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Saturday, 26 August 2006
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Part Three: Nemesis and Ally
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Three hours of walking through the ancient wood, and Brenguard was utterly lost. The gnarled branches above him were so dense even without foliage that he couldn’t see the sky. He guessed himself to be headed the right direction, but his usually impeccable sense of direction had failed him only a quarter of an hour after entering the forest. A sudden hiss sent a shiver up Brenguard’s spine. It was reminiscent of a breeze through leaves, but there were no leaves here. The sound was decidedly hostile, and made Brenguard very anxious.

The sound came again, this time, though not any language he knew seemed to say “why do you come here?” It wasn’t spoken, just understood, plain as day.

“Show yourself vile creature!” shouted Brenguard in no particular direction, “If you mean to kill me be done with it!”

“Brave, that’s good, you’ll need to be,” answered the voice, whispering and echoing inside his head.

“Who are you? What do you want from me?” asked Brenguard dropping his pack and drawing his pistol and sword.

“What I am is not important,” answered the voice harshly, the sound making Brenguard cringe. “What do you seek in these woods?”

“Passage, nothing more, why do you hinder me?” answered Brenguard as confidently as he could muster.

“Nothing lies beyond this forest but Castle Vandenberg and with it certain death for one like you. Why do you seek that place?”

“A woman was kidnapped, and I suppose she was taken there”

“Yes,” hissed the voice, “yes, I remember. It was only just now that they passed. For you it may have been some time ago, but for me it is hardly separable from the present.”

“Listen, I just need to know which way they went, please, whatever you are, please tell me,” pleaded Brenguard, hopeful to escape the attention of this eerie voice.

“They went north, but you will want to be headed west, for that is where the girl is. I have been protecting her. It took all the strength I had been gaining these past ages, but she is safe for now.”

“What are you? Why did you help her?” asked Brenguard, very worried.

“I am naught. I don’t exist in the same sense you do. I am but spirit, once powerful and manifold, but ever since this land was damned to house the undead my power has waned.”

Brenguard contemplated momentarily. Whatever it was, it seemed hostile to the vampires, and it seemed to be trustworthy.

“What kind of spirit are you then?” asked Brenguard apprehensively.

”Once, long ago, before the coming of the elves and the days of dwarves I was a part of Athel Loren. In those days the forest covered the entire land, but as creatures began populating the world they began cutting apart the forest. Before long, I was cut off from the rest of the forest. I am dying. You are probably the last one I can help, but I can sense that you are worth helping.” Was the voice’s answer, suddenly sounding weak and tired.

“Why am I worth helping?” asked Brenguard, reholstering his weapons.

“Because in days to come they will fear you. You will be the terror of the terrors themselves. It is the same bravery that preserves you here that will preserve you against them. Now hurry, for I cannot keep that monster from her for long. I will mark the path for you, you will know the way. Be swift Brenguard of the Humans, for even my domain is not safe for you to linger in for long,” answered the forest with a sudden sense of urgency.

Brenguard sprinted off down a path that had suddenly opened to the west, happy to be away from the voice and to have an idea of where he was going.




Brenguard sprinted as fast as he could down the forest path. Not a single root or stone lay across his path. Up ahead the path turned south, and Brenguard instinctively drew his sword with his right hand, and his pistol in his left. The eerie voice of the forest still rang in his ears, and he still wondered at the spirit’s words. In days to come they will fear you. Was his destiny here in this land? Was Brenguard really to become a hero of the Empire, and turn back the powers of the Vampires like so many men of the past?


Brenguard had little time to consider the future further, as he rounded the bend of the path, and found himself in a clearing. The grass here was green, a stark contrast to the dead forest around it. A small stone fountain stood in the middle of the clearing, and upon the edge of the fountain sat a young woman. She wore an elaborate blue dress, which looked to be rather beaten up, and torn in several places.


“Miss Vilhelm I presume?” called Brenguard across the clearing with as much calm as he could muster, which given the circumstances, wasn’t much.


The lady turned around, startled by the sudden interruption of the peaceful aura of the clearing. She quickly sprang up from the edge of the pool, and drew a long dagger, which she directed menacingly at Brenguard. She opened her mouth to speak, then faltered.


She dropped the dagger, and shouted back, “I’m sorry, I thought you were…”


“I’m sorry to have startled you, my name is Viscount Brenguard, captain of the-”


“Did my father send you?” Lady Vilhelm interrupted, making her way across the clearing after picking up her dagger.


Brenguard was a bit flustered at having been interrupted by the very person he was rescuing. Clearly these damsels in distress weren’t all they were supposed to be.


“Yes, Count Vilhelm asked me personally to see to your safe return,” answered Brenguard with a forced smile.


“You?” she asked incredulously, “with all the riches at my father’s disposal he sent one brigand to save me?”


The smile on Brenguard’s face quickly turned itself into a scowl. This clearly wasn’t going the way he had hoped. “I’ll have you know, I’m the only man brave enough to hunt down a vampire alone!” retorted Brenguard.


“Or the only man dumb enough to come here without an army,” Lady Vilhelm answered, reaching Brenguard’s position at the edge of the clearing. “Now come on, we have a long way to travel before nightfall if we’re to out-distance this vampire.”


As the young daughter of the count marched off through the forest, Brenguard hurried to keep up. He wished his troops had half her pluck. He also wished she would have taken a little more kindly to him. After all, who was she to call the captain of the Sylvan Guard a brigand!


Lady Vilhelm turned around, “and try to keep up.”


Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 August 2006 )
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