Post by Morec0
(( If you havn't already, read the prologue
. Or don't. Either way; enjoy. ))
Blaine Jeret, youngest son of the Jeret family, walked towards the Darlin farmhouse. He was a noble, but he was not dressed like on. Instead of the embroidered shirts and top hats that they wore – and, truth be told, he wore on more official occasions – he wore a grey shirt, a brocade vest, pants, and shoes, and a simple belt of dark leather. It was not much by Gilnean standards, but it was comfortable and it was all he needed for this latest visit.
He stopped about three yards away from the house, noticing shadows moving frantically behind the windows. They had seen him, but he did not mind. His goal here was not to be stealthy; it was to convince Mr. and Mrs. Darlin against what he knew they were doing. With a breath he continued up to the door and knocked three times.
Mr. Darlin answered, looking out cautiously before opening it wide, a smile on his face. “Blaine my boy,” he said, “what brings you to our house this late at night? Is something amiss?”
“Actually, Mr. Darlin,” Blaine said, his tone comforting instead of official as one may have expected from a noble, “I’m afraid something is. May I enter?”
Mr. Darlin’s smile dwindled slightly. “Yes, I suppose you can.” He stepped out of the way for Blaine, who nodded appreciatively, to enter. Mrs. Darlin was standing in the kitchen as the two men walked into that room and she smiled pleasantly at the young Jeret, who nodded back in greeting. “Brittany,” Mr. Darlin said, “could you get us some tea with sugar.” Mrs. Darlin nodded and began to prepare the drink.
“Thank you, sir,” Blaine said, “but I’m afraid I can’t stay long.”
“Ah, yes of course,” Mr. Darlin said with a nod. “So, why are you here, my boy?”
Blaine sighed and took a breath before speaking. “Rupert, the King knows you and your wife have weapons for the Northgate rebels stored here. He’s sending a force led by my brother to claim them and arrest you.”
Mr. Darlin’s face went pale and Mrs. Darlin dropped one of the cups of tea as she heard the news. “You… you told them,” Mr. Darlin said, his eyes starting to narrow. “You promised us you wouldn’t! You gave your word!”
“I know,” Blaine said, holding his hands up defensively, “I know. I swore I wouldn’t tell anyone about them, and I didn’t. The rebels that were captured a few days ago, they’re the ones that told about them. They were promised a more lenient sentence if they gave the locations of weapons stockpiles they had set up, and one of them told the courts about yours.”
Blaine leaned forward, looking Rupert Darlin in the eyes. “I managed to convince the justice that if you surrendered the stockpile unconditionally they would not try you or your family with treason. Please Rupert; consider what you’re doing here. Consider what’s best for your family.”
Mr. Darlin now leaned forward, his eyes narrowed to slivers. “My daughter, Susannah, she’s on the other side of that wall, Blaine,” he said. “When Greymane ordered the construction of that damned thing he trapped her out there with the rest of those monsters! She’s probably dead now because of him!” He shook his head as he leaned back in his chair. “No, boy, this is what is best for my family; we’re both in agreement on that. And if Brittany and I are executed for what we’ve done, for doing what’s right, then so be it.”
A sound outside drew Mrs. Darlin’s attention and he walked over the window after handing her husband the remaining cup of tea. “Rupert please, I beg you to reconsider. You’re daughter is still probably alive, Lordaeron is stronger then it may seem.”
“Is that so? Then why did they beg us for help when the orcs first came? Why did they beg us for help when those… monsters started crawling out of the ground?”
“Rupert!” Brittany exclaimed as she came running back into the kitchen. “It’s back! It went into the barn!” Mr. Darlin clenched his teeth into a scowl and jumped up, taking one of the rifles off of the fireplace mantle and heading for the door.
“Don’t try and fight them!” Blaine said. “Greymane sent a full battalion just in case there some rebel holdouts here. You’re just going to get yourself killed if you try and fight against his soldiers!”
“Boy, we aren’t talking about the king’s men.” Blaine was baffled. “Lock the door behind me dear, and don’t open it until I come back.” Rupert ran outside and his wife did exactly as he had said and then ran to the window to watch. Blaine followed behind her and peered outside as well.
Mr. Darlin, rifle in hand, ran to the entrance of the barn. He held it steady and peeked inside the doorway, looking for any sign of the mysterious intruder. Then he entered the building and vanished from sight. There was silence, an unbroken stillness that persisted for several minutes. Then the stillness was broken by a gunshot, followed by an inhuman yell and a very human scream.
“Rupert!” Brittany yelled. She ran to the fireplace herself and took the last rifle down.
Blaine, knowing what she must be planning to do, quickly moved to stop her. “Don’t,” he said, “you’re husband wanted you to stay in here, and the soldiers will arrive any minute now.”
She did not listen. Pushing past him she ran to the door, unlocked it, and then ran for the barn to help her husband. Blaine hurried after her to try and stop her, but she was too fast. She disappeared into the barn and screamed out in terror before being silenced.
“Blaine?” a familiar voice to the young Jeret yelled. “Why are you here?” Blaine turned to face Ivan, who was shocked to see his little brother as pale as a sheet. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?”
“The Darlin’s,” he said, motioning towards the barn, “both of them went in there and- well, you must have heard the scream! We have to do something!”
The elder Jeret nodded, although not completely sure what had happened before he had arrived. “All of you,” he said, turning to face the soldiers and taking a torch form one of them, “stay outside and fire the moment I drive that thing outside.”
“We,” Blaine corrected his brother. “They are friends of mine.”
Ivan tried to think of something to say that would convince his brother otherwise, but ended up just shaking his head in dismay. “Fine, just be careful,” he loaded his rifle and entered the barn, Blaine pulling out two daggers he had concealed in this vest (he had not wanted to be caught unarmed in case there actually were rebels hiding out here) and followed his brother into the building.
The barn was completely empty of life, no animals, no Darlin’s, no sign of the mysterious intruder. Ivan and Blaine searched every corner of the structure, weapons raised to defend themselves, but still found nothing. “I… I don’t understand,” Blaine said. “I saw them both come in here. They… they should be here.”
“Maybe they have a second way out?” Ivan said. “They were working with the Northgate, maybe-.” Ivan stopped speaking as something hit the ground behind him. He spun and pointed his rifle at it, only to lower the gun with a look of horror on his face. Blaine walked over to look at what his brother was seeing, and was horrified as well.
It was Mr. Darlin’s body, mutilated to the brink of being unrecognizable. His throat had been torn out and his arms had also been ripped off. Fresh blood drenched his clothing and face and, most gruesome of all, he had been thoroughly disemboweled. “Who… could do this?” Blaine asked.
A growl from above drew their attention and gave them their answer. In the shadows of the rafters there was the silhouette of a vaguely human figure, a humanoid form fell from its grasp and to the floor – which was revealed to be the similarly-mangled corpse of Ms. Darlin – as the creature above them snarled at them and flexed his claws. Without warning it pounced at the two of them with a ferocious bark.
“Holy Light!” Ivan exclaimed, quickly raising his rifle and firing. The force of the shot sent the creature flying backwards, but it landed nimbly on its feet and charged the two humans. Ivan dropped his rifle and grabbed his shortsword and shield, slicing at the creature before slamming his shield full on into its chest. This time the creature was only knocked backwards a few feet, and it quickly regained ground and kicked Ivan straight to the other side of the barn. He was seemingly knocked unconciuous.
Blaine charged at the creature after watching Ivan hit the wall, striking with his daggers the moment he was in range to do so. The monster was more nimble then it appeared, managing to dodge each of the strikes until Blaine kicked it in the gut. The creature was stunned long enough for Blaine to jab a dagger into its neck. The knife got stuck in the creatures thick hide, and it responded by sinking its teeth into Blaine’s shoulder. The younger Jeret cried out in pain and slammed his other dagger into the back of the beast neck, only to get it stuck in its hide as well
Ivan, who had only been badly dazed by the blow instead of knocked unconscious, jumped to his feet and ran to Blaine’ side after hearing his brother in pain. He raised his sword and brought it down with all of his might on the strange being’s neck, it got halfway through before it, like Blaine’s daggers, got stuck. Unlike his brother, though, Ivan managed to tear his weapon back out of its hide and strike again. This time the blow went all the way through, decapitating the creature. Blood gushed out of the massive wound, some of it squirting into his mouth.
Blaine pulled the now bodiless head off of his shoulder and spat the blood out of his mouth. “What the fel was that!” he exclaimed, gripping the wound the creature had left tightly.
“I don’t know,” Ivan said, looking at the corpse for a few seconds and then back at his brother, “but I- Blaine!” Blaine had fallen to the ground, convulsing in pain. The wound that only seconds ago had been a mere bite mark was now clearly infected; the skin around it black and blue and thick white hairs sprouting around the edges of the wounds.
“I… I don’t feel so… what’s going on?” The younger Jeret gripped his chest and stomach, groaning in pain.
Ivan scowled. Something was wrong here; a simple bite could never have had these kinds of effects on anyone. “Don’t worry Blaine,” Ivan said, putting his brother’s arm around his shoulder and carrying him out of the barn. “Someone gets some transport to Greymane City, now!” he yelled at the soldiers. “My brother needs immediate medical help!” It anyone knew what was happening to Blaine, it would be Krennan Aranas.
“Ivan… what’s going on?” Blaine asked, his breathing heavier now as well. “What’s going on?”
Before Ivan could speak one of the soldiers returned. “Sir, I’ve managed to hail a stagecoach for transport. It’s waiting at the road for your brother.”
The elder Jeret nodded. “You and you,” he said, pointing at the soldier speaking and another, “accompany my brother to the city, make sure that Krennan sees him immediately.” The two soldiers saluted and took Blaine into their custody, heading for the road. “The rest of you, let’s look for those weapons. Keep your guard up for any rebels or... anything suspicious.” He had forgotten about the corpse of the creature. When they were done here he would make sure that it got to Greymane city as well.
At the road the two soldiers help Blaine into the stagecoach, which immediately took off for Greymane city. Blaine’s condition continued to worsen as they went until finally, miles down the road, the unexpected happened.
Blaine took in a sharp breath, clutching his chest in sheer pain. “Wha- what is happening to me?” he grunted. “Krista… Ivan… h-help…”
He cried out in pain, confusion, and sheer terror as his body began to change painfully. His limbs, starting with his fingers and toes, began to stretch, the bones growing at a physically impossible rate, some even changing shape altogether. His nails grew out as well, becoming more or less the claws of an animal. Like his limbs the rest of his body is grew, the bone and muscle mass growing with unbelievable speed. White fur, exactly like the kind that had been around the wound, quickly began to grow over every inch of his body. Lastly his face began to stretch, becoming a long, wolfish muzzle.
The Gilnean soldiers watched with horror and confusion as this happened until, finally, where Blaine had once been stood a massive creature unlike anything they had ever seen. It glared at the two humans with hate. Hate and hunger.
It pounced on them, tearing them apart and scoffing down the meatiest portions of their bodies. Still not satisfied, he broke off of the door to the carriage and crawled out onto the roof. The carriage driver looked behind him, managing a short scream of terror before he too became a meal for the beast that had once been Blaine before the creature jumped at the horses as well.
Like the three humans before them, the two beasts of burder became a meal for the hungry creature. The beast then began to sniff their air, searching for something known only to it. It lifted its muzzle towards the sky, letting another cry – or more specifically; a howl – break the silence of the night before it ran off towards what it had been looking for.