Nameless story, part XVI: The darkening of The South – 6

A Fictional, Nameless Story with a Nameless Hero. A Great Kingdom far to the South once existed. Its history is fascinating and dramatic.

As they were descending, the noise in front turned to a subtle voice. But they couldn’t understand what was being said. It was an unknown language to them, not the one used in Rioghachad, nor in Grian. Ceartas never heard this tongue before. Maybe it was some sort of speech used only by the people of Iasgach. It was well known that a lot of towns and villages had their own dialects, aside from the official language of the Kingdom. They were remains of the old tribes that used to populate the lands before they were united to form the Great Kingdom of Rioghachad.

The voice became louder and the words clearer:

Bho na faileasan, eiridh tu,
Is e an Dorcha do mhaighstir,
Traill don dorchadas,
Eirich ann an eu-dochas,
Dean seirbheis do Thighearna,
Le d ’uile ghrain,
Marbhadh, marbhadh, marbhadh,
Is e sin m ’aithne,
Is e sin an adhbhar agad,
Eirich, mo chlann,
Eirich, mo Kelpies!

It sounded like some sort of incantation. Finally, they got to the bottom of the steps. A small hall leading to a dimly lighted room. Ceartas approached carefully while the others waited in silence behind him. He built up the courage to take a look inside, trying to be as silent as possible. Then, he saw it!

Four Assassins were surrounding the informant and another unknown man. The two were sitting on their knees. In front of them was standing a tall man, dressed in a black robe with a silver bird embroidered on its back. He was the one chanting in that strange tongue.

-M.G.! – Ceartas said to himself.

The chanting grew louder and the four assassins started to repeat it too. Then, the two kneeling men started to shake violently. White foam was pouring out of their mouths and they fell on their side, shaking, gasping desperately for air. Then, they stopped! They were dead!

-What is this ritual? Ceartas moved a little trying to see the face of the magician, but when he did, he hit a small stone with his foot. The chanting stopped, all the assassins were now looking straight at him!

-Kill him! – shouted the man in the black robe.

The assassins jumped towards the door and a fierce fight broke loose. The other guards ran to the aid of their Captain. Even if they had the numbers advantage, the assassins were very agile, dodging blows and fighting two guards at a time. Only Ceartas was fighting one on one with what seemed to be the chief assassin, judging by his golden chest plate. He heard in the back screams of pain from his soldiers. With a swift move, he managed to parry a rapid blow from the assassin and punch him in the face. He took advantage of his enemy moment of weakness and stung him right in the heart with his blade. But it was not enough!

As he turned, he saw the other three assassins killing the last of his soldiers. He whistled loudly to signal the two sentries above, but the assassins started laughing. One of them, with a red scarf covering a great scar on his neck, approached him.

-You fool, no one is coming! They are all dead! You fell right into our trap! Did you really think you could find us without us knowing? You thought your little perfume would help you to uncover our Guild? Fool! We called you here!

-No! You will not win! King Fasach will have all of your heads!

– Fasach is an idiot, blinded with pride! He will die as soon as we have no use for him anymore! He survived that day when his bastard brother died because that is how we wanted it to be! It was no accident! But he’s stupid enough to think that his beloved brother could actually kill one of us! Ha! That fat imbecile couldn’t kill a legless boar, let alone an Assassin of the Guild!

-Lies! King Craiceann was a fearless fighter! He was killed only because he was taken by surprise. Even so, he managed to kill his assassin.

-That was no assassin! He was excommunicated from our ranks and death was his punishment.

-Enough! Bring the esteemed Captain to me! -the black-robed wizard commanded.

The assassins grabbed Ceartas and took him in front of the wizard, making him kneel and pushing his head down so he couldn’t see the magicians face.

-Who are you? -cried Ceartas.

-Why, M.G., of course! I hear you were looking for me! In fact, I hear the Great King of Grian, Fasach is also looking for me. Well, my dear Captain, be proud! You succeeded in your mission. Here I am! Too bad you will not be able to tell your King any of what you found. You see, it is of most importance for me that King Fasach doesn’t learn anything about us before the time is right. Now, if you’d swore to me that you keep secret everything that you just witnessed, I would be inclined to let you go back.

-Never! You bastard, King Fasach will kill all of you! You might have defeated me and my team, but the whole power of the Royal Guard of Grian is on your tail. It is known where we searched for you and when we do not return, the King will know where to send his troops after you!

-Oh, I do not doubt that, my dear Captain! But there will be no need for the brave King to send his troops this way because you will report to him that you found nothing here!

-Never! You’re mad if you think I will betray King Fasach and Grian! I will die before I do that!

-Of course, you will! I never envisioned it anyway else. Come now, it is time!

The assassins dragged Captain Ceartas to the middle of the room, right next to the two dead informants.

The wizard began his incantations again:

Bho na faileasan, eiridh tu,
Is e an Dorcha do mhaighstir,
Traill don dorchadas,
Eirich ann an eu-dochas

As he was chanting, one of the assassins cut the Captains cheek with his blade and spilled some of his blood on the forehead of one of the dead informants.

Le d ’uile ghrain,
Marbhadh, marbhadh, marbhadh,
Is e sin m ’aithne
… – continued the wizard.

Suddenly, the corpse started to shiver violently and it burst out a scream, like that of a raven. His body twisted unnaturally, like the very bones inside of him were breaking and reforming at the same time.

A few moments after, the corpse rose, but he did not look the same.

-Impossible! What is this? -shouted in terror Captain Ceartas.

It was truly an unbelievable scene. He was looking at… himself!

The body that laid on the ground just moments before was now looking him straight in the eyes. It was like he was watching himself in the mirror, except for the clothes.

-What kind of illusion is this? And then, he noticed the other corpse rising. This one was looking exactly like one of the slain soldiers.

-Good, very good! Everything is ready now! Please, send the Captain and what is left of his team back to Grian. They must report what they learned to King Fasach.

-What of this one, My Lord? -Asked the assassin with the neck scar, pointing at Captain Ceartas.

-He completed his role, we have no more use for him. Farewell, Captain!

With that, he left the room. Ceartas was looking in shock at his new twin, unable to understand what happened. Then, the creature that looked like him came closer. For a second, his eyes turned yellow and his skin translucent. It hissed at Ceartas and raise its right hand above its head. As Ceartas looked at the creature, he saw its fingers elongate to form talons. The creature hissed at him again and with an unperceivable move, its newly formed talons sliced open the Captain’s neck.

He fell to the ground, feeling the hotness of his blood on his right cheek. His body was becoming cold and his vision started to blur. Slowly, everything went dark and silent. Captain Ceartas was no more!

Author: LaurentiuStehan

Journalist, blogger, facilities professional Passionate about football, fiction writing, travel and cooking.

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