off by the sudden outburst. Safely? How many times had he been visited by Mithra during his travels, only to be returned to his body by a wandering priest or healer? A dozen times? Two dozen? He shook his head, and white sand fell from the black locks upon his armored shoulders. Removing a studded leather glove, he broke the wax seal and tore the parchment from the parcel. Sheets of the wrapping blew down the beach, landing in the water to be washed out to sea. He looked upon the lavender hued book in his hand and removed the other glove with his teeth. Spitting the glove to one side, he opened the tome. On the inside of the cover there was a handwritten note.

'My dearest brother, Malice', It began. He grinned as he started reading the letter. His sister would never allow anyone but herself to have the last word. Once again, probably for the last time, she had made sure it were her words that were heard last.

'I am very aware that you have not yet accepted my decision to leave our home again. It shows as clearly as a moongate through your bravado. I hope you'll understand one day why I chose to return to Logos and complete my studies with the Mathematicians'

The smile on his face vanished. His lips twitched and his eyes squinted in frustration at the words. He was indeed unclear as to why she would leave after all that had happened years before. They had grown up together under the guise that they were cousins only to find out as adults they were the result of infidelity between their parents. Siblings they were in fact. His thoughts wandered to his [censored] sister Autumn, and his throat tightened. His eyes welled a second time as he remembered her hair of gold and bright blue eyes. All those years, no one had suspected that she was not his mother's daughter regardless of the fact that her appearance was complete contrast to his own. And ironically, his cousin was the mirror image of himself; long black hair, obsidian eyes and a prominent nose. They could be twins if not for the four seasons between their birthdates. He forced himself to return his attention to the note scribed in the book.

'You and your wife are still young in years and very far from home. Since you both insisted on accompanying me, I pray that you will take the opportunity to explore the lands you have never visited before. Together you can experience cultures that other's can only imagine'

His wife. The expression on his bearded face turned to a glower; as if a storm cloud had passed across it. They had indeed traveled together, visiting the lands of Tokuno, Malas and finally settling in a perilous land where they made a home. The danger of that land suited them both nicely. The couple could barely stay out of trouble as it was; it seemed only fitting that they spend their lives in a land that relished conflict. He winced at the painful memories that followed. The conflict and danger of the lands had changed them both in many ways and inevitably tore them apart. They parted ways with words of anger. Words the Knight regretted. She had returned home while he chose to stay in the perilous lands and seek out an avenue for his rage and ire. He realized his hands were trembling and concentrated on calming himself with a short chant of mathematical equations his sister had taught him. Wiping a lone tear from his cheek he continued reading his sister's note.

'Do you remember the book you are now holding, my brother? It is the very same one you stole from me years ago. I now give it to you as gift. This book is blessed in a manner that even one without the arcane knowledge may use it to travel about the lands of our home.

Seems his predicament had resolved itself after all. No longer marooned; Malice could now concentrate on other matters at hand. His home came to mind immediately. The estate had been in his family for many generations, and gifted to him upon his wedding day. Grand walls that loomed over the beaches of Vesper gave one an opportunity to peer out over the sea for miles. It is told throughout the lands that the Blood Sunset was best beheld upon western walls his home. He and his wife had left the estate unattended however and he feared its current condition. Quickly paging through the book, he found the rune that would take him to his home. A slight sigh of relief escaped him as he noted the page with the violet bookmark made of spiders silk. The tome glowed briefly sending a shiver up through his hands, up his arms and causing his scalp to tingle slightly. He shook the eerie feeling from his bones. He’d never become accustom to the effects of arcane magicks, and frankly such spells unnerved the Knight. He flipped the pages back to the inside cover of the book where his sister’s note continued.

‘I hope this note finds you both safe where ever you have chosen to call home. Whether that be Vesper or a foreign land filled with new adventures and a lifetime of happiness.

Be safe, my Brother.

Much love,

Princess Spyder’

A small part of Malice was glad that Spyder would never know what had befallen him since he had watched her make her way in the longboat towards the port of Logos two years earlier. A sudden chill of shame ran down his spine which he dismissed immediately with a deep breath. Slamming the cover of the book shut; he sat up slowly and attempted to stand. The small red crab at his feet scuttled quickly back beneath the shelter of his Shadow Iron shield. Malice chuckled as he reached down for his shield, “You’re going to have to find yourself a more permanent home my little friend”. He plucked his Samurai helm from the sand; also constructed of the obsidian ore, and placed it back on his head. After strapping his shield and pack on his back, he turned the pages of the book to the violet bookmark. The Rune book, held out before him in both hands, began to glow of holy light as chanted ancient and honorable words. From the cloudless sky a bolt of blinding light struck the knight engulfing him in blue radiance.

The small red crab inspected the spot where the Knight had stood seconds earlier. With a twitch or two of its antennas, it scampered hurriedly back towards the sea, its tiny tracks in the sand quickly vanishing with the incoming tide.

Beyond the rushing waves, several leagues from the beach, a plume of black smoke slowly dissipated in to the morning sky. Only the heel of a great ship could be witnessed briefly before it too vanished with the rest of vessel into the deep waters of the sea. Flotsam and jetsam bobbed chaotically in the waters where the ship had sunk; some pieces still burning. Upon a larger piece of debris, a man struggled to hold steady to the makeshift life raft. Once he’d pulled himself atop safely, he looked towards the small island far off in the distance and estimated his chances of swimming safely to the shore. If the Knight had made it in full plate armor, then it would certainly prove no challenge to him in naught but a loin cloth and long knife. Rest. Yes, rest was what he needed first. There would be plenty of time to find the Knight called ‘Malice the Displacer’, and he would suffer much for slaying his crew and sinking his ship. But, the Knight would die for his deception and betrayal.

“Feel safe for now, Paladin”, he said hoarsely to himself, “Ru’pert seeks you. And, soon there will be no where for you to hide”.

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