Enderal:The Lost Brigand
s he opened his eyes, looking into the darkness, a stench of decay and fetidness entered his nose. His whole body shivered. What kind of place was this? He remembered the last skirmish. It had been a seemingly harmless carriage. A simple raid, nothing else - kill the merchants and leave them rotting on the ground. Just this one time something was wrong. Only after the first shot left his bow he noticed the symbol on the deep blue cloak of the carriage driver: the Eye and the Sword - the Order. Everything occurred within seconds. He wanted to shout a warning to his comrades, who were charging the carriage with their weapons drawn but it was too late. He felt how the Keeper's ebony eyes stared at him and caught sight of an expression of deepest regret. Then he was gripped by an otherworldly power and hurled against the palisade protected by pointed wooden beams. And even before he closed his eyes, he realized what his life as a pathless one incurred.
He felt out the darkness with his still hurting hands. Did he just imagine that, or did this stench of death actually stem from himself?
His hands came across something hard. Cold, merciless stone. He slid the heavy coffin lid of his glum grave and sat up. His every muscle hurt, his eyes felt like liquid fire, and he wondered why everything around him seemed to have lost its colors. He was situated in a cave. Drearily water was dripping down from the stone ceiling, second after second, as if it wanted to stretch the time eternally with its sound. He emerged from the coffin and searched for an exit, any indication of light, and finally detected a small breach in the cave ceiling from which a weak, sallow beam fell onto a little, overgrown lake. Water. His whole body demanded water. Step by step he walked in the direction of the light, in the direction of the cold, bliss promising refreshment, his eyes solely focusing straight ahead. He didn't perceive that he was sharing this place with others.
Only with utmost effort he managed to heave his broken body to the underground lake and eventually got down on his knees wearily. Water at last. He put both of his hands in the form of a bowl without taking heed of the dried blood on the expensive shadow wolf gloves which he stole from an unarmed merchant from Nehrim long ago. A dull joy ran through his body as the cool water flowed down his parched soul. He would rest another, maybe another two hours and then he would wind up trying to find a way out of this cave. Certainly he even smiled when thinking about his luck, which had to have protected him from the Keeper's magic. Merely few brigands could boast about withstanding a warrior of the Order without preparation like him. He would find him, that son of a Vatyr and then he would ram his sword into the Keeper's chest, just as that guy deserved. Yes, it would happen like that.
Until he eventually noticed the fluid running down from his throat. He detected a black figure which sat up behind him and whose shadow casted a distorted, terrifying silhouette. He grasped his throat.
Water. The same cold water which he just scooped from the lake ran out of his maw. In panic, he palpated his neck with his glove. Only now he noticed the stake, which protruted from his throat and hampered his movements so much. His clothes were tattered, blood-smeared. He pulled the stake out and the gush of blood mixed itself straightaway with the gray, merciless lake water that refused to give his body refreshment. Only now he looked at his reflection in the water. His reflection? He had been a good-looking man with long hair and a full beard, but what he saw in the water wasn't more than a disfigured visage, without nose, blood-smeared, with festering wounds on the high forehead. No humanity at all.
Full of fear he turned around. This wasn't a simple cave. This was a tomb. His tomb.
Quite a number of bent gestalts strayed in the cavern, some sitting silently on their coffins, some beating on the big steel door of the mass grave, corroded by madness.
Then he realized that he had died that day. But he was a criminal; he was pathless, and he was denied his last journey. He was entombed, only to revive as a living corpse, his soul and body slowly decaying, searching for the peace that he had refused for himself in life.