The Dark Unknown

The dark walnut handle was worn, but the sharp blade gleamed as its owner carved. The Vagabond finished the flute and began playing. He made a few deep trills before settling into a song. The trees murmured with the melody, and the mists shaped themselves into the figures of the ballad:

 

Eight women, armed with book and staff, stood back to back against a horde of daemons. Their spells cut though the monsters, but one by one, each sorceress fell, until only one remained.

She fought against hopeless odds with a desperate nobility. Each powerful spell slaughtered a dozen fiends, and the remaining horde grew wary. The smaller daemons fell away, coalescing into a Dark Father.

The daemon knight focused its necromancy against the sorceress, and exhausted, she was unable to protect herself. The dark magic burned away her body, but branded her spirit, leaving her a cursed wraith forever.

 

As the song ended, the ghostly mists diffused away. A daemon with twisted limbs and milky eyes stalked out of the Corrupted Forest and bowed before the Vagabond. “My liege, I had never heard the song of Victoria before. Thank you.”

The Vagabond nodded and said, “Have you completed the task I gave to you?”

“I have recovered the relics and dispersed them as you instructed. May I ask why we don’t simply keep such power for ourselves?”

“If the shrines are the soul of Sosaria, we are its shadow. A shadow is ever moving, always testing the limits of the light.”

The other creature considered before responding, “And the temptation of power is one way we test the light?”

“The light will dim in time, and the shadows grow to fill the space. Hrallath, I have another task for you. Prepare our halls for visitors and have the other knights ready.”

The creature bowed again and left the clearing. Turning to leave, the Vagabond dropped the instrument beside the rest of its skeleton. “Well, my friend, we made a lovely song together, but I too must be going.”