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Dear Lieutenant

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avatar Knightsunder
Level 57 : Grandmaster Cyborg
1,111
Prenote: Man, I'm rusty.



The breath of my stallion shimmers in the moonlight. I've thought for many hours and days upon the topic of beastery, but I've yet to have come upon something like this, especially in person. The ground before me, soiled with the blood of a midnight courier, smells of the rotten flesh laid out around. John Knix was the poor man's name, and I was his avenger. Mud mixes with the entrails, sloshing around in a wretched heap when I prod his body with my boot. Ah, no maggots yet. Too bad; if he was intact, he might've had a proper funeral. I attend all the burials of these such victims; I intend for John's to be the last. The mud, displaced as it is, shows the footprints of the monster I've been chasing after. Fargo neighs a moment, as the thick, grimy plaster of goop clings to his hooves. Best be moving on. After all, the beast waits not for those who would chase it; it moves ever faster.



Faster, indeed. John is the seventeenth sod who's been ruthlessly mutilated this month. Claw marks on some bodies, puncture wounds on others. A seemingly random series of attacks, all with a seemingly random arsenal which they were committed with. Nothing remains consistent, except for the unbridled rampage the beast goes on, and his mark. Whether it be inside or deep in the woods, this monstrocities haunting mark chills me every time I see it; a terrifying double puncture in the eye sockets of the victim. Two black holes that would drain a sane man's soul with but a glance, and shiver-inducing even to myself, as a man without soul.



Fargo grows weary as we ride farther into the Lokir Woods. John was killed about sixty miles south of here; the tracks I found off of the corpse led north; though I can't follow them exactly for the sake of time, the beast has been very linear in its path. Striking town to town, it kills those it meets on the roads between, always at night. I've never happened upon a body in the light, and never been more than three hours late to a scene. Fargo, fast as he is, is somehow outclassed by this bipedal killer. How something that moves on two legs beats one that moves on four is beyond me, but then, the ruthless efficiency that I chase after has surprised me more than once. I've contemplated over how an organic being could have such an incredibly diverse arsenal of weaponry available to it; puncture wounds from what would appear to be a stinger or a spear, devastating slashes from massive claws, immaculate clean cuts from some type of razor-level talon. It boggles the mind to imagine what else it might have, when it can perpetrate so many forms of gory death and still be able to move at such a high speed.



The sight of Rofnir and its wooden walls comes into vision as I come out of the woods. A glorified tavern with a wall around it, Rofnir houses an outpost of military men, and a few honest civilians, at least, that I know about. Smoke rises from the chimney of the tavern, and I can hear the whinnies of horses beyond the gate. Oddly, no one answers me at the doors as I push inside with Fargo. The fortress seems deserted, at the moment, as all of the horses are still wrangled in the stable. The gate leaving on the other side is swung wide open, the reaches of the Canterbury plains beyond. Opening the door to the tavern, I step inside and am met by the smell of soft bread and a warm fire. The tavern keeper speaks up to me as she comes into sight, sweeping the establishment.



"What is it that I can for you, stranger?"


"I've come my way looking for a beast. Have you heard any word of such a monster? Though you'd likely be dead if you had seen him yourself, I'm under the impression it is a two-legged monstrocity."


"No monsters to be seen inside these walls, though outside is a very different story. The guards have all run off after some kind of troll, as they described it. I suppose that could be what you're looking for."


My ears perk up to the description of a troll, though it's highly unlikely such a thing would have such expertise in martial weaponry, or have the footprints I had seen.


"When did they leave, and where did they go, m'aam?"


"A few minutes ago, as it happens, and just out back. I was instructed to stay inside, you see, so I won't be of much help. If you plan on going after such a thing, do be careful. Our town has guards for just that reason; no need to be risking your life for a little glory."


"I don't chase after such things for glory, m'aam. With that, I'll leave you to your services."


And leave her I did. Busting out the door, I whistled for Fargo, who had been waiting near the gates. Quickly, I sprang upon him and galloped out of the back gate.



A battlecry; the clash of axes, and a horrifying shriek suddenly came from a hill far to my right. Pulling Fargo around as fast I could without hurting him, we charged over the hill to witness a brutal sight. A behemoth of a creature, nearly twelve feet tall, shredding the body of a young guard to bits with a knifed gauntlet. I saw now the weaponry on his back; the maul used to decimate Quentin Laroff, the trident used on Felicia Nerunyn, and a few other assorted weapons I would have to pinpoint later. Nearly a dozen bodies were strewn across the wastes around the being, all smashed to bits and tainted with the blood of each other. I looked back at the beast before me, as he looked at me. The mutated face of a man bent by some kind of wicked magic, his arms buffed near to the point where they would appear to burst, the shoulders, rippling down his spine. A grotesque killing machine; I don't know what I had expected, but something along these lines. Was this truly the beast I had been pursuing for three years? Was this the culmination to my journey, the conclusion to my tale? This is what I had been waiting for? Alas, it was. The feet were malformed to perfectly match the footprints I had been so careful about. We locked eyes, as I decided what my next plan was, now that I had found my goal.



"Surely you don't plan to kill me, as I'm much more of a challenge than you're equipped to defeat." The troll shouted out. I was taken aback by his sudden... chatter.


"You... speak? I don't mean to be rude, but I'm rather taken aback by the sudden calm after watching you pound that young man into the dirt."


"I am not a monster; just an experiment gone horribly wrong. I would think it's apparent, what with my appearance. Safe to say, my appearance forced me to stay on the move, especially with you on my trail."


He had known about my pursuit? For how long? Why hadn't he attempted to murder me as well?


"You have known? I'm disappointed in myself. Why haven't you acted upon it?"


"A certain companionship, you and I have. A hunter and his prey share as much as any two partners do; similar goals, but with differing means to an end. I never minded letting you follow me; it drove me farther forward."


"And now that I've caught up to you?"


"I can't take back all that I've done, especially what with the way that I've done it. I would ask you the same question. And now that you've caught up to me, what will you do?"


I sat there on Fargo, breathing the cold winter air, drifting up from the dew off of the grass below. I thought for a moment, about this man, if I now would call it that, before me. He was not wrong, by any stretch of the imagination; I had never truly thought about what I would do when I met something that had destroyed a small army, all on his own. But, alas, there was a coincidence I could not overlook about this situation. A certain... look, about the beasts eyes.



"Write a letter, companion."


My answer had seemed to surprise him.


"Pertaining what, and to whom, might I ask?"


"An old friend of mine in the Reserve in Canterbury City, just seventy miles north of here, as you would know."


I carefully pulled out my notebook and proceeded to dictate the letter out loud.


"Dear Lieutenant - Hopefully you have not forgotten me, nor my discharge from the Reserve. I was a mage assigned to the division just outside of Lumnia. As you are the Chief Records Officer, I need not go into great detail about the reason of my discharge, beyond the remarkably horrific incident wherein I imbued one of your men with magical properties unbridled."


The man suddenly shook to attention, his eyes gaping open and his ears markedly perked.


"While I am sorry for the event that fateful night four years ago, I think it is nary the time that we overlook my mistake, and reconsider my application to become a fresh Shaman again, under the name of the Reserve. - Best Regards, Vehnsen"


I smiled under my hood. My past is not something I speak often about, as is the case for most men without soul. Living the life of a preyseeker, eternally bound to hunt abominations such as this, leads to a collection and gathering of knowledge that rivals the encyclopediac texts spread across the realm.



To become a preyseeker, one must be subject to an incredibly painful series of experiments and surgeries, of which most fail. I was one of the lucky few to have been removed of a heart, and most importantly, a soul. For the soul carries the lifebreath in it; the death of my body is merely an impediment to my next hunt. And the soul of the beast before me, the one I had been assigned to hunt, was burning with the failure of the surgery.



"My dear prey, might I remind you that it is against the laws of the Preyseeker's to take our coveted magical imbuements with you after you have been subjugated to our experiments. Please surrender yourself, or I shall be forced to put you down on the spot."


The troll was silent for a moment before taking the giant maul off of his back.


"A Hunter, aye. Maybe that's the subtle connection I felt to you, when all I was needing was a companion. They were all wretched beings, the one's I killed. None of them would listen, they would all run in fear! All because of what you and your superiors did to me!"


"It was your own choice to apply for the role; the success is not dependent on the will of the shaman, it is subject to the will of the aspiring hunter. You had obviously failed in that strength of will, and thus, were given this monstrous body. Sheathe the maul, or worse shall come than the scalpel you were forced to take four years ago."


"You know nothing of the pain those shaman's brought upon me. I was just barely a man, I still am. The Reserve was a lie to begin with, and I believed them until I became... this. You will never know my pain."


I mulled his words over for a moment, deciding whether or not he would die knowing his own mutilator, or die wondering.


"I did know your pain, Ridrick. I was the scalpel."



I grimaced a bit. Ridrick was the youngest man to have ever been under the knife of a Shaman; after I destroyed his appearance, I subjected myself to the same experiment as a form of... vengeance. Our results, obviously, varied greatly.


Ridrick went completely silent. The wind whistling over the hilltops pushed my hood back to reveal my stark white hair and pale face. His eyes stared deeply into mine, deciding what it was that he would do, meeting the person he attributed everything to. He, of course, was my first prey. My knowledge up to this point was only as much as he knew. I wasn't surprised any more that he had been so thorough with every murder; his training would have given him more than enough expertise.


"I'm sorry, Ridrick. I kept them from killing you after the failure, though I realize now that may not have been the wisest thing to do."


He stood staring at me still, the wind coursing over his immensely muscular torso.


"You're right in that, Vehnsen. Oh, so right. Look at what I've done up to this point. Murdered all that I've come into contact with. And would you like to know why, that burning answer to my questions and to yours? Because I wasn't born like this, Vehnsen. No, you made me like this. I'm not to blame for the bloody rampage I've taken part in. This? All of this, is all on you. I know how Hunter's work; there's no chance for me to kill you."



I was surprised by this. Hunters were by no means invincible; our enhanced strength and speed were something helpful, of course, as well as our innate ability to reanimate after death, but our bodies were just as fleshy as any other. Kill us? Maybe not; but slowing us down was not that tough of a task, given that our prey was very competent.



Ridrick was by all means competent.



"Why should I try to kill the thing that created me? You've already killed me once; why you would need to do it again is a waste of both of our time. Ahah, time. You've got plenty of that, I would assume. I don't have that time, Vehnsen. You took it away from me. Every, last, second. Gone. Gone! GONE!"


I sensed his anger rising to points where he would stop talking, and resort to an attack. Carefully patting Fargo, I climbed off of her and prepared for the worst. To reanimate was no painless process; it was most assuredly something to avoid.


"You've ruined everything I've done, everything I'd had, everything I could have been! You ruined me, Vehnsen! And now, I'll make you pay for it."


I expected a charge.


Not what Ridrick did next.



Removing a katana from one of the many sheathes on his back, he drove it deep into his chest, breaching through his ribcage and out his back. The steel shone in the light, glistening with the blood taken from inside of his body. I breathed silently as I watched Ridrick slowly collapse the ground. He hadn't been wrong; everything that I had known about the past three years had been pursuing him. I hadn't known the result of our experiment; I had just known the outcome. I thought many hours and days about what he might look like when I met him at last, or whether I would ever meet him. Thoughts of an amateur hunter, of course, but thoughts nonetheless. He had made a point, in my life. That nothing would ever matter, as long as I ceased to have a purpose. And now, with my vengeance for every life I had seen slip away, and the vengeance upon myself gone, I had been left with no purpose.



Ridrick was not selected as a Hunter without reason; his remarkable martial skills and inept battle sense were remarkable, even to the alumni of the Preyseeker's Guild. What was truly impressive was his ability to shatter the mind of anyone he talked to, to tear it apart and rebuild it as though he was God himself.



Safe to say, I hadn't thought about what I would do when I finally met Ridrick. It had gone to the back of my head. Staring silently at the body that I had so foolishly created, I rested a hand on it and looked back at Fargo one last time.


"I'll see you in a short while, pal. Vengeance must be served."


Taking out the katana from Ridrick's chest, I swung it deep into my own gut. Falling to my knees, I smiled under my hood, and bid Ridrick, and this incarnation of the Hunt, a good farewell.



~ To be Continued, if I so feel like it ~



~ Inspired by the plotline of Bloodborne, mmm, what a plotline ~

~ Entry for Gaby's Plot Twist Contest ~
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  • Ludicrous
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 64
  • High Grandmaster Senpai
  • July 17, 2015, 8:31 am
bloodbuuuuuuurn
  • Happs
  • Level 45
  • Master Blockhead
  • July 17, 2015, 4:59 am
;-;
  • i love pmc
  • Level 19
  • Journeyman Network
  • July 16, 2015, 3:14 pm
go away you weirdo
  • Knightsunder
  • Level 57
  • Grandmaster Cyborg
  • July 16, 2015, 3:14 pm
who know I am are you who?
  • Masq
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 35
  • Artisan Dolphin
  • July 15, 2015, 6:29 pm
Will leave some more indulging feedback when I get some time, but overall:

yayyyyy luv it - u win gold stixer
  • Knightsunder
  • Level 57
  • Grandmaster Cyborg
  • July 16, 2015, 1:39 pm
*patiently waits*
  • Masq
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 35
  • Artisan Dolphin
  • July 16, 2015, 2:46 pm
I don't really have much wrong to say about this submission - it's pretty dandy if you ask me.

I love the way you manage to write effectively in your medieval/western style: it really solidifies the continuity of the plotline and characters ( the latter perhaps being something that could be explored in more detail. Although you did look at the backstories of the characters somewhat, I feel like a greater attention could have been paid to this) Also, perhaps during the dialogues, you could have interjected a few clearer statements as to who was saying what, and referring to who just to ease up a slight confusion I felt. In saying that, I'm really just splitting hairs as I thought this was a thoroughly endulging and successful piece of content :)
  • Knightsunder
  • Level 57
  • Grandmaster Cyborg
  • July 16, 2015, 2:48 pm
Ah, nice, thanks for the feedback.

Good; I was worried the style that I tried to hold fell off as the story went on. 

And yeah, I have a hard time building characters, especially considering how the format of the contest is "short story" x/

Thanks again :D

EDIT: Reading through it again, I realize that I forgot to expand upon the "mark" bit. God dammit >:[[[

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