He sat down at his desk, made of the old Dark oak tree that used to loom above his Fortress, sighing deeply.
His face set in determination and trying to get his whirlwind of thoughts into order. It was hard, the past few days felt like it happened in only a few minutes, he breathed deeply picked up the quill and started writing an entry into the fort journal.
“24 April, 14th Captain of Ashenveill Fort, Eric Archer.”
“The last mission was a failed success. And also a tragedy. John, my best friend for the past nine years lost his life to that thing, that dammed creature. It was not supposed to be a hard mission, but the creature was smarter and bigger than any of its kind we have encountered thus far, unfortunately if we had known what it was we were hunting I would have never accepted without proper arrangements.
The job request came from a strange woman not of this region, said she hailed from a land across the sea. She had a strange smell on her I couldn’t identify, and dark matted hair, her eyes had a unnerving quality that made me uncomfortable to look at, thus I didn’t look at her. That dammed woman. I should have cut her down where she stood, should have seen the signs of malum. But my attention was on the request she made. And I’m ashamed to admit, on the coin as well. Not a lot of jobs from the Guild these past few months so freelance work was welcome.
We agreed to the request John, Benjamin, myself, Garon and Izick. It was a simple hunting job, albeit, a bit strange. Normally we are called upon only when the tenebrosorum have killed a innocent and has become too dangerous to be left to the proper request arrangements. But not this time, for it appeared to be a threat that can turn urgent.
She requested that we hunt a man cursed by the sign of the wolf, who had supposedly attacked her and that she knew it lived near the Black bog, a place of toxic vapors and unending dangers.
After debating amongst ourselves we accepted, we all felt that we have enough experience between us to make it through the bog. Thus we gathered our gear and set off the next day. We were five strong, capable warriors and had confidence in our individual abilities so in stride we made our way to the bog.
After searching for a week we found it, the creature, or rather, it found us. It wasn’t a normal cursed wolf. Bigger. More violent. And worse still more intelligent. It still isn’t clear if she lied, or did not know it herself, I assume the former, but the creature we fought was much more menacing, a High wolf.
It caught us off guard and ripped through our formation. We got separated, the bog played with our minds, it radiated malum, causing us to hear things, see things, making sure that we were separated and not in control.
I stumbled around a bit before I finally got myself under control, then I started to hear the creature. It taunted me, played with me, wanted to hunt me like we intended for it. The only thing that saved me was John, I heard John scream at it, and a few moments of fighting then silence so I hastily approached were the sounds had came from.
In the end I managed to kill it because it was busy enjoying the corpse of my friend. I still remember it’s stench and the sound of John’s bones being crunched.
I could not locate the others. Only their scythes. I knew then they were slain, for it is stated in the code, we shall never be without it. I gathered what I could carry and returned to the fort, it was a cold journey back.
I then returned to the fort and gathered a new party,and went to inform the client. After relaying the events to the woman, she sounded happy. Too happy. She gave me the coin. A cold comfort. Even then I did not question her. I should have. Something clouded my mind every time I looked at her.
We went to recover the creatures body and to my horror we saw only the dried blood upon the ground, it’s remains have been collected already. After returning home I immediately rushed alone to the cottage in the woods where the woman said she had taken up residence and found animal carcasses and bones littering the ground.
I started to enter the yard and felt a slight pressure on my body. I did not know what malum was placed there but I recognized the feeling, I wonder was it a reaction from the carnage I saw on the ground, or was it the cause? I think the latter. Fortunately for me it seemed that the pressure was already weakening and I was safe from what happened to the animals.
Upon entering the cottage I was assaulted with the stench of death, decay and heavy malum. The sight that greeted me was revolting, to say the least, every fiber of my being was screaming with hatred. I saw bones. Blood. Pieces of meat. Human. Too small to be of an adult.
After my investigation I alerted the guild to my findings and have been informed that the creature’s remains, among others could be used in a ritual to open the door for a very ancient malum to enter our world. Typhon. The king of the monsters. I cannot have that. This is my mistake. And now this is my mission. I will find that woman, I will destroy the creatures remains and I will have vengeance for being lied to and used, this I swear upon my scythe.
All this transpired a few weeks ago and I have completed the necessary arrangements for the coming journey, unfortunately I could not remember much about the woman only a name. Malkin.
I’ve been gathering information about that name. It’s nothing good, the people associated with that name bring to mind the classification of tenebrosorum. I’ve talked to countless captains at the port and have concluded they hail from a land called Pendle. The stories that I hear of that land… I cannot proceed lightly.
Today I journey by sea with my strongest. We are seven in number. We will find these malkins and exterminate them all, for we are the Reapers, the odio tenebris, the ones hated by the dark.”
Eric closed the book’s heavy leather-bound cover, stood up and stretched. It’s been a long time since he felt anything but resentment and hatred. He looked at his scythe, the weapon he and all novice Reapers receive from the guild upon entering the ranks, forged from pure silver and iron, blessed, purified and salted after every strike of the hammer and heating in the forge. The snath made from lignum vitae, the purest wood. He donned his leather armour, made from the hide of a minos bull, blackened by Holy fire, the grey cloak and hood, of a special material from the Guild, made to keep the Reapers warm in cold environments and cool in the heat. He continued with gathering his gear and items ceremoniously, prayed, and stepped out of the fort, making the journey down to the port, all the while committing the information he had gathered to memory. This is going to be a very dangerous journey
Only one thought nagged at the back of his mind, there is something in that land that could be a potential ally, or a potential threat, as he walked and contemplated he asked himself, “but what the hell is a spook?”.