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Wednesday, 02 January 2008

Coreaux of Mousillon is a veteran knight who has sworn many years ago, and has left his son and family in his ancenstral force to gather troops for a crusade to Mousillon. But in attempting to destroy an ancient evil that blocks his path, has he finally gone too far, and signed his own death certificate?

Arborkh laughed coldly. He still remembered those days when he had been like the knight riding to meet him: young ... foolish. Yet now he was strong and powerful, strengthened by the power of blood. Smiling faintly at the knight's reactions upon seeing him, Arborkh slowly smiled, exposing his teeth. He had spent ages perfecting his image, and the terror on the knight's face was obvious. Just a flicker, but still there. For a grail knight to display terror was remarkable. But he had tried to create a terrifying effect -- while other vampires tended to think it foolish, somehow riding at the opposition without bloodstains and glowing eyes seemed ... wrong. As if it was against some code of honour: the monster always had to look scary.

Coreaux de Albeirt felt a slight jolt as he stared at the monster's white face. The eyes were in pits of shadow, and glowed like a pit of hell. The mouth was covered in blood, and the expression was of pure hatred. why the beast had a reason to hate him, however, was beyond him. But a grail knight could not think about such foolery -- it was his task -- no, his duty -- to defeat evil for the lady. Frowning, he spurred his pale steed towards the foe.

"For Mousillon and the Lady!"


As the first rays of dawn arose over the forest Coreaux awoke. His head felt like it had been repeatedly slammed into a tree, and his mouth was full of the iron-filled taste of dried blood. Slowly, he stirred, and looked around. He was in the same clearing as he last remembered. His helmet was nearby, and echoed his head's feelings: decidedly ruined. The visor was missing, and the steel head-guard had recieved a massive blow: no, many blows. It looked exactly like his lead felt. His chainmail armour was torn, his plate armour dented as if from a falling tree. Coreaux was vaguely conscious of the pain all over his body from deep gashes, and bruises, but that was not what concerned him: his body felt ... different, perhaps. As if he was carrying a great weight with him. As if he had aged fifty years in a night. What had happened? The conflict seemed so distant. Yet as he concentrated, memories began to pour into his head like water from a stream ...

"You are defeated, petty mortal." The knight hissed in a cold voice. His laughter shook the evening sky, and magpies scattered away, cawing and mocking harshly. "But I will not kill you. I feel it is unsporting to kill an opponent who fought valiantly, and yet was defeated in such a way by his own impetuousness ... no, I will leave you something to pain you for the rest of your life, which will probably be significantly shorter ..." he chuckled. Slowly he bent down, and touched Coreaux's head, throwing the helmet away with such force the ground shook. A strange sensation spread over Coreaux. All his body seemed to shake momentarily, and he fell against the tree. As darkness descended, he just made out the dark knight riding away, cackling, into the darkening forest ...

Coreaux's eyes snapped fully open as he awoke, realizing the impact of the vampire's words. Slowly he reached up to touch his head, once covered in wild brown hair. He felt nothing at first, just his skin. His hand moved further back, and felt hair ... wispy, thin hair. He was an old man. What can I do? he thought, but the answer was already forming. Pray for the Lady's forgiveness and blessing.


The sacred lake was quiet, with many simple shrines set near to it. Whether it was sacred or not, Coreaux had no idea, but in the late afternoon sun it looked wonderful. Small ripples spread over it as small gusts of wind passed by, as if driven by the lady's power.

Sighing, Coreaux knelt on weary limbs and began to pray ...

Hours past, and Coreaux began to feel a simmering resentment. Why had the Lady abandoned him now? What had he done to deserve this cruel torment? He gritted his teeth. Nothing was happening. He thought a grail knight was 'favored' of the Lady? Growling with pent-up rage, he seized a small idol from a shrine, and flung it into the misty waters ...

But before he could repent, he noticed a gleam among the water. A steel helm. And armour? Was this a gift from the Lady? Had it been there all the time? Without hesitation, he stripped of his clothes and dived into the icy water.

The armour was a dark steel, covered it ancient rust. But as Coreaux studied its ancient design, he noticed a gleam show again. The rust was falling from it, leaving darkened metal behind. Truly this must be a sign! Then he saw something else. A shield. It had no design, but he slowly traced his finger over it, and where his finger touvched, fiery lines appeared.

In awe, Coreaux began to buckle on the breastplate ...


He felt young ... agile ... in the armour. As if, he had been removed a heavy burden. His sword felt light as a feather, and his horse as easy to control as a royal steed. But something was wrong ... the armour was too easy to use ... almost as if it had a life of its own ...


Yet, as he stood on the bank, and as he turned away to look back into the forest, it seemed a voice spoke into his mind:

"Go forth, Coreuax of Mousillon. Go forth, and avenge those that have died! May the Lady's spirit be carried with you ..." the voice held an ethereal quality. If the Lady had a voice, it would sound like this. Coreuax's mind was filled with a sense of purpose. he was the Avenger, and he would avenge the wrongs done to Bretonnia. As he thought this, he felt something behind him ... was aware that something was there that hadn't been there before. How he knew this, he had no idea, but it felt like a spirit guideed him. He turned. Deeply embedded in the shore was a sword that shone like the Midsummer sun upon a blue sea. As his lingers grasped the hilt, which seemed as if moulded for his hand; he felt a new sense of purpose fill him. He would cleanse Bretonnia of evil.


Arborkh turned to see a figure riding towards him upon a pale charger. He had black, all-enclosing armour, and a red crest that flew in an unearthly breeze.

"Stand and fight!" rang out over the quiet wood, and a flock of birds took off into the sky, crowing in indignation. Who was this knight? But that was for later; the dead could be identified. Laughing, he drew his sword, as the other knight drew from a black sheath a sword that shone as if covered in blue fire that burned like a terriible judgement flame.

"Your end has come, vampire!" sounded across the wood, and the poweful being struck, only for his blow to be parried ... and again, and again. He had the feeling this was only the start, though. He tried vampiric magic, but it faded, as though dissipated by a being of intense power. Desperate, he pressed on, hoping to defeat the enemy with strength, but every blow was met with a parry of perfect skill and force. What could cause such mastery? Only another, more powerful, vampire could acheive such a level of mastery, yet this was a mortal. Any grail knight would be dead by now. A dragon could have been slain by his attacks, but here he was. He launched another series of attacks. repelled as before. the knight didn't pant, whatsoever, he was completely silent as the vampire backed away. Yet as he reached the tree, and series of blows reached out so fast and sudden that he was powerless to defend. It pierced the vampires chest, and his body shook, as if a flaming brand had been pushed into his flesh. With stuttering words, he managed to mutter through cracked lips: "Who ... are ... you?"

The knight slowly lifted off his helmet, revealing a mane of thick brown hair over a pale face. His words would remain with the vampire for the rest of eternity.

"I am the Avenger," the knight calmy stated, and his blue, steel blade swung once more, aimed with perfect precision at the target's neck ...




Coreaux smiled, and lifted up his foe's helmet, then dragged the head out of it. It had raven hair, and a cold white face similar to Coreaux's own. But an iron hand had gripped his heart. He had defeated evil, perhaps, but something else concerned him... My son. he was my son. The vampire. My son. Coreaux thought numbly. When had he last seen his son? Years ago, when he had left his fort to go on a crusade to Mousillon. And since then, it was clear ... Adieu! Adieu, Lucas. Adieu. May you find mercy in the Lady's judgement. Coreaux never usually displayed any emotion, but now ... his face was like something fromn the deepest hell, so twisted. He remembered the sacred lake. The sword. And his son's head, lying carelessly on the cold ground. With a cry of anguish that raised to the sky, he raised his sword, and moved to plunge its fiery blade into his own armoured chest ...

But something resisted. Perhaps the Lady's spirit, perhaps his own will. Yet his sword would not move towards his still beating heart. With a cry of despair, Coreaux numbly wondered why he should be punished so: that he should be denied death. And standing, he stood up, moving his sword away, and pointing it at the sky with a motion worthy of a hero of old. He was still the Avenger, and he still had a duty to be done. Whether he should turn to evil with anguish or avenge the evil done to him hung in the balance as he stood there, standing against the setting sun. Then he sagged, and sheathed his sword. A mental decision had been reached. Slowly, he strode back into the forest.


A year later ...

Outside Mousillon's walled boundaries stood a figure, sword raised in defiance. As he lowered it to point at the walls, a vast host assembled around him, prepared for war. He clasped his helm in one hand as he revealed flowing brown hair, which the wind whipped around his face.

"Today we shall defeat evil, and avenge the wrongs done to us! This is their judgement day, and by my steel sword they shall die! We will avenge them. For the Lady and for Mousillon, charge!"
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 January 2008 )
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