Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Dark Spire

The tower loomed in front of his wavering vision. It was a dark, twisted spire; a monument to evil. No sunlight ever touched this black marble monolith. It was a forsaken place. He was not welcome here.

As he approached the gates, the icy fingers of fear gripped his heart. Even he, the bravest of men, was chilled to the bone by it. It was said to be caused by a dark enchantment cast in ages past.

When he finally arrived before the place, he had no doubt that the rumors were true. There, upon the charred-black, spear-like tips of the fence, were countless impaled bodies. The dead, hollow eyes seemed to be staring at him, following his every movement. Tattered black robes blew in the wind, still clinging to no longer living hosts. He knew what they had been; evil men who had thrown themselves from the ramparts, sacrificing themselves to keep people from this place.

Shaken, the man paused. Everything inside him was screaming at him to turn around. He wanted nothing more than to be gone from this place, safe by the fire of his camp. But he had come too far, been through too much to turn back now. He had to do this. People were depending on him. Taking a deep breath, he pulled his cloak tighter around himself and pushed upon the gate.

It swung open easily, creaking and groaning from years of disuse. He was not surprised that it hadn't been locked. The creators of the tower, cunning though they were, were supremely arrogant in their ways. No doubt they thought that their enchantment would keep any trespassers away. And even if they didn't, there were countless perils inside to end any threat. A petty locked seemed unnecessary.

Trying not to dwell on these thoughts for too long lest he lose his nerve, the man pressed onward. He trudged wearily up the dirt path toward the giant double doors; the mouth of the beast. There he would enter, for to truly end the threat, he needed to strike at the heart, deep within.

Not bothering to slow, he threw open the doors. What he saw then struck him like a blow. Tears stung his eyes. He took a staggering step forward before collapsing to his knees.

"Hello, Tanis."

He knew that voice well. It was gentle and sweet, almost melodic. He had loved that voice, just as he had loved the woman it had belonged to. But that woman was gone, dead for years. It just wasn't possible...

"Sarah? It can't be... NO! This has to be some trick. You're dead! I held you in my arms as you died! Who are you? Why are you here!?"

"Why, to kill you of course...," she whispered softly.