The Dragon Arrows
An Account of Dorn Ravensbrooke Part V
Being An Account of Dorn Ravensbrooke, 3rd Baron to sit the Blackwood Chair
It was done. The forest god was dead by my hand. The pursuit had taken hours, but suddenly it had simply stopped, and offered up no resistance as my spear found its heart. Was it trying to reach this place? Was it leading me here, to the mine? It was said Cyrak the Defiler forced a hundred slaves to toil here day and night, that it was this mine that fueled his dread host. The Order had asked to be granted this place—had trained the judges here; but I hadn’t set foot inside in years.
I don’t know what compelled me to enter. Perhaps, deep down, I knew I had been betrayed.
The mine glowed with a sinister light. Blood red crystal pulsed with an unearthly radiance, while deeper within, I could hear the wailing of tormented souls. The horrors I saw were indescribable. The twisted process by which men were infused with unholy power was messy indeed—the prisoners of my recent campaigns had been reduced to mewling sacks of flesh as their captors experimented with the crystals’ effects. But not only prisoners, I recognized the faces of men and women of Ravensbrook. Those who had disappeared within the Lurkwood during the early days of my rule. The Order had been behind the abductions, along with the magical disasters that had plagued the village. Perfecting the judges had been a torturously long and costly ordeal. And my people had paid the price.
Beyond the cells, I spied a black robed figure. He waited on a bridge over a yawning chasm, blocking me from descending any further. I unsheathed Blackwing, the honored blade of my house, and resolved that he would be the first mortal to die today.
Until he drew back his hood.
Umber. My brother. He looked at me without a hint of the love we once shared. The Order had found him, corrupted him. He was born with the touch of sorcery that he had kept hidden from me all these years—afraid that I would hate him for what his kind did to our parents. The Order whispered to him that I did. That I had sent him away because I feared and despised what he was. That I wanted him dead to secure my rule as baron. He said that he hated me in turn, but as a final gesture of brotherhood, he would allow me this one chance to walk away.
So I did.
They had won.
I had no more fight left in me.