Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chapter 3: Darkness

        Caden squinted, then blinked. He stood in absolute darkness. He couldn't see his own hands. Yet he saw three shapes coming at him. Somehow, they looked darker then total darkness. Caden watched them move. They took slow and steady steps. 

        The first one moved faster. It closed the ten foot gap in an instant. Caden stepped back. A line of fire was drawn across his stomach. He touched the hole in his tunic and felt the warm wetness spreading.
        It moved again. Caden ducked. The steel sword rang when it hit against stone. Crack. A large object fell on Caden. The shape moved again. Caden smelled herbs and dried flowers. Clank. The steel sword bounced off the heavy object on Caden's back.
        He touched it. The stone was rough. It had ridges carved into it's round surface. Lower, the round shape became flat. It was a statue's stone sword.
        Clank. The steel sword bounced off of the stone one. The other two shapes where standing back. They waited for the first to move. Caden grabbed the stone sword in both hands. He screamed as he lifted the sword onto his shoulder, then flipped it over. 
        The sword came down at the dark shape. It moved. The stone sword hit the steel sword. The weight was too great and knocked the steel sword to the ground. The black shape fell under the sword and disappeared. 
        Caden couldn't see it anymore. The next shape rushed at him. Caden spun around, dragging the stone sword in a circle. The stone sword scrapped against the floor. Caden lifted the sword up and spun it around in time to catch the second dark shape in the midsection. It hit the wall and disappeared.
        Before he could recover, the third shape was on top of him. It moved, and Caden brought the sword up. The steel sword bounced off of the stone one. The tip was caught in the corner between the floor and the wall. Caden held the handle up, and knelt under the blade. 
        The third one attacked faster then the first. Caden's arm was tired from the weight of the stone and the force of the impact. But the attacks were too fast. He didn't have time to do anything between strikes.
        Clank. "One, two, three," Caden counted. Clank. "One, two, three." Clank. "One, two, three." Clank.
        "One, two." Caden rolled back. He lowered the handle, but held onto it. The shape struck, missed, and fell forward. Caden lifted the sword up and smashed it in the face. It stumbled back. Caden ran forward and put his shoulder into it. It fell down. He used his shoulder for leverage and flipped the sword onto the dark shape on the floor.
        It disappeared. Caden dropped the stone sword. 

        He couldn't see anything. He felt along the wall until he found a torch bracket. He fumbled with a flint and small knife. Eventually, he got the sparks to land on the oil drenched rag, and the torch burned. He turned to look for his attackers. When he saw them, he fell to the ground and vomited.
        He knew these men. One was Max the Barber's son, his head was crushed down the middle. The one against the wall, almost cut in half, was the woodcutter's brother. And the third, laying on it's back with the stone sword on top of him, was the blacksmith's only son.
        Only, they were already dead. They were the three dead Dragon Knights which Father Coteson honored at the the funeral earlier that day. Straw and preservative herbs had fallen from their bodies and was scattered across the floor.
        Caden stood up. He grabbed the stone sword. It didn't feel as heavy as it did before. The torch flickered. Caden looked at it. It flickered again, moving the way he had come from. He took the torch from the bracket, and held it up in front of the first two passages. It burned steady. But when he held it before the third passage, it flickered again.
        Caden walked down the third passage. He carried the stone sword over his shoulder. He followed the draft till he got outside.